Welcome to the electronic newsletter from
Grand Haven Charter Township!

Stay informed on what is happening in the township. This newsletter will deliver up-to-date information including upcoming meetings, development news, township services and more!

You can always find more information on our website or Facebook .
Short-Term Rentals
Like many other Lakeshore communities, Grand Haven Charter Township is addressing the issue of short-term rentals. 

The problem is that short-term rentals can dramatically change the character of existing neighborhoods by having transitory visitors using homes for short periods – often without regard to noise, trash, parking and other nuisances. 

In a recent opinion published by the Michigan Court of Appeals ( i.e., Reaume vs. Spring Lake Township ), the Court determined that short-term rentals are illegal commercial activities ( similar to a motel ) within residential neighborhoods.

The Township has about 7,450 residential units – with about 50 of these being advertised for short-term rentals. Although the number of short-term rentals remains very low, these numbers – and the problems they create – are increasing↑.

In response, the elected officials have discussed short-term rentals at two Board work sessions and instructed staff to draft both an amendment to the zoning ordinance and a new regulatory ordinance to regulate short-term rentals. The provisions being considered include:

  • Prohibiting short-term rentals (STRs) within traditional subdivision and similar single-family developments;
  • For areas where STRs are allowed, requiring all STRs to be registered with the Township and meet minimum standards on length of stay, smoke and CO² detectors, firepits, trash, parking, and similar property maintenance requirements;
  • Requiring STRs to be inspected for safety purposes to ensure compliance with the fire code, building code, and other commercial safety requirements such as “knox boxes” to allow entrance by fire personnel during an emergency;

It is important to understand that because short-term rentals are not a permitted use under the Township’s zoning ordinance, none of the existing short-term rentals will be “grand-fathered”. Further, the Township has begun enforcement on some of the more egregious violations.
Construction Numbers
June marked the half-way point of the 2019 Fiscal Year. And, with 50% of the year complete, the Building permit revenues exceed↑ 78% of the budget with over $31.7 million in new construction. 2019 will be another “good” year.

Altitude Valve Project
Township staff have completed the installation of a 12-inch electronically controlled altitude valve at the west water tank. Because the west tank fills at a faster rate than the east water tank, an altitude valve is utilized to stop the flow into the west tank once it becomes full. 

Closing this valve then does two things: (1) it prevents the west tank from overflowing; and, (2) it allows the east tank to fill completely, which prepares both tanks for high demand periods of water usage.

The Township’s Public Services staff completed most of work in-house including researching the best suited valve and controller, purchasing the valve and related appurtenances, completing the installation, and programming the new device and controller.  Staff's work saved the Township thousands of dollars in engineering and contractor costs .
Water, Water Everywhere
Prein & Newhof ( the Township's engineering firm ) distributed a recent newsletter that shared important facts and myths about Michigan's drinking water. Key points from the article:

  • Michigan has A LOT of water.
  • No one is going to steal it from the State and residents are not going to run out of water.
  • The Great Lakes basin contains 20% of the world's fresh water.
  • Water is Michigan's most abundant resource. The State and businesses should focus on using it well.
  • The greatest threat to the Great Lakes is contamination, not using too much water. We need to protect the quality of our water.

Water System Audit
The Township completed an annual audit of the water system as required by the Safe Drinking Water Act. The review includes reiteration of current and future drinking water requirements, reminders for upcoming required reporting, system operations, future goals and objectives and of course, review of any ‘deficiencies’ the system may have and create a plan to resolve those deficiencies. 

As expected, the Township met all expectations. That said, there were a few items of interest that came out of the evaluation, including:

  • The Township continues to sample results below↓ the maximum contaminant levels (MCL) for both lead and copper. Thirty-three (33) samples were recently obtained for the current round of testing.

