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Hudsonville/Jamestown

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Has anyone been out by Hudsonville lately? There have got to be 4 or 5 different housing developments going up. According to the news, they are outgrowing pretty much all of their schools (Jamestown in particular), and they are fielding commercial development requests left and right. For example, you have the proposed Meijer on 32nd and Quincy, there is the new restaurant across from the Mobil station at 196, and there have been no less than 5 companies that have relocated to the area in the last 4 months. Incredible!

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Has anyone been out by Hudsonville lately? There have got to be 4 or 5 different housing developments going up. According to the news, they are outgrowing pretty much all of their schools (Jamestown in particular), and they are fielding commercial development requests left and right. For example, you have the proposed Meijer on 32nd and Quincy, there is the new restaurant across from the Mobil station at 196, and there have been no less than 5 companies that have relocated to the area in the last 4 months. Incredible!

Those of us who love our CITIES tend to call that "Sprawl".

They'll probably start building new schools even while Holland, Grand Rapids and other cities are closing them down. Makes a lot of sense to me.... :rolleyes:

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Those of us who love our CITIES tend to call that "Sprawl".

They'll probably start building new schools even while Holland, Grand Rapids and other cities are closing them down. Makes a lot of sense to me.... :rolleyes:

I took a little drive last week. I was in Jenison and was going to Coopersville. I decided to take the scenic route and skip the freeway. I took Baldwin to 68th avenue expecting a lot of trees, but there were sprawling subdivisions the entire drive :shok: I couldn't believe how far outside of the city they went. Being an East sider, I had only heard things were sprawling that way, but it was much worse than I expected.

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Yeah, I took a drive, too. I was over on the south side of 196 and I headed east on Quincy. I counted 3 developments over there, along with 1 or maybe two new churches being built. There is an apartment complex that way as well. And it appears that a lot of the roads that used to be VW bug eaters (aka dirt roads) are now paved and development is occuring on them, too.

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Didn't the Press a few years ago predict that within the next 15-20 years, most of the area between Grand Rapids and Holland within a few miles from I-196 would be built up and form a continous city?

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My view on sprawl is going to be a little controversial around here. It's natural. It's going to happen if there aren't extraordinary measures taken to manage it (measures like an Urban Growth Boundary or service boundary). The Hudsonville/Jamestown growth, while a sad reflection on the slow redevelopment of the urban cores of West Michigan, is bound to happen in this political climate. Is anyone really suprised that all that sprawl is going on out there?

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In a month or two, Jamestown Township is scheduled to vote on rescinding agricultural preservation zoning, opening up the majority of the township to development.

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My view on sprawl is going to be a little controversial around here. It's natural. It's going to happen if there aren't extraordinary measures taken to manage it (measures like an Urban Growth Boundary or service boundary). The Hudsonville/Jamestown growth, while a sad reflection on the slow redevelopment of the urban cores of West Michigan, is bound to happen in this political climate. Is anyone really suprised that all that sprawl is going on out there?

While I wouldn't say it was natural, I would agree with you that this type of development is bound to happen because of current legal, cultural, and poltical reasons.

I think the only way to totally prevent sprawl in this manner is through conservation easements, purchase/transfer of development rights, or outright purchase of the land (cities/counties/conservation organizations). Land can too easily be rezoned and even urban growth boundaries are subject to political influence and manipulation for "economic" reasons. Of course, agricultural preservation through farmland protection programs/PDRs etc. is a whole other story.

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While I wouldn't say it was natural, I would agree with you that this type of development is bound to happen because of current legal, cultural, and poltical reasons.

I think the only way to totally prevent sprawl in this manner is through conservation easements, purchase/transfer of development rights, or outright purchase of the land (cities/counties/conservation organizations). Land can too easily be rezoned and even urban growth boundaries are subject to political influence and manipulation for "economic" reasons. Of course, agricultural preservation through farmland protection programs/PDRs etc. is a whole other story.

You're right on far away and jayblogger. Its easy to tell a community "just don't allow subdivision", but try going to a public meeting and telling a bunch of 70 year old farmers who each own a hundred acres that they can't develop their land. It aint gonna fly, and many of those farmers are very influential members of the community. You have to remember that for most of those guys, their land essentially is their retirement account. They dont have stocks, 401(k)s and the like. They have their land. So if you tell them "Sorry, Jack, but you can't develop that" you are basically telling them to kiss the value of their land goodbye. Transfer or purchase of development rights is the best defense aside from conservation easements or just buying it outright, but that is still several years away. I don't even know if the legal framework exists at the state level for it yet, aside from PA 116.

I hate sprawl as much as everyone else, but getting rid of it extraordinarily difficult.

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This area is nothing more than what all the farther in suburbs were 30 years ago. In terms of schools, I wouldn't be surprised if someday in the future Jamestown has its own school district.

