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Circuit Court
40 N Main, Mount Clemens, MI 48043
(586) 469-5208

Frequently Asked Questions

Planning and Mapping Services

Planning - Frequently Asked Questions

What is the current population of Macomb County?  My community?

How do I find out how many ethnic populations live in Macomb County and the number of people of specific races and cultures?

Who can I talk to about the zoning of my property?

Someone is building next to me. How do I know exactly where my lot ends and theirs begins?

Are there wetlands on my parcel?

Is my land in a floodplain? If so, how can I appeal?

What farmland preservation program is available from the State of Michigan?

What is a Conservation Easement?

What are subdivision regulations?

What is a community master plan?

What is the difference between a subdivision lot and a site condominium?

Mapping/GIS Services - Frequently Asked Questions

Are property tax maps available from Macomb County GIS Services?

Can purchased maps be faxed?

Can purchased maps be emailed?

How current is your parcel/property data?

How can I get a copy of the last survey of my property?

How can I get a legal description of a property?

How can I purchase Macomb County GIS data and maps?

How can I pay for maps and data products?

Is property assessment information available from Macomb County GIS Services?

What are the hours of map and data sales?

What formats are GIS data available?

What is the datum and projection of Macomb County GIS Services Data?

What GIS data is freely available on the Internet to the general public?

What GIS data is available through Macomb County’s enhanced access policy?

What is the current enhanced access fee structure for GIS data sets?

What aerial photography products are available?

What are the differences between a plat map, tax map, aerial photo composite and a line drawing?

Q: What is the current population of Macomb County?  My community?

A: Macomb County’s 2010 U.S. Census Population was 840,978.  For individual community population and detailed demographics for all Macomb County communities please visit our regional planning partner SEMCOG at http://semcog.org/Data/bycommunity.cfm

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Q: How do I find out how many ethnic populations live in Macomb County and the number of people of specific races and cultures?

A: Find popular facts (population, income, etc.) and frequently requested data about your community on the U.S. Census Bureau - American FactFinder website.

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Q: Who can I talk to about the zoning of my property?

A: Since Michigan is a “home rule” state, citizens are able to call their own (home) community to check the local zoning map and determine what the zoning is on any particular parcel within the community. Often, your local community’s Planning and Zoning Departments are combined to offer integrated service to local citizens.

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Q: Someone is building next to me.  How do I know exactly where my lot ends and theirs begins?

A: The first call should be to the local assessor’s office.  Your local assessor will give you the location and dimensions of your property.  If there is a dispute over property lines, it is possible you may need to call a certified surveyor to identify the exact boundaries of your property.

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Q: Are there wetlands on my parcel?

A: The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) describes wetlands as "transitional areas where water and land meet."  The water can be slightly above or below the surface of the land and the land does not have to be wet all the time to classify as a wetland.  Please refer to the DEQ's website for more information on wetland identification procedures, performed either by the DEQ or by a qualified private consultant.  Additionally, MCPED's Geographic Information Services Group has available online the Macomb County Potential Wetland Indicator Map, which represents the results of intersecting the wetland area of the SEMCOG 2000 Land Use Land Cover Map, the National Wetlands Inventory and Hydric Soils taken from County Soil Surveys.  The State of Michigan recognizes the map as the official wetlands map for Macomb County.  However, the information provided in this map is intended to indicate where wetlands are most probable and does not guarantee that an actual wetland exists.  Delineation of wetlands should be validated by an in-field survey by a competent professional.

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Q: Is my land in a floodplain?  If so, how can I appeal?

A: For answers to these and other questions please visit the following Federal resources.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) National Flood Insurance Program

National Flood Insurance Program Frequently Asked Questions

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Q: What farmland preservation program is available from the State of Michigan?

A: The Farmland and Open Space Preservation Program for the State of Michigan assures that land will remain in farming for a certain number of years that is detailed in a covenant agreement between the landowner and the State of Michigan.  An agreement must be signed for at least ten years and not more then 90 years.  The contract can be extended after the expiration of the initial agreement by increments of seven years.  In return for signing this agreement the farmer is eligible for tax credits and exempt from special assessments for drains, water lines, etc.

At the end of the agreement the farmland owner can choose to continue the contract.  The contract can be extended in increments of seven years.  Once the farmland owner discontinues the contract, they must repay the State of Michigan the last seven years of tax credits.

