Michigan Street Apartments
Project Background and Opposition
In 2020 through early 2021 the City Planning Commission reviewed a request by Gary Hensche for a Special Land Use to construct a 30-unit multiple-family development consisting of three two-story buildings behind an existing twelve-unit apartment building in a TN-LDR (Traditional Neighborhood–Low Density Residential) Zone District at 1542 Michigan Ave. This was the second request of this nature – as a proposal for a similar scope project was denied in 2019. Case Number: PC-SLU-2021-0016
The Official City Planning Staff Report, detailing the zoning considerations, a brief history and other pertinent information can be found here.
Prior to the City Planning Commission meeting, the FHNA Hosted a Town Hall virtual meeting – the transcript of that meeting can be read here.
There was significant opposition stated by FHNA neighbors, with 53 letters of opposition sent and 1 letter of support. Similarly a petition with 229 signatures was submitted in opposition. Abridged relevant Minutes for the City Planning Commission Meeting can be read here.
The Planning Commission approved the SLU.
The official City Planning Commission Meeting Full minutes from March 25, 2021 state:
The question was called. YEAS: 5 (Behler, Brame, Greenwald, Wallace, Rozeboom). NAYS: 2 (Shannon & Treur).
MOTION CARRIED BY ROLL CALL VOTE.
RESULT: APPROVED WITH CONDITIONS [5 TO 2]
MOVER: Stacie Behler, Board Member
SECONDER: Walter M Brame, Board Member
YEAS: Rozeboom, Brame, Greenwald, Behler, Wallace
NAYS: Rick Treur, Susan Shannon
ABSENT: Laurel Joseph
AWAY: Kyle Van Strien
The Michigan Street Apartments project changed throughout the process that began in 2019. The final versions that were approved by the city are outlined below. Any previously given plans are superseded by these, as they were approved by the City Planning Commission.
- 30 Multiple Family units will be added in three new two-story buildings.
- Buildings will be 14-15 ft from the east lot line, 26 feet from the south lot line, and a parking lot will abut the west lot line with 10 feet of required landscape buffer.
- Buildings will be 23’7″ in height to the midpoint of the roof, and clad in brick and vinyl siding.
- A six-foot-high white vinyl fence is proposed at the lot line, moving from the west carport, around the perimeter to the east carport.
- 70 additional parking spaces will be created in the development of a new parking lot.
- Due to the elevation change, a retaining wall running the length of the development area (approximately 285 feet) is proposed between the building and the east property line.
- The wall will be up to approximately five feet tall, concealing much of the first floor of the building when viewed from the east.
- The retaining wall will be located 7-8 feet from the buildings and 7 feet from the property line.
- The City of Grand Rapids requires 30% greenspace – the development plan provides 38%. The City requires 37% tree canopy, and the development plan provides 37%.
- The parking lot will be finished with concrete curb and gutter, which will direct stormwater displaced by proposed improvements to catch basins.
- Stormwater will then be detained on-site in oversized underground pipes located along the western edge of the parking lot.
- Final building and engineering plans will need to be submitted and approved by all the requisite departments. The site is regularly inspected by an Environmental Services for compliance with stormwater, erosion and sedimentation controls.
- The noise ordinance prohibits construction activities before 7 a.m. or after 10 p.m.
Detail of Retaining wall and fence placement at the highest point on the eastern lot line:
- For complaints to the city about construction activity contact:
- 311 (616-456-3000) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, or submit a complaint on-line. Staff will immediately receive an email from 311 advising of the issue. We strongly encourage utilization of this process, rather than calling an individual staffer, since the complaints are logged and tracked.
- For Noise Ordinance violations contact:
- Police Department by calling the non-emergency number at (616) 456-3400.
- For development project concerns contact:
- Miria Rabideau, VP of Operations at Redstone Properties
- Office: 616-259-9797
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Beginning in May 2022, the lot was cleared of trees to prepare for grading.
- In June 2022 Bonnie, an Alten resident discovered that her landscape bushes were destroyed as part of the land clearing – despite some of them being on her side of the property line. While these cannot be replaced, Redstone did send workmen to dig up shoots of the bushes and replant them in her yard. They also assisted her in placing landscape bricks.
- In June 2022 the stumps were grinded and the earthmoving began, completed by Dykema Excavators. Dykema also erected a temporary fence to protect the development site.
In July 2022 Dykema Excavators began digging the steep drop required to put in the block construction retaining wall along the eastern edge of the development. The wall will be built and then some of the landscape will be back filled. After this, there will be a storm drainage trench dug near the retaining wall, and then covered.
Throughout July and in August 2022 Dykema completed the retaining wall installation, and prepared space for the stormwater drainage and other utilities .
- In August 2022, fencing installation began. Miria Rabideau informed the FHNA that although there were several adjacent properties with fences that encroached on Redstone’s property, Redstone was opting to build their vinyl perimeter fence 1-2ft inside the property line so not to require the demolition of existing neighboring fences.