Open Space Committee

Purpose and Mission Statement

A majority of Vergennes Township residents have repeatedly sent a clear message that retaining the rural character of our area is a top priority. At the same time, it is just as clear and important to recognize that landowners must retain the right to do with their land as they wish, consistent with existing laws and zoning regulations. The Open Space Committee of Vergennes Township is a volunteer citizen committee approved by the Township board. The committee is charged by the board to find ways to preserve its rural character as the Township continues to change. The committee recognizes that increased development in Vergennes Township is inevitable and the need to engage people with various viewpoints is imperative.

The Mission of the Open Space Citizens Committee of Vergennes Township is to promote protection of the township’s rural character, open spaces and natural areas, while respecting property rights and enhancing property value.

The committee will work toward this goal by:
  • Promoting open space protection through conventional and innovative planning and zoning methods.  
  • Promoting education of residents regarding options for protection the township’s rural character, open space and natural habitats. 
  • Assisting the township in recognizing opportunities, should they arise, when the township can play a role in protecting or enhancing open space.
  • Providing landowners with options to protect open space while also enhancing property values.
  • Identifying open spaces and natural areas with special scenic or natural features.
  • Promoting voluntary preservation and enhancement of natural habitats.
  • Promoting use of existing and new voluntary state programs for protecting agricultural and open space land uses.
  • Promoting establishment of recreational areas and walkways.
  • Working with other organizations with similar goals.
What do we want our growing community to Look Like?

Please click here to download the Final Report. A study of the area South and East of Lowell High School.

The Open Space Citizen Committee of Vergennes Township has been busy with several initiatives. We’ve worked hard to obtain funding for a Natural Features Inventory of the township, which is a clear “next step.” The purpose of a Natural Features Inventory is to
identify particularly interesting and valuable natural features in the township. The value is to assist with long-term planning, which will enable Vergennes to have every opportunity to retain its rural character for future generations.

The cost of the project is $11,495, and we are pleased to announce that funding has been secured. The Frey Foundation challenged Vergennes Township to a matching grant; each will pay $1,250. The Wege Foundation has granted $1,500. The Lowell Area Community Fund said “yes” to a request for $5,000. And the Charles Evenson Fund of the Grand Rapids Community Fund has committed the final $2,495.

In coming months, landowners may hear from someone from Calvin College requesting permission to conduct a biological inventory of their property. You are welcome to invite them in or not – your choice. Historically, most people are glad to learn what trained biologists can tell them about the biodiversity of their land. We trust you’ll understand and appreciate the benefits of this information to you. As part of the entire process, a scenic inventory is also being taken, with an assessment done during each season of the year. This inventory will not involve private property. The data collection and pictures will be taken from public roads.

If you support what we’re doing, please consider joining the committee or contacting us so we can “keep you in the loop” with occasional communications. The committee meets at 7:00 PM at the township hall the last Wednesday of most months (see Township website for complete list). If you can’t join us, let us know of your support or contact us any time through Mari Stone, Township Clerk, (616) 897-5671 x2, or