Chapter VI LAND USE
A. EXISTING LAND USE
An existing land use inventory comprises one of the most basic and integral components of the process to update the Comprehensive Plan. The purpose of this inventory is two-fold. First, it is intended to show a "snap shot" in time of how the land areas of the City of Kalamazoo are being used. Secondly, it is intended to demonstrate patterns of development and land use throughout the City. This will provide the foundation for subsequent alternatives and recommendations for future land use patterns.
2. Land Use Inventory
The inventory involved a two (2) step process. The first step was to determine and define the different land use categories within the City of Kalamazoo. The second was to survey each neighborhood of the City and classify the land uses of each parcel of property based upon the previously determined categories.
Land Use Categories. Based on the land use categories of the 1985 land use survey prepared by the City and incorporated into the GIS system being developed, Table VI-1, Land Use Classes, was used as a basis for defining the land use categories for this 1996 land use inventory. Three classes were refined on the basis of previous plans, existing data, aerial photographs, personal knowledge of the City, and a brief survey of major gateways. This review resulted in six (6) basic land use categories with fifteen (15) subcategories. A listing of these land use categories and subcategories follows with a brief description and definition.
1) Residential Uses
a) Single-Family Residential (S)
This classification includes improved single or combined parcels having onefamily detached dwelling units that are located predominantly in singlefamily detached residential areas.
b) Duplex / Two-Family Residential (D)
Dwelling units in this classification are comprised of twofamily residential attached structures located on combined land parcels. While located predominantly in singlefamily residential areas, these units can also be located in multiple-family residential and commercial areas.
c) Multiple-Family Residential (M)
This classification includes land areas that are occupied by predominantly residential structures containing dwelling units for three (3) or more households. This form of housing is commonly referred to as "apartments" and can be in the form of large, multipleunit complexes or older singlefamily units which have been divided into several separate units. This classification also includes attached condominiums, senior housing complexes, nursing homes, attached townhouses, as well as fraternity and sorority houses.
d) Mobile Home Park (MHP)
This classification includes land areas occupied by portable, manufactured dwelling units for a single family.
2) Commercial Uses
a) Central Business District (CBD)
This classification includes the land area containing the central core of the city commonly known as the "downtown." The Central Business District is quite expansive and contains a wide assortment of land uses. Therefore, a separate survey was conducted of all parcels within the CBD to determine their exact land use. The categories used for this survey were the same as those throughout the rest of the city. Thus, this generic subclassification was not used in favor of the more definitive subcategories of land uses.
b) General Commercial (GC)
These uses provide merchandise, goods and services of all types to not only the immediate neighborhood but to the community, and even the region, as a whole. Most patrons of these uses travel by automobile, public transit or other means to reach these sites. General uses include large department stores, grocery stores, shopping centers (usually over 50,000 square feet in area), pedestrian and enclosed malls, highvolume restaurants, bowling alleys, and other private, indoor recreational activities, and theaters. Except for uses within the downtown environment, general commercial uses are characterized by: large, one story structures set back from the street; onsite parking usually in the front; locations along major thoroughfares; national companies and franchises; and highvolume sales of a wide variety of merchandise.
c) Neighborhood Commercial (NC)
These uses provide for the sale of convenience goods as well as personal and business services for the daytoday needs of the residents in the immediate neighborhood. These uses usually draw from a distance that can easily be walked in five (5) minutes, and can also draw from areas within approximately one (1) to one and a half (1½) miles, depending upon the density and character of the residential area. Neighborhood commercial uses typically are located between residential areas and more intensive commercial uses or along major thoroughfares, and are usually smaller than 50,000 square feet in area. These uses can also be found within a more central area of a neighborhood. Characteristics of such uses include: one or twostory structures built to the front and side lot lines; accessory residential uses on the second floor; a lack of onsite parking; entrances facing the street and sidewalk; sales of specific, limited merchandise with an emphasis on customer service; independently owned businesses versus national franchises; and lower volume sales with high value-added goods.
