On a 6-0 vote, the Township Board supported Township Supervisor John Nash's appointment of Amy VanDyke, who co-owns a summer cottage in Cole's Park with her parents. Trustee Judith Miljan was absent from the meeting.
VanDyke, 40, is a business, estate planning and energy law attorney with the Grand Rapids-based firm Mika Meyers, Beckett and Jones. She lives in a Grand Rapids suburb.
Township Manager Gordon Gallagher confirmed that state law allows for the appointment of up to one non-electorate on a planning commission.
“It's not as unusual as it might sound,” Gallagher said. “Oftentimes planning commissions look for somebody with particular expertise. I think she will be a good addition to the Planning Commission. I think her knowledge of the area is good. I see a lot of positives to bringing her onboard.”
Gallagher said that it appears the economy is beginning to turn around, and he anticipates development to heat up in the township.
In 2006 and 2007, there were more than 100 single-family home starts in the township. By 2009, that number plunged by 90 percent.
“We are seeing a shift back toward development, which I think is great news,” Gallagher said. “For this year, I think we're up to around 15 or 18 home starts. We feel like we're turning that corner and the Planning Commission plays a crucial role in that effort.”
VanDyke will replace Matt Phares, who resigned from the seven-member commission because he is moving out of the community.
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