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Recent Spring Lake Rotary News
Joe Wallin spoke to the club after he was introduced by Jess Garrison.  He visited the club on this subject a couple of years ago with his entity “70 times 7.”  Joe’s group became independent on January 1, 1977 and on January 1, 2018 has merged his former group with Fresh Coast Alliance which is based in the Muskegon area.  Joe’s focus is drug and alcohol addiction and Fresh Coast extends their efforts to the complication of criminal records which result.
The Program, for which I subbed as Scribe for Randy White, who was away on his annual LOST WEEKEND, with high school friends who can still remember where they were, involved a former local as the presenter.  The subject involved a BIG coming concept of downsized dwellings for mostly mature folks and younger folks, along with being more affordable and scaled to available land served by utilities.  The enterprise is locally (West Michigan) named URBANEER and is operated by Bruce and Brenda Thompson and David Allen.  There is a background experience with Rockford Construction, but now involves being on the front end of Compact Homes, as being engineered by Champion Homes of Liverpool, PA.  The presenter was Lydia Hatton, who I had to search my memory to recall when she was a youngster enjoying sailing at the SL Yacht Club, being one of the many Hatton’s who matriculated to various careers and places.  Lydia is associated with the business of compact housing, through her affiliation with the owners of URBANEER.
The History of Compact Homes is somewhat recent and it is still evolving through Architects and Community Planners (See Cerf and McDonough) because society is looking for more compact living quarters.  The age of the McMansion seems over and in Europe and the US people seem to be looking for housing that fills their direct needs of shelter, comfort, and refuge, but not the need to make a statement as to their financial attributes, or family size.  Finances are more difficult to come by to pay for a large home, and there are fewer people in a typical household, especially with mature folks and X and Z generation between age 21 and 35.   So, why waste land and money on big homes that do not fit what 50% of the general population desires to live in, for themselves and a family?
The design concept of compact housing can be traced to the old catalogue displays of Sears Housing, which provided basic housing to the mass population, at affordable prices.  Going forward into the 2020’s, there might not be a Sears Home, but there are compact homes (750 sq.ft +\-) that have the ability to slide different modules into the construction process for kitchens, bathrooms, storage, gathering rooms, and bedrooms (think Murphy Bed) so space is different depending upon the owner’s choices, and the needs of the family occupying the home.  Rather than a larger 1800 sq. ft rancher, or 2400 sq. ft two story, the Compact Home design can accommodate, with a basement, 3 bedrooms, a game room, the typical kitchen, laundry area, bathrooms (2+) storage, and eating/gathering area.  This can be done with top of the line fit and finish in the modules, or average level fit and finish, or low cost basics.   All by substituting the size and quality of the finished product module. 
If a typical compact home has a front door, a side entry, some windows with a slider to a patio, and a front porch, on a 25 foot by 35 foot foundation, with a full or partial basement, then depending on the cost of the modules, excluding the lot, the home could be delivered, erected as to the exterior, placement of the pre-chosen modules, and plumbed and wired (for everything in an internet age) for a range from perhaps $200 to +/- 15% per sq.ft. unless extremely expensive fit and finishes were desired.   The lot would possibly be less expensive than the standard of approximately $50,000 today as up to 4 compact homes could be situated nicely on a standard 66x100 foot city lot.   Two 2 car garages could be included on the 4 home compound, as in the future many people will choose to not have their own personal vehicle, but will likely want to call the electric self-driving vehicle (SDV) for necessary longer distance transport, with use of the now available Dial-a Ride for shorter distances.   Home delivery of food staples will be much more common in the future as the mature users find the convenience better than the weekly effort to shop.
An amazing statistic, but coming within ten years, is that about 70% of home occupants in the aggregate will be single, childless, or over age 55.   The internet will provide most information, access to the rest of the world, and AI will assist the homeowner with all the usual tasks…cleaning, medical info, social, daily schedules, emergency connections, contacts for any required maintenance and upkeep, and similar routine matters of home occupancy. 
Lydia stated that a hint of things occurring is that Builders are not being overwhelmed with new building of homes projects.  The typical 1960’s style subdivision is not being built today, because there is no assurance that if it is built, for 2000 sq.ft standard ranch style/2 story multi bedroom homes, that they shall come to buy them.  One big issue is affordability since single family 2000 sq. ft homes with the lot and full utilities costs over $400,000 to build and there is no profit left to the Builder when building to a spec home.  Local units of government have not caught up with the trend in Compact Homes, land use and fill in opportunities.  That typically will change when zoning for single family homes is eliminated, as has occurred in parts of Grand Rapids.   Homeowners of the future will want to be closer to social opportunities, public services, work, friends, and internet opportunities that reduce required upkeep duties. 
