Lincoln Township
Clare County, Michigan

Frequently Asked Questions
Clerk ~ Treasurer ~ Zoning Admin. ~ Building Inspector ~ Assessing

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Where is the Lake George Senior Center located?

175 Lake George Avenue, Lake George

What are the hours?

9 am to 1 pm

Does Lincoln Township have Senior Housing?

No, we do not have Senior Housing in Lincoln Township. However there are several senior apartments located in Clare County:
  • Farwell – Pinehurst: 989-588-3360
  • Clare – Clarecastle: 989-386-3280; Horizon Living Center: 989-386-4900
  • This is only a partial list

What kind of Senior Transportation is available?

Clare County Senior Services offers medical transportation. Call 989-539-8870 if you are a senior in need of a ride to a medical appointment. Veterans Services also provides medical and other transportation.

What is required to reserve the Township Hall or Township property such as the pavilion at one of the parks?

Contact the Clerk at 989-588-9069.

Where do I go to register to vote?

Any Secretary of State Office, the Township Clerk (989-588-9069), or other designated state agency such as FIA.

How do I get an absentee ballot?

Contact the Clerk at 989-588-9069.

Who can be on the permanent absentee list?

Any registered voter age 60 years or over may request to be on the permanent list. Contact the Clerk (989-588-9069) to have a signature card sent.

Where do I get a dog license?

At the Clare County Treasurer’s Office located in the court house at 225 W. Main St., Harrison, MI.

How do I find my septic tank?

Start at the Clare County Environmental Health Department (989-539-6731).

How do I call the Transit for a ride?

By calling 989-539-1473.

Where is the nearest Hospital?

The Mid-Michigan Medical Center is located in Clare at 703 N. McEwan St. 989-802-5000.

Is there an Urgent Care in the area?

Yes. The Urgent Care is located in Clare at 700 W. Fifth St. 989-386-9911.

I will be having some excavating done on my property. Should I call MISS DIG?

It is always best to call MISS Dig at 811 before any digging is done. You will need to call at least 3 full days before digging.


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When are Tax Bills sent out?

Tax Bills are mailed on or around July 1st and December 1st.

What address are Tax Bills mailed to?

Tax Bills are mailed to the most current address on file for the Property Owner as recorded on the Deed UNLESS an alternate Taxpayer Address is requested and provided.

My mortgage company pays my taxes through escrow. How is that mailing handled?

The original Tax Bill will still be mailed to the address of record (see above question). This is informational for the property owner so that you will know what your tax obligation is for the year. A copy of this bill will be forwarded to your mortgage company for payment.

Are receipts mailed out?

Yes, receipts are mailed UNLESS you are paying with one of the larger mortgage company escrow options. These large batch payments do not generate individual receipts for mailing. However, individual receipts are generated on-line and can be printed per your request.

How can I get copies of my tax bills or receipts?

Copies of bills and receipts can be obtained three ways:
  • Printed on-line at Follow the link from the Treasurer’s Corner on the left hand side of the homepage.
  • Call the Treasurer’s office at 989-588-2574
  • Email a request to

When are taxes due?

  • Summer Taxes are due on September 14th
  • Winter Taxes are due on December 14th Any taxes not received by these dates will have interest and penalty attached to them.
  • Any taxes not received by March 1st will be turned over to the Clare County Treasurer as delinquent and cannot be paid to Lincoln Township.

How can I pay my taxes?

Tax payments can be mailed to:
  • Lincoln Township Treasurer, PO Box 239, Lake George, MI 48633
  • Taxes can be paid in person at the Treasurer’s office in the Township Hall during scheduled office hours.
  • Taxes can be paid on-line at

Can I pay with a credit or debit card?

Credit and Debit Cards are ONLY accepted if paying on-line at A 3% charge is added by the credit card processing company to cover fees.

Is there an electronic option available that does not include a 3% processing fee?

Yes. There is a direct bank transfer option available through the payment link. A flat fee is assessed that is much less than the 3% credit/debit card fee.

What are the Treasurer’s office hours?

Office hours vary from month-to-month. Hours are posted on-line at, on the doors at the Township Hall, and on the telephone greeting at 989-588-2574. During Winter months, hours are subject to change during severe weather. If local schools are closed the office is likely to be closed also.


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What is a setback and what are the setbacks?

