Paw Paw Council considers zoning allowing for new residential housing options

   PAW PAW - Zoning ordinances aimed at offering and regulating more diverse housing options within the Village of Paw Paw have sparked lengthy discussions during both June meetings of the Paw Paw Village Council.
   At the council’s June 10 meeting, Village Planning Consultant Rebecca Harvey presented drafts of the ordinances crafted by the Village Planning Commission, whose intent was to address objectives in the village’s Master Plan and revise residential zoning districts to allow for small to medium density multifamily housing.
   The planning commission’s efforts were prompted in part by the findings of a previous target market analysis and Project Rising Tide, citing “missing middle housing” in the village’s residential districts. Middle housing refers to two- to four-unit options that fall between single family homes and large multi-unit complexes.
   “You are a county seat,” Harvey said. “You’re serving a demographic that is coming here for certain services... There is a need to provide housing variety in the right spots -- in close proximity to downtown.”
   Ordinance 468 establishes requirements for adding accessory dwelling units on a single family property, under certain conditions.
   “Our medium density district is perfect for this type of housing,” Harvey noted. A second home, either separate or attached, would be allowed, with a special use permit, as long as one of the dwellings is owner-occupied.
   This ordinance also allows, with detailed regulations, cottage-style housing developments.Two dwellings of 400 to 1200 square feet would be allowed where now one single family dwelling is permitted.
   Ordinance 469 would amend the village’s current R-2 Zoning district to allow for these additional housing options; and Ordinance 470 creates a Walkable Residential Overlay District that regulates a variety of housing options within walking distance to downtown and employment opportunities.
   Returning to the discussion June 24, council members Mary McIntosh and Eric Larcinese raised immediate concerns that such zoning would allow property owners to establish more rental properties within the village.
   “I want us to look very carefully at not doing this,” said McIntosh, making note that approximately 70 percent of the residential dwellings in the village are currently rental properties. “These residents are more transient and less invested in our community.”
   Larcinese hoped to get more input from planners and consultants. “Let’s get educated on this,” he said. “I think there’s enough interest (among council members) to have a workshop.” He asked Village Manager Sarah Moyer-Cale to get input from other communities where such development has been allowed. A workshop will be scheduled to continue discussion.
   The council set a public hearing for July 8 to take comments on a proposed ordinance amendment to prohibit parking on Michigan Avenue between Niles and Gremps streets from 3 to 6 a.m. throughout the year.


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Paw Paw, MI 49079
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