Township led county in 2018 population growth

Alexander Sinn • Jun 11, 2019 at 12:00 PM

GRAND HAVEN TWP. — In the fastest-growing county in Michigan, Grand Haven Township led the pack last year.

The U.S. Census Bureau population estimates for 2018 showed the township grew the most in Ottawa County over the past year, with about a 3.9 percent increase. The township's population is estimated to have reached 17,384 residents.

Ottawa County has led the state in growth during the past decade, and ranks eighth among Michigan's counties in total population.

From 2010 to 2018, Grand Haven Township had the fourth-highest growth rate in the county at 15.6 percent.

The township is also the largest community geographically in Northwest Ottawa County, with more than 28 square miles. Its tax base is also largest with a state equalized value of more than $1 billion.

Township officials said the growth is largely in single-family homes, apartments and, most recently, senior housing. Officials said the growth is an indicator of good quality of life: proximity to natural resources and parks, employment, quality schools, low crime, and access to health care.

Township Community Development Director Stacey Fedewa said the growth in population means the municipality must stay ahead of the curve with development. New apartments and condos are currently in development and under construction in the township.

“Grand Haven Township has been doing a good job of directing growth and development to appropriate areas,” Fedewa said. “That will continue to be a key aspect for planning.”

The township and the adjacent City of Grand Haven are both working toward providing more housing choices to allow for people who work in the community to afford to live there, as well.

The township is drafting a Missing Middle Housing Overlay Zone, which allows for residents to convert units to short-term rentals with a lower rent price, Fedewa said. The zone is supported by regional nonprofit Housing Next.

“The goal of the zone is to provide a rental unit with a monthly cost that can be supported by a typical wage,” Fedewa said.

From 2010 to 2018, the City of Grand Haven’s population grew 6.3 percent, while the Village of Spring Lake grew 7.3 percent and Spring Lake Township rose 4.7 percent. Ferrysburg grew at a rate of 3.9 percent.

All townships, cities and villages in Ottawa County continued growth in 2018. Allendale Township saw the largest growth since 2010, at a rate of 28.9 percent.

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