OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

PLANNING COMMISSION

 

January 26, 2006

Agenda

BUFORD - REZONING REQUEST PUBLIC HEARING - 6312 WEST MAIN STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-14-255-080)

KL AVENUE LANDFILL GROUP - SPECIAL EXCEPTION USE AND SITE PLAN REVIEW - 8443 WEST KL AVENUE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-21-405-008)

A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Planning Commission on Thursday, January 26, 2006, commencing at approximately 7:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall.

MEMBERS PRESENT: James Turcott
Deborah L. Everett
Terry Schley
Mike Smith
Lee Larson
Kathleen Garland-Rike
Fred Gould

MEMBERS ABSENT: None

Also present were Jodi Stefforia, Planning Director; Mary Lynn Bugge, Township Planner, and James W. Porter, Township Attorney; and approximately 25 other interested persons.

CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order at 7:05 p.m.

AGENDA

The Chairman asked if there were any changes to the Agenda. Hearing none, Mr. Schley made a motion to approve the Agenda, as submitted. The motion was seconded by Mr. Gould. The Chairman called for a vote on the motion, and the motion passed unanimously.

MINUTES

The Chairman said the minutes of January 12, 2006 were next on the Agenda. After a brief discussion, Mr. Schley moved to approve the minutes as submitted, and the motion was seconded by Mr. Smith. The Chairman called for a vote on the motion, and the motion passed unanimously.

BUFORD - REZONING REQUEST PUBLIC HEARING - 6312 WEST MAIN STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-14-255-080)

The Chairman stated that the Planning Commission was asked to conduct a public hearing on a request from Mr. Jim Buford to rezone the subject property located at 6312 West Main Street, Parcel No. 3905-14-255-080, from "R-2" Residence District to "R-3" Residence District or the 9th Street Focus Area Overlay Zone. The Chairman asked to hear from the Planning Department. Ms. Stefforia submitted her report to the Planning Commission dated January 26, 2006, and the same is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Stefforia indicated that the property was located on West Main and was currently zoned "R-2" Residence District. She said the applicant was requesting that the subject property be rezoned to "R-3" and the Planning Commission had expanded that request to also consider the 9th Street Focus Area Overlay zone. She said the property was located within an area identified as the 9th Street Focus Area, noting that the Overlay Zone allows limited office use, subject to specific design criteria. On the other hand, the "R-3" Residence District permits office use, as well as three-to-four-family dwellings and other nonresidential uses such as banks, child care centers and veterinarian clinics. She noted that the Overlay Zone would allow the existing underlying zoning uses, and therefore, in addition to residences in "R-2", office buildings are allowed as a special exception use.

Ms. Stefforia then took the Commission through a review of the surrounding properties, as well as an analysis of the 9th Street Focus Overlay Zone. Ms. Stefforia did note that public sewer and water were not available to the subject property, and therefore, if rezoned to the 9th Street Focus Overlay Zone, a variance would be required for development purposes.

Ms. Stefforia then took the Planning Commission through the factors in considering a rezoning request. In doing so, she noted that both the 9th Street Focus Area and rezoning to "R-3" were consistent with the Master Land Use Plan. In addition, she noted that rezoning to either district would not detrimentally impact traffic facilities or the natural characteristics of the area. However, she again noted that water and sewer were not available to the property, and therefore, the 9th Street Focus Area Overlay Zone, unlike the "R-3" Residence District, would require a variance. In her opinion, Ms. Stefforia thought that the rezoning to either district would not constitute a spot zone, and that the rezoning would be consistent with the mix of the residential, office and other limited nonresidential uses in the area. She noted that, although the rezoning may prompt additional requests, they would occur regardless of any action taken on the subject property. She also noted that in the last two years, West Main Street has begun to develop, including two financial institutions, which were recently developed or developing on nearby "R-3" residentially-zoned property.

