By Judy Reed
The building of a new public library and other recreation facilities on properties near Main and Maple Street in Cedar Springs came one step closer to reality this week. On Tuesday evening, January 5, the Cedar Springs Planning Commission passed a motion approving the rezoning of several parcels to B-3, Highway Business/PUD Planned Unit Development, and recommended approval to the City Council.
The rezoning was requested by the Community Building Development Team, a group made up of individuals and representatives of various organizations in the community. They have been working for the past three years to develop eight acres of land, within the City limits, into “The Heart of Cedar Springs.” It will be a place where the local citizens and visitors can enjoy a new library building, a community building, a recreation center, and an amphitheater, all placed among beautiful rain gardens and sculptures along a board walk on the banks of Cedar Creek.
Some of the property is owned by the City of Cedar Springs, such as where the library and ampitheatre will go; other parcels are owned by the CBDT. The rezoning of the parcels was requested to allow for a unified public facility development for the entire site. An associated preliminary PUD site plan will help ensure a single cohesive development, although the construction will be done in phases.
The parcels included were:
180 N. Fifth St. (41-02-25-426-020)
116 N. Fifth St. (41-02-25-426-010)
69 W. Maple St. (41-02-25-427-017)
65 W. Maple St. (41-02-25-427-019)
107 N. Main St. (41-02-25-427-016)
113 N. Main St. (41-02-25-427-015)
125 N. Main St. (41-02-25-427-014)
139 N. Main St. (41-02-25-427-013)
157 N. Main St. (41-02-25-427-012)
37 W. Maple St. (41-02-25-427-007)
City planner Carmine Avantini, recommended approval with the conditions that the property ownership will be under the single control of the Community Building Development Team; and that there was a waiver to allow a maximum three-foot front building setback from N. Main Street. The properties located in the PUD will be under the single control of the Community Building and Development Team (CBDT), with ownership being maintained by the City of Cedar Springs through a use agreement.
Avantini noted in the agenda packet that the PUD meets goals in the city’s master plan and the PUD article. He said that the primary goal of the Cedar Springs Master Plan under “Community Facilities” is to “Maintain and develop parks and recreational facilities to enhance the visual character of the city and promote active lifestyles.” He said this PUD will meet this goal and the Master Plan anticipated public use for the site.
He also noted that one of the purposes of the PUD Article is “to encourage development of convenient recreational facilities.” This PUD will be located on the edge of Downtown Cedar Springs and will be in close proximity to residential neighborhoods, a major thoroughfare (Main Street), the White Pine Trail, and a mixed-use traditional downtown. The proposed library and recreation facilities will therefore be highly accessible to most residents of the city and also be available for special events in the downtown area.
The next step in the process will be for the City Council to take action on the PUD rezoning request at their next meeting, on Thursday, January 7, 2016.