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Waterfront Development

Parcels with Lake frontage have special regulations which may not generally apply to non-waterfront parcels.

On Waterfront parcels, all new uses, including single-family and two-family dwellings, any renovation or expansion of an existing use, including single-family and two-family dwellings, require a special approval with Site Plan Review by the Planning Commission.

Waterfront parcels which do not already have an Ordinance compliant Natural Vegetation Waterfront Buffer Strip (Section 3.06) must install one as a component of the Site Plan Review process for any project which requires a zoning permit. This means that if there is currently a lawn area filling the entirety of the space between an existing dwelling and the shoreline, it will need to be reduced by the amount needed to fit in the required Natural Vegetation Waterfront Buffer Strip. 

Any construction or destruction activity, including tree or vegetation removal, taking place within 25 feet (or 50 feet if located on a Shoreline Steep Slope Area) of the shoreline, needs to be approved by the zoning official prior to commencement of activity.

The Natural Vegetation Waterfront Buffer Strip must contain a minimum of 10 trees (which at maturity shall obtain a minimum height of 50 feet) for every 100 feet of lake frontage. Interplanted with the minimum number of trees required shall be a mixture of native species, low-growing woody shrubs that will provide complete coverage of the ground within the buffer strip. The only developments allowed to be located within the buffer strip are the following:

  • An EGLE approved and permitted shoreline protection structure, when demonstrated that it is necessary to halt an existing erosion problem or to prevent future erosion.
  • A single waterfront viewing platform a maximum of 120 square feet in area, which shall be constructed at ground level and of materials that allow for the infiltration of water.
  • One seasonal dock, the length of which shall not exceed 150 ft. or that which is necessary to extend out to a water depth of 4 ft., whichever is greater.
  • A single path, a maximum of 6 ft. wide, through the Natural Vegetation Waterfront Buffer Strip to the water.
Fences and hedgerows are prohibited within the Natural Vegetation Waterfront Buffer Strip.

All new construction on waterfront parcels must maintain a minimum setback distance of 50-feet landward of the documented ‘High-Water Level Elevation’, defined as follows:

  • Lake Charlevoix – the highest water level elevation for Lake Michigan/Huron as recorded by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (currently 582.35’ International Great Lakes Datum [IGLD] recorded in October 1986), plus one (1) foot.
  • Walloon Lake – the elevation of the outlet dam or as set by the courts, plus one-half (1/2) foot.
  • For all other lakes and streams within Evangeline Township – the 100-year flood plain elevation plus one-half (1/2) foot.

The waterfront setback shall be increased from the standard 50-feet landward of the documented ‘High-Water Level Elevation’ to a minimum of 100-feet for areas identified on the Evangeline Township Shoreline Steep Slopes map in Section 3.07 of the Evangeline Township Zoning Ordinance.

Note: All High-Water Level Elevations shall be measured from that point upland from the body of water where the natural grade first exceeds the High-Water Level Elevation, unless a Shoreline Protection Structure, as defined, is present, in which case the Shoreline Protection Structure shall serve as the High-Water Level Elevation.

  • Shoreline Protection Structure – A structure, designed and constructed to protect shorelines from water erosion, which meet design standards such as illustrated below. The top of all shoreline protection structures shall be at or above the high-water level elevation as defined.
Coir Log   SLP-Toe  SLP-Armor

Connect to Helpful Resources for Land Development on Waterfront Lots; CLICK HERE