The Chairman began by asking Ms. Stefforia where the sewer and water were located in relationship to the property. Ms. Stefforia noted that water was relatively close to the property, lying along West Main, just east of the property. She said that the sewer was located a considerable distance north of the property.

Mr. Schley asked if the subject property was rezoned to "R-3" verses Overlay Zone, what the difference in signage would be. The sign requirements were opined to be approximately the same. Mr. Schley asked what the Staff's thoughts were with regard to the Overlay Zone. Ms. Stefforia said, given the size of the parcel, she thought it would be better to rezone the property to the "R-3" zone rather than the 9th Street Focus Area Overlay Zone.

The Chairman asked to hear from the applicant. Mr. Jim Buford introduced himself to the Planning Commission. He showed a sketch of the building proposed for the site. Mr. Buford noted, since there was no sewer or water available and they were arguably cost prohibitive for the purposes of developing such a small parcel. Therefore, he asked that the subject property be rezoned to "R-3". He said he thought this would be compatible with what had been developed along West Main Street, as well as the adjacent property which currently housed a chiropractic office.

Mr. Smith asked if the developer and the chiropractor would share a drive. Mr. Buford said they would not be sharing a drive. Ms. Stefforia indicated that they would have separate drives, and it would probably be detrimental to do otherwise, given the amount of parking which would be lost to the chiropractor's office if they were to use a shared drive.

Ms. Stefforia indicated that there is a difference in signs, where an "R-3" office would get a 60-square-foot sign and an Overlay Zone office only a 30-square-foot sign.

The Chairman asked if there were any further questions of Ms. Stefforia. Hearing none, he opened the public portion of the meeting.

Mr. Dave Ash said that he had property to the west. He began by commending the Commission on how it has controlled growth within the Township. He said that the proposal to rezone to "R-3" seemed to be consistent with the development in the area and thought it would be good for the Township.

Mr. Jeff Bertolissi introduced himself to the Planning Commission. He said he wished to, as Mr. Ash did, recommend rezoning of the subject property to the "R-3" District zoning classification.

The Chairman asked if there were further comments, and hearing none, he closed the public portion of the meeting. The Chairman noted that Staff was recommending the rezoning to "R-3" and asked for Commissioners' comments.

Ms. Garland-Rike asked for clarification on the access. Ms. Stefforia reiterated her opinion that both properties were quite small, which negatively impacted their ability to have a shared drive. She said, if the parcels were larger and the buildings were set back further from the road right-of-way, a shared drive might be possible. However, given their current configuration, it was not practical.

Mr. Schley said he thought he saw a difference between the Overlay Zone and the "R-3" District, the biggest difference being how they would affect development of the subject property. He noted that, if a larger parcel was considered, the Overlay Zone might be the best choice in this area, but given the size of the parcel, he would support a "R-3" zoning.

Mr. Larson said he thought it would be more appropriate to put the subject property in the Overlay Zone to try to avoid the intense commercial development of the area. He said he thought they were trying to keep more green space in this area, which could only be done by using the Overlay Zone. He said he thought they would lose the flexibility of the Overlay Zone if the subject property was rezoned to the "R-3" Residence District.

Ms. Garland-Rike noted that only 30% of the lot could be built upon within the "R-3" District. She said she did not see similar restrictions within the Overlay Zone, and therefore, she was more inclined to rezone the subject property to "R-3" Residential. Mr. Larson said he thought that was true, but he thought the setbacks within the Overlay Zone would not allow for over-development of the property.

Mr. Schley asked what uses Mr. Larson was concerned about. Mr. Larson said he did not want to see more commercial banks developed in the area. Mr. Schley said he thought that the cat was somewhat out of the bag in that respect. He again reiterated his position that the subject parcel was so small that it did not seem practical to develop it within the Overlay Zone. Mr. Smith said he did not necessarily disagree, but he was concerned if they rezoned the property "R-3" that the rest of the property in the area would all be zoned "R-3" and would then have a negative impact on the residential area to the north.

