The GAD Top Three | October 30th, 2023

Long Lake Township Master Plan Updated to Allow ADUs to Increase Housing Units, Village of Suttons Bay Holds Public Hearing on STR Ordinance Changes, and Traverse City Master Plan Action Items for the Next 5 Years Presented

This week we are getting into the weeds a bit on housing considerations as we cover two Master Planning processes in Long Lake Township and Traverse City and all the housing-related components they are considering for their Master Plan updates as well as the changes under consideration in the Village of Suttons Bay for thor Short-Term Rental Ordinance.

1. Long Lake Township Master Plan Updated to Allow ADUs to Increase Housing Units 

Long Lake Township recently released its draft Master Plan for 2023. Suggested housing amendments to the Long Lake Township Master Plan include:

  • “Update (Zoning) Ordinance to allow for guest homes/accessory dwellings/tiny homes in appropriate locations… Such units not to be available for short-term rental use.”
  • “Allow for greater densities in location where appropriate”
  • “Preapproved house plans for accessory dwellings”
  • “Easier and faster development approval for uses by right”
  • “Removal of regulations that present roadblocks and raise development costs”
  • “Promote varied housing types, sizes, ownership/rental opportunities to help address the housing crisis in the Township”
  • “Allow for the relocation and expansion of the existing mobile home park; higher density or smaller footprint of homes, or alternative housing types with the North Activity Center area.”

Long Lake Township is currently seeking public input until November 3rd regarding this Master Plan draft. To provide your comments please mail or email them to Long Lake Township Planning Commission, 8870 North Long Lake Road, Traverse City, MI 49685 or email to Alternatively, you can submit your comments through the questionnaire on their website. The Long Lake Township Planning Commission will be holding a Public Hearing on the proposed Master Plan on November 28th, 2023. Written comments may be submitted at the public hearing or may be submitted through an online questionnaire found on their website or emailed to Comments will be received until 5:00 pm on Tuesday, November 28th, 2023.

2. Village of Suttons Bay Holds Public Hearing on STR Ordinance Changes

The Village of Suttons Bay held a Public Hearing at their October 16th Village Council Regular Meeting regarding potential amendments to the Village of Suttons Bay Short Term Rental Ordinance (current version of Village of Suttons Bay Short Term Rental Ordinance). Italicized text marks proposed amendment additions and strikethroughs mark proposed deletions:

  • Section 4. Standards for Approval.
    • D. Noise during quiet hours must be limited to that which does not disturb the quiet, comfort or repose of a reasonable person of normal sensitivities. Quiet hours shall be from 10:00 PM to 8:00 AM.
    • J. The Operator will provide notice of the short-term rental dwelling unit and phone number(s) of the Operator, who is the 24-hour contact, to all properties within two hundred feet (200') of the boundaries of the licensed premises. Proof of notice shall be required as part of the original permit application and all renewals.
    • K. An Operator shall post the standards set forth herein in a prominent place within the licensed premises (Section 4.A.7) and shall include them as part of any rental agreement.
  • Section 5. On-Going Inspections and Revocations.
    • A. An inspection may be made by the Village during the term of a license following reasonable notice to the Operator. An inspection shall be made by the Village, following reasonable notice to the Operator, in response to a complaint regarding a licensed premises received from an adjacent property owner or a tenant of the licensed premises. The inspection shall be conducted to determine whether there is any observed violation of fire, safety, or similar codes or Village ordinances. Following written notice of a violation, re-inspections shall be made as necessary to ensure noted violations have been corrected.
  • Section 7. Short-Term Rental Licensing Implementation and Renewal Process.
    • A. Rentals registered or lice1<1ud with the Village under a predecessor to this Ordinance must he brought into complia1we with this Ordinance no later than December 31, 2017, and such new license shall thereafter he valid for the three-year period set forth in Section 4.
  • Section 10. Violations.
    • Any person who violates any provision of this Ordinance shall be responsible for a municipal civil infraction and shall be subject to a fine of Five Hundred and 00/100 ($500.00) Dollars, the costs of prosecution, and such other relief as authorized by law. Each day this Ordinance is violated shall be considered a separate violation.
    • For each violation of a license by a license holder within a calendar year, the Village shall issue a written warning notice of violation mail to the property owner and operator via First Class Mail and Certified Mail. The property owner and operator shall acknowledge receipt of the written notice within 7 days. Failure to acknowledge the violation does not waive responsibility by the owner and operator. 
    • If there are one or more violations each year during any three (3) consecutive year period—or three (3) violations in a single calendar year—the license shall be revoked. 
    • An owner may appeal a decision to revoke a license to the Village Council within 30 days of the date the written note of revocation was issued.