Lydia concluded her presentation with the observation that when government reacts to the compact homes that are desired, the availability will become more common, communities can offer everyone affordable housing at the level they desire,  and the current shortage of compact affordable homes will correct itself to create lower cost quality housing as efficiencies begin to occur in the SMART designs that incorporate Integrated Modular Designs (MODES) so 500 sq.ft. will actually be the norm for a single occupant living unit, which will lead to development of an Accessory Dwelling Unit on a larger single family site existing today (think the mother-in-law or granny unit).   She concluded that Home is where the Heart is, for all things Emotional, Social, Environmental, Occupational, Financial and Spiritual.  With trends occurring for Compact Housing, and at a rapidly increasing pace, keep our collective eyes open since it is likely we each will want to have a choice for this evolving housing as we progress along the path of Life…Thanks Lydia for the enlightenment, and your enthusiasm in providing the information about the trends occurring in our lives.
                The club celebrated the changing-of-the-guard Friday as outgoing President, Dave Stocking, welcomed incoming President, John Nash.  The club is indebted to Dave for the fine job during his term which was accomplished despite unforeseen family medical issues. Great job Dave!
                Dave was presented with a Paul Harris Award as a token of the club’s appreciation.  Dave acknowledges Brad MacLachlan for the special help he provided last year.
                Incoming President John outlined his committee heads and gave pins to each of his officers.  In his first official act, he changed the name of the “Club Service Committee” to “Club Social Activities.”  All of the clubs party mongers approved.  So it’s thanks Dave, Good luck John.
                Many of us are familiar with Gracious Grounds, the group founded and spearheaded by Sandy Baker.  Gracious Grounds is a 501(C)(3) organization whose mission is housing for special needs adults to allow them to live with a certain degree of independence.  Sandy is a former special education teacher who was later a principal at Holmes Elementary school.  Sandy has a special needs child and she put aside her public education career to focus on her son Eric.
                At first her organization was involved in societal integration with various jobs that the participants could do, but all still lived at home.  Sandy wanted to expand the program to allow these young adults a chance to make some of their own living decisions and to provide a respite for parents and family.
                When we last heard from Sandy, Gracious Grounds just purchased 1515 Despelder in Grand Haven.  That building houses six residents and a live in Resident Advisor.  The age range of residents is 19-60.  The rent is $950.00 per month including utilities for a 12 x 25 foot room.  The residents are all on Social Security Disability.  Their work income is setoff against those benefits.  The families make up the difference.
                Recently, a new apartment building was built across the street.  After some haggling, the owners agreed to rent it to Gracious Grounds.  There are ten apartments.  The Resident Advisor takes one unit and the other nine are rented.  They are 1000 square foot units with kitchens.  The residents are responsible for cooking their own breakfast and lunches.  They also must keep their unit neat, and do their own laundry.  The rent for these units is $995.00 and includes utilities and the dinner meal.
                A third site is currently under construction.  Local Developer, Chad Bush, has offered one of six apartment buildings being constructed on the former Bill Tysman property behind D&W in Grand Haven.  This building is not yet complete and there are spaces available.  The units are one and two bedroom apartments.  The singles go for $1,000.00 plus utilities.  The two bedroom units will house two residents with the master bedroom going for $750.00 and the smaller bedroom for $700.00.  The utilities are shared equally.  This building will serve 35 residents.
                There is a fourth option in the future which is currently vacant land in Ferrysburg.
                What is unique about Gracious Grounds opportunity is that it gives these individuals the opportunity to create their own life which is closer to what the general population enjoys rather than have one created for them which is typical for a group home setting.  Gracious Grounds is not licensed by the State.  As a result, the project is not funded by any governmental agency.  It is funded by rents and donations.  There is an annual fundraiser which generates $90,000.00 on average; and there are other donations as well.  JSJ for instance has provided a one-half match grant which could generate $37,500.00 for Gracious Grounds.
                Thank you to Sandy for her energy and initiative in this project.   It has been well embraced by the community and we look forward to its continuity and expansion.
Lauren Shippy, daughter of Robert and Cheri Shippy, has been named Spring Lake High School’s Rotary Student of the Month for April.
Club Executives & Directors
President Elect
John Nash
Aug 23, 2019
Club Proposals
Birthdays & Anniversaries
Member Birthdays:
  • James Moore
    August 6
  • Brad MacLachlan
    August 12
  • Barbara Lee VanHorssen
    August 13
  • Virginia Ryan
    August 15
  • John Nash
    August 22
  • Lisa Ashcraft
    August 24
  • Brian Humphrey
    August 31
  • James Bos
    Linda Bos
    August 2
  • Bryan Paul
    Emily Paul
    August 9
  • Ed Grafton
    Laura Grafton
    August 19
  • Evan Llewellyn
    August 19
  • James Humphrey
    August 19
  • Virginia Ryan
    August 20
  • Mike Cotterall
    Mary Cotterall
    August 22
  • Robert Garrison
    Jill Garrison
    August 23
  • Jason Kik
    Kim Kik
    August 24
  • James Moore
    August 29
Join Date:
  • David Rhem
    August 4, 2000
    19 years
  • Ed Grafton
    August 6, 2004
    15 years
  • Dave Stocking
    August 7, 2015
    4 years
August 23rd
Aug 23, 2019
August 16th
Aug 16, 2019