By Jim Hayden
A controversial ordinance proposal that originally forbid single-family homes along portions of Water Street in Saugatuck is again heading back for revisions.
City Council Monday, April 22 sent the proposal back to the planning commission for a second time, suggesting the group look at planned unit development options.
“It gives so much more flexibility,” said councilman Mark Bekken.
Work on the ordinance change began in 2014 over concerns that private residences, if allowed, would block the public’s view of Kalamazoo River. The proposal came before council in December when angry residents said the changes reduced the value of their property. Council sent the proposed ordinance back to planners for more work.
The area, called the C-2 Water Street South Zone, is on the west side of Water Street from Francis to Culver streets at Coghlin Park. The original changes forbid single- and multi-family residences, including second- and third-floor apartments, as well as residential condominiums. Home occupations and short-term rentals on upper floors would have been forbidden.
The revised proposal returned to council Monday still forbid first-story residential but allowed second- and third-floor apartments, home occupations and short-term rentals on upper floors.
A planned unit development that allows grouping different land uses together is not permitted in the zone because none of the parcels is 3 acres or more, but council members suggested planners look at changing that rule.
The PUD gives the city a broad range of options when working with a developer that could benefit the city, said Bekken.
The commission had not considered allowing a PUD in the zone, said councilman and planning liaison Bill Hess.
“It’s worth a shot,” said councilwoman Jane Verplank, noting the planning commission struggled with the ordinance. “Maybe a PUD is the answer.”