Zoning Proposals – Recap and current status

December, 2018
The City Commission is working through a series of 3 approval processes for the Housing Now zoning proposals. Various parts of the proposals will be decided on December 18, several others need additional work and will resurface in January, and the most controversial of the proposals will be incorporated into the City’s Master Plan Development.
See the detailed language at:
Item D – Committee of the Whole – #4
September, 2018:
WMCAT held a series of neighbors’ meeting in August to educate and review the same 4 Housing NOW proposals. WMCAT’s report of this engagement is likely to the City Commission in late September. Next steps are not defined at this point.
From April, 2018
The City Commission at their Committee of the Whole meeting on April 10 decided to  engage the services of WMCAT to facilitate a series of community meetings over the next 90 days to identify aspects of the proposed zoning texts that can be adopted in the near future and what should be moved into the City’s Master Plan development. The CC is also recommending that the Master Plan process begin earlier, hopefully by the end of 2018.
From March 28, 2018:
Thank you, thank you to the many, many neighbors that wrote letters and/or attended last night’s hearing. It was a great turnout and good passion. Here’s the city’s recap statement. Stayed tuned for next steps.
“The City Commission and City staff appreciate the large turnout at Tuesday night’s public hearing on Housing NOW! recommendations 3, 6, 8 and 9. Residents and other stakeholders spoke out overwhelming about the need for more community engagement and urged the Commission to hold off on voting on the recommendations. The Commission took this to heart and decided to postpone indefinitely any decision on the recommendations. It will spend part of its April 10 Committee of the Whole meeting discussing next steps for future conversations and community engagement around the recommendations.”
The Committee of the Whole meeting is at 9:30 am at the City Commission chambers, 9th floor, City Hall, 300 Monroe NW. There is also live-stream from the City’s website.
Here’s the link to the live-feed of City Commission meetings – https://www.grandrapidsmi.gov/Government/City-Commission-Meetings#section-2
Here’s the link to watch the public hearing of March 27 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xU3MMbqhSQ

_____________________________________________________________________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: http://westgrand.org/updates/2018/2/7/proposed-zoning-ordinance-changes

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:

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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 planning@grcity.us. Please copy HHA too heritage@heritagehillweb.org