ALERT -Zoning Amendments that remove neighbors’ voices – Public Hearing before City Commission March 27

The City Commission’s public hearing regarding the proposed zoning text amendments is on March 27, 2018.  For info and maps of the impact on each neighborhood go to:

The City has posted a “Data Compendium for Informed Housing Policy” document online that contains data points on 10 topics relating to the Housing NOW! recommendations.


Following is the letter that HHA sent to the City Commissioners prior to the setting of the public hearing:

_ ________________________________________________________

Previous Post:

The Planning Commission approved and expanded the zoning code text changes that you received via e-alert in the past 2 weeks. The Heritage Hill Association and most every neighborhood in Grand Rapids opposed the recommendations. There were public presentations, 49 letters of opposition and 3 letters of support presented to the Planning Commission. (Thank you).

The recommendations now move to the City Commission for adoption. A public hearing is tentatively scheduled for March 27.

These “by-right” text changes remove neighbors’ input in development/conversions in their neighborhood. The stated goal is to provide more affordable housing. There was no data provided to support this.

·         #3 Incentives for Small Scale Development –This allows by-right 2 unit conversion/development on every corner property and 2 to 4 unit conversion/construction on parcels within 500’ of commercial districts (500’ = one to one and half City blocks).

·         #8 Accessory Dwelling Units – allows adding 2nd unit to any owner-occupied dwelling by-right.

·         #9 Non-Condo Zero Lot Line Units – Allows attached 8-unit townhouses by-right within 500’ of commercial districts.

In Heritage Hill, no demolition of houses would be allowed but in neighborhoods without historic preservation protection, houses can be demolished for new construction.

We will provide updates as they become available. The blue area is where development of 2 to 4 units would be allowed by right. The map on the home page is a smaller version of below – HH and surrounding areas. 

HHEastHillzoning– This is the area effected in Heritage Hill and EastHills.


Previous post:
The Heritage Hill Association Board of Directors has reviewed and is opposing 2 of the 4 proposed zoning text changes that are before the GR Planning Commission. There are serious concerns regarding the proposed Small Scale Developments (#3) and the Accessory Dwelling Unit (#8). Both these changes would allow developments to be allowed by right. That means neighbors would not have any say in the development.
The #3 Small Scale Development  recommendation will allow 2-family units on corner properties in the City and allow 2 to 4 units on properties within 100 feet of a commercial corridor. Lot size of the properties would need to be in the size of neighboring properties and parking requirements would need to be met. Many corner properties in Heritage Hill would meet these requirements.   
The #8 recommendation will allow by right Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU). This would allow adding an apartment to an owner-occupied home. The ADU could be inside the existing structure and/or adding on to the house or garage. Both of these proposals would take away public comment. Neighbors’ views would no longer be a part of the conversation and decision making process. 
Here is the Association’s position AffordblezoningtextHHAposition
For the full text of the recommendations go to:
(Recommendations 3, 6, 8, and 9)
A public hearing by the Planning Commission is scheduled for
Thursday, January 25, 2018 at 1:00 pm at 1120 Monroe NW, 2nd floor. 
Please email your opinions to the GR Planning Commission at Please copy HHA too

Heritage Hill Weekend Tour of Homes – May 19-20, 2018

Tour one of the country’s largest urban historic districts and help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Heritage Hill Association. The Annual Heritage Hill Tour welcomes you inside 7 restored private houses and three historic buildings on Saturday, May 19 from 11 am – 5 pm and Sunday, May 20 from 12 pm – 6 pm. Tour offers an interior view of stunning turn of the century homes each uniquely styled by current owners. An elegant Greek revival, amazingly modern Queen Annes, a Chateaux mansion, a Craftsman beauty, a creatively converted 1900 carriage house, and more await you. It’s a celebration of the grandeur and art of the past fused with present-day livability. We’ve come a long way since 1968 when 75% of the neighborhood was slated for demolition.

Advance tickets are $18.00 and are available at the Heritage Hill Association office or at www.heritagehillweb.orgTo obtain tickets by check, send to the Heritage Hill Association, 126 College SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503. Tickets the weekend of the tour are $25.00. Free shuttle bus transportation for the tour is provided between featured properties.

Heritage Hill dates back to 1843 and was named by This Old House as one of the “Best Old House Neighborhoods” in the country. Its 1,300 homes represent Michigan’s finest collection of 19th and 20th century American architecture.

Home Tour -2018


Hands-On Windows Workshop – Reserve your spot

Window Workshop – This is a hands-on training session where participants will receive training from experts in how to: remove and install sashes, re-rope sashes, strip paint, remove and install glazing, apply epoxy, as well as general information on weather stripping and other elements.

Location: 1600 Marshall SE – Midtown Craftsman LLC (Shop)

April 20th, Friday – 5:30 pm -8 pm (pizza provided)

April 21st, Saturday – 8 am – 4 pm (bring a sack lunch)

Fee is $75.00 per person.

Please complete the registration and waiver; mail to: Heritage Hill Association, 126 College SE, Grand Rapids  MI  49503.

Workshop Registration Form with waiver form 2018 (1)


Heritage Hill Study Report – Period of Significance

The Heritage Hill Study Report presents a great historical resource of the development of the Heritage Hill neighborhood from 1920 – 1960’s.  There will be a public hearing before the GR City Commission in April regarding the adoption of this report and establishing 1845 to 1968 as the Period of Significance of the Heritage Hill HIstoric District.

Heritage Hill Final Study Report