Fremont Community Joint Zoning Ordinance

Table of Contents

Chapter 4: Agricultural Districts

Article 2: General Agricultural District (AG-2)

Type of District: Traditional

Section 4-2.01: Purpose and Intent

This District is comprised of those areas where agricultural production and other rural-type activities exist and should be preserved or encouraged as the principal land uses within the foreseeable future. Large vacant areas, fallow land and wooded areas are also included in this District. The regulations of this District are designed to stabilize and protect the essential characteristics of the District without unduly restricting its use solely to that of an agricultural nature; however, large non-agricultural uses, such as housing developments and subdivisions, are discouraged from locating in this district, to minimize conflicts between agricultural production and non-agricultural uses, and also to preserve an agricultural land base for the production of a food supply. To these ends, development is limited to a low concentration and to those uses which would not be detrimental to future development.

Section 4-2.02: Permitted Uses

The following uses are permitted:


  1. Single-family detached dwelling
  2. State licensed residential care facilities, family homes


  1. General and specialized farming of agricultural products and agricultural activities, including the raising or growing of crops, livestock, poultry, bees and other farm animals, products and foodstuffs. Any building or structure may be located thereon and used for the day-to-day operation of such activities, for the storage or preservation of said crops or animals, products and collection, distribution, or processing, and for the incidental sale of crops, products and foodstuffs raised or grown on said parcel or in said building or structure.
  2. Storage, retail or wholesale marketing, or processing of agricultural products into a value-added agricultural product is a permitted use in a farming operation if more than 50 percent of the stored, processed, or merchandised products are produced by the farm operator for at least 3 of the immediately preceding 5 years.
  3. Cider mills or wineries selling product, in a tasting room, derived from crops grown primarily on site for at least 3 of the immediately preceding 5 years.
  4. Direct marketing of produce in a farm market, on-farm market, or roadside stand; provided they are no greater than 100 square feet in building area.
  5. Seasonal U-pick fruits and vegetables operations.
  6. Seasonal outdoors mazes of agricultural origin such as straw bales or corn.
  7. Food sales/processing of fruits/produce originating on the parcel.
  8. Uses 3 through 7 listed above may include any or all of the following ancillary agriculturally related uses and some non-agriculturally related uses so long as the general agricultural character of the farm is maintained and the income from these activities represents less than 50 percent of the gross receipts from the farm.
    1. Value-added agricultural products or activities such as education tours or processing facilities, etc.
    2. Bakeries selling baked goods containing produce grown primarily on site (e.g., minimum 50 percent).
    3. Playgrounds or equipment typical of a school playground, such as slides, swings, etc. (not including motorized vehicles or rides).
    4. Petting farms, animal display, and pony rides.
    5. Wagon, sleigh and hayrides.
    6. Nature trails.
    7. Open air or covered picnic area with restrooms.
    8. Educational classes, lectures, seminars.
    9. Historical agricultural exhibits.
    10. Kitchen facilities, processing/cooking items for sale.
    11. Gift shops for the sale of locally produced agricultural, and agriculturally related, products.
    12. Gifts shops for the sale of non-agriculturally related products such as antiques or crafts, limited to 25 percent of gross sales.
  9. Confined feedlots and livestock holding facilities (requires site plan review and Generally Accepted Agricultural Management Practice’s (GAAMP’s) compliance)
  10. Raising of fur-bearing animals or game birds (requires site plan review and GAAMP’s compliance)
  11. Wireless communication towers of under 75 feet in height
  12. Wireless communication antennas when attached to a lawful existing telecommunication tower, water tower or other structure

Section 4-2.03: Additional Uses Allowed By Special Use Permits


  1. Agricultural labor housing
  2. State licensed residential care facilities; small group homes provided the facility shall not be within 1,500 feet of another state licensed residential facility
  3. Open space cluster development of up to twenty (20) dwelling units


  1. Direct marketing of produce, farm market, on-farm market or roadside stand if the sales area is greater than 100 square feet in building area.
  2. Restaurant operations related to the agricultural use on the site.
  3. Agri-tourism which includes non-agriculturally related uses, such as the following ancillary uses:
    1. Small-scale entertainment (e.g., music concert, car show, art fair).
    2. Family oriented animated activities (e.g., fun houses, haunted houses, or similar) and small mechanical rides.
    3. Organized meeting space for use by weddings, birthday parties, corporate picnics, etc.
  4. Any permitted use that would require designated permanent parking for more than 20 vehicles.
  5. Agricultural service establishments
  6. Airports
  7. Campgrounds, public or private
  8. Cemeteries
  9. Commercial greenhouses and nurseries, when operated primarily as wholesaling operations and with limited retail sales (the sales area is less than 25% of the area of all structures)
  10. Commercial kennels
  11. Commercial extraction and processing of topsoil, stone, rock, sand, gravel, lime or other soil or mineral resource
  12. Equine boarding stable and training facility
  13. Essential Services
  14. Farm market
  15. Golf courses or country clubs
  16. Marina
  17. Municipal and public service activities
  18. Outdoor recreational facilities
  19. Shooting, rifle and handgun ranges
  20. Wastewater treatment facilities
  21. Wireless communication towers of 75 feet or over
  22. Place of religious worship
  23. Animal and/or Agricultural-based Therapy

Section 4-2.04: Permitted Accessory Uses

The following uses shall be allowed as long as they are accessory to a permitted principal use or as a permitted Special Use.

