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GRDadof3

The "Affordable Housing" Discussion in GR

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1 hour ago, walker said:

I may have missed it but I don't recall anyone posting anything about this proposed affordable project:

MLIVE: proposed-grand-rapids-apartment-building-may-be-tweaked-following-neighborhood-backlash

It's so ugly in my opinion, I don't think I'd want it in my neighborhood either.

As someone who lives close by, I definitely don't want this in my neighborhood.

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16 hours ago, Raildude's dad said:

The correct address is 537 Shirley.  My best friend growing up (RIP) lived at 535 Shirley. The address caught my eye immediately.

Pretty sure the author knows his own address. :-D

The city assigns a new street number for the ADU. For our ADU, the ADU is house number 2063, compared to 2061 for the main house. 535 Shirley is the new ADU address, with 537 being the house number for the main house. The ADU doesn't show up in the assessing parcel search on the city site, which is why 535 Shirley isn't listed.

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On 2/2/2020 at 12:53 PM, whitemice said:

The costs listed for some things seemed extremely high.  Almost 200k for a garage with a living space that doesn't even have a full kitchen seems absurd.  Thats way more than value added to the property I think as well.  Anyone else feel some of those numbers seem high?   

Edited by jthrasher

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1 hour ago, jthrasher said:

The costs listed for some things seemed extremely high.  Almost 200k for a garage with a living space the doesn't even have a full kitchen seems absurd.  Thats way more than value added to the property I think as well.  Anyone else feel some of those numbers seem high?   

Yes, agreed.  When I saw that I was shocked. 

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19 minutes ago, mpchicago said:

Yes, agreed.  When I saw that I was shocked. 

I worked for a major building materials supplier in the city and I'm not surprised.

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My ADU project (quite a bit larger, but still...) was over $200k. Construction ain't cheap, especially in a seller's market.

And no, we're not anticipating recouping the investment (if it can be called that) any time soon.

Edited by organsnyder
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I think it’s a really good article. A lot of strange rules and constraints (like pitch of roof) that seem totally unnecessary. And I think the new rules made it worse, right? 
 

Joe

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12 hours ago, joeDowntown said:

And I think the new rules made it worse, right?

Yes!  Hell, f_______ yes. They also muck up the design.  Without that damnable parking requirement it would have been a cooler design, slightly larger, and probably the same cost.

12 hours ago, organsnyder said:

My ADU project (quite a bit larger, but still...) was over $200k

And as I said in the article, the costs of construction are not in the least bit linear.  That water/sewer connection costs the same regardless of the size of the building.  Also the cost of excavation and foundation have a high floor costs - equipment has to show up, etc.. - it is not really the cost of the concrete.

19 hours ago, jthrasher said:

Anyone else feel some of those numbers seem high?

I've crossed checked against other projects;  the prices may actually be on the low end.  They'd certainly be higher on the West Coast.
One of my motivations for taking the time to write the article was having sat through many "housing conversations" and realizing that most of the people participating in those conversations have a delusionally optimistic perception of costs.   I include the cost of a nearby affordable housing project in the article.

12 hours ago, organsnyder said:

we're not anticipating recouping the investment (if it can be called that) any time soon.

Same, it is a long game play.  I retire in ~4,500 days (~12 years); the unit should be clear of debt by then which is what matters to me.  Once it is clear of debt it will cover its costs easily, and potentially even provide me a housing option.

Edited by whitemice
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12 hours ago, joeDowntown said:

A lot of strange rules and constraints (like pitch of roof)

Beware - - - do not mention rules like "pitch of roof" being obstacles to an Urban Planner, you will get scolded:  "THAT'S BEEN IN THE CODE FOREVER!".  Good grief.

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19 hours ago, jthrasher said:

The costs listed for some things seemed extremely high.  Almost 200k for a garage with a living space that doesn't even have a full kitchen seems absurd.  Thats way more than value added to the property I think as well.  Anyone else feel some of those numbers seem high?   

I'm not surprised by the costs.  And this is why ADU's aren't going to spread like wildfire throughout the city, and probably won't help solve the housing shortage issue. 

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3 hours ago, whitemice said:

Beware - - - do not mention rules like "pitch of roof" being obstacles to an Urban Planner, you will get scolded:  "THAT'S BEEN IN THE CODE FOREVER!".  Good grief.

It does sound like they lowered the max height (if I'm not mistaken), which was what I was talking about. If you live in an area with high pitched roofs, and the ADU needs to match the existing building, but you lower the max height, that seems like an easy way to exclude a lot of property in the city right off the bat.

Joe

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3 hours ago, joeDowntown said:

ou lower the max height, that seems like an easy way to exclude a lot of property in the city right off the bat.

Which I believe was the point.

And I talked to my commissioner about it, who raised it at the meeting.  It was so either grievous or stupid.

