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Draft Minutes - June 4, 2019

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HOLLAND CHARTER TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION 
 Regular Meeting
June 4, 2019

Present:  Chairman Marion Hoeve, Members Ken Bosma, Dennis Gebben, Randy Kortering, Norm Nykamp, and Ed Zylstra.  Also present were Community Development Director John Said, Assistant Community Development Director Corey Broersma and Recording Secretary Sheri Thomassen.

Absent: Vice-Chairman/Secretary Jack Vander Meulen

Motion to approve the minutes from the regular meeting of May 14, 2019, was made by Mr. Bosma, supported by Mr. Kortering.  All in favor.  Motion carried.

Public Comment - none.

Chairman Hoeve opened the Public Hearing for consideration of an amendment to the Zoning Ordinance and Map of the Charter Township of Holland, to change the subject property (unaddressed vacant land south of Quincy Street and west of 120th Ave.) from AG Agriculture to R-2A Medium Density Residential.  Subject property contains approximately 43.3 acres (total), and is described more specifically as Parcel Number 70-16-09-200-019.

Kelly Kuiper, Nederveld, was present to speak to this request. She shared that this request to rezone is consistent with the Township’s Master Plan and that the “little finger” on the west is master planned for Office and Service, but they’re asking that the entire parcel be rezoned to R-2A.  Ms. Kuiper continued that the request to rezone is also compatible with R-2A zoning - it’s a large and flat site and compatible with other uses in the area. She noted that they’re working with Bob Carini on an easement agreement to extend sanitary sewer to this site which will be important to support a higher density zoned district. 

Questions and comments from the Commissioners followed.

Extending sewer is the developer’s expense.

Is there a critical need to include the finger? Ms. Kuiper replied that it is not a critical need, necessarily; it’s for ease of maintaining what the parcel is zoned in the future.

Edward Haveman 12510 Quincy was present to speak to this request. The “little finger” mentioned is adjacent to the back of their property and is a county drainage ditch. His concern is with drainage and what’s going to happen with that.  Mr. Haveman shared that ideally, they’d like it to stay the way it is for privacy and asked that it remain Agricultural.  He continued that drainage in that area affects their water table and asked if this rezoning request affects their zoning.  Chairman Hoeve replied that it would not affect their zoning.  Mr. Haveman is also concerned about increased traffic on Quincy and wonders, with the new Blaine’s Farm & Fleet moving in, if that will increase traffic on Quincy and if the long-term plan is a 3-lane road with a turn lane.  Chairman Hoeve responded that the Ottawa County Road Commission will determine that. He added that he understands there will also be a bike path added in the fall.  Mr. Haveman asked about the building height, if there are 3-story buildings being planned?  Ms. Kuiper responded that there’s only a conceptual plan at this point but that their final site plan will comply with zoning requirements.  Staff confirmed that the maximum height allowed in R-2A is 45’ and added that there’s not a specific plan being presented or approved at this time.  Mr. Haveman is also concerned with people getting onto their property and the added noise – and that they want to maintain privacy. He asked if it is going to be a medium income, low income, high income, mixed income property.  Chairman Hoeve responded that the Planning Commission does not address that question at this time.  Mr. Gebben clarified the rezoning process and next steps for Mr. Haveman - that all these questions will be answered during the Site Plan review process.  Mr. Haveman continued that he doesn’t have a problem with the plans, just wants to make sure there’s a buffer in between. 

Mrs. Haveman asked if it has to go to a medium density or if it can go to a lower density? Staff clarified that our Ordinances and Commissioners consider physical aspects of projects such as building type, density, unit types, landscaping, etc. as opposed to social or economic aspects and reiterated that this is a request for rezoning and that the Site Plan review will answer many more of their questions.

Marcel Burgler, Prime Development, was present and responded to Mr. Haveman’s concerns. He shared that it seems logical for this parcel that the drainage ditch remains in place, that he thinks it’s a nice feature, and it is incorporated in their speculative site plan - he doesn’t think it’ll go away, but he can’t guarantee it. He added that it’s expensive to take it away, and it’s a natural feature.  Mr. Burgler also addressed Mr. Haveman’s question regarding the rezoning of their property and pointed out that their parcel is zoned Office and could be considered for rezoning at a different hearing.  He also confirmed that the bike path is coming this fall and thinks it will be a great addition to that area.

Motion to close the public hearing made by Mr. Nykamp, supported by Mr. Zylstra. All in favor.  Motion carried. 

The five criteria for Zoning Map Amendments were reviewed.  

Motion to recommend to the Township Board that approval be given to rezone the subject property from AG Agriculture to R-2A Medium Density Residential made by Mr. Bosma, supported by Mr. Kortering.
All in favor.  Motion carried.

Mr. Gebben added that in regards to Zoning Map Amendment Criteria item 3, Staff’s comment that potential uses “would not be compatible with existing uses…”, may be true today with existing uses, but it is very compatible with future planned uses.   Staff agreed.

Housekeeping note to applicant from Staff:  this rezoning will come before the Township Board on June 20, 2019, for a first reading.

