Apply for zoning permit

Zoning Permit FAQ

Neighborhood petition process

A neighborhood petition is required to waive the restriction on certain uses being within 500 feet  of residentially zoned land.

The applicant is required to follow BSEED's written procedure, to use the supplied petition forms, to pay appropriate fees, and to successfully secure the signatures of at least 2/3 (67%) of all those persons eligible to sign such petition.

Failure to obtain the required number of signatures means that the project may not proceed to site plan review or a public hearing.

Neighborhood Petitions must be picked up from the Zoning Division in room 407.

Requirements for salvage yards, junkyards and used auto parts sales Public hearing process

After a project has been submitted and passed Site Plan Review, the required public hearing is scheduled. Notice of the public hearing must be mailed to all residents, property owners, and businesses within 300 radial feet of the proposed Conditional Land Use, published in the Detroit Legal News, and posted on the property. The State of Michigan Zoning Enabling Act requires at least 15 days advance notice of such public hearings.

Special Land Use public hearings are typically scheduled on Wednesday mornings starting at 9:00 a.m. and every half hour thereafter. The number of hearings on a given Wednesday varies but is usually between two and six. The fee is currently $1,000.00.

Hearing Agenda:

  1. The hearing officer announces the details of the hearing
  2. A staff report is given by a BSEED building inspector
  3. The development team provides a presentation on their proposal
  4. A Planning & Development Department (P&DD) city planner gives a report and recommendation
  5. The public is given the opportunity to ask questions and comment on the proposal

No decision is made at the hearing. Within 2-3 weeks, the hearing officer drafts a decision letter incorporating P&DD's recommendation, discussion from the hearing, and the specific approval criteria for Conditional Land Uses (Section 61-3-231).

The decision letter will be mailed to the applicant, everyone who attended the hearing, and everyone who submitted a written comment regarding the proposed land use. Any decision letter may be appealed to the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) per Section 61-3-242 within 14 days of the decision date.

If there is no appeal, the decision letter becomes effective. The applicant must then record it at the Wayne County Register of Deeds and file a building permit with BSEED to change the use and perform any construction work. After all required inspections are passed, a Certificate of Occupancy will be issued.

Finally, if the proposed land use requires a Business License, such license can be applied for and issued. Only then may the new use be opened and operated.


Site plan review

Site Plan Review (SPR) is mandated by the City of Detroit Zoning Ordinance Chapter 61 in several specific instances including all Conditional Land Uses (Section 61-3-113). Depending on the zoning district, either the Planning and Development Department (P&DD) or City Council (through the City Planning Commission) has the power to review and approve site plans. BSEED is authorized to participate in the review process.

To apply for SPR, three sets of properly dimensioned and drawn-to-scale Site, Floor, and Elevation Plans must be submitted along with the appropriate fee ($100.00 for Conditional Uses and $160.00 for all other uses) to the Plan Review Division, Room 409. Staff will review the plans for compliance with zoning, design, and operational requirements, typically within 10 days of receipt of a complete submission package. The applicant will be informed of necessary modifications, alterations, and/or improvements or, if the plans meet all standards, they will be approved and the public hearing will be scheduled (if required).