Full Zoning Ordinances - Click here
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Building, electrical, plumbing and mechanical permits are required for most remodeling and new projects, such as: additions, decks, sheds, garages, fencing, pools, furnaces, air conditioning units, hot tubs, water heaters, etc. Permit fees vary depending on the project and are issued by the Department of Public Service located at City Hall. Click here to view all city building permit forms
Certificate of Occupancy
A current Certificate of Occupancy is required when selling or renting a home in the Farms. Contact the Department of Public Service at 885-4285 for inspection details.
Storage of Trailers, Boats & RVs
This provision of the Zoning Ordinance only permits such vehicles or units in residential districts if they are unoccupied and parked in a fully enclosed garage. Recreational vehicles are permitted unhoused for temporary periods not to exceed 24 hours for the purpose of loading and unloading.
Trash containers on residential property must be screened from view from the street and adjacent properties.
A truck, not to exceed 10,000 pounds, may be parked in a residential district only if it is kept in a fully enclosed building. Paved drives placed in required open spaces are to provide access to principal buildings or accessory structures. Though such drives may be used for parking when their primary use is access, it is the intent of the Council that front yards not become parking lots. Therefore, the Council has adopted requirements that any paved drive located in the front yard shall not exceed 30' in width or cover 30% of the required front yard, whichever is less.
Satellite Dish Antennas
Exceeding 30 " in Diameter - In residential districts, satellite dish antennas are permitted upon approval of the site plan by the City Council. Such antennas must be located on the ground in rear yards and must be adequately landscaped or fenced to screen them from view from the public right-of-way and from the first-floor level of nearby residential properties. Such antennas, together with all other structures in the rear yard, may not occupy more than 35% of the required rear open space.
The site plan presented to the Council must include:
- the proposed location of the antenna, detailed plans and specifications indicating its size, weight, specific materials to be used in construction of the antenna, etc.
- the proposed method of screening the antenna from public view and
- any other pertinent information necessary to evaluate the above. In other districts (e.g., business and commercial), antennas must be located in accordance with open space requirements of the Zoning Ordinance but otherwise must follow the site plan requirements of residences, including screening.
30" or Less in Diameter - Under this new ordinance, satellite dish-type antennas or receivers not exceeding 24" in diameter do not have to be approved by the City Council but do require a permit. For a permit to be granted, they must be screened from the public right-of-way and consent must be obtained from the owner(s) of adjoining properties having a direct sight line to the proposed location of the dish. If a permit is not granted by the city administration, an appeal may be made to the City Council.
Air Conditioners & Heat Pumps
This ordinance requires air conditioners and heat pumps to be placed in the rear yard, not less than three feet from the side of the residence. Locations in the side yard must have the written approval of the adjoining property owner(s) and must be screened by landscaping or hidden by a fence. Locations in the front yard require a hearing before the City Council, involving submission of a plan to scale showing relevant dimensions, proposed landscaping and a statement of the need to locate such equipment in the front yard. The concern with these units is the possible nuisance aspect to those in adjoining residences and the detrimental appearance from the street. Generally, therefore, if the Council does permit location in the front yard, landscaping of the unit is required to screen it from public view.
If the owner or occupant fails to comply with any order or directive issued by the City Council or Director of Public Service, the City may enter upon private property to cut weeds or grass, to remove refuse or rubbish, or to otherwise enforce the requirements of the ordinance. Costs and expenses incurred by the City will be the responsibility of the property owner.
Homeowners or occupants are required to cut down all noxious weeds on their property (e.g., Canada thistle, poison ivy and sumac, ragweed, milkweed, and any other plant that endangers property or the health or safety of the public). In addition, grass must not exceed 6" in length.
Refuse And Rubbish
No person shall permit any refuse, rubbish or waste to accumulate on property which he or she owns or occupies in such manner as to interfere with the safety, health or comfort of the public. This also applies to "junk" motor vehicles that are not housed within a fully enclosed building.
It is the duty of the owners or occupants of any property, vacant or occupied, to keep their premises, the adjoining sidewalks and public property, including streets and alleys, free of litter at all times.
No person shall throw, place or leave in or upon any street, lane, alley or public sidewalk in the City of Grosse Pointe Farms any refuse, rubbish, brush, leaves, grass cuttings, garbage or waste, including snow. Snow removal by private contractors is a problem when, in plowing driveways, snow is left on the street instead of being deposited on the berm.
When any sidewalk becomes out of repair, the homeowner is responsible to repair or replace it. If the City is notified of such a situation and finds it to be a hazard, the City will give the owner or occupant notice to repair the sidewalk within 30 days, or the City will perform the work and charge the expense, plus administrative costs, to the homeowner. A larger, area-wide sidewalk program is conducted on a regularly scheduled basis.
Fences - Fence Permit (PDF)
No fences or walls shall be erected, maintained or permitted in the City except in the following cases: Fences and walls that do not exceed four feet in height can be located anywhere on one's property provided that fences and walls located in the front yard shall be set back at least two feet from the sidewalk or property line and shall be located so as not to restrict proper visual observation of vehicles or persons using the public right-of-way. Fences along a driveway shall not obstruct ingress or egress of vehicles or of passengers from vehicles parked in the driveway. If the homeowner wishes to erect a fence adjoining a public right-of-way that will exceed four feet in height, he or she must obtain approval from the City Council after notification to surrounding property owners.
Fences and walls exceeding four feet in height, but not exceeding six feet in height, may be placed in back of the front building line with the written consent of the owner(s) of the adjoining property, filed with the City.
In all instances where a fence is erected, a permit must first be obtained from the City. It also is illegal to use barbed wire, exposed spikes or any other dangerous devices or materials on or in connection with any fence, barrier or enclosure in the City.
Residents may only place one yard sign for seven days on their property. This includes signs for promoting garage sales, schools, graduation, sports teams, or other extracurricular activities such as a dance academy.
For properties that are for rent, for sale or undergoing renovations, a single “for sale,” “for rent” or “general contractors” sign no larger than 6 square feet in area is allowed on that property, and it must be removed within five days of the parcel being sold, rented or having construction completed.
The ordinance allows political signs on residential property to remain up for no longer than 30 days, and they must be removed within five days after the election.
This ordinance requires that a minimum of one approved smoke detector shall be installed on every story (including the basement, if applicable) of a dwelling unit. On any story or level containing a sleeping area, a smoke detector is required to be located in close proximity to such sleeping area. In a story or level containing more than one separate sleeping area, at least one smoke detector shall be required for each separate sleeping area. For purposes of the foregoing requirement, bedrooms or sleeping areas separated by other use areas, such as a kitchen or living room (but not merely hallways or bathrooms), shall be considered separate sleeping areas.