Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

You will find answers to numerous frequently asked questions within this page. These answers provide information regarding frequent questions and should not be considered a complete illustration of all of the requirements that may apply nor does this page necessarily provide all specifics related to building and zoning. If you do not find your answer, or require further information, please contact the building and zoning department anytime.

Building Department FAQs

Q - When do I need a building permit?

A - Building permits are necessary for any new construction, including but not limited to, new housing, pole barns, sheds, lean-tos, garages, decks, pools and fences. Other improvements that require a building permit include alterations or additions. If you remain unsure about whether or not you need a permit, contact the building department.

Q - What type of house can I build?

A - Every house in the Township must be of a minimum square footage of 1,080, with at least 800 feet of the 1,080 on the main floor. In addition, 50% of the longest side of the house (not including a garage) must have a depth of 22 feet. Finally, all residential construction must be in accordance with the Michigan Residential Building Code or the Department of Housing and Urban Development regulations.

Q - What amount of support do my trusses need to have?

A - In this area of the state, specifically Robinson Township, a 40 pound live load and 10 pound dead load are necessary to meet the requirements of the State.

Q - What type of footings can I use?

A - There are three types presented below:

1) Block Wall Foundation - set below frost, 32 inches to the bottom of the footing, 8 inches showing above grade.

2) Poured Wall - set below frost, 32 inches to the bottom of the footing, 8 inches showing above grade.

3) Monolithic Pour - Twenty-four (24) inches to frost, 8 inches on bottom

Q - Can I dig a pond for backfill for my house?

A - Refer to the Zoning Department FAQs below.

Q - What are the requirements for egress windows?

A - Egress windows on the ground floor must provide at least five (5) square feet of clear space when open. Egress windows on the second floor must provide at least 5.7 square feet of clear space when open. Any egress window must provide a minimum size of 24 inches in height by 30 inches in width and must be no higher than 44 inches from the floor to the sill.

Q - What types of handrails and guardrails are necessary on steps or decks?

A - Handrails must be 30 to 40 inches from the ground surface of each step. Guardrails must be 36 inches with spindles of four (4) inches of clear space.

Q - What size must I build my steps?

A - The rise of steps can not exceed 8 1/4 (eight and one-quarter) inches and the run can not be less than 9 inches, with one (1) inch nosing.

Q - How must I secure a swimming pool?

A - Above ground swimming pools must have a removable ladder or a lockable gate. In-ground swimming pools must have a four (4) foot barrier surrounding the perimeter of the pool and have lockable doors or gates.

Q - What are my setbacks?

A - Refer to the Zoning Department FAQs below.

Q - What are the size regulations for pole barns, sheds, lean-tos or unattached garages?

A - Refer to the Zoning Department FAQs below.

Zoning Department FAQs

email: zoning@robinson-twp.org

Q - In what zoning district is my property located?

A - The majority of lots in Robinson Township are located in the RR - Rural Residential Zoning District or the A-1 - Agricultural Zoning District. You can reference the Zoning Map available in the Building and Zoning Documents page of this website. If you are unsure after viewing this map, contact the zoning department to make sure exactly in what district your property resides.

Q - What are the minimum lots sizes to build a house?

A - Minimum lot sizes depend on the zoning district in which you are located. There are several zoning districts, however, there are three primary districts in which housing is commonly built. They are provided below, with minimum lot size.

1) Rural Residential (RR) - 250' x 330'

2) One-Family Residential (R-1) - 150' x 250'

3) Agricultural (A-1) - 250' x 330'

Q - How do I split my property?

A - First, you need to speak with our Assessor to make sure you have splits available to you under the Land Division Act of the State of Michigan. Following, if splits are available, you must maintain the lots sizes above, with one dimension on a road and the other perpendicular to the first (Yes, the sizes can be interchanged).

Q - Can I build a private road?

A - Private roads are permitted, however, they are only allowed in the Rural Residential, One-Family Residential and Multiple-Family Residential zoning districts. All new lots in the Agricultural district must be on a public road.

Q - What are my property line setbacks?

A - Setbacks vary by zoning district and the date of creation for a lot. They are described below:

1) Rural Residential

New lots - 75' front, 20' sides, 25' rear

Lots created before November of 1995 that meet certain dimensions - 40' front, 15' sides, 20' rear.

