Neighborhood Living Guide

Overview

Have questions about home ownership, animals, taxes, safety, parking, or anything else? You're not alone! Check out this guide on living in Grand Rapids.

Did we miss something? Give us a call at 311 or 616-456-3000 and we'll help answer your question.

Animals

Pets are certainly just as much as a part of our neighborhoods as we are. They can impact are neighborhoods quality of living in many ways. If you’re a pet owner, here are some reminders and tips to keep in mind for our furry or scaley friends.

Dogs

  • When walking your dog(s) in public, use a leash.
  • All dogs must be licensed with Kent County. To read more about this license, click here.
  • Make sure your dogs have identification tags with your contact information listed.
  • Is there a dog excessively barking in your neighborhood? You can call 311 or 616-456-3000 to report it.

Animal Waste

  • When walking a pet, dispose of all its waster from public places and private property.
  • Clean up animal waste from your yard daily.
  • Only throw your animal waste in your trash container.

Exotic and Vicious

  • Exotic and vicious animals are not allowed as pets.

Animal Removal

Have you seen a dead animal in the street? You’re can report it online.

Report a Dead Animal in the Street

Reporting Stray or Domestic Animals

Would you like to report a stray or domestic animal in your neighborhood? You can report them to Kent County Animal Control.

Rodent Control

Property owners are responsible for preventing conditions that provide a home or food source for rats. Here’s are some tips:

  • Remove all rubbish on property. This includes any piled close to buildings to expose borrows and openings.
  • Store all pet food in containers with lids.
  • Store and dispose of garbage properly.
  • Do you feed your pets outdoor? Leave the food out for just long enough to be eaten, then remove it.

Chicken Permits

Do you want to have chickens in your backyard? You can apply for a Backyard Chicken Permit if your property meets certain size requirements. Check with your adjacent neighbors first, because they can cause your application to be denied. Cluck, cluck! 

Apply for a Backyard Chicken Permit

Building and Renovations

Are you looking to build a home? Are you considering making renovations to your place? Awesome! Our home renovation guide shows you what kind of permits and instructions you'll need to make changes—big and small—to your home.

Planning and Permits for Home Renovation Projects

Fire Safety/ Prevention

Your home's safety is one of our top neighborhood concerns. When a fire breaks out in a home, the aftermath it leaves can be devastating. To prevent a fire from ever happening, here are some things you can do:

  • Fire Prevention Steps
- Reduce clutter in your home
- Keep storage items away from furnaces and water heaters
- Maintain clear pathways in rooms at open at all times
  • You should have smoke alarms in the following places:

- Inside every bedroom
- Outside of every bedroom
- Every house level

  • Fire Hydrants

We encourage you to assist our firefighters by maintaining a clear path to fire hydrants. Clearing accumulated snow away from the hydrant highly is appreciated. Also, remember never to park within 15 feet of a hydrant.

  •  Be cautious when cooking outdoors.

Grand Rapid's Fire Department
Visit our Fire Department page to discover more about the department and the services they offer.

Fire Department

Residential Safety Assessment Program
The Residential Safety Program (RSP) is a voluntary program to prevent fires. The goal is to reduce the number and severity of fires.

Residential Safety Assessment Program

Register a Fire Alarm System
Have you just installed a new fire alarm system in your business or residential building? Help us protect you by registering your alarm system with us.

Register a Fire Alarm System 

Recreational Fire Permit
Do you want to have a recreational fire? You can apply for a Recreational Fire Permit if your property meets certain requirements.

Apply for a Recreational Fire Permit

Fire Department Codes and Ordinances
Here's a list of our Fire Department codes and ordinances:

Fire Department Codes and Ordinances

Home and Neighborhood Safety

Safety within our City's neighborhoods and homes is very important. It impact our overall quality of living.

Here are some tips that'll help our stay City safe.
 
Get to Know Your Neighbors
Get to know your neighbors. Introduce yourself when new residents move in. Not only do you get to create community, you'll also get know who's around you.


Reporting Suspicious Behavior

Suspicious Behavior can include:

  • Loitering
  • Sitting in parked cars
  • Individuals going around asking about your private information

You can report this behavior to 311 or the police department's non-emergency number at 616-456-3400. If you believe the suspicious behavior can turn into an emergency, call 911.

