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To clarify misconceptions

Mark Brooky • Oct 27, 2015 at 1:00 PM

First, the village’s zoning/streets administrator has the authority to issue driveway permits under our Zoning Ordinance. This is common practice not only in the village, but in neighboring jurisdictions and throughout the state. 

The Wesleyan church applied for, and received, a conditional driveway permit (to include a nonmotorized pathway) prior to their purchase of the Fruitport Road property. If any citizen disagrees with an administrative zoning decision, he or she has the right to appeal that decision to the Zoning Board of Appeals, in accordance with the village’s Zoning Ordinance. Instead, several citizens chose to file a lawsuit in Circuit Court to stop the driveway. In his decision, (Ottawa County) Circuit Judge Hulsing dismissed the lawsuit and ruled that the plaintiffs should have filed an appeal of the zoning administrator’s decision with the Zoning Board of Appeals. A copy of the ruling is posted on the village’s website for review. 

Second, although council was aware of the desire of the church to have driveway (and adjacent bike path) access, it did not have the authority to approve or overrule an administrative decision regarding such a permit application (which must be acted upon by the ZBA).

Finally, Village Council understands the staff’s authority to issue permits within the village under its Zoning Ordinance. I will also defend staff’s decision to maintain a proposed property owner’s confidentiality until such time as a sale is closed, as that is standard practice for any development within the village.

It is indeed unfortunate that this controversy continues to fester, based upon misinformation and a misunderstanding of the applicable law. As Judge Hulsing ruled in dismissing the neighbors’ case, their remedy is with the ZBA. 

Jim MacLachlan

Spring Lake Village president

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