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Permit Information

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Zoning Compliance Permits

Zoning Compliance Permits are required for the following:

  • All new structures (including temporary structures)
    • This includes buildings, mobile homes, radio towers, sheds, storage bins, awnings, inflatable structures, fabric or membrane structures, greenhouses, and vehicles used for the purposes of a building.
    • This does not include paving of sidewalks, streets, driveways, parking areas, and patios; or uncovered, open porches not to exceed 4 feet above grade that don't extend into the front yard setback by more than 6 feet in front of a single family dwelling.

  • Building expansions or additions
  • Change in use and all new uses (including temporary uses)
  • Fences (except temporary garden fencing)
  • Fill activities for construction above natural grade
  • Grading activities, not including the following:

    • Any project not involving an area of more than 2,000 square feet or more than 1,000 cubic yards of material in one year
    • For agricultural, horticultural and forestry activities
    • For construction of driveways not varying from surrounding grade by more than 1 foot
    • For construction or maintenance of a septic tank or drain field
    • For graveling or grading of a road or driveway
    • Grading activities requiring a permit from County Soil Erosion
  • Outdoor Wood Burning Boilers and Appliances in MFR, I, AF, and MP zoning districts
  • Removal of trees within the Lake Superior Shoreline / Dune Protection Overlay District
  • Signs (some may be exempt – contact the Zoning Administrator for assistance)
  • Tier 1 Home Occupations

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Special Zoning Approval

Special Zoning Approval is required for the following:

  • Accessory housing unit
  • All uses in the C or I districts
  • Conditional uses in any zoning district
  • Creation of public trails
  • Driveway / access changes, new roads, change of use, lot splits or subdivisions, and any other proposed development changes (including parking, outdoor display, and landscaping changes) within the US 41 / M-28 Access Management Overlay District
  • Earth changes or modifications of dunes within the Lake Superior Shoreline / Dune Protection Overlay District
  • Expansions of existing structures increasing floor area or parking by more than 20 percent (except one and two-family dwellings)
  • Extension, expansion, or enlargement of a nonconforming structure
  • Mining
  • Off-street parking facilities (including any alteration)
  • Outdoor Wood Burning Boilers and Appliances in R-1, R-2, WFR, and C zoning districts
  • Planned Unit Developments
  • Rural Cluster Development Subdivisions
  • Site Condominiums
  • Tier 2 Home Occupations
  • Wind Turbines
  • Wireless Communication facilities
If the item you are looking for is not on the list, please check the Zoning Compliance Permits list on this page.

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Zoning Regulations of Note

  • Burn Regulations – Section 6.5 of the Chocolay Township Zoning Ordinance
    • Burning of refuse must be within a covered container as specified in the ordinance. The container must be located at least 150 feet from any building on another property. The burning of refuse must be constantly attended.
    • Open burning of leaves, weeds, brush, stumps, and clean wood is permitted but must comply with DNR regulations
    • Some materials are prohibited from burning

  • Commercial Vehicle Parking in Residential Districts – regulated by Section 6.11 of the Zoning Ordinance and the Vehicle Parking and Storage Ordinance #55.
  • Landscape standards – found in Article 11 of the Zoning Ordinance.
  • Minimum Lot Size – There is a minimum lot size for every zoning district. All new parcels created must comply with the minimum lot size, and land cannot be split if it doesn't meet the minimum lot size. Illegal splits will be denied zoning compliance permits for future development.
  • Minimum standards for dwellings – Section 6.3 of the Chocolay Township Zoning Ordinance
    • Every single-family dwelling must be at least 800 square feet, and must have a minimum width across any elevation of 20 feet (except those in a licensed mobile home park or R-2 zoning district).
    • Every dwelling unit in a multifamily development must be at least 600 square feet.

  • Outdoor lighting standards – found in section 11.12 of the Zoning Ordinance.
  • Road Frontage
    • All new lots shall have frontage on a public road or a Township approved private road.
    • Homes on lots created before the ordinance, that do not have frontage on a public street or approved private road, shall not be occupied on a year around basis without access by a 66 feet wide easement to a street.
    • If a private driveway is proposed to serve more than 4 parcels, the private driveway must meet the requirements of a public road.

  • Waterfront Setback – All new structures abutting any body of water must be at least 100 feet from the nearest shoreline. Additionally, land must be maintained in a natural condition within 30 feet of the shoreline (no grade changes, minimal vegetation trimming).

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Other Regulations of Note

  • Chocolay Ordinance #37A prohibits the following nuisances, for which you may receive a violation notice and enforcement action:
    • Damaged or deteriorated structures
    • Storage or accumulation of junk, garbage, or rubbish without a landfill permit (not including a non-commercial compost pile). Definitions of these terms are included in the ordinance, but note this does include yard clippings, wood, parts of machinery and scrap metal and building materials, whether useful or not, if they pose a health or safety hazard.

  • You cannot park a vehicle or place any structure within the road right-of-way without approval of the appropriate road authority (MDOT or Marquette County Road Commission). If you do, you may receive a notice of violation from Chocolay Township or the road authority. If you place an unauthorized sign within the public right-of-way, it may be confiscated and removed.

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