Other Business

12659 Riley St. - Restaurant with Drive-thru (tabled 12/4/18)

Staff anticipates review of this item at the July Planning Commission meeting.  No further Planning Commission action is required at this time; the application remains tabled.

275 E. Lakewood Blvd. – PUD Pre-Application Conference

The (potential) applicants seek Planning Commission input for a conceptual proposed residential project at 275 E. Lakewood, which in total contains approximately 21 acres.  The property contains five separate parcels, with a portion of a sixth (Windmill Mobile Home Park), needed for connectivity.

The concept includes:

Five multi-family residential buildings containing three stories each, 165 dwelling units.

Two townhome (attached single-family) buildings, 19 dwelling units

Ten duplex (two-family residential) dwelling units.

Commercial development along Lakewood.

Centrally-located clubhouse with common area recreation facilities.

Sidewalks and walkways throughout the site.

Ryan Kilpatrick, Executive Director of Housing Next, was present to speak to this request and shared market data to support this potential housing development. He noted that in southwest Ottawa County a housing needs assessment was conducted over the course of 2018 and they found there’s a need for more than 800 market rate housing rental units, and another 800 at below market rate housing units. They’re looking for critical sites that already have infrastructure, have access to public transportation, near to job centers, close to local public schools and neighborhood amenities.  This site is centrally located and in a great neighborhood.  As part of this effort, they are trying to build neighborhoods that allow a variety of price points, not segregated by income.  He continued that they are departing from typical housing that we’re used to seeing, in a good way – with a mixed income neighborhood, and added that renters and homeowners will be proud of making this kind of investment. 

Mike Corby, Integrated Architecture, was present to speak to this request and is looking for feedback from the Commissioners. He talked about the unique concept, creating a community within a community and added that he appreciates Staff’s accommodations to this point.

Questions and comments from the Commissioners followed.

Mr. Bosma asked if there’s going to be a strip between parcels (not outlined) as part of the project. Scott Geerlings, Midwest Construction Group, responded, yes, they’re planning on that being included. 
 
A Zoning Summary, Organizational Diagram, Aerial View (park and amenities), Perspective (street view) were presented and reviewed.

Mr. Corby pointed out the creek and flood plain and stated that they’re trying to stay out of the floodway. He explained that they’re trying to achieve walkability, income diversity, 1- or 2-, maybe 3-bedroom units, potentially a clubhouse, playground, things that unite the community.  He also talked about considering a commercial concept with residential above.  The concept includes about 182 units right now and are within density requirements.  He added that a lot of the land isn’t buildable because of wetlands.

Mr. Gebben asked about the far northern tip, if there’s any development potential for that.  Mr. Corby responded that they are not planning on building there because of the stormwater detention area and added that their idea is to stay out of floodways with their buildings. He also shared that Nederveld is asking that floodplain and retention areas are reserved and that grades will have to changed, which will impact the volume capacity of floodways.

Mr. Bosma made a quick note that’s what labeled “creek” on the plan is actually a county drain. Mr. Corby responded that Nederveld is counseling them on those kinds of things.

Mr. Gebben wonders if they may yet determine that retention area could be moved and suggested they consider what RE Barber has done with it under the parking lot. Mr. Corby agreed that if it makes sense economically and gets them more units, then maybe they could consider that.  Mr. Geerlings added that they’ve consulted with Joe Bush, Ottawa County Drain Commissioner, and have had a discussion about these things.

Mr. Corby continued that a PUD will allow them the flexibility they’ll need for parking and that the plan works specific to the design. They don’t want to have more asphalt than they need but want to provide sufficient parking for residents.  Some units will be a smaller format (400 sf) units, offering attainable housing.  Their focus is to develop smaller more efficiently laid out units that allow residents to live large, and they’ve been very well received in other markets.  He added that he appreciates the feedback from Commissioners before they proceed with a formal application.

Chairman Hoeve asked how many 400 sf studio apartments are planned. Mr. Corby will provide that specific number at a later time, and added that there’s not a lot of those, but that smaller size captures the entry level market.  He spoke to the market demographics for the small studio units - young couple, recent college graduates with a decent income but student loan debts so can’t qualify for income restricted housing and can’t afford a house yet.  One-bedroom units tend to be the most popular, and the two-bedroom units get into more families that need a little extra room.  Townhomes are a little bit more robust in terms of square footage and accommodations.  Chairman Hoeve isn’t crazy about such small units because they won’t have much room for storage.  Mr. Corby responded that studio units will have closets, laundry, and they’ll also provide separate storage units within the community - and because they use a lot of millwork in the design, they can get a lot more in the unit with less space.

