ZEELAND — After a particularly engaged public comment process, the Zeeland Planning Commission has agreed to study the allowance of accessory dwelling units in R-1 districts as a potential housing stock solution.
According to meeting minutes from September, Brandan Issacs, a resident on Cherry Avenue, explained he'd asked Community Development Director Timothy Maday if he could rezone his single-family home from R-1 to R-2 — allowing him to host an additional dwelling unit he could then rent out.
Maday said the R-1 designation in Zeeland doesn't allow for ADUs, and the home in question didn't meet frontage and area requirements for rezoning. He added most R-1 properties wouldn't meet those requirements, and said the commission hasn't considered allowing ADUs in single-family homes.
While there are some R-1 zoned properties with rental units on-site, they're considered legally nonconforming, and would be unable to reconstruct if the home were destroyed.
Issacs explained he'd like to remodel his basement into a studio apartment for himself and his family, and use the main level of his home as a rental unit. Maday said the cities of Holland and Grand Haven allow such units.
After several questions from commissioners, city attorney Jim Donkersloot said the commission may decide to study ADUs, if they wish. He noted residents aren't always supportive of ADUs and typically, small units don't provide enough space for families.
Commissioner Amanda Cooper said she supports a study, since many professionals can't afford a house in Zeeland and ADUs could help. She also said an owner living on-site could be different than an R-2 use. Commissioner Rebecca Perkins said owners would likely be more conscientious, since they live on-site.
Commissioner Dan Klompmaker said there are more manufacturing jobs than residents in Zeeland, with more coming down the pipeline. He said the redevelopment projects at 120 E. Main Ave. and 349 E. Main Ave. — plus a vibrant downtown — help, and the city needs creative ways to provide more housing.
Maday agreed to contact planning consultant Paul LeBlanc about the study, which will define ADUs and outline the approval and regulation process.
Katelin Post, another local resident, said she's convinced friends to move to Zeeland before and believes, if she were allowed to rent a unit in her home to another family, they, too, would fall in love with Zeeland.
Maday warned the process could be long. An update on progress is expected during the commission's meeting Thursday, Oct. 6, in addition to progress on a potential change to the city's pet ordinance to allow "food-producing" pets like bees and chickens.
— Contact reporter Cassandra Lybrink at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @CassLybrink.
This article originally appeared on The Holland Sentinel: Public comments move Zeeland to study ADUs as potential housing option