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Sleepy village awakens to exciting days

• Sep 28, 2018 at 3:00 PM

Exciting days lie ahead for the sleepy little village nestled between the Grand River and Spring Lake.

And those days became clearer earlier this week when the Spring Lake Village Planning Commission gave its stamp of approval for Kim Van Kampen’s initial project for the village’s downtown.

Called an Epicurean Village (the name we don’t like so much; let’s hope a better one develops), Van Kampen and her team are planning to build 28,000 square feet of restaurant, retail and residential space on the south side of Savidge Street.

On Tuesday, village planners took less than an hour to approve the site plan and a special use permit for those plans to move on to the next level.

Van Kampen plans to have the project completed within the next two years. She then plans to move on to redeveloping some other downtown Spring Lake properties she’s already purchased. Could there be more in the works?

The public who spoke at Tuesday’s meeting and several planning commissioners were right in questioning the parking plans for the project. It can already be a tight squeeze in that area, and the project will require 25 percent more spaces than the existing and previous uses for that commercial space, village officials say.

Planning Commission Chairman Dave Kaucheck has a legitimate concern that the village would be setting some kind of precedent that, if it provides parking for this project, the next person who opens a business downtown may expect the same.

Then again, the potential size and impact of Van Kampen’s plan is unprecedented for Spring Lake. An out-of-the-box answer to the parking question will likely be needed.

We’re confident that Van Kampen’s team and village officials will work out the concerns to satisfy the requirements while not creating an unsightly sea of asphalt.

This may turn out to be the biggest development in the village’s history, and it’s something badly needed to create energy in a lackluster commercial district that has been called a pass-through for people on their way to Grand Haven and its Lake Michigan beaches.

It won’t be easy to create a lasting buzz for the village, but we’re excited that Van Kampen’s vision for its downtown is humming along.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Matt DeYoung, Mark Brooky, Josh VanDyke and Duncan MacLean. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to [email protected] or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.

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