Michigan Department of Agriculture's Farmland Preservation Site

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Q: What is a Conservation Easement?

A: According to the Michigan Society of Planners, a Conservation Easement is a legally binding restriction on a property, which limits its use or activity.  Conservation easements can be used to protect land, especially that which is environmentally sensitive or unique, from the encroachment of new development.  The property owner usually volunteers conservation easements.  There are advantages to both community and landowner in the granting of conservation easements.  The donation allows the community to receive the benefit of open space without the cost of purchase.  For the landowner, the donation of conservation easements will typically result in federal tax savings.

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Q: What are subdivision regulations?

A: Subdivision regulations apply when land is divided into more lots than are permitted under the lot split provisions of the Land Division Act.  Subdivision regulations are adopted to regulate proposed subdivisions or plats.  They establish the administrative review and evaluation procedure for processing conceptual, preliminary, and final plats.  Subdivision regulations help ensure that the new lots conform to the community’s zoning standards and that the street layouts are convenient and safe.

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Q: What is a community master plan?

A: A Master Plan provides guidance to accomplish a coordinated and harmonious development of the municipality and its environs which will, in accordance with present and future needs, promote public health, safety morals, order, convenience, prosperity and general welfare.  Currently, the MCPED reviews municipal plans and provides input into the process.

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Q: What is the difference between a subdivision lot and a site condominium?

A: Site condominiums have become a popular part of Michigan's Real Estate Development, because they allow developers to avoid the lengthy State of Michigan review process that is outlined in the 1967 Michigan Subdivision Control Act.  The properties have the appearance of and are considered by the market to be equivalent to standard-platted single family subdivisions.  The properties are in all aspects identical to standard single-family subdivisions except for their legal description.  Association fees are generally similar to homeowner association fees in standard platted subdivisions and are intended for the maintenance of entrance ways and open space within the development.

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Q: Are property tax maps available from Macomb County GIS Services?

A: Current property tax maps can be purchased directly from the Department of Planning and Economic Development.  Maps in this series depict property taxation information at a scale of 1” = 100’.  Maps in this series include information regarding property tax identification numbers (SIDWELL Number), deeded property dimensions, deeded acreage measurements and other legal identifying information.  Maps are available in two hardcopy formats; property line information only or with the county’s most recent aerial photo in the background.  Hardcopy map products are sold as individual black and white 24” x 36” paper map sheets printed on-demand by front counter staff. Electronic versions of aerial composite tax maps are available as 24” x 36” documents in Adobe Acrobat .PDF format.

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Q: Can maps I purchase be faxed?

A: Hardcopy paper maps cannot be faxed since they exceed the paper size and resolution limits of standard fax machines. Subsections of maps cannot be faxed due to limits in fax resolution.

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Q: Can maps I purchase be emailed?

A: Electronic versions of aerial composite tax maps can be emailed with some limitations.  Electronic versions of aerial composite tax maps are available as 24” x 36” documents in Adobe Acrobat .PDF format.  These documents average 9 MB in size.  Please check with your email provider to ensure that file attachments in this size range are permitted.  Requests for multiple map sheets will be transmitted as separate emails.  Paid in full orders that cannot be transmitted will be mailed via U.S.P.S. at standard rates if requested by the purchaser.  The Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development is not responsible for confirmation of delivery nor guarantees the delivery of aerial composite tax maps utilizing email due to these limitations.

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Q: How current are your property tax maps?

A: Macomb County property tax maps are maintained on a continuous basis.  All legal instruments regarding the subdivision of real property submitted to the Macomb County Register of Deeds office are assigned a tax identification number and checked for closure by the Land File division of the Treasurer’s Office prior to being added to the base tax map.  In most cases recorded changes are processed within 2-3 business days.

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Q: How can I get a copy of the last survey of my property?

A: In Macomb County a copy of the property survey is not required to be filed with the County Register of Deeds Office.  Homeowners should check the following sources:

1. Check with the attorney or settlement agency that performed the closing services on your mortgage.  They will have a copy of the survey in their files.  If you are in the process of closing, make sure that you request a copy for your own records.

2. Contact the title insurance company, if a title insurance policy was issued on your property at closing.  They require surveys to ensure that the title is clear and will have a copy in their file.  They may charge a nominal fee to send you a copy.

