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Cascade Township, Michigan
 
Serene Vistas...  Plentiful Trees...  Two Rivers...  One Community...
Serene Vistas...  Plentiful Trees...  Two Rivers...  One Community...

Frequently Asked Questions

Assessing

Building Inspections

Community Standards

Community Development

Fire Department

Treasurer's Department


Assessing

When can I appeal my property assessment?

Property assessments are appealed to the March Board of Review.  This is held every year by law, beginning on the second Monday in March.  Cascade Township generally has two days of hearings.  You may appeal in person or by letter.  If you wish to appeal in person, you must call for an appointment.

The March Board of Review has the ability to correct assessments, change property classification and grant poverty exemptions.  If a residential property is not appealed to the March Board of Review, the assessment is final until the following year.

I think I am eligible for a Principal Residence Exemption but I didn’t get my form to the Assessor by May 1st.  Can I still get a PRE?

YES!  If you did not get your form into the office in time to have the exemption added to your property record, you may request the July or December Board of Review add the exemption.  They have the authority to add the current year and up to three prior years. 

Contact the Assessor’s Office at (616) 949-6176 to begin the process.

I received a letter from the Assessor’s Office asking about my property.  What is this about?

The Assessor Office needs good quality information on the properties in order to accurately assess property.  We review a certain number of properties each year in order to correct any errors in the record. Areas are chosen based on how long it has been since we last reviewed them or if we have noted that we have a problem in that area.  

If there is a correction necessary, it could raise or lower your assessment.  The goal is to make the records as accurate as possible.  We send a form showing you any changes we have found, at the end of the year before we set the new assessments so you can point out any errors.

Building Inspections

When is a building permit required?

The 2009 Michigan Building Code requires a permit be acquired by an owner or authorized agent who intends to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, demolish or change the occupancy of a building or structure.  SEction 105.2 lists several exemptions to this requirement. 

What is required to be submitted with a building permit application?

For a list of relevant documents required, please follow the link to Building Permit Application Requirements Form

Is a building permit required for roofing or siding?

Yes. You will need to fill out a roofing/siding worksheet and a Building Permit application. Both are found on our website.

Do I need to upgrade the smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in my home?

The Michigan Residential Code requires that smoke detectors be installed and located in new construction when a building permit is issued for interior work.  There are some exceptions that allow for battery or wireless units where an attic or crawl space is not available to install a hard wired system.  Carbon monoxide detectors are required in the area of all bedrooms. 

What building inspections are required?

This depends on the particular job.  For new homes, we perform the following inspections: pre-pour footing, pre-pour wall, pre-backfill, rough, insulation and final.  Please check with the office if you have any questions (616/949-3765).

What is required for the Michigan Energy Code?

You must show compliance prior to a permit being issued.  Please review the energy compliance form for further clarification. 

What is required for a Certificate of Occupancy?

All trade and building permits must be final approved.  Also, compliance with the energy code and health department approval of your well and septic (if applicable) must be documented.  For residents in East Grand Rapids, final approval of the drainage plan and other zoning requirements must be met.  (Please contact the City of East Grand Rapids prior to requesting your C.O. )

Community Standards

Will the township get involved if my neighbor has failed to cut his grass?  

In the restricted area, which include properties lying west of Buttrick Avenue and north of Interstate 96, and north 28th Street and west of Interstate 96, a property owner is expected to maintain their property within the established and prevailing neighborhood standard. In most cases, property owners are required to cut their grass once it has reached eight inches in length. If you are concerned about your neighbor’s grass the community standards officer will respond and determine a course of action.  

If my neighbor has a dead tree on their property, do they have to cut it down?  

Dead trees that are deemed hazardous to the public or an adjoining property will have to be removed. If you have a concern about a dead tree, the community standards officer will inspect the tree in question and determine if it must be removed.  

Are residents allowed to keep inoperable or junk vehicles on their property?  

Any vehicle that is stored on a resident’s property for more than 48 hours must be road ready. This means it must have a valid registration, and be able to be started and driven legally on the road. If a vehicle is not registered, or is not able to operate, it must be stored within an enclosed building or removed from the property.

Community Development

Do accessory buildings need zoning approval?

All accessory buildings must receive zoning approval for the placement of the building. All accessory buildings over 832 square feet in size are required to get a building permit and a Type 1 Special Use Permit from the Planning Commission. All Accessory Buildings over 200 Sq. Ft. are required to get a building permit.

What are the fencing regulations in the residential areas?

Generally, you may install up to a four-foot tall fence in any front yard area. In the side or rear yard, you may install up to a six-foot tall fence. All fences must be located entirely on your property and may not obstruct the view of any adjacent roads or driveways. All support structures for the fence must be located facing the property to whom the fence belongs. No barbed wire fencing is permitted. Building Permits are not required for fence installation.

What are the setback requirements for swimming pools?

Swimming pools must be located in the side or rear yard. A ten-foot setback must be maintained between any side or rear property line and the water's edge. A barrier in compliance with the State Building code must surround all swimming pools.

Are temporary banner signs permitted for businesses in Cascade Township?

The Cascade Township Sign Ordinance specifically prohibits the placement of any temporary signs in the township. This includes banner signs and trailer signs. Real estate signs are permitted provided they are located on the property that is for sale. 

