Zoning Compliance & Permits Guide

Most new construction, renovations, and changes in the use of a structure require permits from the City of Dexter and the Washtenaw County Building Department. The City of Dexter issues permits to certify compliance with the City of Dexter Zoning Ordinance, which regulates the way that land is used and the type, location, and dimensions of structures. The Washtenaw County Building Department issues permits to certify compliance with the State Building Code, which ensures the safety of structures and construction.

How To Apply For A Permit
Permit requirements vary from project to project, but usually involve the following steps:

  1. Obtain a Preliminary Zoning Compliance Permit from the City of Dexter. Applications for Preliminary Zoning Compliance Permits may be found on the Permits and Forms page of this website. To apply, complete the application that is specific to your project and return the complete application to the City Office, along with any supplemental documents listed on the application, such as plans, surveys, or certificates of insurance. For some projects, a Soil and Sedimentation Control Permit must also be submitted with the application for a Zoning Compliance Permit.
  2. Obtain a Building Permit and/or Trades Permit from the Washtenaw County Building Department. Building and/or trades permits grant legal permission to start construction of a building project. Preliminary Zoning Compliance is required in order to obtain a building permit. Applications for building and/or trades permits and must be submitted to the Washtenaw County Building Department. 
  3. Obtain a Final Zoning Compliance Permit from the City of Dexter. Some projects, such as new construction, decks, signs, and fences require a Final Zoning Compliance Permit to certify that a structure was built as it was originally permitted. Your Preliminary Zoning Compliance Permit will specify if final zoning compliance is required for your project. If you are completing new construction or are a business moving into a new space, you will also need to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) from the Washtenaw County Building Department. Additional approvals may also be required.

Certificates of Occupancy
Certificates of occupancy must be obtained before new construction may be used or occupied, or when a new non-residential tenant moves into an existing space. Applications for a Certificate of Occupancy must be submitted to the Washtenaw County Building Department. For most projects, you will need to submit the following items along with your Certificate of Occupancy Application:

  1. Final Zoning Compliance Permit. If your project involves new construction or remodeling, you will need to obtain a Final Zoning Compliance Permit from the City of Dexter in order to receive a Certificate of Occupancy.
  2. Dexter Area Fire Department Letter of Support.  The Dexter Area Fire Department inspects new construction and non-residential buildings and units for Fire Code compliance. A letter of support from the DAFD is required in order to receive a Certificate of Occupancy.
  3. Other Approvals as Required. Certain types of structures and uses require additional approvals from the City of Dexter, the Washtenaw County Building Department, or other state and local agencies. Please contact the City of Dexter Office of Community Development to find out which requirements apply to your project or use.
Soil Erosion And Sedimentation Control
Some projects require a Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control (SESC) Permit, which may be obtained from the Washtenaw County Soil Erosion Control Department. SESC Permits ensure that safety measures are in place to prevent erosion and sediment runoff from harming waterways, wetlands, public infrastructure, and neighboring properties. Visit the Washtenaw County Soil Erosion Control Department website to find out if an SESC Permit is required for your project.