OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

PLANNING COMMISSION

Meeting Minutes

January 22, 1998

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Agenda

TWO SQUARED DEVELOPMENT, L.L.C. - CONSTRUCTION OF HOTEL/MOTEL - APPROX. 19 ACRES EAST OF U.S. 131, WEST OF MAPLE HILL DRIVE

SCHRAMM (AS EXPANDED) - REZONING OF APPROX. .7 ACRE - SW CORNER 7TH STREET AND STADIUM DRIVE (7501 STADIUM DRIVE)

GARB-CO PUD (INDY-C-KAL) - SEU/SITE PLAN AMENDMENT - OUTDOOR SALES OUTSIDE 7-11 STORE - CORNER KL AVENUE & DRAKE ROAD

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A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Planning Commission on Thursday, January 22, 1998, commencing at approximately 7:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall, pursuant to notice.

Members present:

Wilfred Dennie, Chairperson
Ted Corakis
Millard Loy
Elizabeth Heiny-Cogswell
Ken Heisig
Lara Meeuwse (after 7:09 p.m.)

Member Absent: Marvin Block

Also present were Rebecca Harvey and Mike West of the Planning and Zoning Department, Patricia R. Mason, Township Attorney, and nine (9) other interested persons.

CALL TO ORDER

The Chairperson called the meeting to order at 7:04 p.m.

AGENDA

The Chairperson suggested adding, under "Other Business," a discussion of the previous Township Board meeting. Mr. Corakis moved to approve the agenda as amended. Mr. Heisig seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

MINUTES

The Planning Commission discussed the minutes of the meeting of January 8, 1998. Mr. Loy moved to approve the minutes as submitted. Mr. Heisig seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

TWO SQUARED DEVELOPMENT, L.L.C. - CONSTRUCTION OF HOTEL/MOTEL - APPROX. 19 ACRES EAST OF U.S. 131, WEST OF MAPLE HILL DRIVE

The next item was consideration of the application of Robert Lennon, on behalf of Two Squared Development, L.L.C., for rezoning of approximately 19 acres in the NW╝ of Land Section 13, adjacent to the north of TGI Friday's on the north side of West Main and to the west of Maple Hill Drive; rezoning from the "R-4" Residence District to the "C" Local Business District Zoning classification would be considered. Moreover, consideration of the amendment of the Township Master Land Use Plan to reclassify the property from the Multiple Family Residential to the Commercial classification is sought.

The Chairperson noted that a letter had been received from the applicant, requesting adjournment/tabling of the item in that the applicant was awaiting the results of a traffic study. The Chairperson noted that past practice by the Commission was to honor such requests.

Ms. Meeuwse entered the meeting.

There was discussion of available dates, and Mr. Corakis moved to table the item to the meeting of February 26, 1998. Mr. Loy seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

SCHRAMM (AS EXPANDED) - REZONING OF APPROX. .7 ACRE - SW CORNER 7TH STREET AND STADIUM DRIVE (7501 STADIUM DRIVE)

The next item was consideration of the rezoning of parcels 3905-34-185-040, -050 and -060 on the south side of Stadium Drive in the NW╝ of Land Section 34, from the "I-1" Industrial to the "C" or "C-1" Local Business District Zoning classification. The Planning Commission would also consider rezoning to the "C" or "C-1" District the entire of parcels 3905-34-255-010 and -022, as well as the first 660' of depth from Stadium Drive on parcels 3905-34-255-028 and -030. These parcels are on the south side of Stadium Drive in the NE╝ of Land Section 34. Further, the Planning Commission would consider the amendment of the Master Land Use Plan of the Township to reclassify the property described from the Industrial to the Commercial classification.

The report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Harvey stated that, in February of 1989, the Planning Commission (then Zoning Board) had recommended approval of a conceptual plan for the Stadium Drive (West Michigan) corridor. In 1993, the Master Land Use Plan was adopted reflecting this earlier conceptual plan, and which Master Land Use Plan identified the 6th Street/Stadium Drive industrial node and designated the area to the east as the Village Focus Area. The Village Focus Area concentrated Commercial Center at Stadium and 9th Street. Ms. Harvey felt that the Planning Commission should conclude in its discussions on the subject rezoning as to the validity of the present Master Land Use Plan concepts that the Commercial Center be located at Stadium Drive and 9th Street and that the Industrial node center be located at Stadium and 6th Street. Further, the Planning Commission should consider the future direction of the area between these two points.

