Master Plan



Charlevoix Township is authorized to prepare a Master Plan pursuant to Township Planning Act 168 of 1959, as amended. This statute enables a Township to prepare a plan for the purpose of promoting the public health, safety, and general welfare; encouraging the use of resources in accordance with their character and adaptability; avoiding the overcrowding of land by people and buildings; lessening congestion on public roads and streets; facilitating systems of transportation, sewage disposal, water supply, recreation, and other public improvements; and considering the character and suitability of the Township for uses judged in terms of such factors as the trend in land and population development.

The Master Plan is no more and no less than a statement of public policy based on a vision of the future as embodied in the statement of Township goals. Goals are a statement of how the Township wants to look and function in the future and the Land Use Plan, consisting of guiding principles, policies, and character descriptions, are the vehicles by which the vision will be attained. The Guiding Principles are especially important because they comprise the basic rules or standards against which all decisions will be measured and from which the Township does not intend to depart.

The Master Plan is intended to be general but not too general, specific, but not too specific. It establishes concepts, relationships, and patterns of land use and circulation rather than detailed descriptions so that it can more broadly and generally describe the Township’s intent for how the Township should look and function. Community planning and design is the first sign of human intention (William A. McDonough, Architect). The intent of not planning is to accept whatever occurs and if traffic congestion occurs, it is the same as having the intent of planning to create such congestion.

To remain viable the plan must be flexible and dynamic, not static. It will have to respond to change as well as guide it. It will need to be evaluated and amended periodically (must be reviewed at least every five years) to keep it fresh and current but each change must be evaluated on its merits (i.e., whether it enhances or detracts from the Township’s vision). It will not always be easy to tell.

The Master Plan is the Planning Commission’s plan even though the Township Board may elect to adopt it. The Commission is charged with interpreting, evaluating, amending, and keeping the Plan current. If it becomes stale and outdated, or is ignored, it will not further the vision of the Township. If it is used only when convenient, it will not withstand the challenges of law, which demand consistency in its application. It is important to note that plans do not implement themselves, Planning Commissions and Township Boards implement plans.

Finally, all public decisions relating to land use, transportation, and major capital improvements, that can be interpreted to influence the vision, must first be reviewed and acted upon by the Planning Commission. While the Township Board can take action contrary to the Planning Commission’s recommendations, the Commission has the authority, according to state law, to evaluate such proposals regarding their consistency with the Master Plan. This gives the Commission the enormous responsibility of making sure that the Master Plan is current and generally consistent with what the public and decision makers want the Township to be in the future.




The following are the features that define Charlevoix Township and give it character:

Township Size and Configuration

If not the smallest Township in the State of Michigan, it is certainly one of the smallest. Furthermore, Charlevoix Township consists of two unconnected geographic areas, one north of the City of Charlevoix, the other south. This is one of the reasons the City and Township are inseparable and are perceived by visitors as one place, not two.

Land Use and Availability

Because of its small size and three very large landowners (State 0f Michigan, St. Mary’s (Cemex), and Township lands), the Township has a relatively small inventory of vacant and developable land. There are approximately 650 acres of buildable land currently available for development according to the Charlevoix County 2003 Residential Buildout Analysis.

Most existing residential development is located in the north part of the Township and is single- family in type. Most commercial and multi-family housing development is located in the south part of the Township. Almost all vacant land is also located south of the City where it is or will be influenced, to a degree, by commercial development, the highway, and the airport.

St. Mary’s (formally known as Cemex)

Of the major landowners, the St. Mary’s limestone quarry/cement manufacturing enterprise is the largest. According to the Company, it will operate for up to 50 years because it has limestone of sufficient volume to sustain the cement manufacturing operation for that long. The most noticeable things about the quarry and industrial operation are its silos, which are visible from both water and land vantage points and its craters, which are visible from the air. Not available for immediate development, the Company has a plan for reclamation and reuse of the property when the mining operation is finished. This plan is required to be maintained and/or updated as a condition of its special use permit. Whenever development occurs, there will be a new burst of growth, probably well into the future.

City Airport

While the Charlevoix City Airport is in the City, it is a visibly valuable regional asset attributable, in part, to its new terminal on US-31 South. This general aviation facility provides charter service to numerous destinations and scheduled service to Beaver Island.


The lakes, Michigan, Charlevoix, and Round, are the truly defining features of this region and a substantial amount of the Lake Michigan lakeshore is accessible by the public. Fishing, swimming, boating, and sightseeing, all related to water, are the very heart of the local economy, making it very clear that environmental protection is good business and anything that would detract from the quality of the lakes would adversely affect the economy of the region.


Golf has a significant presence in the region because existing golf courses serve as gateways to the region on US-31 north (Charlevoix Country Club and the municipal course at Mercer) and on Marion Center Road south (Belvedere Club). These facilities make a very positive statement for those visiting and those passing through the area.

The Bridge and Highway. Located in the City of Charlevoix, the Pine River lift Bridge is one of the truly defining characteristics of the region. It is especially compelling as an icon when the bridge occasionally malfunctions, causing traffic to back up for miles. It and US-31 comprise the lifeline between the Township’s detached segments and when it fails to function properly, things don’t work very well.

Geophysical Characteristics. One of the truly unique characteristics of Charlevoix Township is the Lake Michigan Dune formation located on Northpoint of which the Mt. McSauba ski hill is a part. The dune extends for more than one mile along the great lake’s coastline consisting mostly of stable dune faces, but also including a few blowout areas. Prominent beach ridges also exist around the perimeter of Lake Charlevoix, Round Lake, and the Pine River. The highest elevation (710) in the Township is near the south Township line near Marion Center Road on the Belvedere Golf Course site. The most unusual topography is found in the cavernous excavations on the Cemex property where limestone is still being removed.

Significant Historical Characteristics. Most of the area’s non-geophysical historical features are located in the City of Charlevoix including the downtown, the Belvedere and Chicago Clubs, and the C&O Railroad Depot, components of which existed before the turn of the 20th century. Much of the architectural history of the region has, however, been lost due to the demise of the old and very large resort hotels that thrived during the railroad era, preceding the advent of the automobile. Probably the most significant architectural feature in the Township is Boulder Park, a residential subdivision that was constructed during the 1920s, consisting of unique rock surfaced homes, some of which were designed and built by Earl Young.

Wetlands and Stover Creek. Larger regulated wetlands are predominantly located in the southwestern part of the Township on lands that are currently owned by St. Mary’s and the State of Michigan (State Park land). They consist mostly of deciduous forested wetlands, but include some coniferous forested and unclassified forested wetlands. Similar wetlands occur near the south border of the Township and in all of these areas there are also a small number of emergent wetlands where water is visible at the ground surface. These are not precisely defined on the attached wetland map and will have to be delineated by those wishing to develop in their vicinity. In the event they are proposed to be disturbed by development, the plans will need to demonstrate avoidance, alternatives, and the mitigation of any wetland losses.

There are also wetlands that are not clearly shown on the wetland map that nonetheless exist and must be protected during the course of development. These may be present anywhere in the Township. Some of these wetlands border Stover Creek and/or have a connection to a lake or stream. These will also need to be delineated and addressed as development occurs. Because Stover Creek is a fishery, the wetlands and woodlands adjacent to the Creek warrant special protection to insure that the shading of the water is not reduced, the temperature of the water remains as low as possible, and turbidity is minimized.




(Who are we and have we changed?)

First Horseless Carriage in Charlevoix

Picture is from “A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words.” Volume V, by Robert Miles, courtesy from Charlevoix Public Library

Charlevoix Township Master Plan Page 4

From 1990-2000:

  • The Township grew by 67% or 681 people.
  • The number of households increased from 390 to 662. A household is an occupied dwelling unit.
  • Following national trends, the household size for the Township decreased from 2.6 to 2.5 persons in a household.
  • The City of Charlevoix lost population.

Picture is from “A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words.” Volume V, by Robert Miles, courtesy from Charlevoix Public Library


(Have we grown?)


Population 1970

Population 1980 & (% change)

Population 1990 & (% change)

Population 2000 & (% change)

Charlevoix Township













City of Charlevoix













Charlevoix County













Source: U.S. Census Bureau- 2000



(Who are we?)

