Common Ground Church Development – UPDATED

UPDATE 3/22/16

The post below is updated to include the minutes from the Special Meeting about the Common Ground Church Development. There was a survey conducted at the meeting. If you were unable to attend, and would like to fill out the survey, click here.


Common Ground Church Special Meeting Minutes:

The Neighborhood meeting was conducted on 3/21 at Mayfair Christian Reformed church.
Board Present: Sam Warber, Suzanne Hakeem, Diane Velzen, Ty Van Wingen, Kayla Domeyer, Rachael Roseman, Lauri Parks
Called to order at 7:00; ended about 8:45

Introduction: Suzanne Hakeem

  • Welcomed speakers and neighbors for coming
  • Gave a brief review of the format: let speakers speak in turn and then we will hold a question period
  • Thanks to Mayfair, Board for flyer, and distribution
  • Introduced the Board members

Peter Krupp:

  • Had large diagrams to show project
  • 90 seat restaurant – down from original number since parking was a fantasy
  • 7 apartments
  • 44 now planned spots
  • Leased parking Abney Academy from 5 – 11 pm
  • Removed event center from plan and instead would have more storage for apartments

Suzanne Shulz (City Planner):

  • Project has changed so haven’t evaluated the 90 seat plan
  • Currently LDR (Low Density Residential) zoning calls for residential and public use (churches, schools, etc)
  • PRD (Planned Redevelopment District) allows multi-use for commercial/residential
  • Zoning stays with property, so could be sold and new owner would have it
  • Development would include the church property as well as surrounding house property; so all rezoned
  • City looks at:
    • City likes “nodes” of commercial, but not “linear” so would consider if this would lead to more commercial?
    • Would this negatively effect the neighbors?
    • Environmental
  • Parking in the front is not allowed, so they would need a zoning variance for that; possibly several other variances too.
  • Process is: Zoning Board of Appeals due to variances then City Planning Commission would make recommendation for re-zoning
  • Each step would include public hearings

Questions and Answers

Questions and answers were recorded to the best of our ability. Thanks Sam for typing so fast!

Neighbor Questions/Concerns: Pastor Elaine moderated

(P= Peter Krupp, S= Suzanne Shulz)

  1. Bar on property is a concern
    • P: more of a casual/high end restaurant so not a typical bar.
    • P: No problems at this other restaurant.
    • P: College students wouldn’t be frequent customers
  2. Where would deliveries go to because already congested on side streets? Where would deliveries be made, because current driveways planned do not allow for the necessary turn radius of larger trucks.
    • P: Lowell; no semis, smaller trucks and wouldn’t come during odd hours 9-11pm
  3. Hours of operation?
    • P: Midnight on weekend; earlier during week
  4. Other possible uses for property as zoned?
    • S: there have been churches built into multi-family housing
  5. Any other properties owned?
    • P: yes, several in neighborhood but lives in Chicago
  6. Will smells and sounds be an issue? – The winds will blow smells into neighborhood?
    • P: ventilation system will be 3 stories high so most smells will be higher; not a big issue in the other projects
  7. Liquor license is available?
    • P: Yes, already in hand
  8. Still not enough parking; 44 and that is IF a variance is allowed?
    • S: City estimate 1 space for every 3 seats; plus residential
    • P: is “confident” it is enough
  9.  7 units residential – why not whole thing?
    • P: wanted a restaurant, that’s his thing; residential was just to help the cost of the building;
    • couldn’t make profit from just residential; also an ideal spot for a restaurant
  10. One of the houses he bought is a mess, so why not make it into a lot? Where will those renters park?
    • P: Not economically feasible
    • P: In the lot if there is room, or the street
  11. The other houses he bought, what about that parking for already congested ?
    • P: street parking
  12. Environmental impact of large or how “green’ will the project be?
    • P: porous pavement and new windows; much too early to get into those details in project
    • S: city would make requirements before anything approved
  13. Houses he would rent out are now rentals, so no zoning change?
    • S: correct but some of the houses would be included in the PRD because some of the parcel would be used in the parking for the project
  14.  Zoning would be changed forever and project would require lots of exceptions; what does the city intend for the future of the area?
    • S: city wants to preserve the “character of the neighborhood” as well as nodes (not one long continuous commercial area);
    • impact of the neighborhood is considered/change
  15. How much influence residents have on zoning changes/development
    • S: all commission hearings are public and neighborhood input is highly valued;
    • especially when they use the “standards” that the commissions in the Zoning Ordinance
  16. Has Peter submitted any applications or zoning variances?
    • P: No; plans have to keep changing and scaled back so no applications as of yet
  17. Why is parking not allowed in the front?
    • S: appearance and walkability
    • P: green space will be a part of it
  18. Impact on property values?
    • P: Don’t know… walkability score will increase, but can’t say exactly how it will impact
  19. Explain the valet parking
    • P: Abney’s lot would be leased from 5:00 on, parks valet parked there.
  20. Snow?
    • P: snow will have to be removed completely, not just plowed somewhere
  21. Timeline?
    • P: after city approval about 9 months
  22. How many Jobs brought in and what do they pay?
    • P: 30 – 40 mostly part-time; his other employees make good money
  23. Is the price-range too high for this neighborhood?
    • P: small plates and full plates so variety of prices
  24. Bike lane and bus lane would be impacted…
    • S: the project has not been approved and valet cut are not improved and would have to be approved by M-Dot;
    • valet would most likely have to be in the lot, not cut out from Fulton
  25. Is there a separate bar from the restaurant?
    • P: it is on the mezzanine, but it is part of the restaurant; where people hang out while waiting for a table
  26. If this project doesn’t go, then what?
    • P: If I can’t make it work, then have to start over.  Probably torn down and rentals/town houses;
    • P: Maybe be sold to someone else to do
    • S: city can only look at project, can’t worry about “what if?”
  27. Why not use your lot on Arthur [in front of Family Fare] for parking instead of Abney?
    • P: Not sure what that lot will be used for, but wanted to give Abney the money for leasing it
  28. What is the rental price of 7 units?
    • P: Market price of $325 – 400 a bedroom is typical to neighborhood