The Chairperson explained that the applicant had applied for rezoning of only one parcel, i.e., 185-040. The Planning Commission had expanded the area for consideration because of the concern that the rezoning of that parcel alone would constitute "spot zoning."

The applicant was present and stated that he would comment after the Planning Commission discussion.

There was no public comment offered, and the public hearing was closed.

There was a discussion of the use of the area parcels, noting that three parcels were vacant and two were the location of residences. One parcel had an existing commercial business, RollerWorld, which operates as a lawful nonconforming use.

There was a discussion of the zoning in the area. Additionally, the boundaries of the Village Focus Area were discussed. The Chairperson noted that originally the Village Focus Area had extended almost to 7th Street and that the committee recommended reduction of that area to 8th Street as the westerly boundary of the Village Focus Area. Therefore, he felt that the area under consideration for rezoning tonight had not been studied for "firm direction." It was noted that utilities, public sewer and water, extend down Stadium Drive in this area. There was a discussion of the area street network, and it was noted that there were not any identified wetlands within the area.

The Chairperson directed the Planning Commission's attention to the rezoning request analysis. The Planning Commission considered whether the proposed zoning change was supported by the adopted Township Master Land Use Plan.

In that the Master Land Use Plan reflects the earlier 1989 conceptual plan and calls for the center of commercial development at 9th Street and Stadium Drive and the center of Industrial development at 6th Street and Stadium Drive, the adopted plan does not recognize commercial development in this area.

There was a discussion of the plan objectives for the commercial classification to determine whether they could be met in this area. It was noted that a main goal was to maintain sizable areas for commercial development as opposed to strip commercial development. Planning Commission members felt that to consider only the parcel for which application had been made would constitute a "spot" zone and would also lead to strip commercial development. Therefore, the Planning Commission had enlarged the area for consideration. It was noted that the Master Land Use Plan suggested directing commercial growth to areas adjacent to existing commercial development. In this area, the Plan envisions the Village Focus Area as the "commercial node." Consolidation of the Industrial zoning along Stadium Drive around 6th Street is encouraged by the plan.

The Chairperson stated that he felt it made sense to focus commercial zoning at 9th Street and Stadium Drive and to focus Industrial zoning at Stadium and 6th Street. He felt that the zoning in this area would have an impact on the Village Focus Area.

After further discussion, the Planning Commission concluded that the present Master Land Use Plan does not support commercial zoning in this area. It was further felt that the objectives of the plan with regard to the commercial classification could not be satisfied by the applicant's parcel alone.

The Planning Commission next considered whether the rezoning would severely impact traffic, public facilities and the natural characteristics of the area. Public utilities were available, and the subject area was not the location of any designated wetlands or identified woodlands. However, there was concern that strip development was characteristically associated with negative impact on the street system due to the tendency toward an increased number of building sites and associated access points.

The Planning Commission considered whether the rezoning would constitute a "spot zone." Planning Commission members felt that the rezoning of the applicant's site would constitute a "spot zone"; however, rezoning of the entire expanded area would be an extension of an existing commercial area and, therefore, would not be a "spot zone."

The Planning Commission considered whether the change was contrary to the established land use pattern in the area. It was noted that the property is within an area of mixed use and that therefore it would not be contrary to the established land use pattern. The rezoning would be an extension of an existing commercial zoned area. Mr. Corakis further observed that there is an existing commercial entity at the corner of 7th Street and Stadium Drive, i.e., RollerWorld, and therefore, given that use and the businesses located in the Industrial zone, the rezoning would not be a change to the established land use pattern in the area. Ms. Meeuwse felt that this was not a reason to rezone.

The Planning Commission next considered whether the change would have the effect of stimulating similar rezoning requests in the vicinity. Ms. Meeuwse felt that expansion of commercial zoning in this area could impact other areas of the Township. She felt that rezoning in this area would not only lead to pressure to expand the Commercial node in this location but also to expansion of other commercial nodes in the Township. Ms. Meeuwse felt that the Planning Commission should pursue the concept of an Industrial park, which would be more in keeping with the area. She was concerned that, if the property were rezoned, and prime industrial property eliminated, there would be little property in the Township available for industrial use, including industrial parks.