The following describes Township residents in 2000:

  • 48.5% or 823 are male.
  • 51.5% or 847 are female.
  • 1,630 people are white.
  • 12 people are black or AfricanAmerican.
  • 26 are American Indian.
  • 14 are Asian.
  • 3 are Pacific Islander.
  • 4 are unclassified.
  • 8 are two or more races.
  • 844 people are married.
  • 468 people over the age of 15 are notmarried.
  • 91% of the population over the age25 has a high school diploma or equivalency.
  • 33% of the population over the age 25 has a bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • 28% are between 20-44, representing the working age and 26% are between 45-64, representing the working age and early retirees.
  • 17% are over 65.
  • 27% are under 19.
  • Median age for the Township is41.2.
  • Median age for the City is 40.8
  • Median age for the County is 39.1
  • Median age of the Michigan is
















9 & under








































Over 65




















Source US Census Bureau- 2000



(How much will we grow?)

  • The 2020 population projection for Charlevoix Township ranges from 2,440 to 3,127. Different methods were used to make the population projections.
  • The 2003 Residential Build-Out Analysis for the cities and townships in Charlevoix County has projected Charlevoix Township to have a population of 3,127, which would mean an increase of 1,430 residents or growth of 84% by 2020.
  • From 1980 to 1990, the number of households in Charlevoix County grew by 16.8%, from 7,056 to 8,243. During the next decade, the growth rate was 26.2%, and there were 10,400 households in the County. It is estimated that the number of households will increase by 25% from 2000 to 2010, resulting in 13,000 households. This growth percentage is expected to continue in the following decade, resulting in 16,250 households in 2020.
  • During this time, the Township grew from 346 households in 1980 to 390 in 1990, which was 3.7% of the County’s growth. In 2000, there were 662 households, 12.6% of the County’s growth. It is predicted that the Township’s growth will be 12% of the County’s growth during the next decade and 10% the following decade. In 2010, there would be 910 households and in 2020 there will be 1,060 households. Based on existing trends for household sizes, it is predicted that the average household size in 2010 and in 2020 will be 2.3, therefore the population for 2010 is projected to be 2,185 and in 2020 it is projected to be 2,440.
  • In 1980, the number of Township households was 4.9% of the County’s households. In 1990, the Township households were 4.7% of the County’s households. In 2000, the Township households were 6.4% of the County’s households. Using this pattern, it is predicted that the Township will be 7% of the County’s households and in 2020, it will be 6.5%. This would equate to 975 households in 2010 and 1,300 in 2020. Using the 2.3 people per household calculation, this would translate to a population of 2,240 in 2010 and 2,990 in 2020.
  • According to the 2000 Census, there were 45 people living in group housing (2% of the population). Using this ratio, it is estimated that there will be 73 people in group housing in 2020. The 73 people would be in addition to the 2,696 projected residents for an overall total projection of 2,769.


# of Households 1990 & population

# of Households 2000 & population

# of Projected Households 2020 & population

Charlevoix Township

390 households 1,016 population

662 households 1,697 population

1,123 households 1 2,4001-3,1273 population

City of


1,404 households 3,116 people

1,375 households 2,994 people

1,254 household 2

Population information is NA

Charlevoix County

8,243 households 21,468 people

10,400 households 26,090 people

Household information is NA


1 Gosling Czubak projection.
2 Projection from Gerry Harsh, Planner for City of Charlevoix 3 Charlevoix County 2003 Residential Build-Out Analysis



(Where are the seasonal homes?)

  • 241 or 25% of the Township’s housing stock is seasonal housing, i.e. not occupied on census day.
  • US Census defines a seasonal home as “a housing unit held for occupancy only during limited portions of the year, such as, a beach cottage, ski cabin, or time- share condominium.”
  • Many seasonal homes are becoming year round homes as people retire and move to the area.
  • Seasonal homes should be thought of as year-round homes with respect to their impacts on the natural environment.


Picture is from “A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words.” Volume VI, by Robert Miles, courtesy from Charlevoix Public Library


1990 Seasonal Homes

1990-2000 Percent Change

2000 Seasonal homes













Source U.S. Census Bureau- 2000


In the Township:

  • There are 945 housing units.
  • 44% of the housing units have been built since 1990.
  • 653 housing units are single-family homes.
  • 43 housing units are duplex units.
  • 42 housing units are multi-family homes.
  • 207 housing units are mobile homes.
  • Of the 662 year – round occupied homes, 585 areowner occupied and 77 are rented.
  • 331 housing units have had the sameoccupant since 1995.
  • 45 people live in- group housing.

As of March 2000.


(What are the housing characteristics?)

>1 2-5/ 6-10/ 11-20/ 21-30/ 31-40/ 41-60/ 61+


No. of Housing Units

Median Value

No. & % of Year-round Occupied Units

No. & % of Vacant Units

No. & % of Seasonal Housing Units




662 & 70%

39 & 4%

241 & 26%




1,375 & 65%

77 & 4%

644 & 31%




10,400 & 67%

579 & 4%

4,391 & 29%

Source U.S. Census Bureau-2000
* 3 housing units were unaccounted for.


Charlevoix Township Master Plan Page 9

As of the 2000 Census:

  • 745 Township residents are employed.
  • 32 Township residents are unemployed.
  • 3 Township residents are in the ArmedForces.
  • 47% of the Township labor force is female.
  • 77 children have both parents in theworkforce.
  • 297 Township residents are or will beeligible for retirement during the nextdecade.
  • Average commute time is 14.8 minutes.INCOME(What do we make?)
  • Median full-time male worker earns $40,263.
  • Median full-time female worker earns $22,969.
  • Median family income is $51,250.
  • 76 individuals live in poverty.o 13 of them are over 65.
  • 15 families are in poverty,o 10 of them have children.


(What do we do?)


# Of Workers

Management, professional, and related occupations


Service occupations


Sales and office occupations


Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations


Construction, extraction, and maintenance occupations


Production, transportation, and material moving occupations




Less than $10,000


$10,000 to $14,999


$15,000 to $24,999


$25,000 to $34,999


35,000 to $49,999


$50,000 to $74,999


$75,000 to $99,999


$100,000 to $149,999


$150,000 and above





# Of People in the Workforce (includes employed and unemployed)

% Of People Employed

Median Household Income

% Of People Living Below Poverty Level
















Source US Census Bureau-2000

Charlevoix Township Master Plan Page 10


(How do we compare with our neighbors?)


1970 Census

1980 Census

% Change 1970-1980

1990 Census

% Change 1980-1990

2000 Census

% Change 1990-2000

Charlevoix Twp
















Boyne City








Boyne Valley









Charlevoix City















East Jordan City













































694 Melrose 830 Norwood 325

Peaine 58 St. James 161 South Arm 995 Wilson 650

County 16,541


Source: U.S. Census- 2000

343 56.6 946 36.3 947 14.1 540 66.1

81 39.6 240 49

1,237 24.3 1,199 84.4

19,907 20.3 9,262,078

481 1,130 1,106 516 128 276 1,418 1,391

21,468 9,295,297

639 32.8 1,492 32 1,388 25.5

714 38.3 244 90.6 307 11.2

1,844 30 2,022 45.3

26,090 21.5 9,938,444 6.9


Community planning, as an accepted course of action, has always been regarded as a process of establishing goals for future development and determining the means by which these ends may be achieved. Goals formulation is significant in two major ways. First, in terms of the planning process, goals are a principal element in the development of community planning alternatives. Secondly, and equally as vital, goals are important in providing a frame of reference for day-to- day decision-making, both public and private.

As indicated previously, the goals defined herein are a product of the Charlevoix Township Planning Commission. They represent the desires of Township residents as stated in public meetings and planning sessions. These goals were developed as part of the 1993 Master Planning process and continue to be the aims of the Township.

Housing (Residential)

Goal: A decent home and environment for every citizen of the Township.


Goal: Concentrate new business development at identifiable community centers and encourage the improvement and consolidation of existing business facilities.

Goals: Maintain public ownership of recreation land at existing levels.

Unit expansion or creation of commercial recreation enterprises to selected appropriate locations.

Promote an adequate range of recreation opportunities.

Charlevoix Township Master Plan Page 14

Public Services and Facilities

Goal: Provide adequate and appropriate public facilities and services for the benefit of the people of the Township.


Goal: To preserve the character of the present road system through the planning of a transportation system, which causes a minimum of environmental or ecological damage to the Township.

Open Space
Goal: Encourage maintenance, quality and quantity of open space, scenic and natural areas

throughout the Township.

Natural Resources
Goal: Optimumutilizationofland,water,airandnaturalresources,includingtheirpreservation

and conservation.

