Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions relative to each Department are also available on that Department's home page.
When dealing with a current assessment year (following calendar year after April) please come talk to us. We will be happy to review your property with you.
When dealing with a roll that has been finalized by the assessing department (after you receive your change notice in February) your first step is to appeal to the March Board of Review. Our office will provide the forms, but it is up to you to present your case, even if you appeal in writing, so please support your claim. The Board of Review will notify you in writing with their decision. If you find their decision unsatisfactory, you may further appeal to the Michigan Tax Tribunal. Contact information for the MTT will be provided along with the Board of Review decision. IMPORTANT: For residential and agricultural properties, you may NOT appeal to the MTT on a valuation dispute unless you appeal to the March Board of Review.
For tax years 2006-2009, P.A. 13 of 2006 allows the July and December Boards of Review to correct errors of "incorrectly reported and omitted property". The ability of the July and December Boards of Review to make these changes will end with the 2009 year, absent of an amendment to the law; however the Michigan State Tax Commission always has the ability to make these changes under MCL 211.154. Please review your valuation statement, and if such an error has occurred we would be happy to assist you with the 154 petition process.
IMPORTANT: Applies only to real property or to a personal property assessment based on a timely filed statement. The STC refuses to amend personal property assessments where a statement was not filed as required by law.
All businesses with tangible assets within a local jurisdiction are required by law to file a Personal Property Statement with that jurisdiction by February 20 of that year. This statement is the basis for your personal property assessment. Garfield Township will accept these statements through the close of the March Board of Review, and petition the Board of Review on your behalf to accept these statements as filed. In the absence of a timely filed statement, we are required by law to place an assessment on the property based on our reasonable estimate of the value of the business assets. In most cases, these will begin with reported values of similar businesses. Statements received after the close of the March Board of Review will not be accepted for that year, but will be entered as a starting base for the following year should we not receive one in that year requiring another estimate.
IMPORTANT: If you do not timely file a statement, the assessed value can not be changed for that year, even if you subsequently file.
Fees vary from project to project, so please give us a call and we'll help you determine what any applicable building permit fees for your project will be.
In residential areas a building permit is not required for a detached accessory structure under 200 square feet. In commercial areas, anything under 120 square feet does not require a building permit. However, as always contact the zoning department regarding their requirements.
Yes, unless the pool is prefabricated and less than 24 inches deep. We have a swimming pool requirement booklet in our office to aid you in your project.
Any deck over 30 inches above grade will require a building permit regardless of overall square footage. You will also need to contact the zoning office regarding their requirements. We have an extremely helpful deck booklet that covers all the requirements you will need to aid you in your project.
August 7, 2018 is the State Primary
November 6, 2018 is the State General election.
Please see the Precinct Map to identify your voting location.
Garfield Township has six precincts. Your precinct location is determined by your address. You vote at the same place for all elections. Refer to voting precinct maps on our website, follow this link to the Secretary of State information center, or you may call the clerk's office for a new voter registration card which gives the name and location of your voting precinct.
Please follow this link to the Secretary of State information center, where you will be asked to input your information. If you are registered to vote, it will tell you your voting location. You may also call the Township Clerk to determine if you are registered to vote in the Township.
Due to the size of our population, the Michigan DEQ prohibits open burning in the Township. According to the DEQ, "Open Burning" is the burning of unwanted materials such as paper, trees, brush, leaves, grass, and other debris where smoke and other emissions are released directly into the air. During open burning air pollutants do not pass through a chimney or stack. Accordingly, burning of yard waste, even in burn barrels, is prohibited.
The law does provide that Townships may enact ordinances authorizing open burning if the ordinance is approved by the Michigan DEQ. However, such an ordinance is not currently in place in Garfield Township. If sufficient interest is shown in this issue, the Township Board may look into enacting an open burning ordinance. Please contact us and express your support or non-support of an open burning ordinance.
Alternatives to burning do exist! Composting yard waste and using leaves and grass clippings for mulch is an excellent way to get rid of the material and create natural fertilizer. Compost piles are simple to begin and maintain, and take up relatively little space.