Being a Jenisonite, I can't help but have a little contempt for the growth in that area...afterall old high school rivalries are hard to let go :D Even though I am very much against sprawl practices and never ending cul-de-sacs, I am very emphatic of the fact that the areas of Jenison(as well as Jamestown and Hudsonville) are communities that were in place well before the post-war suburban boom. Each one is unique in its own way. The humble beginnings of Jenison can be traced to the 1830's around the same time of the arrival of another pionner by the name of Louis Campau. I feel that with some innovation each one of these areas could redevelop themselves into their traditional small-townesque atmospheres.

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Transfer or purchase of development rights is the best defense aside from conservation easements or just buying it outright, but that is still several years away. I don't even know if the legal framework exists at the state level for it yet, aside from PA 116.
Another mechanism to achieve the transfer of development rights is to create a non-contiguous PUD, where all the development rights from one piece are added to the receiving piece. The property that the rights were removed from remains in preserve. While this is not technically a TDR, it achieves the same thing and is our only current apparatus to get to this point. This was discussed around Caledonia a few years ago, but I don't know if anything came of it.

The growth in Hudsonville, Allendale, Jamestown and even farther out exurban areas in Ottawa County, has seen an incredible explosion over the last few years. Subdivisions, strip malls, and big boxes have sprung up almost over night.

Is all of this sprawl? Is it the natural evolution of the built environment? Is it the result of the current political climate? Yes, yes and yes.

Its easy to tell a community "just don't allow subdivision", but try going to a public meeting and telling a bunch of 70 year old farmers who each own a hundred acres that they can't develop their land. It aint gonna fly, and many of those farmers are very influential members of the community. You have to remember that for most of those guys, their land essentially is their retirement account.

Andy, this quote sums it up. And is the heart of the issue.

Current zoning paves the way for sprawl. Until the masterplanning and zoning activities within townships change, this will be the standard operating procedure.

While placing urban growth boundaries is a mechanism to curb sprawl, it seems to me that an arbitrary line is not going to stop anything, particularly exurban growth. The sprawl will simply move farther out to avoid all the lines. In Portland, this UGB has forced growth within the boundary, but also has forced growth farther out and increased housing prices exponentially.

There is a better mechanism. Townships need to actually plan. Planners need to actually plan. Tough decisions need to be made. Masterplans need to be completely scrapped and redone. Zoning codes need to be overhauled and retooled.

If a township wants to maintain rural character, then masterplanning for two acre lots is not going to accomplish that goal. This seems to be the current default position.

What needs to happen is the planning for, the enabling of and the ultimate creation of new towns, villages and hamlets all based on traditional urban planning. The kind of planning that was scrapped in the 1930's.

The ONLY way that we can ever save rural landscapes and agricultural heritage is to build urbanism, in the form of compact, pedestrian oriented, mixed-use, connected towns and villages. The ongoing suburbanization of the hinterlands will not preserve rural character. Placing berms and pine trees around the new development will not preserve rural character. Having 40 foot setbacks will not preserve rural character.

The most important thing for all of us in the Grand Rapids area is the preservation of rural character and farmland. Because ultimately we will need to grow our food within a close proximity to where we live.

Urbanism and ruralism go hand in hand.

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My father told me that he read that in 10-15 years West Michigan is predicted to be larger in population than metro Detroit . . .I believe it with all the urban sprawl going on . . and it is not just in Hudsonville . .Ada, Byron Center, Rockford, Kentwood, CEDAR SPRINGS even . . . heaven forbid any there is an empty field anywhere . . .some housing projects are ok but when they cram hundreds of houses in an empty field . . tacky . . .

I think there should be some sort of mitigation regulation similar to when you want to build on wetlands . .for every acre you build on, you have to "recreate" 4 acres of wetlands in another location . . .

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My father told me that he read that in 10-15 years West Michigan is predicted to be larger in population than metro Detroit . .

No offense to your Father, but that would require growth on the scale of 20%+ year, and we're nowhere near that.

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We also have to remember that sprawl happens because that is where people who can choose where to live want to live, so the way keep people from moving there is to make them want to stay in the cities. They want to go to the "sprawl" areas because of a perception of it being quieter, safer, better schools, etc. The way to combat this is to make the cities more livable and make them have something to offer. As for crime and schools, perception and reality are two different things and it will take a huge effort to get them changed around. The saddest part about sprawl is that it's never satisified, the grass is literally greener a few more miles down the road and in a few years what was the hot market to live in will be old news and there will be another new housing development and strip mall where everyone wants to flock to.

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Another reason why people move to these sprawl areas is because of a vast misunderstanding of what rural is. These people want to live in a "rural/country environment". The problem is that their vision of rural does not include the agriculture. They do not like the smells or the sounds of real functioning farms.

They want pastoral, because it is an image of the American dream that has been sold to them by ad agencies on Madison Avenue, home builders, and mortgage companies.

