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About whitemice

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  • Birthday 12/06/1972

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    Highland Park, Grand Rapids, MI

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  1. Does anyone have/keep a list of the current housing development projects? I was having a conversation with someone from one of the housing organizations and he stated that, currently, every housing development in the city limits was an affordable housing project [I can think of about five off hand]. We agreed that this fact - if true [ I had no grounds to argue ] - was both great and disturbing. Does it mean that market-rate housing is either choked by regulatory nonsense and/or now fiscally non-viable? That's bad. I have also heard from a person-of-significance from a construction-company-of-significance that they had projects on-hold|shelved due to labor constraints. Another interesting data point (yet I admit to being skeptical that what construction companies say should be taken at face value). Any vacancy rate below ~15-20% indicates a constrained market; they are jumping around, but all jumps are within the red range.
  2. Anecdotally, it seems like it has. As someone who shops for rentals, as I have have a steady flow of friends-n-family moving into the city, the number of incentives has certainly increased; things like first month free, waived security deposit, etc... Those kinds of things seemed way less frequent 2016 - 2018. So, who knows, maybe markets work? [at least for the 80% - 120% AMI]. Finding an apartment in the $750 - $950 range is currently also easier; availability has clearly increased. My unsubstantiated gut feeling is that a glob of people have moved from those units - mostly duplexes or subdivided-previously-oneplexes - into the modern, much nicer, amenity laden commercial developments, freeing them up. Potential downside of the city's recent overly complicated rental application regulations may be that landlord's are now discouraging potential tenants who may be on the edge from filling out the application, to prevent having to provide a reason of denial. In the end it may have some effect of pushing some housing discrimination off-book.
  3. The DASH bus is already right there, across Leonard. Also not far from the RAPID#11 or the interstate. The RAPID#7 is an easy walk. Plus there are already bike lanes. This is an excellent location for lots of housing. Very excited to see 310 housing units ... 250 parking spaces; very much a move in the right direction. Aside: this is on my daily commute, I pass it 2 - 4 times a day. It is a big blank space, I personally look forward to having something potentially useful there.
  4. I work for a company that services electric vehicles; in the material handling industry. That number is sort-of true. It reduces the complexity of the drive train by ~80%. You still have all the rest of the vehicle, unchanged; the rest of the vehicle is a lot of the vehicle. A vehicle, unlike a personally owned vehicle today, that is in actual service to multiple users ~12 hours a day takes way more of beating, right down to the door handles. Some are, some aren't. Honestly this is nothing but speculation at this point. Shared vehicles may take of in urbanized areas. But in exurbs and rural areas - no way - the math can never work. That is still a lot of owned vehicles. The current TNCs (Uber, Lyft, etc...) model of parasitism of the value of people's personal vehicles have given people a very false impression of what the cost of truly shared fleet vehicles will be - and autonomy will not decrease that cost. Shared fleet vehicles will also be much more like buses than the image of the posh recliner floating down a highway which companies like the currently sell. In response to these realities it seems more reasonable to expect that many affluent households will still chose ownership. Remember shared AV vehicles have to be stored, fueled, and services somewhere by someone. They all will need regulatory inspections. And they will need to be cleaned somewhere by someone, just like a transit vehicle today. When people don't own it, they treat it differently. It is not a manner of when, but if, however both the precisely when and the precisely how are very open questions. People who talk as if they know those answers should not be taken seriously. There are infrastructure issues like RSUs (road side units - required for AVs); who will pay for them, how will they be managed. There are all the issues of regulation and permitting. There are serious issues regarding equity and accessibility. And there remains the geometry problem: unless AVs carry significantly more people for vehicle [meaning not door-to-door service] they do not solve any capacity problems. I am confident EVs and AVs change things, but likely far less so than some Futurists are proposing. Physics, Geometry, and Human Behavior cannot be eliminated from the equation by any technology. They muddy the picture. Fortunately we already have the technologies to very effective deal with the demand; there is no need to wait for a silver bullet.
  5. The city's Strategic Plan, meant to bridge Operations and "The Master Plan(s)": http://urbangr.org/GRStrategicPlan20202023 The mobility goals are ambitions.
  6. I think you have the answer right there. Is making some older people upset worth worrying about? More importantly, are you|we|us really willing to spend lots and lots of money to make it stop happening? The PTB's actual answer to this question is clear. And it is not as if Downtown is struggling for want of visitors. The answer is in here to: this is the same as everywhere else. This is America. Where are they going to loose a substantive amount of convention business to? Somewhere that is the same? These conventions will not have much choice but to keep on moving to the next city, eventually it will be a circuit; there is not an infinite list of options. Particularly if the convention is large. Homelessness is as American as Apple Pie; if you do not want to encounter homeless people you need to avoid American cities, all of them [and thus not attend things like conventions]. I've witnessed this in every city I've gone to from San Diego, to DC, to Jacksonville (FL). It does not make me feel unsafe; most people my age (mid-40s) and younger who have lived in cities - which is a huge slice of the affluent population conventions want - are so used to it, it is every day everywhere. I know some of those Homeless People by name. Yes, somebody will be upset, some official will dutifully make note of their concerns, file it in some database whose contents will be lost in the next upgrade, and nothing will change.