Goal: Provide an increased and wider variety of employment opportunities on a year-round


Population Density
Goal: Guide and control population densities and distribution in order to maintain ecological

balance, open space, high levels of sanitation and low levels of pollution.

Charlevoix Township Master Plan Page 15



Guiding principles are statements that represent the essence of what a community values most and wishes either to encourage or not to have violated as growth and change occurs. The following are the Guiding Principles for Charlevoix Township, which were derived from a brainstorming session with the Planning Commission and Township Board on October 22, 2003:

1. Keep the “small town feel”. Charlevoix Township and the City of Charlevoix are socially, economically, historically, and physically inseparable. Together they constitute the cherished “small town feel” with the City containing the urban civic core, tourist attractions, and services and the Township having a very different and newer housing stock and general merchandizing shopping opportunities that serve the larger region. They are distinctively very different in appearance and function, but collectively just one place, consisting of the essentials that comprise a small town. The land use patterns that have been evolving in the US 31 Highway corridor consist of buildings that have no relationship to any other buildings. They stand-alone and are not consistent with this principle in that they reflect a character that can be found in any downstate community and are not unique to the region. Because the Township values its “small town feel”, it will need to identify, understand, and repeat images that reflect this character as follows:

  • Require the development of generally smaller buildings or buildings that more closely emulate the appearance, size, height, window characteristics, rooflines, parking arrangements, landscaping, and architectural character of buildings in downtown Charlevoix.
  • Make smaller buildings and landscaping within the US 31 corridor the focal points of the corridor, not large parking lots.
  • Encourage mixed-use developments that provide compact places for people to live, work, shop and play with a lesser dependence on the automobile.
  • Provide opportunities for nonmotorized trails, sidewalks, and bikeway connections throughout the Township. Create walkable neighborhoods.
  • Keep the Highway as narrow as possible to insure that it will not become a barrier for pedestrian movements.
  • Develop an urban design framework that identifies the patterns and characteristics of the community that warrant being emulated within the Highway corridor and establishes standards and mechanisms for compliance.Charlevoix Township Master Plan Page 16

2. Make development patterns compact/control sprawl. Sprawl is generally not a well- understood concept and, frankly, it is not particularly evident in Charlevoix Township. This is attributable to the barriers that constrain growth, a limited supply of vacant land, and the availability of public utilities, all of which stimulate infill development instead. Nonetheless, compact development is important, especially in the south part of the Township where the perception of “place” will be affected by how things look to the passing motorist. Compact development is intended to be achieved by the following:

  • Promote the use of housing clusters options that are serviced by public utilities, provide a mixture of housing, provide for higher densities, and foster the preservation and interconnection of open spaces.
  • Promote business development patterns that physically integrate uses and demonstrate physical relationships between existing and future buildings rather than create stand-alone uses on individual sites.
  • Require shared parking and interconnections between new and existing projects, via roads, shared drives, greenway infrastructure and pedestrian accesses.
  • Discourage strip commercial development.3. Provide housing for everyone. Not everyone will wish to live in the same house for as long as they live in the Township and then move away from familiar surroundings when their housing needs change. Likewise, businesses will need employees of all income levels and such employees will need housing that is affordable in reasonably close proximity to job sites. It is the intent of the Township to provide opportunities for a variety of housing as follows:• Provide housing to satisfy the lifecycle housing needs of residents of all income levels.• Accommodate a range of quality affordable housing types to satisfy the needs of employees.• Disperse affordable housing throughout the Township rather than concentrate it in monotype developments.

    • Maintain the number of affordable housing units at not more than 20% of the total housing stock.

    4. Preserve open space and natural corridors and patterns. The Township and City occupy lands that are endowed with a wealth of natural resources and open spaces including frontage on three beautiful lakes, Fisherman’s Island State Park, the Northpoint/Drenth Conservation Area, Stover Creek and Mt. McSauba to name a few. It is this setting and history that make the Township a highly sought after place to live, work, and play. The perpetuation of the natural character of the Township will depend on how forcefully these features are protected. It is the intent of the Township to:

• Protect the water quality and beauty of lakes and streams by establishing buffer areas along the waters edge that consist of natural vegetation and undisturbed open space and slowing the flow of surface water to minimize soil erosion and siltation of the Township’s water resources.

Charlevoix Township Master Plan Page 17

  • Minimize the loss of quality vegetation.
  • Minimize grading on steep slopes.
  • Preserve valuable natural resources by encouraging clustering of housing with noloss of density.
  • Interconnect valuable natural resources that define the Township and give itcharacter including lakes, wetlands, stream corridors, viewsheds, parks, andhistorical features.
  • Create a system of connected open spaces and natural environmental corridors asthe organizing structure for future development.
  • Provide incentives to establish continuous open space corridors throughout theTownship.5. Maintain the appearance of “green roads.” Some locations along the Highway frontage in the Township, and many of the local roads (Waller, McSauba, Marion Center, etc.) have a heavily wooded character that is as yet unbroken or masks the development that is tucked behind. This green appearance should not be allowed to change, in spite of growth, if the character of the Township, as viewed from the road, is to be preserved. Preserving the “green” character along the Highway will be much more difficult than local roads, but no less important, because commercial land is more valuable and vegetation may block the view of businesses from the motorist. Maintaining green roads is intended to be achieved by employing the following measures:
    • Insure that the development of road and highway frontages incorporates and protects the existing vegetation between the project and the road edge.
    • Encourage shared parking for commercial uses as a means to reduce the amount of land needing to be disturbed.
    • Cluster housing within wooded areas and adjacent to tree lines and minimize vegetative clearing.
    • Prohibit residential structures on ridgelines and in open fields along the road in open fields.
    • Preserve existing tree lines and canopies along roads.
    • Identify and preserve viewsheds along roads and protect street ends fromdevelopment that would block views to the water.
    • Minimize the number of accesses to the Highway.6. Maintain existing recreation areas. The Township/City has a substantial number of recreation areas and facilities including public beaches, the Township Park, City parks, the Mt. McSauba Ski Hill, the Northpoint Nature Preserve, and the State Park. These are invaluable resources that define the community, give it character, and provide recreation opportunities for its residents.7. Develop and maintain safe and quiet neighborhoods. Neighborhoods are the building blocks of the Charlevoix Township Community. They, therefore, need to be designed to be safe and accessible by emergency vehicles and compatible with adjacent nonresidential development so they can be relatively free of adverse influences. Existing neighborhoods are of particular concern. While few of the Township’s existingCharlevoix Township Master Plan Page 18

neighborhoods are exposed to heavy traffic, some have relatively poor emergency vehicle access. It is the intent of the Township to influence the design of neighborhoods and to:

  • Encourage the establishment of walkable neighborhoods that do not rely entirely on the automobile for accessibility and reduce travel demand.
  • Employ cluster-housing options, by offering density bonuses, to establish neighborhoods that are organized around generous open spaces and green infrastructure.
  • Require a mixture of housing types to provide housing choice for residents.
  • Require neighborhood road designs that slow traffic and spread it over the broaderstreet network.
  • Establish and enforce performance standards that minimize noise, visual access,odor, vibration, dust and particulate matter, and the other potential impacts ofindustrial, commercial, and resource based land uses on residential areas.
  • Maintain buffers at the edges of neighborhoods to provide definition and identityand protect them from adverse influences.8. Create attractive places to work and shop. There manufacturing establishments in the Charlevoix area provide a reasonable amount of industrial employment. This is in part because this area suffers a transportation disadvantage while having a relatively small market for locally manufactured goods. For a community that thrived on industry (lumbering) at inception, it is now primarily a tourist/seasonal resident and service economy. What this means is that successful manufacturing businesses will likely produce regionally unique products (e.g. resource based cement) or produce materials that can be supported primarily by the local market, which means they will be small. It is the intent of the Township to:

• Cooperate with the City, County, and surrounding Townships to provide places where infrastructure can be extended to support manufacturing and service businesses that are appropriate for the Charlevoix area.

