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GRDadof3

The "Affordable Housing" Discussion in GR

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20 hours ago, GRDadof3 said:

This is an interesting article about the national housing picture.

Other than leading in with the "greed of the wealthy", it is a good article.  The wealthy aren't "greedy", they are acting rationally;  perhaps a system not designed to induce greed-like behavior might be something to think about.

Only 1,870 vacant residential properties in Kent County (Q3 2016)?  Honestly, that sounds really low.  Highland Park has an average of 1 vacant properties per block - many of which are owned by some LLC or another.  Whenever I leaflet the 'hood for neighborhood stuff I find my previous fliers still stuck in their door; so then I look them up online.

Nice maps.



 

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10 hours ago, organsnyder said:

The city is holding two public meetings on proposed changes to ADU regulations:

Wednesday, 2/20, 12:30-1:30pm: https://www.facebook.com/events/252597058964702/

Thursday, 2/21, 6:00-7:00pm: https://www.facebook.com/events/2266952916668857/

...aaaand the Eastown Neghborhood Association has already started an online campaign to stop the ordinance.

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13 hours ago, ModSquad said:

...aaaand the Eastown Neghborhood Association has already started an online campaign to stop the ordinance.

Of course. Now that they've raised property values to the point that poor people can no longer live in Eastown, they need to keep fighting against anything that might allow them back in.

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On 2/11/2019 at 9:28 PM, ModSquad said:

...aaaand the Eastown Neghborhood Association has already started an online campaign to stop the ordinance.

And people wonder why I keep becoming more and more libertarian.

Neighborhood Associations seem really keen on becoming the new zealous HOAs, unfortunately they seem much more difficult to avoid than an HOA.

Edited by tSlater

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10 hours ago, Pattmost20 said:

My Rational Brain: *Don't troll people on Eastown's FB Page, Don't troll people on Eastown's FB Page, Don't troll people on Eastown's FB Page*

My Sarcastic Brain: *Thank the people for their efforts to keep poor people out of the neighborhood

"We don't like anyone who isn't us." - Eastown Neighborhood Association

Pot is legal now, maybe they need to smoke a bit more of it.  or maybe they're smoking that paranoid stuff. 

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12 hours ago, tSlater said:

And people wonder why I keep becoming more and more libertarian.

Neighborhood Associations seem really keen on becoming the new zealous HOAs, unfortunately they seem much more difficult to avoid than an HOA.

Can you point to the page that has these comments.  I am not aware of a Eastown Neighborhood Association.  There is a Eastown Community Association, and I am not seeing a lot of discussion on this topic on that page?

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2 hours ago, EastownLeo said:

Can you point to the page that has these comments.  I am not aware of a Eastown Neighborhood Association.  There is a Eastown Community Association, and I am not seeing a lot of discussion on this topic on that page?

There's a bit of discussion on this post on the Eastown FB page: https://www.facebook.com/eastowngr/posts/10156617584326501

Interestingly, I got a notification that the Eastown FB page "liked" my comment explaining (based on what little knowledge I have) what will likely be presented next week; but the "like" is now gone. Not sure if someone mis-clicked, or if one admin liked it and another admin unliked it.

I haven't seen anything more organized than that post—I don't know what @ModSquad is referencing.

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2 hours ago, EastownLeo said:

Can you point to the page that has these comments.  I am not aware of a Eastown Neighborhood Association.  There is a Eastown Community Association, and I am not seeing a lot of discussion on this topic on that page?

There was a post about Housing Now on ECA's Facebook page and a couple people were freaking out about ADUs. Beyond that I haven't seen anything.

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17 hours ago, tSlater said:

Neighborhood Associations seem really keen on becoming the new zealous HOAs, unfortunately they seem much more difficult to avoid than an HOA

Unfortunately they are nearly the defacto government in this city. :(  Their power is thoroughly undemocratic.

2 hours ago, organsnyder said:

I haven't seen anything more organized than that post

They can pretty much let it silently slide by, they already won.