  7. Well, it looks like Minneapolis is taking a step in that direction! https://nonprofitquarterly.org/2019/02/07/minneapolis-aims-to-diversify-its-70-neighborhood-associations/ Fortunately, at least based on last night's City Commission meeting, the Great Master Planning process is looking like it may not arrive until 2022-2023. Meaning it will not be happening under the current Commission, and possibly no the current mayor - which is excellent news for anyone hoping Grand Rapids will move towards successful urban policies. In the long run the control of the Neighborhood Associations will turn over. It is already turning over, and by ~2022 it will have turned over even more. I am confident younger boards will be, to some degree, less into the Fear-Uncertainty-Doubt game. I have not heard that many people under 40 wringing their hands about parking - most appear to be shruggy concerning the subject. But for now it is over!!! What was left of the Housing NOW Zoning recommendations passed; all greatly diminished and the ADU recommendation completely neutered. So, after all that noise we got: (1) duplexes on corner lots, (2) reduced minimum unit width, (3) it is maybe easier to build row houses (4) some complex bonus stuff it may or may not be worth it for anyone to use. Wow, that ain't much. A tremendous waste of energy.
  8. Yes! The Heritage Hill NA will never ever support anything at all. That is very clear. I've heard their opposition in person: their person said, directly, that while it won't impact Heritage Hill very much they will oppose it anyway. To be fair Easttown had no opinion at the meeting I was at, and NOBL (Belknap) said "it conforms to our ASP". Yeah, they do not have specific enough objections to refute, it is a waste of time to try. Time is best spent finding people who are supportive and making them speak up - - - and I know how very hard that is. A short concise generously toned letter will do more than an "explanation". Also please consider sharing I had a productive [I think, we'll see] conversation with a City Commissioner. This might still be open. I ask to please consider writing in that you are concerned about the additional restrictions creating regarding ADUs and that they are unjustified given that the "by-right" component was not included. These additional restrictions are not in keeping with the intent of the original proposal.
  9. Yep. For goodness sake we have the suburbs of Hudsonville, Zealand, Holland, etc... stepping up to lead on regional transportation solutions. And then there is GR... This rejection will hopefully go down as a classic example of NIMBY foolishness. So, what would be appropriate, for this completely empty parcel behind an apartment building o an significant through-way be? Is The City willing to buy the parcel in order to create a park? The City should be obligated to purchase every undeveloped parcel on which they reject development.
  10. Ditto; in this case especially it is complete BS. This is a 2 story apartment building directly behind a 2 story apartment building. If this is not the very definition of incremental appropriate use I have no idea what is. It seems like every day I become more convinced that Planning Commissions should be dissolved and the land-use authority of cities revoked.
  11. Survey results of the 50 major employers along the proposed WMX (West Michigan eXpress) commuter express route are in. A strong 38% of those surveyed are likely users of such a service.
  12. Well, for ADUs it looks like the conclusion is the Qualified Review, as expected. So, it is basically a ~$500 dollar discount on the application process, and one should still plan on it taking 5 weeks, and could still get killed by your friendly Neighborhood Association. https://grandrapidscitymi.iqm2.com//Citizens/Detail_LegiFile.aspx?Frame=&MeetingID=5337&MediaPosition=&ID=8289&CssClass= That's a wrap; Housing NOW was BAD for ADUs.
  13. Mobility Discussion @ Feb 26th Strategic Planning Session http://urbangr.org/stategicplanningfeb26
  14. The article oddly titled - given that he was gone before everything began to unravel. Agree that it is an interesting read, and notably reflective. Given the boutique nature of the project that sounds about right. And lest anyone take that for something like "normal" I just found a unit in the heart of Heritage Hill, for a family member, that rents for $750/mo. That's with off-street parking. [merely preempting the thing that happens - where someone finds an expensive unit and then asserts that is the price of living in a given neighborhood - which seems to be how many in The Salon and other forums do "research"] ... alternatively maybe some people are just really bad at searching for apartments? So this. I wish people were better at stepping out-side their clique and hearing how absurd that stuff sounds.
  15. Regarding processs.... Ditto. This verges on meaningless change-for-the-sake-of-change. Is it not interesting that the lowest tier of approval is now referred to as "administrative approval" and not "by-right"? Ugh. It is either intentional, or these people suck at communication. Yeah, I've now read and heard that mumble in multiple contexts - - - I have no idea what that is supposed to mean; so I am assuming that it means: "these are the new rules, deal with it." If it is some interim: What will the code be post-interim? The Neighborhood Associations feel the Planning Commission - with its data and rational arguments - are a threat to their authority and credibility? Absolutely. I had come to have a real respect for them as an institution - they seemed rational and open to explanation. This is frustrating. Agree. Yep. In short, our "Leaders" aren't. I've got some amazingly mumbled e-mails too. And I've sat through enough meetings to know the CC is prone to at least highly tailored answers to questions based on the audience; the fear of disagreement is profound.
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