d) Highway Service Commercial (HC)
This classification includes uses specifically designed for transients and travelers located at intersections of interstates and fourlane divided highways. These uses typically include hotels and motels, gasoline service stations, and fastfood restaurants. Characteristics of highway service commercial uses include: close proximity to an interstate or fourlane divided highway interchange; businesses with drivein or drivethrough windows / facilities; irregularlyshaped parcels; many uses contained within a single parcel or area; and combined entrances and parking lots.
e) Office / Professional Services (O)
This classification includes medical offices and clinics, general offices of professionals such as realtors, insurance brokers, architects, and lawyers, corporate headquarters and branch locations, banks, and other office oriented uses. Office uses may be located within a neighborhood area, the Central Business District, or in a general commercial area. These uses are also located in structures ranging from onestory buildings to multiplestory buildings or large campuslike complexes. Although commercially oriented, an office or professional service use does not provide an end product for purchase or consumption at the site.
3) Manufacturing Uses
a) Industrial (I)
This classification includes improved land parcels used for activities such as manufacturing, assembling, and general fabricating facilities, warehouses, and other nonmanufacturing uses which exert influences on adjacent areas of parcels due to the scale of operation, type of operation, or type of facility.
4) Institutional Uses
a) Public / Quasi-Public (P)
The land uses included in this classification include all government buildings and facilities, ranging from buildings such as City Hall to the storage yard of the Department of Public Services. Other public and quasipublic uses include libraries, museums, cemeteries, hospitals, schools, churches, and all buildings and facilities of local colleges and universities.
b) Parking Lot / Deck (PK)
This classification is for specifically designated areas for offstreet public parking, usually in the form of a lot or deck in the downtown area. Also included are separate lots which provide parking for an adjacent or nearby lot but could be developed with another structure or use. These areas do not include onsite parking lots for other land uses.
c) Open Space / Parks & Recreational Facilities (R)
This classification includes all improved or unimproved city, county, regional and school parks, open spaces, and public recreational centers, stadiums and facilities. (There are significant open bodies of water within the City of Kalamazoo, including: the Kalamazoo River, Averhill Lake, Spring Valley Lake, Woods Lake, Asylum Lake, and Portage Creek.)
This includes all public roads and railroads. (These areas were not surveyed as part of our research, but are shown as documented by city staff.)
5) Vacant Areas
a) Vacant / Undeveloped Parcels & Abandoned Buildings (V)
This classification includes undeveloped parcels which are not used or not considered as an open space area. Also included are abandoned buildings.
This classification includes buildings that are vacant but expected to be occupied for their intended uses within a short period of time. An example would be a commercial building which is presently unoccupied but is actively advertised for lease or sale. These uses were designated with a "V" and the intended or historical use within parenthesis, such as V(S), V(GC) or V(O) in the raw land use inventory. However, in the generation of the existing land use map, the parcel is designated according to the primary historical use and an asterisk (*) appears on the parcel.
6) Mixed Uses
Certain parcels contain more than a single, distinctive land use. These include such examples as a multiple-story building with retail shops on the ground floor and offices and/or apartments on the upper floors, or a neighborhood corner store with an upstairs apartment. Such uses have been designated by showing the primary use first with the secondary use in parenthesis, such as GC(O) or NC(M). The existing land use map uses only the primary use designation.
Neighborhood Surveys. Once the specific land use categories were defined, every parcel of property within the City of Kalamazoo was given a land use designation of one of these categories based upon that parcels existing use. These were determined by conducting a windshield-survey of every neighborhood throughout the City. Existing data from City staff, such as maps, previously conducted surveys, and aerial photographs, were also used in determining these designations. Listed below are the various neighborhood areas as they were surveyed, showing the individual neighborhoods with each (Refer to Figure II-1):
1) Area A Neighborhoods: a) Burke Acres, b) Eastside, and c) Northside.
2) Area B Neighborhoods: a) Edison, and b) Millwood.
3) Area C Neighborhoods: a) Southside, b) Westnedge Hill, c) South Westnedge, d) Oakland/Winchell, e) Oakwood, f) Hill & Brook, g) Parkview Hills, and h) Colony Farms.
4) Area D Neighborhoods: a) Knollwood, b) Arcadia, and c) Westwood.
5) Area E Neighborhoods: a) West Main Hill, b) West Douglas, and c) Stuart.