Brush, leaves, stumps, Christmas trees, etc. can be dropped off at the G.T. County Composting facility located on Keystone Rd. Contact the Township for hours of operation.
Click on the 5 County Rental Guide for more information.
The Township has a variety of commissions and Boards such as Parks and Recreation, Zoning Board of Appeals, Planning Commission etc..
The Board and Commission members are usually appointed/re-appointed each December.
Occasionally, a member moves or is no longer able to serve and an appointment may need to be made at that time.
If you are interested in serving on a Board or Commission, please fill our this form and send to the to the attention of Chuck Korn, Supervisor, 3848 Veterans Drive, Traverse City, MI 49684. We will keep your name on file should an opening come up.
7:30 am to 6:00 pm, Monday through Thursday. Closed Fridays.
You will find the submittal deadline dates on the Forms and Application page.
Please come in and speak with us. A successful request for rezoning depends upon a number of factors, including the Future Land Use Plan, the land uses presently surrounding your property, and the existing zoning in the vicinity. Although nothing is certain, we can try to give you an idea on if the Planning Commission will be agreeable to your request.
Because of state law, all rezoning requests require multiple steps and a number of months to process. Your request will first be considered by the Township Planning Commission who may recommend to the Township Board whether the request should be approved. The Township Board is the ultimate authority in granting a rezoning request.
It depends on what type of future land use is identified in the Comprehensive Plan. The Comprehensive Plan identifies varying intensities of future residential and commercial areas, on which rezoning decisions are based. For example, if the Comprehensive Plan calls for medium-density residential in your area, it's unlikely that a request for rezoning to commercial will be granted.
Please contact our office to get the latest fee schedule at 941-1620.
All persons are eligible to request a zoning ordinance text amendment. Following a formal application and deposit of a $1,000.00 nonrefundable fee, the Township and County Planning Commissions will consider the proposed amendment, and recommend approval or denial of the text (including any changes) to the Township Board. The Township Board is the ultimate authority in granting a zoning ordinance text amendment request.
Uses permitted within your particular zoning district are identified in the Zoning Ordinance. Uses that are permitted "By Right" (including signage) are reviewed and approved through the Zoning Department, while uses that are permitted by "Special Use Permit" undergo a more thorough review by the Planning Department and Planning Commission.
Land division requests are processed by the Zoning and Assessing Departments. Please contact the Zoning Administrator.
Because of potential adverse impacts upon nearby properties, some uses are listed as Special Uses. The Special Use review criteria gives the Planning Commission additional authority on ensuring that the use will not be a nuisance to neighboring properties, including the ability to require significant site plan modifications such as additional landscaping or lowered lighting levels. Unlike a use that is permitted By Right, the Planning Commission is not obligated to approve a request for a Special Use Permit.
An application for Special Use Permit requires introduction to the Planning Commission, followed by a public hearing before the Planning Commission, followed by review and approval or refusal of the application by the Planning Commission. At a minimum, this process will take two meetings of the Planning Commission - one to introduce the application and schedule it for public hearing, and one to hold the public hearing and deliberate on the application. More meetings may be required if the Planning Commission is not satisfied with the information presented or if they require additional time to review the application and render a decision. Because of the number of meetings and public notifications required by law, the application will take at least one month to process, and often more.
As noted above, approval of an SUP application is not guaranteed.
There are multiple options available for you to use when paying your property taxes. Some have fees attached, due to bank charges that cannot be absorbed by the Township. Here is a brief description of each payment option.
- Cash or check—Pay in person at the Township offices during regular business hours (Monday through Thursday 7:30am to 6:00pm, CLOSED FRIDAYS) or send by mail to the Township, or leave in our secure gray drop box located by the front door of the Township offices building.
- Credit Card or Debit Card—Pay with your VISA, MasterCard, Discover Card or American Express Card using one of these methods. A 3% convenience fee will be added.
- Use the Township website to pay online anytime. Go to the Township website: www.garfield-twp.com then click the link “pay your taxes here” and follow the instructions.
- At the Township Treasurer’s Office you can pay with your credit card in person during regular Township office hours.
