Certain agricultural buildings are exempt from state requirements to obtain building permits before their construction. The state construction code, not the Michigan Right to Farm Act, provides farmers this limited exemption.
Highlighted here are answers to the most commonly asked questions about building permit exemptions for agricultural buildings.
Yes. The Michigan Construction Code Act [technically, the Stille-Derossett-Hale Single State Construction Code Act] MCL 125.1501, et seq, exempts certain agricultural buildings from its scope by the definition of the term "building." Specifically, MCL 125.1502(a)(1)(f) provides:
(g) "Building" means a combination of materials, whether portable or fixed, forming a structure affording a facility or shelter for use or occupancy by persons, animals, or property. Building does not include a building, whether temporary or permanent, incidental to the use for agricultural purposes of the land on which the building is located if it is not used in the business of retail trade. Building includes the meaning "or part or parts of the building and all equipment in the building" unless the context clearly requires a different meaning.
“Structure” means that which is built or constructed, an edifice or building of
any kind, or a piece of work artificially built up or composed of parts joined
together in some definite manner. Structure does not include a structure
incident to the use for agricultural purposes of the land on which the
structure is located and does not include works of heavy civil construction
including, but not limited to, a highway, bridge, dam, reservoir, lock, harbor,
dockside port facility, an airport landing facility and facilities for the
generation, transmission, or destruction of electricity. Structure includes a
part of parts of the structure and all equipment in the structure unless the
context clearly requires a different meaning.
The definition of "agricultural or agricultural purposes" is contained in MCL 125.1502(a)(1)(a).
(a) "Agricultural or agricultural purposes" means of, or pertaining to, or connected with, or engaged in agriculture or tillage which is characterized by the act or business of cultivating or using land and soil for the production of crops for the use of animals or humans and includes, but is not limited to, purposes related to agriculture, farming, dairying, pasturage, horticulture, floriculture, viticulture, and animal and poultry husbandry.
No. The act specifically exempts agricultural buildings from the requirement that an owner apply for and obtain a building permit. This exception is provided in MCL 125.1510(8):
A building permit is not required for a building incidental to the use for agricultural purposes of the land on which the building is located if the building is not used in the business of retail trade.
Yes and no. Pursuant to MCL 125.1510(9), a "qualifying roadside stand" is exempt from the plumbing fixture requirements of the act and the code and is not required to have electric power. If the roadside stand does have electric power, however, it must comply with the electrical code. A qualifying roadside stand is not exempt from obtaining a building permit.
A "qualifying roadside stand" means a roadside stand that meets all of the following requirements:
Yes. MCL 125.1510 (10) exempts a tent that meets the following requirements:
This issue is not entirely resolved. The definition of "farm" in the Michigan Right-to-Farm Act at MCL 286.472(a) says: "Farm" means the land, plants, animals, buildings, structures, including ponds used for agricultural or aquacultural activities, machinery, equipment, and other appurtenances used in the commercial production of farm products.
Section 3 of the Right-to-Farm Act says that a farm or a farm operation shall not be found to be a public or private nuisance if the farm or farm operation alleged to be a nuisance conforms to generally accepted agricultural and management practices. Section 4(6) of the Right-to-Farm Act preempts any local ordinance that purports to extend or revise the provisions of Right-to-Farm or generally accepted agricultural or management practices (GAAMPs).
The location of certain livestock facilities is addressed in a "Site SelectionGAAMP", which sets standards for the siting of new or expanding livestock operations. This "protection" for the location of livestock production facilities in the site selection GAAMP is limited. The GAAMP provides:
New livestock production facilities shall not be constructed within 1500 feet of areas zoned for residential use where agriculture uses are excluded. Existing livestock production facilities may be expanded within 1,500 feet of areas zoned for residential use with approval from the local unit of government.