The Chairperson expressed concern that the Village Focus Area called for a mix of uses which would include a small-scale commercial use. He was concerned, that if the commercial area were expanded, it would detract from the goals on the nearby Village Focus Area.

The Planning Commission considered whether there had been a change in conditions in the area supporting the proposed rezoning.

The Chairperson felt that there had been a number of changes within the area, including a change to the legislation regarding environmental clean-up, and the Township's interest in developing a Brownfield Redevelopment Authority. Further, there had been an expansion of Woodland Estates, construction of Phases I and II of the Stratford Hills Open Space Community and commercial development within the 8th Street/Stadium Drive node. There was also an expansion of commercial zoning south to the AT&T right-of-way on properties east of 8th Street. Ms. Meeuwse commented she did not feel these changes were sufficient to justify further commercial expansion in that most of the changes had been in the area of residential development.

The Planning Commission next discussed whether there were adequate sites properly zoned available elsewhere to accommodate the proposed use. Ms. Harvey provided information with regard to rezoning subsequent to the adoption of the Master Land Use Plan and also commercial development subsequent thereto. Ms. Harvey noted that, since 1993, four rezonings had been approved, adding eight acres of commercial zoning. Approximately 40 acres of commercial zoning had been developed. Therefore, there were approximately 260 acres of commercial property developed out of 820 acres within the Township.

Mr. Loy stated he felt that the Township should maintain the existing industrial zoning in that there was not much industrial zoning available in the Township.

Ms. Harvey noted that the Planning Commission had envisioned adding depth to the existing commercial zoning to the AT&T right-of-way to avoid commercial strip development. This might encourage use of interior lands for commercial development rather than the use of a "front area" along the street. Depth would also allow use of internal street networks. Ms. Harvey therefore noted that the Planning Commission may wish to identify an area south to the AT&T right-of-way in depth for future planned commercial zoning and determine a westernmost point for the commercial zoning. The Planning Commission could then take action on this area consistent with these conclusions.

The Chairperson noted that adding depth would allow for better compliance with Master Land Use Plan goals and objectives and also better compliance with the Access Management Plan. He felt that industrial zoning west to 7th Street was the "prime location." He could envision expansion of commercial zoning to 7th Street a depth of the AT&T right-of-way. Mr. Corakis agreed that the area west of 7th Street should remain industrial. However, the exception was the three parcels on the west side of 7th Street which were the subject of the present rezoning request. He would support rezoning these small parcels in that the area to the west thereof was already developed consistent with industrial zoning. Therefore, these three parcels would be a natural ending point for commercial zoning.

Ms. Meeuwse stated that she would prefer to see the existing commercial zoning expand to the depth of the AT&T right-of-way but not to expand further west.

Mr. Heisig commented he felt it was appropriate to concentrate commercial zoning around 9th Street and to concentrate industrial zoning around 6th Street. He could envision expansion of the existing commercial zoning under certain circumstances, but he felt he had not heard those circumstances with regard to the proposed rezoning. He noted that much of the commercial zoning in this area is vacant. He favored the concept of making the commercial zoning deeper to discourage strip development. He felt that commercial zoning to a depth of only 660' and an expansion west would encourage what the Master Land Use Plan and the Township sought to discourage, i.e., strip commercial development.

Mr. Loy felt that it would be inappropriate to rezone the three parcels west of 7th Street and leave a "little piece of 'I’ zoning in the corner." He felt it was a good idea to increase the depth of existing commercial zoning but did not feel that the industrial zoning should be "chopped in half."

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell stated that she had no problem with expansion of the commercial zoning west as proposed. However, she would like to see the Village Focus Area goals and objectives protected in this area. She would like to see the Focus Area elements continued here, i.e., streetscapes, etc. She questioned extending the depth to the AT&T right-of-way, which she felt would create a huge commercial zone which would become the focus of the area and direct development away from the small commercial development and small-town streetscapes which the Village Focus Area was attempting to achieve.