- Electronic withdrawal from checking account—Pay by electronic withdrawal from your checking account:
- online ONLY at Township website: www.garfield-twp.com
Yes. Garfield Township is able to provide our taxpayers with the ability to pay taxes with a credit card or debit card. Cards accepted are VISA, MasterCard, Discover Card or American Express. There is a 3% or $2.00 min convenience fee charged for this service. Pay online now by clicking here.
Yes. Click on the green button that says "Click Here for Property Info". You may need to create a user name and password that will identify you as the owner of the property. One parcel # can be assigned free look ups with each user id. If you want to look at more than one parcel #, there is a $2 per parcel look up fee.
If you are in need of financial assistance, there are some things that we can check to see if you might qualify for some help:
- Summer deferment - If you qualify, this option extends the due date for summer taxes from September 14th to February 14th of the next year. Using this option makes both summer and winter taxes due at the same time (Feb.14) with no penalty or interest if paid by that date. Contact the Treasurer's office to see if you qualify.
- Hardship exemption - if your income is below a certain level, you may qualify to have a portion of your taxes exempt. You must contact the assessing office to see if you qualify.
- There may be other types of exemptions available. You must contact the assessing office to determine your eligibility.
2018 Millage Rates
100% Homestead: summer = 18.7991 winter = not currently set
Non-Homestead: summer = 36.7991 winter = not currently set
2017 Millage Rates
100% Homestead: summer = 18.6793 (Winter rate 8.8017)
Non-Homestead: summer = 36.6793 (Winter rate is 8.8017)
2016 Millage Rates
100% Homestead: summer = 18.7665 (winter rate 8.8029)
Non-Homestead: summer = 36.7665 (winter rate 8.8029)
2015 Millage Rates
100% Homestead: summer = 18.7755 (winter rate 8.8747)
Non-Homestead: summer = 36.7755 (winter rate 8.8747)
2014 Millage Rates:
100% Homestead = summer - 18.8155 (winter rate 9.7512)
Non-Homestead = summer - 36.8155 (winter rate 9.7512)
2013 Annual Millage Rates:
100% Homestead = 28.4715 (summer = 18.8205 & winter = 9.6510)
Non-Homestead = 46.4715 (summer = 36.8205 & winter = 9.6510)
2012 Annual Millage Rates:
100% Homestead = 27.4657 (summer = 18.8305 & winter = 8.6352)
Non-Homestead = 45.4657 (summer = 36.8305 & winter = 8.6352)
2011 Annual Millage Rates:
100% Homestead = 27.4633 (summer = 18.8305 & winter = 8.6328)
Non-Homestead = 45.4633 (summer = 36.8305 & winter = 8.6328)
2010 Annual Millage Rates:
100% Homestead = 27.724 mills (summer = 18.7955 & winter = 8.9285)
Non-Homestead = 45.724 mills (summer = 36.7955 & winter = 8.9285)
Taxes are based upon Taxable Value. 1 mill equals $1. per $1,000. of taxable value.
All taxes billed are for the period of January 1 through December 31. The taxes are collected in two portions (summer and winter) to make it easier on the taxpayer. Different taxing authorities collect at different times. For instance, the Traverse City Area Public Schools collect their portion of tax dollars on the summer tax bill, but are not listed on the winter tax bill. The Fire Department collects its portion of tax dollars on the winter tax bill, but are not listed on the summer tax bill.
It is the right of every property owner to appeal the assessed value of your property. There is one time each year during the March Board of Review in which you can make your appeal, either in person or by letter. Click here for helpful info on how to make your appeal.
There are two types of personal property taxes.
- Business personal property taxes are assessed to business owners on the assets they use to operate their business. A business needs to report assets to the Township once a year on the annual Personal Property Statement. These statement forms are mailed to all businesses in the township once a year in December. They must be returned to the assessing office no later than February 20th each year. Personal property taxable value is determined from the statement. If you need help to complete your statement, one of our assessors would be happy to assist you.
