Leelanau General Plan

The Leelanau General Plan is intended to serve as the foundation for planning on the Peninsula. Developed with support and guidance from many citizens and all local governments in the County, the Plan sets forth a vision of balanced growth to protect and enhance the County’s high quality of life. To attain that vision, the Plan provides a policy framework that is founded on coordination between the County’s governments and citizens.

The Leelanau General Plan is a complex document. A great deal of background information, policy guidelines, and recommendations are provided to assist citizens and governments in research and decision making. However, the basic premise of the Plan is captured in the principal goal:

It is the principal goal of the Leelanau General Plan to establish a strategy for guiding growth that protects and, where possible, enhances the unique character of life on the peninsula. To that end, the General Plan focuses on balancing environmental protection, energy efficiency and renewable energy, resource management, and economic development so as to provide a foundation for a suitable economy that permits long term prosperity for all present and future Leelanau County residents. The balance so achieved should not sacrifice environmental quality when reasonable and prudent development alternatives exist. This plan recognizes that a healthy economy depends on a healthy environment. Achievement of this goal means protecting the integrity of the land base for use by present generations without unnecessarily compromising the options of future generations.

The General Plan was first adopted in 1995. Updates were approved by the Leelanau County Planning Commission in 2000, 2005, 2012, and 2019.

The Leelanau General Plan

Listed below is each chapter from the 2019 Plan.  The chapters were worked on for approximately 18 months and were revised following the results of a 2018 Public Questionnaire, a public comment period and public hearing.  The county planning commission acted on the final document at a meeting December 17, 2019, and the County Board passed a resolution in support of the plan in January of 2020.

Poster Plan - Approved 7-28-2020


Part One:  County View

Chapter 1 - Intergovernmental Cooperation and Regional Context
Chapter 2 - Preservation of County Character
Chapter 3 - Working with Nature
Chapter 4 - Balanced Growth
Chapter 5 - Growth Guidelines and Decision Maps

Part Two:  Functional View

Chapter 6 - Natural Resources and the Environment
Chapter 7 - Transportation
Chapter 8 - Public Facilities and Physical Services
Chapter 9 - Non-Municipal Public Services
Chapter 10 - Economic Development
Chapter 11 - Human Services and Facilities
Chapter 12 - Land Use

Part Three:  Implementation

Chapter 13 - Local and County Land Use Issues
Chapter 14 - Structure for Land Use Decision Making
Chapter 15 - General Plan Implementation

Appendix:  2018 Summary - Planning Questionnaire

Note:  The below Appendices are prior Appendices that are no longer included in the Amended Plan (2019).  They are listed here for reference.


Appendix A: Memorandum of Understanding
Appendix B: History of the General Plan Planning Process
Appendix C: Leelanau General Plan Working Papers
Appendix D: Definition of Terms and Phrases

    This page last updated on 1/4/2023.