ACTION: Support Zoning Reform (City Commission)

On the fourth Tuesday of this month (2024-04-23) the City Commission will be voting on the suite of zoning reforms which have been in development since the joint meeting of the Planning Commission and the City Commission in July of last year (2023).

In 2020 the Housing Next report documented a severe housing shortage in the city of Grand Rapids and the surrounding region. A staggering need for 8,888 in the next several years, in the city of Grand Rapids alone. Residents have experienced the consequences of this shortage through rising rents, escalating prices of for-sale homes, and limited availability. Residents have faced challenges in both remaining in their own neighborhoods as well as moving to neighborhoods or locations which would best facilitate their prosperity or accommodate their life-style and household type.

The Housing Next update in 2023 indicated that this shortage of housing has only become more severe; a shortage of 14,106 units! Between the initial report and the 2023 update the city fell further behind on needed housing by almost five (5) units per day! Clearly the status-quo is not working. Meanwhile in other cities - most notably Minneapolis, Minnesota - it has been demonstrated that substantive land-use reform does facilitate increased production of housing, and that new housing moderates increases in rent and housing costs. It is time for Grand Rapids to move forward with Zoning reform, we cannot afford wait any longer.

You may hear that this has come suddenly and without public engagement. Yet this conversation began formally last year (2023-07-13) and has been conducted in parallel with the many Master Plan engagement sessions. The third phase alone of the Master Plan engaged more than 1,200 citizens though online, three ward level meetings, as well as dozens of meetings organized through the Community Connector program. The citizens of Grand Rapids have spoken; they understand the need for more housing, and understand it will be built in our neighborhoods [where else?].

StrongtownsGR has setup an online petition in support of the zoning proposals - please sign ๐Ÿ‘‰here๐Ÿ‘ˆ. Also contact your City Commissioners to express your support; helpful information ๐Ÿ‘‰here๐Ÿ‘ˆ.