University Zoning Ordinance

Campus

1.00 - STATEMENT OF PURPOSE

1.1 The Board of Trustees of Michigan State University believes that regulations are essential to preserve the campus environment of spaciousness and landscape beauty, promote order and unity, and minimize congestion on the property governed by the Board, and to provide guidelines affecting the improvement thereof, the Board hereby adopts the following provisions:

2.00 - EFFECTIVENESS OF ORDINANCE

2.1 This ordinance became effective at 12:01 a.m. September 1, 1968. This Ordinance is coordinated with and becomes an integral part of the Campus Land Use Master Plan and all updates.

3.00 – AUTHORITY OF BOARD OF TRUSTEES

3.1 This ordinance is enacted by the Board of Trustees of Michigan State University pursuant to, and in accordance with, the authority and responsibility of said Board contained in the Constitution of the State of Michigan and Public Acts relating thereto.

4.00 – DEFINITIONS

4.1 The term “institution” pertains specifically to Michigan State University at East Lansing, Michigan.

4.2 The term “academic use” encompasses any building or portion thereof that is used for the teaching of classes, research facilities and administrative and operational facilities, or any similar function and use for the educational and research purposes of the institution.

4.3 The term “building” refers to principal-use and accessory structures, and all attached architectural elements including stairs, areaways, ramps, and retaining walls that are integral to the design and function of the building.

4.4 The term “accessory building” includes a subordinate building or portion of a main building, located within the same block or district, which is secondary in nature to the principal use.

4.5 The term “accessory use” refers to a use that is subordinate to the principal use within the same block or district, comprising purposes secondary in nature to those of the principal use.

4.6 The term “ground area of a block” includes all land from the centerline of adjacent streets and roads or abutting use area established by description on the Zoning District Map. Such lines may be established by curb lines, section lines, institution property lines, other property lines, or those lines as shown and described on the Zoning District Map which is a part of this ordinance.

4.7 The term “curb line” is defined by the back of curb on either side of a road that is used for the general movement of motor vehicles, and encompasses those existing or extended, but does not include the curb line of parking bays, bus turnouts or similar variations. If no curb exists, the location of a proposed curb will be considered as the curb line. All setbacks are measured from the back of curb.

4.8 The term “nearest roadway” means that road which lies nearest any side of a building that is used for the general movement of motor vehicles, and does not include service drives or related variations thereof.

4.9 The term “non-conforming use” includes any building or land occupied and used at the time of the original adoption of this zoning ordinance which use does not conform with the use regulations established therefore.

4.10 The term “coverage” refers to the amount of ground area covered by buildings within a specified block of land defined by the adjacent roadway centerlines.

4.11 The term “protected green space” includes any land area essentially kept in an open lawn, wooded or landscaped condition, that is free of parking and buildings, and reserved for the general use and enjoyment by students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the general public. Protected green space areas may include recreation fields, walkways, bicycle paths, bicycle parking, bridges, sculpture, pavilions, amphitheaters and other related structures that are compatible with the purpose of these areas.

4.12 The term “service use” refers to any building or land area that is primarily involved with utility services and functions, and other accessory uses essential to the operation of the institution.

4.13 The terms “story” and “story height” refer to that portion of a building that is included between the surface of any floor and the surface of the next floor above it.

4.14 The term “setback” refers to the dimension between a building and the adjacent roadway curb line.

4.15 The terms “footprint” and “footprint change” refers to existing buildings or the modification of any existing building’s footprint.

4.16 The term “material change to the campus landscape” refers to all new buildings. It also refers to new constructed site features deemed of significant impact to the campus landscape by the Zoning Administrator.

5.00 - GENERAL REGULATIONS

5.1 Footprint Change: The modification of any existing building footprint requires BOT review.

5.2 Material Change to the Campus Landscape: All new buildings require BOT review. Any non-building project that has a significant impact on the campus landscape, and not already covered by the BOT project authorization process, will be identified by the Zoning Administrator and referred to the Vice President and Secretary of the Board of Trustees for clarification regarding the need for BOT action.

5.3 Districts Established: In order to regulate and restrict the location of buildings and other structures erected or altered for specified uses, the campus is hereby divided into the following Zoning Districts:

AC-N North Academic District AC-C Central Academic District AC-S South Academic District R Residential District AR Athletic and Recreation District SE Service District N Natural Areas District AG Agricultural and Natural Resources District MU-N North Mixed Use District MU-S South Mixed Use District

5.4 Area Boundaries: The boundaries of Zoning Districts are established on the Zoning District Map attached hereunto and made a part hereof, and all notations, references, and other descriptions contained thereon are made a part of this ordinance.