  1. Accessory buildings
  2. Home occupations
  3. Small excavations
  4. Roadside stands
  5. Ponds

Section 4-2.05 : Accessory Uses Allowed By Special Use Permit

The following uses shall be allowed by a Special Use Permit.

  1. Bed and breakfast
  2. Cottage industry
  3. Home-based business

Section 4-2.06: Parcel Standards

The following standards for parcels shall be complied with:

  1. Minimum lot area: 2 acres *
  2. Maximum lot area for new parcels: 5 acres
  3. Minimum lot width: 300 ft.
  4. Minimum front setback**: 75 ft.
  5. Minimum rear setback: 50 ft.
  6. Lot width to depth ratio: 1:4
  7. Minimum side setback***: 20 ft.
  8. Maximum lot coverage: 15%
  9. Maximum building height****: 35 ft. or 2-1/2 stories
  10. Minimum dwelling area: 600 sq. ft.

* Open space cluster development may reduce lot sizes

** 125 feet on state trunk line

*** May require additional setback from agricultural uses

**** Farm buildings or structures may be up to 120 feet in height, provided they are set back from the lot line by a minimum of fifty (50) feet.

Section 4-2.07: Permitted Lot Splits

  1. The maximum number of lots that may be created or divided shall be based on one division per ten (10) plus acres of gross land area of the parent parcel. The remnant of the parent parcel may be used for the construction of a single family dwelling provided the location of the dwelling does not inhibit agricultural production, wildlife habitat or existing natural features existing on the remnant parcel.
  2. A transfer of vacant property to an adjacent vacant parcel shall not be considered an allotted land division under this Ordinance.

Sliding Scale – AG-2 District

Area of Lot of Record Maximum Additional Lots Permitted
10 acres or less 0
Over 10 but less than 20 acres 1
20 or more to less than 40 acres 2
40 or more to less than 60 acres 3
60 or more to less than 80 acres 4
More than 80 acres 5
  1. In addition to the divisions allowed under the above table, every farm which contains a single-family dwelling existing before the date of this Ordinance shall be allowed to split a lot from the main farm acreage and thus create a new lot for the existing dwelling. This new lot shall comply with the provisions of section 4-2.08 below.

  2. The above regulations shall not cause the lot of record to be split in a manner which would violate the requirements for access and other applicable provisions contained in the Michigan Land Division Act, Act 288 of 1967, as amended. Any provision of this Ordinance not withstanding, the applicable jurisdiction is not responsible for any violations of this Ordinance or the Land Division Act.

  3. Splits and combinations of large parcels not intended for building between operating farms shall not be counted in the sliding scale allocation.

  4. Monitoring Lot Splits: Proper administration of this subsection must be established along with an official record containing the following information:

    1. A map indicating existing lots and parcel numbers.
    2. A register of land ownership.
    3. An historic register of land splits and combinations as made.
  5. The official map and register shall be maintained by the Zoning Administrator and/or Assessor and copies made available for inspection by the public.

Section 4-2.08: Agricultural Buffer

Any side or rear yard of any parcel used for non-farming use and abutting agriculturally used land in the AG-2 District shall be a minimum of fifty (50) feet and shall contain an agricultural buffer. In lieu of a natural open space area, fencing, densely planted vegetation or other similar barrier compliant with “General Provisions” regulations, may be used to reduce the agricultural buffer, but the buffer shall not be less than 25 feet in width.

Section 4-2.09: Waterfront and Wetland Setbacks

  1. A one hundred (100) foot waterfront setback shall be required for septic systems on lots adjacent to a lake, river, creek or stream. Such setback shall be measured from the ordinary high water mark of the body of water to the nearest point of the system.
  2. Within this waterfront setback, a minimum twenty-five (25) foot greenbelt shall be maintained parallel and immediately adjacent to the bank or ordinary high water level. Within the greenbelt, the Zoning Administrator may approve clearing of a space of no greater than ten (10) feet in width, selectively trimmed and pruned to allow for the placement of walkways, and/or for a view of the waterway. The walkway shall be perpendicular to the water. Individual trees may also be removed which are in danger of falling and damaging structures or blocking a navigable waterway.
  3. Grading or removal of vegetative cover shall not be permitted within twenty-five (25) feet of a wetland.

