Kalamazoo's planning staff directs future growth and redevelopment in the City through land use planning and zoning to help create a better, more sustainable community. The work of the Planning Division is guided by the strategic vision and master plan for the city, which is reflected and implemented through the Zoning Ordinance.
The Planning Division supports the work of the Planning Commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals, as well as the Site Plan Review Committee and the Downtown Design Review Committee.
Plans & Studies
The Michigan Planning Enabling Act requires local governments in Michigan to prepare a Master Plan (sometimes referred to as a comprehensive plan or land use plan) and specifies what must be included, how it's approved, and who has authority over the plan. The plan must be assessed every five years to determine if updates are necessary. The basic elements of a master plan include a community background & description, goals and objectives, recommendations to reach the established goals, a future land use map, and a zoning plan. The goals set forth in the master plan are put into practice through zoning, budget allocation, community partnerships, and city ordinances.
Kalamazoo recently updated its master plan with the approval of Imagine Imagine Kalamazoo 2025 in 2017. City staff worked closely with neighborhoods, community groups, businesses, residents, students, and visitors throughout the process to get a plan that is reflective of our communities goals, vision, and values.
The City often collaborates with community organizations, neighborhoods, and the private sector on more focused plans for a specific area or to address certain issues in the community. A collection of all plans and studies is available here.
Neighborhood Enterprise Zones
The Neighborhood Enterprise Zone (NEZ) Program was established by Public Act 147 of 1992 to spur the development and rehabilitation of residential housing in communities. The program provides a tax incentive for the development and rehabilitation of residential housing and encourages owner-occupied housing and new investment in communities. More information about Michigan's NEZ program is available in the Fact Sheet or by contacting the Community Planning & Development Office at (269) 337-8044. Applications for Neighborhood Enterprise Zone Certificates are available on the State of Michigan website here.
Zoning & Land Use
Zoning and land use planning help promote growth and redevelopment in the City in a sustainable and orderly way. Descriptions of zoning districts, use regulations, and other detailed information is available in the Zoning Ordinance. You can view the City of Kalamazoo Zoning Map by utilizing the GIS Property Mapping Service. Select "Property Mapping" and then click the "I Want To" button and select "Change visible map layers" to toggle zoning districts and other information. You can also download a PDF version of the Zoning Map.
Information on common zoning topics:
- pdf Accessory Structure (177 KB)
- pdf Site Plan Review (183 KB)
- pdf Home-Based Businesses (179 KB)
- pdf Fencing (543 KB)
- pdf Fencing - Residential Examples (508 KB)
- pdf Driveways and Parking (168 KB)
Forms & Applications
Applications for special uses, amendments to the Zoning Ordinance, appeals, and other requests are available on the pages for the Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals. You will find all relevant forms and information about the review and approval process.
Planning Commission Forms and Review
Zoning Board of Appeals Forms and Review
pdf Paving Permit Application (290 KB)
pdf Application for Sign Permit (528 KB)
pdf Temporary Use Permit Application (213 KB)
For information on the Site Plan review process please see the Site Plan Review page.
Forms may be submitted my mail, email, or faxed to (269) 337-8513. All forms must be signed whether or not they are submitted electronically and the applicable fee must be paid prior to approval. Additional information is included with each application. If you have any questions or would like to discuss the details of a particular request please reach out to Pete Eldridge, Assistant City Planner at (269) 337-8806 firstname.lastname@example.org. .