The distance between a building or structure (excluding any uncovered steps or unenclosed or uncovered porches) and a front, side, or rear lot line. For the purpose of establishing setbacks, all setbacks will be measured from the closest point of the structure to the yard setback being established.
  • Front Yard: A yard across the full width of the lot extending from the front line of the principal building to the front lot line, or highway-right-of-way (which according to the County Road Commission is 33 feet from the center of the road) line as the case may be. Setback: R-R Residential District 90 feet, R-1 Single Family 50 feet, R-2 Single/Two Family 50 feet and R-3 Multiple Family 50 feet.
  • Rear Yard: A yard extending across the full width of the lot from the rear line of the building to the rear lot line. Setback: R-R Residential District 50 feet, R-1 Single Family 50 feet, R-2 Single/Two Family 25 feet and R-3 Multiple Family 50 feet.
  • Side Yard: A yard extending between the side lot line and the nearest side of the building. Setback: R-R Residential District 50 feet, R-1 Single Family 10 feet, R-2 Single/Two Family 10 feet and R-3 Multiple Family 10 feet.
  • Corner Lot: A lot located at the intersection of two streets or a lot bounded on two sides by a curving street, any two (2) sides of which form an angle of one hundred thirty-five (135) degrees or less. When a building accessory to a residential building is located on a corner lot, the side lot line of which is substantially a continuation of the front lot line of the lot to its rear, such building shall not project beyond the front yard setback required on the lot in the rear of such corner lot. A building accessory to a residential building shall in no case be located nearer than 10 feet to a street right-of-way line.
  • No detached building accessory to a residential building shall be located closer than ten (10) feet to any main building or another accessory building, nor shall be locate closer than five (5) feet to any side or rear lot line.
  • A building accessory to a residential building shall in no case be located nearer than 10 feet to a street right-of-way line. If a lot is considered a water front lot, one (1) building accessory to a residential building is permitted in the front of the lot subject to the following restrictions:
         -- The building accessory to a residential building cannot exceed one hundred twenty (120) square feet, with no larger than twelve inch overhangs on all sides. It must have a setback of ten (10) feet from all water. It must meet all other setback requirements for accessory buildings or structures.
         -- An accessory building or structure of less than one hundred twenty (120) square feet of area, with no more than twelve (12) inch overhang on all sides, shall not require a building permit provided that said building or structure meets all yard requirements for accessory buildings and has been approved by the zoning administrator prior to placement.

What is a nonconforming Lot?

In any district, a structure and accessory building may be erected on a lot which fails to meet the district requirements for bulk regulations, provided that said lot existed at the effective date of this Ordinance or any affecting amendment. However, the proposed structure and accessory building must still meet the yard dimensions and requirements for the district in which such lot is located. Variance of yard requirements shall be obtained only through action of the Board of Appeals. Lots of record that existed before the effective date of this Ordinance that do not comply with the lot area or lot width requirements established by applicable zoning district regulation may be used, provided: The minimum lot width shall be forty (40) feet, Front yard setback requirements shall not be reduced, No side yard setback shall be less than ten (10) feet.

What are the Road and Railroad Right of Ways?

  • Generally it is 66 feet, sometimes 33 feet, check Zoning map.
  • Generally Railroad right of way is 50 feet from center (of the tracks)....Also, thru-out most of the Township, the railroad (i.e. the State of Michigan) actually OWNS the Railroad bed....100 ft. wide, so its private property, not just a right-of-way. For that, it shows up on the Plat maps, as property belonging to the railroad.

What are the zoning requirements for Swimming Pools and Spas?

  • The installation of residential swimming pools, spas and hot tubs is regulated by Appendix G of the 2003 Michigan Residential Building Code (MRC). Appendix G addresses both permanent and portable units. The provisions of Appendix G control the design and construction of barriers for residential swimming pools. These design controls have been developed to provide protection against potential drowning or near drowning by limiting access to swimming pools, spas and hot tubs. Section AG102 provides the following definition of a swimming pool; “any structure intended for swimming or recreational bathing that contains water over 24 inches deep. This includes in-ground, above-ground and on-ground swimming pools, hot tubs and spas.” Per Sections AG103 & AG104 of the 2003 MRC, all pools, including in-ground, above-ground and on-ground swimming pools, hot tubs and spas must be designed and constructed to conform to specific ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standards. The following requirements are part of Section AG105.2, and list what is needed to provide a code compliant barrier around an outdoor swimming pool, spa or hot tub.
  • Swimming pools, spas, and hot tubs are permitted as an accessory use in all zoning districts subject to applicable setback regulations established for accessory uses, buildings and structures. Must have a fence surrounding the pool if above pertains and cannot be in front yard.

What is a Building Footprint?

A building footprint is the outline of the total area of a lot or site that is surrounded by the exterior walls of a building or portion of a building, exclusive of courtyards. In the absence of surrounding exterior walls, the building footprint shall be the area under the horizontal projection of the roof. According to MSUE Land use: If the language says in the existing footprint it would allow rebuilding in the existing footprint or less.

What are the Zoning Requirements for Travel Trailers?