Ms. Stefforia said it might be appropriate to consider the larger parcel behind this one for the Overlay Zone and perhaps those comments might want to be placed in the record for future rezoning requests. Attorney Porter noted that he thought, with regard to the subject property, rezoning it to the Overlay Zone might be considered confiscatory. He said, since the property could not be developed without the installation of sewer or water (absent a variance), that it would be financially impossible to develop the property as part of the Overlay Zone. On the other hand, he said that the larger property could be developed as part of the Overlay Zone and perhaps the Commission might want to consider the depth of the property in relationship to West Main Street as a factor for rezoning the subject property to "R-3", while requiring the remainder of the property to be placed in the Overlay Zone.

Ms. Everett commented that the larger parcel had the ability to develop in the Overlay Zone because sewer was available to the north and to the east. She also noted that it would be more appropriate for it to be developed as part of the Overlay Zone because of the residential property to the north and the east. She said she wanted it noted for the record that, if the smaller parcel was rezoned to "R-3", it did not mean that the Commission felt that zoning was appropriate for the larger properties or surrounding property.

Ms. Garland-Rike asked if parking could be allowed in front of the buildings within the Overlay Zone. Ms. Stefforia said it could be allowed in both, but the parking had to be located outside of the setback areas.

The Chairman said he thought that the record should express the concerns of the Planning Commission regarding the need to rezone the smaller property abutting West Main Street in a fashion suitable to its development, while at the same time, not wanting to consider the "R-3" zone for the larger properties which stretch from West Main north, which abut the residential areas to the north and to the east.

Mr. Buford asked if the Commission could consider rezoning to just office. Ms. Stefforia said she did not think that was practical, since only the Overlay Zone would provide such a limitation.

The Chairman asked what the pleasure of the Commission was. After a brief discussion, Ms. Garland-Rike made a motion to rezone the subject property to "R-3" Residence District, keeping in mind that the larger properties surrounding the subject property would likely not be considered for "R-3" Residence District, but be more appropriately zoned to the 9th Street Focus Area Overlay Zone, given the impact upon the residences to the north and to the east. In addition, she said that the rezoning of the smaller subject property to "R-3" was consistent with the Master Land Use Plan and also suitable, given the limited size of the parcel and its depth from West Main Street, which would make it cost prohibitive to develop within the 9th Street Focus Area Overlay Zone. She also noted that rezoning to "R-3" would limit the parcel to a 30% building coverage, and given the small size of the subject parcel, it would be more compatible to surrounding properties.

The Chairman asked if there was a second to the motion. Mr. Gould seconded the motion. The Chairman called for further discussion, and hearing none, called for a vote on the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

KL AVENUE LANDFILL GROUP - SPECIAL EXCEPTION USE AND SITE PLAN REVIEW - 8443 WEST KL AVENUE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-21-405-008)

The Chairman said the next item was consideration of a special exception use and site plan review for KL Avenue Landfill Group. He said the Planning Commission was requested to conduct a special exception use and site plan review for an earth removal plan on property owned by the County of Kalamazoo in order to be used as fill material at the landfill across KL Avenue for construction of an engineered cap. He said the subject property was located at 8443 West KL Avenue, Parcel No. 3905-21-405-008. The Chairman called for a report from the Planning Department. Ms. Stefforia submitted her report dated January 26, 2006, and the same is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Stefforia told the Planning Commission that the subject property was owned by Kalamazoo County, was approximately 57 acres in size and located on the south side of KL Avenue, across from the Landfill. She said that the KL Landfill Group was, pursuant to USEPA, being required to construct an engineered cap on the KL Landfill. She said some of the fill material would be excavated from the Landfill property, but the balance of fill would have to come from the vacant parcel across the street. She said this borrow area was owned by the County and was the subject of the special exception use review. She said the excavation activities encompass approximately 25% of the 57-acre parcel, and the activity was estimated to be active from April through October of 2006.

