Welcome and thank you for your interest in helping East Tawas grow!  This page is structured to put development resources in a convenient location.

The City of East Tawas encourages a preliminary application meeting to help answer questions and assure that the development fits with our planning and zoning, view our zoning map by clicking here.  Please review the checklist to see if you are ready to schedule a meeting.  Contact Stephanie Loew (989) 362-6161 or email sloew@easttawas.com. 

Applications fees can be made by mail to 760 Newman Street, East Tawas, MI 48730, over the phone by calling (989) 362-6161 (admin fee charged) or in person at our office located at 760 Newman Street, East Tawas.  We accept cash, check or credit card. The fee schedule can be accessed by clicking here and is also available on the fee link on the left side navigation bar. 

Any commercial permits must be approved by the Planning Commission which meets at the City Hall on the second Monday of each month at 7:00 pm.  Plans must be submitted no later than 3:00 pm on the Thursday preceding the meeting to be included on the agenda. 

The City is the first point of contact for development projects.  We will work with you to navigate zoning and a variety of other City related items such as water and sewer utilities.  Iosco County Building Department is the body that issues building permits, such as electrical, plumbing, occupancy etc. We encourage you to reach out to them early in your planning as well.  The Iosco County Building Department can be reached at (989) 362-6511 or visit their website at  Building Department (iosco.net).
Financial AssistanceOne of the biggest hurdles to development can be the cost. The City recognizes this and has developed a Urban program.  The Michigan Economic Development Corporation offers many services and may be able to assist with a grant or loan to bridge a finance gap as well.  The following links offer more information on these programs.
Urban Development Action Grant (UDAG) 
Michigan Economic Development Corporation

Development timelines
Site plan review 
Special Land Use Permit
Zoning Amendment
Zoning Board of Appeals- Variances

Site Plan Review Process 
A site plan review is required for all proposed uses and certain existing uses within the City where an alteration, addition, expansion, change or conversion constitutes an increase or reduction to the existing structure of more than 500 square feet or ten percent of floor area, whichever is less.  Site plan reviews are not required for individual single-family developments. Requests should be submitted 30 days in advance and an application fee is required. 
A preliminary meeting is held with the City Zoning Administrator in order to determine what issues will be discussed before the Planning Commission.  The Planning Commission's role is to ensure that the requested changes will not adversely affect the surrounding areas.  In addition to the preliminary and final site plan review requirements, all developments must adhere to the current design standards as adopted by the City Council. 

SPECIAL LAND USE APPROVAL Certain uses are permitted within the City of East Tawas.  Other uses are considered Special Land Uses and require a public hearing before the Planning Commission.  Final consideration by the City Council is also required and the entire application process takes at least 6 weeks.   An application and fee is to be submitted to the City 30 days before a Planning Commission meeting.  This gives both the City and applicant ample time for review and to publish a notice for a public hearing.

Property owners are encouraged to meet with the City Zoning Administrator before a public hearing is scheduled.  The purpose of the public hearing is to provide interested parties the opportunity to voice their concerns about the proposed project.  The applicant will also have an opportunity to give details and reasons why the special use is being requested. 

The Planning Commission's goal is to ensure that the neighborhood will not be adversely affected by the proposed use.  At the conclusion of the public hearing, the Planning Commission will make a recommendation to the City Council.  The Council will make a final determination regarding the special use requested.

Zoning Board of Appeals- VariancesThe Zoning Board of Appeals has the power to authorize upon appeal, specific variances for non-use standards. Non-use Standards:. Variances from lot area and with regulations, building height and bulk regulations, yard width and depth regulations, off-street parking, loading space and landscaping standards and such requirements shall be permitted only if a practical difficulty in complying with Chapter 14 can be demonstrated by the applicant. 

Non-use Variances must meet the following standards: 
  1.  The property for a permitted purpose. 
  2. The variance would do substantial justice to the applicant as well as to other property owners in the zoning district and a lesser realization than that requested would not five substantial relief to the owner of the property or be more consistent with justice to other property owners. 
  3. The plight of the landowner is due to the unique circumstance of the property. 
  4. The alleged practical difficulty has not been created by any person presently or previously having an interest in the property. 
  5. The Variance will not be contrary to the public interest. 
  6. The variance will not cause any adverse effect to property in the vicinity or in the zoning district in which to property is located. 
  7. The variance will be of a nature that will make vehicular and pedestrian traffic no more hazardous than is normal for the zoning district in which the property is located. 
  8.  The variance will be designed to eliminate any possible nuisance emanating there from which might be noxious to the occupants of any other nearby permitted uses, whether by reason of dust, noise, fumes, vibration, smoke or lights.