Building & Zoning

New Business | Building Permits | Zoning | Land Division | PlanningRental Housing


Before you commit to a building for your business-type (or commit to a business-type for your building), fill out any business applications, order business cards & letterhead, or contact the post office, you should confirm the address with the City Address Administrator. Do not assume that the address used by a former tenant was correct.  In following City Code, the City Address Administrator will also verify that the business-type legally conforms to the zoning district in which the building is located. For more information, contact John Beebe at (269) 273-1845 or For a detailed outline of the process for starting a new business in an existing building, refer to our New Business Page.

NOTE:  If the land for a prospective new business requires Land Division or a Boundary Change prior to Zoning & Building permits (below), please refer to the “LAND DIVISION” section further below…


The State Building Code, MRC 2009, is the adopted Building Code for the City of Three Rivers. Building, plumbing, and mechanical applications are processed through the City of Three Rivers.  Applications are available at City Hall, or online in our Building Department Forms folder (under “Forms and Ordinances”).  For quicker access to and more information on building permits for Three Rivers, please visit our building permits page <new!  If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Glenn Lindsey at SAFEbuilt (formerly Cornerstone Inspection Services) at: 269-729-9244 or visit for more information.

Do I Need a Building Permit?  Chapter 12 of the City Code regulates building and housing.

All permits for electrical work are issued by the State of Michigan. Applications are available at City Hall or online.



Chapter 30 of the City Code, The Zoning Ordinance, is designed to protect the public health, safety, and general welfare of the community and its people by establishing minimum regulations governing development and use.

The City is divided into use districts, “Zones”, and regulations are established in regard to location, construction alteration, and use of structures and land. To view the city’s Zoning Map, click the map to the right. If you have any questions concerning a specific property, please contact the zoning administrator.

Also refer to the city’s Zoning Code Cheat Sheet



To apply for the purchase of additional or division of land (e.g., from an adjacent property or property of interest), property owners must complete and sign a Land Division Application.  Once completed through page 2, signed applications can be sent to City of Three Rivers (attn: Assessor’s office) at 333 W. Michigan Ave., Three Rivers, MI 49093 or by email to  All land divisions must meet zoning, frontage and other requirements set forth in the city code and subsequent ordinances.  For questions concerning land division or the land division application, please call the City Hall Assessor’s office at 269-273-2337.



The City of Three Rivers Planning Commission is a state-governed, statutory board made up of city residents that works with other city residents, business owners, and property owners to review and recommend planning and zoning actions to the City Commission.  The board members make recommendations to the City on Special Exception Uses, Rezoning petitions and other Ordinance amendments, as well as conducting Site Plan reviews and other various Zoning Ordinance- and Master Plan-related decisions.  They typically meet 12 or more times each year, including regular monthly meetings and, if necessary, periodic special meetings.  For more information on how the Planning Commission functions, click here.  And for a complete schedule of Planning Commission meetings, refer to the city’s meeting calendar.



Chapter 13 of the City Code regulates the over 1,000 registered rental units within the City. Nine apartment complexes comprise the majority of the units. One to four family structures account for the remainder of just over 400 units.

All rental dwellings must be registered annually and are inspected biannually.