3. Contact your lender to request a copy of the survey.  If you did not receive a copy with your closing documentation, your lender should be able to provide you with a copy.

4. Seek out the person or company who conducted the survey.  Surveyors keep records of each survey conducted and will be able to provide you with a copy of the survey for a nominal fee.

5. Contact your local community to learn which office handles property records. While property surveys are not a matter of public record everywhere, there may be a chance that your community has a copy of the property survey somewhere in its records.

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Q: How can I get a legal description of a property?

A: Click here.

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Q: How can I purchase Macomb County GIS data and maps?

A: GIS data and maps may be purchased/ordered in person at the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development’s front counter during the hours of 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.  Maps may also be purchased by mail or by phone.  All orders must be paid in full (cash or check) before they are shipped.

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Q: How can I pay for maps and data products?

A: Maps and GIS data products can be paid for in person or by mail.  Payments can be made using cash or check made out to the “Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development”.  Credit cards are not an accepted form of payment at this time.

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Q: Is property assessment information available from Macomb County GIS Services?

A: Property assessment data is not currently available from Macomb County GIS Services.  Macomb County is comprised of 27 local units of government covered by 24 individual taxing authorities.  Assessment data inquiries must be directed to the assessment department of the local unit of government.

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Q: What are the hours of map and GIS data sales?

A: Maps and GIS data can be purchased during map sales hours. 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

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Q: What formats are GIS data available?

A: GIS data sets are available in ESRI Shapefile format or in ESRI Personal Geodatabase version 9.3 format.  Parcel data requiring full dimension annotation information can only be delivered in ESRI Personal Geodatabase format.

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Q: What is the datum and projection of Macomb County GIS Services Data?

A: Michigan State Plane Coordinate System South International Feet, North American Datum 1983 HARN adjusted.

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Q: What GIS data is freely available on the Internet to the general public?

A: Many of the GIS datasets maintained by Macomb County GIS Services are accessible via the Internet from our online mapping service.  The service can be accessed directly at gis.macombgov.org.  Current public access mapping services include Aerial Imagery Browser, Delinquent Tax Search, Environmental Resources, Property Tax Map Sheet Preview/Order Service and FEMA Digital Flood Rate Insurance (DFIRM) Map Viewer.

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Q: What GIS data is available through Macomb County’s Enhanced Access Policy?

A: Macomb County’s Enhanced Access Policy provides a price schedule for GIS data as determined by the Macomb County Board of Commissioners.  GIS data currently covered by this policy include Digital Aerial Photography and Property Tax Parcel information.

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Q: What is the current Enhanced Access fee structure for GIS data sets?

A: Tax Parcel Data (ESRI shapefile or Personal Geodatabase format) - .15 per tax parcel Digital Aerial Imagery B/W 2000, 2004 (.TIF w/ worldfile format) - $30.00 per 1/4 section Digital Aerial Imagery Color 2005 (MrSID format)- $250.00 per geographic township.

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Q: What aerial photography products are available?

A: Aerial photography products are available for a wide number of flight years. Historical flights covering flight years 1964, 1972, 1980 and 1990 are available as hardcopy paper maps.  Flight years 2000, 2004 ,2005, 2008, 2010 and 2012 are digital imagery products.  Flight year 2012 is available in hardcopy format as part of the current tax parcel composite map product.

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Q: What are the differences between a plat map, tax map, aerial photo composite and a line drawing?

A: A Plat Map is a drawing submitted to the register of deeds office that shows the detailed subdivision of land from a larger parcel to individual subdivided lots. Referenced by subdivision name and liber and page number, copies of recorded plats can be obtained from the Macomb County Register of Deeds office.  A Tax Map is a map that depicts taxable properties in Macomb County.  Tax maps are created and maintained through a cooperative effort between the Land File division of the Treasurer’s Office and the GIS Services division of the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.  The county’s Tax Map series depicts much of the legal property description information contained within the recorded subdivision plat maps and also includes tax parcel information for condominium developments and non-platted tracts of land.

A Line Drawing is an individual 24” x 36” map sheet from the tax map series available in hard copy only.  An Aerial Photo Composite is an individual 24” x 36” map sheet from the tax map series that includes the most recent aerial photo imagery as a backdrop available in either hardcopy or Adobe Acrobat .PDF format.

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