6) Area F Neighborhoods: a) University, b) Vine, and c) Downtown.
The results of the 1996 and the 1976 land use inventory appear in Table VI-2. The existing land use pattern as of Fall of 1996 appears in Figure VI-1.
Due to methodology differences, the 1976 and 1996 land use categories do not directly correspond. Nevertheless, some basic conclusions can be made about trends. First, there is little change in the low density residential category (which corresponds to single-family residential) over the past 20 years. Second, there has been growth in the number of multiple-family units since 1970; therefore, the total average differences between 1976 and 1996 appear to be a result of methodology. The retail/service land use category has shown little change over the past twenty years - 751 acres in 1976 compared to 764 acres in 1996. There appears to be growth in the general/professional offices category. there also appears to be some modest growth in the industrial category (wholesale included) from 1,101 acres in 1976 to 1,358 acres in 1996. The change in park acreage over the past twenty years appears insignificant. In 1996, there were 2,161 acres of vacant land with most being zoned for residential use. In 1976, 1,754 acres were reported as being available for residential development. The major tracts of vacant land in the southwest corner of the City in 1976 remain the primary vacant tracts today.
Public parks and schools serving community recreation purposes were added to the retail centers, and a quarter-mile radius was drawn around each retail center and recreation center for the assessment of neighborhood support.
2. Existing Zoning
a. Zoning Districts
The City of Kalamazoo is divided into nine zoning districts as shown in Figures VI-2a and VI-2b. The zoning districts include:
General Manufacturing (Zone 1): This is a general industrial and general business zone that permits manufacturing, industrial, commercial, utility and public uses, but prohibits residential uses (except watchmen residences and day-care centers), hospitals and schools.
Light Manufacturing (Zone 2): This is a light industrial, general business and general residential zone that permits light manufacturing, wholesale activities, warehouses, general commercial, all residential uses (up to a density of 21.78 dwelling acres per acre) and hotels, and utility and public uses.
General Business (Zone 3): This zone is intended to accommodate retail, service and office uses in downtown Kalamazoo. It permits the commercial and office uses permited in all other commercial and office zones. It also permits all residential uses (up to 87.12 dwelling units per acre and even higher depending on the number of floors) and planned unit developments.
Community Business (Zone 4): This zone is designed to serve the needs of a larger consumer population that is served by the neighborhood business district, and is generally characterized by integrated or planned clusters of establishments on large sites served by common parking areas and generating large volumes of vehicular and pedestrian traffic. This zone permits all residential uses (up to 21.78 dwelling units per acre) including planned unit developments and mobile home parks (as a special use). Hotels and motels are permitted as special uses.
Neighborhood Business (Zone 5): This zone is designed to meet the daily convenient shopping and service needs of adjacent residential areas. It also permits all residential uses up to a density of 29 dwelling units per acre.
Professional and Business Office (Zone 5A): This zone is designed to meet the daily convenient shopping and service needs of adjacent residential areas. It also permits all residential uses up to a density of 48.4 dwelling units per acre.
Neighborhood Shopping Center (Zone 5B): This zone is designed to meet the daily convenient shopping and service needs of adjacent residential areas. It permits certain residential uses by special exception.
Multiple Family Residential - High Density (Zone 6): This zone permits all residential uses up to a density of 48.4 dwelling units per acre. It also permits mobile home parks as a special use and planned unit developments.
Multiple Family Residential - Medium Density (Zone 7): This zone permits all residential uses up to a density of 15 dwelling units per acre, and planned unit developments.
Two-Family Residential (Zone 7A): This zone permits detached dwelling units and attached dwelling units of two units up to a density of 9.68 dwelling units per acre (9,000 square feet lot for duplexes and 7,500 square-foot lot for detached units). This zone also permits planned unit developments.
Single Family Residential (Zone 8): This zone permits only detached dwelling units up to a density of 5.8 dwelling units per acre (7,500 square-foot lot). This zone also permits planned unit developments.
