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Economic Development and Developer's Resource Guide

Erich Podjaske, City Manager
Email:  manager@cityofgrayling.org
Office: 989-348-2131 Ext: 105
City Cell: 989-390-3102

The City of Grayling Economic Development and Zoning Administration Departments aspire to implement City policies and provide programs and actions that enhance the economic, environmental and social well-being of the community and foster a healthy and vibrant downtown, a diverse and inclusive business community and sustainable neighborhood growth.


  • Serves as the CCEDP director.
  • Performs retention visits with existing businesses in order to get an understanding of how the business is performing and how the local economy is as a whole. 
  • Come up with new ways to market our area as a place to live, work and play.
  • Markets property within the City and County for potential development.
  • Works directly with developers in finding property or existing buildings.
  • Works with the State on programs and grants for businesses.
  • Works with the State on programs and grants for the City, Townships and County.
  • Creates a list of available and potential sites for future development within the City and County.
  • Works with the other townships on sites that would work for future development, both commercial and residential.
  • Meets with potential developers to showcase what the City, Townships and County has to offer.
  • Helps developers through the process of site plan review, if needed, and designs that would fit current zoning within the City.
  • Works with Grayling Main Street.
  • Heads Project Rising Tide Committee.
  • Attend various meetings throughout the month.
  • Monitors the City for any possible zoning violations.
  • Work with different boards/committees to get the City's RRC certification.
  • Chair of the PRT committee.
  • Work on presentations.
  • Help individuals connect with the proper agencies.

Developer’s Resource Guide

The City’s Resource Guide is available to help your project move forward This guide is structured to put important resources for development projects in a convenient location. We hope you find this information helpful to move your project forward and bring it to reality.  Feel free to reach out to us if we can help along the way.

Please check with the Zoning Administrator before starting any project.  The Administrator shall assist with the administration and enforcement of the City of Grayling Zoning Ordinance including receiving and processing applications for zoning permits and required fees.

Pre-Application Review/Conceptual Review  Requirements: The Zoning Administrator alone or in conjunction with the Planning Commission Chair and/or Planning Commission shall have the authority to conduct a pre-application meeting with the applicant/developer to assist them in understanding the site plan review process and other Ordinance requirements and to provide insight as to what portions of their proposed development may be of special concern to the Planning Commission. Except for Planned Unit Developments, this conference is not mandatory, but is recommended for small and large projects alike. For large projects, a pre-application conference should be held several months in advance of the desired start of construction. This review is attended by the Zoning Administrator, Building Inspector and the Fire Marshal.  There is no cost for this review.  A meeting can be set up by contacting Ben Yoder, Zoning Administrator at (989) 348-2131 or by email: byoder@cityofgrayling.org.  If a project is more conceptual in nature without an identified location, a pre-application development meeting can still be requested. There are no materials required in this case, and the meeting will serve to provide direction and guidance.

Zoning Flow Charts

  1.   Special Use Permit
  2.   Site Plan Review
  3.   Zoning Board of Appeals Process
  4.   Zoning Ordinance Amendment 

To learn more about the City of Grayling, its strategic priorities and long-term goals, please visit our master plan here:  Master Plan.  

 For potential projects within the downtown visit our DDA Master Plan.

The Public Participation Plan is a guide that gives many different options in which the City can effectively reach out to the public.  Public meetings are meant to inform the public and get feedback/ideas. The City wants to know what the community has to say so we can make Grayling a better place for all. In accordance with the Michigan Open Meetings Act (PA 267 if 1976), the City of Grayling holds meetings in City Hall located at 1020 City Boulevard, which are accessible to the general public.   City Council and Planning Commission Meetings are held monthly.  To find dates for upcoming meetings, click on the following links:  City Council Meetings   &  Planning Commission Meetings.   

All building permits are handled through the Crawford County Building Department .  To receive permits and pay the associated fees, please contact Paul Olmstead by phone: (989) 344-3233 or email at polmstead@crawfordco.org.


Economic development incentives, commonly referred to as business incentives, have the potential to provide financial support to minimize upfront costs and speed up the timeline to profitability.
Developers interested in exploring options for incentive packages will likely get the most useful information after narrowing potential location options to a short list as incentives are typically tied to a specific project and/or location.
No formal application is required for consideration of these development incentives. Prospective developers are encouraged to contact City Manager/Economic Developer Erich Podjaske at  manager@cityofgrayling.org or by phone, 989-348-2131 ext. 105. Some of the programs and incentives described require final approval granted by a vote of the City Council.

Possible incentives could consist of: 

  • Tax Abatements: One of the most common incentives, tax abatements, can come in many forms. Industrial tax abatements, which are not the focus of this guide, can be direct reductions in taxes for a certain period, while more complex tools such as tax increment financing (TIF) can refund taxes paid on new, increased property value for certain eligible expenses. 
  • Brownfield Remediation:  Brownfield properties are those in which the redevelopment or reuse of the property may be complicated by the presence or perception of contamination. Revitalizing and redeveloping these properties protect the environment, reuses existing infrastructure, minimizes urban sprawl and creates economic opportunities.  All Brownfield Remediation projects are processed with the Crawford County Brownfield Remediation Authority (CCBRA). Our Economic Development Department works collaboratively with the CCBRA on all Brownfield Remediation projects.  For more information about the Crawford County Brownfield Remediation Authority (CCBRA), please click the links:  InformationApplication and Policies and procedures.
  • Reduced Parking Requirements: The Planning Commission, based on a recommendation from the Zoning Administrator may permit deviations from the requirements of Zoning Ordinance §3.24.7 and may require more or allow less parking whenever it finds that such deviations are more likely to provide a sufficient number of parking spaces to accommodate the specific characteristics of the use in question found in the Zoning Ordinance §3.24.6 (5) Flexibility in Application .
  • Community Revitalization Program (CRP): Michigan Communities have access to development gap financing with Michigan Community Revitalization Program (MCRP).  The program promotes community revitalization through the provision of grants, loans or other economic assistance for eligible projects located on properties that are either contaminated (facility), blighted, functionally obsolete or historic resourced. 
  • Community Development Block Grants (CDBG): Michigan Communities have access to development gap financing with The Michigan Community Revitalization Program (MCRP).  The program promotes community revitalization through the provision of grants, loans or other economic assistance for eligible projects located on properties that are either contaminated (facility), blighted, functionally obsolete or historic resourced.  
  • Infrastructure costs: Investing in our infrastructure—our roads and bridges; water, sewer, and stormwater systems; and energy and communications networks—is essential for ensuring 1) public health and safety, 2) quality of life, and 3) sustainable economic growth for all Michigan residents. 
The City has compiled a list of sites available for anyone that is interested in developing with the City of Grayling.