Residential Building News

Northern Michigan Custom Home Design Ideas

Before you can begin construction of your new lake house, you must apply for a building permit. The requirements for the building permit include submitting a site plan and having a land use permit. Both of which require complying with local zoning ordinances.

It is important to understand that zoning ordinances vary by each township, and their interpretation can be difficult. This is why it is essential to thoroughly research the ordinances and anticipate how they may apply to your situation. Also, note that zoning may apply differently to existing structures versus new construction.

Building a waterfront or lakeshore home means paying particular attention to specific zoning rules governing bodies of water, streams, and wetlands. This is important to understand before applying for site plan and building permits. Lakeshore Custom Homes has years of experience and we can guide you through this process and help you avoid costly mistakes.

Why Zoning?

Zoning ordinances are intended to regulate land use for the greater good of the community.

Local zoning ordinances define what use is allowable. Zoning laws also help assure that homes will be built in compliance with the Michigan State Construction Code and the Department of Public Health.

Zoning defines what uses are approved and describes non-buildable areas and non-conforming uses.

Understanding the zoning for a parcel of land is essential, especially before purchasing the land, so your intended use doesn’t conflict with the ordinance. Of course, you can petition for a variance, but that can be challenging.

Examples of zoning that affects building a Lakehouse

  • Setbacks are common requirements for all new home construction, but bodies of water create special rules that must be factored into your site design.
  • Townships, such as Frankfort, Empire, Leland, or Suttons Bay for example, with Lake Michigan frontage will also define the Waterfront Setback Datum.
  • Zoning ordinances usually regulate boat houses. For example, Glen Arbor township restricts the number of stories and height of boathouses but makes no setback restrictions regarding shorelines.
  • Docks, shoreline retaining walls, and dredging also fall under zoning ordinances.
  • Lake Access easement is another consideration when planning to build a lakefront home. Most townships outline flood insurance requirements.
  • Lot coverage, or the amount of area that your home will occupy, is another definition that you need to be mindful of when planning your new home and any other structures. Sometimes lots, especially smaller ones, may not accommodate the floorplan that you have in mind.
  • Of special note to building in Northern Michigan are the Michigan Wetlands Protection Act, the Shorelands Protection and Management Act, and the Michigan Sand Dunes Protection and Management Act. We are well versed in complying with each of these and can advise you if your property is affected by these laws.

Lakeshore Custom Homes pays attention to all the details that make for an extraordinary home. Our attention to these details helps make your home-building experience less stressful and more enjoyable.

Please view our portfolio to see examples of some of the finest homes in Northern Michigan.

Are you ready to make your dream home a reality?
Contact us today
to make an appointment to discuss your home building plans. We’ll be with you every step of the way to guide you to the perfect home.

Northern Michigan Custom Home Design Ideas

Must Have Design Features for Your Northern Michigan Custom Home

(Updated 12/15/2022) Planning and designing your new custom home should include features and details that will make your home more livable as well as an extension of your personal style. The planning stage is the ….

Read Full Article

New Custom Home in Traverse City

Building an Energy Efficient Custom Home

(Updated 12/15/22) When planning your Northern Michigan custom home, energy efficiency is a special consideration, especially with the harsh winters we often experience. One of the best things about building a new custom home is ….

Read Full Article

Moisture Control for Your Northern Michigan Custom Home

Moisture Control for Your Northern Michigan Custom Home

Moisture control is one of the most critical concerns when building a quality custom home. Northern Michigan’s climate has abundant rain and snow that must be managed to maintain a dry and healthy home. Excess ….

Read Full Article

Northern Michigan Smart Homes

Northern Michigan Smart Homes

When planning a custom home in Northern Michigan, regardless if it is your primary residence, seasonal, or a weekend “up North” getaway retreat, Smart Homes or Home Automation can make your life a bit easier, ….

Read Full Article

Lakeshore Custom Homes - Clean Up

Keeping it Clean – New Construction House Cleaning

COVID-19 Update We continue taking precautions to keep our employees and homeowners safe. We are following the guidelines set by the CDC and MIOSHA, during this global pandemic. In addition, we are continuing to build ….

Read Full Article

Choosing Siding For Your Custom Home

Choosing Siding For Your Custom Home

Siding is also one of the first things you notice about a home; it can and should be beautiful! Choosing siding for your new home offers you many choices in materials, textures, and colors. The ….

Read Full Article

Windows For Your Custom Home

Choosing Windows For Your Custom Home

One of the most important decisions when designing your custom home is choosing windows. Windows play a critical role since they have such a large impact on your home. Windows provide both aesthetic beauty and ….

Read Full Article

Peterson Beach, Frankfort, Michigan

Shoreline Erosion Control

If you own a lake house, you are most likely well aware of  rising water levels in Michigan and the Great Lakes has been in the news as record high levels have caused beaches to ….

Read Full Article