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danjayh

Help! How to fight rezoning?

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Hello,

I purchased a house on the east side of Division Ave. between 92nd and 100th earlier this year. The area is exclusively rural/agricultural, and the people who live around us are those who were looking for a bit of land and a "country" feel. Anyhow, the lady across the street had passed away some time ago, and her family has since been trying to get her land (a strip between Division and US-131) rezoned to D-1 Industrial. Tonight the planning commission met, and despite the fact that six neighbor families were present to oppose the re-zoning (the land is surrounded by about 13 lots in residential use), the commission voted to recommend to the board that they re-zone the land to industrial.

My neighbors and I are all very upset, and worried that we'll have 30 acres of heavy industry in the middle of an area that is otherwise exclusively in residential use. The commission's viewpoint was "that area is master planned for Industrial, so we approve" despite the fact that that there are no industrial facilities / zones currently in the area. This will decimate our property values (we recently spent quite a bit of money to improve our house), and we can't really afford to move. Do we have any recourse? This is pretty much spot-zoning, but the commission doesn't see it that way, due to the master plan. Help!

- danjayh

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Danjayh, how soon does the township board meet? Your best recourse would be to contact them, early and often.

It's possible that there won't be demand for this new industrial site (I've heard something about a Wall Street crash) and your house will be safe for a number of years.

Feel free to contact me via private message, too.

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It looks like the future land use map (pdf) for the area you describe is primarily suburban residential and industrial / research. More than likely it is light industrial, nothing too intense. And as Veloise mentioned, it may be a while before there is demand for the land. Definitely contact the board, along with your neighbors. The board may point out, however, that the Master Plan and future land use map were available when you purchased your home, so the loss of any "country feel" could have been anticipated.

I don't want to be harsh, but the Gaines / Byron / Cutlerville area hasn't been the "exclusive rural / agricultural setting" you describe for at least 10 years. The construction of M-6 has lead to a textbook case of sprawling development, with farmers eagerly selling their land to the highest bidder and township officials willing to rezone large swaths of land in order to add to the tax base that's needed to sustain expanded infrastructure. Gaines Township has a similar sprawling future land use map (pdf). It's hard to believe, but even after the housing crash there are still new homes and businesses being built out your way.

Southern Kent County's rolling agricultural fields are on their way out. If country livin' is what you were hoping for, I'm afraid you're in for a big disappointment. (And please please please don't make an attempt to move farther out; it compounds the problem. The best way to ensure you have access to high quality countryside is to live in a city!)

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It looks like the future land use map (pdf) for the area you describe is primarily suburban residential and industrial / research. More than likely it is light industrial, nothing too intense. And as Veloise mentioned, it may be a while before there is demand for the land. Definitely contact the board, along with your neighbors. The board may point out, however, that the Master Plan and future land use map were available when you purchased your home, so the loss of any "country feel" could have been anticipated.

I don't want to be harsh, but the Gaines / Byron / Cutlerville area hasn't been the "exclusive rural / agricultural setting" you describe for at least 10 years. The construction of M-6 has lead to a textbook case of sprawling development, with farmers eagerly selling their land to the highest bidder and township officials willing to rezone large swaths of land in order to add to the tax base that's needed to sustain expanded infrastructure. Gaines Township has a similar sprawling future land use map (pdf). It's hard to believe, but even after the housing crash there are still new homes and businesses being built out your way.

Southern Kent County's rolling agricultural fields are on their way out. If country livin' is what you were hoping for, I'm afraid you're in for a big disappointment. (And please please please don't make an attempt to move farther out; it compounds the problem. The best way to ensure you have access to high quality countryside is to live in a city!)

I did actually look at the future land use map you mentioned, and the area in question is marked as being reserved for Residential/Suburban. I bought the property knowing that their could eventually be a subdivision across the street, and that wouldn't bother me. The problem is that, (presumibly at the behest of the property owner across the street) the land use map for the property in question was updated to "industrial" within the past month. The township claims to have published notice of this in the Advance, but we did not yet receive the Advance (being new property owners - didn't have everything turned on yet) at the time that we purchased. In addition, even though the map has been updated, the township has failed to update the online map, which meant that I showed up to the planning commission meeting with bad information.

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Danjayh, how soon does the township board meet? Your best recourse would be to contact them, early and often.

It's possible that there won't be demand for this new industrial site (I've heard something about a Wall Street crash) and your house will be safe for a number of years.

Feel free to contact me via private message, too.

Veloise, every time I click on your profile, I get an error stating "you are not allowed to view profiles". How do I PM you (sorry, I'm new-ish here). Anyway, the township board meets on Monday ... I'm trying to decide wheather we want to take the friendly approach (I would prefer it - easier and cheaper for everybody), or get the neighbors together to sue for an injunction. Advice is always appreciated.

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Veloise, every time I click on your profile, I get an error stating "you are not allowed to view profiles". How do I PM you (sorry, I'm new-ish here). Anyway, the township board meets on Monday ... I'm trying to decide wheather we want to take the friendly approach (I would prefer it - easier and cheaper for everybody), or get the neighbors together to sue for an injunction. Advice is always appreciated.

I don't think you're doing anything wrong danjayh. To reduced spam, I believe that UrbanPlanet.org requires you to have 10 posts before you can send Private Messages.

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Veloise, every time I click on your profile, I get an error stating "you are not allowed to view profiles". How do I PM you (sorry, I'm new-ish here). Anyway, the township board meets on Monday ... I'm trying to decide wheather we want to take the friendly approach (I would prefer it - easier and cheaper for everybody), or get the neighbors together to sue for an injunction. Advice is always appreciated.

Well, crud. I tried to send you a PM, and it looks like you need to either make three more random posts in order to send/receive private messages. Or you could check out Tuba Christmas in Grand Rapids... see about hiring a local square dance caller.... look up Michigan ghostbikes on Facebook.

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