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GRDadof3

New Apartment Complex at Lake Michigan & Lexington

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The planning commission turned down the rezoning because the proposed development consisted of 84- 1 and 2 bedroom units and 5000 sq feet of retail and only 26 parking spaces. Even proponents of the project who do not worship the automobile acknowledged that the math was off. GVSU students who refuse to pay the $200 a semester parking ramp fee have begun filling the residential neighborhood directly to the west of the Pew campus. The reality of the situation was that because of the proximity to the Pew campus the development was going to be used as student housing. A secondary problem was that it completely failed to meet PRD requirements of 2 acres minimum. The parcel is .82 acres about 3/4 acre. Additionally, with form-based zoning standards being the key to the zoning re-write, there was simply no smooth transition into the single-family neighborhood. There was a lot to like about the project but the scale was off and the density was too high. The developer indicated that he had to build to this scale to make the development, " economically viable." I think that means that the landowner is asking too much for the property. $1,000,000 was the figure being bandied about. A $1,000,000 sale would skyrocket land values and kill the residents in taxes and raise rents. Maybe the developer can get the landowner to reduce the price of the 3/4 acre and take what was good out of the last proposal and do something to scale.

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The planning commission turned down the rezoning because the proposed development consisted of 84- 1 and 2 bedroom units and 5000 sq feet of retail and only 26 parking spaces. Even proponents of the project who do not worship the automobile acknowledged that the math was off. GVSU students who refuse to pay the $200 a semester parking ramp fee have begun filling the residential neighborhood directly to the west of the Pew campus. The reality of the situation was that because of the proximity to the Pew campus the development was going to be used as student housing. A secondary problem was that it completely failed to meet PRD requirements of 2 acres minimum. The parcel is .82 acres about 3/4 acre. Additionally, with form-based zoning standards being the key to the zoning re-write, there was simply no smooth transition into the single-family neighborhood. There was a lot to like about the project but the scale was off and the density was too high. The developer indicated that he had to build to this scale to make the development, " economically viable." I think that means that the landowner is asking too much for the property. $1,000,000 was the figure being bandied about. A $1,000,000 sale would skyrocket land values and kill the residents in taxes and raise rents. Maybe the developer can get the landowner to reduce the price of the 3/4 acre and take what was good out of the last proposal and do something to scale.

I disagree 100% with everything said in this post.

1. We don't need to require parking spaces for students. They can take the bus and live without a car if they don't want to pay for parking.

2. There is no reason for PRD zoning to be a minimum of 2 acres.

3. The rezone was opposed by only 1 person in the neighborhood. Apparently not too many people were worried about not having a smooth enough transition.

4. I'll bet there is some room in that price, but not more than $200,000 worth. How much do you think that will change the scale of the project?

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It would be ideal if GVSU students were all pedestrians. In reality, they all drive cars. I covered the meeting on the 25th and I saw 20 or so people speak out against the project with some very valid reasons. On the other hand I only saw one person speak out for the project who appeared to be the person selling the land to Commerce Realty. The person who lived next door gave the least convincing arguments against the project IMO.

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I disagree 100% with everything said in this post.

1. We don't need to require parking spaces for students. They can take the bus and live without a car if they don't want to pay for parking.

2. There is no reason for PRD zoning to be a minimum of 2 acres.

3. The rezone was opposed by only 1 person in the neighborhood. Apparently not too many people were worried about not having a smooth enough transition.

4. I'll bet there is some room in that price, but not more than $200,000 worth. How much do you think that will change the scale of the project?

I agree about the parking Gary. I don't like the fact that GVSU built a big ramp and students are not using it because they have to pay. Waaah. :cry: You have to pay to park at every other college on Earth; get used to it. If students weren't taking up parking spaces on the street in the surrounding neighborhood, then the 26 -parking-space crunch would be eased since there would be more areas to absorb the extra vehicles.

Whether or not you agree with the minimum size of a PRD, the law is the law and you can't just allow a developer to break it because you like what they are going to build. I agree that a 2-acre minimum for a PRD seems silly, at least on the surface, so maybe the law needs to be changed. It seems like the size of the lot shouldn't matter as long as the developer demonstrates that he/she can build a quality project on it.

The argument that the proposed project does not allow "a smooth transition" also seems stupid to me. If they were proposing a fifteen story apartment, that would be one thing, but they weren't. It was what, 1/2 story below grade and 3 1/2 stories above? Seems about right for a transition from medium-low density single-family to a higher density if you ask me.

I don't know anything about the value of the land, so I'll punt on that point.

Just my opinion.

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Why bother doing anything productive with this space? Just turn the land into a parking lot , with huge floodlights and a (blanking) neon sign. It would sail through and far too many people will see it as a welcome addition to the neighborhood.

