The GAD Top Three | September 5th, 2023

The Traverse City Commission continues their discussion of zoning amendments TONIGHT and will decide what zoning amendments they would like to introduce at their September 18th meeting for potential enactment. Long Lake Township discusses its intent to increase housing options through various updates to its Master Plan to support more housing development. Aspire North begins a candidate interview process with a candidate questionnaire for all Traverse City Mayoral and City Commission candidates.

1. TC Commission Expresses Support for Zoning Amendments and Intention to Act Before November. Meeting TONIGHT to Decide Amendments that May Move Forward for Consideration

At the Traverse City Planning Session this past Monday, August 28th (covered by the Traverse City Record-Eagle and 9&10 News, full meeting recording available on Traverse Area Community Media) Mayor Richard Lewis expressed an intention for the Traverse City Commission to act on the set of six amendments that the Traverse City Planning Commission passed for the City Commission’s consideration by or at the Traverse City Commission’s October 16th meeting and not pass them off to the next city commission. These six proposed amendments are the following:

  1. Allow up to four dwelling units in the R-2 District, but limit the number of structures that can be used for residential purposes to two;
  2. Allow duplexes by right in the R-1a/b District;
  3. Reduce the minimum lot size for cluster housing from five acres to one acre and change approval from a City Commission SLUP to an administrative SLUP;
  4. Allow two principal dwellings on an R-1a/b District lot that is twice the minimum area without having to split the lot;
  5. Reduce minimum lot width and area in the R-1a/b District and slightly increase maximum impervious surface limits in the R-1a/b and R-2 Districts;
  6. Modify the ADU regulations to remove the annual cap, allow duplexes in the R-1a/b District and duplexes and triplexes in the R-2 District, and remove the owner-occupancy requirement.

The City Commissioners expressed support for zoning amendments 1 through 5, although apprehension about removing the annual cap on ADUs without requiring an owner-occupancy requirement. Based on research of other communities in the United States that have implemented similar zoning amendments in their communities I (Connor) offered a public comment for the Traverse City Commission’s consideration. The Traverse City Commission will revisit these zoning amendments at their September 5th meeting TONIGHT where they’ll decide which parts of the amendments, or not, to introduce at their September 18th meeting. From there, they could set up a vote at their October 16th Commission Meeting. 

2. Long Lake Township Draft Master Plan Zoning Updates to Increase Housing Options

At the Charter Township of Long Lake Planning Commission Meeting on Tuesday, August 22nd in the summary of the Plan Topic Area of Housing (page 24) which were presented at the Long Lake Township public open house on July 20th the following Zoning Updates to Housing were shared:

  1. Better define and regulate single-family dwellings as it pertains to second kitchens and guest suites
  2. Update multiple family development standards to require adequate pedestrian facilities, setbacks from parking areas, landscaping, and other design elements to raise the quality of living for residents.
  3. Revise standards for new developments: lower minimum acreage requirements, add incentives for sidewalks/trails, for deeper setbacks, roadside tree plantings or pollinator gardens.
  4. Update ordinance to allow for guest homes/accessory dwellings/tiny homes in appropriate locations with rigorous standards to protect the single-family residential character of the Township while expanding housing choice and providing missing middle housing opportunities. Such units not to be available for short term rental use.
  5. Allow for greater densities in locations where appropriate, especially within the North Village/Activity Center area at the time that appropriate infrastructure (including road capacity and safe intersections) become available to serve the higher densities.
  6. Revise regulations to support a more equitable, sustainable, and affordable housing stock:
    1. Preapproved house plans for accessory dwellings;
    2. Easier and faster development approval for uses by right;
    3. Removal of regulations that present roadblocks and raise development costs.
  7. Promote varied housing types, sizes, ownership/rental opportunities to help address the housing crisis in the Township
  8. Allow for the relocation and expansion of the existing mobile home park; higher density or smaller footprint of homes, or alternative housing types within the North Activity Center area.

A summary of comments received (page 27) at the public open house on July 20th were also shared which noted that items 3,1,4,6 and 2 were the favorite items of attendees and items 8 and 5 were the least favorite. There are still many steps before Long Lake Township may adopt their Master Plan as early as January, 2024. The process for the Long Lake Township Master Plan can be found here (page 33) to engage and provide your input as this process moves forward. 

3. Aspire North REALTORS Candidate Questionnaire for Traverse City Mayoral and City Commission Races

The Aspire North REALTORS Public Policy Committee, with approval from the Aspire North REALTORS Board of Directors, has prepared a Candidate Questionnaire which will be sent to all Traverse City Mayoral and City Commission candidates to complete TODAY, September 5th. This Candidate Questionnaire will help to inform our association and will be used for consideration of candidates for potential candidate interviews, endorsement, and/or financial support based on the candidate’s support of REALTOR-friendly issues. If you are a Traverse City resident, and RPAC investor at any amount, and are interested in being involved in the review of candidate questionnaire responses and potential candidate interviews, contact me ( or 231-947-2050).

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.