Van Kampen's project reviewed tonight

Marie Havenga • Sep 25, 2018 at 9:00 AM

The Spring Lake Planning Commission will get its first look tonight at the Epicurean Village that local investor/developer Kim Van Kampen envisions for the village’s core downtown area.

The public hearing for the project that includes several buildings west of Village Hall is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at Barber School, 102 W. Exchange St.

Van Kampen plans to maintain the facade of the building immediately west of Village Hall, which most recently housed a consignment shop and, prior to that, the Renegade River store. That building will become a two-story restaurant with rooftop dining.

The next two buildings to the west, including the former Phoenix Deli Cafe/Braak's Bakery building, will be torn down. Van Kampen will rebuild more modern-looking structures that will likely house a cafe and retail store, with condominiums above.

Because of proposed residential use on the second floor, the project will require a special use permit from the village’s Planning Commission.

There are some other minor issues that the commission and Village Council will need to resolve before the project is a go, according to Village Planner Jennifer Howland.

“They were proposing some vertical siding on some of the walls, and that is not permitted,” she said. “They'll have to pick a different material, which I don't expect to be a big deal.”

Maintaining the facade of the building immediately west of the Village Hall will mean the second floor won't have as many windows that are required by the village’s Zoning Ordinance.

“They're trying to salvage the facade at 106 E. Savidge, but the second floor doesn't meet the transparency requirement,” Howland said. “They're trying to salvage something that is considered somewhat historical.”

There's also a 3-foot gap between Village Hall and the building at 106 E. Savidge. The village owns 1.5 feet of that land and Van Kampen has the other half. Howland said village officials are working with Van Kampen to do a lot line adjustment so the developer can fill the gap with building space.

“That property is difficult to assess,” Howland said. “That would be a Village Council decision.”

The project also includes balconies and awnings that extend beyond the property line on the front and west side. Howland said the developer will need the blessing of the Michigan Department of Transportation to overhang the sidewalk and Village Council’s approval to overhang the vacant lot/pocket park west of the building that most recently housed the Phoenix Deli Cafe.

Howland said parking is also another negotiable point between Van Kampen and the village. The village owns the parking lot behind Van Kampen's buildings.

The former uses of the buildings required 74 parking spaces, all provided in the public parking area, according to Howland. Van Kampen's plans require 98 spaces.

“Village Council has to consider a joint parking plan,” Howland explained. “I think it's helpful that the village owns the vacant lot where the Township Hall used to be. I think that could be helpful for an overflow parking area. Nothing has been determined, but there could be an element of parking in that area. That's something they would have to negotiate with the applicant.”

Should the Planning Commission approve the site plans tonight, Howland said it will include a condition that Village Council approves a parking plan.

Howland said she's impressed with the project.

“I think the character of the building is in line with our Zoning Ordinance standards,” she said. “I think it's helpful to have residential uses downtown to help support the businesses that operate there. If you're right upstairs or right down the block, it's easier to be a customer. If they work through these issues and Village Council is supportive of the things they have the authority to approve, I think it could be very successful.”

Howland, who also works for the City of Grand Haven, said the project has the potential to spur other development in the area.

“When someone invests that kind of money and effort, sometimes it has a snowball effect,” she said. “But we can't predict that. You can't make a decision to approve this with the expectation that other things will follow. It needs to stand on its own merit.”

Van Kampen has spent more than $3 million on property acquisition. She has also purchased the former Citgo gas station, Bilz Pool and Spas building, and the Haight Building in the village. Those buildings are expected to be redeveloped and/or repurposed after the Epicurean Village development is completed.

Van Kampen hopes to complete the project in 2020.

To view project drawings and floor plans, visit www.epicureanvillage.com.

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