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 Department or Planning and Zoning Department.

Building Department FAQs

  • When do I need a building permit?

    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.

  • How long does it take to get a building permit?

    The Zoning Administrator (who works in the office on Thursdays and Fridays) looks over permit applications and sends them on to Professional Code Inspections in Jenison. You should hear from PCI in 7-10 business days (perhaps more for large, commercial projects).

  • Who do I call when I am ready for an inspection?

    Olive Township’s Building Department is comprised of three companies who have contracted with the township to perform the review and inspection of electrical, mechanical, plumbing and building work done in the township.

  • What type of house can I build?

    Every house in the Township must be of a minimum square footage of 960 with at least 700 feet on the main floor for a two-story dwelling. In addition, the house (not including a garage) must have a minimum width across any front, side or rear elevation of 22 feet. Roof trusses must be a minimum pitch of 4:12. In addition, every single family dwelling located in the township outside of a mobile home park must be constructed with an attached garage of at least 600 square feet in area. Finally, all residential construction must be in accordance with the Michigan Residential Building Code or the Department of Housing and Urban Development regulations.

  • What amount of support do my trusses need to have?

    The snow load in Olive Township is 50 pounds. Truss documents are required for all permits that are using trusses for part of their roof construction.

  • What type of footings can I use?

    Foundations vary for the type and size of the building being constructed. Check with the Building Official regarding the type of foundation that may be correct for the use.

  • What are the requirements for egress windows?

    Egress windows on the ground floor must provide at least five (5) square feet of net clear opening when fully open. Egress windows on the second floor must provide at least 5.7 square feet of net clear opening fully open. Any egress window must provide a minimum size of 24 inches in height and a minimum of 20 inches in width when fully opened. Height from the floor to the sill cannot exceed 44 inches.

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

    Type I or Type II handrails are required and stairs with 4 or more risers. Handrails must measure between 34 inches and 38 inches from the plain of the toes. Guardrails are required on decks that are over 30 inches from the finish grade to the walking surface of the deck. Guardrails must be 36 inches in height with openings not to exceed four (4) inches.

  • What size must I build my steps?

    Riser heights cannot exceed 8-1/4 (eight and one-quarter) inches and the tread must be a minimum of 9 inches. Nosing must be 3/4 inch to 1-1/4 inch. A nosing is not required on treads with an 11 inch tread or more.

  • How must I secure a swimming pool?

    Above ground swimming pools must have a minimum of 48 inches from the ground to the top of the pool. A removable ladder or a ladder that can be flipped up and locked may be used. In-ground swimming pools must have a four (4) foot minimum barrier surrounding the perimeter of the pool and have a gate that is self-closing and self-locking and must swing away from the pool. If the home is used as part of the barrier, all doors that lead to the pool enclosure area must have an alarm on them. The alarm must be loud enough that you will hear it from anywhere in the home.

Zoning Department FAQs

  • In what zoning district is my property located?

    The majority of lots in Olive Township are located in the RR – Rural Residential Zoning District or the AG – Agricultural Zoning District. Reference the Zoning Map for more information. If you are unsure after viewing this map, contact the Planning and Zoning Department to make sure exactly in what district your property resides.

  • How do I split my property?

    You need to speak with the Planning and Zoning Department to make sure you have splits available to you under the Land Division Act of the State of Michigan. If splits are available, you must maintain the lot width and sizes above.

  • Can I build a private road?

    Private roads are permitted, however, they must be constructed to our minimum pavement requirements.

  • What are my property line setbacks, minimum lot area and minimum lot width requirements?

    Setbacks, lot widths and area vary by zoning district. The most commonly requested are described in this table.

  • Where and how large of a pole barn, lean-to, shed or unattached garage can I build?

    These buildings are commonly referred to as “accessory buildings.” Their size and location depends on your acreage.

    Section 21.04 – Accessory Building Provisions

    A. Accessory buildings, except as otherwise permitted in this Ordinance when located upon a lot or parcel of property less than five (5) acres in area, shall be subject to the following regulations:

    1. Where the accessory building is structurally attached to a main building, it shall be subject to, and must conform to, all regulations of this ordinance applicable to the main building.
    2. Accessory buildings shall not be erected in any front or side yard, or a required rear yard.
    3. An accessory building shall not exceed more than twenty-five (25%) percent of a required rear yard, or forty (40%) percent of any non-required rear yard.
    4. The total floor area of an accessory building shall not exceed fifty (50%) percent of the living area of the principal dwelling on lots up to one (1) acre. Lots exceeding one (1) acre may have accessory buildings up to a maximum of fifty (50%) percent of the living area of the principal dwelling or three (3%) percent of the lot size, whichever is greater. These requirements are subject to lot coverage restrictions as specified in each Zoning District.
    5. No detached accessory building shall be located closer than twenty five (25) feet to any main or principal building nor shall it be located closer than fifteen (15) feet to any rear lot line. In no instance shall an accessory building be located within an easement or right-of-way.

    B. Accessory buildings, except as otherwise permitted in this Ordinance when located upon a lot or parcel of property five (5) acres or greater in area, shall be subject to the following regulations:

    1. Where the accessory building is structurally attached to a main building, it shall be subject to, and must conform to, all regulations of this ordinance applicable to the main building.
    2. Accessory buildings shall not be erected in any required minimum front, side, or rear yard and shall not be located within that portion of a yard that lies between a public or private road right-of-way or easement and a main or principal building.
    3. An accessory building shall not exceed more than twenty-five (25%) percent of a required rear yard, or forty (40%) percent of any non-required rear yard.
    4. Lots may have accessory buildings up to a maximum of three (3%) percent of the lot size. This requirement is subject to lot coverage restrictions in each Zoning District.
    5. No detached accessory building shall be located closer than twenty five (25) feet to any main or principal building. In no instance shall an accessory building be located within an easement or right-of-way.
  • Can I have horses on my property?

    Yes, but you must have enough acreage. For horses, sheep, cows, chickens, ducks, hogs and the like that are kept as pets or used for 4H, the maximum amounts are provided below.

    One (1) animal for the first 2.5 acres.
One (1) animal for each acre after, with a maximum of four (4) animals.

  • Can I dig a pond on my property?

    Yes, however, you must receive approval from the Planning and Zoning Department. Pond Permit Application

  • Can I operate a business out of my house?

    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 Planning and Zoning Department to determine if the proposed home occupation would be compliant with the Zoning Ordinance and if it can be approved by staff or requires a special use permit from the Township Board of Trustees.

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

    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 Planning and Zoning Department for specific information.