The Zoning Ordinance also includes an Open Space District (Zone 9D) which applies only to publicly-owned property. This zone does not appear on the City Zoning Maps.
b. Zoning Assessment
Because the zoning districts provide a wide range of land uses, nonconforming uses are not considered a major problem. On the other hand, because the zoning districts are generally cumulative relative to use from the single-family district (Zone 8) to the light manufacturing district (Zone 2), single-family detached uses are offered little protection from higher intensity uses in Zones 2 through 7. In greatest concern, the light manufacturing zone (Zone 2) contains considerable single-family detached housing that is not protected from the intrusion of heavy commercial and light-industrial uses.
3. Existing Land Use Analysis
As with other older, central cities, the land area within the City of Kalamazoo is nearly saturated with development. Most significant areas of vacant land were already developed well before the last Comprehensive Plan update in 1977. As a result, the land use pattern for the entire city has remained relatively stable. Some factors have changed, however, such as increases or decreases in intensity and vacancies. A brief analysis of each land use category follows, including the patterns of those categories within each neighborhood. To assist in the analysis of land use relative to neighborhoods, retail commercial centers were identified (Table VI-3) and mapped (Figure VI-3).
a. Residential Uses
Residential uses remain the predominant uses throughout the City accounting for 47 percent of the developed land area (excluding right-of-ways). Single-Family Residential uses are found in every neighborhood, though they vary greatly in terms of density, age, value, and condition. Higher density single-family homes of comparatively lower value are located throughout the Northside, Eastside, Burke Acres, West Douglas, Southside, Vine, and Edison neighborhoods. Higher density single-family homes with comparatively higher values can be found in the Millwood, Westnedge Hill, South Westnedge, Oakwood, and West Main Hill neighborhoods.
1. South Westnedge Avenue in Kalamazoo
Location: South Westnedge Avenue between Kilgore Road and Whites Road
Contents Individual retail sites, strip malls, restaurants, bars, offices, more strip malls, big box retailers, and individual retail sites South of Kilgore Road in City of Portage.
Location: Intersections of Portage Street, Cork Street, and Lovers Lane; also intersection of Portage Street and Kilgore Road
Contents: Strip malls, individual retail sites, grocery, restaurants, bars, offices.
3. South Westnedge Avenue in Portage
Location: South Westnedge Avenue between Milham Road and Centre Avenue in City of Portage
Contents: Malls, strip malls, individual retail sites, restaurants, bars, big box retailers, groceries
4. West Town Mall
Location: Stadium Drive and Drake Road
Contents: Strip Mall
Location: Intersection of Drake Road and W. Main Street; some parts in Oshtemo Township
Contents: Malls, strip malls, individual retail sites, big box retailers, groceries, restaurants, bars, offices
Location: Central Business District
Content: Pedestrian mall, individual retail sites, offices, restaurants, bars, hotels
7. Orchard Plaza
Location West Michigan Avenue in Oshtemo Township
Contents: Strip mall, grocery store, restaurants
8. East Town Mall Area
Location: Gull Road and Sprinkle Road in Comstock Township
Contents: Mall, strip malls
Location: South Westnedge Avenue and Howard Street
Contents: Individual retail sites, big box grocery, restaurants, offices
10. Vine Neighborhood
Location: South Westnedge Avenue between Vine Street and Crosstown Parkway
Contents Individual retail sites, restaurants, bars, offices, hotel
Location: Oakland Drive and Whites Road
Contents: Strip mall, grocery, offices, individual retail sites
12. W. Main Hill
Location: West Main Street in Kalamazoo Township
Contents: Strip mall, individual retail sites
Location: West Michigan Avenue and Howard Street
Content: Strip mall, individual retail sites, restaurants, bars
Location: Riverview Drive between Kalamazoo Avenue and Patterson Street; also Gull Road between Riverview Drive and Borgess Hospital
Contents: Individual retail sites, restaurants, strip mall
15. Washington Square
Location: Portage Street between Lovell Street and Stockbridge Avenue
Contents: Individual retail sites, offices
Type: Neighborhood (former Community)
Location: Douglas Avenue and Patterson Street; also North Westnedge Avenue and North Park Street
Contents: Vacant, abandoned big box retailer and individual retail sites, some active individual retail sites
17. Crosstown Parkway
Type: Neighborhood (former Community)
Location: Crosstown Parkway between South Westnedge Avenue and South Burdick Street; also Stockbridge Avenue and South Burdick Street
Contents: Offices, abandoned big box retailer (reused for medical center), individual retail sites, abandoned grocer (reused for offices), restaurants
The Westwood, Arcadia, Oakland/Winchell, Colony Farm, Parkview Hills, and Hill & Brook neighborhoods contain most of the City's lower density, higher-value, single-family residential areas.
