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City of Grand Haven moves forward on housing accessibility

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Posted at 9:08 AM, Jan 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-21 09:08:00-05

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — The City of Grand Haven and partner organization Housing Next have been working to reduce barriers to the creation of housing at all price points, according to a news release Thursday.

Recent updates have been made to the zoning ordinance, which was approved by the Grand Haven City Council earlier this month.

The goal of the new ordinance is to improve housing choice and supply across the city, promote greater mobility choices for residents, provide more equitable access to wealth creation and streamline the zoning approval process for developers.

In addition, the Comstock Street housing development is designed to be affordable for households that earn less than 80% of the area median income.

“We’re proud of the work we’ve done – and continue to do – to help make sure Grand Haven can offer enough housing for all income levels,” City Manager Pat McGinnis said. “The new zoning ordinance and housing development are great examples of the commitment of the City Council, City staff, community members and other partners to make this happen. We want Grand Haven to be a great place for anyone who wants to live here.”

The new ordinance:

  • Adds accessory dwelling units – secondary housing units on a single-family residential lot – and two-plus unit dwellings to more districts with a streamlined review process to improve housing choice.
  • Reduced minimum lot size and dimensional standards to allow for more housing supply in established neighborhoods.
  • Requires bicycle racks in all commercial developments to promote greater mobility choice.
  • Establishes pop-up shop regulations to encourage small-scale entrepreneurship and more equitable access to wealth creation.
  • Provides accommodations for electric vehicles to support sustainability.
  • Streamlines the zoning approval process and makes it more user-friendly.
  • Offers optional work sessions for commercial land uses and planned developments to support developers.
  • Increases the zoning administrator’s authority to approve minor changes and improve efficiency for builders and developers.
  • Requires all parking lots use low-impact development methods and stormwater best management practices to support sustainability.
  • Establishes community garden regulations to enhance community building.
  • Allows for the requirement of a health impact assessment for development in sensitive areas.
  • Reduces parking requirements to allow for shared use and proximity to public parking.

The Comstock Street development will include approximately 32 single-family housing units on 7.58 acres of vacant land on the north side of Comstock Street in Grand Haven.

The land was owned by the City and transferred to the Ottawa County Land Bank Authority last fall to prepare the site for redevelopment.

Michigan Community Capital will buy the property later this year.

The project will serve households that earn between 60% and 100% AMI. In Ottawa County, that is between $35,160 and $83,600 a year.