They dropped the height to 20ft, when they could have honestly dropped it from 25ft to 22ft/22..5ft and had no real impact.

Or, of course, drop the stupid pitch match requirement.

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4 minutes ago, whitemice said:

Which I believe was the point.

And I talked to my commissioner about it, who raised it at the meeting.  It was so either grievous or stupid.

They dropped the height to 20ft, when they could have honestly dropped it from 25ft to 22ft/22..5ft and had no real impact.

Or, of course, drop the stupid pitch match requirement.

Was this based on international building code or form based? 

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2 hours ago, Chisox said:

Was this based on international building code or form based

My understanding:  Grand Rapids likes to refer to its current Master Plan and Zoning as ~"Form Lite".    During the last Master Plan process they made a Neighborhood Character Book (I still have a copy) and much of the ideas from that got codified into the Zoning.   The code is not "Form Based" by the current technical meaning, but has elements of form-based. 

GR's zoning is "form based" in the same way that GR's zoning eliminated "Single Family Zoning"; sorta kinda. :tw_confused: And it wasn't so bad, before Housing NOW, because it was so loosey goosey.

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2 hours ago, whitemice said:

That's not fair.   Almost everyone does. 

The issue is with competing wants. Humans have no fundamental requirement to be intellectually coherent. 

The issue is that people want control more than they want other things. 

Nearly everyone - hey, I'm chair of Neighborhood Association, I know - also wants "neighborhood level investment". 
They do, honestly.

And they want control.

When I was younger I had a mentor who was a Southern Baptist Preacher in a former life. 
One of his favorite sayings was regarding alter calls:  "Everyone wants a life changing experience, so long as nothing changes."
It explains a lot; I've appropriated his quote.

Recognizing this conundrum - as immensely frustrating as it is - is key to understanding the failure of municipal government / "local control".
People can have genuinely good intentions; and those same people can be the greatest obstacle to the possibility of better outcomes.
Because - see the important detail - the possibility of better outcomes is the only thing any plan, policy, or program can ever offer.
And people who want control more than other things - those people want a guarantee.  
Reality is like Sauron: "Surety you crave! Sauron gives none." (The Mouth). 
It takes courage to live in such a world.  If you want people to be courageous you need leadership.   This is Grand Rapids (and not much different than most other cities).  :tw_worried:

Well said. 

Most people in the city want affordable housing, as in, they hear about and read about people who are suffering from a lack of quality housing or maybe are even homeless. But it's like saying they want "world peace." They want affordable housing that they won't see from their windows. Or have to walk past. 

And your comment about control is spot on. Urbanists poke fun at suburban communities and HOA's but there is no HOA that I've worked with that is a stringent as what people in the city are asking for, and policies being put into place. Look at all the fights over chickens and backyard firepits. And the extra layers of bureaucracy, inspections and fees for rental homes.  It's crazy.  I own several rental homes, none of which are in the city. Life is too short to deal with all of that BS. :)

Much of what was done in the past 20 years has helped the city maintain population, increase investments, and put energy back into important amenities that a city needs to flourish. But I feel like a lot of the new residents are seeking a utopia, and swinging the pendulum way too far the way of socialism. (Yes I said the evil S word).  Or the people who have lived in the city for a while and are enjoying a huge jump in their property values due to growth, don't want growth any more. "We're in, now we don't want anyone else getting in." It's the exact same thing that happens in the exurban areas. 

 

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2 hours ago, whitemice said:

That's not fair.   Almost everyone does. 

The issue is with competing wants. Humans have no fundamental requirement to be intellectually coherent. 

The issue is that people want control more than they want other things. 

Nearly everyone - hey, I'm chair of Neighborhood Association, I know - also wants "neighborhood level investment". 
They do, honestly.

And they want control.

When I was younger I had a mentor who was a Southern Baptist Preacher in a former life. 
One of his favorite sayings was regarding alter calls:  "Everyone wants a life changing experience, so long as nothing changes."
It explains a lot; I've appropriated his quote.

Recognizing this conundrum - as immensely frustrating as it is - is key to understanding the failure of municipal government / "local control".
People can have genuinely good intentions; and those same people can be the greatest obstacle to the possibility of better outcomes.
Because - see the important detail - the possibility of better outcomes is the only thing any plan, policy, or program can ever offer.
And people who want control more than other things - those people want a guarantee.  
Reality is like Sauron: "Surety you crave! Sauron gives none." (The Mouth). 
It takes courage to live in such a world.  If you want people to be courageous you need leadership.   This is Grand Rapids (and not much different than most other cities).  :tw_worried:

Right. Everyone wants it just not enough to do anything to achieve it.

Our city has it as a goal but actively hinders it though policy.

I think our desires are clear through our actions and our policy.

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