Ms. Stefforia then took the Planning Commission through a review of Section 60.300, dealing with earth-removal activities. In addition, she took the Commission through a review of the special exception use criteria of Section 60.100. At the conclusion, the Chairman asked if there were any questions.

Mr. Schley asked whether approval of the special use by the Planning Commission was necessary, given the requirements of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and in light of the Consent Judgment. Attorney Porter indicated that the Consent Judgment did not specify where the cover was to come from, and therefore, the soil could be trucked in from offsite. Therefore, he thought consideration of a special exception use was required by the Township.

Mr. Canny, attorney for the County, noted that the site was purchased by the County nearly 20 years ago, and it has always been the intent of the County to use this area to secure sufficient cover materials for the installation of the cap, if required. He noted that there was not enough soil on the Landfill site and that the soil had to come from off site to construct the cap. He said this is the only property that the County owned from which the County could acquire the borrowed materials needed. He said, if this site was not used, it would require approximately 25,000 truck trips to bring soil to the site. He said, because the County owned the property, the County certainly wanted to have the property available for its use but did want to make sure that it was done in accordance with local zoning.

Mr. Schley said he just wanted to make it clear that it was not a lock that the special exception use would be approved.

The Chairman asked Mr. Canny if use of this property for the cap was discussed at the public hearings regarding the KL Landfill. Mr. Canny said he did not attend those meetings, and he was not certain whether this issue was brought up.

The Chairman asked to hear from the applicants. Mr. Bill Gierke introduced himself, as well as Mr. Frank Adams of Golder and Associates, on behalf of the KL Avenue Landfill Group.

Mr. Gierke explained that they were proposing to use less than 25% of the 57-acre site. He also pointed out the extensive setbacks being proposed, which were at least 50 feet wider than required under the Township Ordinances. He noted that the trucks would travel directly across KL Avenue, thereby having the minimum impact upon traffic and the road itself. He said that the KL Group had been successful in reducing the cubic yards needed for the cap from 600,000 to 200,000 cubic yards. He explained how they were going to sculpture the parcel to the south to fit in with the natural topography and match the existing slopes when restoring the property. He said he thought it would have no negative impact on the future use of the property.

Mr. Gierke said that safety was a paramount issue. He said with a single direct crossing, the overall safety would be enhanced. He said, if they had to bring 25,000 truck loads from off-site, it would have a more severe impact on the area and the neighbors than bringing the trucks from across the street. He said they would have two full-time flag men and signs as directed by the Road Commission. He said, in addition, that they would obtain driveway permits from the Road commission to make sure that everything was constructed in accordance with Road Commission requirements. Mr. Gierke said they were proposing to operate from April of 2006 to October of 2006, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, Sunday only with permission.

Mr. Gierke said they would also address all environmental concerns. He said they would be obtaining Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Permits. He indicated that a safety fence would surround any steep slopes and areas being excavated. He also noted that there would be a gate which would be located near the road. Mr. Gierke again noted that, once the excavation was complete, the property would be graded and restored with natural vegetation.

Mr. Gould asked how many truckloads per day would be brought across KL Avenue. Mr. Jim Miller of Catskill Excavating said that he thought it would be approximately 120 loads per day.

Mr. Larson asked what the sound level of the excavation equipment would be. Mr. Miller said he did not believe that the equipment would be particularly noisy, but he did not know the decibel level of the equipment. He did not that there would not be any crushing or processing of soils on site.

Mr. Gould asked if they would be checking the equipment with a decibel meter. Mr. Miller said he had not planned on that, but he could get the equipment specifications from the manufacturer. Mr. Gould asked if there would be a dust meter. Mr. Miller assured him that there would be daily dust monitoring and dust control at the boundaries. He said if dust became a problem, they would have to discontinue use or apply more dust control measures. He said the KL Avenue Group had strongly emphasized the need to maintain dust control during this operation.

