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GRDadof3

New Apartment Complex at Lake Michigan & Lexington

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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.

These are student apartments. Students dont need to drive, but if they want to they must buy a parking pass, which allows them to park in the ramp across the street. So, if a student is going to drive, they will have every right to park across the street. Why waste the space and kill this deal?

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These are student apartments. Students dont need to drive, but if they want to they must buy a parking pass, which allows them to park in the ramp across the street. So, if a student is going to drive, they will have every right to park across the street. Why waste the space and kill this deal?

If there is a formal relationship with GVSU for the use of their ramp and if the tenants with cars are required to buy a full-year parking pass, then that would be a great solution.

The city could approve the project with those conditions.

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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.

I believe that they are applying for the PRD designation, which has parking requirements of half that required otherwise. Guess we'll find out this afternoon. ;)

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The commission had a split vote, 4 vs. 4

Lots of NIMBY's and their children showed up. Apparently the vacant lot gets used alot by the neighborhood kids.

The gentlemen who, as I understood it, currently owns the property and house that will be sold to the developer made an excellent comment about his prior attempt to build on that site. A few years ago he proposed a couple of single family and multi-family houses and was turned down by the planning commission because it wasn't dense enough. His point being "c'mon, make up your mind, do you want density here or not?"

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Ok, build a friggin play ground already. Once the playground is built, watch it degrade into a hole for kids to piss in and grafitti over. Hey atleast the lots will be used to entertain their children.

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I forgot to mention that the developers now have the ability (because of the tie vote) to go before the city commission for approval of the project. The chances of passing the city commission are probably greater. The chances of the meeting lasting longer then the one aI just sat through are probably also greater.

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So the NIMBY's argument was that they don't want a person to build on his private property because they wish to use said private property as a public playground?

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So the NIMBY's argument was that they don't want a person to build on his private property because they wish to use said private property as a public playground?

Exactly. This guy pointed that out too. If he didn't spend the money to maintain the weeds and stuff on that empty lot, then the neighbors would report him to the city for property neglect.

The NIMBY's had other arguments too, such as project scale and density, parking, noise, traffic, college students, etc. Nothing we've never heard before.

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I forgot to mention that the developers now have the ability (because of the tie vote) to go before the city commission for approval of the project. The chances of passing the city commission are probably greater. The chances of the meeting lasting longer then the one aI just sat through are probably also greater.

Actually the city commission may be harder. As elected officials they are much more susceptible to neighborhood pressure. I suspect there will be a much larger turnout at the City Commission.

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I found the hearing quite amusing. It was like watching a dingo protect a year old can of hash.

Here's the revised site plan with the added parking lot to the North:

199889399_78e34c6d20.jpg

If there ever was a place for some high density (scratch that, medium density) residential, this is it IMO.

"There is no greater love than that of the status quo" - heard at the hearing

199889401_fa10c51fe4.jpg

Beta stepped down the West end to better blend with the commercial building on the other corner

199889405_0240cd38c1.jpg

East elevation with retail

199889402_6452cf4af2.jpg

BTW: Your homework for tomorrow, find the definition of "adverse possession". :P

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I forgot to mention that the developers now have the ability (because of the tie vote) to go before the city commission for approval of the project. The chances of passing the city commission are probably greater. The chances of the meeting lasting longer then the one aI just sat through are probably also greater.

The meeting ended at about 6:50, by the way. Sheesh. :sick:

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I found the hearing quite amusing. It was like watching a dingo protect a year old can of hash.

199889405_0240cd38c1.jpg

Is there a scale problem in the sketch? If the building in the foreground is existing and 2 stories tall, then the proposed building is sketched 50% too short.

199933274_28ef1613df_o.jpg

Dingo and hash :rofl: .

I like the project too. I was disappointed that the applicant didn't hammer the point that it was located across the street from industrially zoned land and a big parking ramp.

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Is there a scale problem in the sketch? If the building in the foreground is existing and 2 stories tall, then the proposed building is sketched 50% too short.

I noticed that too. Perhaps it was done intentionally to make the proposed project look smaller?

I think this is an excellent project. I really like the building, and the retail makes it even better. Every time I drove by that empty lot, I pictured a project exactly like this in my mind as being exactly what is needed. Its a shame there are so many opponents. I would love to see this get approved.

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Is there a scale problem in the sketch? If the building in the foreground is existing and 2 stories tall, then the proposed building is sketched 50% too short.

The parapet wall that you used on the building in the foreground steps up just before the corner, so the vanishing point that's way off to the right isn't correct. If you draw a line across the top of that building's second floor window the line goes almost through vanishing point 2 like it should. Also since the parapet wall is probably about 3' high, the building is actually a little over two stories high.

That being said, the apartment building is raised of the ground some so it's possibly still a little too short.

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What's on that proposed surface lot to the North? This doesn't look too much different from the original plan to me. Besides the stepped roof, what else was changed?

-nb

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What's on that proposed surface lot to the North? This doesn't look too much different from the original plan to me. Besides the stepped roof, what else was changed?

-nb

The surface lot to the North was not there before. They added it to help satisfy the need for more parking, although, it sounded like they have a deal with the DDA lot across the street???

