Designing Sites to Protect Agriculture & Forestry
Implementing design guidelines helps protect agricultural operations and rural character, especially when establishing new or expanding existing commercial agricultural operations.  The following examples demonstrate how guidelines can be applied to these areas. Refer to Critical Design Practices for specific information on these and other applicable design guidelines.

Storage requirements vary significantly depending on the agricultural operation; however, buildings for machinery, equipment, and chemicals can be designed to complement the regional character.  Placement, construction, and security of storage areas and/or structures should be carefully considered to protect the health and safety of humans, animals, and the environment.  Refer to Critical Design Practices: Building Design & Materials for more information.


Roadside produce stand and screened operations area, Peninsula Township, Grand Traverse County

Buffering & Screening
Adequate landscaped buffers and screens minimize the impact of agricultural operations and buildings (e.g., parking, storage, work areas) on surrounding properties and roadways. Buffer size will vary depending on crop type, location, operations (e.g., organic farms may not require as large a buffer), and adjacent land use. Maintaining a wooded buffer is critical to reducing the impact of timber harvesting on neighboring properties and the region’s natural character. Refer to Critical Design Practices: Landscaping and Streetscape for more information.



Appropriately designed and scaled exterior lighting can address safety concerns without disturbing adjacent properties or detracting from the region’s character.  Lights on buildings set on timers or movement sensors provide safety without unnecessary lighting.  Refer to Critical Design Practices: Site Lighting & Utilities for specific techniques.

For agricultural operations with accessory or supplementary uses that include public access to the site, a clear separation of areas (e.g., operational, retail) promotes safe access for public vehicles as well as operation of farm machinery.  Refer to Critical Design Practices: Site Access for additional information.


Production separated from public areas, Peninsula Township, Grand Traverse County

Well-designed, safe transitions between roadways and parking areas minimize conflicts between agricultural operations and the surrounding community.  Given the seasonal usage of many commercial agricultural operations, pervious paving is ideal for parking areas to preserve stormwater infiltration.  Refer to Critical Design Practices: Parking for more information.