Mr. Gould asked what the maximum number of pieces of equipment would be on site. Mr. Miller said five trucks going across the road, one excavator and one to two dozers. Mr. Gould asked when the equipment would be warmed up. Mr. Miller said probably only five or ten minutes before it was to be used. He said, since the weather would not be cold, there would not be any long warm-up times for the equipment.

Mr. Schley asked if the schedule to complete the cap would change if they were required to bring soil from off site. Mr. Miller said he did not think it would matter that much because they never planned on stockpiling any soil on site. He said, as long as the soil came in at the same rate that they were proposing to bring it across the street, it would not negatively affect their overall schedule. Mr. Adams did note though that a much larger number of trucks would be required to maintain the same schedule because they would be coming from a much greater distance off site, and therefore the number of vehicles would have to be increased. Mr. Schley asked if it was the KL Group's position that this had the potential for causing the least amount of interference for the surrounding property owners. Mr. Adams indicated that it was, both from the number of trucks accessing the site and from a safety standpoint.

Ms. Everett indicated that KL Avenue was a local road and that the Township was responsible to assist in the maintenance of that road. She said, given the number of miles that would have to be traveled by these large trucks, the financial impact on local roads would be significant if the soil were brought in from elsewhere.

Ms. Garland-Rike asked, if the road was damaged, who would be responsible for repairing the road. Ms. Everett said that the Township has a certain amount of responsibility. However, Mr. Canny commented that, if the road was damaged as part of this overall operation, that the KL Avenue Landfill Group would be responsible for making any necessary repairs.

Mr. Larson asked what they would do to determine what constitutes a natural restoration of the property. Mr. Gierke said he would contact the Nature Center to obtain a recommendation.

Mr. Larson said he had two concerns - one was about the trucks and the other was about the excavators. He said he was very concerned about the amount of vibration that these trucks would create, and he wondered what they were going to do to mitigate that problem. Mr. Gierke said that he thought the increased setbacks would be sufficient to mitigate the noise and vibration from the equipment. He also said that the dust control plan would help in negating any negative impacts. Overall, he said that the impact would be minimal. Mr. Adams said that the Planning Commission also needed to keep in mind the fact that the property was heavily wooded, and much of this tree buffer was being maintained.

Mr. Larson asked if operating six days a week was critical. Mr. Miller said he thought it was in order to keep on schedule. Mr. Larson said he would like to encourage them to work only five days a week if possible.

Ms. Everett asked if they had to start at 7 a.m. on Saturday. Mr. Adams said that the time-window is really quite short because they want to complete the operation by fall and have it seeded in time for the plants to take root.

Mr. Gould said he was very concerned about the neighbors and that he had visited the site and looked at the properties. He said a truck every four or five minutes, given the vibration of the large trucks, would have a significant impact on the neighbors, particularly the ones immediately to the east and the west of the proposed drive. Mr. Gould said he wanted to stress the fact that the KL Group should do everything possible to minimize the impact on the neighbors. He then asked that they consider not operating on Saturday and Sunday, or at least not start at 7 a.m. on Saturday.

Ms. Everett asked what type of effects the weather might have on the operation. Mr. Miller said if there was a number of rainy days, it would bring their excavation and restoration operation to a halt until the ground dried out.

Mr. Larson asked what the capacity of the trucks would be. Mr. Miller said 30 to 36 tons and 15 to 18 cubic yards of soil. He asked if the trucks were road worthy. Mr. Miller indicated that they were, and all had rubber tires. Mr. Larson asked if they had a set speed limit for safety purposes. Mr. Miller indicated that they did not have a set speed limit, but did, of course, have to stop before crossing the road. Mr. Larson asked if a speed limit could be imposed so as to minimize noise and vibration. Mr. Miller said that certainly could be done.

Mr. Larson then asked where the flag operators would be located. Mr. Miller said they would leave that up to the recommendation of the Road Commission.

