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Grand Rapids city commissioners modify zoning addressing area's housing crisis

Housing under construction
Gerry Broome
Housing under construction

Commissioners unanimously approved amendments to the city’s zoning ordinance increasing and diversifying affordable dwelling units.

The City of Grand Rapids’ 2020 Housing Needs Assessment was updated last year forecasting that by the year 2027 the demand for city dwelling units would grow to more than 14,100. The need for housing across Kent County would reach nearly 34,700 units.

In response, City Commissioners met with the Planning Commission evaluating policies seeking recommendations. A public hearing was held earlier this year on zoning ordinance amendments designed to increase housing stock. The changes would also influence affordability and diversify housing types in the market.

First Ward Commissioner Drew Robbins shared areas the amendments address.

“The text amendments focus on accessory dwelling units, unrelated occupants in a household single-room occupancy dwellings, transitional and emergency housing and small-scale residential in-fill and then also some tweaks to our parking regulations.”

Commissioners admitted as the city grows there will be growing pains and addressing housing won’t be perfect but necessary.

“This is a key factor for health and wellbeing and economic security for residents.”

Third Ward Commissioner Kelsey Perdue.

“To ensure that Grand Rapids can continue to be a place where folks who have been here for generations or who are newly arrived can rent, can buy, can develop and really can thrive and prosper here.”

The adopted zoning text amendments take effect May 23rd.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.