Building Department
Building Clerk

Room 211, Grant School
Office Hours:
Monday - Thursday
9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Planning Department
Planning and Zoning services are provided
by McKenna Assoc.
Donovan Smith

Remote Office Hours:
Monday - Friday
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Planning & Building Department

Building Department

The Royal Oak Township Building Department is responsible for building permits, inspections and sign permits for both residential and commercial properties. We also conduct follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with applicable codes and standards.

Planning Department

The Planning Department is responsible for reviewing and administering Zoning Ordinance.  Our department also helps residents, business owners, developers, and City officials understand the Zoning Ordinance and how it affects them. For more Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), such as “what is a zoning district?” please scroll down to the FAQ section of this webpage.

Payment Instructions

We will accept checks made out to "Royal Oak Township" at Township Hall or via mail. You are also able to pay in cash at the Township Hall offices. Once paid, you will be given a scanned copy of your receipt. Unfortunately, we do not accept credit card payments at this time.

Quick Help

Permits and Licenses – Building Department

  1. Applying for a Business License. Check out the Business License How to Open a Business Quick Guide.
    Check out the Business License Inspection Checklist.
  2. Applying for a Building Department Permit: For more instructions, please scroll down on this webpage.
    1. Building
    2. Electrical
    3. Plumbing
    4. Mechanical
  3. Applying for a Re-use/Re-occupancy Certificate
  4. Applying for a Rental Certificate
  5. Applying for a Residential Point-Of-Sale Inspection
  6. Applying for a Vacant Parcel Purchase Application

    Vacant Parcel Map

  7. Applying for a Sign Permit
  8. Applying for a Temporary Structure
  9. Submitting an appeal to the Property Maintenance Board of Appeals
  10. Submitting an appeal to the Construction Board of Appeals
  11. Registering a Vacant Property

Applications – Planning Department

  1. Applying for a Site Plan and/or Special Land Use
  2. Applying for a Rezoning
  3. Applying for a Variance or Substitution of Nonconforming Use

Helpful Documents and Links

  1. Township Code (Chapter 6: Buildings, Chapter 32: Zoning)
  2. Zoning Map
  3. 2024 Community Master Plan
  4. Residential Guide For Property Maintenance
  5. Residential Building Design Standards
  6. C-3 District Amendments
  7. Royal Oak Township Development Handbook

Permit Fees

For Planning Department applications, please see our current fee schedule and note that our application fees listed on the forms are not up-to-date. Permit fees for Building Department applications are listed on the application forms and are up-to-date.

Where to Submit

All applications are fillable forms – please either 1) fill out online and then print or 2) print and then fill out by-hand. All applications must be submitted to Township Hall 21131 Gardenlane - 2nd Floor, Grant School - Ferndale, MI 48220. Please visit the Building Department office for assistance. For certain applications, you may be directed to the Township Administrative Assistant’s office.



Permit Review

The Building Department enhances the general safety, health and welfare of the public through the adoption and enforcement of the most current building, electrical, plumbing and other codes. The goal of the Building Department is to provide the highest quality service with the greatest efficiency. We provide guidance to the general public, contractors, design professionals, legal professionals. Additionally, the Building Department works closely with the Planning Department, Township Engineer, Code Enforcement Department, Ferndale Fire Department, State Police to make sure construction occurs in an orderly, legal, and safe manner.

Common Required Documents

At the top of each application form you can find a list of the required application materials and fees. The following documents are required when submitting a Building, Mechanical, Plumbing, or Electrical applications:

  • Copy of applicant’s State license or contractor’s license;
  • Copy of applicant’s Driver’s License; and
  • Copy of applicant’s liability insurance (if insured).

For a Building Permit application, you are also required to provide:

  • Residential Project: 3 sets of plans
  • Commercial Project: 4 sets of plans

Code Enforcement

The Building Department works closely with Code Enforcement to help ensure that the health and safety regulations in the Township’s code and State construction code are being followed. If you have questions about property maintenance, a ticket or violation you received, or property maintenance in general, please visit the Code Enforcement webpage.

Property Maintenance Board of Appeals & Construction Board of Appeals - Staff Assistance

The Building Department helps coordinate the regular meetings of the Property Maintenance Board of Appeals and the Construction Board of Appeals. The Property Maintenance Board of Appeals reviews requests for exceptions from the International Property Maintenance Code. The Construction Board of Appeals reviews requests to erect, alter, modify or extend a structure or facility, or substitute material in a way that is contrary to the Building Code and/or other applicable Township Ordinances.



Application Review
The Planning Department is the first stop for property owners and developers looking to modify property in the Township. We review site plan, special land use, variance, and re-zoning applications. Additionally, we review business license applications for new and renewing businesses. If you are planning on starting a business, constructing a new building, or anything else, we are here to help advise you on what steps you need to take.

Zoning Ordinance

The Planning Department helps answer questions about the Zoning Ordinance. We also help write updates to the Zoning Ordinance, when requested, and present our recommendations before the Planning Commission and Board of Trustees.

Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals - Staff Assistance

The Planning Department helps schedule and coordinate the regular meetings of the Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA). For every application that requires Planning Commission or ZBA review, the Planning Department helps intake the application, review the application for compliance with the Zoning Code and Master Plan, and provide a recommendation on the application. A member of the Planning Department staff is present at every Planning Commission or ZBA meeting to take minutes, present on items of business, and help answer questions from the Commission/Board.

