Definition and Protective Covenant Requirements
The following are the minimum requirements that must be documented during the Certified Business Park application process.
Approved Site Plan or Plat
The owner/developer will need to be in the preliminary stages of getting the entire park platted or have received local government approval of their site development plan.
- The site plan or plat should include the location and size of utility and road installations, right-of-way, lot lines, and acreage of each lot.
- The Land Division Act (formerly known as the Michigan Subdivision Control Act) regulates the separation of land into two or more small parcels. Any division of land that will result in one or more of the parcels being less than 40 acres (or the equivalent) is subject to local government review.
- The local governing unit must approve a site plan or plat and then gain approval of the plat from in the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. (Local developers and planning officials should have a copy of the Land Division Act on file.)
Graded and Cleared
Flat and level sites with few trees are the norm, but some companies have rolling sites that are somewhat wooded.
- A developer must determine to what extent grading and clearing detract from the natural beauty of the site.
- Sand or gravel heaps, knolls, bunkers, or excavations should be removed, leveled, filled, and the property graded.
- The CBP inspection team shall determine whether the park has met the grading and clearing requirement.
Access to the business park, and its interior sites is an important locational factor.
- There must be an all-weather road leading to the park, and an all-weather road inside the park, giving access to all interior sites.
- The 300’ minimum is intended for those parks being developed in phases.
For a high-quality development, assurance of reliable utility services is essential.
- All utilities, including a storm water control plan, must be readily available for tap-in.
- No special consideration will be given for parks in an area not serviceable by a municipality, as this should be an important factor in the planning stages by the community.
- In areas of the state where it is geologically not feasible for water and sewer line extensions, a letter from a geological engineer stating the reason for this inability might make the park certifiable.
- Property cannot be zoned for retail or residential use.
Protective covenants and/or zoning ordinance restrictions set a quality Certified Business Park (CBP) apart from or above an unplanned business development district. They give the owner/developer a great deal of voice in the type of buildings and uses that will be permitted in the park. As these restrictions are tied to the deed, it gives the owner/developer the legal right to enforce those restrictions and thereby maintain the high standards of the development. These restrictions also protect the investment of the purchasers by ensuring that only appropriate and attractive facilities will be located in their area.
Using Zoning Ordinances for Certification
In some instances, a municipality may have zoning ordinances covering the items required under the Protective Covenants section. If the business park does not provide for specific covenants, the zoning ordinance will be accepted if, in the opinion of MEDA and the inspectors, the ordinance provides similar protections for the site owners within the park as would be provided by specific protective covenants that meet the criteria listed below.
Protective Covenants and/or Zoning Ordinance Requirements
Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and the Michigan Economic Developers Association (MEDA) have determined that the covenants/zoning ordinances will at a minimum include the following:
- The park’s principal use is set aside for industrial, business, and high tech purposes (per the LDFA Act).
- The area of the park must be specified at the time of certification.
- This covenant may allow the developer to exclude certain types of industries from locating in the park.
Types of Building Materials
- All buildings must be constructed in accordance with all applicable laws, statutes, ordinances, codes, rules, and regulations of all governmental agencies which have jurisdiction.
- All buildings must be constructed to withstand the normal causes of deterioration with normal maintenance procedures.
- Previously used materials should not be incorporated into any building without the prior written consent of the developer.
- No temporary buildings are allowed on any grounds of the park.
- Buildings should be aesthetically pleasing, including finished in materials such as decorative, fluted or finished brick, block, wood, vinyl, glass or decorative metal on sides that face an exterior or internal road.
- In most instances, the developer will retain the right to review all site materials planned to be used to ensure that all other covenants are being followed.
- A landscaping, and continuous maintenance plan, is required.
- All lots will be seeded or sodded and shrubs and trees must be planted to maintain a park-like atmosphere.
- Sold or held areas must also be maintained as a lawn area within 25 feet of streets, roadways, and curbs.
- Areas that are disturbed (such as through excavation, grading, etc.) must be restored to the above standards within 6 months.
- Landscaping will be installed within one-year of the Certificate of Occupancy.
- All developments must meet state and local groundwater and watershed standards.
- Parking must be well maintained in order to reduce the noise, dust, and potholes.
- At a minimum, all parking areas, driveways, truck turnaround areas, and truck loading/unloading areas will be paved with concrete, asphalt, or other hard surface material.
Screened Outdoor Storage
- Business activities cannot be carried out beyond the confines of the building.
- In instances when outside storage is a necessity, an opaque fence or wall (that is architecturally compatible with the building’s finished materials), or landscaping will shield all outdoor items.
Location of Loading Docks
- Loading and unloading areas will not impede the public right of way.
- Design of the truck wells of the loading area will not encroach upon the required front yard setback line.
- Truck or rail docks should be located at either the side or rear of the building.
- Certified Industrial Park properties approved before 2000 may be permitted to maintain front yard truck wells or loading areas where they are required due to design and space limitations.
- Protective Covenants must state who is responsible for the constant supervision of the park’s covenants and restrictions, i.e.: owner/developer, municipality, or major property owners.
- In all cases, the management entity of the park will have the authority to enforce the covenants and restrictions on all tenants and future tenants of the park.
- Management must also maintain non-development and non-developable areas located within the park.
- Setbacks must be specified and no activities should take place within the setback areas.
- Sidewalks may be placed in the front setback.
- Parks are required to have adequate signage at the park entrance and interior streets.
- Entrance signs should be of high quality, compatible with the appearance of the park and be of a size that will present a professional image.
- Entrance signs must be free standing and may not be comprised of neon or flashing lights.
- Business signs identifying the person, firm, company, or corporation shall be permitted.
- Business signs must be permanent, may be of a freestanding nature, or attached to the building, except that the signs cannot exceed the height of the building.
- Business sign materials should be compatible with the appearance of the building’s finished materials.
- Outdoor advertising, billboards, neon or flashing lights are not permitted.
A copy of the protective covenants should be attached to each deed and signed by each new owner and the applicant shall certify that each owner from the date of this application forward shall execute a copy of the protective covenants at the time of property purchase.