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daniel nudnik

planner accuses developer of scare tactics

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Planner accuses developer of scare tactic

Friday, May 13, 2005

By Steven Harmon

The Grand Rapids Press

GRAND RAPIDS -- A developer's tactic of showing photographs of high-rise apartments was just a bit over the top to Grand Rapids Planning Commissioner Gabriel Works.

Evergreen Properties showed the photographs of the city's three high-rise apartments to illustrate what a property could look like if the commission did not approve its plan to develop a "lifestyle" shopping center.

http://www.mlive.com/news/grpress/index.ss...95639151760.xml

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I think Gabrielle Works has issues with every development, creative use of lighting, anything "new", etc. Whenever I have read her objections to development, I have always been annoyed. What did she refer to the lights on Devos Place? Optical clutter or something to that effect. Oy!

Joe

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There are some interesting alignments going on at this corner right now. It seems like both the planning commission and the knapp and beltline residents object to the new separated-use shopping mall planned for the site (can you blame them?) yet the suburban folks are all for it. yet even if GR keeps it out, the developers promise to option land to develop exactly the same mall a mile or two up the road in the township...just in case. either forest hills probably wouldn't mind (like now) the potential construction of big parking lots in order to get the stores, or the mall really just doesn't belong in the area.

of course if enough residents don't move into the area, the ongoing compact shopping development across the street won't succeed as a community-building area any more than a strip mall did on separated-use 28th street. of course with starbucks and IHOP as your commercial neighbors where's the community-building going to come from in any case? ah if wolfgang would only expand his breakfast empire...

it boils down to this question: in this situation, will the mall go where people don't want it, or will the mall go to where people want it?

assuming planning law and elected officials protect the majority, it should be directed to where people want it, of course. then the area could develop as a community as the city intended. perhaps a ballot initiative could solve the problem down the road.

I think Gabrielle Works has issues with every development, creative use of lighting, anything "new", etc. Whenever I have read her objections to development, I have always been annoyed. What did she refer to the lights on Devos Place? Optical clutter or something to that effect. Oy!

Joe

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

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Here we go again with more ignorant comments in GR . . . . but appropriately from Gabriel Works ------> "I'm disappointed in the pictures of urban high-rise apartments shown on the site," Works said. "I sincerely hope the applicant has the integrity to say they are not trying to scare neighbors into thinking these will be low-income and possibly people of color coming into the neighborhood." :blink:

Does anyone wonder why I work so hard on MBEI and its culture unifying properties? If anyone says "Come on, bigotry, prejudice and racism are done in GR, please slap them, tell them to wake up and then show them the Gabriel comment. :angry:

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Daniel,

I somewhat disagree. I do think people want services close to their neighborhoods, whether it be the suburbs or downtown. The problem with retail on the East Beltline did not start with this proposed shopping plaza. If the Planning commission wanted to draw a line in the sand they should have (and tried, but must have been outfoxed) done so when the celebration village was proposed. I think the movie theatre and the building going up right now are great. They hide parking, make it walkable, and while nothing recreates a downtown feel, it serves its purpose. Where they messed up BIG TIME is the continuity between the village and the IHOP, Starbucks, etc. You can't get from IHOP to Celebration Village without driving on the Beltline or jumping a giant drainage ditch. You can't get to IHOP from Starbucks.

It's just stupid planning (and a lot of the planning commissioners were in place when this was passed.

I think the job of the planning commission is to enforce SMART development, not necessarily cramming the type of development down people's throats. I don't know many people who would like to live at the corner of Knapp and Beltline. But a well designed retail/office village that uses smart design and new urbanist designs could fit the bill.

Knapp and Beltline is retail. Planning commissioners should accept that and move on to the "planning" part of their job. Let's build something nice, control traffic flow and makes smart decisions. Not turn our back on growth knowing it WILL happen.

Just my opinion.

Joe

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My hunch is that the City of GR is hoping that the Evergreen Properties' proposal will go away, and that the Aikens' proposed Lifestyle Village at 3 Mile and Beltine will be approved by GR Township:

Planners mull 'lifestyle center' rules; [All Editions]

Julie Smith / The Grand Rapids Press. The Grand Rapids Press. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Apr 21, 2005. pg. 2

People: Sprague, Rick

Section: East Grand Rapids

Text Word Count 397

Document URL:

Abstract (Document Summary)

Robert B. Aikens & Associates, a development company pitching The Village of Orchard Hills, has submitted the draft ordinance to the commission and township planner Rick Sprague. The company wants to build a city-like shopping complex at the southeastern corner of Three Mile Road and East Beltline Avenue NE.

The Beltline frontage at the proposed site has zoning from the 1960s, which township Supervisor Michael ...

Aikens is a national mall developer and probably has better connections with high end retail clients, whereas Evergreen is local out of Caledonia (no offense Caledonians). Aikens has done two nice lifestyle villages in Michigan, Eastwood Towne Center in Lansing and the Village of Rochester Hills:

village1.gif

BTW, I think that Works was way out of line. I think that Evergreen was just showing what could be built at Knapp and Beltline based on the current master plan, and they were betting that the HEIGHT of the buildings would SCARE the planning commission and nearby residents into rezoning that corner to allow the mall (we all know what happened in EGR). To parlay that into accusations regarding race makeup of possible residents is inflammatory and disgraceful!

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