ALERT -Zoning Ordinance Amendments -Public Hearing before City Commission in March

The Grand Rapids City Commission will likely be setting a Public Hearing for the proposed Zoning Text Amendments. The public hearing will be on March 27, 2018. Following is the letter that HHA sent to City Commissioners. 


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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.


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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



Once a year the City and the Historic Preservation Commission give recognition to preservation projects and individuals that have enhanced our community.  Don’t miss your opportunity to nominate a friend, a neighbor or yourself for all the hard work they’ve done to protect our historic resources and to better our neighborhoods!! The four award categories are: Special Recognition for individuals making a difference in their community; Residential Preservation Project; Group Preservation Project; and, Commercial Preservation Projects.  Nomination forms are available here and through East Hills Council of Neighbors, Heritage Hill Association and Rhonda Baker City of Grand Rapids.


We’re 50 – Happy Anniversary Heritage Hill Association – 1968-2018

We are 50. Happy Anniversary Heritage Hill Association …. and they said it wouldn’t last.

We are planning to make every HHA event in our 50th year a celebration. We’ll give you updates as the year progresses but to kick it off here are the initial organizing minutes of a small group of people that began the discussion. The Association wasn’t formally founded until November of 1968 when the Articles of Incorporation were submitted.

We’d also like to hear your stories of the neighborhood over the last 50 years. If you’ve been here since the beginning or anytime throughout, send us a story about Heritage Hill. If you just moved it, you are keeping us vital so share your experience. It is all of us, our eclectic community that would not exist without the tenacity of a handful of people that started it all 5 decades ago — 75% of our houses were slated for demolition. And we continue to organize throughout all these years so that Heritage Hill is the place where we all want to be.

Join the celebration and the conversation. We’ll be sharing stories in the newsletter and we can post them on our website. Please email them to

Initial organizing minutes


2018 HHA Board Meetings/Agenda

2018 Board Meetings

February 21, March 21, April 18, May 16, June 20, August 15, September 19, October 17, November 14

The location of the Board meeting is at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Hauenstein Center, 220 Cherry SE, 1 Community Room (main floor, turn left at the first hall and it’s the first room on your left). 

The HHA Board meets every third Wednesday of month. Meetings start at 7:00 pm and typically last until 8:30. Public comment is taken at the beginning of the meeting. All are welcome! If you prefer to have the agenda’s emailed to you, email us at and the agenda will be sent to you.