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... and perhaps not ECA, but I just got a forward that the Heritage Hill Association is right on top of it, too.  Although this one did not (yet) have any editorializing.  Just a recap of the Facebook text.  So that's a plus.  I think the focus here really needs to be three things:  1)  Owner occupancy is required; 2) This is a great way to keep reasonably priced housing in desirable neighborhoods and support those who are just starting out or not as fortunate; and 3) The revised ADU regs make it far more difficult to construct one of these things affordably.   Neither of the two that were approved would comply with the revised regs.  That last point is a little bug-in-the-ear for the planning staff, who bobbled that one.

I'm hoping they address this "public hearing" issue by sending out notices to the adjoining neighbors, and having a hearing only if there is some sort of objection.  Since they can do this with firepits, there is no reason they cannot do this with an ADU.   Let's be realistic, here:  The only real impact of this (for a garage ADU) is the taller garage, and for in-home ADU, the fact that someone is adding an oven behind a door.  Without the door, all of the additional people and the oven could just move in as friendly new roomies.  

Yeah, I'm horribly tempted to post lots of stuff and stand up and scream about all the good liberals who will gripe about ADUs, lambaste the lot of them as rank hypocrites, and stuff 'em in the same metaphysical sandbox as the EGR "elitists" they like to chuckle about.  But I'm not sure most of them would get the irony.  Been there, done that.  You'll just get nonsense about how an ADU doesn't have rent-control, so it doesn't count as lower income housing, and will really just drive up the costs further...  Hey, if it helps with your cognitive dissonance...  :dontknow:

 

Edited by x99

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51 minutes ago, x99 said:

Without the door, all of the additional people and the oven could just move in as friendly new roomies. 

I think back to when I had 4 people renting rooms in my house, now it is just the fiancee and I. My neighbors probably have no idea how many people have come and gone over the last 5 years, but I'm sure they would be suddenly concerned about extra traffic and crowding if I were to apply for an ADU and add 1-2 people to my property.

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17 hours ago, Pattmost20 said:

I think back to when I had 4 people renting rooms in my house, now it is just the fiancee and I. My neighbors probably have no idea how many people have come and gone over the last 5 years, but I'm sure they would be suddenly concerned about extra traffic and crowding if I were to apply for an ADU and add 1-2 people to my property.

Of course they would be.  People are just silly about this stuff.  Apartments are the devil for some reason.  The occupancy levels in most 2000+ square foot houses in Grand Rapids are a fraction of what they were designed for.  Precious "homeowners" just want to hate on evil "renters" because they (start the litany of lies) destroy property values, don't care about the neighborhood, cause inordinate amounts of traffic, bring drugs and crime, and kidnap children.  Or something like that. 

The hilarious thing to me is that none of the publicly funded "neighborhood" associations (who will probably gin up a fresh round of opposition) have the word "homeowner" in their titles.  But, they mostly are.  As I think I've mentioned before, if they choose to generate opposition to things like this, the city should choose to take a long, hard look at all that juicy CDBG funding they pass out to them for "doing good" (or something like that) for their lower-income residents.  Almost all of whom, incidentally, are renters.  Seems sort of foolish to keep biting the hand that feeds you.  I suppose we'll just have to wait and see how this round goes.  Maybe they'll wise up.

Edited by x99

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46 minutes ago, x99 said:

Of course they would be.  People are just silly about this stuff.  Apartments are the devil for some reasons.  The occupancy levels in most 2000+ square foot houses in Grand Rapids are a fraction of what they were designed for.  Precious "homeowners" just want to hate on evil "renters" because they (start the litany of lies) destroy property values, don't care about the neighborhood, cause inordinate amounts of traffic, bring drugs and crime, and kidnap children.  Or something like that. 

The hilarious thing to me is that none of the publicly funded "neighborhood" associations (who will probably gin up a fresh round of opposition) have the world "homeowner" in their titles.  But, they mostly are.  As I think I've mentioned before, if they choose to generate opposition to things like this, the city should choose to take a long, hard look at all that juicy CDBG funding they pass out to them for "doing good" (or something like that) for their lower-income residents.  Almost all of whom, incidentally, are renters.  Seems sort of foolish to keep biting the hand that feeds you.  I suppose we'll just have to wait and see how this round goes.  Maybe they'll wise up.

