The City of Niles Community Development Department is one of seven City departments. Its functions include activities related to short and long-range community planning; economic and community development; zoning administration, grant reporting and analysis; mass transportation planning and operations; and historical preservation and education. The department also works closely with the Niles Housing Commission and the Niles Main Street program. Community Development Director Sanya Vitale may be contacted by email or at 269-683-4700 ext. 3020.
The Community Development Department is comprised of the following functional areas:
Planning provides information on land use, zoning, site development standards, general plan policies and City Council directed study issues. Planning also processes applications for land use related permits. Zoning information and related forms can be found online by clicking the link on the left.
The City’s Zoning Ordinance can be found at zoning.nilesmi.org or by clicking the link titled Zoning to the left. The Zoning Ordinance was developed to establish zoning districts and regulations in accordance with the provisions of Act 207 of the Public Acts of 1921, as amended; to define certain terms used herein; to provide for regulations governing nonconforming uses and structures; to establish a Zoning Board of Appeals and define its duties and powers; to provide for the administration and enforcement of this Ordinance and to provide penalties for the violation of this Ordinance.
The fundamental purpose of this Ordinance is to promote the public health, safety, morals, and general welfare; to encourage the use of lands and natural resources in accordance with their character and adaptability; to limit the improper use of land; to provide for the orderly development of the City; to reduce hazard to life and property; to establish the location and size of, and the specific uses for which structures may hereafter be erected or altered, and the minimum open spaces, sanitary, safety and protective measures that shall be required for such structures; to lessen congestion on the public roads and streets; to provide safety in traffic and vehicular parking; to facilitate the development of an adequate water supply and other public requirements; to conserve life, property and natural resources, and the expenditure of funds for public improvements and services; to conform with the most advantageous uses of land, resources and properties.
Niles History Center
The Niles History Center is located at 508 E. Main Street and includes the Fort St. Joseph Museum, which is housed in the former carriage house of its next door neighbor, the beautiful Victorian period Chapin Mansion. The Chapin Mansion is open for historical and architectural tours. Read more about the Niles History Center by clicking here.
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT PROGRAM
The City of Niles was designated as a principal city of a metropolitan area by the Office of Management and Budget in 2003. This designation has made Niles eligible to receive grant funds directly from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under the federal government’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.
The CDBG program allows grantees to carry out a variety of community development activities directed towards revitalizing neighborhoods, economic development and providing improved community services. These activities must meet one of three national objectives: (1) Benefiting low and moderate income persons, (2) Elimination of slum and blight, and (3) Addressing an urgent need.
As a CDBG program requirement the City must submit an Annual Action Plan every year. The Annual Action Plan describes the actions, projects and programs that will take place during the following year to address the priority needs and specific objectives identified in the Consolidated Plan, which was approved by City Council last program year. The City’s priorities have been incorporated into the Action Plan in the context of the goals identified within the Consolidated Plan. A public hearing was held prior to the approval of the Plan to afford citizens the opportunity to provide input.