Chapter 2: Ordinances to Protect Your Inland Lakes


The following local protection options are not exhaustive but instead provide an overview of some of the more commonly used provisions. As with any land use planning and zoning effort, the available techniques vary considerably in their degree of effectiveness. Some will require a substantial commitment on the part of the community to implement and enforce. Others may be relatively simple to enact, but not as effective. The techniques selected must be based on the community’s commitment to addressing resource protection priorities. Each of the techniques highlighted will also vary in their effectiveness depending on how they are written and implemented. For example, using Site Plan Review as a means to protect community identified sensitive features can be very effective if used in combination with other techniques, such as Open Space Development provisions.

Lakes in Michigan vary in many ways – natural characteristics (i.e. size, depth, shape, natural or man-made), level of development, and how they are used. Some lakes are very densely populated and others have a lot of property that remains natural. Some lakes have a sewer system surrounding them and others still have homes on septic systems. Even within a county there is large variation between lakes and it can be challenging to address lake protection based on those differences. One option is to have different standards apply to different types of lakes.

Additional Reference Material

State AgencyResource DescriptionResource Link
MinnesotaDepartment of Natural ResourcesMinimum Development Standards for Lake PropertiesClick here

Additional Examples of Ordinances to Protect Your Inland Lakes by Subject

1. Lake Districts/Overlay Districts

2. Natural Features Set Back

3. Site Plan Review Regulations

4. Stormwater Management

5. Open Space Zoning and Conservation Design Developments

6. Weed and Nuisance Plant Ordinances

7. Watercraft Ordinances

8. Lake Access Regulations

9. Invasive Species Ordinances

10. Septic System Ordinances

11. Wetlands Ordinances

Click here to proceed to Chapter 3.