Local land use planning in Michigan is essential for the long-term viability of all communities and we must all work together to plan the proper utilization of the land for the long-term.
Michigan Farm Bureau supports the following areas of land use planning and development approval process in Michigan:
When land is divided, local governments should consider alternatives to minimize the adverse impacts to farms within one mile. We oppose rezoning agricultural zones if the use has not changed and the landowners have not requested the zoning change.
We strongly recommend that when agricultural land is within a governmental unit, a representative of production agriculture be appointed to the planning commissions and zoning boards. We urge members to become actively involved in land use planning and zoning.
Agricultural interests are represented by members of many councils, commissions and boards created by government, state legislators, and MDARD. Individuals appointed to these positions should be, or have been, directly involved in the agriculture industry.
Legislation should be enacted to prevent farmland from being annexed to a municipality without a vote of the people in the affected area. Upon approval of the people in the affected area, an annexation proposal should then be approved by the township by a vote of the people. We further support requiring consent of landowners regarding annexation proposals. Changing the use of property must consider and protect the rights of private property owners. Property enrolled in a farmland preservation program must have the concurrent approval to annexation or public use of the contracted parties, including land owners.
We support the development and uniformity of Geographic Information Systems and encourage use by local units of government in land use planning.
We recommend MFB assist county Farm Bureaus with model zoning ordinances pertaining to agriculture. We recommend legislation and zoning that will enable the production of energy on farms, including the sale or use of the generated electricity. Specific zoning for the production of alternative energy should include adoption of the state siting guidelines, taking into account sound science. MFB should support legislation that pre-empts local height restrictions.
Any plan to address land uses in Michigan must consider and protect the rights of private property owners.
We believe when the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) proposes public land use changes, it is imperative that those impacted are involved in the decision-making process. We oppose limitations being placed on State lands for recreational purposes unless there is sound scientific justification or when funding restrictions exist. If limitations are proposed, then justification should be in writing and public hearings conducted.
We encourage the DNR to continue and expand the bidding, renting, and/or sale of State land for agricultural use. Restrictions on leases of State-owned agricultural land should not exceed the Generally Accepted Agricultural and Management Practices.
Further, agricultural acreage should not be classified as a non-conforming use if zoning for the area is changed at a time when the land is enrolled in a federal set-aside program, a federal conservation program, a Wetland Reserve Program, or left fallow as part of a cropping rotation.