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Is there a scale problem in the sketch? If the building in the foreground is existing and 2 stories tall, then the proposed building is sketched 50% too short.

Civitas, you're just too smart, you caught me cheating on the rendering, geez. :shades:

Actually, andrew69 is right. The building on the left has quite a parapet. It also has a larger floor-to-floor height than the apartment building. I'll admit that I did pull the massing of the building in on the left right so that it would fit a little better in the frame before we sketched over top. The other thing that happened was that the base photograph we used was stitched together from a couple images, so naturally you're going to have a couple vanishing points from one side to the other. I didn't do anything to the rendering that would have intentionally given a false impression of the actual height. It is true though that rendering are like statistics, you can make them say what you want to hear.

I do appreciate the disection of the rendering though. :thumbsup:

I like the project too. I was disappointed that the applicant didn't hammer the point that it was located across the street from industrially zoned land and a big parking ramp.

Yeah, it didn't seem like they had a good opportunity to have a dialogue with the commissioners about the project. Obviously time was an issue because everyone in the room was growing impatient. Maybe there should be a rule about only one representative from each household being allowed to speak during the community response portion.

nice job with sketchup

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Maybe there should be a rule about only one representative from each household being allowed to speak during the community response portion.

The city should approve the project and rezone the land, but.....

I've found that if you make an effort to really see the issue through a neighbor's eyes you'll find yourself much more patient with the process.

Change is a terrifying thing when it happens in your backyard. It is very difficult to see any positives or the bigger advantages to the city when your fears cloud your thinking. The little kids don't understand property rights. They only know that their vacant lot will be lost. The lady with her daughters has appantly lived in the house for much of her life. She has done nothing wrong and would be victimized by the development. It will have a significant impact on her quality of life. She was in a neighborhood and will now be sandwiched between 2 parking lots. Ouch! It makes absolutely no sense from her perspective.

I've done rezonings for 30 years, but I think I might act the same if a major change were proposed in my backyard. I am usually arguing against the neighbors and sometimes they get very angry with me. I take their comments very seriously, but I have stopped taking their comments personally. They are only trying to protect their homes and the public hearing is one of the only places where they can vent. They are very seldom evil people.

I actually think GR should have the public hearings at night so more could attend.

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Grand Rapids is famous for it's architectural blunders and this would be the latest in a ong line of blunders. ..edit: content deleted for violating forum rules.

Grateful, I suspect that you are right about the way the landowner has played the system, and I know you are right about the good people on the West side (I used to be one) and you are right that the West side is well suited for a new and wonderful life.

I would differ, however, in general about the quality of the structures in the 1st 2 or 3 blocks west of Seward. There are some wonderful exceptions, but there are also many examples of very low quality (architecturally and structurally) houses that will likely fall down if they are not torn down. As you move further west towards John Ball park the housing stock is fantastic. The slum lords who cater to students have already taken over many of these homes and, as a result, the neighborhood is already at greater risk than it was before because getting those homes back for redevelopment is impossible or costly.

GVSU has clearly given new hope to that area. I believe that the planned redevelopment of those first 2 or 3 blocks with housing that transitions from higher density to existing detached homes is a necessary step. Developments like the one proposed are a shock to the existing residents and that is a terrible thing, but if you look 5 or 10 years into the future you might see some land-use logic. The really nice homes to the West will become much more attractive if the problems in the blocks closest to GVSU are solved.

If I were that neighborhood association I'd go to the City Commission and ask them to table the current request while a site-specific master plan is developed for the area from GVSU to John Ball Park. A design charrette that includes all the stakeholders would be the proper format for such a planning exercise. These first blocks are clearly not Heritage Hill. They need significant reinvestment dollars that are never available on a home by home basis. The area also needs to get immediate control of the slum lords that prey on students. Look at the housing north of Grand River Avenue in East Lansing. :(

What do you think?

BTW, I appreciate the passion and emotion in your post, but you criticized this list with a pretty broad brush. We may not always agree, but we are all here because we really care about the community and I think we're all generally open to learning from others. Except for the pretty harsh tone, yours was an informative post. Thanks for taking the time to verbalize your feelings.

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Grateful,

Your post was deleted because you referred to everyone here as "retards" and "communists", not because of your support for the West side.

If you are still lurking and want to return to the discussion, you're more than welcome. But keep your insults in check or you'll be banned from the forum.

BTW: I think very few members here look at the people who fought urban renewal of the 60's as "communists" anyway. Most of us think of Calder and Vandenberg Plaza, and the destruction of the old City Hall and the Courthouse as a major travesty. Personally, I have a hard time seeing the comparison with the homes in question here. Perhaps you should spend some time reviewing some of the opinions here before you come charging in like a bull in a china shop. You're much more likely to win support for your opinion.

Secondly, I tend to agree with civitas. Perhaps a master plan for that area is appropriate now. I don't see a lot of housing near Seward as being worthy of pouring thousands of dollars into, but as you move further West, it seems to transition into much sturdier construction. Plus, Seward has been built into quite the North South corridor. Do the West side neighborhood associations think that the East side of Seward will be high density development, and then the West side of Seward be single family homes forever?

