Holland could regulate homes’ windows, doors; Realtors say no – Holland, MI | Bedford Hills Real Estate

Should the city of Holland prevent home owners from reducing the number of windows on the front of a home?

Some Realtors in the area have come together to say no.

In fact, they’ve likened the city’s proposed ordinances regulating exterior renovations of homes to a runaway train, said Dale Zahn, CEO of the West Michigan Lakeshore Association of Realtors

“The city may be going too far,” Zahn said, and people are expressing their concerns about that.

If you go
WHAT Holland Planning Commission public hearing
WHEN 5 p.m. today
WHERE council chambers, Holland City Hall, 270 S. River Ave.
ONLINE cityofholland.com

The Planning Commission discussed windows last month when the board learned of two homeowners on East 17th Street who had renovated enclosed front porches. City code enforcers were concerned by the remodels.

The two owner-occupied homes took what were three-season enclosed porches and reduced the number of windows, turning the rooms into extensions of the houses. Neither home appears to have a front porch now.

“A man’s home is his castle,” Zahn said, adding the homeowners in question didn’t do a bad job of renovating. “The homeowners bought the property and made the investment.”

There’s is no evidence that reducing the number of windows will bring down property values, he said.

The Planning Commission will conduct a public hearing today on the amendment to the zoning regulations that apply to certain “in-fill” districts within the city.

The proposed change is one piece of a more in-depth proposal that would allow the city to oversee many exterior renovations and modifications. Because that proposal met with opposition late last year from Realtors and homeowners concerned about personal property rights, it has been indefinitely tabled.

The amendment proposed now would require homeowners in the central city neighborhoods affected by in-fill rules to have changes to windows and doors reviewed. If approved, the rules would ban homeowners from reducing the number of windows.

Currently, the city doesn’t have the authority to do anything about windows and doors, Cindy Osman, assistant director of the Community and Neighborhood Services department, said in January.

The city’s responsibility is to “Keep (properties) safe, sound and sanitary and leave the rest up to the homeowner,” Zahn said.

Zahn questions the idea that a single member of city staff reviewing requests would know what is best for a neighborhood and should be the person to look at each home on case-by-case basis.

“What’s good looking and nice to one is not going to be to another,” he said.

Realtors are more in touch with what’s going on a city neighborhood and are better at marketing the city, Zahn said. The Realtors need the city, but the city needs the Realtors to promote and market the city also.

“It’s a two-way street,” he said.

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