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Court appeal filed over Health Pointe project

Alex Doty • May 5, 2016 at 11:00 AM

GRAND HAVEN TWP. — An appeal has been filed in Ottawa County Circuit Court over Grand Haven Township’s recent approval for the Health Pointe Planned Unit Development.

The two appellants who filed the lawsuit — Mark Reenders and Chester of Michigan LLC — are seeking a reversal of the March 28 Township Board decision. The appeal was filed April 27.

“The appellants are asking the Circuit Court to enforce the existing ordinance, which does not allow for the building and use (planned by) Health Pointe LLC,” explained Jon Bylsma, the attorney for the appellants. “This is an appeal and it’s asking the Circuit Court to overturn the (township) decision.”

The court filing claims the Township Board’s decision was “unlawful and made in violation of the Grand Haven Charter Township Zoning Ordinance; was not based on proper procedures; was not a reasonable exercise of discretion granted by law; and otherwise failed to be supported by competent material and substantial evidence on the record.”

“It’s really early in the process, and we hope to start things as soon as we can,” Bylsma said of the appeal. “It could be a long process.”

According to the claim, the PUD amendment that was sought by Health Pointe is for a medical office, or a medical clinic, as it is a building of more than 100,000 square feet and includes surgical suites, an MRI machine, and extensive treatment and procedure capabilities. And a medical office is not permitted by township ordinance in the commercial business district, near the Meijer store, where Health Pointe is to be built.

“Medical offices and medical clinics are allowed in Grand Haven Township in the service professional district,” Bylsma said. “It’s not a use allowed in the commercial PUD district.”

The appeal also states that the approved PUD allows a 45-foot-tall structure — 10 feet more than the allowed maximum height.

A claim is also made that states the number of parking spaces exceeds the minimum number required in the township’s U.S. 31 Overlay Zone — and, under the rules of the township Zoning Ordinance, sites providing more than the minimum parking required should be considered a special land use. According to the appeal, Health Pointe LLC didn’t seek — and the township didn’t require or grant — a special land use permit.

In response to the appeal, Township Manager Bill Cargo said the township’s Planning Commission and Board of Trustees considered the Health Pointe application matter “very carefully.”

“(They) took their time and received a tremendous amount of information from all parties, and then made a careful and well-documented decision,” Cargo said. “The township intends to vigorously defend the propriety of that decision.”

According to Cargo, the next step of the proceeding is for the township to prepare the record on appeal, which will be filed with the court.

“Once that is done, the time schedule begins for the claimants to file a brief, the township to file a response brief and the Circuit Court to schedule oral arguments,” he said.

Cargo noted that the filing of the appeal doesn’t postpone the Health Pointe project. Its officials have been notified of the appeal and are continuing to proceed with construction, he said.

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