Parks + Greenspace

Action #1

Provide permeable edges to parks and natural areas by increasing the number of access points.

Participants at the Community Design Day indicated that some parks in the community were difficult to access by foot or bicycle from surrounding neighborhoods.

Amend applicable park master plans to include non-motorized connections and identify areas along park boundaries which are ideal for easements other forms of access.

Organizations + Relationships

Action #1

Encourage the collaboration between the Kent District Library, Forest Hills Public Schools, and the Cascade Township Parks and Recreation Committee regarding the interconnectivity and collaboration between neighborhoods and neighborhood assets and services.

Leveraging the combined resources of public institutions is a best practice.

Establish a schedule of annual recurring meetings where each organization updates the others on goals and objectives for the year; work with each organization to share resources on common goals and initiatives where they overlap.

Action #2

Identify local philanthropists or benefactors who are interested in partnering, sponsoring, or investing in the Township’s vision.

Participants at the Community Design Day recommended identifying local philanthropists or benefactors in the community as fiscal champions of the Township’s vision.

Work with stakeholders from the master plan process on identifying local benefactors and approach them regarding the vision that was created for Cascade Village and the Township.

Action #3

Increase transparency by recording Township Board, Planning Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals and other meetings and/or hosting them in locations throughout the Township.

Participants at the Community Design Day indicated a lack of transparency and trust in Township government.

Install a permanent audio visual system in the Township Hall to record public meetings live to Facebook, the Township website, and other platforms; create a rotating schedule to host the meetings at locations throughout the Township.

Action #4

Actively engage property owners in Cascade Village to familiarize them with the Village Plan, promote shared parking, and discuss implementation ideas.

To implement the Cascade Village Design Plan, additional stakeholders must be aware of the work that has already been completed and the input received.

Work with the Downtown Development Authority to reach out to property owners in Cascade Village.

Housing + Affordability

Action #1

Permit attached residential infill, including retirement housing, near transit stops, services, along existing or planned pathways, and within walking distance of Cascade Village.

  • 55% of survey respondents indicated that increasing housing opportunities for seniors is a “very important,” “important,” or “somewhat important” Township priority.
  • 68% of survey respondents indicated that increasing housing opportunities for young families/millennials is a “very important,” “important,” or “somewhat important” Township priority.

Amend the Zoning Ordinance to reflect the increased use mix created by the Community Mixed Use future land use designation.

Action #2

Study the feasibility of permitting accessory dwelling units in zoning districts that permit single-family dwellings.

55% of survey respondents indicated that increasing housing opportunities for seniors is a “very important,” “important,” or “somewhat important” Township priority.

Study best practices and policies of neighboring communities, conduct a survey addressing accessory dwelling units specifically to gather public input on the topic.

Form + Design

Action #1

Require a grid pattern of development where allowable by topography and natural features to enhance connectivity, walkability, and pedestrian safety in neighborhoods.

Best practices indicate that grid street patterns increase connectivity and encourage walkability.

Amend the Zoning Ordinance, Subdivision Control Ordinance, and other applicable documents and policies to require or incentivize a grid pattern of development.

Action #2

Install pedestrian-scale lighting where neighborhoods connect to services, transportation corridors, and parks to promote safety and eyes on the street.

Participants at the Community Design Day indicated the frequency of automobile and pedestrian accidents along Cascade Road due to issues with visibility at night.

Utilize Michigan Traffic Crash Facts to identify where pedestrian, bicycle, and motor vehicle incidents are high and work with neighborhoods to identify important connectors to Cascade Village and parks; work with the Kent County Road Commission, Michigan Department of Transportation, and Consumers Energy to install pedestrian-scale lights.

Action #3

Work with the Kent County Road Commission to minimize pavement widths of streets in neighborhoods to slow traffic and encourage walkability.

Participants at the Community Design Day indicated that the wide curvilinear design of neighborhood streets encourages speeding and contributes to the dangerous feel of walking in neighborhoods.

Continue the conversation with the Kent County Road Commission regarding reducing the standard for street widths; encourage residents to contact the Road Commission regarding their concerns; incorporate as a city to take over control of the street network.

Action #4

Amend the DPA, TIFA, and Parks and Recreation Plan to include the Village Plan recommendations.

To implement the Cascade Village Design Plan, all plans must be updated to provide for a cohesive policy framework.

Work with each respective board, committee, and authority to update the planning documents.

Lead + Transform

Action #1

Study the feasibility, and pros and cons of incorporation as a city to facilitate control and design of roadways.

Residents have indicated through past and present community surveys, the Community Design Day, and through other means, the desire to improve the streets and pedestrian facilities in the Township. In order to fully implement the desired changes, the Township must incorporate as a City to obtain jurisdiction of the Township’s streets from the Kent County Road Commission.

To incorporate as a City, the Township must first identify the proposed city boundaries; then circulate the petition for signature by those residents of the territory to be affected by the incorporation.

Action #2

Change zip code name (preferred last line) to Cascade from Grand Rapids by working with the U.S. Postal Service.

Residents of the Township have indicated a desire to have a Cascade mailing address.

Follow USPS procedures and policies regarding a request for a preferred last line change.