Monday, March 21 at 7pm at Mayfair Christian Reformed Church

FHNA is sponsoring this meeting, and all are invited to attend for more information. Representatives from the city will also be in attendance. If you cannot attend, please send any questions or concerns to The board is interested in hearing all voices.

Common Ground Church Development

Recently, the FHNA Board met with Peter Krupp, the owner of the property known as Common Ground Church at 1513 Fulton Street East in Fulton Heights. The board also met with Suzanne Shultz, the Grand Rapids City planner about the project.

Mr. Krupp expressed a desire to renovate and build on the property. He also shared that his tentative plans will require Zoning changes and at least one Zoning variance. He intends to use the church building as a residential rental space, and a restaurant/bar.

Below is the outline of the plans and process as we know it.

The Proposed Project

  • The owner of the Common Ground Church building (1513 Fulton Street East) wants to turn it into a mixed-use restaurant and apartment building
  •  The Restaurant:
    • 167 [90] seat restaurant and bar described by the owner as “casual fine dining”
  •  The Apartments:  7 residential units
  • Parking:
    • According to the City, around 140 [at least 30 for restaurant, unknown spaces needed for residences] spaces are needed for the proposed use
    • Approximately 40 parking spaces are planned on site
    • The owner is working to secure [has secured a lease for] additional parking at the William C. Abney Academy (1435  Fulton Street East)
    • A valet cut-out is also planned on Fulton Street
  • The exterior of the building is intended to remain largely unchanged

The Process

  • The proposed plan requires a zoning change and at least one zoning variance.
    • The property is currently zoned “Residential”; the owner is requesting it be changed to a “Planned Redevelopment District.” This designation allows mixed residential and commercial use and will need to be approved with the City Planning Commission
    • Any zoning change is considered law, and will stay with the property.
    • A variance is needed for proposed parking and possibly for green space and retaining wall designs. These will need to be approved by the Board of Zoning Appeals.
    • The Valet Cut Out will need to be approved through the Michigan Department of Transportation.
    •  More information on the planning process is available at the City of Grand Rapids’ website:
  • To initiate the process, the owner will submit an application to the Board of Zoning Appeals, to approve the needed variances.
    • The City will hold up to 3 public hearings; neighbors are welcome to attend to ask questions, voice concerns, or express support.
    •  If the variances are approved, the plan will be submitted to the City Planning Commission to approve the rezoning request, with the possibility of more public hearings.

Additional information

In the course of these conversations the board has gathered the following information. Please note that these documents are tentative and no official application has been made to the city by Mr. Krupp. (All documents copyright of their respective owners. Please do not distribute without permission.)

Common Ground Development Flyer/Fact Sheet (as of 3-10-16)

Common Ground Development Site Plan (as of 3-10-16, Provided by Mr.Krupp)

Grand Rapids City information about Planned Redevelopment District 

Grand Rapids City information about Variances (First Page)


City Contact

Once the owner has submitted an official application, neighbors with support or opposition may contact:

City Planning Department

c/o Mary Zahrt
1120 Monroe Ave. NW
3rd Floor, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
(616) 456-4100