The Chairman asked if the representatives could assure the Planning Commission that the KL Group would do everything it could to stay in contact with the neighbors and address their concerns as the project continues. Mr. Gierke assured them that they would. Mr. Adams noted that they would have a full time construction manager on site to address any concerns as they were raised.

Mr. Gould asked if there would be any other dirt brought to the site other than from across the street. Mr. Adams said there would be approximately 50,000 cubic yards that would have to be brought in for cover, since there was not enough topsoil on site. He also said there would be some synthetic materials and stone brought to the site, but that it would be limited in nature.

Mr. Canny told the Planning Commission that the subject property was owned by County, and that if there were any concerns raised, the County would be more than willing to address them.

Ms. Everett asked if they would send notices to the residents regarding the schedule and provide a contact person. Mr. Adams indicated that they would do that and also asked that the Township put it in its newsletter. He said the EPA had a mailing list, but he was not sure whether that would notify all of the necessary individuals. Ms. Everett said they would do their best to put the information in the newsletter once it was received from the KL Group. Ms. Stefforia suggested doing a direct mailing to everyone within 1,000 feet, as well as any other form of notice. The Planning Commission concurred.

Ms. Garland-Rike asked if there would be any odor from any of the equipment. Mr. Adams said that all of the equipment being used by Mr. Miller's company was new, well maintained, and he did not expect there to be any type of smells or noxious odors coming from the site.

Mr. Larson asked if all of the equipment met road emissions requirements. Mr. Miller said that the trucks likely did, but the other equipment was not constructed to meet road emissions standards and they were not a problem. Since they did not present any problems for the people actually operating the equipment, he did not anticipate they would be a problem for anyone hundreds of feet away.

The Chairman asked if there were any further questions of the applicants, and hearing none, opened the public portion of the hearing.

Ms. Cindy Knotts introduced herself to the Planning Commission. She inquired as to why with 57 acres there was only a 200-foot buffer. She also inquired as to whether crossing the road by the trucks would harm the city water lines currently in the area. She asked whether another site was available, and if the only reason for using this site was to minimize the monetary impact on the KL Group. She showed photos of the property to the Planning Commission.

Mr. Ed Skippers said he lived in the house directly to the west of the proposed borrow site. He inquired as to how wide the access road was and where it was at in relationship to his property and the neighboring properties. He said he thought that the trucks would be traveling only 15 feet from his property line and only 75 feet from his house. He asked whether they could move the driveway access to the east. A brief discussion ensued, and Mr. Adams assured Mr. Skippers that the driveway access was, in fact, centered between his property and the neighbor's property to the east. Mr. Adams said that the County's property only had 150 feet of frontage, but that the road would be centered at that point. Therefore, it would be 60 feet from his property line.

Mr. Theodore Snow introduced himself to the Planning Commission. He said he had been a past treasurer and trustee for the Township. He said he was quite concerned about his property to the east of the landfill because, when the cap was being installed, he thought it would have a negative impact on his property. He said he was most concerned about dust, water run-off and traffic at the site.

Mr. Bob Janssen introduced himself to the Planning Commission. He asked whether they would be hauling any contaminated soil off site.

Mr. Tom Koenig said he lived east of the property. He asked whether the access road would be paved or dirt. Mr. Miller said it would be a gravel road. Mr. Koenig said he was concerned about vibration and dust. He asked who would be responsible if there was damage done to his home or his property. He also asked who would be responsible if there was damage done to the water line in the area.

The Chairman asked if there were any other public comments, and hearing none, said he would open the meeting up for the applicant to address the questions which had been raised. The Chairman asked that the applicant first address whether there were other areas than this site from which the County could obtain the necessary soils for the cap. Mr. Canny said that the County does not own any other land from which it could obtain the necessary soils.

The Chairman asked the applicant to address who would repair damage to the water line if there was any. Ms. Stefforia said that damage would be the responsibility of the KL Group. Mr. Canny concurred.

The Chairman asked the applicant to address why they chose this particular excavation site rather than going further into the interior of the property. Mr. Adams said it was based upon the topography of the property itself. He said their attempt was to avoid having a deep excavation left on the property, and therefore, they chose to borrow the soils from the two higher areas on the property so that they could then be sculpted to blend into the natural terrain once the excavation was done. He said they did this, keeping in mind that they were going to exceed the 150-foot minimum setback required. Mr. Adams also said that the location was chosen to minimize the size of the footprint, the haul route and to minimize distance to the excavating area.

The Chairman asked the applicant to outline what would be done to address dust control and water run-off. Mr. Adams said that there will be water trucks on site and that there would be dust meters at the road to ensure that the dust does not become a problem. He also said that the Soil Sedimentation and Erosion Control Permit required sediment traps and the had the requirement that there be no off site run-off from the property whatsoever.

The Chairman asked what would happen if there was damage to adjacent properties. Mr. Canny said, if there was damage that was directly attributable to the activities of the site restoration, it would be the responsibility for the KL Group to cover that damage. He said that any damage should be reported to the construction manager.

Mr. Schley strongly recommended that the residents in the area obtain a benchmark on their houses in case they needed evidence that there was any movement in the house or vibration damage caused. He said what he had heard to date led him to the opinion that this was the least costly solution, but more importantly, would cause the least amount of disturbance to the neighbors. However, he said he was curious as to whether the time line would be extended if smaller vehicles were used so as to ameliorate the noise and vibration. Mr. Adams said, if they extended the restoration over two seasons, it would cause considerable difficulties. He said, not only would it leave much of the work undone the first year, increasing the chance for soil erosion and run-off, but it would also delay plant growth and re-establishment of the necessary vegetative cover. He said he was very much of the opinion that the restoration needed to be done as quickly as possible.

Mr. Schley asked what was being done to protect the two neighbors closest to the haul route from the potential negative impacts of the noise. Mr. Gierke said they had not really looked at taking any additional measures to mitigate the noise. He said, given the limited number of vehicles and the limited amount of time of the excavation, he thought would address these concerns. Mr. Adams said he thought that the larger buffers, as well as the woods, would result in a natural attenuation of the noise.

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

The Chairman began by asking about the bonding issue. Attorney Porter noted that it was typical, when governmental entities were receiving their permits, that bonding be waived. He said he did not think there was serious question regarding the financial strength of Kalamazoo County or the KL Group to pay for any improvements or possible damage.

Ms. Garland-Rike said she was concerned about the types of grasses and vegetation used to replant the property. Mr. Gierke said that he would be talking to Steve Allen, who used to be with the Nature Center. He said they would use as many natural grasses as possible, but would likely have to mix them with some quick-growing non-native species to establish an appropriate ground cover.

Mr. Larson said he would like to see some way of approving the special use contingent upon the subject property being turned into a park. Attorney Porter noted that there was absolutely no legal authority to impose such a condition.

Mr. Smith said he shared the other Commissioners' concerns and encouraged the KL Group to do everything possible to mitigate the impact on the neighbors and to keep the neighbors as happy as possible.

Ms. Garland-Rike said she would like to see the approval make specific reference to native grasses unless others were necessary for erosion control. Mr. Larson said any non-native grasses for soil erosion control should be limited to annual grasses.

Mr. Larson said he would like to explore both the hours and the number of days necessary to complete the project. Ms. Everett asked if they could restrict the days that the applicant could operate. Attorney Porter noted that the Commission did have authority to impose reasonable conditions if the Commission felt it necessary to protect the public health, safety and welfare of the residents.

Ms. Garland-Rike asked if they could restrict the hours on Saturday. Attorney Porter again noted that it was within the Commission's authority to impose reasonable conditions.

