Eagle Harbor Township



Planning Vision, Objectives and Strategies

Our vision for Eagle Harbor Township and Keweenaw County is to be:



Objective: Maintain Eagle Harbor Township as primarily an extended vacation, seasonal, and permanent residential community, with little or no expansion of existing non-residential activity.

Strategy: Classify all developed or developable properties within Eagle Harbor Township (other than lands reserved for commercial forest activity) as residential. Include the reclassification of properties now zoned for non residential use, but either undeveloped or already developed for residential use. (The current Resort Service commercially classified properties along both sides of North Street between Front Street and 7th Street that are either vacant or occupied by houses.)

Strategy: Establish two or three classifications of residential use within the township, with maximum densities and minimum parcel dimensions varying based on availability of public (or privately operated common) sewerage and/or water systems, and soil and topographic suitability. Allow for clustering of permitted dwelling densities in situations where such a development pattern would provide for the protection of sensitive natural environments (waterways, wildlife habitats, dunes, slopes, etc.), or retention of scenic assets (shorelines, etc.)

Strategy: Amend current commercial zoning classification (Resort Service) so that permitted commercial uses within Eagle Harbor Township are more limited than presently allowed. Allow only those uses one might expect in a residential resort area - restaurants, motels, gift stores, small grocery stores, etc. (Current commercial classification, Resort Service, has been interpreted in other areas of the County to allow an almost open ended list of commercial activity, including automotive repair and body shops.)

Strategy: Allow home occupations in township residential zoning districts only as defined and regulated by the current zoning ordinance (essentially restricted to non-retail activity occupying a minor portion of an owner occupied home). Utilize the Zoning Ordinance Special Use Permit procedure for possible amendment to allow for direct in-home retailing of gift store type goods. (This will assure adequate opportunity for consideration of views of and impact on nearby residents and, if allowed, the application of use conditions to mitigate adverse impact on nearby residential properties.)

Strategy: Insist on strict enforcement of zoning ordinance provisions governing expansion, replacement, continuation, or change of use of existing non-conforming uses. (A use which lawfully occupied a building or land at the time of the adoption of the County Zoning Ordinance [1975], and which does not conform with the use regulations of the district in which it is located.)

Objective: Preserve forest lands essential to the continued viability of our area’s timber products industry. These forests and the industries they support offer needed employment for Keweenaw residents, provide habitats for wildlife, afford watershed protection, are a source of recreational opportunity for residents and visitors, and sustain the wilderness character so essential to our sense of special place.

Strategy: Cooperate with owners of forested lands and area loggers and wood product processors to identify sustainable timberland areas within Eagle Harbor Township and the strategies that might be implemented to preserve them . Include, but not limit to, zoning classifications that prevent intrusion by incompatible uses and activities; economic incentives; and, the provision of essential support infrastructure, such as public access roads, fire protection, etc.

Objective: Maintain a significant presence of public accessible forested or water related tracts for recreation and/or conservation purpose.

Strategy: Identify and map tracts and parcels within Eagle Harbor Township historically accessed by the general public for recreation activities such as hiking, berry picking, fishing, hunting, winter sports, rock picking, swimming, beach walking, etc. Assign to each an assessment of its loss potential, and an assessment of its relative importance in achieving the objective.

Strategy: Identify and map areas within the township offering opportunities to protect and preserve rare natural features (dunes, basalt rock outcrops, and plant communities), sensitive natural environments (marshes, lake and stream shorelines, wetlands, and erosion susceptible slopes), and important habitats for birds and animals through conservation and/or regulation.

Strategy: Establish appropriate County and Township regulations and enforcement policies to preserve and protect the identified rare natural features, sensitive natural environments, and important bird and animal habitats.

Strategy: Support the efforts of state agencies, local governments, and private and non-profit conservation organizations in their efforts to acquire township lands for recreation and conservation purposes.

Objective: Assure that the waters of our streams, inland lakes, harbors and Lake Superior are free of human produced pollution.

Strategy: Enlist the aid of, and provide support to, the state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in establishing an on-going water quality monitoring program in all township lakes, streams, harbors, and adjacent Lake Superior. Make findings available to the public. If pollution is present, identify source(s), and secure the support of associated private parties and appropriate state and county agencies in quickly remedying the situation.

Objective: Preserve the opportunity for road and trail travelers to experience extended and unobstructed visual access of our most important scenic assets, such as Lake Superior, our inland lakes and streams, the Keweenaw ridge escarpment, and forest lined roadways.

Strategy: Identify and map places where road and trail travelers within Eagle Harbor Township enjoy visual access to our scenic assets. Prioritize their risk of loss.

Strategy: Identify options for preserving these at-risk visual access places, including scenic easements, acquisition of development rights, scenic roadway designations, public or conservancy acquisition, and development regulations. Work with public agencies, property owners, and conservancies to secure their preservation.

Objective: Preserve the several historic sites, structures, and neighborhoods that link residents and visitors to our rich and interesting history, and support activities designed to share that history with this and future generations.

Strategy: Identify and map historic sites, structures and neighborhoods within Eagle Harbor Township.

Strategy: Encourage and assist the public, non-profit and private owners of these places in their preservation efforts. Offer protection and support through special zoning or historic designations; participate in the exploration and coordination of economic incentives (grants, tax considerations, etc.); and provide assistance in maximizing the overall impact of these individual efforts through shared communication programs.


Objective: Develop and maintain those public services, public works infrastructure, and governmental and non-governmental policies and institutions needed to achieve our vision.

Strategy: Make multi-year planning a conscious and consistent element of Eagle Harbor Township governance. Include annual reviews of plan strategies and their implementation, frequent communication of township planning issues and opportunities with township stakeholders, and periodic surveys of stakeholder assessments of township development.

Strategy: Actively participate in Keweenaw County public policy deliberations. Seek County support for policies and programs, particularly land use planning and zoning regulation, consistent with the townships development objectives, and provide township support for county initiatives of benefit to the people of the township and the county as a whole.

Strategy: Identify other governmental and non-governmental entities whose activities within the township have impact on our ability to achieve our vision and development objectives. Advise them of the township’s objectives and strategies, and seek their support by establishing effective and mutually beneficial partnerships with their representatives. These include state and regional governmental or service agencies (MDT, DEQ, DNR, etc); non-profit organizations (conservancies, cultural and historic organizations, business groups, foundations, etc); and, representatives of major private interests (major land owners, development companies, utilities, etc.)

Objective: Contribute to and capitalize on the many economic, social, and cultural assets (jobs, goods, services, and education/entertainment opportunities) that exist within the neighboring counties and municipalities that constitute the regional entity generally know as the "Copper Country."

Strategy: Foster a recognition among Eagle Harbor residents and other township stakeholders that our vision of the township as essentially a residential and vacation community necessitates continued access to, and further enhancement of, the many valuable goods, services and cultural opportunities within the neighboring communities who have included and fostered them within their chosen development visions.

Strategy: As a necessary corollary to this recognition of the value of these neighboring and regional assets, position the township as an energetic, thoughtful, and positive contributor to endeavors designed to sustain and enhance these resources. Encourage township residents to be similarly engaged, offering their personal talents and other resources, and their active involvement and advocacy in addressing county-wide and regional issues. Our present and future well being as the Eagle Harbor community is dependent on how successfully we collaborate with other communities to sustain and enhance these regional assets.

This Statement was prepared by the Township's Advisory Land Use Planning Committee and recommended to the Township Board. The Board adopted it on February 11, 2002. It incorporates resident opinions and suggestions presented at a series of community meetings in 2001 and the findings of a survey mailed to all Township residents and property owners. The Statement represents Township input into a Keweenaw County Comprehensive Land Use Plan currently being developed by the County Planning and Zoning Commission and the County Board of Commissioners.

Members of the Planning Committe are:
Barbara Been (co-chair)
George Hite (co-chair)
Bob Crampton
Jeane Ellis
Paul Freshwater
Bobbie Freshwater
Virginia Jamison
Marilyn Marshall
Janet Shea