Duplex / Two-Family Residential uses are not common to the City of Kalamazoo, but some do exist (about 116 acres). Most can be found in neighborhoods with higher density, lower-value, single-family homes.
All neighborhoods contain Multiple-Family Residential uses. Modern apartment complexes can be found in nearly every neighborhood, though most are found in the Milwood, South Westnedge, Knollwood, Arcadia, and Westwood neighborhoods. There are also many large, formerly single-family homes which have been divided into multiple units. These are most common in the CBD, Vine, University, Stuart, West Douglas, Northside, and Edison neighborhoods. These units present unique problems and difficulties due to poor maintenance.
There are three (3) mobile home parks within the City of Kalamazoo. One is located within the Knollwood neighborhood. The others are in the Millwood neighborhood, one near the airport and the other off of Cork Street.
b. Commercial Uses
Commercial uses account for about 9 percent of the developed land area (excluding right-of-ways). Nearly every neighborhood contains some commercial uses, with the CBD containing the most (Figures VI-1 and VI-13). General Commercial, Office and Professional Services, and mixed uses dominate the CBD. Other General Commercial uses are concentrated along the city's major arteries, including Gull Road, Portage Road, South Burdick Street, South Westnedge Avenue, Oakland Drive, Stadium Drive, West Michigan Avenue, and West Main Street. These General Commercial uses along major arteries generally fill in the areas not served by major commercial centers as shown in Figure VI-3. Office and Professional Service uses are also located throughout these arterial corridors. Neighborhood Commercial uses exist in almost every neighborhood, though they are most heavily concentrated within the Northside, Eastside, Edison, Millwood, Vine, Southside, Westnedge Hill, Oakwood and West Douglas neighborhoods (Figure VI-3). Highway Service Commercial uses are concentrated in the Millwood neighborhood near the intersections of I-94 at Sprinkle Road and Portage Road.
c. Manufacturing Uses
There are two (2) distinct types of Industrial uses within the City of Kalamazoo that account for 12 percent of the developed land area (excluding right-of-ways). These types are not simply light and heavy Industrial uses, with the differences in size, scale and intensity. Most all Industrial uses in Kalamazoo are of the larger variety in terms of size, scale and intensity. The different types of Industrial uses in the City relate to their age and time of construction. The first of these Industrial uses are older factories, most of which were constructed to their property lines with no setbacks from the right-of-way within or adjacent to residential areas. These factories also tend to be located along or near railroad rights-of-way. These factories were built several years ago, some at the turn of the century and are concentrated in the Northside, CBD, and Edison neighborhoods. The second type of Industrial use is what is commonly called the "industrial park" concept. These are usually larger factories set back from their property lines and separated and/or screened from residential areas. They are characterized by their location on major roads and thoroughfares. This type of manufacturing use is concentrated in the Millwood neighborhood.
d. Institutional Uses
There are a wide variety of Institutional uses throughout the City of Kalamazoo that cover 21 percent of the developed land area (excluding public right-of-ways). This is partly due to the City's status as a county seat. As a result, several government buildings for the Federal Government, State of Michigan, Kalamazoo County, and the City of Kalamazoo are concentrated in the CBD along with the Kalamazoo Public Library and Kalamazoo Valley Museum. Others are spread throughout various neighborhoods, such as the Kalamazoo County Jail and the City's Department of Public Works in the Edison neighborhood, the Juvenile Detention Center and 8th District Probate Court in the Eastside neighborhood, and the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Kalamazoo County Road Commission in the Millwood neighborhood.
