High school exit driveway plan approved by township

Alex Doty • May 15, 2018 at 8:00 AM

The Grand Haven Township Board has given Village at Rosy Mound developers the go-ahead to build a new driveway that would allow traffic to exit Grand Haven High School following big events.

The Township Board voted 6-0 to approve the planned unit development amendment, with Township Supervisor Mark Reenders recusing himself from voting due to ties to the Village at Rosy Mound development.

The request paves the way for a new driveway that will provide access from Grand Haven High School to Rosy Mound Drive.

“The private drive is something that’s been looked at for a long time with the school district,” Township Manager Bill Cargo said. “When the school was being built, they wanted to have an exit to the north. This now provides them the opportunity to do that.”

The occasional-use, exit-only driveway would be 3,025 feet long and 14 feet wide. The gated drive would also allow only right turns onto Rosy Mound Drive when in use following major events at the high school.

Only about 600 feet of the new road would cross the Village at Rosy Mound property. The remainder is on land owned by Grand Haven Area Public Schools. 

The proposed driveway addition wasn’t without opposition from the public.

Township resident William Green said he initially opposed the original planned unit development application for the Village at Rosy Mound project, and he also opposes the latest proposal to add the exit driveway for the high school. Green also spoke out against the plan during a public hearing hosted by the Township Board on April 23.

“I think it adds insult to injury to pave one more acre of this land,” he said.

Green noted that, in addition to concerns about environmental impacts, he was concerned about the “slippery slope” effect of the road being used more than on a limited, special event basis.

In response to this concern, Cargo noted that since the road is only one lane and 14 feet wide, it limits its ability to be used full time as a road in and out of the school.

Although the Township Board has approved the plan, developers still need to receive approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. A large, regulated wetland is located between the high school and the Village at Rosy Mound. While the the proposed design is intended to impact the wetland as little as possible, the overall impact is large enough that the EPA needs to issue a permit before work begins.

Township officials say the driveway’s 14-foot width, as well as the close proximity to the railroad track, should minimize the impact on the wetland.

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