OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS

February 14, 2006

Agenda

CHEMICAL BANK - SIGN DEVIATION - 6080 WEST MAIN STREET - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-14-288-060 AND PART OF 3905-14-288-070)

LUYENDYK - SETBACK VARIANCE - 920 SOUTH 4TH STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-20-430-049)

NIEWOONDER - ACCESSORY BUILDING REVIEW - 10147 WEST MAIN STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-18-430-050)

A special meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Zoning Board of Appeals on Tuesday, February 14, 2006, commencing at approximately 3:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Millard Loy
James Turcott
Dave Bushouse
Grace Borgfjord

MEMBER ABSENT: Duane McClung

Also present were Jodi Stefforia, Planning Director; Mary Lynn Bugge, Township Planner; James W. Porter, Township Attorney; and eight other interested persons.

Call to Order

The Chairman called the meeting to order at approximately 3:00 p.m.

Minutes

The Chairman said that the first item on the Agenda was the minutes of January 24, 2006. Mr. Turcott made a motion to approve the minutes as submitted. Ms. Borgfjord seconded the motion. The Chairman called for a vote, and the motion passed unanimously.

CHEMICAL BANK - SIGN DEVIATION - 6080 WEST MAIN STREET - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-14-288-060 AND PART OF 3905-14-288-070)

The Chairman announced that the next item on the Agenda was a request from Chemical Bank for a sign deviation from Section 76.170. He said the subject property was located at 6080 West Main Street, Parcel Nos. 3905-14-288-060 and part of 3905-14-288-070. The Chairman called for a report from the Planning Department. Prior to the submission of the report from Ms. Bugge, Ms. Stefforia informed the Board that her husband was involved in the application, and therefore, she would not participate in the discussions. Ms. Bugge submitted her report to the Zoning Board of Appeals dated February 14, 2006, and the same is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Bugge explained to the Board that the applicant was seeking two wall signs not to exceed the permitted sign area of 50 square feet, where only one wall sign was permitted. Ms. Bugge explained that the applicant had been granted a special exception use and site plan approval for a 3,100 square foot bank in the "R-3" District on September 22, 2005. She said the property was located on the north side of West Main Street west of 10th Street.

Ms. Bugge said office buildings were permitted one 50 square foot sign, but the applicant was seeking two walls signs with the combined square footage not to exceed 50 square feet. Ms. Bugge presented the Board with a drawing, using the overhead projector, showing the proposed configuration and location of the proposed wall signs.

Ms. Bugge then took the Zoning Board of Appeals through the standards of approval for a sign deviation as set forth on page 2 of her report. The Chairman asked if there were any questions of Ms. Bugge. Hearing none, he asked to hear from the applicant.

Mr. Michael Mair, on behalf of Chemical Bank Shoreline, introduced himself to the Board. Mr. Mair explained that the applicant had changed the configuration of its site plan at the request of the Planning Commission, resulting in the drive-through facing south. He said the property to the east was much higher, which would impact the visibility for wall signs on the subject property. Mr. Mair also pointed out, if there are multiple tenants in the building, each tenant would be allowed a wall sign equal to 25 square feet. He said, given the high level of traffic on West Main Street, and the fact that the wall signs would not exceed the total wall sign area permitted, that the sign deviation would not hinder the area. He added that the granting of the deviation would enhance the Bank's visibility for customers looking for its location.

The Chairman asked if a ground sign would also be permitted. Ms. Bugge said that it would be. Mr. Mair said that the proposed ground sign would be in compliance with the Township Ordinance.

Mr. Bushouse said he understood that Chemical Bank was located next to a two-story home, but that was the zoning district in which it chose to be located. He emphasized that there was a strong desire on the Township's part to want to minimize signage in this area. Mr. Bushouse said that they did not want the area to appear like Westnedge Avenue, and that adding additional signs would defeat that purpose. Mr. Mair pointed out that they were not seeking additional sign area, just better exposure along West Main Street. Mr. Bushouse said he thought this request was similar to the Educational Community Credit Union wanting additional signage on 9th Street. Ms. Bugge pointed out that, if there were multiple tenants, they would each be allowed a 25 square foot wall sign. Mr. Bushouse said he understood that, as well as the applicant's concerns, but he also understood the Township's desire to minimize signage as much as possible.

Ms. Borgfjord asked if they would be adding any additional signs for an ATM. Mr. Mair said he did not believe that there would be any signs other than directional signs or a small logo sign. He noted that none of the directional signs would be lighted.

Mr. Turcott asked if the wall signs would illuminated. Mr. Mair said they would be.

Ms. Borgfjord asked how far back from the road right-of-way the signs would be located. Mr. Mair said more than 150 feet from the center of the right-of-way.

