Grand Rapids
Michigan

City Comm Agenda
85392

Resolution authorizing three memoranda of understanding among Grand Valley State University, the Neighbors of Belknap Lookout, and the City related to the development University-owned property in the Belknap Lookout Neighborhood.

Information

Department:Executive OfficeSponsors:
Category:AppointmentFunctions:City Commission, Committee of the Whole

Content A

Grand Valley State University (GVSU), Neighbors of Belknap Lookout (NOBL) and the City of Grand Rapids have been engaged in a significant series of discussions about their relationship and the short-term and long-term development of properties that GVSU owns in the NOBL neighborhood.  This collaborative and inclusive process included a neighborhood meeting at Coit School in October and a series of joint NOBL/GVSU/GR Work Group Meetings and other meetings between the parties.  The focus of this activity has been on the NOBL neighborhood, the development of the 500 Block of Lafayette for a classroom facility in the near term and the master planning for the balance of the GVSU-owned property in the long-term. 

 

This process has produced a framework for moving forward that includes three memoranda of understanding that link the parties, including:

 

·         The Initial Memorandum of Understanding (IMOU) between GVSU and the City that defines how the 500 Block of Lafayette may be developed for university purposes and creates the platform for a long-term relationship by: providing that the first phase of construction will only involve the 500 Block of Lafayette; formalizing a voluntary payment in lieu of taxes and the use of the city's portion of that payment in NOBL; consideration for residential parking for tenants of GVSU-owned homes; the approach to required infrastructure; and, a framework for continued engagement (See Exhibit A).

 

·         The Memorandum of Understanding - Belknap links NOBL, GVSU and the city together in a process to complete a master plan for GVSU's Belknap Properties.  It further describes how GVSU will administer GVSU-owned housing in NOBL, including the reservation of the north 140 feet of Block 2 of the GVSU property for development of affordable housing in conjunction with the neighborhood; GVSU's commitment to provide opportunities for neighborhood employment; the approach to infrastructure required to support the master plan; and, a framework for continued engagement (See Exhibit B).  GVSU has retained SmithGroupJJR, Inc. to facilitate creation of a master plan for the GVSU-owned property in conjunction with the neighborhood. 

 

·         The Memorandum of Understanding between NOBL and the City which is a commitment from the City to NOBL for continued engagement and accountability by the parties as the process created by the three memoranda of understanding unfolds over time. It further describes the City's intent to consider a zoning ordinance amendment to help enable this process.

 

The three memoranda of understanding are supplemented by a protocol regarding the relocation of current persons living in GVSU-owned Belknap homes that has been implemented by the university after careful consultation with the NOBL/GVSU/GR Work Group (See Exhibit D).

 

The three memoranda describe the relationship NOBL, GVSU and the City have established, the joint interests that have been identified, what the parties believe is essential for proper growth in NOBL and a framework that will enable the parties to move forward together.

 

The NOBL Board of Directors unanimously approved the memoranda of understanding at their meeting of February 1, 2016.  City Commission consideration is scheduled for February 9, 2016, and the GVSU Board of Trustees will consider the memoranda of understanding at their February 12, 2016, meeting. 

 

It is recommended that the attached resolution approving the three memoranda of understanding between NOBL, GVSU and the City be adopted at this time. 

 

Content C

 

WHEREAS:

 

1.              Grand Valley State University (“GVSU”) owns property in Belknap Lookout Neighborhood (“GVSU’s Belknap Property”) that GVSU wishes to improve and use in furtherance of its role under the constitution and laws of the state of Michigan in carrying out its educational mission;

2.              The Neighbors of Belknap Lookout (“NOBL”) is the recognized neighborhood association for the Belknap Lookout Neighborhood (the “Neighborhood”);

3.              GVSU, NOBL and other representatives of the Neighborhood, and the City engaged in a collaborative process that resulted in: 

A.              Agreed-upon collaborative principles including (i) listening to and understanding one another’s expressed goals and concerns, as well as underlying feelings about the Neighborhood, those goals and concerns, (ii) respecting each of the parties, their representatives and the people residing and working in the Neighborhood, and (iii) trusting each party and its representatives to be communicating and acting in good faith;

B.              Informal consensus around design principles for the improvement and use of GVSU’s Belknap Property including (i) exterior finishes and characteristics of the planned improvements should reflect and be compatible with the urban setting in which GVSU’s Belknap Property lies, (ii) a desire to create some livable spaces and that those spaces should be compatible with the Neighborhood, (iii) a master plan is needed for improvement and use of all of GVSU’s Belknap Property that reflects the continuing collaboration among the parties, (iv) GVSU must be able to design and use its facilities in fulfillment of its educational mission, and (v) GVSU has a need to begin construction in the Block 2 of GVSU’s Belknap Property (“Phase 1”), before a master development plan can be completed for the development of the remainder of GVSU’s Belknap Property;

C.              Agreement addressing the Phase 1 development of GVSU’s Belknap property and related matters that is reflected in an Initial Memorandum of Understanding between GVSU and the City, a copy of which is attached as Exhibit A (“IMOU”);

D.              Agreement addressing the development of a master plan for the improvement and use of the remaining portions of GVSU’s Belknap property and related matters that is reflected in a Memorandum of Understanding – Belknap among GVSU, NOBL and the City, a copy of which is attached as Exhibit B (“MOU-Belknap”); and

E.              Agreement addressing the process NOBL can use to address concerns about compliance with the IMOU and MOU-Belknap that is reflected in a Memorandum of Understanding between NOBL and the City, a copy of which is attached as Exhibit C (“NOBL-City MOU”);

4.              The NOBL Board approved the MOU-Belknap and the NOBL-City MOU at a meeting held on February 1, 2016;

5.              The GVSU Board of Trustees will consider approval of the IMOU and MOU-Belknap at its meeting on February 12, 2016;

6.              The Commission finds it is in the best interests of the City especially the residents and property owners in the Neighborhood for the City to approve and enter into the IMOU, the MOU-Belknap, and the NOBL-City MOU; therefore

 

RESOLVED:

 

1.              That the IMOU, the MOU-Belknap, and the NOBL-City MOU are approved in substantially the form attached as Exhibits A, B and C, and the Mayor and City Clerk are authorized and directed to sign them on behalf of the City.

2.              That all resolutions or parts of resolutions are, to the extent of any conflict with this resolution, rescinded.