Board of Commissioners

Purchase Development Rights (PDR)

History of the PDR Effort in Kent County

In his January 2000 State of the County address, Board of Commissioners Chair Steve Heacock outlined several initiatives, one of which established the Urban Sprawl subcommittee. Led by Commissioner Tom Postmus, the subcommittee's mission was to learn how county government can impact urban sprawl and to recommend a position regarding urban sprawl to the County Board of Commissioners.

barn and tree

After months of collecting information and interviewing local residents and experts, the subcommittee brought its report and recommendations to the Board of Commissioners in September 2001. The committee defined urban sprawl as the rapid urbanization of rural areas and green space, and recommended the following to the Board:

  • The County should work closely with the Grand Valley Metro Council (GVMC) on the Blueprint II initiative.
  • The County should establish a Green Space Preservation Program, including the protection of productive farmland.
  • County staff should work with local units of government to maximize residential density adjacent to County parks.
  • Kent County should engage in educating residents about local sprawl issues and impacts on the community.
  • Kent County should establish consistent countywide standards for stormwater drainage and sanitary sewer systems.
  • The Board of Commissioners should support the United Growth for Kent County initiative with a resolution of support.

As part of the green space preservation recommendation, the Board of Commissioners approved the establishment of a Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) program. Two citizen committees, the PDR Workgroup and Taskforce, were established to develop a proposal for the structure of a Kent County PDR Program. David Skjaerlund and Stacy Sheridan with Rural Partners of Michigan were contracted to facilitate the development of a PDR program. In addition, Grand Valley Metro Council was contracted to provide technical assistance to this effort.

Kent County PDR Workgroup Members

David Bee, West Michigan Regional Planning Commission
Nancy Benner, Grattan Township Planning Commissioner
Carlton Blough, Producer, Lowell Township
Linda Bradford Anderson, Bradford Dairy, Sparta Township
Rick Chapla, The Right Place Program, Inc.
Tom Fehsenfeld, Crystal Flash
Sister Maureen Geary, Grand Rapids Catholic Diocese
Denny Heffron, Heffron Farms and Grattan Township Trustee
Cindy Heinbeck, Alpine Township Supervisor and Producer
Jay Hoekstra, Grand Valley Metro Council
Commissioner Jack Horton
Nelda Johnson, Alpine Township Resident
Steve Langworthy, Langworthy Strader LeBlanc and Associates, Inc.
Lori Larsen, Center for Environmental Study
Sue Levandoski, MSU Extension, United Growth for Kent County – Staff
Cynthia Price, Timberland RC&D
Milt Rohwer, Frey Foundation
Erika Rosebrook, Kent County – Staff
Terry Sanford, Nedervaled Associates
Stacy Sheridan, Rural Partners of Michigan – Facilitator
David Skjaerlund, Rural Partners of Michigan – Facilitator
Sharon Steffens, Alpine Township Trustee and Producer
Julie Stoneman, Land Conservancy of West Michigan
Steve Utic, USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service
David Veenstra, Grand Rapids Resident
Kendra Wills, MSU Extension, United Growth for Kent County – Staff

Kent County PDR Taskforce Members

Keith Anderson, Sparta Township Resident
Tom Antor, Citizens for Managed Growth, Sparta
Judy Barnes, Home and Building Association of Greater Grand Rapids
Betty Blase, Kent / MSU Extension
Glenn Borre J.D., Borre, Peterson, Fowler & Reens
Andy Bowman, Grand Valley Metro Council
Tom Cary, West Michigan Environmental Action Council
Rod Denning, Robert B, Annis Water Resources Institute at GVSU
George Haga, Alpine Township Supervisor
Don Hilton Sr., Gaines Township Supervisor
David Jager, Kent County Assessor
Jim May, Kent County Farm Bureau President
Herold Metternick Jr, Producer, Lowell Township
Ruth Ann Metternick, Producer, Lowell Township
Marilynn Momber, Michigan Farmers Union
Commissioner Tom Postmus
Rusty Richter, Field and Stream Realty
Julie Rietberg, Grand Rapids Association of Realtors
Elaine Salisbury, Grattan Township Resident, Land Conservancy of West Michigan
Dean Salisbury, Grattan Township Farmland and Open Space Committee
Craig Sattler, Home and Building Association of Greater Grand Rapids
Jessica Schmiedicke, Aquinas College Student
Bonnie Shupe, Cannon Township Clerk
Gene Szpeinski, AJS Realty, GRAR, HBAGGR
Alan Vanderberg, Kent County
Herb Vanderbilt, Lowell Township
Louis Waayenberg, Producer, Gaines Township
Mike Wenkel, Michigan Farm Bureau
Marsha Wilcox, Vergennes Township Open Space Committee