Zoning detective assignment,examine the zoning ordinance established and enforced by the city of Dearborn’s municipality (city is located in the state of Michigan in the USA)
Rationale: examine the zoning ordinance established and enforced by the city of Dearborn
Michigan usa municipality.
Below are the elements to be included in formatting the paper and the instructions for each
part of the paper. Please do not stray too far from this outline, this is not a creative
introduction: Zoning ordinance information: (1 page)
City of Dearborn Michigan USA
When was their ordinance adopted? _______ Their Last amendment was: ___________
Do they have a code enforcement officer? Who is it?
Who is on the city of Dearborn’s Zoning Board of Appeals? When and where do they meet?
Part 1. Get to know the code- (1 page)
District descriptions: List the various districts recognized in the city’s ordinance (R-1, R-2,
etc.) and their titles. Read the purpose or descriptions of these zones. Pick two and
differentiate- for example, how does C-1 differ from C-2 and what would you expect to find in
each of these.
Part 2. Investigate a case- (2-3 pages)
You will need to find the public meetings page of the city’s municipality’s website. Locate the ZBA page and find posted minutes from previous meetings. If these are not available online you will need to contact the Clerk’s office to obtain copies of the minutes. Get minutes from the past 2-3 meetings held. Read the case descriptions and pick one that you find interesting. This should not be a very simple case if possible. The more in depth you are able to get, the better.
Once you find a case you like, obtain any documents pertaining to the petition (anything
provided to the Board by the petitioner including site plans, maps, photos, etc. You are
encouraged to include these resources in your case report if they illustrate something relevant
like a building, parking lot, road or other area of proposed change. Photos/maps/illustrations
may count for one page of the overall paper. You may also drive by the site in question and
your own photos! I appreciate the extra effort! Please include a caption describing each photo.
Other case information- Case #, date, Petitioner name, property address.
Describe the specific ordinance at issue in detail- list the ordinance in your paper. What does
the petitioner want to do (describe in detail) and how does that violate current zoning?
What reason does the petitioner give for wanting the waiver or variance?
What was the decision of the Board and their explanation? describe.
Part 3. Your turn to play detective- Can you locate a zoning violation in the city?
Familiarize yourself with the standards ordinances- Review the article in the city’s code on
dimensional standards. This describes allowable building heights, setbacks, etc. Now review the
article on use standards. This covers allowable standards for a wide variety of different uses
from bakeries and backyard chickens to car washes and swimming pools.
Select a few of the standards that interest you most. Read them carefully and use your
knowledge of the city to identify a potential violation.
Example- Look at your sign ordinance, any signs in your neighborhood that might be in
violation? Does your city have a lighting ordinance? Any violations you know of?
Describe the specific language in the standard you chose, locate a potential violation and
report on it. Location, type of violation, etc. Take good evidence photos as if you are
conducting a real investigation! (3 pages- 1 page for photos)