9. Clean up messes/control blight. Unfortunately, most communities have difficulties with resident induced blight, especially Townships. This is because some people believe they have a constitutionally protected right to use their property anyway they wish and that local governments have no right to protect the rights of others even though their properties may be adversely affected as a consequence of their actions. The Township not only has the right to enforce reasonable standards, it has the responsibility to protect the rights of the offending property owner and those others who are affected by his/her individual abuses. It is the intent of the Township to:

  • Adopt and enforce a nuisance ordinance that provides for consistency in the definition, processing, and eradication of nuisances that violate the property rights of others.
  • Communicate openly, frequently, and meaningfully with the public at large to create an understanding of the Township’s intent and willingness to abate nuisances.Charlevoix Township Master Plan Page 19

10. Balance property rights and the public interest. There are numerous myths associated with this issue that need to be exposed. The first is that everyone has a right to live anywhere they wish. This is true only to the extent that this right does not adversely affect the rights of others. Sometimes it is hard to define the rights of others. The second is that all property owners are created equal and are entitled to do anything with their land that their neighbor can. This is false because not every property owner’s land has the exact same vocational attributes. The third myth is that landowners have a right to get as much economic return for their land as possible. Actually, according to law, they have a right only to a reasonable return nothing more, nothing less. Balancing the rights of property owners and the public interest is always difficult. It is the intent of the Township to:

  • Rely on the principles, policies, and patterns embodied in the Master Plan to help determine the rights of property owners vs. the public interest.
  • To the extent possible, ascertain and publicly reveal the facts of any land use issue before making a decision.
  • Make decisions on the basis of sound land use practice, not the economics of the applicant.
  • Keep the public informed and involved in key land use issues. The more difficult the issue, the more input should be elicited from the public.
  • Accommodate uses that may adversely affect the public interest (wind energy conversion systems, sexually oriented businesses, telecommunications towers, etc.) in locations that satisfy needs while minimizing impacts.

Charlevoix Township Master Plan Page 20


(What do we want to see in twenty years?)

Twenty years ago the major land use issues and concerns were related to the seasonal nature of the Charlevoix economy. While that issue remained, ten years ago it was the intense growth pressures from year-round and seasonal residents and how such growth might impact the Township’s community and its quality of life. These concerns still exist, along with preserving the Township’s appearance; insuring housing is available to everyone, and maintaining the quality of the area’s natural resources in the face of continuing growth.

What will be the major issues during the next twenty or more years? Although no one can predict them with any reliability, we can use the historical and current land use patterns and trends to make assumptions about the future. It is possible that some of the land that is being used for mining and extraction operations will have been restored for other uses. The amount of vacant land is not overly abundant; therefore, it can be assumed that both redevelopment and new development will occur. In addition, as alternative transportation systems (such as trails and mass transit) become more necessary, they will be a more dominant part of the landscape.

The goal of this future land plan is to insure that Charlevoix Township will be a healthy, harmonious community that allows its residents a high quality of life while protecting the sensitive features of the natural environment. This future land use plan incorporates the lessons learned from the past of now to create the desired future. This plan divides the Township into separate land use classifications. Each one is specific in describing the type of land use and development patterns that would benefit the Township’s future.

Although the City of Charlevoix is a separate government entity, it is part of the Township physically, socially, and economically. It is the Township’s “town center”. It would make this future land use plan deficient if the relationship with the City of Charlevoix were not well understood. The descriptions relating to the City of Charlevoix are provided primarily to create an understanding of the differences and relationships that exist between these two interrelated municipalities.

Charlevoix Township Master Plan Page 21


Existing single-family detached housing comprises the majority of the housing stock in the Township. Most of the area so designated has already been developed, but there are still possibilities for infill. Any new development or redevelopment should be compatible with the existing homes. Some areas, such as Boulder Park, are so unique and historically significant that their preservation is critical.

These residential areas are intended to have relatively low maximum densities of 2.5 units per acre except that PUDs within an area designated as a single-family neighborhood, may be allowed to have a density of up to four (4) units per acre plus a 20% bonus for plans that create usable open space and recreational amenities. Clustered housing is also intended to be permitted in single-family neighborhoods, other than as a PUD, if developed as a condominium subdivision, the maximum density (2.5 units/acre) for the whole site is not exceeded, public utilities are available, and a minimum of 30% of the land is irrevocably preserved as open space.

Uses customarily permitted in single-family neighborhoods include detached single-family homes, home based businesses, temporary accessory dwellings, bed and breakfast inns, religious institutions, schools, parks and playgrounds, and accessory uses.

The Township’s main objective for these areas is to protect and maintain the existing residential character.



Single-Family Neighborhood Characteristics:

What we want to see in 20 years:

Predominately detached single-family homes with public facilities and golf courses mixed in

Predominately detached single-family homes built around larger expanses of green space

Individual homes have distinctive characteristics and wooded neighborhoods

Individual homes have distinctive characteristics and wooded neighborhoods

People like living here.

People like living here.

Water and sewer serve some areas.

Water and sewer service most of this area

Historic buildings and sites exist here.

Historic buildings and sites have been preserved.

Virtually all pedestrian access is on the street

Improved trails exist between neighborhoods.

Strong sense of place.

Strong sense of place.

What we don’t want to happen here in 20 years:

  •   Loss of character, uniqueness, and history.
  •   Homogenous housing developments dominating the area.
  •   Road dominated developments.Charlevoix Township Master Plan Page 22


Currently, the largest share of this area is zoned for agricultural and mining uses. Some of it is already developed with a variety of housing types including mobile homes, apartments and condominiums. This area is unique because most of it is undeveloped, has good accessibility, and is potentially threatened by nearby commercial, industrial, and airport influences. It is the Township’s intent to encourage creative developments that allow for a mixture of land uses, residential housing types, open space preservation, and limited retail, service, and employment uses while insuring that the relationship between such uses is highly compatible and supportive. Here, the intent is to establish walkable neighborhoods at densities that provide housing for people of all income levels.

It is the Township’s intent to encourage the use of cluster housing and planned unit development (PUD) approaches that provide for integrated non-residential support services that serve nearby residents. Not more than 15% of the land area in any development is intended to be used for retail, service and employment uses. Where such commercial uses are totally integrated with residential uses such as live/work units and apartments above retail they are not intended to be counted as part of the 15% allowance. All of the developments should have a recreation component, nonmotorized trails, and, where shoreline is present, preservation of the Lake Michigan shoreline as public open space.

The overall density of any project is intended to be eight (8) or less units per acre, however, the full range of housing is intended including single-family attached and detached units, townhouses, apartments, seniors housing, and assisted living. Generally, uses within airport approach zones are intended to have very low occupancy levels and low buildings to minimize aviation hazards. Buildings throughout are intended to be relatively small in size and large complexes with all the same building types are not desired. Except for single-family detached housing, this is an area of mixed housing and each project is intended to have at least two different housing types. The entire area so designated is intended to be served by public sewer and water.



Mixed-Residential Neighborhood Characteristics:

What we want to see in 20 years:

Majority of areas are zoned agricultural and mining, but are not being actively farmed.

Creative developments with mixed densities and a variety of housing types.

Located near the entrance of the Township.

A welcoming gateway into Charlevoix.

Have access either off of or near US 31.

Access management on US 31.

Limited infrastructure.

Improved infrastructure.

None or very limited trail connections.

Trail connections between neighborhoods and along major roads.

Sensitive environmental features.

Preservation of environmental features/

Charlevoix Township Master Plan Page 23

What we don’t want to happen here in 20 years:

  •   Developments that do not connect with each other or to Charlevoix.
  •   Homogenous housing developments dominating the area.
  •   Unimaginative housing.
  •   No sense of arrival into Charlevoix.
  •   Strip development along US 31.

Charlevoix Township Master Plan Page 24


This housing type is located almost entirely in the City. It is described here only to make a distinction between the character of uses in the City and the Township.

Generally, this is a housing type that is unique to the City in that it is single-family housing built on a grid street pattern with smaller lots, sidewalks, alleys, garages that are subordinate to the house, and higher density than is typically allowed in the Township. This neo-traditional pattern of urban neighborhood may have application to areas immediately contiguous to the City as well, particularly in the area west of Lake Street and south of Garfield Avenue. Densities in these areas are in the three to five units per acre range and if applied to the Township, should be done using PUD as part of a mixed residential development. If applied to the Township, this should include both single- family attached and detached housing.



Urban Neighborhood Characteristics:

What we want to see in 20 years:

Smaller lots having easy access to downtown, public facilities, parks, and water features.

Smaller lots having easy access to downtown, public facilities, parks, and water features.

Composed of multiple neighborhoods.

Different types of neighborhoods meeting different demands.

High density single-family in close proximity to other uses.

High density single-family in close proximity to other uses.

