Amber Township to seek its own zoning ordinance. 

August 17, 2020

Amber Township to seek its own zoning ordinance. 

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

AMBER TOWNSHIP — The Amber Township Board of Trustees recently voted unanimously to pursue creating its own zoning ordinance. Currently, Amber Township’s zoning is covered by the Mason County zoning ordinance. 

Township Supervisor Jim Gallie said trustees and many residents have been concerned about the lack of flexibility in the county’s zoning ordinance, especially along the US 10-31 corridor. 

“This has been a long process and we know we still have a lot of research to do,” Gallie said. During the township’s next board meeting, the trustees will begin discussions of organizing a planning commission and also creating a committee to start putting together the zoning ordinance. 

Gallie said he has spoken with officials from several neighboring communities who have offered to assist Amber Township. “I’ve been in conversations with Jerry Bleau, Pere Marquette Township supervisor and Courtney Magaluk, Scottville city manager, both have been very willing to work with us and help us create an ordinance that fits the needs of Amber Township. 

Amber Township is the second township that has recently voted to move away from the county’s zoning. Free Soil Township’s board of trustees has also recently voted to pursue its own zoning. 

There have been several businesses that have made complaints to Amber Township officials about the lack of flexibility of the county’s zoning ordinance. Dan Quinn, owner of U-Win Motorsports on US 10-31 wanted to build a storage building on his property, behind a building that he rents to another business. Mason County Zoning and Building Director Brady Selner said Quinn would have to reconfigure his property in order to obtain a special land use permit to build the building. Quinn said he was told in order to build the storage building, he would have to make 22 changes to his property. 

Two years ago, Andrew and Michelle Thomas, owners of Starving Artists Brewing Company located on South Stiles Road, faced the threat of their tasting room not being allowed due to a change in the ordinance. Eventually, state law over-ruled the local law and allowed the Thomas’ to proceed, only after multiple meetings with both the county planning commission and zoning board of appeals. 

Gallie said he hopes that an ordinance can be ready for public hearings in late winter or early spring. 

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