Mr. Turcott inquired as to why the ground sign would not be a sufficient signage to alert people to the applicant's business. Mr. Mair said it would help, but at 40 or 50 m.p.h., he thought they needed additional signage to assist customers in locating their facility.

The Chairman asked if there were any comments from the audience, and hearing none, called for Board deliberations. The Chairman asked what the size of the permitted freestanding sign would be. Ms. Bugge said 60 square feet. He then said that he did not think additional illuminated signage was necessarily warranted, particularly given the fact that it is located in a "R-3" District.

Mr. Bushouse said he was concerned about the applicant's request. He said that the Township had tried very diligently to keep the heavy signage and lighting limited to those areas east of U. S. 131, at 9th Street, or maybe in the cluster area closer to Almena Township. He said that they had restricted signage in this area because it was in the "R-3" District, a transitional area, which should look more residential in design and function, including signs.

Ms. Borgfjord said she disagreed with Mr. Bushouse. She said that she thought putting up two 25 square foot signs would be less intrusive in the area than one 50 square foot wall sign. She also said she thought this request was different, given that the building was set back 150 feet from the road, and it was necessary to identify the building.

Mr. Turcott asked again for assurance from the applicant that there would be no additional requests for signage for ATM's or signs similar thereto. Mr. Mair said there would be two drive lane signs, but they would not be illuminated. He said he agreed with Ms. Borgfjord that, if the applicant felt compelled to optimize the wall sign to 50 square feet, that sign would be more intrusive and more detrimental to the residential area.

Mr. Turcott said he simply did not want to see any additional requests for signage if this request was granted. However, he thought that two wall signs of 25 square feet would be less intrusive and less detrimental to the area than one 50 square foot wall sign.

The Chairman said he understood what the Board members were saying. Given that, he said he could live with two 25 square foot signs, so long as there were not any additional signs for the ATM or other similar signs. Ms. Bugge pointed out that they would be allowed small directional signs so long as they were incidental and not legible from off site. The Board members indicated that they did not have a problem with those types of signs.

The Chairman asked if there was further discussion, and hearing none, said he would entertain a motion. Ms. Borgfjord made a motion to grant the sign deviation to allow the applicant to construct two walls signs, not to exceed a combined total of 50 square feet, with the understanding that all other signs must be in compliance with the Township Ordinance. Mr. Turcott seconded the motion. The Chairman called for a vote. The motion passed 3-to-1 with Mr. Bushouse in opposition.

LUYENDYK - SETBACK VARIANCE - 920 SOUTH 4TH STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-20-430-049)

The Chairman stated that the next item was a request from Robert Luyendyk to consider his request for a variance from Section 64.200 to allow a reduced building setback for an accessory building. He said the property was located at 920 S. 4th Street, Parcel No. 3905-20-430-049. The Chairman asked for a report from the Planning Department. Ms. Bugge presented her report to the Zoning Board of Appeals dated February 14, 2006, and the same is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Bugge explained that the applicant was asking for relief from the rear setback requirement for an accessory building. She said, per Section 64.200, the setback is 10 feet or the height of the building, whichever is greater. She said, in this case, the applicant was building a 17 foot high building, and therefore needed a 17 foot setback.

Ms. Bugge told the Board that the applicant began construction of the building prior to requesting a building permit and that the accessory building was placed only 10 feet from the rear line instead of the 17 feet required. She said the applicant was contending that, due to the location of another accessory building, septic system, pool and trees, that he could not meet the setback requirements.

Ms. Bugge then went through the standards of approval for a nonuse variance as set forth in her report.

The Chairman asked if there were any questions. Hearing none, he asked to hear from the applicant. Mr. Robert Luyendyk introduced himself to the Board. He referenced the overhead drawing used by Ms. Bugge, indicating that the low area near his septic field was not suitable for construction of the building. He said that he originally was planning on adding on to the barn, but then decided that he did not want to add on to the existing building. He said he originally planned a 10' x 10' building, but during construction, decided to increase it to roughly 19.5' x 20'. He said he was hoping to clean up the yard and put all of his pool supplies in the smaller accessory building. He said the larger barn was currently being used for his building supplies used in his business.

Mr. Turcott asked if he could rotate the building. Mr. Luyendyk said, given the building dimensions, he would not achieve any additional setback. The only way to possibly to do it would be to put a flat roof on the structure.

Ms. Borgfjord asked how far from the original barn the subject building would be located. He said approximately 14 feet. She asked where the subject accessory building was located in relation to the septic system. Mr. Luyendyk said he was not quite sure, but thought it could only be moved forward five feet before he reached the edge of the septic field.

Ms. Stefforia asked when he moved to the property. Mr. Luyendyk said approximately seven years ago.