Historic building designs and placement.

Preservation of historic buildings and placement.

Walkable with interconnecting sidewalks, pedestrian friendly.

Walkable with interconnecting sidewalks, pedestrian friendly.

Served by public water and sewer.

Has water and sewer.

Nearby public services including police and fire protection

Nearby public services including police and fire protection

What we don’t want to happen here in 20 years:

  •   Loss of historic buildings designs.
  •   Inappropriate building placement.
  •   Suburban, homogenous typedevelopments.
  •   Numerous abandoned buildings.
  •   Incompatible between developmentpatterns.
  •   Alterations to and disregard of the neo-traditional development patterns in the CityCharlevoix Township Master Plan Page 25


The City Center is the heart of the City, Township, and County. It has a strong sense of place and functions as the social, governmental, economic, entertainment, housing, and business center for the region. It is a place to gather and a place to celebrate together.

The City Center or downtown is very different from existing commercial centers in the Township because it was built at a time when the auto had relatively little influence on development patterns. The existing downtown land use pattern consisting of narrow frontages and vertical buildings (2 to 3 stories) with lots of window area, generous sidewalks and parking behind the buildings or on the street is the reason people love to gather and celebrate in downtown. Can anyone imagine the community congregating in the K-Mart parking lot for shopping, an ice cream cone, and a parade on M-66?

To a large degree, downtown Charlevoix is like a shopping mall that is open to the air, except smaller. In Charlevoix, businesses are open until 9:30 p.m. almost every night during the summer. People come to shop and be entertained. When it rains, people go shopping. The difference between this downtown and a mall is that Charlevoix is defined by the outdoors entertainment including East Park, the Marina, and the pier and lighthouse, making it a real and historical experience, unlike anything a mall can offer.

There is no place in the region where the character of the City Center can be duplicated but there are some important messages that should be learned from this historic and memorable place. Noticeable and significant departures from the patterns and characteristics that people enjoy and frequently return to will alter how people perceive this place. Generally, other retail centers in the area should attempt to follow the patterns evident in downtown with smaller building and an emphasis on integrated rather than freestanding stores that have no relationship to anything else.

What the Township does not want to happen here in 20 years:

  •   Downtown loss of identity and character.
  •   Loss of historic buildings and designs.
  •   Disruptive building patterns.
  •   Vacant and abandoned buildings.
  •   Not viewed as the social and economic center of the Township.
  •   Disruptive working relationship with the City of Charlevoix.

Charlevoix Township Master Plan Page 26


This area is located in the City along south US-31 and is an area in transition where houses are being converted to businesses and it is becoming a mixed-use corridor. Here, buildings are the focus of the corridor because they are built near the right-of-way line with parking on the side. This effectively reduces the visual width of the Highway by giving the edges a street wall for definition. There are drive-thrus and automobile dependent uses in this location as well as offices, motels, and service establishments. These uses are very acceptable when they are designed to be pedestrian friendly, of small scale, and compatible with residential uses.



Community Service Characteristics:

What we want to see in 20 years:

Mixture of homes and businesses.

Mixture of homes and businesses.

Businesses are small scale and compatible with the residential uses.

Businesses are small scale and compatible with the residential uses.

Most of the parking is behind or to the side of commercial buildings. Parking lots are small.

Parking behind commercial buildings in parking lots that are minimally visible from the Highway.

Buildings close to the road.

Buildings close to the road.

Sidewalks and good pedestrian access.

Sidewalks and good pedestrian access.

Provide basic shopping needs.

Provide basic shopping needs.

Residents and tourists shop here.

Residents and tourists shop here.

Many businesses owned by local residents.

Many businesses owned by local residents.

Minimal formula architecture and signs

Minimal formula architecture and signs

What we don’t want to happen here in 20 years:

  •   Loss of building placement.
  •   Businesses that due to design,placement, or scale are notcompatible with residential uses.
  •   The uses in this location areautomobile dependent.

Charlevoix Township Master Plan Page 27


Only one mixed-use center is proposed in the north part of the Township, this at the intersection of Mercer Boulevard and US-31. This currently underutilized property is intended to be planned and developed as a unit even though some amount of redevelopment will be required. Because of its setting along the Highway, and proximity to the City Golf Course, this area is intended to be developed as a Planned Unit Development (PUD) consisting of convenience retail to serve the needs of residents and visitors north of the River, offices, civic space, and residential uses, the latter at a density not to exceed twelve units per acre. This area is intended to be designed and developed in accordance with the Mixed-Use Development standards of Section 8.3 F. of the Zoning Ordinance.



Neighborhood Business Center Characteristics:

What we want to see in 20 years:

Underutilized for cabins, a campground, and limited commercial (garden store), sales lot

Provide basic convenience shopping needs and mixed-use.

Zoned commercial

Residents and tourists shop here.

No organization

Successful businesses owned by local residents.

Mostly open space and small buildings.

Small parking lots with limited visual impact.

Accessed by vehicle.

Walkable and connected via trails and walks, but accessible by automobile

Small two-story buildings with generous windows and facades near the street

Architecture as an element of the community identity.

What we don’t want to happen here in 20 years:

  •   Stand alone buildings that don’t relate to anything else
  •   Not safe to walk to.
  •   Commercial strip development.
  •   Large scale commercial businessoperations.
  •   Large dominating buildings and

parking lots.

Charlevoix Township Master Plan Page 28


This area is mostly already zoned commercial and contains a variety of commercial uses ranging from discount department stores to garden stores, automobile and boat sales and plumbing contractors. Many existing businesses are relatively large in size and are automobile dependent. There is no single tenant occupancy in this area that currently exceeds 90,000 square feet in floor area.

Because of their size; nature of operations; visibility from US-31 and M-66; potential impact on existing businesses; traffic generation; the need for adaptability for reuse; and the potential to be abandoned due to changing market conditions, thus creating blighting conditions; single tenant buildings or occupancies that have a footprint area exceeding 20,000 square feet, should be subject to the Township’s special use permit process. New retail buildings exceeding a footprint area of 50,000 square feet should be required to provide market and traffic impact studies and adaptive reuse plans in addition to the standards required for smaller occupancies. The reasons are to insure, through a special approvals process, that large buildings and occupancies are consistent in appearance and scale with the small town character of buildings in the Charlevoix area, that larger buildings are designed to be reused from the onset in case of abandonment, that the market can absorb the new floor area with minimum impact on existing businesses, and that there will be no unintended impacts on the community or the surrounding neighborhood.

A single tenant building is intended to be limited to a maximum footprint area of 90,000 square feet. Imposing extraordinary standards and requirements and limiting the size of single tenant occupancies, and therefore buildings, is necessary to protect the gateway appearance of Highway corridors, assure that they look like they fit the character of the community, and limit the possibility that large scale developments that have a greater than normal potential to be abandoned, do not become blighting influences on the community. Further, the employment of special use permit approvals and limitations on size are intended to make large buildings appear smaller and more adaptable to reuse in the future.

US–31, the Boyne City Road, and M-66 all serve as entrances and/or gateways to the Charlevoix Area. As such, they are the most vulnerable of locations because inappropriate commercial development typically destroys the visual small town character of a place. What people normally see as they pass through such areas are parking lots, traffic conflicts, formula architecture, sign “clutter”, and stand-alone uses that have no relationship to any other use or uses. These are the locations that people often remember most, not because they are physically and historically attractive, but because they are incongruent with the style and character of the larger community.

The intent is not to create a traditional downtown development pattern, but to regulate the location and appearance of buildings, parking, access, and landscaping in these critical transitional locations to make them consistent with the historical rural small town character of the Charlevoix Area. Here the height, scale, size, and style of buildings will be important as will the relationship of buildings to the street, parking areas, and buildings on adjacent sites. Also important will be the degree to which gateways are identified and protected to create a sense of arrival and recognition for the place being entered. Here, buildings are intended to be nearer the

Charlevoix Township Master Plan Page 29

road and have well defined and finished facades that face and are parallel to the Highway with generous window areas. Parking is discouraged in the front yard. In some instances, parking which consists of two rows with an aisle (totaling about 62 feet in length from the building) may be considered between the building and the right-of-way, if it is property landscaped and designed to minimize the visual impact from the Highway. Sidewalks are also intended to be provided within or near the right-of-way by developers to provide continuous access from one property to the next.

