Site Plan Applications and Review Process


Exemptions  |  Filing & Timing  |  Ordinances  |  Page Examples  |  Requirements


  1. file a Zoning Permit application
    – tip: this may be done with, or (preferably) prior to, item 3…
  2. review Zoning info & Site Plan requirements
  3. submit Site Plan application to City Hall (clerk’s office)
    – accompanied by site plan documents; refer to filing instructions
    – application fees are listed on the city’s fee schedule or you can
    estimate your fee using this PDF Table for submitting site plan materials.
  4. city Planning Commission will review and consider for approval

Note that a site plan review may not be required if you meet exemption provisions.  Details on the process outlined above …(as well as page examples, a handy self-check list, and additional information)… are provided below.

BUSINESSES (Current & New)…_

If you are a current business requiring site plan review for an existing building (e.g., expansion) and do not meet the city’s exemption provisions for site plan review, you can download your Zoning Permit Application HERE.  The application fee for a zoning permit is listed, along with others fees, on the city’s fee schedule.


Before any building permit can be issued, you (or your representative) will need to submit a site plan and before you submit a Site Plan Application, you must obtain zoning approval.

Please note:  a Zoning Permit Application must be filed prior to site plan review…

Zoning applications can be submitted (with payment) directly to SAFEbuilt, or through the Finance Department at City Hall.

Additional resources for new businesses are located on the city’s GTR webpage.


If you have preliminary plans or wish to discuss a potential project, conceptual reviews for general development (or redevelopment) projects may be requested as part of your zoning review form: here (and as mentioned above) — i.e., attach separate page(s) as necessary.  If you are a new business, please start by completing a NBZRA formAlternatively: you can email (or call 269-273-1845) to schedule a time with the city’s Planning & Zoning Liaison to discuss.


Site Plan Applications must be submitted through the Clerk’s Office at City Hall: 333 W. Michigan Ave. (49093).  Please do NOT submit Site Plan Applications to SAFEbuilt unless otherwise instructed.

All Site Plans must comply with the city’s Zoning Ordinance.  Submitted site plan documents (including drawings, exhibits and related materials) will normally be referred to the City of Three Rivers Planning Commission for consideration.  Plans may be approved or approved with certain conditions.*

Anyone may file a request for a site plan review by the City, provided the subject property is properly zoned for the intended use, which may be checked by physical address or parcel ID number (here)  …or, for new businesses, by way of our New Business Zoning Review App (here).

ALL SITE PLANS are to be filed at the City Clerk’s office with a completed application form (see pg. 9) and payment per the city’s current Fee Schedule.  You can also estimate the total cost for submitting site plan materials, including for multi-acre areas, using our downloadable PDF Fee Table.  Your application form with payment, as well as rolled prints of all site plan materials, must be received at least three (3) weeks prior to the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Planning Commission when your site plan will be reviewed.  Rolled prints must be submitted in the form of four (4) hardcopies of all site plan materials (including all drawings, exhibits and renderings).  Alternatively, three (3) hardcopies and one (1) searchable PDF copy can also be submitted at the City Clerk’s office.

_All submitted site plans need to meet the requirements of the City’s Zoning Ordinance (see next)…


For specific ordinances that are potentially relevant to review prior to site plan submission, please refer to the ordinance-specific requirements for each zoning district** (e.g., B-2, I-3,…), as well as other potentially-relevant ordinances pertaining to construction, new signage, landscaping, fencing, parking, lightingetc,.

For zoning ordinance requirements pertaining to building heights, floor area, yard setbacks and allowable lot sizes, please also be sure to be familiar with our Schedule of Regulations (e.g., Chart 3) that applies to ALL zoning districts.

** If you do not yet know which zoning district your site plan application applies to, please look it up on the City Zoning Map.  In addition, you may submit pre-application information online: here.


The following are specific exemptions for Site Plans that are otherwise required.  If you are not sure, please contact SAFEbuilt (269-729-9244), the City Clerk’s office (269-273-1075, ext. 106), or send an email to before proceeding.

  1. Single or two-family homes under separate ownership of an individual and separate lot for each home.
  2. Interior accessory and subordinate buildings, and additional buildings or structures similar to those previously existing upon an individual site which
    • require no new or additional means of access from adjoining public roads or highways
    • require no new or additional City utility connections
    • require no new or additional off-street parking
  3. Projects involving the expansion, remodeling or enlargement of existing buildings which
    • require no new or additional means of access from adjoining public roads or highways
    • require no new or additional City utility connections
    • require no new or additional off-street parking
  4. Uses, buildings and structures, and special exception uses which must meet their own review standards and procedural requirements under other provisions of this Chapter, such as planned unit developments and mobile home parks.

If a new business is being proposed, applicants are encouraged to first submit a no-cost, one-page New Business & General Zoning Review Application (NBZRA).

* Please note that, while submitted site plans can be approved conditionally and the Planning Commission has the ability to waive certain requirements, the City of Three Rivers does not administratively approve site plans for any new projects that involve the expansion, remodeling or enlargement of existing buildings.


Below are just a couple of sample pages from different site plans.  To view a more comprehensive example set of site plan materials, please view the contents of this Example Site Plan Pages folder — note: while the examples files provided herein are JPGs, the required format for Site Plans is PDF (preferably searchable) in addition to the required # of hardcopies; see details above.



Please note the following list includes most, but not all, requirements for site plan review.  For a complete list refer to the site plan review document*** beginning on page 4.

  • accurate and readily interpreted
  • property and buildings identified
    (showing floor and grade elevations)
  • prepared by registered professional
  • show all natural & man-made features
  • size of proposed main & accessory buildings
  • building heights and lot coverage (%)
  • streets, proposed driveways & sidewalks
  • vehicle and pedestrian circulation & signage
  • parking details, curbing, fire & service lanes
  • pavement markings and traffic control signage
  • north arrow and scale (see specific requirements)
  • fencing, landscaping, other alterations to topography
  • water supply, sanitary sewage disposal, storm water
  • exterior lighting plan including lamp types and photometric
  • waste receptacles and transformer pad locations
  • other ground level utility and mechanical equipment w/screening
  • building façade elevations indicating type and color of materials
  • roof design, projections, awnings, window openings, entrances
  • any building-mounted mechanical equipment
  • landscape maintenance plan (plantings, replacements, irrigation)
  • existing and proposed topography at 2-foot contour intervals
  • drainage patterns and description of grades within 100 feet of site
  • stormwater runoff (current vs. after construction & no net increase)

*** Tip: this same document also includes, for your convenience, a Self-Review Checklist beginning on page 6.  Alternatively… you can download the SELF-REVIEW Checklist as a separate document here.


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