Blendon Township

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Planning & Zoning

About Planning & Zoning

Contact Information

Zoning Administrator

Steve Kushion

cell (616) 895-5143
PCI office (616) 667-8803 x312
Blendon office (616) 875-7707

Theoretical Origins

Property rights are the rights of people guaranteed by law to hold those things that they have secured by the efforts of their labor and/or the expense of their personal treasure. These property rights grant to the person a degree of exclusivity in personal use and control over the things that have been acquired by these means. This exclusivity of personal use and control however is not absolute but is relative to all other rights that are protected by the law. The right of each person to the exclusive, free use, and peaceful enjoyment of his property is limited by the extent that such use does not interfere with the rights of his neighbor’s exclusive, free use, and peaceful enjoyment of his property. A person’s property rights therefore are relative to the rights of his neighbor and the rights and interests of the community.

As population has expanded and people began to live in ever closer proximity to one another, the need to maintain harmonious relationships among neighbors and throughout the community has brought about the need for mutually acceptable principles to govern the conduct of behavior within the social framework of the community. These principles of governance find themselves expressed in the laws, statutes, and ordinances that protect our claims, demands, and expectations. We thus know what is expected of us as individuals and what it is that we may reasonably expect from our neighbors and the community within which we live. The concept of zoning private property within a community rests upon these broad principles of social and political behavior.


Meeting Date & Times

Township Planning Commission Meetings are held on the 1st Monday of the month, 7:00pm at the Blendon Township Hall

Zoning in Michigan

In Michigan, the right of the people within local communities to establish zoning as a tool to properly moderate the rights of neighboring property owners is granted by the “Michigan Zoning Enabling Act.” This act allows local communities to determine the rules that are the most appropriate for them. The latest version of this act was approved by the Michigan legislature on July 1, 2006.

Blendon Township like so many other communities has availed itself of the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act for the purpose of establishing a flexible Master Plan and Zoning Ordinance. This Master Plan and Zoning Ordinance provides an orderly process for individual property owners and the community in the determination of the appropriate location for various activities that may be conducted within the Township. This allows people that live in a residential neighborhood to have the expectation that no major industrial or commercial facility will be established within the neighborhood. It allows those engaged in commercial or manufacturing activities to pursue their activities within a zone free from the complaints and restrictions that would surely result from the conduct of such activity in a residential or agricultural zone.

Blendon Township has been involved with the zoning process since the 1950’s and has adopted several superseding ordinances in the years since that time. The most recent Master Plan was approved and adopted on February 7, 2002 in conjunction with the Ottawa County Smart Growth Program. A new zoning ordinance was adopted following the adoption of the Master Plan. The provisions of this ordinance, along with subsequent amendments, are the provisions that govern land use and developmental procedure in the Blendon Township today.

Administration, Adjustment

It is recognized that no body of law can anticipate all situations that may arise within the boundaries of a given jurisdiction – therefore the need for frequent amendments and also occasional repeals is a reality. These issues of amendment and change are the product of petitions and requests that are made to the Township by residents that have found certain provisions of the ordinance to be outdated or impractical. They may also arise from the Zoning Administrator who in the course of enforcement has discovered inequities, inability to reasonably enforce provisions or the need to adjust provisions of the ordinance for the residents and the community to reasonably achieve their respective objectives.

The governmental structure that has been established to create and administrator the zoning ordinance by the modern Zoning Enabling Act is a Planning Commission. The Planning Commission in Blendon Township is a seven member panel appointed by the Township Supervisor and approved by the Township Board. This seven member panel is selected from residents of the Township and usually represents a broad spectrum of community interests. This Commission is established upon the recognition that issues of planning and zoning are usually of sufficient complexity that they require significant focus and study to discover relevant facts and determine how the existing rules or a new rule could be applied to the facts to properly remediate the issues that have been presented. This process is usually facilitated with help of a professional planner and legal counsel.

The Planning Commission after completing its work will develop a recommendation that it believes will best dispose of the issue or issues that were brought to it for resolution. The objectives of problem resolution are to develop recommendations that will resolve the central issues in a way that is harmonious with the objectives of the Community as expressed in the Master Plan. This recommendation will be directed to the attention of the Township Board for its consideration. The Township Board will then review the work of the Planning Commission to determine if due diligence and due process was done. If the Township Board is satisfied with the work of the Planning Commission, it will then approve for adoption the recommendation as presented. If the Board believes that there should be additional consideration or clarification, it will send the recommendation back to the Planning for additional deliberation.

All of the activities of the Planning Commission and subsequently the Township Board in this planning and administrative process are conducted in an open public forum. Throughout the process, the public and adjoining property owners are invited and encouraged to observe the process and input their comment for consideration by the Planning Commissioners and subsequently the Township Board.


At times there may occur situations when individual property owners, due to practical difficulties or extenuating circumstances, may find it impossible to use there property parcel in a way defined by the zoning ordinance. In anticipation of this problem and in recognition that no ordinance can anticipate or address every unique situation, a Zoning Board of Appeals has been established by the Michigan Zoning and Enabling Act for the purpose of allowing exemptions from specific provisions where they have been demonstrated to be genuinely necessary.

This Zoning Board of Appeals is a five member Board appointed by the Township Supervisor and approved by the Township Board. The members of this Board act in quasi judicial manner and this Board is in effect a court of original jurisdiction on local zoning issues. It is the responsibility of the Zoning Board of Appeals to find facts in regards to unique situations that have been presented to it and determine how the zoning ordinance should be reasonably applied to those facts. The Board, by following standard and strict guidelines, may determine that a particular situation though nonconforming to the ordinance may be granted relief in the form of a variance. If a variance is granted, the property owner is in effect allowed to be exempt from the strict provisions of the zoning ordinance. If a variance is denied, the applicant may appeal the decision of the Zoning Board of Appeals to the Ottawa County Circuit Court. The Township Board is not a judicial body and is prohibited from intervening on the decisions of the Zoning Board of Appeals.

The preceding paragraphs are a summary of the rational for Planning and Zoning a community and the governmental structures for establishing both the substance and procedures of the process. A more detailed explanation can be found in various publications that deal with the subject of Planning and Zoning as well as the provisions of the Michigan Zoning and Enabling Act as codified in Michigan Compiled Laws. You are invited to take part in this process by attendance at the regularly scheduled public meetings of the Blendon Township Planning Commission. Your questions and input are always welcome. The community can best be served when interested residents join in participation.