With the Grain Reality Glossary
Hearing a public discussion about land use, planning, zoning, or natural resource issues may seem confusing. Don't worry; most participants are confused, too. Often, the dominant speakers are more interested in getting their way than in improving the discussion (or the future).

So, it's up to you to keep deliberations on track. The folks who will be making money may not want you to know the facts, OR the politics. Therefore, this list is part glossary, part political atlas, but mostly reality check. These are not exhaustive definitions: read, rinse, repeat... then get more technical data from other sources. The text here applies to circumstances in rural Michigan, and may be less applicable elsewhere.

More definitions are pending; we appreciate comments. If you are offended by--or merely wish to argue with--these definitions, please include your name and affiliation (exactly as it appears on your Realtor's or contractor's license :-)


While the glossary is being prepared, please see the excellent definitions and guidance at the Pace University Land Use Law Center
Methods of land conversion
In Michigan, as elsewhere, changes in parcel configuration may occur in many ways. These in turn may lead to changes in use, which typically profit someone--but often not the community. To judge the effect, start by comprehending the differences.

The simplest, most common change is a LAND DIVISION.

Next most common, and most controversial, is a PLAT, or SUBDIVISION.

Increasingly, SITE CONDOMINIUM, or SITE CONDO is the tool of choice.

Some communities provide for PLANNED UNIT DEVELOPMENT, or PUD.

Legal documents

ENABLING ACTS

FUTURE LAND USE PLAN

ORDINANCE

Official bodies

PLANNING COMMISSION

ZONING BOARD

ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS

BOARD OF REVIEW

Underrated tools

PERMITTED USE

SPECIAL USE

SITE PLAN

PUBLIC HEARING

Common misunderstandings

DENSITY

VARIANCE

WETLAND

Controversial processes

REZONING or TEXT AMENDMENT

REFERENDUM

RECALL

With the Grain - - Box 517 - - Mattawan, Michigan - - 49017-0517 - - wtg@wtgrain.org

...head home!
Reason to Plan Preservation Spoken Softly Waiting to Die