City Housing Policy Amendments



In the spring of 2023, an update to the 2020 Housing Needs Assessment was presented by the City’s Housing Practice Leader, Ryan Kilpatrick of Housing Next. The update determined that by 2027, approximately 34,700 dwelling units are needed countywide, with 14,106 of the units in the City of Grand Rapids, to accommodate household growth and older home replacement. In response to the Assessment, the City Commission expressed a desire to evaluate the City’s housing policies and requested that the Planning Commission provide them with recommendations.

To ensure general alignment on potential zoning changes, a joint Planning Commission/City Commission meeting was held on July 13, 2023. During the meeting, the Planning Director facilitated a discussion around five categories identified by staff as starting points for consideration. These categories were chosen because of past planning work (i.e. Great Housing Strategies and Housing NOW!), current planning work (update to the 2002 Community Master Plan) and State and National zoning reform work.  These five categories included Accessory Dwelling Units, Unrelated Occupants, Group Living Uses, Small Scale Residential Infill/Missing Middle Housing Types and Parking Requirements. Both Commissions generally agreed that zoning amendments pertaining to the five categories held the potential to increase housing supply, diversify housing types, and increase housing affordability.

April 9, 2024 Housing Policy Discussion

March 19, 2024 City Commission Public Hearing

January 25, 2024 Housing Policy Discussion

July 13, 2023 Housing Policy Discussion

July 11, 2023 Housing Policy Discussion

Accessory Dwelling Units (see additional info here)

  • Streamline review process and allow as a permitted use
  • Remove owner occupancy requirement
  • Modify height and setback requirements
  • Permit in association with single- and two-family dwellings
  • Eliminate parking requirement

Unrelated Occupants (see additional info here)

  • Modify definition of Family, increasing unrelated occupants from four (4) to six (6)

Group Living

  • Modify Single-Room Occupancy (SRO) requirements:

- Modify SRO definition

- Allow small-scale SROs in residential zone districts

- Provide a tiered review process for small, medium and large-scale SROs

- Require a Good Neighbor Plan when permitted as a Special Land Use

- Increase tenancy requirement from 32 to 90 days

  • Modify Transitional/Emergency Shelter requirements:

- Allow small-scale shelters in residential zone districts

- Add additional use regulations

- Require a Good Neighbor Plan when permitted as a Special Land Use

Small Scale Residential Infill (see additional info here)

- Reduce lot area and width requirements for two-family and multiple-family residential developments of six (6) or fewer units

- Permit multiple-family residential developments of six (6) or fewer units when located on Link Residential or Network residential streets (as defined by the Vital Streets plan(PDF, 14MB))

- Eliminate established (i.e. median) lot area and width requirements

- Allow conversion of existing single- and two-family housing stock to higher densities

Parking (see additional info here)

  • Within the TN-LDR Zone District, eliminate parking requirements for developments of six (6) or fewer dwelling units on Link Residential or Network residential streets
  • Modify the required distance to transit (from 300 feet to ½-mile) to allow for increased utilization of the parking reduction

Where We Have Been

April 2023

-Housing Needs Update

-City Commission request to Planning Commission

July 11, 2023

-Presentation to City Commission Committee of the Whole

-Current state

-Suggested starting points

July 13, 2023

-Planning Commission/City Commission joint meeting

-General alignment

September 28, 2023

Planning Commission discussion - ADUs and Unrelated Occupants

November 9, 2023

Planning Commission discussion - Group Living Uses and Infill Housing and Parking

January 11, 2024

Planning Commission review of draft text amendments

January 26, 2024

Public Hearing on proposed text amendments

March 5, 2024

City Commission Briefing and set public hearing

March 19, 2024

City Commission public hearing

Proposed Next Steps

April 23, 2024

City Commission Ordinance consideration

Vital Streets Program: Improving Transportation

We're improving our transportation network through the Vital Streets Initiative. Click the above link to see our progress, where we are making improvements, and how the program works.

Vital Streets Program

Housing Needs Assessment

Presentation and documents related to Housing Needs Assessment Update by Housing Next presented to the Committee of the Whole on April 11, 2023.

Housing Needs Assessment

Public Planning Map

View our revamped Public Planning Map, consisting of data related to zoning districts, Vital Streets, neighborhood classifications, area specific plans, and more.

Public Planning Map

Residential Parcel Analysis Report

View an interactive report the Planning Department developed to analyze residential properties throughout the City.

Residential Parcel Analysis