5.5 Compliance: Except as herein provided, no land shall be used, and no building shall be erected, converted, enlarged, reconstructed, or substantially altered, which does not comply with the district regulations established by this ordinance for the district in which the building or land is located.

5.6 Essential Utility Services: Structures required in conjunction with the distribution and maintenance of essential utility services may be permitted in any location when approved by the Zoning Administrator (refer to Section 7.0 Administration), who shall submit a determination of necessity to the Vice President and Secretary of the Board of Trustees for clarification regarding the need for BOT action.

5.7 Except as provided herein, no buildings, roads or parking spaces shall be located in the Protected Green Space areas designated within the Zoning Districts as shown on the Protected Green Space map. The design of all elements proposed within the protected areas shall be approved by the Zoning Administrator. Such elements include walkways, bridges, sculpture, pavilions, amphitheaters, bicycle storage, essential utility services, storm water management features, and modifications to pre-existing disallowed elements such as parking lots, roads, and service drives. Expansion of existing buildings that abut Protected Green Space areas requires approval from the Zoning Administrator and shall be allowed only when other alternatives are proven to be unreasonable and when the expansion will only cause a minor change in the character of the Protected Green Space.

6.00 - DISTRICT REGULATIONS

6.1 “AC” Academic Districts: The following provisions shall apply to the Academic Districts AC-N, AC-C, and AC-S:

6.1.1 Permitted Uses: Permitted Uses for the AC Districts shall include the following Principal and Accessory Uses. All uses not listed are not permitted in the AC Districts unless otherwise provided for in this ordinance:

6.1.1.1 Principal Uses and Buildings:

  • Teaching facilities, including classrooms, lecture halls, instructional laboratories, and similar facilities used for general educational purposes.
  • Research laboratories, general student facilities other than student housing, faculty offices, public/private business incubators, and facilities for administrative and operational functions.

6.1.1.2 Accessory Uses and Buildings:

  • Surface parking and parking garages.
  • Uses and structures necessary for the operation of the principal uses and buildings.
  • Recreation fields and buildings.
  • Solar or wind power generation and storage.

6.1.2 Building Height Requirements:

6.1.2.1 All buildings shall be limited to six stories of occupied space plus any required rooftop equipment in Districts AC-C and AC-S, and to four stories of occupied space plus any required rooftop equipment in AC-N.

6.1.2.2 Teaching facilities shall be located in the lowest floors possible, and not above the fourth floor of any building.

6.1.2.3 Parking

6.1.2.4 Accessory buildings shall be no higher than necessary to accommodate the proposed use, and under no circumstances shall exceed the height of principal uses in the district.

6.1.3 Set Back Requirements: All buildings shall be set back a minimum of 40 feet from the nearest curb line of the nearest roadway.

6.1.4 Building Coverage:

6.1.4.1 Buildings shall not cover more than 30% of the ground area of any given block within the AC District unless otherwise specified herein.

6.1.4.2 Buildings shall not cover more than 35% of the ground area of any given block within the specific area defined by Red Cedar Road to the west, the CN Railroad to the south, the Residential District to the east, and South Shaw Lane to the north unless otherwise specified herein.

6.1.4.3 Buildings shall not cover more than 42% of the ground area for the block of land defined by South Shaw Lane to the north, Farm Lane to the west, Wilson Road to the south, and the Residential District to the east.

6.2 “R” Residential District: The following provisions shall apply to the Residential District:

6.2.1 Permitted Uses: Permitted Uses for the “R” District shall include the following Principal and Accessory Uses. All uses not listed are not permitted in the R District unless otherwise provided for in this ordinance:

6.2.1.1 Principal Uses and Buildings:

  • Residence halls and facilities used to provide associated services, such as food services, and health and wellness.
  • Multiple unit dwellings.
  • Primary schools, daycare centers, playgrounds, and other outdoor recreation facilities.

6.2.1.2 Accessory Uses and Buildings:

  • Limited academic uses.
  • Limited retail, recreation, and commercial uses to serve residents.
  • Other uses necessary to the operation of the principal uses and buildings.
  • Surface parking and parking garages.

6.2.2 Building Height Requirements:

6.2.2.1 Residence Halls: Height shall be limited to six stories plus any required rooftop equipment.

6.2.2.2 Accessory Uses and Buildings: Height shall be limited to three stories.

6.2.2.3 Parking garages shall be limited to six levels above and including the ground level.

6.2.3 Set Back Requirements: All buildings shall have a set back of a minimum distance of 50 feet from the nearest curb line of the nearest roadway.

6.2.4 Building Coverage: Buildings shall not cover more than 20% of the ground area within any given block in the “R” Districts.

6.3 “AR” Athletic and Recreation District: The following provision shall apply to the Athletic and Recreation District:

6.3.1 Permitted Uses: Permitted Uses for the “AR” District shall include the following Principal and Accessory Uses. All uses not listed are not permitted in the AR District unless otherwise provided for in this ordinance:

6.3.1.1 Principal Uses and Buildings:

  • · Facilities related to recreational, intramural, and sporting events.

6.3.1.2 Accessory Uses and Buildings:

  • Other uses and buildings necessary to the operation of the principal uses and buildings.
  • Surface parking and parking garages.

6.3.2 Building Height Requirements:

6.3.2.1 All buildings shall be limited to four stories in height or to the height necessary to accommodate the particular sport function and design.

6.3.2.2 Parking garages shall be limited to six levels above and including the ground level.

6.3.3 Set Back Requirements:

6.3.3.1 All recreation, intramural, or sport fields and courts shall have a set back of a minimum distance of 50 feet from the nearest curb line of the nearest roadway.

6.3.3.2 All buildings shall have a set back of a minimum distance of 65 feet from the nearest curb line of the nearest roadway.

6.3.4 Building Coverage: Buildings shall not cover more than 25% of the ground area within any given block in the “AR” District.

6.4 “SE” Service District: The following provisions shall apply to the Service District:

6.4.1 Permitted Uses: Permitted Uses for the “SE” District shall include the following Principal and Accessory Uses. All uses not listed are not permitted in the SE District unless otherwise provided for in this ordinance:

6.4.1.1 Principal Uses and Buildings:

  • Power plants, including solar or wind energy generation and storage.
  • Maintenance centers.
  • Water storage and treatment facilities.
  • Institutional stores.
  • Storage facilities.
  • Recycling facilities.
  • Office buildings.

6.4.1.2 Accessory Uses and Buildings:

  • Other uses and buildings necessary or similar to the principal uses and buildings pertinent to the operation of the institution.
  • Surface parking.

6.4.2 Building Height Requirements: All buildings shall be limited to six stories in height. The only exceptions allowed will be power plant chimneys, water storage, and similar accessory uses.

6.4.3 Set Back Requirements: All buildings shall have a set back of a minimum distance of 50 feet from the nearest curb line of the nearest roadway or from the edge of the pavement where curbs do not exist.

6.4.4 Building Coverage: Buildings shall not cover more than 30% of the ground area within any given block of the “SE” District.

6.5 “N” Natural Areas District: The following provisions shall apply to the Natural Areas District:

6.5.1 Permitted Uses: Permitted Uses for the “N” District shall include the following Principal and Accessory Uses. All uses not listed are not permitted in the N District unless otherwise provided for in this ordinance:

6.5.1.1 Principal Uses:

  • Permitted uses include observation, nature study, teaching, research and demonstration in Category I, II, and III Natural Areas as defined by the Campus Natural Areas Committee and shown on the most recent version of the MSU Campus Natural Areas Map and Zoning District Map.

6.5.2 Special Provisions: The Natural Areas District shall remain undeveloped. No buildings, roads, improved walks, utility, or other structures and alterations are permitted in the Natural Areas District.

6.6 “AG” Agricultural and Natural Resources District: The following provisions shall apply to the Agriculture and Natural Resources District:

6.6.1 Permitted Uses: Permitted Uses for the “AG” District shall include the following Principal and Accessory Uses. All uses not listed are not permitted in the AG District unless otherwise provided for in this ordinance:

6.6.1.1 Principal Uses and Buildings:

  • Program-related single-family dwellings.
  • Agricultural and natural resources research, teaching, and outreach facilities for plants and animals.
  • Farm areas for experimentation, teaching, outreach, and cultivation or production of plants and animals for institutional use.
  • Associated agricultural facilities not operated by the institution.

6.6.1.2 Accessory Uses and Buildings:

  • Other uses and buildings that are necessary to the operation of the principal uses and buildings, such as silos, wells, and pumping stations. Potable water storage and treatment, and maintenance facilities shall be allowed.
  • Surface parking.
  • Solar or wind energy generation and storage.

6.6.2 Building Height Requirements: All buildings shall be limited to a height of two stories, with the exception of silos and similar structures that are necessarily of greater height.

6.6.3 Set Back Requirements: All buildings shall be set back a minimum distance of 100 feet from the centerline of the nearest public roadway.

6.7 “MU” Mixed Use Districts: The following provisions shall apply to the two independent mixed-use districts, MU-N and MU-S:

6.7.1 Permitted Uses: Permitted uses for the MU Districts shall include the following Principal and Accessory Uses. All uses not listed are not permitted in the MU Districts unless otherwise provided for in this ordinance:

6.7.1.1 Principal Uses and Buildings MU-N:

  • Teaching facilities, including classrooms, lecture halls, instructional laboratories, general student facilities, and similar facilities used for general educational purposes.
  • Research laboratories.
  • Public/private business incubators.
  • Student and visiting faculty housing.
  • Faculty and administrative offices.
  • Health and wellness facilities.
  • Academic support.
  • Auxiliary retail services.

6.7.1.2 Principal Uses and Buildings MU-S

  • Research laboratories.
  • Public/private business incubators.
  • Student, faculty, and alumni retirement housing.
  • Administrative offices.
  • Health and wellness facilities.
  • Auxiliary retail services.

6.7.1.3 Accessory Uses and Buildings:

  • Surface parking and parking garages.
  • Uses and structures that are necessary to the operation of the principal uses and buildings.
  • Athletic/recreation fields and buildings.
  • Solar or wind energy generation and storage.

6.7.2 Building Height Requirements:

6.7.2.1 All buildings in the MU-N District shall be limited to six stories of occupied space plus any required rooftop equipment. Buildings within the MU-S District that incorporate parking, office space, and housing space are limited to eight stories of occupied space plus any required rooftop equipment.

6.7.2.2 Teaching facilities shall be located in the lowest floors possible, and not above the fourth floor of any building.

6.7.2.3 Parking garages shall be limited to six parking levels above and including the ground level.

6.7.2.4 Accessory buildings shall be no higher than necessary to accommodate the proposed use and under no circumstances shall exceed the height of the principal use buildings in the district.

6.7.3 Set Back Requirements: All buildings shall be set back a minimum of 40 feet from the nearest curb line of the nearest roadway.

6.7.4 Building Coverage: Buildings shall not cover more than 30% of the ground area of any given block within the MU-N District and 35% of the ground area of any given block within the MU-S District.

6.8 Non-Conforming Uses and Buildings:

6.8.1 Non-conforming uses: The use of any land area existing at the time of the adoption of this ordinance, or any amendment to it, may be continued although such use does not conform to the provisions thereof.

6.8.2 Non-conforming buildings: The use of any building existing at the time of the adoption of this ordinance, or any amendment to it, may be continued although such use does not conform to the provisions thereof. Such non-conforming use may be extended throughout a building.

7.00 - ADMINISTRATION

7.1 The Campus Planner shall serve in the role of Zoning Administrator and shall be responsible for the administration of this ordinance, the District Map, the Protected Green Space map, and the Campus Land Use Master Plan, all as hereafter amended and modified.

7.1.1 The Campus Planner is specifically granted authority to:

7.1.1.1 Assure that University projects are in compliance with the University Zoning Ordinance and Campus Land Use Master Plan, including Campus Planning Principles.

7.1.1.2 Approve the extension, reduction, revision, or interpretation of a zoning district or building coverage block boundary.

7.1.1.3 Approve the reconstruction of a non-conforming building that has been destroyed or partially destroyed.

7.1.1.4 Approve the erection and use of a building or the use of land in any location for an essential utility service, or allow for the enlargement, extension or relocation of these existing uses.

7.1.1.5 Interpret the provisions of this ordinance where the street layout actually on the ground varies from the street layout as shown on the Zoning District Map.

7.1.1.6 Determine whether the use of a planned building is permitted in the district in which it is to be erected, and whether the planned building will cause the ground area covered by the buildings to exceed the maximum percentage allowed within the block in which it is to be erected.

7.1.1.7 Approve the design of all building and site features, modifications, and improvements within Protected Green Space areas when a variance has been authorized.

7.1.1.8 Refer any specific request for a variance to the Vice President and Secretary of the Board of Trustees for clarification regarding the need for BOT action.

8.00 - AMENDMENTS

8.1 This ordinance may be amended through approval by the Board of Trustees.