Mr. Gierke said that, in order to get this done, they really need to work six days a week, and therefore, they needed to work on Saturdays. He said perhaps they could start at 8 a.m. on Saturdays to lessen the impact on the neighbors. Mr. Canny said the difficulty was not knowing what was going to happen in the future. He said he knew that the Commission had authority to impose conditions on a special use, but there had to be a reasonable basis to impose such conditions. He suggested perhaps a two-month review period after commencement of the excavation so that the Commission could hear from the neighbors, as well as the applicant, as to how the project was proceeding.

Mr. Gould asked how long it would take to finish once the Landfill was capped. Mr. Adams said approximately 60 to 90 days.

Mr. Gould expressed a desire to have a review of the progress. Ms. Garland-Rike said she understood the desire to mitigate the noise by spreading it out, but she thought it would be better to simply get it over with and let the land be replanted sooner.

Mr. Larson said it was a difficult balance between getting it over quickly and trying to mitigate the impact. However, he said he liked the suggestion of a review process.

Hearing no further discussion, the Chairman said he would entertain a motion. Ms. Garland-Rike made a motion to approve the special exception use for the earth removal activities located on the subject property for purposes of the installation of an engineered cap on the West KL Avenue Landfill subject to the following conditions:

(1) That appropriate driveway permits are issued by the Kalamazoo County Road Commission.

(2) That the property be restored with natural grasses after consultation with a conservation biologist, and that non-native species only be used for purposes of preventing erosion, and if so used, that they only be annual grasses.

(3) That the days of operation be limited to Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

(4) That a contact sheet be issued, showing the scheduled operation and listing the names and numbers of contacts for the project.

(5) That the financial guarantee be waived.

(6) That the project be reviewed approximately two months after it has commenced and be considered at the Planning Commission's June 22, 2006 meeting.

(7) That a copy of the contractor's liability insurance documents be provided to the Township.

The Chairman asked if there was support. Mr. Gould supported the motion. The Chairman called for discussion on the motion.

Mr. Schley said he thought that the Township is really dropping a load on the neighbors adjacent to the site. He said he thought there was a net gain for the public, but the burden was being unfairly placed on the neighbors for the greater good. He did not think that the Planning Commission had done enough to address the noise implications, and while he understood the need to address the landfill cap, he was still very concerned. He said he hoped that the KL Group would keep its pledge to be sensitive to the neighbors.

Ms. Everett asked what else the Township could do. Mr. Larson asked if the Township had a Noise Ordinance. Attorney Porter indicated that there was a Township Noise Ordinance, but he was not sure whether it would address this type of operation. Ms. Garland-Rike indicated this had to be done, and if they did not do it this way, there would still be the trucks coming down the road and turning to go into the site, which would likely have a similar negative impact on the neighbors.

The Chairman called for further discussion, and hearing none, called for a vote on the motion. The motion passed 6-to-1 with Mr. Schley voting no.

Other Business

CONSIDERATION OF CESO REQUEST FOR DEFERMENT OF BIKE LANE CONSTRUCTION - ALONG 8TH STREET BEHIND WAL-MART STORE.

Ms. Stefforia reminded the Planning Commission that CESO had requested that it not be required to install the bike lane at the present time, and she wondered what the desire of the Planning Commission was. After a brief discussion, it was determined that they had not yet seen the design plans, and that the Planning Commission should wait to make that determination until the Commissioners have an opportunity to review the proposed plans.

SET PUBLIC HEARING - VERHAGE TEXT AMENDMENT REGARDING AGRICULTURAL SIGNS.

After a brief discussion regarding proposed text amendments concerning agricultural signs suggested by Mr. Verhage, Mr. Schley made a motion to set the public hearing for the Verhage text amendments on March 9, 2006. The motion was seconded by Ms. Garland-Rike. The Chairman called for a vote on the motion, and the motion passed unanimously.

Adjournment

There being no further business, the meeting at approximately 9:30 p.m.

OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP
PLANNING COMMISSION

By:
Kathleen Garland-Rike
Minutes prepared:
February 3, 2006

Minutes approved:
, 2006