Other Safety Tips
  • All doors and windows to homes, outbuildings and vehicles should be locked. Windows should be locked to prevent easy break-ins and criminal behavior.
  • Use lighting to help secure entrance points (front door, back door, door wall) to your home. Use energy-efficient lighting that is either motion or light sensitive. Turn porch, rear and garage lights on at night to provide visibility.
  • Be mindful of all activity in your neighborhood. Look out your windows on a regular basis. Spend time enjoying the outdoors to deter crime.

Grand Rapids Police Department
The Police Department is here to serve you and keep our community safe.

Visit Police Department Page

Homeownership

Are you a new homeowner? Are you first time homeowner? Have you recently relocated to Grand Rapids? 

If you answered yes to any of these question, congratulations and/or welcome! Learn about the resources available for your new journey.

About Homeownership

Income Tax

Grand Rapids is one of 22 Michigan Cities whose citizens have approved a local city income tax.

There are two types of City taxpayers:
  • Resident taxpayers: taxed on all of their income, regardless of where the income is earned
  • Non-resident taxpayers: taxed on the income earned within Grand Rapids city limits

The Income Tax department is responsible for overseeing the Income Tax ordinance compliance. They work with individuals and employers to provide tax payer service. To do this they:

  • Collect and account for income tax receipts
  • Process income tax returns
  • Refund overpayments
  • Assess tax deficiencies
  • Provide taxpayer service
  • Run collection, compliance, and enforcement programs

Income Tax

This guide help individuals file their income taxes.

Income Tax Guide for Individuals

Need to make a payment or pay the balance of your City individual income tax? Do it online or explore your other options.

 Income Tax Payments

My Neighborhood

Find events, parks, libraries, and schools near you. Find out who your commissioners and mayor are. Lookup the next date your trash and recycling will be picked up.

 My Neighborhood

Parking

Residential Parking Permit (RPP)
Each year we assess how much parking is available in neighborhoods near business districts. Has parking become difficult in your neighborhood? Our Residential Parking Permit (RPP) Program might be right for you. This program puts resident parking first.

Residential Parking Permit

Handicap Parking on Residential Street
Do you need a handicap parking space on your residential street? You can apply for it here.

Apply for Handicap Parking on a Residential Street

Odd/Even and One-Side Parking Map 
We have restricted parking November 1 - April 1. Find out which streets have odd/even or one-side parking restrictions in the map below.

 Seasonal Parking Map

Petition for Winter Parking Restrictions
Do you want to add odd/even or one side winter parking restrictions to your street? You can petition and vote on seasonal parking limitations for your block.

Petition for Winter Parking Restrictions

Public Library

The library is our community’s source of accessible information, resources, and programs. They offer a wide selection of books, movies, music, and eBook downloads for check-out . They have about 200 computers and various research centers. Make sure to check out the classes and other learning opportunities they offer.

 Grand Rapids Public Library

Want to find out where your local library is? Visit our My Neighborhood and enter in your address.

Quality of Life Services

Bicycle License Program
Free bike Licenses are available at all Grand Rapids Fire Stations from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Applicants must bring their bike and fill out a short form to receive a license.

Car Seat Installation and Inspection
Safe Kids of Greater Grand Rapids inspects and installs car seats at the Kalamazoo Avenue Station the fourth Thursday of the month from 12:00-3:30 pm.

Fair Housing
Individuals cannot be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, disability, age or familial or marital status. To report suspected housing discrimination, contact the Fair Housing Center of West Michigan.

Museums

Few cities the size of Grand Rapids can match the depth and breadth of our museum facilities. Downtown alone contains five museums within a few blocks of each other:

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum
Grand Rapids Art Museum
Grand Rapids Children’s Museum
Grand Rapids Public Museum
Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts

Attractions and Restaurants

Grand Rapids is a city on the leading edge of art, culture, dining and nightlife. Visit www.experiencegr.com and www.downtowngr.org for listings of great restaurants, calendars of events, happenings and more!

Sidewalks

Snow or Ice Covered Sidewalk
Having trouble walking through the snow? Residents have 24 hours from the time it stops snowing to clear sidewalks. You can report uncleared sidewalks here.

Report a Snow or Ice Covered Sidewalk

Damaged/ Hazardous Sidewalks
You can also report any damaged or hazardous sidewalks to 311 or (616) 456-3000.