Mr. Kilpatrick added that 40% of renters are single adults with no kids and they’re competing with two-adult households on price. The cost of a one bedroom is today’s market is $965/mo. vs. a two bedroom at $972/mo., so the difference is minimal.  For single adults entering the work force at $35,000/year at a starter level job, they can’t afford that $965/mo.  A 400 square foot studio apartment is a great option for a first apartment after college.  They’ve been extremely successful in the Grand Rapids market - they tend to rent first and fill up fast, and they have not seen any kind of nuisances.  What they’re seeing across Ottawa County are a lot of regulations that make it very difficult or impossible to build those unit sizes.  But it’s really what the market is asking for right now because we have so many young people with student debt trying to find affordable housing without having to rely on government subsidy.  One of the best ways to do that is to shrink the unit sizes a little bit with good designer.

Mr. Bosma commented regarding residential over commercial and is interested in how would that work in this area. Also, how will individuals, some with lower income, have access to the public transportation.  Will there be a place to gather for a bus?  Mr. Corby responded that there’s a vehicular loop, and that a bus stop gathering area would be near the central green, an equal distance from residences.  Also, they haven’t decided yet about whether that’s the right thing or not for this community.

Mr. Gebben believes that regarding these housing units/sizes, the mentally of Townships in regards to urban planning are such that it’s natural to say that we have a lot of land, we can develop it.  We size things a little larger than you would in an urban area. We’re maturing from suburban to urban environment.  What’s being designed fits into an urban environment, to accommodate them where it’s socially acceptable among various demographics.  He would like to see some scholarship that says this is what the new urbanism is suggesting we do and reasons why as a basis for why and what they’re suggesting.  Mr. Corby responded that they just received approval for a project in Grayling and shared the same sentiment, came down to Grand Rapids and visited one of their projects to see how a 400-square foot studio lives and they were convinced them to eliminate their square foot minimums.  As an architect, how you design something is more important than the area.  They’ve learned how to build in storage, so they live large.  The generation that’s looking for this kind of housing, this design is normal for them.  They’re all dealing with housing shortages.  How can we make it affordable?  As a designer, he wants to make it live well.  Walkability and community are very important.  He offered to show floor plans of existing units and invited to host the Commissioners at one of the sites they’ve already done. 
 
Staff added that from a Code Enforcement perspective, there’s a need for more one-bedrooms; currently there’s an increasing number of individuals in one apartment believed to be due to housing costs and the associated sub-leasing of spare rooms creates parking issues.

Mr. Kortering agreed that we need more of this.

Chairman Hoeve added that his son pays only $765 for a one bedroom, a little lower than the $900+ mentioned earlier.

Mr. Corby added that the thing that’s great about this particular location is there’s a lot of commercial development around it that’s appealing to residents - walkability, the lakeshore, great quality of life beyond the property itself, plus a lot of industry in the area.  

Mr. Nykamp would like to see photos of a 400-square foot unit furnished.  Mr. Gebben would like a tour of the completed Grand Rapids project.

Mr. Kortering really likes the thought about renters aspiring to the larger units down the street and walkability to commercial properties.

Mr. Gebben asked if the trailer park is a compatible use.  Or is a detriment or will it integrate?  Mr. Corby replied that they are not planning to physically connect.  Each neighborhood has its own character, this would simply be a new neighborhood.  The benefit they’ll offer will be shared with their neighbors.  
 
Staff will work with Mr. Corby on arranging a tour of completed project in Grand Rapids.

Mr. Zylstra noted that this parcel has a creek and that makes it difficult to develop. He appreciates the effort. 
 
Staff added side note regarding connecting neighborhoods that the road stub involves two other properties, and that there needs to be another level of discussion with the County Road Commission. 

Mr. Nykamp suggested contacting West Ottawa Schools regarding bussing, that they may not go into the private neighborhood.  Mr. Bosma added the same from a Max bus perspective.

Mr. Corby thanked Staff for walking through the criteria for a PUD application.  Mr. Geerlings will decide whether to formally submit an application.

Mr. Gebben asked if this would be the first PUD under the new Ordinance.  Staff confirmed that it would be the first.

Staff added that there are dual zoning districts across the properties, but since residential and commercial are planned on the site, maybe it doesn’t have to go through the rezoning process first.  Both elements will be brought into the final design.

Mr. Geerlings asked about timing.  Staff replied that the next step could be a PUD application.

Mr. Kilpatrick thanked the Planning Commission for its time and acknowledged Mr. Geerlings and Midwest Construction efforts to get the right kind of project into the Township – it is an expensive endeavor, and the Planning Commissioner’s feedback tonight is critical before spending money on plans they may or may not like.  

Master Plan Update - Staff interviewed one potential applicant and is working with them on their proposal.  The Master Plan Proposal will be brought before the Township Board shortly.   

Mr. Kortering and Mr. Nykamp brought up two potential code violations in the Township.  Staff will have a Code Enforcement Officer take a look at those.

Chairman Hoeve acknowledged Sheri’s last day of service to the Planning Commission and wished her well on her new endeavor.  Staff added that they’ve enjoyed working with Sheri, that she’s been responsive and helpful, along with a great combination of professionalism and sense of humor. 
 
Next meeting - Tuesday, July 9, 7:00 PM

Adjournment - 8:25PM

Respectfully submitted,

Sheri Thomassen
Recording Secretary

 

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