STAIRS ON A LAKEFRONT PROPERTY

Asked July 7, 2020, 4:25 PM EDT

The elevations on some lakefront properties are such that owners build a set of stairs to go down toward the water. Should the zoning ordinance have a setback requirement for detached steps that are strictly to get down to the beach? Our ordinance currently does not have verbiage to cover this item.

Muskegon County Michigan

1 Response

Hello and thank you for the question.

Including language about the types of stairs that you are describing is definitely an option for communities when it comes to zoning ordinance. Whether or not a community should have one would of course depend on what the community wanted and the local master plan.

There may not be specific verbiage for stairs going down to lake, but there are some other places in the zoning ordinance that might come into play. How are stairs handled in other districts? What is the current verbiage for the waterfront/shoreline setback and are stair allowed within that setback currently?

We also like to remind folks that when considering adding new ordinances, be sure to think through how enforcement would work at the same time.