Because the overall land use pattern and population have not changed significantly over the past twenty years, the population will remain stable over the next 20 years and employment will grow less than 6 percent by the year 2015, only modest changes are forecast to the present land use pattern. However, a demand for 1,020 acres is forecast to accommodate projected demand to the year 2015 (Table VI-4), and redevelopment and reinvestment in existing land and structures will be very significant factors in how this demand is addressed.

TABLE VI-4Projected Land Use Demand to the Year 2015

1. Residential Uses

Based on building permit activity over the past years, there will be a demand for 134 acres for single-family dwellings and 443 acres for multiple-family dwellings over the next 20 years. If housing demolitions continue in single-family housing at the same pace as the 1990's, nearly 652 acres of vacant land will be available for infill housing. Most residential areas in the City will continue to be occupied by residential uses in the future. Market focus, traffic patterns, and other socio-economic issues will continue to exert pressures upon all residential areas in regards to scale and intensity. Without significant efforts to curtail such forces, neighborhoods with high-density, lower-value housing will continue to struggle to protect and improve housing values and conditions. However, these same forces will simultaneously work towards inflating the values of low density, higher-value housing.

There will be continued pressure on larger, single-family homes in central neighborhoods to be divided into multiple-family units. This will continue even though most of the student population of Western Michigan University, which used to dominate the Vine and Stuart neighborhoods, have moved to the Knollwood and Arcadia neighborhoods. There will still be a demand for quality, affordable rental units in these neighborhoods. This same migration of students will continue to place demands for higher densities in the Knollwood and Arcadia neighborhoods.

2. Commercial Uses

With a decline in population and median household income over the past 20 years and a forecasted loss of 1,396 retail employees between the years 1995 and 2015, there will be a decrease in retail area demand of about 160 acres (two employees per 1,000 square feet of gross floor area with a lot coverage of 10 percent), referring to Table VI-4. A decline of employment in the finance, insurance and real estate category of 1,136 employees between the year 1995 and 2015 indicates a reduction in demand for office space of about 33 acres (four employees per 1,000 square feet of gross floor area with a lot coverage of 20 percent). On the other hand, the Services Employment Sector is projected to have 9,754 more employees over the next twenty years. This translates to a demand for 280 acres of land (four employees per 1,000 square feet of gross floor area with a lot coverage of 20 percent). Services employment will accordingly drive the overall commercial market because associated uses may use general commercial or office land. Further, the health and educational components of the Services category may be associated with the expansion of health facilities and services and educational programs of universities, college business schools and other private schools.

Thus, projected changes in retail uses will focus on redevelopment. With few vacant land areas remaining along major thoroughfares, there will not be significant pressures for the development of larger, "big box" style retailers, or other large-scale commercial developments. However, several parcels could be combined to eliminate vacant or under utilized uses for developing such a use.

Conditions will warrant the continued improvement and redevelopment the CBD. It is, however, difficult for a downtown to compete against suburban shopping malls by offering the same products and services. Therefore, the downtown will likely focus on developing high-value added retailers offering specialty products and services. Policies that encourage such uses should be encouraged and adopted. To further enhance this redevelopment of ground floor commercial sites, vacant upstairs floors of buildings in the CBD might be allowed to develop with offices and apartments. This not only provides a ready supply of customers for these businesses, but it also adds to the vitality of the downtown.

Existing conditions are forcing the vacancy and under utilization of Neighborhood Commercial sites. These conditions, unless reversed, will continue the deterioration of Neighborhood Commercial sites with little prospect of replacement uses filling the void. Policies should be adopted which would protect existing Neighborhood Commercial uses and encourage the redevelopment of vacant sites. Again, upstairs apartments and offices above these sites should be encouraged.

3. Manufacturing Uses

Industrial related employment is projected to decline by 3,356 employees to the year 2015. This translates to a reduction of 308 acres of demand (one employee per 2,000 square feet gross floor area and 50 percent lot coverage), referring to Table VI-4. On the other hand, remaining business will need roughly 525 acres for expansion and relocation.

The "industrial park" style Industrial uses will continue to be concentrated within the Millwood neighborhood along Miller Road, Sprinkle Road, Cork Street, and Kilgore Road. New developments and redeveloped sites should be of the same type, scale, intensity, and other existing characteristics.

The older Industrial uses within the Edison, Eastside, and Northside neighborhoods, as well as the CBD, present a greater challenge. Although most existing Industrial uses should continue to operate, there is a distinct possibility that some of these factories could close, adding to the numerous vacant sites of this type of use. It is unlikely that these vacant sites will ever be redeveloped into their former use on the same scale. Consideration must be given to developing these sites into different uses. Possibilities include smaller, "industrial park" style Industrial uses, Multiple-Family Residential or Single-Family Residential uses, and General Commercial uses. Any of these possibilities would involve the demolition of existing structures and the assembly of various parcels of property. Another option in which the existing structures could remain is the creation of "incubator" centers which could contain several new, small Industrial uses which are just starting and cannot afford a site or building on their own.

4. Institutional Uses

Nearly all existing Institutional uses can be expected to continue and possibly expand as reflected in the growth in the services employment sector. Efforts might be made to concentrate these uses within the CBD or other appropriate neighborhoods. Some uses, however, may cease to function due to changing demographics and other factors. Plans may be encouraged to redevelop these sites into uses which are similar but not disruptive to the surrounding neighborhood. An example would be the conversion of a vacant elementary school into a private day care center or a senior housing complex.

5. Vacant Areas

As previously mentioned, there are few large vacant land areas remaining undeveloped in the City of Kalamazoo. Thus, appropriate measures need to be taken to ensure these areas are developed properly.

6. Mixed Uses

Existing conditions, unless corrected, will continue to negatively affect traditional mixed use sites, especially in the CBD. Along with implementing policies to encourage proper mixed uses, a thorough review of existing policies and regulations appears warranted in an effort to eliminate those that discourage successful mixed use developments. Efforts might be undertaken to revitalize mixed uses in the CBD and neighborhood commercial sites throughout the city.

[ Home ] [ Search ] [ Table of Contents ] [ Next Page ] [ Previous Page ]

Webspace provided by the Vision Council from an Internet Connection Services grant.
Maintained by Odyssey Web Design Inc. Email: