Greenbelt/Vegetated Buffer Strips


In single family residential areas, zoning ordinances will require a greenbelt, or vegetated buffer strip, with a minimum depth of 50' for new development or redevelopment on single-family residential lots along the shore of Lake Charlevoix.

Reasons for Recommendation

Maintaining shoreline greenbelts, or vegetated buffer strips, helps protect the water quality of the lake by cooling water, reducing shoreline erosion, slowing stormwater runoff rates, and filtering nutrients from stormwater before it reaches the lake. The use of native plants, woody shrubs, and trees, instead of lawn and other less pervious surfaces within the greenbelt allows for greater stormwater infiltration rates. Native plants often require less maintenance and are better adapted to local shoreline conditions. Including trees, shrubs, and other native plants helps develop an extensive, healthy root system in the greenbelt. These root systems stabilize banks and help prevent erosion from reaching the Lake. The elimination of lawns and prohibition of the use of herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers in the greenbelt reduces the potential for chemicals and nutrients to enter the lake. Chemicals and nutrients can disrupt natural food chains by killing organisms that act as food sources for fish and birds. Fish species can also be negatively impacted when added beach sand covers important lake bottom habitats like gravel, rock, and weed beds. Beach sanding is often futile due to natural shoreline processes and frequently results in the sand burying underwater habitat or being transported to adjacent properties.


7 out of 7 Township Zoning Ordinances around the Lake currently have a greenbelt/vegetated buffer strip – Charlevoix Township, Eveline Township, Hayes Township, Marion Township, South Arm Township, Bay Township, and Evangeline Township (modification is needed in most cases to meet all of the standards listed above)

Jurisdictions shaded green on the map below meet or exceed the recommended standard.