Planning and Zoning

The Planning & Zoning Department works closely with property owners on land use issues within the Township. Land use is guided by the Township's Master Plan and is incorporated into Township zoning ordinances. The Planning & Zoning Department also provides support and recommendations to the Planning Commission, Township Board of Trustees, and the Zoning Board of Appeals. Click the links provided for more information about our various boards and commissions including when the public meetings take place. 

To learn more about current projects in the Planning & Zoning Department, or to access the Master Plan, Zoning Ordinance, or other forms, click the tabs on the left.

If you have any questions regarding the use of property within East Bay Charter Township, the Planning & Zoning Department is here to help.

Office hours: Monday - Thursday, 7:00 am to 5:30 pm.
Phone: (231) 947-8681

Please email or call ahead to schedule an appointment to meet with staff on the following topics:

Zoning Administrator: Permits for residential homes, garages, or additions and any enforcement issues. 
Planning Director: Commercial, Industrial, or Multifamily development projects

Conceptual plan review is available by appointment only. Please contact the appropriate staff member based on project type listed above to schedule an appointment. This is an opportunity to discuss the feasibility of a proposed development. 

Planning & Zoning Department Staff

Director of Planning & Zoning: Claire KarnerClaire Karner, AICP, holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan in Natural Resources and Environment, and a master’s degree in Community and Regional Planning from the University of Oregon. In Oregon, her initial career experience included transportation planning. As a Traverse City native, Claire moved back to the area in 2013. Prior to joining the township as Director of Planning and Zoning in December 2019, Claire worked as a Community Planner with Land Information Access Association across the state and with Beckett & Raeder in the northwest region of Michigan. In 2021, Claire was named one of the region's 40 Under 40 by the Traverse City Business News. Claire can be reached at (231) 947-8681 ext. 2 or

Bill Vandercook 4x5Zoning Administrator: Bill Vandercook has a passion for assisting landowners and communities to plan for sound growth. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan-Flint in Urban and Regional Land-use Planning (2018) and has completed several training and certification programs including a Zoning Administrator's Certificate from Michigan State University (2020), Farm Bureau/Land Use Leadership Training (2003) and completed Michigan State University’s Citizens Planner Program (2001). Before joining East Bay Township, he was the Land Use Specialist for Lapeer, St. Clair, and Sanilac County’s Conservations Districts (2001-2004), developed a proprietary land planning system to consult with landowners of working farms, forests, and recreational land (2008–2023), and most recently was the Zoning Coordinator/Planner II for the City of Flint Planning and Zoning Division. Bill can be reached at (231) 947-8681 ext. 3 or 

Community Development Fellow: SL HeadshotSam LaSusa joins the East Bay Township Planning & Zoning Department for a 15-month fellowship program funded through Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM). Sam is a Traverse City native and holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Dunwoody College of Technology, in Minneapolis, MN. He will be assisting on a host of different projects, including the Three Mile Trail Extension and Safe Routes to School, promoting and supporting economic development on the U.S. 31 Beach District, Redevelopment Ready Communities certification, and the zoning ordinance rewrite. Sam can be reached at (231)-947-8681 ext. 4 or

Sustainability Fellow: Daniel Ariza joins the East Bay Township Planning & Zoning Department for a 9-month MI Healthy Climate Corps program funded through Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE). Originally from Omaha, Nebraska, Dan relocated to Traverse City from Chicago, IL in 2011. He is a graduate from DePaul University with an emphasis in Environmental Sciences, Physical Geography and Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing.  Prior to his service with the Township, Dan worked as the Leelanau County Soil Erosion & Sedimentation Control Officer at the Leelanau Conservation District and is certified by The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes & Energy (EGLE) Water Resources Division and served two terms with Huron Pines AmeriCorps. Dan can be reached at  (231) 947-8647 ext. 115 or