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Planning and Zoning

Burt Township is a zoned township. Please download our zoning ordinance here.

Planning /Zoning Fee Schedule.  Please download our fee schedule here.

The Planning Commission has created two surveys to better understand desires and opinions of residents in regards to a local septic ordinance and waterfront protection provisions in the ordinance.  Please  click this link  to access the Burt Township Planning page to complete the surveys!

The Planning Commission will hold a Public Hearing on July 9, 2018 at 6:30 pm to take comment on the proposed amendment to the Zoning Ordinance  RE:  Signs.

Burt Township

Ordinance Number ____ of 2018


An Ordinance to amend the Burt Township Zoning Ordinance Article II, VI, and VII pertaining to Signs. The Township of Burt Ordains:

Section 1. Article II: Rules of Construction and Definitions of the Burt Township Zoning Ordinance is hereby amended to replace the following definitions:

Adult Motel: A hotel, motel or similar commercial establishment that:

  1. offers accommodation to the public for any form of consideration and provides patrons with closed-circuit television transmissions, films, motion pictures, video cassettes, slides, other photographic reproductions or visual media that are characterized by the depiction or description of Specified Sexual Activities or Specified Anatomical Areas;
  2. offers a sleeping room for rent for a period of time that is less than twelve (12) hours; or
  3. allows a tenant or occupant of a sleeping room to sub-rent the room for a period of time that is less than twelve (12) hours.

Sign, Off Premise: Any sign relating to a use and / or activity not conducted on the premises on which the sign is located.

Sign, On Premise: An advertising sign relating to a use and / or activity conducted on the premises on which it is located.

Sign, Overhanging: A sign that extends beyond any structure wall and is affixed to the structure so that its sign surface is perpendicular to the structure wall.

Sign, Portable: A sign that is designed to be transported, including but not limited to signs:

  • With wheels removed;
  • With chassis or support constructed without wheels;
  • Designed to be transported by trailer or wheels;
  • Converted A- or T- frame signs;
  • Attached temporarily or permanently to ground, a structure, or other signs;
  • Mounted on a vehicle for advertising purposes, parked and visible from the public right of-way, except when the vehicle is being used in normal day-to-day operations of that business; and
  • Hot-air or gas-filled balloons or umbrellas used to display content.

Sign surface: That portion of a sign excluding its base, foundation and erection supports on which content is displayed.

Section 2. Article VI Section 6.14 - Signs and Billboards of the Burt Township Zoning Ordinance is hereby amended in its entirety as follows:

The sign and billboard standards contained in this ordinance are declared necessary to protect the general health, peace, safety and welfare of the citizens of Burt Township and are based on the following objectives.

  1. To avoid excessive visual clutter in order to give each use optimum visibility to passer-by traffic and if possible, to prevent one sign from blocking the view of another sign.
  2. To place signs in such a way that scenic views are respected and visual obstructions to the natural landscape are minimized.
  3. To protect the character of Burt Township.

Signs shall not be located in the road rights-of way but are exempt from setback for the given zoning district.

Sign Area and Height Calculations: The size of a sign or sign surface shall be computed as including the entire area within a simple geometric form or combination of such forms comprising all the display area of the sign, and shall be calculated by multiplying the longest width by the greatest height. Two sides of a sign structure are not added together to calculate sign area provided the sides have a 180-degree, back-to-back relationship. In the case of a broken sign (a sign with separate components individually mounted to a wall), the total surface area shall be measured by multiplying the horizontal distance between the outer edges of the two furthermost components of the sign by the maximum vertical height of any components in the sign.

The maximum overall height of all free-standing signs as specified in this ordinance shall be measured from the average existing grade at the base of the sign to the top of the sign and shall include roof like covers and supporting structures.