To further confound this misunderstanding, we have built places that mix up the urban and rural components. Rural does not have sidewalks or curbs, but instead has paths and swales. There is a whole set of "elements" that represent urban/sub-urban/rural. Split rail fences are rural and should never ever be placed in an urban setting. The confusion is so ingrained within our society that fixing it could take decades.

Within the last few years, Ottawa County actually produced "scratch and sniff" advertisment that depicted the smell of manure in order to educate people on what rural living is within their county. The Ottawa County Planning Department is fully aware of the problems going on right now.

This all relates to the realm of the human habitat. This realm ranges from the very dense urban area to the very natural reserved and preserved areas. This range includes a transitional area known as sub-urban, NOT to be confused with suburban (notice the hyphen). This realm is known as the Transect, which is now the basis for a new code or zoning ordinance known as the SmartCode.

While a very simple diagram, the transect is an elegant way to depict this habitat and when followed can lead to hamlets, villages, towns and cities, that co-exist with nature in the forms of preserves and reserves. These hamlets and villages are ideally surrounded by nature and have a definite edge condition. Under current growth patterns this edge, which should be somewhat hard is non-existant or severely blurred and one "city" blurs into another "city".

The transect, as developed by Andres Duany (the diagram is the product of DPZ):

TransectinColor.jpg

The T1 is the preserve. It is never touched. Nature reigns here. It is meaningful open space in the form of heritage woodlands, wetlands, etc.

The T2, is rural. It is agriculture. It is sparsely populated, could be in the range of one unit per 20 acres. Farms or hobby farms.

The T3 is a blurry range, but is typically less dense but STILL attached to the other urban zones in a more walkable format. Think Ottawa Hills. Cambridge Blvd in EGR. Bronson Street in Ada

T4: Ada Drive in Ada. Cherry and Madison. East Fulton.

T5: Downtown Lowell. North Monroe.

T6: Urban Core. Monroe Center

While this is hard to practice in the real world it is an ideal that should be worked toward. Unfortunately much of our new development falls into the other category within the transect. That of the District.

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I don't know if this is relevant, but isn't this Metro Holland - Metro Grand Haven sprawl?

I think its Metro-Grand Rapids-Grand Haven-Holland sprawl...which really magnifies the problem.

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In terms of MSA I believe all cities and townships located in Ottawa are Holland and Grand Havens suburbs... :dontknow:

I'm unsure of any official designation as well. In my own humble opinion I would consider communities like Jenison, Hudsonville, Jamestown, and Allendale to be extensions of urban growth/sprawl in the Grand Rapids metropolitan region. Because between these areas and the lake there isn't much. Holland and Grand Haven really don't have too much of an influence in growth outside their own regions. They primarily seem to have more effect in Zeeland, Spring Lake, Ferrysburg and their surrounding namesake charter townships. To me it seems that the biggest reason for this boom is because these communities are smack in the middle between the 'big' city and the lakeshore. Highways such as I-196 and now M-6 have really furthered this growth in recent years.

Hudsonville was nothing more than a little independent burb for a long time but as urban growth pushed out of the city and into Wyoming it just kept eating up land and started to push farther west. After Wyoming, Grandville, and then Jenison. Now that Jenison is primarily land locked and doesn't have a lot in the way of growth potential anymore, developers have moved onto new pastures in the fields of Hudsonville and Jamestown.

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This is a capitalist society, it is a contributer to sprawl, yet in the same breath it is the solution to the problem.

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Hudsonville was nothing more than a little independent burb for a long time but as urban growth pushed out of the city and into Wyoming it just kept eating up land and started to push farther west. After Wyoming, Grandville, and then Jenison. Now that Jenison is primarily land locked and doesn't have a lot in the way of growth potential anymore, developers have moved onto new pastures in the fields of Hudsonville and Jamestown.

I'm with you on this one, there's a WHOLE lot more green space between holland/hudsonville/jenision than going from grand rapids out that way. Same with Grand Haven/Allendale. Way more "sprawl" following the GR->Standale->Allendale route. There's a lot of "rural" area west of say 68th avenue and not much east of it.

EDIT: Was trying to quote the "top half" of your post.. whooops

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No offense to your Father, but that would require growth on the scale of 20%+ year, and we're nowhere near that.

no offense taken . .didn't say he came up with the theory . . just had heard it somewhere . . good thing we have your brilliant mind in here to clear things up. :thumbsup:

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The most important thing for all of us in the Grand Rapids area is the preservation of rural character and farmland. Because ultimately we will need to grow our food within a close proximity to where we live.

Urbanism and ruralism go hand in hand.

Yes! One of the most critically important components of regional planning and an effective region--yet, so few seem to understand this. [i agree with your Kunstler/peak oil reference? and agree]

That being said, does anyone know the status of state/county and local PDR programs?

Kent county barely funds the PDR program and I believe Ottawa County out and out rejected a PDR program (is that accurate?). Any insights?

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