Planning, Building & Zoning

The mission of the Planning Department is to improve the quality of life in Albion by encouraging and regulating property development, identifying and implementing goals for the community, coordinating public improvements and working toward local revitalization.   

The Planning Department works with homeowners and developers to ensure compliance with local zoning regulations. The Department administrates housing and commercial rehabilitation grants and loan programs when these programs are available. 

Department staff members are available to answer questions from local residents regarding zoning regulations ('Where can I open a restaurant?') and setback requirements ('How far does a new garage need to be from my property line?'). The Department also provides technical assistance for revisions of the zoning ordinance, subdivision regulations, the comprehensive plan and capital improvements programming. 

The Planning Department provides staff support to the Planning Commission, the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Sign Appeals Board, and through the City Manager's Office, and the City Council. 

Permits and Processes

Prior to beginning any land use, construction project, or similar project in the City of Albion, you need to apply for and receive the proper permits. The Planning Department should be your first stop, and the Planning staff would like to invite you to stop in an discuss your project at any time.

In order to avoid unforeseen roadblocks, it is best to begin thinking about your project long before you begin work. An early conversation with Ian Arnold,  Director of Planning and Building, can save a great deal of time and hassle later. Feel free to make an appointment by calling (517) 629-7189 or emailing

The process always starts with an application for a zoning permit. A site plan must be submitted as a part of the zoning permit application. Depending on the type of project you propose, a more extensive site plan may be required. Minor site plans are reviewed and acted upon by the Department of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement, but major site plans require review and action by the Albion Planning Commission.

If your application fails to comply with the City of Albion Zoning or Sign Ordinances, it will be denied. If the property has special characteristics that make full compliance with the ordinance virtually impossible or unreasonably difficult, then a variance may be appropriate. The Zoning Board of Appeals reviews and acts on variance applications.

In certain cases, the proposed activity or project may require a special use permit. A special use permit application always involves a site plan review, and both the special use permit and site plan are reviewed by the Planning Commission. A specific application must be filed for a Bed & Breakfast operation or a Sidewalk Café. If the application is approved, then a license will be issued.

In other cases, even a special use permit may not allow the proposed activity due to the zoning district in which your project may be located. In these situations, a re-zoning permit is required before that activity can be allowed. In the case of a re-zoning application, the Planning Commission will hold a public hearing and make a recommendation to the City Council. The City Council makes the final decision to re-zone the property or not.

If an applicant feels that the Planning Department Staff improperly applied the ordinance or misinterpreted the ordinance during its review of a zoning permit application or minor site plan review application, the applicant may appeal the staff decision to the Zoning Board of Appeals.


Comprehensive Plan

City of Albion Map, entered 03-04-11, Page 5 of 9

City of Albion Zoning Map

City of Albion, Comprehensive Plan 2001,

City of Albion Future Land Use Map

City of Albion, Existing Land Use, page 34b, entered 03-04-11, Page 8 of 9

City of Albion, Housing Quality Map, page 25, entered 03-04-11, Page 9 of 9