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Community Development / Building


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Nick Tafelsky, AICP - Community Development Director 
NTafelsky@cityofhowell.org
611 E Grand River Ave.
Howell, MI  48843
517-546-3861   fax  517-546-6030
M-F  8 am to 5 PM

John Donahue - Code Enforcement (Part Time)
Enforcement@CityofHowell.org 
517-546-3861

Community Development Department
The Community Development Department facilitates and promotes high quality growth and development in the City. The Department is responsible for coordinating long range planning, current planning and zoning, code enforcement, building inspections, economic development, neighborhood development, and brownfield redevelopment.  The department provides support to the Planning Commission, Board of Zoning Appeals and the City Manager.

On a high level, the Community Development Department is responsible for:

  • Planning and Zoning
  • Building
  • Code Enforcement
  • Economic Development

Planning and Zoning
The Community Development Director is responsible for managing all planning and zoning related matters in the City. Site Plans are submitted for review by the Community Development Director before being reviewed by external agencies such as the County Drain Office, the City Engineer, and City’s Department of Public Services Director.

The Community Development Director also serves as the City’s Zoning Administrator. In this role, the Community Development Director is responsible for protecting the public health, safety, and welfare by administrating the City’s zoning ordinance, making zoning ordinance interpretations and determinations, and providing guidance, direction, and oversight to the Code Enforcement Officer.

Building
The mission of building staff is to protect the public health, safety, and welfare by administering the Michigan Building Code. The City’s Building Official provides guidance and direction to the Building Inspector. The Building Inspector is responsible for inspecting building projects at different steps in the process to ensure compliance with the Building Code as well as any applicable City ordinances.

Most projects, particularly those involving modifications of structures, require a permit. A building permit is a document which provides legal permission to start construction of a building project. If you are unsure whether or not you need a permit for your project, please call the Community Development Department at 517-546-3861.

Code Enforcement
The Code Enforcement Officer is responsible for handling code complaints in the City. Residents who submit complaints related to tall grass/weeds, junk, work without a permit, illegal vehicles, etc. have their complaints forwarded to the Code Enforcement Officer for review. If a violation of the City’s ordinances is found, the Code Enforcement Officer will talk with the offending party and issue citations if necessary to resolve the matter. The Code Enforcement Officer reports to the Community Development Director.

Economic Development
The Community Development Director is responsible for economic development matters in the City. Working with other City departments as necessary, including the City Manager or the DDA Director, the Community Development Director works with prospective developers, property owners, and businesses to identify opportunities for development and redevelopment in the City. The City has a number of economic development tools that can be utilized for redevelopment, including a Downtown Development Authority and Brownfield Authority.



Read the 2015 Master Plan and Community Profile

In addition to the City's Master Plan, Livingston County recently adopted a Countywide Comprehensive Plan. This document provides a wide variety of resources and best practices for the communities within the County. It can be viewed here



Building Permits

Building Department Inspections - Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday 24 hour notice required in most circumstances.

Permit forms and guidelines

Building, Planning & Zoning fee schedule

In accordance with Public Act 230 of 1972, State of Michigan Construction Code Act, the City of Howell Community Development Department is charged with the administration and enforcement of the Michigan Building Code.

Building permits are required for all construction projects including (but not limited to): roofing, decks, new construction, renovations/additions, demolitions and signs. These permits are issued through the City of Howell Building Department. Permits for plumbing, mechanical, or electrical work are currently issued through Livingston County for work in the City of Howell. 

Performance Bonds

Effective May 31, 2013 the Howell City Council adopted an Ordinance that applies performance bonds to all permits. The amount of all required bonds can be found in the Building, Planning, and Zoning fee scheduled linked above.

Planning and Zoning

Development within the City is guided by the City's current Master Plan and regulated by our Zoning Ordinance.  If you are considering developing or redeveloping a site in Howell, or just have general questions, we encourage you to contact the Community Development Department as early in your process as possible.  We can assist you through every step of the development process, including site plan reviews, rezonings, special land uses and variances. The City has also gone through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation's Redevelopment Ready Communities (RRC) program and many documents related to development in the City can be found on our RRC page.

Plans and Publications  

City of Howell 2015 Master Plan (Historical planning documents are available at City Hall)

City of Howell 2015 Community Profile

Crosstown Trail Study

City of Howell Zoning Map (updated December, 2018)

City of Howell Code of Ordinances (note:  The Zoning Ordinance is found under Part Twelve, Title Six)

Form Based Code for South Michigan Ave. Corridor


Planning Commission

The Planning Commission review most requests for new construction or major additions to structures other than single-family homes. Special Land Uses also require Planning Commission review to allow for public input from surrounding property owners. The Commission meets once a month on the 3rd Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the City Council Chambers. The meeting agenda and packet are posted on the City’s website the Friday before each meeting.

Planning Commission Meeting Agendas and Minutes  (Under Board/Commission Agendas or Packets)

Board of Zoning Appeals

The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) hears requests from property owners for variances and interpretations of the City’s zoning ordinance. There are specific hardships that must be shown to the ZBA to be able to grant a variance. Those standards for review are found on the application for a variance. The ZBA meets on an as-needed basis, so please contact the Community Development Department to discuss a variance request before submitting it so that we can properly guide you through the process. The ZBA meeting agenda and packet are posted on the City’s website the Friday before each meeting.
 
Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Agendas and Minutes (Under Board/Commission Agendas or Packets)

 

Code Enforcement

The Code Enforcement Officer is responsible for handling code complaints in the City. Residents who submit complaints related to tall grass/weeds, junk, work without a permit, illegal vehicles, etc. have their complaints forwarded to the Code Enforcement Officer for review. If a violation of the City’s ordinances is found, the Code Enforcement Officer will talk with the offending party and issue citations if necessary to resolve the matter. The Code Enforcement Officer reports to the Community Development Director.
 
Code Enforcement Complaint Form  (please email to enforcement@cityofhowell.org

Keeping of Chickens

The City of Howell allows any resident to apply for a permit to keep chickens on their property.  The maximum number of chickens allowed is six, no roosters are allowed, and the permit application must be accompanied by the signature of all abutting property owners. This includes properties that have only a corner to corner relationship.  More information can be found in Ordinance #883.

Permit Application for the Keeping of Chickens

Medical Marihuana

At this time, the City of Howell has not opted into any portion of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act. The City has no plans to opt in until the surrounding townships in Livingston County take action.