Grand Haven Tribune

October 26, 2016

The Grand Haven Tribune - A Michigan newspaper with comprehensive Local News and multi-media from all around West Michigan and the Lakeshore

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 0 of 11

"Ask us anything about your health. We've heard it all." Lisa Veach, FNP Schedule your appointment today: 616.847.2500 Women's Health TRIBUNE the GRAND HAVEN ★ SPRING LAKE ★ FERRYSBURG 75¢ WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2016 | | 23 PAGE 7 THE BIG # Points U-M football is favored to win by on Saturday CONNECT WITH US TOP 3 STORIES 'I'm focused on beating this' 1 Women sentenced for embezzling 2 Crockery Township saves dollars by converting old DNR vehicles into fire trucks 3 at THANK YOU John Liberty For being our FACEBOOK of the day! WEATHER Cloudy, cool BY JERACA VERBURG 50 37 HIGH LOW TOMORROW'S 2015 NEWSPAPER OF THE YEAR GALLOWAY TRIAL PUSHED BACK TO EARLY 2017 SEE STORY, PAGE 3 SL SWIM TEAM WRAPS UP REGULAR SEASON SEE STORY, PAGE 7 A 41-year-old Grand Haven man was sent to jail for a year after he pleaded no contest to a second- degree criminal sexual conduct charge. In exchange for the plea, other charges against Brandon Lee Wendt — first- and third-degree criminal sexual conduct — were dismissed. The female victim, who was a college student, said the man who dated her mother wanted her to think of him as a father figure. But then she was sexually attacked. Since that time, she said she has withdrawn from school and other social activity. "I've stopped trusting everyone," the victim told Judge Ed Post during a hearing Monday in Ottawa County Circuit Court. "I want my life back. I want not to be scared." The victim said Wendt shouldn't be allowed to consume alcohol "if drinking alcohol makes him feel like he has the right to force himself on girls." Wendt was also put on probation for five years, ordered not to have any contact with the victim and was ordered to register as a sex offender. Defense attorney John Moritz said his client had no criminal record prior to this event. "Brandon Wendt is a decent man who made one bad decision," Moritz said. GH man gets jail for sexual assault COURTS Township officials are inviting residents to a public engagement meeting to discuss the future of short-term residential rental laws. The forum is scheduled for 7-9 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1, at Spring Lake Middle School, 345 Hammond St. A group in favor of allowing short-term rentals, Citizens for the Protection of Property Rights, will meet at 7 p.m. tonight at Barber School. That meeting is not township-sponsored, according to Township Manager Gordon Gallagher. Gallagher said there are strong opinions on both sides. The issue surfaced when neighbors complained about the number of people occupying a short-term rental on the west side of the township on Lovell Park Avenue. "We want to talk about short- term rentals and get a sense from our community how they feel," Gallagher said. "I think there are two basic schools of thought. If you're just renting a home every week, all summer long, that's not really a residential use, it's a commercial use, therefor it should not be allowed in residential zones at all. The other side of that, we're just using it for residential use. It just so happens that we're renting it out. Why should one person be allowed to have four people staying in their house and I can't have four people staying in my house even though they're four different people every week." Some Realtors and property managers have voiced opposition to any potential new local legislation. Gallgher said the Township Board is willing to listen. He noted that just five years ago, vacation rental web sites such as VRBO and AirBNB were not an issue. "If people are coming to a home from out of town, they have no idea what the rules are for fireworks or burning," Gallagher said. "This is just a discussion. We're trying to get public input on the whole short-term rental housing issue." Gallagher said timing is everything, and he expects the board to make a decision on potential new legislation by the end of the year, because summer renters will be looking to make reservations in early 2017. "We would like to resolve this early enough so if the resolution is there are some limitations, everyone is aware," Gallagher said. "Or if the resolution is it's a commercial use and it's not allowed, people will know." Gallagher said it's possible there will be a complete ban on short-term rentals. He said other communities have come to similar conclusions. East Grand Rapids takes a position that short-term rentals are a commercial use, and not allowed in residential zoning. The City of Holland allows rental of a personal residence up to 14 days. "South Haven and Grand Haven allow short-term rentals with specific rules," Gallagher said. "They have rental registration, inspection or certification." Gallagher noted that it's a whole new world. "If you would have asked somebody about AirBNB five years ago, they would have said, 'what's that?' This whole thing Township to host short-term rental forum SPRING LAKE TOWNSHIP Tribune photo/Matt DeYoung Construction on the new driveways at the Health Pointe development are underway. DOCUMENTS SHOW SPECTRUM, HEALTH POINTE BEHIND CAMPAIGN MAILERS Tribune photo/Alex Doty This is what one of the campaign mailers being sent to township voters looks like. GRAND HAVEN TWP. — Have you received a mailer urging you to vote "Yes" on Grand Haven Township's upcoming zoning referendum? Documents filed with the Ottawa County Clerk's Office show that Spectrum Health and Health Pointe representatives are behind the group, Committee for Quality Healthcare Choices, which has sent out glossy mailers that urge people to vote "Yes" on the ballot referendum. "The goal of the committee is to conduct an informational and educational campaign regarding the zoning referendum," said Sam Moore, a political consultant with the committee. "There is a lot of misinformation being circulated throughout the community, and we want the voters to have as much information as possible regarding the facts of the zoning referendum when they vote on Nov. 8." The most recent campaign finance documents obtained from the Ottawa County Clerk's Office show Spectrum Health and Health Pointe have contributed a combined $31,485.08 to the committee, which was launched in March by two Spectrum Health employees. Listed expenses for the committee include $13,851.50 for legal fees paid to Warner Norcross & Judd LLP, and a $53 reimbursement for the post office box registration. Documents also show the committee was first organized using Spectrum and Health Pointe employee work addresses and emails, but later, an amended application was filed using home address information from the employees, which are in Grand Rapids and Spring Lake. The Grand Haven Township Citizens Voice group, which collected enough signatures earlier this year to place the zoning referendum on the November ballot, are critical of the handouts and the committee behind them. "This is a classic example of a large corporation outside the community using their money to buy an election and influence the vote. This group is a sham," Grand Haven Township resident Bob Brown said. "Their first filing listed Spectrum as their address and the two registered agent of this group are Spectrum employees — one who is the facility manager of Health Pointe." Representatives from North Ottawa Community Health System also weighed in on the mailers. "We were very surprised at what was uncovered in recent media stories about Spectrum Health's attempt to influence a local election in our community. Citizen's groups should be comprised of just that, taxpaying citizens, not corporations," NOCHS spokeswoman Jen VanSkiver said. "The lack of transparency is disturbing. The public has the right to know who is attempting to influence them." She noted that spending in DECISION 2016 Citizen's groups should be comprised of just that, taxpaying citizens, not corporations. The lack of transparency is disturbing." — NOCHS spokeswoman Jen VanSkiver Wendt BY BECKY VARGO $33K spent on mailers BY ALEX DOTY See MAILERS on PAGE 3 BY MARIE HAVENGA See RENTAL on PAGE 3

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Grand Haven Tribune - October 26, 2016
Grand Haven Tribune
Subscribe to the The Grand Haven Tribune e-edition and receive 2 weeks free.

Enter username and password below to login.

If you are not yet an e-edition subscriber, click "SUBSCRIBE NOW" below to complete the registration form and view subscription options. Our e-edition is available at a lower cost to print subscribers (registration is required).
Not currently a subscriber? SUBSCRIBE NOW!
Remember me
Forgot your username or password? click here