Ross Township Zoning Ordinance Kalamazoo County Permitted Uses

Community Food Security, Land Use and Planning, Land Use Regulation
Policy type

The Ross Township Zoning Ordinance was amended to define and legalize the use of roadside stands, farm markets, and farmers’ markets in Agricultural Preservation and Rural-Residential Districts. The ordinance defines roadside stands and farm markets as stands or lands/buildings that are primarily used for selling regionally grown fresh and/or processed farm produce, raw forest products, cut flowers, potted plants, agricultural and forest products – excluding items that are not grown regionally, non-agricultural items, or products that require a permit from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission. Roadside stands must not exceed 150 sq. ft. in area, including stands that are located within a larger structure if the structure complies with a specified lot, yard, and area requirements. If roadside stand is less than 25 sq. ft. in area or is left in place seasonally, the stand may be located adjacent to the nearest road abutting the property. Farm markets are limited to the sale of farm products or commodities that have been processed or converted in value-added products, which must meet the meet State of Michigan Guidelines for ‘cottage food’ items. Additionally, both roadside stands and farm markets must provide a parking area equivalent to one parking space per 25 sq. ft. of the roadside stand or farm market area. Parking areas must be clearly marked and provide adequate turn-around outside of the road right-of-way. The ordinance defines farmers’ markets as marketing facilities at which multiple local farmers sell fruit and vegetables and often meat, cheese, and bakery products directly to consumers. Farmers’ markets are considered to be a special land use, which requires further review from the Planning Commission.

Relationship to food access, food insecurity, or local food economies

Direct-to-consumer marketing channels, such as roadside stands and farmers’ markets, may provide economic opportunities for producers and promote greater access to locally grown foods (Low et al. 2012). By permitting roadside stands, farm markets, and farmers’ markets in rural areas, the Ross Township Zoning Ordinance can support efforts to support local producers and increase food access.

Scale of Governance
Policy Text Link
Michigan Good Food Charter Priority

Priority 1 – Increase healthy food access & consumption, Priority 6 – Use policy & planning to increase food access


Low, S.A., Adalja, A., Beaulieu, E., Key, N., Martinez, S., Melton, A., Perez, A., Ralston, K., Stewart, H., Suttles, S., Vogel, S., & Jablonski, B.B.R. (January 2015). Trends in U.S. Local and Regional Food Systems, AP-068, Washington D.C.: U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service. Administrative Publication 068.