Great Lakes Tiny Homes Zoning Intelligence-Volume 2: Onota Township, Alger County “Accessory Cottage” Zoning Ordinance Provision
In my continued research to provide tiny house placement solutions, I wanted to share another recent discovery I made while reviewing zoning ordinances in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
Although a remote area for most, my wife and I have found this area of Michigan to be one of the most beautiful and peaceful areas to visit. It seems the Alger County Zoning Commission does not appear to have a county wide zoning ordinance, they have deferred to local townships to develop them on their own.
In Onota Township they have a very interesting accessory housing provision that includes an accessory cottage section that just screams tiny house movement! Although I was not able to find any language regarding the minimum square footage requirements for the accessory cottages or single family dwellings, this is a great indicator of their flexibility in terms of having accessory dwelling units (ADU's) on the home owners property. I have a inquiry out to the Zoning Administrator to clarify if these accessory cottages can be rented out and if there are any minimum square footage requirements for the accessory cottages or single family dwellings. I will be sure to update everyone as soon as I know more.
I’ve included a link to the zoning ordinance and the excerpt of the accessory cottage section. I hope this helps any other would-be tiny home enthusiasts looking for a place to call home with their tiny house.
Onota Township, Alger County Zoning Ordinance
Accessory Housing: Accessory housing is authorized upon application for and issuance of a Conditional Use Permit as provided for in Article VII. It is the intent of this Section to provide standards that will allow extended family living or guest accommodations in what have traditionally been single-family only, zoning districts and neighborhoods. (Such provisions will permit the conversion of a single-family dwelling to include an accessory apartment, as a means of accommodating an elderly parent or other family member. Also permitted will be the placement of a detached, self-contained residential unit on the same lot as the principal dwelling.)
1. Accessory Apartments shall meet the following provisions:
a. Only owner-occupiers are permitted to install accessory apartments.
b. All improvements associated with the construction of the accessory apartment shall meet current, applicable codes.
c. Additional off-street parking required by this Ordinance shall be provided.
d. Adequate provision for wastewater disposal, by expanded private on-site facilities, shall be required.
e. Accessory apartments shall not subsequently be used as rental dwelling units unless apartments are permitted in the zoning district in which it is located.
2. Accessory Cottage: In addition to the requirements set forth in Section 4.03, the following provisions shall be met:
a. Only owner-occupiers of the principal dwelling are permitted to install accessory cottages.
b. All yard requirements applicable to the principal dwelling shall be complied with in placement of the accessory cottage.
c. The accessory cottage shall meet all applicable codes.
d. Any additional off-street parking required by this Ordinance shall be provided.
e. The Planning Commission may impose any other reasonable conditions including lot coverage, landscaping, skirting of mobile home units and similar requirements deemed necessary to protect adjoining properties and the public welfare.
f. Adequate provision for wastewater disposal, by expanded private on-site facilities, shall be required.
Aaron is the Michigan State Chapter Leader for the American Tiny House Association and is the Design and Construction Manager at Great Lakes Tiny Homes, LLC located in Michigan.