Parking agreement reached for new development

Alex Doty • May 3, 2017 at 12:00 PM

Grand Haven City Council has helped the owner of a Centertown restaurant clear one hurdle for a new building planned for the former Harbourfront Hobbies & Crafts site.

On Monday, City Council unanimously approved a parking exemption request for a planned two-story development that would be located at 707 Washington Ave., adjacent to Morningstar Cafe. The property is owned by Morningstar Cafe owner Lisa Passinault.

The former hobby shop was demolished in January to make way for the new development.

City Manager Pat McGinnis said the city’s Zoning Ordinance states that City Council can waive the parking requirements for property in an area where a parking lot was specially assessed.

“We built those parking lots with these people’s money,” McGinnis said. “In essence, they did help us pay for that parking lot that's right behind them.”

City officials note that the property is located in the Centertown Overlay District of the city’s Neighborhood Mixed Use zoning district. The district was created to fulfill the Grand Haven Main Street program’s desire to allow for increased density in Centertown.

The overlay district allows for 100 percent lot coverage, but projects aren’t automatically exempt from providing parking space.

Now that council has granted the exemption, the project can be brought before the city’s Planning Commission for review. It will be on the commission’s May 9 agenda, said Community Development Manager Jennifer Howland.

“As part of the Planning Commission approval, they will say, ‘Do they have enough off-street parking?’” McGinnis said. “And Jennifer will be able to say ‘yes, on May 1, City Council waived those parking restrictions, consistent with the ordinance.’”

The proposed development would include 1,450 square feet of retail space on the ground floor and two residential units on the second floor. Four parking spaces would be provided behind the building for the residential units.

Passinault said they look forward to proceeding with the new development.

“We’re definitely anxious to start construction,” she said.

The new space will allow for more “back of the house” room at the Morningstar, including additional kitchen and storage space, in addition to the retail space and condo units, Passinault said.

“It’ll be nice to add another place to come to Centertown for,” she said.

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