For more information on Commission/Board meeting dates and members, please visit the Boards and Commissions webpage or the Township Calendar. You can also obtain a copy of all Planning Commission/ZBA agendas, minutes, and meeting packets at the Clerk’s office the Thursday before the meeting. Agendas will be posted on the Township Homepage and at Township Hall.

Master Planning
The Planning Department helps prepare and answer questions about the Township Master Plan. The Master Plan is a written document, adopted by the Township, which is a guide for the future of land use, development, transportation, zoning, housing, and public facilities and services throughout community. The Master Plan is used to evaluate development proposals, Township projects, and policies to ensure that the Township is making progress toward the future envisioned by residents.

To read the current Master Plan, see “Helpful Documents” at the top of this webpage.

Every community in Michigan must have a master plan to guide development and serve as the basis for its Zoning Ordinance. Master planning in Michigan is regulated by the 2008 Michigan Planning Enabling Act (MPEA). The MPEA requires that, at least every 5 years after adoption of a master plan, the Planning Commission must review the master plan and determine whether it is best to amend the current master plan or adopt a new one. The Master Plan must address land use and infrastructure issues for 10-20 years into the future.

In the Master Plan, you can find information on the following:
1.    Goals and objectives for the future of Royal Oak Township
2.    Key opportunities and challenges in Royal Oak Township
3.    Current and forecasted community demographics
4.    Current and recommended future land uses (residential, parkland, industrial, etc.)
5.    Community facilities
6.    Transportation networks for vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians

Other Planning Projects

The Planning Department also helps with other planning projects, either as administrators or reviewers (if the plans are done by an outside agency). Recent efforts include:

2018 Activation Strategy

2016 Parks and Recreation Plan

2013 DDA Market Analysis  

FAQs – Planning

  • What is a “land use?” Land use is a term used to describe the activities that occur on a piece of property. For example, the land use for a school would be “education,” while the land use for a clothing shop would be “retail.” Townships control where different land uses can be located to ensure that incompatible land uses do not end up next to each other. For example, a cement factory and a day care are incompatible and should not be next-door neighbors.
  • What is a “zoning district?” The Township regulates land uses by grouping them into “zoning districts” – every piece of property in the city is assigned to a zoning district, which is shown on the Zoning Map (see “Helpful Documents” at the top of this webpage).
  • What is a “zoning ordinance?” An ordinance is another term for a local law – the Zoning Ordinance is just one of the many local laws that have been adopted by the Township that make up our Township Code. The Zoning Ordinance lists the land uses that are allowed in each zoning district. It also includes regulations on the appearance of properties – heights, building materials, landscaping, fencing, and more. Ultimately, the Zoning Ordinance regulated how property is constructed and used in the Township.
  • Where can I find the Zoning Ordinance? The Zoning Ordinance is located in Chapter 32 of the Township Code, which is available online (Click Here). You can also view  print copy of the Township Code at the Clerk’s office. For more information on office hours, please visit the Clerk’s Office webpage.
  • When is a site plan required? When can I skip site plan review and go straight to the Building Department for permitting? In general, we recommend reaching out to the Township Planner to discuss your project early on – this will help you determine if you need to go through site plan review.

If you are doing one of the following activities, you will be required to submit a site plan for review by the Planning Commission:

  1. The development of any new land use (unless exempt, see below)
  2. The construction of any new structure (unless exempt, see below)
  3. A change in the existing use of land or structure that impacts any specific regulations in the Zoning Ordinance
  4. All other building or development activities.

For example, site plan review is required for any of the following activities:

  • Constructing an addition on a commercial, industrial, or residential apartment building.
  • Developments which have shared driveway access, parking, or open space.
  • Construction of non-single-family residential uses, such as churches and day care centers, in single-family zoning districts.
  • Construction of any accessory structures, except for uses or structures that are accessory to a single-family house or duplex.

If you are doing one of the following activities, you can skip the site plan review and go straight to the Building Department for permitting:

  1. Construction, moving, relocating or structurally altering a single- or two-family home, including any customarily incidental accessory structures.
  2. Excavating, filling, or otherwise removing soil, provided that such activity is normally and customarily incidental to single-family uses described in this subsection for which site plan approval is not required.
  3. A change in the ownership of land or a structure.
  4. A change in the existing use of a structure to a new, but similar use allowed “by-right” in the zoning district in which it is located, provided that no modification to the site is proposed or required by the standards of this chapter and that the site maintains full and continuing compliance with this chapter. If you need additional information on what a “by-right” use is, please contact the Township Planner.

Real Estate Marketing

Royal Oak Township is ready for redevelopment! If you are interested, please contact the Township Supervisor or Planner.

Civic Center Development

Commercial Infill Development

Residential Infill Development

Residential Sites Available

Residential Lot Purchase Application

Financial Assistance for Applicants

Oakland County Treasurer's Office Foreclosure Prevention

2022 Poverty Application

Poverty/Hardship Resolution



21131 Gardenlane - 2nd Floor, Grant School - Ferndale, MI 48220