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Heath Pointe progresses

Alex Doty • May 11, 2016 at 8:00 AM

GRAND HAVEN TWP. — Grand Haven Township officials have missed the cutoff time to place a zoning referendum on the August ballot, and say they’re still counting signatures on a petition drive aimed at reversing a zoning decision made earlier this year.

“They have 35 days to review and approve the signatures,” Township Manager Bill Cargo said. “That will be sometime in mid-May.”

Township officials say the petitions were received by the township on April 15 from a group that wants to overturn recent amendments to the local zoning ordinance that regulates commercial planned unit developments and PUDs in the Robbins Road Sub-Area. The group circulated the petitions in the community earlier this year.

Cargo noted that because of the Grand Haven Area Public Schools election earlier this month, township staff has only reviewed about one-quarter of the petitions. This means the review process wasn’t finished in time for the Township Board meeting on Monday night, when the board needed to approve and submit ballot language to the county for the Aug. 2 ballot.

The Zoning Ordinance amendments in question were approved by the Township Board on March 14. They include changes to the following sections:

— Base regulations: applicable to all township PUDs.

— Permitted uses: applicable only to commercial PUDs.

— Special land uses: applicable only to commercial PUDs.

— Structure height: applicable only to commercial PUDs located within the Robbins Road Sub-Area boundaries, which also includes a map of the sub-area.

The petition process is allowed under the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act.

If there are enough valid petition signatures, the referendum will be placed on the Nov. 8 general election ballot.

“That will be the first available ballot,” Cargo said.

Ottawa County Elections Coordinator Steve Daitch said ballot proposals must be adopted and submitted to the county no later than Aug. 16 to make it on the November ballot.

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