CITY OF MUSKEGON
October 4, 2018
Chairperson T. Michalski called the meeting to order at 4:00 p.m. and roll was taken.
MEMBERS PRESENT: T. Michalski, B. Mazade, B. Larson, M. Hovey-Wright, S.
Gawron, F. Peterson, J. Doyle, E. Hood
MEMBERS ABSENT: J. Montgomery-Keast, excused
STAFF PRESENT: M. Franzak, H. Mitchell
OTHERS PRESENT: S. Rodarte, 444 Houston; Kandas Nesbitt Rodarte, 444 Houston;
B. Krick, 1762 Jefferson; L. Spataro, 1567 6th; P. Kendra, 256 W
Clay?; H. Sytsema, 1604 Jefferson; D. Kendrick, 314 Monroe;
Case 2018-26: Staff-initiated request to rezone 372, 380, 388, 394, 398, 406, and 414 Houston
Ave; 1246, 1252 and 1258 5th St; and 1148 6th St from R-3, High Density Single Family Residential
to Form Based Code, Urban Residential. Staff is proposing the following rezonings from dense
single-family residential to Form Based Code, Urban Residential. This would allow for more
building types; including rowhouses, duplexes and small multi-plexes (3-6) units. Community
EnCompass would like to build a new four-unit home on the vacant lot at 380 Houston Ave. This
lot previously held a four-unit home before it was destroyed in a fire. Half of this block is already
zoned FBC, UR and hosts several large homes. This block could adequately support larger homes
with the large alley and lots that could support multiple cars parking in the rear. Community
EnCompass also has developed plans to build attached homes on the three lots at 1246-1258 5th
St, which are owned by the City and County. Please see the enclosed sections of the Form Based
Code, including the Urban Residential Context Area and the associated housing types that are
allowed. Please see the enclosed letter of support (for the 1246,1252 and 1258 5th St properties)
from the Nelson Neighborhood Improvement Association. This request was tabled at the August
16 Planning Commission meeting. Staff delivered a presentation at the September 19 Nelson
Neighborhood Improvement Association meeting. Many in attendance were not supportive of
additional attached units in the neighborhood.
An overview of the housing types in Nelson Neighborhood, according to the 2015 Target Marker
Analysis. These are measured by units, not individual buildings. Example: 350 duplex units would
indicate there are 150 duplex structures.
• Renter Occupied: 2,058 (53%)
• Owner Occupied: 1,792 (46.5%)
Housing Units by Total Units in the Structure
• Single Family, detached: 947 (46.7%)
• Duplex: 350 (17.3%)
• 3-4 Units: 204 (10%)
• 5-9 Units: 67 (3.3%)
• 10-19 Units: 18 (0.9%)
• 20-49 Units: 74 (3.6%)
• 50 or more: 314 (15.5%)
Staff recommends approval of the request because it follows the recommendations of all of the
recent planning efforts, including the Master Plan, Imagine Muskegon and the Downtown and
Lakeshore Redevelopment Plan, as noted below. Also, the housing types allowed in the Form
Based Code match what is recommended in the Target Market Analysis. Explanations of how this
request relates to these plans/studies are in red.
1997 Master Land Use Plan
• Zoning regulations associated with the conversion of single-family homes to multiple-
family use should contain standards ensuring that converted dwellings have sufficient on-
site parking, suitable locations for trash receptacles which are customarily stored out of
doors, sufficient yard/play areas, and exterior façade controls.
Form Based Code requires duplexes and small multiplexes to be built to certain standards,
so the chance of converting an existing single-family home to multi-family is extremely
low. Form Based Code will also require all homes to be built on appropriate sized lots (see
the “Size Standards by Housing Type” chart). Form Based Code also has more stringent
design standards, which match the design types of existing homes in the neighborhood.
The code also encourages alley usage for cars and trash receptacles.
• Promote ongoing housing in-fill programs. As part of the in-fill effort, work with area
builders to determine possible joint public/private partnerships for the construction of
Form Based Code allows for a wide selection of unit sizes and price points. It will also
ensure that infill development is built to the scale of the existing neighborhood.
2003 Imagine Muskegon Plan
• Downtown should be designed to accommodate various age groups, socio-economic
backgrounds, and cultural and racial heritage.
The 2015 Target Market Analysis states that a majority of these types of target markets are
looking to locate in attached units, which could be achieved through Form Based Code.
Single-family housing, which limits housing options, is the only legal conforming use is
R-1, R-2 and R-3 districts, which is the majority of Nelson neighborhood.
• A mix of housing opportunities that provide choices to a wide range of people, including
high-quality, affordable apartments, condominiums, cottages, and single-family homes.
Single-family zoning dominates the Nelson Neighborhood. Large apartment buildings are
starting to become popular downtown. However, we have a lack of “missing middle”
housing, which can be achieved through Form Based Code.
2008 Downtown and Lakeshore Redevelopment Plan
• Context sensitive architecture will reflect the character of existing buildings.
• Amend the zoning ordinance to provide standards regulating architecture, site utilization,
landscaping, window coverage, pedestrian amenities, and building form, so new buildings
integrate well with existing structures.
Form Based Code requires stringent design guidelines that were created to fit in with the
existing scale and architecture of the neighborhood.
2015 Target Market Analysis
• By a conservative estimate, Nelson neighborhood could support 110 attached units per
year over the next 5 years. Compared to only 8 to 10 single family homes.
• Almost 70% of the target markets identified are seeking attached units.
We see that there is a demand for attached units, which could be met through Form Based
Code. There are currently only 23 vacant lots in the Nelson neighborhood that would allow
for “missing middle” housing types. See map below.
During the workshops for the creation of the Form Based Code, attendees were asked to prioritize
the following goals. The top two selected relate to the current rezoning request.
1. Facilitating higher density development/adding new residents to the downtown
2. Fostering economic development/building the tax base for the city.
3. Balancing transportation modes/enhancing choices (i.e. walk, bike, transit,
4. Providing access to businesses, community attractions, and schools
5. Supporting transit ridership through available parking (park n’ ride)
6. Providing ample and affordable parking
A motion that the request to rezone 372, 380, 388, 394, 398, 406, and 414 Houston Ave; 1246,
1252 and 1258 5th St; and 1148 6th St from R-3, High Density Single Family Residential to Form
Based Code, Urban Residential be recommended to the City Commission for approval was made
by M. Hovey-Wright, supported by E. Hood and approved with J. Doyle, B. Mazade, M. Hovey-
Wright, E. Hood, F. Peterson, S. Gawron and T. Michalski voting aye and B. Larson voting nay.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 5:47 p.m.