Affordable Housing Plans Hit a Bump in the Road
After being deluged with negative feedback from neighbors in Grand Rapids about proposed zoning changes to address affordable housing, the City Commission chose to table the topic for the foreseeable future. Neighborhood associations were asking that a new citywide plan be developed before any drastic changes are made to the zoning law.
The proposed changes would have allowed development “by right” in many areas enabling the building of new housing units or adding units to existing structures–all “by right,” circumnavigating the usual neighborhood approval process. The neighbors feared that developers would simply buy existing housing, raze them and then rebuild residential structures not in keeping with the character of the neighborhood and requiring more parking than an area can handle.
Some commissioners expressed frustration over the decision. They feel that something has to be done to address the availability of affordable housing in Grand Rapids. It goes without saying that the city is land-locked. The City is also looking at disposing of city owned property that remains vacant.
The RPOA is still in discussions with the City on how application fees might be handled differently to remove barriers to low and moderate income applicants. Part of the proposal is to provide training and assistance for applicants with removing barriers from their tenant and credit histories.