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The Site Plan

In this course, you will learn about the nature and use of a site plan and how it relates to the requirements of the zoning ordinance. The course covers the definition of a site plan, site plan requirements, and the process of conducting a thorough site plan review. The site plan is often the last step in the review process prior to receiving a building permit. An approved plan, is what the public will see after construction, and once the plan is approved the regulatory agency must enforce the site plan through project completion.

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Course Info

  • Duration 11 video lessons (55 Mins)
  • Published Published
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Browse Course Chapters

  • 1. Introduction (1 min)
  • 2. What is a Site Plan? (2 mins)
  • 3. What is Included in a Site Plan? (8 mins)
  • 4. Site Plan Review (3 mins)
  • 5. When is Site Plan Review Required? (3 mins)
  • 6. Overview of the Site Plan Review Process (4 mins)
  • 7. Application (7 mins)
  • 8. Investigation and Site Plan Visit (10 mins)
  • 9. Site Plan Review Decisions (4 mins)
  • 10. Documenting Decisions (5 mins)
  • 11. Review Activity (2 mins)

Course Description

This course covers the definition of a site plan, site plan requirements and the process of conducting a thorough and accurate site plan review. Planning officials must be sure that the features presented by a developer in a site plan are in accordance with the zoning ordinance. Once a construction permit is issued, the site’s layout is no longer in control of the planning team. Because of this, site plans are professionally prepared and planning officials learn to take their time in reviewing each one.

After discussing the importance of the site plan review process, we discuss the common elements shown in a site plan that a planning official would need to compare to the language found in the zoning ordinance. These include the location of main and accessory building locations, topography, landscaping, infrastructure, lighting, signage and surrounding site features. While these are the features often required to be on a site plan, there are additional materials that can support the site plan review. We discuss the project narrative, special studies and visual aids.

Besides a discussion on what a site plan is, we also go into detail about what it is not. Planning officials must know when and how they can influence the development features of a particular site, and when this should be avoided. For this reason, this course largely focuses on each step of the site plan review process, the requirements for each and how to ensure that you are acting legally, ethically and effectively in your position as a planning official.

Learn these skills

  • Drawing & Painting
  • Land Use
  • Site Planning
  • Urban Design
  • Zoning Codes

Meet Your Instructor

Brad Neumann

Brad Neumann

Brad Neumann is a MSU Senior Extension Educator who serves as an educational resource for local and tribal governments across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

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