Township of Holland could suspend housing development for 9 months
HOLLAND TWP. – Authorities are considering halting multi-family housing development in the township of Holland as the pace of new development continues to increase.
City council weighed in imposing a moratorium on July 15 that would have halted major residential developments, including those requiring zoning map changes and site plan reviews, for nine months.
Council members voted to table it, uncomfortable with “blind” developers and the length of the proposed moratorium. A vote is expected at the next board of directors.
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“Significant” volume of new housing
Community Development Director John Said estimates that nearly 1,000 new multi-family housing units – a “significant” volume of new housing – have been approved in the township in recent years.
The break on the new development would give the township time to conduct a market analysis on the state of housing in the township, which Said said is necessary to keep township planning staff and the planning commission informed. in their decision making.
The town planning commission, which oversees the approval of major new construction in the township and assesses requests for exceptions and changes to the township’s zoning, also needs time to “catch up” on its overloaded project file. , said administrator and town planning commissioner Doug Becker. The committee has doubled its meeting schedule to manage the load.
Township planning staff are also called upon to review all proposed construction projects in the township.
Administrator Elliott Church suggested the township should consider hiring more staff in the community development department if the volume of projects is such that the department is overwhelmed.
“I think in the longer term it’s probably something we should be thinking about,” Becker said.
Too much, too fast?
The moratorium would put an end to “the review, approval and issuance of any zoning, building or other permits” of any residential development requiring a complete plan modification, rezoning, site plan review or review of site condominiums.
Multi-family developments with the exception of duplexes are specifically included in the temporary ban.
Single-family and two-unit dwellings that do not require rezoning or site plan review could continue to be built.
The moratorium would apply to new and pending requests.
Developers have jumped in to meet demand for housing in the Holland area, with hundreds of units in the pipeline in the city and its surroundings.
Reports from Housing Next, a non-profit initiative studying the housing needs of Ottawa County and working with developers to meet those needs, show that the greatest need in the region of the Netherlands and Zealand continues to be in the lowest income bracket.
Ryan Kilpatrick, Executive Director of Housing Next, declared to the city council of Holland earlier this year, the region no longer struggles for rental stock in upper and middle income price points, but housing for low income and “workers” is still lacking.
For the township, the concern is that too much housing built too quickly could overwhelm the township’s ability to provide services, straining water and sewer infrastructure, public safety resources and roads.
“It’s a financial burden on taxpayers,” Said noted.
The township targets multi-family developments because of the scale and intensity of growth they bring.
Said, the director of community development, said the builders are asking permission to go beyond parts of the township that are zoned and slated for residential development.
Planning staff are reluctant to grant these kinds of changes to the plan in general.
With so many such requests, the market analysis will also consider whether the township’s comprehensive plan that has just been updated needs to be revised to reflect the growth.
The township may also consider new housing regulations and policies, depending on what the study shows.
Said is calling for analysts to conduct the study, which will inform the planning department and the planning commission’s decision-making on future housing projects.
“If we have the capacity to have more absorption from the market, that might justify more approvals,” said Said.
Board of directors warns developers
Although city council members generally expressed support for the temporary ban, they voted 5-2 to drop it, fearing that developers would be unfairly caught off guard by the moratorium, which would have gone into effect immediately.
“I think it’s a good idea,” Treasurer Vince Bush said. “But if I was in the construction business, building multi-family housing, I would probably be a little upset.”
Waiting for the next meeting will give some start-up builders a chance to get permits from the township before the moratorium begins, Bush hopes.
Council members also questioned whether nine months was too long and suggested periods of three or six months as alternatives.
The planning commission unanimously recommended the moratorium at its July 6 meeting.
“Just driving through our township and looking at all the apartment developments going on, I just think it’s safe at this point to step back and take a look at this,” the supervisor said. Terry Nienhuis.