And what is this business about a no smooth transition into the single-family neighborhood? Right now you have the GVSU parking Ramp/Fortress, a storage lot for busses across the street, RR tracks, the empty lot where this building would go, then you have the single-family neighborhood. A used car lot would provide a smooth transition with the mess that current exist there now. And the scale? Are people blind to the YMCA and the GVSU parking ramp right outside their windows?

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Sorry shoot the messenger thelius. I'm unhappy with the planning commission. I've heard of other student apartment deals that they have killed over parking concerns. If a developer can make a project work without an acre of surface parking why should the planning commission stand in the way?

Whether or not you agree with the minimum size of a PRD, the law is the law and you can't just allow a developer to break it because you like what they are going to build. I agree that a 2-acre minimum for a PRD seems silly, at least on the surface, so maybe the law needs to be changed. It seems like the size of the lot shouldn't matter as long as the developer demonstrates that he/she can build a quality project on it.

The argument that the proposed project does not allow "a smooth transition" also seems stupid to me. If they were proposing a fifteen story apartment, that would be one thing, but they weren't. It was what, 1/2 story below grade and 3 1/2 stories above? Seems about right for a transition from medium-low density single-family to a higher density if you ask me.

I don't know anything about the value of the land, so I'll punt on that point.

Just my opinion.

Torgo, isn't it pretty easy for the commission to either bend the rules or just look the other way when it comes to things like minimum size designations?

Also, I just drove by the area again. On one side of the lot is the GVSU ramp which I'm guessing goes about 40-45 feet above grade. The other side of the property is an old 2story apartment building with no setback and no visible parking.

I hope Rockford doesn't give up yet on this one.

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isn't it pretty easy for the commission to either bend the rules or just look the other way when it comes to things like minimum size designations?

No, or at least it shouldn't be. You have to keep in mind legal precedent. The city can't allow a developer to break the law, which is what the zoning ordinance is.

It would sorta be like saying you want permission to run all red lights and stop signs, and the police say "ok, since you've got a real nice car and all" :blink:

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No, or at least it shouldn't be. You have to keep in mind legal precedent. The city can't allow a developer to break the law, which is what the zoning ordinance is.

It would sorta be like saying you want permission to run all red lights and stop signs, and the police say "ok, since you've got a real nice car and all" :blink:

That was a funny analogy and I feel kindof stupid right now :blush: but why would they even bother to go in front of the commission to ask for the change if the commission couldn't grant it?

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Torgo, isn't it pretty easy for the commission to either bend the rules or just look the other way when it comes to things like minimum size designations?

"Minimum Size: The PRD site shall be a minimum of two (2) acres. The Planning Commission may approve submission of an application for a PRD on fewer acres provided that the proposal substantially achieves the Purposes of the PRD, as noted in Section 5.300, and otherwise meets the Eligibility Criteria of this Section."

They could have approved it if they liked it.

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The code defines high density as 14 units per acre. This development was 69 units beyond high density and short of an acre. As far as transitions go, the NIMBY to the north lives in a single-family owner occupied 1 1/2 story home. 4 stories down to 1 1/2 doesn't seem like a smooth transition. The question is why doesn't the single-family to the north sell out? Maybe they weren't offered enough money? I suppose that's their right as landowners. As far as the GVSU parking ramp, if I am correct, the zone across Seward to the east is downtown development property. A zone that runs from Seward to Wealthy to Prospect to Eleventh. Within that zone the proposed development would be acceptible. The zone west of Seward is R-1. The concern there is, because of zoning rules, any other developer could come in with a project of similar scale and density and make a case that they were being deprived of rights commonly enjoyed by the other development. I don't know too much about that neighborhood but I have driven it and there are some nice homes that look ripe for rehabilitation. With that proximity to downtown their values will probably continue to rise.

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No, or at least it shouldn't be. You have to keep in mind legal precedent. The city can't allow a developer to break the law, which is what the zoning ordinance is.

It would sorta be like saying you want permission to run all red lights and stop signs, and the police say "ok, since you've got a real nice car and all" :blink:

Isn't that why they're called "variances"? I think it's unfortunate that this got shot down.

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"Minimum Size: The PRD site shall be a minimum of two (2) acres. The Planning Commission may approve submission of an application for a PRD on fewer acres provided that the proposal substantially achieves the Purposes of the PRD, as noted in Section 5.300, and otherwise meets the Eligibility Criteria of this Section."

They could have approved it if they liked it.

AH-ha! Thanks fo r doing my homework for me civitas :blush:

I think this should have gone forward, too.

And yes, they could have applied for a variance if the rules were rigid concerning the 2 acre lot size, but they are pretty hard to get.

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I didnt really like them anyway... sry to the people who put them up :( ...... however, it would've been nice for density and parking lot filler :)

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this is definatly good news for the city. it would be plain stupid to turn this down. saying its "too dense" is basically saying you'd rather have a sprawling inner-city.