Section 6.14.1 – Signs Not Requiring a Sign Permit:

The following signs may be placed in any zoning district without a sign permit, provided such signs comply with any applicable federal or state law or regulation and are located so as not to cause a nuisance or safety hazard:

  1. One (1) sign per use, not exceeding six (6) square feet of sign surface. One temporary sign is allowed per 100 feet of lot width but in no instance shall not exceed four (4) signs even if the lot width exceeds 400 feet.
  2. Signs erected or approved by a governmental agency when necessary to give proper directions or to otherwise safeguard the public.
  3. Signs needed to warn the public of dangerous conditions and unusual hazards including but not limited to: road hazards, high voltage, fire danger, explosives, severe visibility, etc.
  4. Signs marking a historically significant place, building or area when sanctioned by a national, state or local historic organization recognized by the planning commission, provided the sign surface does not exceed the maximum allowed size of sixteen (16) square feet or the max size allowed in the zoning district whichever is less.
  5. Signs that have been approved in conjunction with a valid site plan or zoning permit for any principal or accessory use, and signs required by federal or state agencies in connection with federal or state grant programs.
  6. Temporary signs, whether portable or not, shall not exceed a combined total of 40 square feet on lots of 100 feet of width or less. For each additional 100 feet of width, 10 square feet can be added. Temporary signs shall be not more than 4 feet in height and shall be made of wire, metal, wood, or other support structure capable of being put in the ground and removed by a single individual with relative ease.
  7. Temporary sale or lease signs. One (1) freestanding sign per roadway frontage shall be permitted on a site that is actively marketed for sale or lease. The sign shall not exceed nine (9) square feet in size. These signs are allowed on vacant properties.
  8. Illuminated signs shall not be of the flashing, string and/or tubular lights, or intermittent type unless approved by the Planning Commission.
  9. One (1) freestanding sign per roadway frontage shall be permitted on a site that is actively marketed for sale or lease. The sign shall not exceed 6 square feet in size. These signs are allowed on vacant properties.

Section 6.14.2 – Signs Requiring a Permit

  1. No sign, except those signs specifically identified in Section 6.14.1, shall be erected or altered until approved by the Planning Commission and an authorization permit issued by the Zoning Administrator.
  2. Any sign which is insecurely fixed, unclean, in need of repair, or initiates official traffic control devices shall be prohibited. Signs affixed to trees shall not exceed two square feet in size.
  3. Temporary signs, whether portable or not, cannot exceed eight (8) square feet in size. 
  4. In Commercial and Industrial Districts, one (1) free standing and one (1) wall sign are permitted for each use. The wall sign must be attached to the building and parallel therewith. The following requirements shall be met:
    1. The total area of the permitted free-standing sign shall not exceed thirty-two (32) square feet unless otherwise provided in this Ordinance; and free-standing signs shall not exceed twenty (20) feet in height.
    2. The total area of wall signs shall not exceed thirty-two (32) square feet per business.
  5. Conservation/recreation related properties and/or approved recreational facilities which are generally open to the public (regardless of the zoning district) shall be allowed one site identification sign per road access, not to exceed sixteen (16) square feet per sign face. The number, location and size of any additional interpretative, information or donor acknowledgement signs shall require Planning Commission approval, and no such sign shall exceed twenty (20) square feet.
  6. Signs shall be allowed in any residential district where multiple properties share an access drive; the total area of the residential development sign or directory sign shall not exceed a total size of 32 square feet per side, or two (2) square feet per residence or residential property within the development, whichever is greater.

Section 6.14.3 - Signs prohibited.

The following signs are prohibited in Burt Township.

  1. Obscene Material. Contain statements, words, or pictures of an obscene, indecent, or immoral character such as will offend public morals or decency.


Section 6.14.4 – Billboards

The regulation of billboards is intended to enhance and protect community character and image by minimizing visual blight and pollution, and to minimize traffic safety hazards due to diversion of the driver’s attention and blockage of sight distances. Billboard regulations address the location, size, height and related characteristics of such signs.