Section 4-2.10: Location of Parking and Parking Area Requirements

  1. Location of parking: The off-street parking facilities required shall be located on the same lot as the building they are intended to serve.
  2. Parking areas for Special Uses that are adjacent to a residence shall be a minimum of thirty (30) feet from the side and rear property lines, fifteen (15) feet of which shall be developed as a buffer zone for the entire length of the parking area. The buffer zone shall comply with the standards in Chapter 3, “General Provisions” of the Ordinance.
  3. See Chapter 3, “General Provisions” of this Ordinance for general parking area requirements.
  4. The amount of required off-street parking spaces for individual uses shall be determined in accordance with the following table:
Use Parking Requirements (UFA=Usable Floor Area)
Agricultural labor housing 2 per dwelling unit
Bed and breakfast establishment 2 plus 1 per guest room
Single-family detached dwellings 2 per dwelling unit
State licensed residential care facilities, family homes 1 per each 3 individuals computed on the basis of the licensing limits of the facility
State licensed residential care facilities, small group homes 1 per each 3 clients computed on the basis of licensing
Agricultural operations including general farming, truck farming, fruit orchards, nurseries, green houses, and usual farm buildings 1 per employee, plus 1 per each truck
Agricultural services establishments 1 per each two hundred (200) sq. ft. of UFA area, and 1 space for each service vehicle
Agricultural Tourism and Seasonal Agricultural Use For agricultural tourism and seasonal agriculturally related uses one space for each 200 square feet of retail area and one space for every 2000 square feet of outdoor related activities such as agricultural mazes, petting farms, outdoor play equipment, etc.
Airports 1 per plane that can be accommodated
Campgrounds, public or private 2 – 10’ x 30’ spaces for every campsite plus those for accessory uses
Cemeteries 2 spaces plus 1 space for each 400 sq. ft. of UFA for office spaces, plus that required for a caretaker’s residence
Commercial greenhouses and nurseries, when operated primarily as wholesaling operations and limited retail sales 1 space for each two hundred (200) sq. ft. of UFA, plus 1 space for each two thousand (2,000) sq. ft. of exterior sales area
Commercial kennels 1 per four hundred (400) sq. ft. of gross floor area, but no fewer than four (4) spaces
Commercial extraction and processing of topsoil, stone, rock, sand, gravel, lime or other soil or mineral resources 1 per employee, plus 1 per each truck
CAFO 1 space for each service vehicle
Cottage industry Will vary depending on type of industry
Equine boarding stable and training facility 1 per each 2 stalls; parking spaces shall be sized to accommodate vehicles plus trailers
Essential services 1 space for each service vehicle
Farm market 1 space for each two hundred (200) sq. ft. of UFA, plus 1 space for each two thousand (2,000) sq. ft. of exterior sales area
Golf courses or country clubs 2 per each hole for a par 3 course; 6 per hole for other courses plus those required for accessory uses as noted in the applicable districts
Home-based businesses No more than 2 spaces associated with business vehicles
Place of religious worship 1 for each three (3) seats in the main worship unit
Marina 1 space per 2 boat slips and 1 for each employee
Municipal and public service activities 1 space per each service vehicle
Raising of fur bearing animals or game birds 1 per employee
Roadside stands 2 parking spaces
Open space cluster development, up to 20 units 2 per dwelling unit
Outdoor recreational facilities 1 per each 3 participants or anticipated spectators
Shooting, rifle and handgun ranges 1 per shooting station
Wastewater treatment facilities 1 space per employee, plus 3 for visitors
Wireless communication antennas when attached to a lawful existing telecommunications tower, water tower, or other structure 1 space for service vehicle
Wireless communication towers of under 75 feet in height wholly owned and used by a federally licensed amateur radio station operator 1 space for service vehicles
Wireless communication tower s 75 feet in height or over 1 space for service vehicle

Section 4-2.11: Signs

  1. The following signs are permitted in the AG- 2 District:

    1. Agricultural Tourism and Seasonal Agricultural Use Signs: seasonal signs may be erected for limited periods of time during the year when retailing activities for a particular farm product is available to the public in accordance with the standards listed in this ordinance for temporary signs.
    2. One (1) monument sign of up to sixteen (16) square feet is permitted for Special Land Uses. Signs shall not exceed eight (8) feet in height. One (1) non-illuminated wall sign of up to sixteen (16) square feet may also be permitted.
    3. One (1) sign of up to eight (8) square feet for a home occupation, home-based business, cottage industry, bed and breakfast, or roadside stand.
    4. Political signs of up to six (6) sq. ft.
    5. Non-illuminated real estate signs of up to six (6) sq. ft. provided they are removed within ten (10) days after consummation of lease or sale of property.
    6. Non-illuminated trespassing, safety, directional, caution or announcement signs each not exceeding two (2) square feet in area or signs announcing the sale of produce each not exceeding six (6) sq. ft. in area.
    7. Name plates less than two (2) sq. ft.
    8. Road name signs and other signs established by state, county, city or township units of government when necessary for giving proper directions or otherwise safeguarding the public.
    9. Non-advertising signs under two (2) sq. ft. erected by any organization, firm or corporation that are needed to warn the public of dangerous conditions and unusual hazards including: caving ground, drop-offs, high voltage, fire danger, explosives, severe visibility limits, etc.
  2. Standards

    1. Signs shall be set back from the road right-of-way and from side property lines a minimum of ten (10) feet.
    2. Sign design shall respect the rural character of the District. As examples, sign colors should be natural and subdued and sign materials should be natural looking (e.g., wood and field stone vs. glossy metals and plastics).
    3. See Chapter 3, “General Provisions” for more sign regulations.