  • The Township is required to submit a Preliminary Distribution System Materials Inventory by January 1st. In simple terms, the State is looking for lead in any service lines and requiring that all water systems have or create a record keeping system regarding any lead – a requirement of the revised Lead and Copper Rule. (The Township is not expected to have any service lines that contain lead and already has the required record system in place.) 

  • The Township is required to begin additional testing for Water Quality Parameters (WQP) Tap Sampling beginning this July. This new testing will be required because the Township purchases water for the southern service areas from the City of Grand Rapids, and the City is required to utilize corrosion control due to the lead service lines within their water system. Corrosion control for Grand Rapids consists of the addition of a polymer to the finished water that coats the interior of the distribution system, thereby creating a barrier that prevents lead and copper from leaching into the drinking water. (You may recall that this was the issue in Flint when they switched water supplies and their new supply was more corrosive and allowed lead and copper to leach into the public water.)

  • The EPA’s Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR) continues to trudge forward, beginning the next phase of testing. The EPA uses this program to collect and evaluate nationally representative data for contaminants suspected to be present in drinking water, but that do not have regulatory standards. 

Currently, water systems nationally are completing requirements under UCMR4, the 4th phase of the program. The Township’s water system was, again, selected by EPA to be one of the pilot systems prior to implementation of UCMR5. This requires testing +/- 2 years in advance of the rule phase being implemented nationally. The Townships is required to pay analytical cost of around $4,500 for each round and shipping costs of almost $900. ( Samples must be analyzed by an EPA approved lab, none of which are in Michigan. The Township’s samples are shipped to Indianapolis .)

2020 - 2024 Road Projects
The Ottawa County Road Commission (OCRC) distributed their 2020 – 2024 Strategic Improvement Plan (SIP). Highlights of the SIP for the Township include the following:

2020 :
  • Lakeshore Drive resurface from Rosy Mound Drive to Buchanan Street (2.7 miles)

2021 :
  • Mercury Drive resurface from Comstock Street to City limits (1.7 miles)
  • Fillmore Street resurface from US-31 to 120th Avenue (4.0 miles)
  • Lakeshore Drive resurface from Buchanan Street to Fillmore Street (3.1 miles)
2022 :
  • 152nd Avenue seal coat south of Lincoln Street (0.3 miles)
  • 152nd Avenue seal coat from Mercury Drive to Robbins Road (0.7 miles)
  • 168th Avenue seal coat from Buchanan Street to Ferris Street (2.0 miles)
  • Buchanan Street seal coat from Lakeshore Drive to US-31 (1.4 miles)
  • Fillmore Street seal coat from Hiawatha Drive to US-31 (2.2 miles)
  • Groesbeck Street seal coat from 160th Avenue to Mercury Drive (1.3 miles)
  • Hiawatha Drive seal coat from Fillmore Street to Lakeshore Drive (1 mile)
  • Johnson Street seal coat from 168th Avenue east to end (0.5 miles)
  • Pierce Street seal coat Lakeshore Drive to 168th Avenue (0.8 miles)
  • Robbins Road seal coat from Mercury Drive to 152nd Avenue (0.8 miles)
  • Winans Street seal coat from 168th Avenue to 152nd Avenue (2.1 miles)

2023 :
  • Mercury Drive resurface from Comstock Street to 144th Avenue (1.7 miles)
  • Ferris Street resurface from US-31 to 152nd Avenue (2.0 miles)
  • Lincoln Street resurface from Lakeshore Drive to US-31 (0.8 miles)
  • 152nd Avenue resurface from Lincoln Street to Groesbeck Street (1.8 miles)

2024 :
  • Lincoln Street resurface from US-31 to 144th Avenue (2.8 miles)
Open House

To mark the opening of the Ottawa County Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Office, Ottawa County will hold an open house on Tuesday, August 27 th from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. 

The location will be at the Main Conference Room of the Ottawa County Fillmore Complex.

Brief remarks will be made at 4:00 p.m. to commemorate the establishment of the first DEI Department of Ottawa County.
(616) 842-5988   | info@ght.org | www.ght.org