March 20, 2018 City Meeting
Updated: Apr 3, 2018
EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The East Grand Rapids Planning Commission on Tuesday tabled a vote on Spectrum Health's pl
an to build two parking ramps at Blodgett Hospital.
That means a decision on the $30 million project won't be made for at least another three weeks.
Spectrum recently revised its plan for the parking structures at either end of the hospital campus along Plymouth Avenue between Wealthy and Sherman streets, removing a level from the south ramp to make it four rather than five stories.
"The previous height ... is 38 feet," Spectrum Senior F
acilities Vice President Rick Redetzke showed planning commissioners at their Tuesday meeting. "The new ramp is 22 foot at that location, therefore 16 foot lower."
The revisions were made in response to concerns by neighbors, who told 24 Hour News 8 late last month they're unhappy about the impact the structures would have on the view from their front doors. They're also worried the developments would negatively affect their property values.
"We've also added … a four-foot high retaining wall," Redetzke said. "One of those reasons we're doing that is to help provide additional breakup to the even lower 22-foot height."
The revised plan also includes making the north parking structure more similar in design to the hospital, more beautification features near both structures and decreased lighting on their top floors.
>>PDF: Plan revisions
A city consultant recommended approving the $30 million proposal.
But neighbors say Spectrum's revisions aren't good enough.
"We appreciate the fact that they listened to us, they've taken time they've taken our input," neighbor David Brown said. "They made some changes — in their words, they're significant; in our words, they're marginal."
Opponents prepared a thorough presentation on current hospital usage and how the development would negatively affect city revenue.
"They (the hospital) currently have two units that they're using probably running 24/7, but we're not seeing an increase in utilization," Brown said.
They presented their own plan, asking Spectrum to consider that instead.
Lynne Chadfield, one of the neighbors leading the opposition to Spectrum's plan, said their plan would not have any parking ramps; all the parking would be underground or, if above ground, close to ground level. It gets rid of a parking ramp exit onto Plymouth Avenue, which Chadfield said has always been a problem. The neighbors' plan would also push parking further away from the road so there is more room for landscaping. Neighbors brought in an architect out of Lansing, Jim Runquist, to draw up their proposal.
The planning commission meets again April 10, when it will likely make a decision on Spectrum's plan. It can either recommend the project to the city commission, recommend it with provisions or deny it.