Uses intended to be accommodated include the broad range of business, commercial, retail, food service, tourist accommodations, commercial services, office, warehouse, and wholesale uses, but excluding manufacturing. PUD is encouraged for mixed-use developments wherever possible. PUDs may also allow residential and light manufacturing uses.



Commercial Business Center Characteristics:

What we want to see in 20 years:

Dominated by large-scale buildings that are out of character with the Charlevoix small town character.

Successful and attractive businesses that are consistent with the Charlevoix small town character.

Dominated by large parking lots.

Small and rather invisible parking lots and reduced pavement area.

Automobile dependent uses. No pedestrian access.

Connected uses that provide for alternative access.

Businesses are visible along US-31 and M- 66 and adversely effect adjacent businesses.

Access management and spacing along US- 31 and M-66 to improve safety and efficiency and connect from one business to the next.

Buildings with very large blank walls

The appearance of smaller buildings even when they are quite large.

Metal and block buildings

Buildings that reflect a small town character in terms of their size and scale.

Buildings having quality materials and facades.

What we don’t want to happen here in 20 years:

  •   Large buildings that are not consistent with the appearance of the community.
  •   Large and visually unappealing parking lots.
  •   Dominance of big-box structures along US-31 and M-66.
  •   Numerous driveways onto US-31 and M-66.
  •   Large vacant buildings for years on end.Charlevoix Township Master Plan Page 30


These are places where people work, consisting of manufacturing from previously prepared materials, testing and research laboratories, office, warehousing, wholesaling, and similar establishments. In some instances retail and services establishments may be complementary to the manufacturing operations. The intent of this classification is to provide an area where people can work; therefore it is important to provide diversified opportunities. Most of this area is already industrially used, therefore it is expected that this will be the main use in the future with some commercial/retail establishments. While places to work may be provided in the future on a portion of the Cemex property most such development will likely occur further south in Marion Township.



Business Park Characteristics:

What we want to see in 20 years:

Typically people who work in these areas live in the Township, City, or surrounding neighborhoods.

Typically people who work in these areas live in the Township, City, or surrounding neighborhoods.

Limited job opportunities with an over- dependence on service and tourism.

An increase in high quality businesses and plentiful job opportunities paying good wages.

Some land & buildings are under utilized.

Attractive work places that are in scale with the Charlevoix small town character.

Adjacent or close to US-31.

Adjacent or close to US-31.

This is a desired place to work.

What we don’t want to happen here in 20 years:

  •   Loss of jobs.
  •   Increasing dependence on touristemployment.
  •   Unappealing places to work
  •   Misuse of human resources.

Charlevoix Township Master Plan Page 31


There is only one such area in the Township, located on the shores of Lake Charlevoix at the end of Stover Road. It consists of a marina, boat launch, boat storage, boat repair, and boat and parts sales. This is the only segment of shoreline in the Township that is not required to provide a shoreline protection zone due to the nature of the use and the need for boat access. It is the intent of the plan to encourage the prudent use of the shoreline and protect the quality of Lake Charlevoix’s waters. This facility is valuable to the Charlevoix Area and it must continue to be compatible with surrounding uses.



Marine Service Center Characteristics:

What we want to see in 20 years:

Marina that allows boats to access Lake Charlevoix.

Marina that allows boats to access Lake Charlevoix.

Popular area for residents and tourists.

Popular area for residents and tourists.

What we don’t want to happen here in 20 years:

 Abandonment of the marina.
 Injury to water quality attributable

to fuel spills.
 Expansion to the south.

Charlevoix Township Master Plan Page 32


The airport is in the City of Charlevoix, but its influence will increasingly extend into the Township as changes in use occur on the surrounding cement quarry. The facility will not only stimulate airport related development, it will shape and influence development in its vicinity over time where ground hazards to air traffic will need to be minimized in the interests of flight safety. It is, therefore, important that surrounding land uses are compatible with aviation in terms of building height and use.



Transportation Center Characteristics:

What we want to see in 20 years:

Airport serves local and regional residents.

Airport serves local and regional residents.

Flight paths are compatible with existing quarrying operations

Flight paths are compatible with the reuse of quarry lands.

What we don’t want to happen here in 20 years:

 Relocation of the airport.
 Compromised safety where flight

paths and land use interface.

Charlevoix Township Master Plan Page 33


The backbone of the area’s economy is its lakes and streams, so protecting them is both good business and good environmental stewardship. Fortunately, much of the Lakeshore is already in public ownership but some of it will continue to be privately owned for generations to come.

As still vacant land develops along the Lake Michigan and Stover Creek shorelines, public ownership and access is intended to be assured. The intent is to provide nonmotorized public access for the entire shoreline from Fisherman’s Island to North point and to employ surface water management practices that will protect the quality of Lake Michigan’s waters. A minimum of a 100-foot buffer is intended on both sides of Stover Creek to protect it from storm water incursion and protect overhanging vegetation to insure its viability as a fishery. Wetlands connected to the Creek that extend beyond the required buffer are also intended to be protected as part of the buffer area.

Shoreline and water quality protection is necessary to protect the quality of surface waters and where practical and feasible, land should be acquired or protected for public use by purchase or the imposition of conservation easements. Since much of the region’s riparian lands are already occupied by homes, the intent is to protect lake and stream water quality and appearance by the employment of storm water Best Management Practices, the establishment of buffers, and the protection of natural views to and from the shoreline.

Many locations in northern Michigan have allowed development along their natural resource corridors that have negatively impacted the scenic views and the environment. Charlevoix Township has an opportunity to prevent this type of development and should work to keep this area free from development. These lands areas also act as natural dividers between land uses.



Natural Resource Corridor Characteristics:

What we want to see in 20 years:

Primarily open land area along Lake Michigan, Lake Charlevoix, Round Lake, and Stover Creek.

Primarily open land area along Lake Michigan, Lake Charlevoix, Round Lake, and Stover Creek. with improved public access

Visually appealing areas.

Visually appealing areas.

Sensitive environmental resources.

Sensitive and sustainable environmental resources

Main component of the Township’s identity.

Main component of the Township’s identity.

Provide natural separations between land uses.

Provide natural resource separations between land uses.

The Township being recognized for protecting this area.

Charlevoix Township Master Plan Page 34

What we don’t want to happen here in 20 years:

  •   Over development of natural resource corridors.
  •   Visual degradation.
  •   Loss of vegetation.
  •   Environment contamination.
  •   Pollution of the water resources.
  •   Degraded fisheries.

Charlevoix Township Master Plan Page 35


These are publicly owned lands including major parks, conservation open space, natural feature protection areas, buffer areas, and greenway connections with trails that connect to and throughout the Township and thus offer an alternative to the automobile. While most of this acreage is already in public ownership (State Park and the Northpoint Nature Preserve), linear greenways are intended to be established as integral parts of developments and as separators where land use changes occur. These are areas to bike, walk, hike, and play.

Some of these are parallel and adjacent to US-31 where the intent is to maintain the appearance of green roads rather than allow them to take on a purely commercial look. These are not intended to be publicly owned open spaces. They are intended to be generously landscaped areas and, where appropriate, existing vegetation preserved. They are intended to have larger setbacks to protect the rural roadside character and a trail that is continuous from one property to the next.



Public Open Space Characteristics:

What we want to see in 20 years:

Individual open spaces

Connected and integrated open space network

Visually appealing area.

Visually appealing area.

Sensitive environmental resources.

Sensitive and sustainable environmental resources

Some public ownership

Publicly owned lands.

Limited pedestrian accessibility.

Alternative nonmotorized accessibility

Commercial appearing roadsides

Green roadsides while accommodating development

What we don’t want to happen here in 20 years:

  •   Development inhibiting connectedness.
  •   Loss of valuable vegetation and natural features in highly visible locations.
  •   Total dependence on the automobile for transportation
  •   Commercial roadsides that are not in character with the Charlevoix area.Charlevoix Township Master Plan Page 36


These places are more than “structures,” they are service centers that should be thought of as landmarks and places that reflect Charlevoix’s character. They include the Hospital, the City and Belvedere Club Golf Courses, cemeteries, sewage treatment plant, water works, and Township Hall.



Public/Quasi Public Service Center Characteristics:

What we want to see in 20 years:

Services are adequate to serve the current population.

The ability to expand services as appropriate to satisfy future needs.

Structures are compatible with their surroundings.

Structures enhance and create identity for their surroundings.

People use these as social gathering spots.

People use these as social gathering spots.

Service sharing to optimize costs.