Temporary Use of Recreational Vehicles as Dwellings Travel trailers, motor homes and other similar recreational vehicles designed with sleeping accommodations shall not be occupied for transient purposes for a continuous period exceeding thirty (30) days per each ninety (90) day period unless connected to electrical service and District Health Department approved sanitary facilities. Temporary occupancy of such vehicles connected to electrical and sanitary facilities shall not exceed ninety (90) days in any calendar year, except under the provisions of Section 1520. Permits for temporary use shall be obtained from the Zoning Administrator. May be parked on property indefinitely but must have valid license plate.

What are the Approved Sanitary Facilities?

I Spoke to the Health Department on May 23, 2013 about sanitary facilities. The District Health Department’s version of Approved Sanitary Facilities is: a septic system or ability to use a dump station. Lincoln Township zoning allows that a person may keep their travel trailer on their property all year round as long as it is licensed for the road. A person may stay in said trailer for up to 30 days without electrical hookup and without District Health Department approved sanitary facilities. After 30 days in any given 90 day period, a person needs to be connected to electric and meet the District Health Department requirements as explained above and they will also need a temporary use permit from the Township to stay in the trailer. The number of trailers permitted on lots is not specifically addressed in our Ordinance.

What is the definition for Porches and Decks?

  • Porch, Enclosed: A covered entrance to a building or structure which is totally enclosed or screened, and projects out from the main wall of said building or structure and has a separate roof or an integral roof with the principal building or structure to which it is attached.
  • Porch, Open: A covered entrance to a building or structure which is unenclosed except for columns supporting the porch roof, and projects out from the main wall of said building or structure and has a separate roof or integral roof with principal building or structure to which it is attached.
  • Deck: An exterior floor system or structure, either attached or unattached to a dwelling, that is above grade at any portion of the structure supported on at least two opposing sides by an adjoining structure and/or posts, piers, or other independent supports.

What are the rules for Fences?

Fences are permitted, or required subject to the following:
  • Fences on all lots of record in all residential districts which enclose property and/or are within a required side or rear yard, shall not exceed six (6) feet in height, measured from the surface of the ground, and shall not extend toward the front of the lot nearer than the front of the house or the required minimum front yard setback whichever is greater.
  • No wall or hedge planting shall exceed a height of three (3) feet within any residential front yard. Clear vision fences are permitted in front yards, but shall not exceed four (4) feet in height. On a corner lot or parcel, no fence, wall, or planting shall be allowed except it will not interfere with traffic visibility across a corner.
  • It shall be the obligation and sole responsibility of persons erecting fences in this Township to determine the location of property lines. The Zoning Administrator may require proof that property lines have been established prior to issuance of a fence permit. The Township shall not determine property or lot lines, and the issuance of a construction permit to erect a fence shall in no way be construed as a determination of the correct, valid or legal location for the fence, or prejudice, in any way, the rights of adjacent or abutting property owners.
  • Where a lot borders a lake or stream, fences in the waterfront yard shall not exceed three (3) feet in Height.


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When can I speak with the Building inspector?

Call 989-588-9841, follow prompts.

How do I schedule an inspection?

Call 989-588-9841, follow prompts.

What do I need permits for?

Call 989-588-9841, follow prompts. Also, download information HERE.

Where can I get a Building Permit?

At the Township Hall or on line at

Where do I get an electrical, mechanical or plumbing permit?

Contact Clare County Community Development at 989-539-2761.


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What is the difference between S.E.V. and taxable value?

S.E.V. stands for State Equalized Value which is 50% of Market Value. Taxable Value is the value that you pay your taxes on (this came about when Proposal A was voted in by the taxpayers in 1993) Beginning in 1994 your S.E.V. was capped and could only increase yearly by the rate of inflation or 5%, whichever is less? If anything new is added to the property, 50% of the appraised value of this new item is added to your taxable value. Also if you just purchased your home, in the following year your taxable value will be uncapped, and your taxes will be based on S.E.V. In subsequent years you will be increasing by the taxable value rule.

Why are my neighbor’s taxes less than mine when we have the exact same house?

Sometime it may appear that you have the same house, but on closer observation they may have a larger home, garage, deck, shed, lot etc., or your house may be newer by a few years. All of the aforementioned would affect the appraised value of your house and reflect a difference in your taxes. Also, if you purchased your home in the prior year, your taxable value would have been uncapped and you will be paying taxes on your S.E.V.

I am not satisfied with the Value placed on my home, I feel there has been a mistake made?

If you believe a mistake has been made in the appraisal of your property, the first thing to do would be to come into the office and inquire in the Assessing Department to have your appraisal explained. If are not satisfied with their explanation, and feel you are over assessed, you can appeal to the March Board of Review.

Should I call the office if I see an appraiser taking a picture of my house?

If it is a Township appraiser he is only doing his job. In the past we had black and white photographs, today we are trying to update our records with digital colored photograph which can be accessed from our computers.


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