Industry Articles & News

New User-Friendly Form Based Code Wins a National Award for the City of Hudsonville

The recently completed City of Hudsonville Downtown Zoning Ordinance was awarded the 2011 Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties.  The project, a collaboration between Ottawa County, the City of Hudsonville and Nederveld is a highly graphic, user-friendly form based code that will assist Hudsonville in implementing a citizen supported suburban retrofit vision for their downtown.

The City of Hudsonville was selected to participate in Ottawa County’s Urban Smart Growth Demonstration Project.  The project was developed to demonstrate that urban communities have the ability to attract and retain new and existing residents despite trends occurring in a majority of urban areas where residents are moving out of the cities and into more rural places.  The primary goal of the project is to create a highly visual, graphics-based master plan and zoning ordinance that will improve the ability of Hudsonville, and ultimately other cities in the region, to effectively plan for future growth and development.  Nederveld was subsequently selected by the City of Hudsonville and the county as consultants for the project.

As the initial stage of this demonstration project Nederveld engaged the city’s citizens through dynamic public meetings in order to ascertain key elements for the future vision of Hudsonville.

These intensive meetings, held in conjunction with the Small Town Design Initiative at Michigan State University, lasted for six months and led to the crafting on an overall image for the city. This image was embraced by everyone involved, leading to a comprehensive community buy-in.

The second stage of this project entailed the creation of a Downtown Master Plan, including working with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) on making the divided highway Chicago Drive (M-21), which runs through downtown and currently separates the older portion of the city into two halves, more context-sensitive. Other key features of the downtown concept plan included creating a central green, establishing a finer-grain block structure, incorporating a train station, adding small scaled downtown retail, and maintaining selected existing buildings and Rights-of Way. The Downtown Master Plan has since been adopted and, in conjunction with an Architectural Design Elements Portfolio also created by Nederveld, has won several awards.

View the City of Hudsonville Master Plan Zoning Ordinance images here.