2) One-Family Residential

New lots - 75' front, 20' sides, 25' rear

Lots created before November of 1995 that meet certain dimensions - 40' front, 15' sides, 20' rear.

3) Agricultural

New lots and lots created before November of 1995 - 75' front, 25' sides, 25' rear

Q - What are my property line setbacks in the Village of Robinson?

A - New lots - 75' front, 20' sides, 25' rear. Lots created before 1995 - 40' front, 15' sides, 20' rear. Further setbacks include, 10' sides for accessory buildings, 10' rear for accessory buildings.

Q - Where is the Village of Robinson?

A - The Village of Robinson includes those properties on Todd Street, Clark Street, Eastman Street, Barnard Street, the north side of Pingree Street, the west side of Monroe Street and those properties on the south side of Buchanan Street between 120th Avenue and Monroe Street.

Q - How large of a pole barn, lean-to, shed or unattached garage can I build?

A - These buildings are commonly referred to as “accessory buildings.” Depending on what zoning district your property is located within, sizes will vary. The commonly inquired districts are provided below.

1) Rural Residential - Lots in RR are permitted a maximum of 1,000 square feet per acre or 1,200 square feet, whichever is larger.

For example, if you have only 1 acre in RR, you would be permitted the 1,200 square feet because that is larger than 1 acre = 1,000 square feet. If you have 4 acres, you are permitted a maximum of 4,000 square feet as 4 acres x 1,000 = 4,000 square feet.

2) Agricultural - Lots in the RR district are permitted the same maximum requirements as the Rural Residential district listed above.

3) One-Family Residential (R-1) - Lots in the R-1 district are permitted a maximum size of 1,200 square feet, or 5% of the lot area, whichever is smaller.

For example, if your lot is 20,000 square feet, you would calculate the following:

Maximum size = 20,000 * .05, which equals 1,000.

This number is smaller than 1,200, so your maximum size is 1,000 square feet.

For an additional example, if your lot is 40,000 square feet, you would calculate the following:

Maximum size = 40,000 * .05, which equals 2,000.

This number is larger than 1,200 square feet, so your maximum size is 1,200 square feet as 1,200 square feet is smaller.

Q - Where can I build an accessory building?

A - An accessory building can be built anywhere within a lot as long as setbacks are met. Including the setbacks listed above, an additional setback includes 20 feet from any other building.

Q - Can I build my accessory building in front of my house?

A - Yes, as long as setbacks are met.

Q - Can I have horses on my property?

A - Yes, but you must have enough acreage. For new horses, the amounts below are permitted per zoning district.

1) Rural Residential - For parcels under 5 acres in size, the amount of land area devoted to the first horse must be 2 acres. For each additional horse, 1/2 acre of area must be devoted to the horse. For parcels over 5 acres, there is no limit or area requirements.

2) Agricultural - For any parcels, there are no limits or area requirements.

3) One- Family Residential - For parcels under 20 acres in size, the amount of land area devoted to the first horse must be 2 acres. For each additional horse, 1/2 acre of area must be devoted to the horse. For parcels over 20 acres, there is no limit or area requirements.

Q - Can I dig a pond on my property?

A - Yes, however, you must receive approval from the Board of Trustees. An application is available on the Building and Zoning Documents page of this website.

Q - Can I operate a business out of my house?

A - Yes, however, home occupations are only permitted if in accordance with the Zoning Ordinance. If you have an interest in a home occupation, contact the zoning department. All home occupations must register with the Township by completing our free registration form.

Q - How do I start a business that is not a home occupation?

A - Businesses must be placed in the correct zoning district and must receive recommendation by the Planning Commission and ultimate approval by the Board of Trustees. Please contact the building department for specifics.

Q - What are the regulations regarding political signs?

A - State Statute provides that, on Election Day, no political sign may be within a polling place or within 100 feet of the entrance to the building of a polling place. Robinson Township provisions provide that, signs for political advertising are temporary and not illuminated. They may not exceed six (6) square feet in area. All political signs must be removed within ten (10) days after the election with which they are concerned. These signs do not require a permit form the Township. Signs are not permitted in any public right-of-ways.