Fire barn plan draws reaction

When Spring Lake Township Manager Gordon Gallagher unveiled preliminary plans Wednesday for a new fire barn and possible township hall, it didn't take a fire hose to dampen the enthusiasm of the Spring Lake Village Planning Commission.
Marie Havenga
Mar 9, 2013


The planning commissioners expressed concerns about noise, traffic and congestion at the proposed 2-acre village site that stretches from Fruitport Road east to the Burger King restaurant. They also voiced concerns about the number of parking spaces presented in preliminary sketches if a township hall were to be part of the plans.

Several commissioners suggested other locations may be more desirable for the municipal building than the northeast corner of Fruitport Road and M-104.

However, Gallagher said the township considers the site centrally located and an ideal location to consolidate the current fire houses on 148th Avenue and at 106 S. Buchanan St. in the village.

The current fire barn on 174th Avenue on the west side of the township would remain.

The township purchased the two parcels last summer for $390,000. But that purchase is part of the rub. Village Council members and planning commissioners expressed frustration last summer that township officials did not consult with them before acquiring the property.

The land is currently zoned for residential use. In order for the township to use it for a fire barn, it would have to be rezoned for municipal use.

“I'm really disappointed the township didn't approach the Planning Commission before actually purchasing the property,” Planning Commission Chairwoman Christine Miller said to township officials Wednesday night. “I think it would have been really nice to hear from you guys ahead of time instead of hearing rumors.”

Miller also expressed reservations about summer traffic on M-104 and the feasibility of emergency vehicles pulling onto such a busy road.

Gallagher said he has not yet requested permission from the Michigan Department of Transportation for a curb cut on M-104, since he wanted to make sure village officials were on board with the site's intended use.

Gallagher said if the village shoots down the plan, the township would resell the property.

To read more of this story, see Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.



I wish the township would be more transparent with their government partners. The township / village relationship is an unusual one (compared to most city / township relationships). The overlapping boundaries in this type of situation requires trust and transparency . . . and obviously that is lacking here.


What ever happen to the two governmental units becoming one. I thought Lansing had changed those rules for this to become one unit. If the Village does not want the new fire barn in the village, then let village contract for fire services elsewhere. The two units have never been able to play well with each other in the sand box. So how do we think that combine public safety will work with all three of these communities. The answer is county wide public safety services. They have NO boundaries and one boss...


I live in the village and albeit for only the past 7 years, but I fail to see the value of the separate government. As for the benefits or lack there of, my roads get plowed around 10:00 AM when we get snow (village is not that big), they pick up some leaves, have an appliances/junk pickup once a year. Thought they were responsible for taking care of the sidewalks and roads, but my sidewalks are pretty much gravel. The fact they can't keep up with sidewalk repair and half the village doesn't have sidewalks is concerning. There is little crime, of course they will say that is due to the police force, not so sure about that. From what I've noticed of the village the neighbors do plenty of policing of there own. Don't get me wrong the village is a very pleasant place to live! Just not sure that any of it has to do with having a separate governmental entity. I pay roughly $1,000 dollars a year in village tax. I dare say I could sub contract out these services for much less. I am only one taxpayer. PS:: Where is all the money going?


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