Billboards may be established only in the Commercial and Industrial zoning district located adjacent to Interstate 75 (I-75) provided that they meet the following conditions:

  1. Not more than three (3) billboards may be located per linear mile of street or highway regardless of the fact that such billboards may be located on different sides of the subject street or highway. The linear mile measurement shall not be limited to the boundaries of Burt Township where the particular street or highway extends beyond such boundaries. Double faced billboard structures (i.e., structures having back-to-back billboard faces) and V-type billboard structures having only one face visible to traffic proceeding from any given direction on a street or highway shall be considered as one billboard. Additionally, billboard structures having tandem billboard faces (i.e., two parallel billboard faces facing the same direction and side-by-side to one another) shall be considered as one billboard. Otherwise, billboard structures having more than one billboard face shall be considered as two billboards and shall be prohibited in accordance with the minimum spacing requirement set forth in subsection below.
  2. No billboard shall be located within one thousand (1,000) feet of another billboard abutting either side of the same street or highway.
  3. No billboard shall be located within two hundred (200) feet of a residential zone and/or existing residence. If the billboard is illuminated, this required distance shall instead be three hundred (300) feet.
  4. No billboard shall be located closer than seventy-five (75) feet from a property line or public right-of-way. No billboard shall be located within ten (10) feet from any interior boundary lines of the premises on which the billboard is located. (A community could also limit it to the setback of a principal structure in the zoning district.)
  5. The surface display area of any side of a billboard may not exceed two-hundred (200) sq. feet.
  6. The height of a billboard shall not exceed thirty (30) feet above the elevation of the centerline of the abutting roadway.
  7. No billboard shall be on top of, cantilevered or otherwise suspended above the roof of any building.
  8. A billboard may be illuminated, provided such illumination is concentrated on the surface of the sign and is so located as to avoid glare or reflection onto any portion of an adjacent street or highway, the path of on-coming vehicles, or any adjacent premises. In no event shall any billboard have flashing or intermittent lights, nor shall the lights be permitted to rotate or oscillate.
  9. A billboard must be constructed in such a fashion that it will withstand all wind and vibration forces, which can normally be expected to occur in the vicinity. A billboard must be maintained so as to assure proper alignment of structure, continued structural soundness, and continues readability of message.
  10. Billboards as defined by the Highway Advertising Act of 1972 (1972 PA 106) that boarder interstate highways, freeways, or primary highways, as defined in said Act, shall be regulated and controlled by the provisions of such Act, notwithstanding the provisions of this ordinance.
  11. No person, firm or corporation shall erect a billboard within Burt Township without first obtaining a permit from the Burt Township Zoning Administrator, which permit shall be granted upon a showing of compliance with the provisions of this ordinance and payment of a fee. Permits shall be issued for a period of one year, but shall be renewable annually upon inspection of the billboard by the Burt Township Zoning Administrator confirming continued compliance with this ordinance and payment of the billboard permit fee. The amount of the billboard permit fee required hereunder shall be established by resolution of the Burt Township Board and shall bear a reasonable relationship to the cost and expense of administering this permit requirement. The Burt Township Board shall further have the right to amend the aforementioned resolution from time to time within the foregoing limits of reasonableness.

Section 3. Article VI Section 6.23.3 Medical Marihuana (E) of the Burt Township Zoning Ordinance is hereby amended to delete this section in its entirety as follows:


E. A dwelling at which a primary caregiver of medical marihuana is functioning as a home occupation shall have no sign related to the use as a primary caregiver, including but not limited to any symbol portraying or representing a marihuana plant or portion thereof, may be visible from outside the dwelling.


Section 4. Article VII: Supplemental Site Development Standards 7.01.19 Sexually Oriented Business Part (G) of the Burt Township Zoning Ordinance is hereby amended as follows:


G. Any sign or signs proposed for the sexually oriented business must comply with the provisions of this Ordinance.


Section 5. Effective Date.

This Ordinance shall become effective eight (8) days after being published in a newspaper of general circulation within the Township, unless a later date is specified.

Township of Burt

By:_______________________                                 By:______________________

Harold Koviak, Supervisor                                             Donna McDougall, Clerk

Adoption date: ______________                              Effective date: ___­­__________­­