The Critical Design Practices section includes guidelines applicable to development in Northwest Lower Michigan regardless of size, use, or location.  These guidelines depict practical ways for communities to obtain development that is environmentally sensitive, economically beneficial, and socially equitable, as well as produces economic benefits for developers.  This form of development will complement and enhance our region by protecting its treasured natural resources for present and future generations’ enjoyment.  The guidelines are grouped into the following four categories:



Site Setting
Between the rolling topography and miles of shoreline, the region benefits from a wide of shoreline, the region benefits from a wide variety of breath-taking scenic views.  This section presents examples of how responsible development not only takes a site’s natural features into consideration, but also how it can protect our region’s environmental features and resources.

Natural Resource Protection
Northwest Lower Michigan abounds in natural beauty and resources: clean water, dense woods, sandy beaches, towering dunes, and productive farmlands are important aspects of residents' and visitors' daily lives.  Applying the guidelines within this section helps protect the region's natural resources and improves our rural, suburban, and urban environments.

Open Space
The ten-county region is blessed with an abundance of open space ranging from small neighborhood parks and plazas to expansive fields and orchards.  The Open Space section presents examples of the numerous types of open space, as well as methods of creating and maintaining usable open spaces.

Elements of Site Design
The "must do" primer for site development, this section outlines the basic elements that can enhance our region’s development.  Guidelines within this section include building placement this section include building placement stormwater control, landscaping, signs, and lighting.