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...

The building on the left has quite a parapet. ...massing of the building ...fit a little better in the frame ... base photograph ...I didn't do anything to the rendering that would have intentionally given a false impression of the actual height. ...

Photosims are your friend. I would submit Existings and Proposeds from four directions, and again from "afar" if there aren't too many buildings in the way. (Ride shotgun as a colleague drives along the nearby freeways, and shoot your base photos.) Real pics so people can see the Smith's house and how much nicer this will look compared to what's across the street. (PM me if you want to see samples.)

I'd be sure to put a brick knee wall and wrought iron fencing trimming that parking lot, along with planters in the middle or corners. Street furniture and interesting features in addition to the parking bump-outs.

And I'd talk about property values and how the project will bring in conscientious, attentive college students who can help keep an eye on things, and who might need real-life subjects to on which practice their Early Childhood studies.

HTH

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Photosims are your friend. I would submit Existings and Proposeds from four directions, and again from "afar" if there aren't too many buildings in the way. (Ride shotgun as a colleague drives along the nearby freeways, and shoot your base photos.) Real pics so people can see the Smith's house and how much nicer this will look compared to what's across the street. (PM me if you want to see samples.)

I'd be sure to put a brick knee wall and wrought iron fencing trimming that parking lot, along with planters in the middle or corners. Street furniture and interesting features in addition to the parking bump-outs.

And I'd talk about property values and how the project will bring in conscientious, attentive college students who can help keep an eye on things, and who might need real-life subjects to on which practice their Early Childhood studies.

HTH

I put this massing study together a few months ago...

200334231_fafdccdec8_o.jpg

The ghosted mass represents the property line extruded to 55'

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I rode by the property yesterday and snapped a few shots showing a little point - counter point.

I was surprised in the hearing that the developer didn't hammer the proximity this site has to very non-residential land uses.

The view below does not suggest detached single family homes.

201047039_ce2a5c5635_b.jpg

I remember buying drafting supplies in this building on the west side of the property on the corner of Lexington and Lake Michigan Drive. It was where Ron Singleton had his blueprinting business for many years. The vinyl siding was glass storefronts and the building was quite handsome as corner retailing.

201045946_c3268b1edb.jpg

I would have expected the developer to demonstrate the run-down nature of the area and the intrusion into the neighborhood with uses like The Lexicon Club with its big parking lot.

201046369_c7a590beb7.jpg

On the other hand, I would have expect the neighbors to have been armed with photos of the few wonderful old homes that are scattered in the otherwise deteriorated blocks.

There are good families who own their homes and are making significant investments in their properties in spite of what the rest of the neighborhood is or isn't doing.

201046145_cc868483f2.jpg

201046945_14726bb1ed.jpg

And I was especially surprised that the lady with the daughters (who would live in between the parking lots) didn't have photos of her own very well maintained home and yard

201046765_1914ca5393.jpg

Or photos of the huge trees that exist on the proposed parking lot site. Almost hidden in the trees is one of the largest and possibly nicest homes in the area.

It would be demolished for parking.

201046597_cedc63cc47.jpg

I still think that the site is best suited to higher density housing but I wonder if the number of units is too high.

I also am convinced the the area needs to be studied and master planned for the future. There is both opportunity and risk in this area that go far beyond the present proposal. It would be a shame to hurt the area or hinder its appropriate progression into the future.

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I rode by the property yesterday and snapped a few shots showing a little point - counter point.

I was surprised in the hearing that the developer didn't hammer the proximity this site has to very non-residential land uses.

The view below does not suggest detached single family homes.

201047039_ce2a5c5635_b.jpg

...

I would have expected the developer to demonstrate the run-down nature of the area and the intrusion into the neighborhood with uses like The Lexicon Club with its big parking lot.

201046369_c7a590beb7.jpg

On the other hand, I would have expect the neighbors to have been armed with photos of the few wonderful old homes that are scattered in the otherwise deteriorated blocks.

...

And I was especially surprised that the lady with the daughters (who would live in between the parking lots) didn't have photos of her own very well maintained home and yard

201046765_1914ca5393.jpg

Or photos of the huge trees that exist on the proposed parking lot site. Almost hidden in the trees is one of the largest and possibly nicest homes in the area.

It would be demolished for parking.

201046597_cedc63cc47.jpg

I still think that the site is best suited to higher density housing but I wonder if the number of units is too high.

I also am convinced the the area needs to be studied and master planned for the future. There is both opportunity and risk in this area that go far beyond the present proposal. It would be a shame to hurt the area or hinder its appropriate progression into the future.

A few years ago at our state planning conference, a vendor showed off a marvelous technology that allowed you to "fly" to any location. It was a 3D model with helicopter and street-level views; very realistic buildings and street appearances. The first city to purchase it was Birmingham (quelle surprise!).

I wonder if Suzanne could get a grant for GR so we can have that implemented here. It'd be a great help for when the PC gets the teary stories about playgrounds for small children (not mentioned in today's Press article). Isn't there some sort of recreational facility contained within that first huge new building???

[yep, I'm a member of the Y]

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