The next Village of Suttons Bay Council Meeting is scheduled for November 20th at 5:30 pm held at 420 Front Street, Suttons Bay, Michigan in the council meeting room when this issue may be taken back up for further discussion and/or enactment. 

3. Traverse City Master Plan Action Items for the Next 5 Years Presented 

At the Thursday, October 19th, 2023 Traverse City Master Plan Leadership Team Meeting (pages 7 to 16) a draft list of action items for the Traverse City Master Plan over the next 5 years was presented by Beckett & Raeder. Housing-related action items included:

City Responsible Action Items

  • Explore Zoning Amendment related to:
    • Capping vacation home rentals in all commercial zoning districts
    • Increasing housing supply (either get more specific or eliminate, TBD after October 16, 2023 City Commission meeting).
    • Expanding current water’s edge riparian buffer zone to all portions of the city, potentially using police power ordinance.
  • Create proactive plan for utilizing tools and tax incentives to support additional single and multi‐family housing supply, including identifying available tax incentives and their purpose/application; where specific incentives are appropriate; criteria to approve or deny incentives; and metrics to quantify incentives' impact.
  • Create a development tracking platform to publicly track new development progress.
  • Use inclusive language when discussing the housing crisis in Traverse City and actively counter narratives that are not inclusive, for example, statements/assumptions about home renters vs. home owners.
  • Research and articulate the difference between affordable, workforce, and market rate housing within the Traverse City market.
  • Explore zoning amendments related to rezoning 14th Street to alow for more vibrant development and redevelopment opportunities.
  • Explore utilizing pattern book homes to create pre‐approved housing designs (emphasizing multi‐family and informed by community engagement) that fit the existing context of their surroundings while also reducing development approvals time.
  • Explore implementation of the community land trust model in Traverse City. Local examples include The Frankfort Area Community Land Trust in Frankfort, MI and Peninsula Housing in Leelanau County, MI.
  • Review existing vacation home licensing policy and process in place and enforcement activity and engage community around this topic and findings.
  • Explore amending the City Charter to create a proactive rental safety inspection program to ensure one‐ and two‐family residential rental properties are safe and well‐maintained for the welfare of occupants. Michigan examples include Bay City, Ludington, and Midland.
  • Explore the creation of a city brownfield redevelopment authority

City Collaborative Action Items

  • Collaborate with public, nonprofit, and private entities working on addressing food, housing, and health‐related insecurities, including the immediate need to identify and implement solutions for “The Pines” encampment for people experiencing homelessness.
  • Continue to participate in local and regional housing discussions to share data/ideas and generate new solutions and explore the creation of a local housing fund involving all impacted and interested stakeholders
  • Collaborate with Grand Traverse County Construction Code Office to create a development review process that allows for early feedback from regulatory officials to streamline and strengthen the development approval process.

City Support Action Items

  • Support Grand Traverse County Construction Code to explore utilizing pattern books for incorporating sustainable/climate resilient elements in residential and commercial remodels.

The next steps in this process are the Traverse City Master Plan Leadership Team will review this list and provide feedback on the action items and timeline before these action items are forwarded to the Traverse City Planning Commission for their review and input before the final list is added to the Master Plan draft.

Connor Miller photo
Connor Miller
Government Affairs Director

As the Government Affairs Director, I work to advocate for the real estate industry through programming that promotes the election of pro-REALTOR® candidates; engage, inform, and activate membership and local government officials on key local and state real estate policies; provide staff support to the REALTOR® Political Action Committee that invests members' voluntary contributions to protect and promote the real estate industry; and support the Aspire North memberships’ involvement in community projects to further grow and strengthen our region.