Service sharing to optimize costs.

What we don’t want to happen here in 20 years:

  •   No character in new structures.
  •   Structure appearance does not supportCharlevoix’s character and/or looklike they do not belong in the area.
  •   Duplicative services and facilities.
  •   Deficient services that result in more

costly solutions.

Charlevoix Township Master Plan Page 37


A significant percentage of the Township’s land is owned by Cemex and operated as a cement quarry. Located in Sections 28, 29, 32, and 33, the quarry is expected to continue to operate for 50 or more years, well beyond the life of this Land Use Plan. On the other hand, circumstances do change attributable to changed economic conditions, mergers and acquisitions, and obsolescence and this plan intends to reflect or accommodate change in the event that happens sooner than expected. Because of its large size and location on Lake Michigan, the reuse of the Cemex property will be unique and it has the potential to have a major impact on the community. While a compact pedestrian oriented development is desired, there will need to be assurances that nearby neighborhoods and the State Park are protected from development incursions and traffic impacts.

The interim use of the property is expected to be quarrying and any change in use is intended to be reviewed and approved as a Planned Unit Development. In the meantime, there are issues that need to be addressed to reduce the impact of the mining operation, mostly in the form of dust, on the surrounding community. It is the intent of the Township to annually review the present mining permit in accordance with the Mineral Resource District Ordinance (Ordinance No. 1.22, Chapter XIII (B)) to assure compliance for as long as the operation continues.

Sometime prior to cessation of mining operations, Cemex will submit a specific plan for the restoration and reuse of the property in a manner that is reflective of the best interests of the Township while having market viability. If that happens in the distant future, market conditions could have changed significantly but in the short term, it is the Township’s intent to encourage the establishment of a self-contained compact village with a lake or marina as its focus, a village center, generous parkland and pedestrian linkages including public access along the entire perimeter of the Lake Michigan shoreline, and a variety of complementary and supportive uses including housing. A great deal of flexibility is intended to be allowed provided the existing developments that border the site are protected from new development to the maximum degree possible, especially Boulder Park and the State Park where buffer yards will be needed.

The area in Section 32 is intended to be reused as a Mixed Residential Neighborhood; however, consideration should be given to possible land trades with the State Park Department to optimally define the park boundary to conform to nature’s patterns like creek corridors. Land immediately north of Bells Bay Road and near the airport in Section 33 may be used for business park development while that in Sections 28 and 29 would accommodate the lake/marina, Village Center, and associated uses. Some limitations on uses at the end of the airport runway will be needed to assure flight path safety. Generally, the area north of Bells Bay Road should be designed for smaller buildings in the vernacular of the new urbanism. It should be pedestrian friendly and transit accessible to minimize the automobile trip generation. Maximum development intensity or density will have to be determined on the basis of performance and its impact on the surrounding community, particularly traffic, storm water management, etc.

Charlevoix Township Master Plan Page 38

The greatest problem to be solved will be traffic, how to connect the “Village” to the City, literally as an extension of the City, and still not inundate existing residential streets with traffic. One or more accesses will be needed to US-31 and limited connections will be needed to the City grid to the east.



Temporary Mining –Future Reuse Characteristics:

What we want to see in 20 years:

Active mines and quarries.

Continued mining.

Closed mines.

Restored landmasses with other uses.

Employment area.

Employment area.

Is one of the largest areas in the Township.

Not a major land area in the Township.

Not the most environmentally use of the land.

More environmental friendly.

Not visible from the highway.

Not visible from the highway.

What we don’t want to happen here in 20 years:

 Environmental degradation of the areas.

 Abandoned mines on the landscape.  Contaminated areas.

Charlevoix Township Master Plan Page 39


Roads and highways are intended to support land use, not dominate it. They can have a huge visual and functional impact on the community unless they are designed to “fit” the place. A wider highway will be necessary only to satisfy turning movements into businesses like is happening in the four lane City highway segments. It will not be needed to get people through the community because the “bridge” already restricts through traffic capacity.

It is therefore the intent of the Township to keep all roads and highways as narrow as practical, consistent with land use, and to get the greatest efficiency from the system by influencing designs that strive for appropriate crossections, improved intersection capacity, adequately spaced accesses, and alternative accesses that keep the highway from having to function as part of businesses parking and maneuvering areas.



Roads and Streets Characteristics:

What we want to see in 20 years:

“One size fits all” mentality for road and highway designs.

Road and highway designs tailored to the neighborhood and adjoining land use needs (context sensitive design).

Auto as the dominant way to travel.

Less dependence on the auto due to the availability of walking and biking trails and public transit.

Not all roads and highways provide for safe travel due to many access/conflict points.

All highways provide for safe travel

Many roads are not visually pleasing.

Majority of the roads are tree-lined and landscaped, making them more visually pleasing.

Relatively narrow roads

Efficient yet narrow roads with enhanced intersection capacity.

What we don’t want to happen here in 20 years:

  •   Roads and highways that have widths that are inconsistent with their surroundings.
  •   Total dependence on the automobile for travel.
  •   Loss of small town character attributable to excessive widening of roads and highways.
  •   Creation of barriers to pedestrian access by excessively widening roads and highways.Charlevoix Township Master Plan Page 40


Special land uses have characteristics that have a far greater potential adverse impact on adjacent properties and on the community as a whole than others. Some special land uses need to be restricted as to location because they have characteristics that are not always compatible with other uses permitted in the district. Still others need to be restricted in size because they may be too large and out of character with the community, increasing the possibility that existing land uses will be adversely affected. In either case, greater scrutiny of plans is needed at the time of development and monitoring is needed throughout the life of the project to minimize the potentially adverse effects of special land uses on the community and the surrounding neighborhood by requiring a complete evaluation of all potential impacts and their magnitude, and establishing conditions that will assure compatibility.

It is the intent of the Township to insure a high standard of land use compatibility by imposing strict site development and locational standards on sexually oriented businesses, telecommunications towers, wind energy conversion systems (WECS), mining operations, solid waste transfer stations, retail buildings that exceed a footprint area of 20,000 square feet, and other similar uses. Specifically, it is the intent of the Township to:

  • Limit sexually oriented businesses to commercial locations that are not in close proximity to homes, churches, schools or other places where children live, play, worship, or attend school.
  • Allow telecommunications antennas anywhere in the Township, but strictly limit towers as to type, size, design, and location so they will have the least visual impact on the community and not interfere with aviation.
  • Limit WECS in size, design, intensity, and location so they will have the least visual impact on the community and not interfere with aviation.
  • Preclude new sand and gravel operations in the Township except as required to prepare a site for development.
  • Control the view, location, and operating characteristics of solid waste transfer stations.
  • Limit the floor area of new single tenant occupancy retail buildings to be in scale and appearance with the area’s small town character unless the Township is assured that the effective size of the development is visually reduced by the application of established design standards for building placement, architecture, lighting, landscaping, access, and parking and loading. It is intended to limit the sum of the floor area of a single tenant

occupancy to a footprint area of not more than 90,000 square feet.



Use Characteristics:

What we want to see in 20 years:

Telecommunication towers, sexually oriented businesses, wind energy conversion systems, mining operations, and retail buildings exceeding a footprint area of 20,000 square feet are relatively few in number and currently have little visual and sociological impact on the community

In spite of having more of them, special land uses fit into the fabric and character of the community and are neither visually nor sociologically obtrusive

Charlevoix Township Master Plan Page 41



Some of these uses have no standards and are not supported by public policy

All of these uses have site-specific standards and appropriate policy support

Usually experience public opposition

Extraordinary standards are accepted by the public

Site-specific standards are current and legal

Site-specific standards are current and legal

What we don’t want to happen here in 20 years:

  •   Offensive uses in or near places where people live and children congregate such as neighborhoods and schools.
  •   Adverse impacts on property values.
  •   Visually obtrusive uses that dominatethe landscape.
  •   Large buildings that appear to be outof character with the community

Charlevoix Township Master Plan Page 42


The transportation plan consists of two principal arterial roads (US-31 and M-66), two minor arterial roads (Marion Center and Boyne City Roads), and collector and local streets. Access management is a major component of this plan.


