CITY OF MUSKEGON
DATE OF MEETING: Thursday, September 14, 2023 at 4 pm
PLACE OF MEETING: Commission Chambers, First Floor, Muskegon City Hall
I. Roll Call
II. Approval of minutes from the meeting of August 31, 2023.
III. Old Business
IV. Public Hearings
A. Hearing, Case 2023-23: Staff-initiated request to rezone all of the properties zoned R-1, R-2, R-3,
and RT in the McLaughlin, Angell, and Jackson Hill neighborhoods to FBC-UR.
B. Hearing, Case 2023-24: Request for a special use permit for a drive-thru window at the Subway
located at 1848 E Sherman Blvd.
V. New Business
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being considered at the meeting, to individuals with disabilities who want to attend the meeting with twenty-four (24) hours’ notice to the City of Muskegon.
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September 14, 2023
Hearing, Case 2023-24: Request for a special use permit for a drive-thru window at the Subway located at
1848 E Sherman Blvd.
1. The property is zoned B-4, General Business. The Subway restaurant is located in the southern most
suite in the strip mall development, closest to Sherman Blvd.
2. Subway has requested a special use permit to allow a drive thru window. The existing entrance would
be moved and a new drive lane would be added in front of the restaurant on the south side, which is
currently grass. Customers would enter through the existing parking lot and drive east towards the
drive through window, then turn right and exit out the curb cut on the southeast corner of the
property. Two parking spaces would be removed to make room for the new drive isle.
3. Please see the enclosed site plan.
4. Notice was sent to every property within 300 feet of this location. At the time of this writing, staff
had not received any comments from the public.
1848 E Sherman Blvd.
Zoning ordinance excerpt:
Section 2332: Special Land Uses and Planned Unit Developments
5. Standards for Approval of Discretionary Uses
Prior to authorization of any Special Land Use, the Planning Commission shall give due regard to the nature
of all adjacent uses and structures. It shall determine the consistency with the adjacent use and development.
In addition, the Planning Commission shall find that the proposed use or activity would not be offensive, or a
nuisance, by reason of increased traffic, noise, vibration, or light. Further, the Planning Commission shall
find that adequate water and sewer infrastructure exists or will be constructed to service the Special Land
Use or activity.
STATEMENT OF CONCLUSIONS
“The decision on a Special Land Use or activity shall be incorporated in a statement of conclusions and be
placed on file with the Department of Planning.”
Staff finds that the proposed use will be a nuisance, by reason of increased traffic with inadequate
maneuvering lanes for vehicles, caused by the special land use.
Staff recommends denial of the drive thru window based on the finding of facts pertaining to the standards
for approval of discretionary uses. There is not enough room to stack cars that will be waiting in the drive-
thru lane. Cars entering the development from the curb cut on Sherman Blvd will be blocked by cars waiting
in the drive-thru lane. Additionally, if cars we to stack in an “L” shape, wrapping around the building, cars
parked in front of some of the business suites would be trapped and be prevented from leaving.
The following proposed motion is offered for consideration:
I move that the request for a special use permit for a drive-thru window at 1848 E Sherman Blvd be denied
with the following conditions based on the finding of facts pertaining to the standards for approval of
Hearing, Case 2023-23: Staff-initiated request to rezone all of the properties zoned R-1, R-2, R-3, and RT in
the McLaughlin, Angell, and Jackson Hill neighborhoods to FBC-UR.
1. The majority of properties in the McLaughlin, Angell, and Jackson Hill neighborhoods are zoned for
single-family residential houses. However, this does not match the reality of the neighborhoods, as
each of these neighborhoods have a large variety of missing middle houses (see maps on following
pages). A downzoning effort in the 1990’s amended the zoning to only allow for single-family
houses. This made the existing missing middle houses legally non-conforming (grandfathered).
Legally con-conforming houses face challenges with financing from banks, which leads to
disinvestment, as property owners may be prevented from accessing capital to update their houses. It
also makes it difficult for new buyers to secure financing to purchase the property.
2. Much of the downzoning effort was attributed to the dissatisfaction with neighbors regarding over-
crowding and blight associated with these types of houses. Many of the homes were originally
constructed as single-family houses and later converted to multi-family houses, with little regulations
in place. This led to multiple units being located on small lots, leading to overcrowding issues that
lead to parking, storage and general blight concerns. The form based code, urban residential context
area has taken these issues into account and does not allow the conversion of single-family houses to
multi-family units and newly constructed houses are required to meet certain property regulations that
3. The recent housing needs assessment conducted for the City of Muskegon by Bowen National
Research has indicated that the City of Muskegon needs to develop nearly 3,000 housing units over
the next five years to keep up with demand and stabilize pricing. This large number of additional
units cannot be met by building only single-family houses within our neighborhoods. The City has
lost hundreds of housing units over the past couple decades through disinvestment and demolition.
Many of these demolished homes were missing middle types. Once they are demolished, they can
only be rebuilt as single-family houses, which forces residents out of their neighborhoods, reduces the
housing stock, and ultimately drives up the cost of housing; which will most likely lead to
gentrification. An increase in housing stock, which serves to keep housing prices stabilized, helps to
4. Over the past couple of years, the most notable concern that has been brought forward by those
opposing missing middle housing is gentrification. However, there has also been discussions on how
the addition of any new housing could lead to gentrification. Adding any new housing to a
neighborhood has the potential for gentrification, because new residents will be added to the
neighborhood, and concerns over a new identity for the area may arise. These are valid concerns for
neighbors. However, these concerns are true whether the new housing is single-family or missing
middle. When new housing is introduced to a neighborhood, missing middle housing actually helps
fight gentrification by providing additional living options for different sized families. Houses
containing multiple-units are cheaper to build than multiple single-family houses. Keeping rents
stabilized is the best thing the City can do to reduce gentrification while constructing new housing.
Only allowing single-family houses drives up housing costs and ultimately prices residents out of
5. Please click here to view a short article from the White House’s website that discusses the
discriminatory origins of single-family zoning.
6. Notice of the rezoning request was sent to every property in the Jackson Hill, McLaughlin and Angell
neighborhoods that are zoned R-1, R-2, R-3 and RT. Notice was also given to each of these
neighborhood associations. At the time of this writing, staff had not received any comments from the
public. Please click here to view the form based code document on the City’s website.
We know from the rental maps that these neighborhoods are already made up of missing
middle housing types.
Form Based Code only allows duplexes/small multiplexes on appropriate lot sizes. Note required lot widths.
So you end up with this
4-unit house (left) on an appropriately sized lot with alley access next to vacant lot and a single-family house (right).
3-unit house (below left) on a lot that is too small and without alley access, with parking in the yard. 4-unit house
(below right) with no alley access, using a vacant lot for parking/storage.
Housing Needs Assessment
Please click here to view the Housing Needs Assessment for the City of Muskegon, conducted by Bowen National
Housing Needs Assessment excerpt:
The following proposed motion is offered for consideration:
I move that the request to rezone all of the properties zoned R-1, R-2, R-3, and RT in the McLaughlin,
Angell, and Jackson Hill neighborhoods to FBC-UR be recommended to the City Commission for approval.