The Planning Commission is considering rezoning four industrial properties to commercial. They are at 510 Liberty St., 710 Liberty St., the southeast corner of School and Exchange streets, and the southwest corner of Cutler and Exchange streets.
“The long-term vision of the village would not have industrial uses,” Village Planner Jennifer Howland said.
Howland noted that all of the properties under consideration are adjacent to land zoned central business district, so the potential rezoning could not be construed as “spot zoning.”
A craft brewery is likely on tap for one of the industrial parcels on Liberty.
The husband/wife team of Luke Finchem and Kelly Rozema Finchem haven't finalized a location yet for Dutch Girl Brewery, but said it will likely be in an industrial space off Liberty on the north side of Savidge Street. Commissioners indicated it is slated for 510 Liberty St.
The brewery is expected to open next summer and bring with it 3 to 5 jobs, with a top end of 20 employees when the hops are fully hopping.
Planning Commissioner Chip Bohnhoff said he's 100 percent in favor of transitioning industrial to commercial.
“Industrial is dead, plain and simple,” he said. “We need small businesses to create jobs, not a factory. I think it should be changed.”
Long-time commissioner and council member Scott VanStrate spoke against axing industrial.
“I don't ever want to change the zoning over there,” he said. “There are empty (commercial) buildings all over. We don't need more. If the (industrial) owners knew we were even having this discussion, they'd be madder than wet hens at us.”
Howland said the master plan calls for a “town neighbor center” but it is not spelled out as to what that designation entails. In previous master plan discussions a decade ago, Planning Commission members said they wanted to see residential uses above commercial and retail buildings to promote a “walkable” community.
If the Planning Commission proceeds with rezoning, Howland said existing industrial businesses would become “non-conforming uses,” and they would not be permitted to expand.
To read more of this story, see Tuesday's print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.