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20 Zoning FAQs


What is zoning and why do we need it?
Zoning is the public regulation of land use, its primary purpose being to safeguard the public health, safety, and welfare. Regulations of land use through zoning is needed to ensure the compatibility of land uses, to protect natural resources, and to protect property values.
Why do I need a zoning permit and a building permit, aren't they the same thing?
Zoning permits and building permits are not the same thing. Both are required for most projects; however, some zoning activities do not require building permits and some building activities do not require zoning permits. A simplistic clarification of the difference is Zoning regulates where things are built, and Building Codes regulate how things are built.
Do I get a zoning permit and a building permit from the same office?
No, in Evangeline Township, zoning permits are administered at the township level through the office of Planning & Zoning within the City Hall building located at 319 N. Lake St., Boyne City. Building permits are administered at the county level through the Charlevoix County Department of Building Safety located at 301 State St., Suite #5, in Charlevoix.
How do I get a zoning permit?
Zoning permits are obtained by submitting a completed application form, along with the required documentation for your project, to the zoning office. Applications are available on our website,, in person from the Planning Department staff at the City Hall offices in the City of Boyne City, or via email request sent to, and may be submitted to the zoning office in person or by postal service.
How long does it take to get a zoning permit?
For projects that do not require special approval from the Planning Commission, the target turnaround time for permit issuance is within one (1) week or less of receipt of a completed application for which the required permit fee has been paid. For projects which require special approval from the Planning Commission, target turnaround is within a month if the completed application and all required documentation is received at least two (2) weeks before a regularly scheduled monthly PC meeting, which occurs the 3rd Tuesday every month.
Will I need a zoning permit to remodel or update my current home?
Yes, if any of the planned updates or remodel changes result in either an increase to the footprint area or height of the existing structure. If none of the exterior dimensions of the existing structure will change, then no zoning permit is required, however, building permits may be required. Contact the Charlevoix County Department of Building Safety for inquiries. 
Do I need a zoning permit for a shed?
Yes, if the shed is 200 sq. ft. or larger; or 100 sq. ft. or larger and located on a waterfront lot within 100-feet of any lake, river, or stream. A shed less than 200 sq. ft. that is not located within 100-feet of a lake, river, or stream does not require a zoning permit.
Is there a limit on how many accessory buildings (garages, barns, sheds, carports, etc.) I can have on my parcel and are there any size restrictions?
Yes, in all districts except the Rural Residential/Farm Forest, accessory buildings are limited to only one per parcel and must be accompanied by a primary dwelling on the same lot. In addition to the one accessory building allowed per parcel, a single shed less than 200 sq. ft. is allowed on the same lot. Accessory buildings cannot be larger than the primary dwelling.
Can I build a garage or storage barn on my vacant parcel before I build a house?
No, a primary dwelling must be constructed in conjunction with or already present on the same lot or parcel before an accessory building can be permitted.
Is there a minimum size requirement for homes, if so, what is it?
No, in Evangeline Township there is no minimum required home size. Contact the Charlevoix County Department of Building Safety for building code requirements regarding any minimum floor area requirements for the county. 
Is there a maximum home size, if so, what is it?
Primary dwellings do not have a maximum home size in Evangeline Township. However, there are limits to how much of a lot or parcel can be covered by ‘impervious surfaces’ which varies depending on the zoning district. Please see Section 5.11 Schedule of Regulations in the Evangeline Township Zoning Ordinance (ETZO) for specific details.

Note: Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) do have a maximum floor area size limitation of 800 sq. ft. in every district where ADUs are allowed, except Rural Residential/Farm Forest (RRF). In the RRF district ADUs may be larger than 800 sq. ft. in area.
Do I need a zoning permit for a fence and can I put a fence anywhere I want on my parcel?
Yes, a zoning permit is required prior to erecting a fence. No, it cannot be placed just anywhere on the parcel as there are setback requirements and height restrictions. Please click here for more FENCE FACTS and consult Section 3.18 Fencing and Screening, of the ETZO for more info.
Are there any special rules for waterfront lots or parcels, if so where can I find them?
Yes, there are regulations specific to waterfront lots, also called riparian lands, and if you own waterfront property you should contact the zoning office prior to making any land development plans. See Waterfront Development for more info.
Are there any special rules for lots or parcels with steep slopes, or for new construction on ridgelines?
Yes, there are regulations specific to new construction on both steep slopes and ridgelines. You should contact the zoning office prior to making any land development plans. See Environmentally Sensitive Areas for more information.
Do I need a zoning permit to cut down trees on my property?
In most cases, a zoning permit is not required to cut down trees, however, there are some restrictions regarding tree removal within certain environmentally sensitive areas and you should contact the zoning office prior to removing any trees from your property. Click this link ‘environmentally sensitive areas’ for additional information regarding tree removal in those areas.
What types of projects would require a special approval from the Planning Commission?
All projects located on a waterfront lot or parcel, including new construction on a previously vacant lot or the expansion of an existing structure, require special approval from the PC, as well as, all of the following types of projects:

  1. Change of use for an existing structure or lot
  2. Any use requiring a ‘special use permit’ (also commonly called a ‘conditional use’)
  3. Any construction on Steep Slopes
  4. Any use requiring off-street parking for five (5) or more vehicles
  5. Any Condominium land developments
  6. All lot reconfigurations 
What is the fee for a zoning permit? What is the fee for a special approval from the PC?
Zoning permits range between $75 to $175 depending on the development project; a standard zoning permit for a new residential use such as a single or two-family dwelling is $125; and for new accessory buildings or for additions of 200 sq. ft. or more to existing structures the fee is $75. For special approval from the PC, the application fee is $250. For a complete listing of Zoning Fees, click the link.
What if my request for a zoning permit is denied?
If your request was denied, you will receive a written notice of denial which includes both a reason for the denial and the avenue through which you may appeal the decision. If you feel your circumstances warrant special consideration to allow your requested project, you may apply for a zoning variance with the Zoning Board of Appeals. For additional information, see Section 9.05 & 9.07 Application Requirements & Variances, of the ETZO
What if I fail to obtain a zoning permit for a project that required one?
In most cases, this will be noticed when you apply for the required building permit and the county will refer you back to the township to obtain a zoning permit before they will issue their building permit. For cases where a building permit is not required but for which a zoning permit is required, if you fail to obtain one prior to commencing the project, you would be in violation of Section 10.02 Zoning Permit, of the ETZO, and the township will pursue enforcement actions which may include issuing a municipal civil infraction with fines up to $500 for each day the violation continues. See Section 10.07 & 10.09 , of the ETZO, regarding Violations (Nuisance per se) and Penalties.
Who do I contact if I have additional questions not covered by the frequently asked questions (FAQ)?
The Evangeline Township Zoning Administrator is happy to assist you with any zoning related questions or requests for additional information regarding the answers provided here or for topics not covered here.
Email: or call 231-582-0337.