I think it's funny too that they think there will be a FLOOD of ADU's if the requirements are too easy, with a bunch of evil developers swooping in.  This is actually absurd if you think about it. It's difficult enough getting a residential structure built on vacant land that is meant for new housing, not less on someone's already existing property. How many homeowners in the city of GR would be ready, willing and able to venture into building an ADU on their own property? Not many.  How many developers/investors are willing to go door-to-door to pitch to homeowners to build an ADU on their property? Not many. I'd be surprised if in 10 years there are 50 of them built. 

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12 hours ago, GRDadof3 said:

How many developers/investors are willing to go door-to-door to pitch to homeowners to build an ADU on their property? Not many. I'd be surprised if in 10 years there are 50 of them built. 

As I am working in Cities across the State right now with modular solutions for in-fill development lots I have been asked by numerous developers in those cities to come up with some designs that include attached ADU’s.  We are working on a couple of new designs for this right now.

Actually, buying a newly constructed home that has an attached 450 -600 SF ADU attached on the rear of the building provides a nice source of revenue for the buyer helping offset their housing costs.  It may add $30,000 to the price of their home which would add about $100 to their monthly payment but provide potentially $600 in extra monthly income.

We have been talking with a few appraisers to determine how these new homes would be valued.  All indications thus far is that if it cost an extra $30,000 to add an ADU it would most likely raise the value of the home by more than that, so the buyer wold have added equity on day one.

We will see what comes of it.

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31 minutes ago, ModSquad said:

As I am working in Cities across the State right now with modular solutions for in-fill development lots I have been asked by numerous developers in those cities to come up with some designs that include attached ADU’s.  We are working on a couple of new designs for this right now.

Actually, buying a newly constructed home that has an attached 450 -600 SF ADU attached on the rear of the building provides a nice source of revenue for the buyer helping offset their housing costs.  It may add $30,000 to the price of their home which would add about $100 to their monthly payment but provide potentially $600 in extra monthly income.

We have been talking with a few appraisers to determine how these new homes would be valued.  All indications thus far is that if it cost an extra $30,000 to add an ADU it would most likely raise the value of the home by more than that, so the buyer wold have added equity on day one.

We will see what comes of it.

I buy that, I've just heard some of the pushback from neighborhoods is that developers are going to come in and build ADU's on already existing property where older homes already reside. I just don't see that happening in great numbers.  And as you and I know, there aren't a lot of vacant properties now.  

Homeowners doing them themselves I think there's a greater opportunity of that. 

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@whitemice and I attended yesterday's ADU meeting. Nothing really new—they were mainly trying to gather input on some ideas (including a pointless [IMHO] pre-approved plans scheme), but there was nothing really concrete. One idea would be to have a hybrid approval process where it would be administrative approval only unless a neighbor objects, in which case it would go SLU. I don't like how this gives any one neighbor the ability to cost their neighbor ~$1k to go SLU instead of administrative, but it's at worst the same as status quo, so I'm fine with it as a baby step.

A few of us pressed them on the recent changes that essentially prohibit ADUs on smaller lots (20' height restriction if unable to meet setback requirements for a primary structure, and the Planning Commission can't waive it, even during the SLU process). They claimed that it was an intermediate change for if an administrative process is enacted, which makes no sense to me (why not change it all at once? why straightjacket the Planning Commission?). Pressed a bit more, their response had a subtext that there were some people that felt that the Planning Commission could not be trusted.

I am frustrated at the way the planning staff was trying to sugarcoat the changes. An SLU is still required, but the Planning Commission has less leeway than before—there's no way to spin this as a positive improvement (unless you don't want ADUs). Of course, they don't want to criticize elected officials, but they could still be more straightforward. As it stands now, the zoning ordinance basically prohibits two-story ADUs on 95% of city lots. My guess is that this is exactly what many neighborhood associations and city commissioners wanted—even if they would never state so publicly.

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Here's what a garage+ADU of ~21.75' height (to the midpoint of the roof) looks like:

image.thumb.png.c28211f6d6f36dee3c85c735352a7bce.png

Both the garage and ADU are standard heights. The hip roof is designed to match the house in pitch and overhang.

Our project would have been fine under the new changes (just lop a foot off the back to get under 850 sqft—wasted lumber and no difference in street appearance, but whatever...). But we have a gargantuan lot by city standards.

