By: Deborah Johnson Wood
On May 14, Grand Rapids planning
commissioners tabled until September two requests that would have
opened the door for developers to pursue the possible construction of
five multi-family units in the Belknap Lookout neighborhood.
Concept Design Group submitted the two requests: an exception to a requirement for a completed Area Specific Plan
(ASP) before developer Artesian Group moves ahead with a rezoning
request, and another request for an exception to the minimum lot size
of five acres.
The proposed new units would replace one single-family and four multi-family homes at 522, 536, 617, 723 and 731 Livingston.
Artesian Group and a steering committee
began the ASP process in early 2008. Stephen Fry, owner of Concept
Design Group, a consultant during six months of the visioning process,
said the ASP is far enough along to show that the multi-family units
"The project's consistent with the Master Plan
and can move forward without an ASP," Fry told commissioners,
referencing six planning charrettes that drew hundreds of neighbors.
Andy Guy, spokesperson for the steering
committee and former editor of Rapid Growth, says the aim now is to
complete the ASP by the September deadline.
"We're going to spend the summer
pumping the neighborhood for all its ideas," Guy says. "There's a lot
of mutual interest to indentify to get a plan that the neighborhood's
going to support."
The steering committee recently hired Nederveld and Lott3Metz as consultants to review the information already gathered and complete the ASP.
"We really anticipate being able to use
a lot of that information," says Mark Miller, a Nederveld architect and
senior planner. "We expect to be able to use or to at least reevaluate
it to make sure it's still what the neighborhood's goals are."
Some $23,000 pledged by various
community organizations and individuals, including $5,000 pledged
previously by the Grand Rapids Planning Department, will fund the
planning process through the summer.
Source: Stephen Fry, Concept Design Group; Andy Guy, Neighbors of Belknap Lookout Steering Committee; Mark Miller, Nederveld
Neighbors of Belknap Lookout get specific with new development strategy
Deborah Johnson Wood is development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at [email protected].