Treasurer's Office

Do you have bills or taxes to pay? The Treasurer's Office manages bill, tax, and City loan payments. We've got you covered with options to pay online, in the mail, over the phone or in person. The process is easy so you can make a payment and move on with your day.

We're here to help you with your payment options for all your bills:

  • Water/Sewer
  • Waste services
  • Parking tickets
  • Income taxes
  • Property taxes
  • Code Compliance invoices

 Treasurer's Office

Trash, Recycling, and Yard Waste

Do you need someone to take care of your trash removal? The City service will take care of all your trash, recycle and yard waste needs.

Request Trash, Recycling, and Yard Waste Services

Need to pay for your trash or yard waste services? Make a payment online through grpayit or explore your other options.

Waste Services Payments

Wondering when your trash and recycling is picked up? You can use our My Neighborhood page to look up your next collection dates.

Lookup Trash and Recycling Pickup Dates

Have you seen illegal dumping or trash in the street? You’re in the right place to report it.

Report Trash in the Street or an Alley

Trees

Would you like the City to plant a tree in a public space in your neighborhood? You can request this here online.

Request a Tree Planting

Looking for ways to spruce up your neighborhood? Learn about how you can take care of your local street trees. 

Caring for Your Street Tree

Water

Our Water System works hard to make sure our residents have high quality water. Clean water protects public health, supports the economy, and protects us from fires. It's easy to forget that water makes up such a big part of our quality of life.

Visit our Water System page. Here you'll find links to services for your home such as:

  • Starting water services
  • Ending water services
  • Pay Water Bills
  • Requesting a water leak credit

Water System

Yard Maintenance

Curbside Yard Waste Collection

Your curbside yard waste collection is the same day as your regular waste collection. Yard waste is collected between early April through mid - December.  We offer several options for curbside collection.  

Yard Waste Cart – The cart is $27.50 to order. Each time you would like your cart emptied, attach a yellow Yard Waste Tag to the cart. Each tag is $6.00.

Yard Waste Paper Bag – You can use a yard waste paper bag for leaves, grass clippings and small twigs. Bags are $2.50 each or come in packs of 5 for $12.50. Items in the yard waste paper bag can't weigh more than 30 pounds.

Yard Waste Bulk Tag – You can use a purple yard waste bulk tag for bundles of larger twigs or branches. You may also attach this tag to a non-city paper yard waste bag.  These tags cost $2.50 each. Bundled branches and twigs shouldn’t be more than 4 feet long or 2 inches in diameter.

You can buy City yard waste cart tags, paper bags, and purple bulk tags at City Hall. You can also buy them at select supermarkets. For a complete list of sellers near you, call 311 or 616-456-3000. 

Yard Waste Materials

Yard Waste includes:

  • Grass clippings
  • Leaves
  • Brush
  • Twigs (less than two inches in diameter)
  • Garden Plants

Yard Waste does not include:

  • Sod
  • Dirt
  • Stones
  • Broken concrete
  • Trees
  • Tree limbs
  • Logs
  • Railroad Tires
  • Stumps
  • Animal feces and dead animals

 

Request Yard Waste Services

Do you have yards waste needs? Click below to request yard waste services:

Request Yard Services

Drop-Off Site

The City of Grand Rapids offers a drop-off site for residential yard waste. You can drop-off leaves, brush, and tree branches at 2001 Butterworth SW. April through mid-December, this site is open Monday through Saturday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m and Winter Hours are Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. This is offered to Grand Rapids residents only, so bring ID for proof of residence. Yard waste must be loose or in a paper bag. Plastic bags are not allowed.

Not sure if your yard waste is eligible for drop off? Call 311 or 616-456-3000 to make sure.

Keep in Mind

We have some expectations that all neighbors should live by. These help with neighborhood safety and cleanliness:

  • No indoor furniture or furnishings (such as sofas) in the yard or on the porch
  • No parking in the front yard
  • Store trash in a rigid container. Make sure the trash is removed from your property every 7 days
  • Keep noise and music to a respectful level (below 25 decibels)
  • Cut grass regularly. It shouldn't get longer than 12 inches in height
  • Shovel sidewalks within 48 hours of snowfall
  • Follow odd/even parking requirements (November 1 - April 1) where the signs are posted