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It looks like they are going to provide 62 parking spaces this time too.

If anyone around here lives in that area, you should go to the public hearing on this to counter all the nimbys. (was't that a problem last time?)

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It looks like they are going to provide 62 parking spaces this time too.

If anyone around here lives in that area, you should go to the public hearing on this to counter all the nimbys. (was't that a problem last time?)

Do you have to live in the neighborhood to speak?

I wish they didnt change the proposal at all.

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Do you have to live in the neighborhood to speak?

I wish they didnt change the proposal at all.

You do not have to be an affected property owner to speak at a public hearing.

(Last month I spoke to a T-Mobile proposal; staff was concerned that putting up a cell tower would increase traffic, and I addressed that based on site visits and driving skills of cell technicians. Drive-up window: traffic. Access management: parking lot traffic. Cell tower with BTS equipment: maybe one car visit per month.)

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Knowing a little about the folks who are opposing this, I can say that going down to the 69 units is not satisfactory to them. They will be at the meeting speaking against this. To them it is a clear cut issue of "good versus evil". The opposition wants this site to remain very small and residentially scaled. In this case about 6 units total. That is a big difference from what is being proposed.

This is representative of a bigger issue in this immediate area. The issue is where does the larger scale development end and the smaller scaled existing residential start? How do you make the the transitions (mid-block or at the street)? How is the transition made?

Many living in this area believe that the larger scale development should cease at the East Side of Seward. This would make for an awkward transition to the west side of Seward, IE- 4 story buildings across the street from houses. But that is the current belief.

Planning officials believe that the newer, larger scale development should extend to Gold.

While I tend to believe that it needs to extend more toward Gold and not stop at Seward, I can also see where these folks are coming from. Many have already lived through one clear-cutting of their neighborhood when 131 went through and that event alone is driving some of these issues, along with the fact that many feel disenfranchised in the overall process.

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Knowing a little about the folks who are opposing this, I can say that going down to the 69 units is not satisfactory to them. They will be at the meeting speaking against this. To them it is a clear cut issue of "good versus evil". The opposition wants this site to remain very small and residentially scaled. In this case about 6 units total. That is a big difference from what is being proposed.

This is representative of a bigger issue in this immediate area. The issue is where does the larger scale development end and the smaller scaled existing residential start? How do you make the the transitions (mid-block or at the street)? How is the transition made?

Many living in this area believe that the larger scale development should cease at the East Side of Seward. This would make for an awkward transition to the west side of Seward, IE- 4 story buildings across the street from houses. But that is the current belief.

Planning officials believe that the newer, larger scale development should extend to Gold.

While I tend to believe that it needs to extend more toward Gold and not stop at Seward, I can also see where these folks are coming from. Many have already lived through one clear-cutting of their neighborhood when 131 went through and that event alone is driving some of these issues, along with the fact that many feel disenfranchised in the overall process.

I think dense development should be encouraged all the way to Straight Street between Fulton and Bridge. The short blocks on the West side are perfect for high density urbanity.

Didnt the S-curve and the modern 131 route get built in the 60's? How many old neighbors could be left?

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Knowing a little about the folks who are opposing this, I can say that going down to the 69 units is not satisfactory to them. They will be at the meeting speaking against this. To them it is a clear cut issue of "good versus evil". The opposition wants this site to remain very small and residentially scaled. In this case about 6 units total. That is a big difference from what is being proposed.

This is representative of a bigger issue in this immediate area. The issue is where does the larger scale development end and the smaller scaled existing residential start? How do you make the the transitions (mid-block or at the street)? How is the transition made?

Many living in this area believe that the larger scale development should cease at the East Side of Seward. This would make for an awkward transition to the west side of Seward, IE- 4 story buildings across the street from houses. But that is the current belief.

Planning officials believe that the newer, larger scale development should extend to Gold.

While I tend to believe that it needs to extend more toward Gold and not stop at Seward, I can also see where these folks are coming from. Many have already lived through one clear-cutting of their neighborhood when 131 went through and that event alone is driving some of these issues, along with the fact that many feel disenfranchised in the overall process.

I can understand why the neighborhood objects to a change in land use, but the property is opposite a bus storage facility and a major parking structure. It is not going to be detached single family homes. This seems to be an appropriate development.

I do, however, think the city should be careful with the parking for the proposed development. They have 25 on-site spaces and 28 off-site for a total of 52. The code requires 1.5 cars per apartment (104 spaces) and, at 1 car per 200 SF, you might need another 25 spaces for the retail. I'm not an advocate for bigger parking lots, but 69 apartments with a primarily student population will need a lot more than 52 parking spaces.

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Right now I'm planning on showing up at the meeting, just to see the show. I think we're scheduled for 2:20 or so. Come on out and voice your opinion, positive or negative (but hopefully positive).

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