Parks, cemeteries and other public open spaces encompass another 11 percent of the developed land area (excluding right-of-ways). Each neighborhood also has an assortment of Parks, Recreational Facilities, Open Spaces, Churches, Schools (public and private), Cemeteries, Fire Stations, and Utilities at various locations. There are two (2) major Utility uses in the city, the Municipal Waste Water Treatment Plant in the Northside neighborhood, and Consumers Power in the Millwood neighborhood. Hospitals are located in the University neighborhood (Kalamazoo Regional Psychiatric Hospital), Burke Acres neighborhood (Borgess Hospital), and the CBD (Bronson Hospital). Parks, Recreational Facilities and Open Spaces are discussed in more detail in Chapters IX and XI. Of particular interest, Public and Quasi-Public uses, Recreation/Public Open Space/Park uses and Public Right-of-Ways cover 40 percent of the total land area within the City limits.
e. Vacant Areas
As the City of Kalamazoo is nearly developed to its fullest possible extent, there are few significant vacant areas of land remaining which are suitable for development. Roughly 2,821 acres of vacant sites and sites of abandoned structures have been identified. Most of the large contiguous tracts of vacant land fall in areas zoned for single-family use along the west side of the City. The 227-acre Schippers Crossing site on the east side of the City is the largest contiguous tract of industrially zoned land. The balance of the vacant land is smaller tracts of land scattered throughout the City amounting to nearly 500 acres. What the City does have in terms of development potential is several individual vacant sites suitable for redevelopment, which are further detailed with suggestions for redevelopment below.
f. Mixed Uses
Mixed uses are common to the CBD, where there are several multiple-story buildings with General Commercial uses on the first floor, and Offices and Professional Services or Multiple-Family Residential uses on the remaining floors. There are also several two-story and three-story buildings throughout the city with Neighborhood Commercial uses on the first floor and Multiple-Family Residential uses on the second and third floors. These are primarily concentrated in the Northside, Edison, Vine, Southside, and West Douglas neighborhoods.
4. Vacant Land/Redevelopment Review
As previously mentioned, there is a limited amount of vacant land in large tracts in the City of Kalamazoo that is suitable for development, and these tracts have remained vacant for nearly 20 years. Due to their scarcity, great caution should be exercised in reviewing any proposed development for these sites. Also, there are several individual vacant sites throughout the city which are suitable for redevelopment. Therefore, the main focus of the City will be on the redevelopment of existing vacant or abandoned sites instead of the development of virgin land.
a. Residential Uses
Vacant Single-Family Residential parcels and homes are heavily concentrated in the Northside, Eastside, Vine, Southside, and Edison neighborhoods. It is no coincidence that these usually border or are near vacant Industrial sites within the same neighborhoods. The large tracts of vacant single-family zoned land fall in the Arcadia, Oakland/Winchell and Colony Farm neighborhoods. Much of the vacant land in the Arcadia neighborhood is owned by the Western Michigan University and is presently being proposed for residential development in the arboretum project.
b. Commercial Uses
Vacant General Commercial sites are most common in the CBD. Other sites are located throughout the City; however, their vacancies are more of a temporary nature. There are several vacant Neighborhood Commercial sites throughout the West Douglas, Northside, East Side, Edison, and Vine neighborhoods. These vacancies are of a more permanent nature, and are generally located on major thoroughfares throughout the city. With a decline in the population and household income in older neighborhoods, reuse of commercial properties for retail purposes has and will continue to be difficult. In fact, the 1977 Comprehensive Plan found a surplus of retail property with a population of 86,800 people in 1976.
c. Manufacturing Uses
There are a few vacant Industrial sites and buildings within the Millwood neighborhood. These sites and buildings are of the newer "industrial park" variety and can be expected to be occupied and/or developed within a comparatively short time frame. Vacant Industrial sites of the older variety are more numerous. Several of these older style factories can be found within the Eastside, Northside, and Edison neighborhoods.
d. Institutional Uses
The only significant vacant Institutional use is the former Blakeslee Psychiatric Hospital in the West Douglas neighborhood. The East Campus of Western Michigan University is only partially utilized; however, WMU has significant renovation plans for the East Campus over the next several years. There are a couple of vacant school properties throughout the City, but most have been converted to other uses or are scheduled for demolition.