What is the zoning classification of my property?

See page 5 of Zoning Ordinance to be directed to the zoning map

Fire Department

Can I burn brush in Cascade Township?

Yes.  Burning brush is allowed in Cascade Township.  Cascade Township is divided into two areas, restricted and non-restricted.  Review the Burn Ordinance for more information including but not limited to timeframes.

Can I have a recreational fire in Cascade Township?

Yes, with a pre-approved outdoor fireplace.  Outdoor fireplaces may be used for recreational fires within both restricted and non-restricted areas of Cascade Township.  Again, outdoor fireplaces must be pre-approved prior to burning.  In addition, there is no burning brush in the outdoor fireplace(s).  We request all Cascade Township residents to please call Fire Station 1 at 616-949-1320 in order to notify us of when you will be conducting a recreational fire. 

Who do I talk with if I have a group that would like C.P.R. training?

We have a community C.P.R. program. This program is coordinated by Fire Fighter James Walker. You may contact him by calling (616) 949-1320.

How do I arrange a tour of a fire station or a visit by a fire engine?

We enjoy visitors at our stations.  We also enjoy visiting you at an event or your neighborhood block parties.  You can arrange a tour of one of our two stations as well by calling (616) 949-1320.

I saw a fire engine go through an intersection with the red lights and siren on and then turn them off. Why did they do that?

We only respond emergency (red lights and sirens) to actual emergency calls.  Sometimes when we are responding to a call we are cleared or downgraded to non-emergency (no red lights and sirens) because the situation is no longer an emergency.  Another reason this may occur is that our presence is no longer needed.

What am I supposed to do if I see an emergency vehicle with its red lights and siren on?

One of the most important areas of concern!  You are supposed to slow down, move to the right and yield the right-of-way (please ensure you exercise caution).  It is also helpful to make eye contact with the emergency vehicle driver. Once the emergency vehicle has reached you do not make any sudden movements. This is very important at intersections.  At this time the emergency vehicle driver is attempting to make his/her way through the maze of vehicles.  The emergency vehicle driver will try and guide the emergency vehicle through the traffic in order for them to pass through safely.

What is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colorless odorless gas produced by incomplete combustion.  CO can be produced by a number of things including but not limited to: an automobile, furnace, gas dryer or water heater.  CO attaches itself to the red blood cells while displacing the oxygen that is normally carried by these cells.  This depletes the amount of oxygen being delivered to the body’s vital organs.  CO builds in the body cumulatively over time.  Therefore, a small dose over a long period of time can be just as dangerous as a large dose over a short period of time.

Do I really need a CO detector?

Yes.  A CO detector can alert you and your family to this otherwise undetectable lethal gas.  Signs and symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, fatigue, and drowsiness. These are all the same type of signs and symptoms of a typical cold.  You may go to bed to relieve this cold not realizing that you have been poisoned by CO.  In this case, a CO detector could possibly have saved your life and/or lives of loved ones.

What do I do if my CO detector starts going off?

First, do not panic.  Complete a check of yourself and your family to make sure everyone is fine. Find out if anyone is feeling ill (dizzy, lightheaded, headache, fatigue, etc.).  If someone is not feeling normal evacuate the house immediately and call 911.  The fire department and ambulance will be dispatched with medical equipment to treat your symptoms.  In addition, Cascade Township Fire Department carries CO monitoring devices to survey your residence.  If everyone is normal and has no complaints, do some investigating.  Start with the detector, make sure it is operating properly and check the battery.  Our most common calls concerning CO detectors are the battery is either dead or the CO detector is beyond its life expectancy.  Please consult the packaging or web-site relevant to your device.  Next check anything that produces heat (Dryer, Hot Water Heater, Furnace, Grill, etc).  Make sure these items are in proper working order, vented properly and clean.  You may call 911 and request that the fire department investigate at any time above or call a licensed contractor to detect the problem and fix it as well.

Where should I install my smoke detectors?

It is important to install a smoke detector on every floor of your residence.  It is also a good idea to place a detector in every bedroom.  Remember, smoke travels up and out so place detectors where the smoke will go first. Consult the packaging or web-site of the detectors for further information.  You should test every detector once a month.  A good rule of thumb for changing your batteries is to change them when you change your clocks in the spring and fall.  There are new smoke detectors with ten-year batteries. The life of a smoke detector is about ten years so replace any detector that is over ten years old.

Treasurer's Department

When are property taxes due?

The summer taxes are mailed by July 1, payable without interest or penalties until September 14.  The winter taxes are mailed December 1, payable without interest or penalties until February 14. 

Can I still pay my property taxes at the Township?

The township collects both summer and winter taxes until February 28 of each year.  Kent County collects the taxes after that date.  The exception is business personal property taxes.

What is the millage rate?

The millage rate depends on the school district in which you live.  Cascade Charter Township collects for Caledonia Community Schools, Forest Hills Public Schools and Lowell Area Schools.  The millage rates are estimations until July 1 and December 1.  You may call the treasurer's office at (616) 949-6944.

Does the parcel have any special assessments or outstanding invoices?

Special assessment questions should be directed to the Assistant to the Manager at 949-1500.  You may also access the information through the website on our property information software.