US-31 and M-66 are both classified as Principal Arterial Roads under the National Functional Classification System. Their primary function is to carry relatively high volumes of traffic, medium to long distances, to and through the Township. The intent of the plan is to allow a relatively few well spaced direct land access, primarily at road intersections and shared commercial driveways, to give preference to alternative accesses wherever possible, to signalize intersections with other arterial roads, and to have no on-street parking. Arterials are primarily intended to carry through traffic, not to provide direct access to individual homes and businesses. Limiting the number and type of direct accesses will provide for less conflict and safer travel if the road width remains as narrow as possible (two moving lanes), except at intersections and driveways where turning lanes may be warranted to facilitate traffic safety and efficiency. Access management is especially needed throughout all segments of US-31 and M-66 in Charlevoix Township to maintain the efficiency and safety of the road.

Marion Center and Boyne City Roads are classified as minor arterials, the function of which is to carry medium volumes of traffic medium distances to and through the Township. Marion Center Road is not a commercial road and therefore does not require the application of access management standards except at its intersection with US-31 where intersection corner clearance standards apply. Boyne City Road is intended to satisfy access management requirements. These roads are intended to be two lanes wide with turning lanes at street intersections and shared driveways.

Collector Streets

Collector streets such as Mercer (south of Waller), Waller, McSauba (south of Waller) and Bells Bay are intended to carry moderate volumes of traffic relatively short distances, collecting traffic from local streets and distributing it to other collectors and arterials. These are intended to be built to a standard that is capable of carrying moderate volumes of traffic with paved surfaces and ditches for drainage. Collector streets are intended to be two lanes wide. Turning lanes may

Charlevoix Township Master Plan Page 43

be warranted at some intersections and driveways. Wherever possible direct access to collectors should be limited to roads and shared driveways. Design practices and features are encouraged that slow traffic to 30 miles per hour or less. All collectors are intended to be public streets and have a minimum surface width of 24 feet.

Additional collector streets and perhaps one minor arterial road may be required to service the Cemex property, allowing for limited connections to the street system to the east and one or two connections to US-31 to the south. These roads are too far into the future to determine where they will need to be located.

Local Streets

Local streets are primarily intended to carry neighborhood traffic short distances to and from homes and businesses and collector streets. These are intended to be either public or private streets with two moving traffic lanes, paved surfaces, a minimum surface width of 20 feet where on-street parking is not allowed, and a minimum of 40 feet of right-of-way. The minimum width for local streets with parking on both sides is intended to be 26 feet, allowing for a “Yield” traffic flow where cars must weave to avoid parked cars when opposing traffic is present. Street design is encouraged that slows traffic to less than 30 miles per hour, employing traffic calming measures.


Nonmotorized trails are an important part of the transportation plan so they must be accounted for now to prepare for staged improvements that may correlate with future road improvements and new developments. Major trails (minimum of ten (10) feet in width) are intended to be constructed within the US-31, M-66, and Boyne City Road rights-of-way, when these roads are upgraded, to provide necessary linkages in the Traverse City to Mackinac Trail and the circular Lake Charlevoix Trail. Minor trails are intended to be integral parts of all of the mixed- residential neighborhood developments and the future mixed-use village that is intended for the Cemex property. These developments are intended to be walkable communities that give priority to trails and sidewalks as both transportation and leisure facilities while still accommodating the automobile.

Charlevoix Township Master Plan Page 44


Sanitary Sewer Service

The City of Charlevoix owns and operates the municipal wastewater treatment plant and provides service to some areas of the Township via agreements between the Township and City. The City owns, operates, and maintains the collection system in areas of the Township that are serviced by the City. Since it would be virtually impossible, from a regulatory standpoint, to build a second treatment plant, the continuation of a strong and mutually beneficial relationship with the City is essential to health and welfare of the entire region.

During the Smart Growth Planning Initiative completed in 2004 for the City of Charlevoix and Charlevoix, Hayes, Eveline, Marion, and Norway Townships, an Urban Service Area (USA) was defined that embraces portions of Marion and Hayes Townships. This area is intended to be serviced by both public sewer and water over the next 20 years to accommodate urban densities. The intent of that plan is to limit urban densities and services to the USA and discourage any and all extensions beyond that would foster urban sprawl. The City will be the likely provider of such services in the future, but a regional sewer authority may also be considered by the affected Townships if it would facilitate cooperation.

The Master Plan calls for all areas of the Township to be serviced by public sanitary sewers in the future. In fact, it intends that the entire Township be developed at urban densities. Furthermore, there will be an increasing need to extend sanitary sewer service to areas where: there are problems with existing septic systems, development density and types of uses warrant public sewers, site conditions limit the performance of septic systems, and it is feasible to construct sewers due to increasing land values. Areas identified by the Township Sewer Master Plan as priorities are: 1) US-31 South, 2) Boulder Park, 3) North Point, and 4) Old US-31. Areas designated for further study are the US-31 North Commercial Area, Homeland and Beachwood Subdivisions, and the Birchwood Ranch Homes.

Smart Growth Planning Initiative

The recently completed multi-jurisdictional Smart Growth Planning Initiative Plan agrees with the Township Master Plan in virtually every respect. Areas where extraordinary cooperation will be required by Charlevoix Township and its neighbors include the preservation of rural roadside character, trails, gateways/roadside restoration areas (most of which are located in the Township), and urban service extensions.

Charlevoix Township Master Plan Page 45

Zoning Ordinance Revisions

The Township has a modern and up to date Zoning Ordinance that was adopted in November 2002. Further revisions are in progress including a “Big Box” ordinance that is intended to limit the size of the large retail stores. Other amendments that are needed include a US-31 and M-66 overlay ordinance that establishes design guidelines for developments within these corridors to enhance the appearance and quality of development. Subdivision/condominium subdivision, private road, and nuisance ordinances are also needed, the latter two of, which could be developed as police power ordinances rather than zoning amendments.

Annexation As An Economic Development Tool

Traditional annexation is not likely to take place without an agreement between the Township and City, though a negotiated annexation may have application at some time in the future. An alternative approach would be the use of what is termed contract annexation under Public Act 425 of 1984, which would allow the conditional transfer of property from the Township to the City for up to 50 years for the purpose of economic development. Further, it would allow the City to provide public services to an economic development project that would benefit the region while allowing the Township and City to share the property taxes generated by the project. This tool may be of significant value in the future to attract a large employer or new tax base.

Intergovernmental Cooperation As A Way To Survive

The future of state revenue sharing is uncertain at best. In fact, municipalities are advised to assume that that source of revenue may disappear altogether given the desire of the present legislature to want to restructure government at all levels an make the public less dependent on government in the future. This will result in the need to think about and implement new relationships with governmental entities to make local governance as efficient as possible. Consideration should be given to the consolidation of governments, joint planning initiatives, cooperative grant applications, and a whole variety of new structures and relationships that will allow for governmental viability and the channeling of limited resources the areas that are the most in need of them.

Capital Improvements Program To Allocate Limited Resources

Five-year capital improvements programs (CIPs) will be increasingly necessary for all units of government as revenues decline. Capital improvements will no longer be able to be done in a shotgun fashion as in the past. Only the highest priorities will be able to be funded so plans for large expenditures (those exceeding $20,000) will need to be programmed and sources of revenue identified based on need. Generally, Townships do not have comprehensive CIPs, which include, road, park, fire equipment, utility and similar improvements. The Township should prepare a CIP that includes all capital needs over the next five years, assesses the costs of those improvements, prioritizes their implementation, and demonstrates how and where funds will be found to make the improvements. The CIP should be updated every year.

Charlevoix Township Master Plan Page 46


PAGE CHAPTER 1 – PURPOSE AND AUTHORITY TO PLAN ……………………………………………1 CHAPTER 2 – DEFINING CHARACTERISTICS ……………………………………………………….3 CHAPTER 3 – DEMOGRAPHICS ………………………………………………………………………………6 CHAPTER 4 – TOWNSHIP GOALS………………………………………………………………………….14 CHAPTER 5 – GUIDING PRINCIPLES…………………………………………………………………….16 CHAPTER 6 – FUTURE LAND USE PLAN ………………………………………………………………21 CHAPTER 7 – TRANSPORTATION PLAN ………………………………………………………………43 CHAPTER 8 – IMPLEMENTATION PLAN………………………………………………………………45


December 2005

Prepared for: Charlevoix Township 12491 Waller Road Charlevoix, MI 49720

Prepared by:
Gosling Czubak Engineering Sciences, Inc. 1280 Business Park Drive Traverse City, MI 49686

Start typing and press Enter to search

The April 21st meeting of the Planning Commission has been canceled.
The boil water advisory has been lifted