Ms. Bugge asked Mr. Luyendyk why he did not use the existing barn to store his pool materials. He said it was because he was storing shingles for his business, as well as other items, and the barn was so full that he had no more room in the barn.

Attorney Porter asked what type of business Mr. Luyendyk ran. Mr. Luyendyk said he had a construction business. Attorney Porter informed him that he could not legally operate a business or use an accessory building on his property for storage of building materials. At this point, Mr. Luyendyk said there was mainly junk in the barn and that he only stored items that he brought back from job sites. Ms. Stefforia said he could only use the subject accessory building for a business if he obtained a special use permit allowing that. Again, Mr. Luyendyk said generally he brings materials back from job sites and that the accessory building is not really for his business; it is just materials that could be used on site or elsewhere, and he did not want to throw them out.

Attorney Porter said he was a bit dumbfounded that Mr. Luyendyk would not realize that he needed to get a building permit. Mr. Luyendyk said originally he thought he was going to build a 10' x 10' building and planned on getting a building permit, but was approached on his property by the Building Official before he had an opportunity to do so.

Mr. Bushouse said the Township has always been concerned about uses of accessory buildings. He said a lot of people move to the Township and want to build a large building and then use it for business uses. He said that it why the Township has placed the restrictions it has on the use of accessory buildings and limited their use to residential uses. Mr. Bushouse pointed out that, as a contractor, Mr. Luyendyk should have known he had to obtain a building permit before constructing the proposed building. Mr. Bushouse said he saw absolutely no basis to grant a variance in this matter, and the fact that the building was partially built was not a justification for granting such a variance.

The Chairman asked if what he had constructed to date was post and beam or pole barn construction. Mr. Luyendyk said it was post and beam, but that there was no concrete floor installed yet, just the footings.

Mr. Luyendyk asked why is was such a big issue if none of the neighbors complained. Attorney Porter explained to Mr. Luyendyk that a variance, simply put, is a permit to break the law. However, he said the Michigan courts have provided very strict criteria which the Board had to adhere to in determining whether a variance should be granted. In this case, it appeared that he did not meet any of the criteria for granting a variance. Attorney Porter noted that Mr. Luyendyk had placed the Board in a very difficult position, given that he had started construction before making his request or getting a building permit, but that the Board was required to follow the law in determining whether to grant a variance.

The Chairman asked if there were any comments from the audience, and hearing none, closed the public portion of the meeting. The Chairman called for Board deliberations.

The Chairman began by saying that the Board had denied similar requests five times and that to grant such a request would open the Township up to similar requests which could not be legally supported. Mr. Bushouse again said he saw no reason for the granting of a variance. He pointed out that if Mr. Luyendyk had applied for a building permit ahead of time, the matter could have been addressed and dealt with at that time. Ms. Borgfjord said she agreed, as did Mr. Turcott.

Mr. Bushouse made a motion to deny the request for a variance, noting that there was no support for a variance in the record. Ms. Borgfjord seconded the motion. The Chairman called for a vote on the motion, and the motion passed unanimously.

NIEWOONDER - ACCESSORY BUILDING REVIEW - 10147 WEST MAIN STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-18-430-050)

The Chairman said the next item was a request by Mr. Niewoonder for approval of a 4,800 square foot accessory building on property where there is already an accessory building that exceeds the ground floor area of the dwelling. He said the property is located at 10147 West Main Street, Parcel No. 3905-18-430-050. The Chairman called for the Planning Department's report. Ms. Stefforia submitted her report to the Zoning Board of Appeals dated February 14, 2006, and the same is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Stefforia explained that the Zoning Board of Appeals had granted site plan approval for a 4,800 square foot accessory building in April of 2005 on the subject property. She said the subject property contains approximately nine acres and a home consisting of 2,152 square feet. She said, because the existing accessory building exceeds the ground floor area of the dwelling, the proposed second building had to be reviewed by the Zoning Board of Appeals, pursuant to Section 78.820. Ms. Stefforia then provided an overhead showing the approximate location of the existing buildings and the proposed building on site.

Ms. Stefforia pointed out that, in 2005 when the Board had approved the first accessory building, the applicant indicated that he wanted the accessory building to store his motor home, boat, bulldozer, trucks and other personal items. The applicant said, at that time, there would be no commercial use of the structure, and it would only be used to house his personal equipment. Ms. Stefforia said that this second proposed 4,800 square foot building, which would bring the accessory building footage up to 9,600 square feet, which was four times the square footage of the dwelling. She said the applicant proposed the building be used to store two boats, two motor homes, one bulldozer, three tractors, lawn equipment, snowmobiles, three enclosed trailers, two car trailers and an extensive car collection.