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Regarding processs....

3 hours ago, organsnyder said:

but it's at worst the same as status quo, so I'm fine with it as a baby step

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.

3 hours ago, organsnyder said:

They claimed that it was an intermediate change for if an administrative process is enacted

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?

3 hours ago, organsnyder said:

Pressed a bit more, their response had a subtext that there were some people that felt that the Planning Commission could not be trusted

The Neighborhood Associations feel the Planning Commission - with its data and rational arguments - are a threat to their authority and credibility?

3 hours ago, organsnyder said:

I am frustrated at the way the planning staff was trying to sugarcoat the changes.

Absolutely.  I had come to have a real respect for them as an institution - they seemed rational and open to explanation.  This is frustrating. :(

3 hours ago, organsnyder said:

there's no way to spin this as a positive improvement

Agree.

3 hours ago, organsnyder said:

the zoning ordinance basically prohibits two-story ADUs on 95% of city lots

Yep.

3 hours ago, organsnyder said:

My guess is that this is exactly what many neighborhood associations and city commissioners wanted—even if they would never state so publicly

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.

Edited by whitemice
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On 2/21/2019 at 1:52 PM, organsnyder said:

Here's what a garage+ADU of ~21.75' height (to the midpoint of the roof) looks like:

image.thumb.png.c28211f6d6f36dee3c85c735352a7bce.png

Both the garage and ADU are standard heights. The hip roof is designed to match the house in pitch and overhang.

Our project would have been fine under the new changes (just lop a foot off the back to get under 850 sqft—wasted lumber and no difference in street appearance, but whatever...). But we have a gargantuan lot by city standards.

Thanks for posting that.  I think it's a perfect pictorial illustration of my claim that "over garage ADUs are dead under the new regs".  All it takes is this picture and the aerial plat view to prove it.  What you have built here is the most cost-effective garage ADU possible, arguably the only style that Grand Rapids' rents would support.  And this is no longer buildable unless you have at least 25' behind your garage to the rear lot line.  So why they are still wasting time with ADUs is very confusing to me.  Getting rid of an $1800 fee to get a rubber stamp while tacking on about $20,000+ in construction costs is not exactly a step forward.  

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On 1/15/2019 at 1:35 PM, x99 said:

So that's a third prospect I didn't really consider:  That all of this stuff actually makes money hand over first, and that they did roughly what you said in order to, apparently, leave nothing left for the creditors.  A substantial number of which are law firms.  And on top of that, they went and filed bankruptcy so that a trustee could go and root around for even a whiff or a hint of fraud.  The insane stupidity of that scenario is so mind-boggling I can't hardly imagine anyone would try it.  If they actually did that, hopefully they covered their rear end really well, and paid some other lawyer lots of money to stiff the other ones.  I'm sure the lawyers will all have a grand old time with this one.  The news stories indicated that they are trying to walk on over a million dollars in claims.  Hooboy.

In case anyone still cares about 616's bankruptcy, here's an article that was "advertised" as addressing the  bankruptcy but doesn't. At all. 

https://www.grbj.com/blogs/10-real-estate/post/92758-the-story-behind-the-story-of-616-lofts-bankruptcy

I sort of feel like a sucker after reading this. :P At least I didn't lose any money. 

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14 hours ago, GRDadof3 said:

In case anyone still cares about 616's bankruptcy, here's an article that was "advertised" as addressing the  bankruptcy but doesn't. At all. 

https://www.vulture.com/2019/01/abducted-in-plain-sight-jan-broberg-review.html

I sort of feel like a sucker after reading this. :P At least I didn't lose any money. 

Either that’s the wrong link, or the 616 bankruptcy has a very odd twist involving a girl abducted in Idaho? :) :) you are right, doesn’t give ANY insight on the bankruptcy. LOL

Joe

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2 minutes ago, joeDowntown said:

Either that’s the wrong link, or the 616 bankruptcy has a very odd twist involving a girl abducted in Idaho? :) :) you are right, doesn’t give ANY insight on the bankruptcy. LOL

Joe

Haha, fixed it. :)

https://www.grbj.com/blogs/10-real-estate/post/92758-the-story-behind-the-story-of-616-lofts-bankruptcy

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