Here is a helpful brochure for business owners about personal property taxes. Operating a business in Garfield Township Brochure
- Mobile Home personal property taxes - If you own a mobile home that is located in Garfield Township, you may be assessed personal property taxes on any shed, porches or other outbuildings located near your mobile home.
Here is a helpful flyer for mobile home owners regarding personal property taxes. Personal property taxes for mobile home owners flyer
For the purpose of personal property taxes, "tax day" is December 31st of each year. If your business is operational on this day, then you will be assessed personal property taxes for the whole next year. As a business owner, if you are planning to go out of business, it is best to do so before Dec. 31st.
If your commercial business qualifies and has assets with a true cash value under $80,000, you may possibly qualify for an exemption. You must contact our Assessing Department to determine your eligibility and complete the necessary paperwork.
The Township did not sign HOA documents and is not a participant in that private agreement. Meeting particular subdivision or condominium restrictions is the responsibility of the property owner and his/her builder.
The Charter Township of Garfield Township Zoning Ordinance is designed to implement and be consistent with the goals, objectives, policies, and strategies of the adopted master plan through complete, integrated, effective, and concise land development regulations.
The zoning and land-use regulations set forth in ARTICLE 2, Definitions, and ARTICLE 3, Zoning, of this ordinance promote the public health, safety, morals, or general welfare of the state, the region, and the local government, and protect and preserve places and areas of historical, cultural, architectural, or environmental importance and significance.
The subdivision regulations set forth in ARTICLE 4, Procedures, and ARTICLE 5, Development Standards, of this ordinance promote the health, safety, morals, or general welfare of the local government and the safe, orderly, and healthful development of the local government, taking into account all factors both on and off the site of the subdivision. The processing procedures set forth in ARTICLE 4 consolidate regulations governing the processing of approvals for the development of land. They ensure that notification and procedures comply with state law, provide ample opportunity for public participation in the land development process, provide for the efficient and timely processing of development approvals, and promote the readability of the document for the general public and for applicants requesting development approvals. The development standards in ARTICLE 5 consolidate the substantive standards relating to the issuance of development approvals for zoning and subdivision approval in order to provide clarity and certainty in the development approval process.
ARTICLE 6, General Use Regulations, of the ordinance establishes specific standards and exceptions to standards, for certain uses, structures, and facilities.
ARTICLE 7, Supplemental Use Regulations, of the ordinance provides specific development standards for designated uses. These establish supplemental conditions that protect the public while establishing predictable standards for the applicant.
ARTICLE 8, Nonconformity, of the ordinance protects legal nonconforming uses and vested rights in accordance with state and federal decisional and statutory law.
ARTICLE 9, Submittal Requirements, of the ordinance provides standards for Application submittal requirements to provide guidance to applicants in the submittal of development approval applications, to avoid the unnecessary expenditure of public resources for the processing of incomplete applications, and to avoid unnecessary delay in the approval of applications for development approval.
ARTICLE 10, Administration, of the ordinance establishes various administrative agencies involved in the development approval process, as well as the role of administrative and legislative bodies.
ARTICLE 11, Legal Status, establishes the validity and severability of the ordinance.
A setback is the minimum distance a structure is required to be located from the property line, road right of way, lake, river, stream, etc.
A land use permit is needed for a change of use, any addition to an existing structure, a new structure of 100 square feet in size or more (including sheds and decks), or the disturbance of 100 square feet or more of earth. Please give us a call so we may guide you through the process.
This depends on the zoning district. Within all districts EXCEPT the residential and agricultural districts, an accessory building must comply with all setbacks. Generally, this applies to non-residential areas such as commercial or industrial.
In the residential and agricultural districts, sheds or pole barns must comply with front and side setbacks, but may be located a minimum of 10-feet from the rear yard property line, which is actually within the regular setback.
For additional information please see Zoning Ordinance Section 611.
Short-term rental of a residential dwelling for any period of less than 30 days is currently not allowed in Garfield Township. Although not allowed within a residential dwelling, short-term rentals may be permitted in certain zoning districts as bed and breakfasts, hotels and motels, campgrounds and other similar uses. For more details, feel free to check out our zoning ordinance or contact our office to speak with our staff.