Storage shed on vacant lots

Asked November 12, 2016, 3:29 PM EST

Our township is zoned. We have a gated community in our township of about 1000 lots. Many land owners camp on their lot during the summer. Our current Zoning Ordinance does not allow for sheds unless there is a residence. My question is: is there any type of zoning that would allow these people to have storage sheds on their properties, either temporary or permanent? And/or do we want to do something of this nature?

Clare County Michigan

1 Response

Are there local governments in Michigan that allow an storage shed without a principal structure? Yes. Should your township do so? That is a local question, that does not have a "correct" or "wrong" answer.

There are some issues to consider and solve:

If you allow a storage shed, then why not a poll barn? You already established that is it "okay" to have an accessory building without the principal building -- now the discussion is only about size.

Some legal minds will argue that the storage shed -- if it is the only land use on the parcel -- becomes the principal structure. So through the back door the zoning district now allows storage (warehousing) as a permitted use.

Does it become a loophole for building a residence without following zoning, health, and construction codes for a dwelling? Once the building is there, how does none know what happens inside, (e.g. becomes living quarters)?

In a resort area, where people want to own land and camp on it it may be a desired use and appropriate. Especially if there is not a cost effective alternative such as mini-storage businesses in the area.