Riparian Buffer

City Planning


(231) 922-4778

Project Timeline

Start: Spring 2024

Anticipated Completion:
Winter 2025

Riparian Buffer Committee Meetings

Learn More

Riparian Buffer Committee

The Planning Department has recently established a Riparian Buffer Committee, tasked with the exploration of possibly implementing a Riparian Buffer Ordinance. In February 2024, the City issued a call for up to four at-large volunteers, aiming for representation from Kid's Creek, Boardman/Ottaway River, and Grand Traverse Bayfront areas to join the committee. The committee will work alongside City staff and Planning Commissioners in this endeavor.

Riparian lands, for our purposes, are properties with frontage on an inland lake, river, stream, or Great Lakes. Riparian buffer is the naturalized area upland of the water’s edge, ordinary high water mark (OHWM) a lake, or edge of the streambank or riverbank.

The shorelines along waterbodies and rivers are part of an important ecosystem that is integral to fish habitats and water quality. Activities just below the edge of the water and upland of the edge of water impact these fragile systems. Well-managed riparian zones can also play a role in protecting erosion banks and promoting flood resilience. Maintaining riparian buffers is only one of many approaches to improving water quality and the larger ecosystem necessary to protect the watershed.

Committee Kicks Off April 10th

The Riparian Buffer Committee will kick off its first meeting on Wednesday, April 10, 2024 at 4 pm in the Commission Chambers.  At their first meeting, the committee will determine priorities, establish expected outcomes, determine resources needed, and establish a tentative meeting schedule.

Committee Objectives

  • Primary: Potential ordinance standards relating to riparian buffers and shoreline protection
  • Secondary: Potential public education regarding riparian buffers
  • Secondary: Management goals for City-owned riparian properties
  • Tertiary: Broad suggestions regarding related issues (i.e., storm water management, grading standards, tree protection ordinance, etc.)

Riparian Buffer Zones

Kids Creek

Grand Traverse Bay

Boardman Lake

Boardman/Ottaway River

Committee Members

Leslie Sickterman, Deputy Planning Director/Sustainability Coordinator
Marcella Massa, City Resident
John Williams, City Resident
Dan Cline, City Resident
Alice Bowe, City Resident
Shea O'Brien, Planning Commissioner
Anna Dituri, Planning Commissioner
Mitchell Treadwell, City Commissioner/Planning Commissioner

Staff/Departments: Engineering, Zoning Administrator, Planning, Parks & Rec, DDA, Department of Public Services

Advisory: City Attorney, Deb Hershey (Planning Commission Chair)