Ms. Stefforia asked that the Board consider Section 78.810 B of the Ordinance, which indicates that accessory buildings may not be used for "purposes other than those accessory and customarily incidental to permitted residential use of the property by the owner or occupant of same." Ms. Stefforia asked that the Board consider the proposed items to be stored in the building and discuss with the applicant which items he owns and also consider at what point the principal use of the property is no longer residential use but storage.

The Chairman asked if there were any questions. Mr. Bushouse asked why they had turned down Mr. Nagle. Ms. Stefforia said, in that case, it was because of the commercial nature of the proposed use of the hangar. Mr. Bushouse asked for confirmation that Mr. Nagle's request had been near Mr. Niewoonder's property. Ms. Stefforia indicated that was correct.

Mr. Niewoonder introduced himself to the Board. He again reviewed with the Board the proposed accessory building location in relation to the existing home and first accessory building. He said, in his defense, he could see 15 large accessory buildings that exceeded his home and accessory building, as well as the proposed accessory building. He said many of those homes with large accessory buildings were on one-acre lots and that the combined square footage of the home and accessory building exceeded 8,000 square feet.

Mr. Niewoonder said he would only put his personal property in the accessory buildings. Attorney Porter asked what Mr. Niewoonder did for a living. Mr. Niewoonder said he was an electrician, but that none of his business equipment would be stored in the accessory buildings. The Chairman asked him what he used the bulldozer for. Mr. Niewoonder said to plow his driveway.

Ms. Borgfjord asked about the proposed location of the second accessory building and the doors in relationship to the surrounding properties.

The Chairman asked if there were any comments from the audience.

Dr. Mike Grammar introduced himself to the Zoning Board of Appeals. He said he owned a house east of the subject property. He pointed out that the proposed location for the new accessory building would be almost directly west of a home immediately north of his property. He said he was very concerned about property values and the proposed use of the storage accessory buildings. He was also concerned that the accessory buildings might be used to store aircraft for friends or acquaintances of Mr. Niewoonder. He said, while he understood people wanting to have collections of things, he thought that the proposal was a significant one. He said, if the Board did grant the request, he would hope that the Board would not grant any additional accessory buildings on site.

Mr. Turcott said he was quite concerned that the proposed use of the property. He said the proposal was not consistent with the definition of accessory building. He said he did not believe that 9,600 square feet of storage was customarily incidental to a residential use of the property. He said it was reaching the point where it was no longer of residential use, but was, in fact, storage. He said there was no question in his mind that, if the Board permitted the additional accessory building, the subject property would consist of more storage facilities than it would a residential use in the "RR" District.

Ms. Borgfjord said that he certainly had a large parcel, but he was asking for a tremendous amount of storage. Mr. Niewoonder said he could reduce the size if requested. The Chairman said that the Board would get back to Mr. Niewoonder, if necessary.

Mr. Bushouse pointed out to Mr. Niewoonder that the houses and hangars surrounding the airport were part of a developed plat and were designed to accommodate such facilities. He said he was very concerned about the Zoning Board of Appeals setting a precedent to allow such large storage facilities in one area and deny them in another. He said that lot size was immaterial to him, but in this case, there is no justification to allow additional accessory buildings on the subject site regardless of the size of the lot.

Attorney Porter asked for clarification in the record; he asked if what Mr. Bushouse was saying is that the large houses and hangars were justified because they were developed in conjunction with the airport. Ms. Stefforia pointed out that it was done as an open space development, taking into account that the large buildings would be located along side the runway. Attorney Porter then asked Mr. Bushouse if what he was saying was that there were distinguishing factors between the airport subdivision and the applicant's proposal. Mr. Bushouse said that was exactly what he was saying. Ms. Borgfjord agreed.

The Chairman said that everyone has a lot of stuff, and if there is not adequate storage on site, they have to find an appropriate location and have it stored elsewhere. In this case, there simply was not a justification. He said he thought the airport was unique and did not necessarily justify larger structures as part of an unplatted development.

Mr. Turcott asked what the special criteria were. Ms. Stefforia pointed out that the airport was part of an open space community and developed to accommodate such large structures, unlike other residential or unplatted developments. The Chairman said he thought Skyview Estates was unique but did not warrant spreading that amount of square footage for storage to other properties.

Mr. Bushouse made a motion to deny the request based upon the facts and statements in the record. Mr. Turcott seconded the motion. The Chairman called for a vote on the motion, and the motion passed unanimously.

Other Business

None.

Adjournment

There being no further business to come before the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Board adjourned at approximately 4:15 p.m.

OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP
ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS

By:
Millard Loy, Chairman

By:
James Turcott

By:
Grace Borgfjord

By:
Duane McClung

Minutes Prepared:
February 20, 2006

Minutes Approved:
, 2006