Skip to main content
Michigan Farm Bureau Family of Companies

Land Use #81

Local land use planning in Michigan is essential for the long-term viability of all communities. We must all work together to plan the proper utilization of land for the long-term. Any plan to address land uses in Michigan must consider and protect the rights of private property owners.

We support:

  • Requiring agriculture to be included in community master plans, county economic development plans and all aspects of local planning and zoning.

  • Regional cooperation between municipalities, counties and townships.

  • Requiring the county road commission and drain/water resources commission to collaborate with the county planning commission when developing the county’s master plan and setting long-term plans.

  • Intra-jurisdictional coordination between all public entities in a community, including fire districts, emergency medical services, water and sewer authorities, school district, solid waste management.

  • Encouraging the use of current infrastructure.

  • Transportation development projects incorporating local land use planning and minimizing impacts to farmland. Transportation infrastructure placement is a primary influence on land development patterns.

  • Enabling local communities to use the statutory authority of “concurrency” when negotiating new development approval. Concurrency establishes a pay-as you-go approach which ensures public facilities and services are available at the same time as the impacts of development.

  • Michigan State University and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) providing technical assistance, education and research to local officials and property owners.

  • Encouraging local communities to utilize existing zoning tools when appropriate to help protect farmland and farm operations by including cluster housing, buffer areas, fencing, planted tree setbacks, and site density zoning.

  • Acknowledgement of the diversity and uniqueness of each community in our state. We believe that land use decisions are best made by local communities including planning and zoning decisions for energy siting and mega site development. We oppose preemption of local zoning for these purposes.

  • The sale of state and federally owned land suitable for residential or industrial use to preserve farmland and increase local revenue. This development should only be considered on vacant sites with existing or nearby utilities fitting the local land use plan.

  • Local governments considering alternatives to minimize adverse impacts to farms within one mile of where land is divided.

  • Encouraging local units of government to utilize brownfield redevelopment authorities.

  • Amending the Land Division Act to:

    • Change the platting process to reduce cost, time and bureaucracy.

    • Create density in communities by revisiting the 10-year redivision requirement.

    • Allow local units of government to utilize the entire Zoning Enabling Act to locally govern the Land Division Act.

    • Require site condominiums, manufactured housing developments and mobile home parks to comply with land division and/or the platting process in the Land Division Act.

  • When agricultural land is within a governmental unit, a representative of production agriculture being appointed to the planning commissions and zoning boards.

  • Members becoming actively involved in land use planning and zoning.

  • Individuals appointed to councils, commissions and boards created by government, state legislators, and MDARD to represent agricultural interests being, or having been, directly involved in the agriculture industry.

  • Legislation being 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 a vote of the residents of the appropriate units of government.

  • Requiring consent of landowners for annexation proposals. Changing the use of property must consider and protect the rights of private property owners.

  • Property enrolled in farmland preservation programs having concurrent approval for annexation or public use by the contracted parties, including land owners.

  • The development and uniformity of Geographic Information Systems and we encourage use by local units of government in land use planning.

  • Michigan Farm Bureau assisting county Farm Bureaus with model zoning ordinances pertaining to agriculture.

  • The development of entry-level or moderate-income housing to attract and maintain an agriculture workforce in rural and small communities.

  • The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) continuing and expanding the bidding, renting, and/or sale of state land for agricultural use.

In areas where trails run through production agriculture and other private lands, the authority responsible for the trail should build and maintain fences to keep trail users on the trail and install gates so that property owners have access to both sides of their property if the trail divides the property. All users of the trails shall stop or yield at all crossings, regardless of whether public or private.

In addition to required bonding, we believe that state and federal funding for industrial clean-up should be consistent in rural areas for any private and/or publicly funded megasite development that needs to be decommissioned.

We oppose:

  • Rezoning agricultural zones if the use has not changed and the landowners have not requested the zoning change.

  • Limitations being placed on state lands for recreational purposes unless there is sound scientific justification or funding restrictions. If limitations are proposed, then justification should be in writing and public hearings conducted. When the MDNR proposes public land use changes, it is imperative that those impacted are involved in the decision-making process.

  • Restrictions on leases of state-owned agricultural land exceeding Generally Accepted Agricultural and Management Practices.

  • State and federal funds being used to develop farmland for non-agricultural purposes, to balance private property rights with the fact that farmland is not infinite.


Submit a Policy Idea

If you’re a Farm Bureau member and have an idea or amendment that you think should be Farm Bureau policy, we want to hear it! Our quick online form makes it easy to get involved in Farm Bureau’s policy-setting process.