Planners say no to Grand Landing plan

City planners got another chance to review plans by Red Star Shores LLC for more development of the Grand Landing site, and it ended with the same result.
Alex Doty
Dec 11, 2013

The Grand Haven Planning Commission voted 7-2 Tuesday to deny recommendation of a planned development to bring 168 apartments, a hotel and stores to the north-end site. The installation of a kayak launch and riverside pathway are also part of the plan.

Commissioners Bob Huff and Bill Ellingboe voted against the denial.

Huff noted that there is a lot more that could be done if the site wasn’t a redeveloped brownfield site.

“Even if it is an apartment complex, it is 100 percent better than what was there,” he said.

Ellingboe said, “I’ve been, for the most part, in favor of this even when it was denied. I think it is a good project and I want to see it move forward.”

Commission Chairman Cecil Bradshaw was critical of the development.

“The current concept is an apartment complex, and it creates a pretty mundane entrance to the City of Grand Haven,” he said. “In the end, I think we’ve got to feel comfortable in our approval and what we want to vote for.”

Bradshaw said the original plan — which featured a mix of uses such as townhomes, condos, hotels, restaurants and waterfront amenities — had a better community impact.

“The original planned development was exciting and had a ‘wow’ factor to it,” he said. “I felt it would create a beautiful entrance to the city.”

Commissioner Erin Von Tom was also critical of the plan.

“There was a sense of vibrancy in the original development that I am not seeing here,” she said. “This could be anywhere.”

Von Tom said the original proposal had a “destination feel.”

“We could do anything with the planned development, and what we’re getting is 'cookie cutter USA,'” she said. “We have one chance to get this right, and I think we could do better.”

City Community Development Manager Jennifer Howland said the plan would be sent to City Council for consideration at a future meeting. Council could accept the Planning Commission’s decision or reverse it with a "supermajority" vote, she said.



I'd personally like to see one or two gentelmen's clubs put in this area. Having to travel to Muskegon or Grand Rapids to throws some dollar bills at people can be a real burden when the weather is like this.


How about another church? There isn't a church for a half a block in any direction.


Man, you must be having an apoplectic fit now that they've named the new pope Man of the Year!


Why does it have to be developed? It is a large piece of land that I think should be a maintained greenway with some benches, pavilions, Kayak/Canoe launch, and grills. Clean up the section of the river, create a nice path along the tracks to connect with the Waterfront, over the river, and around to connect with Spring Lake Path. There really is no "safe" way from S.L/Ferrrysburg to the Waterfront right now without crossing 31. Quit thinking "Development", think Improvement.


I agree. I have a special hatred for the Jackson/Beacon intersection on bike. I would like to see more routes into town.


It is dangerous as He!!, You have to cross Jackson to cross Beacon. West bound cars on Jackson are watching their left as they are driving over the crosswalk without looking for Pedestrians on the right. Then to cross Beacon is six lanes with unpredictable light timing. I can't believe there are not more people hit.
Why is it so difficult to run a path under the bridge and around to the west side like the path connecting to Ferrysburg? Someone please slap some sense into the planning commission.


US Bike Route 35 actually heads south over the drawbridge, and loops around under it and onto harbor island, so there is one safer way into town, but we definitely need more than one safe way in.

I usually follow USBR35 (except for that night I was run over at Jackson/31), but in the evening and mornings, Harbor Island is just solid bugs and deer.

Here is a map of USBR35. Several signs have finally been popping up in the area designating the route.


It is technically a bike route, yes, but not a safe one. I used to fish down there and the number of cars that I have seen sliding, cutting the corners, and not paying attention is ridiculous and there is no shoulder or safe area for the smaller ones riding or walking. It needs, in my opinion, to be a paved path, off the roadside. My family would use it.


I totally agree with you on that. I'm generally not too enthused about the 'bike paths' in heavily residential areas as the driveways pose a problem safety-wise (cyclists have no right of way on one), but in this area we are talking about, and on Harbor Island it is ideal. I'm all for having a path on the west side of 31 through those areas.


Hear hear

Michael Johnson

I sure am glad they avoided the cookie cutter USA approach so far...the incredibly creative additions of Culver's, Jimmy John's, and a Bigby's Coffee right across the street from Starbucks, Walgreens, and Home Depot really shriek "Unique!" in the faces of all those tourists stuck on 31 due to our poorly timed street-light system.


Spot on.


We have too many bike paths that cyclist don’t use. A resort/hotel/conference area/casino would be nice. At least I could spend my money and have fun in my community then somewhere like Traverse City or Manistee.


Funny joke!


Yeah, let's have the gateway to Grand Haven be a 168 unit low-income subsidized housing unit. Anyone hear about how the Township got snookered on Grand Haven Club apartments on Lake Shore Drive? It was promised to be high-end condos and now it's a trailer park. Maybe we would call the North Side project Cabrini Grand? Great job to those who voted NO!


This is the "planning commission"...are you kidding me? Zero credibility, This development has been a train wreck from the onset. Need to clean house...

Say no to new taxes

It was the right decision, let's hope the Council also turns it down. Watchingyou has the right idea, turn it into a green space, the proposed apartments were a bad idea from the start.


'nother vote for "green space" here..


I think that should be the Trib's next Vote Topic. What would the People like to see for the Grand Landing Project? Not that I feel it matters at all what we think to the council, but hey if anything it would be fun to see how everyone is thinking.

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