Ms. Meeuwse stated she could not see how the Village Focus Area goals and objectives could be met in this area given the traffic and speed along Stadium Drive.

The Chairperson referenced a letter received from RollerWorld's owner supporting the rezoning, which would make his use lawfully conforming to the Ordinance.

Mr. Corakis moved to recommend rezoning of the entire area noticed to the "C" Local Business District Zoning classification and the amendment of the Master Land Use Plan to reclassify the property with the following reasoning:

(1) That an expansion of Stadium Drive to five lanes is planned and therefore there would be no problem with traffic generated by commercial zoning.

(2) That the rezoning would not constitute a "spot zone" but rather an expansion of existing commercial zoning.

(3) That rezoning would be consistent with the established land use pattern in the area, which was a mixture of uses.

(4) That rezoning might stimulate further rezoning requests but that these could be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

(5) That the area is served by utilities, which would support rezoning.

(6) That a nonconforming use would be rendered conforming by the rezoning.

The motion was seconded by Ms. Heiny-Cogswell.

The Chairperson called for public comment.

Bill Jameson stated that he felt the Township should not eliminate a large portion of its prime industrial zoning which it could not thereafter replace. He felt that there was no pressing need to expand commercial zoning to the west, although he did favor expansion of existing zoning to the AT&T right-of-way. He felt that commercial zoning in this area would be contrary to the Master Land Use Plan and to the goals and objectives of the Access Management Plan. In his opinion, rezoning would lead to strip development with a large number of curb cuts. Creation of a large number of small parcels would be encouraged. He urged that the motion be denied.

Larry Norris, a realtor, stated he felt small-scale commercial development was appropriate for the area. In his opinion, industrial zoning was not viable. He stated that he had attempted to help Seelye market parcel 255-028 and that no interest had been expressed in the property for an industrial use.

Richard Schramm stated that he owned the small parcel at the corner of 7th Street and Stadium Drive and that the size of the parcel made it difficult to find an industrial use which could be established thereon. He had attempted to work with the Township to include office uses within the industrial zone, which attempt had failed. He stated that he sought a reasonable use of his property and indicated that he had not requested "R-3" zoning for the parcel because he felt that this would impact other properties due to the setbacks which would be required.

Mr. Schramm stated that he had contacted neighboring property owners and they supported the proposed rezoning. He noted that there was a flooding problem in the area, i.e., the collection of water on the road. He stated that the Kalamazoo County Road Commission had attempted to remedy the flooding problem a number of times but that additional land area was needed to solve the problem. He stated that RollerWorld had agreed to provide land for a further retention area if the RollerWorld property was rezoned to the commercial zone. In Mr. Schramm's opinion, most of the industrial uses in the area were commercial in nature.

Brian Moloney stated that he owned RollerWorld and that it was conforming when he purchased the property in 1986. He had been denied building permits to improve the property because of its nonconforming status. He noted the flooding problem in the area and stated that he had been in touch with the Road Commission about the problem. Efforts to solve the problem had not worked.

The Chairperson stated that the water problem was acknowledged but that the Planning Commission could not consider this issue for purposes of the rezoning. He noted that the Road Commission was working on alleviating the flooding problem.

In response to a question from the Chairperson, the Township Attorney confirmed that the Planning Commission could not consider the "offer" of RollerWorld for property in exchange for zoning. The Township Attorney stated that this was not legally permissible.

There was no other public comment offered, and the public hearing was closed.

The Chairperson summarized the discussion and points of consensus. Ms. Meeuwse stated that she would be voting against the motion due to the fact that there was so much commercial zoning which was undeveloped. Further, it would be difficult to replace prime industrially zoned property, and there was not much industrially zoned property available in the Township. Further, she felt it was important to note that the Township was considering adopting industrial park text language and a Brownfield Redevelopment Authority.

Upon a vote on the motion, the motion was defeated 4:2 with Mr. Corakis and Ms. Heiny-Cogswell voting in favor.

Ms. Meeuwse moved to recommend denial of the rezoning and Master Land Use Plan change with the following reasoning:

(1) That the proposed rezoning was not supported by the adopted Master Land Use Plan.

(2) That rezoning would negatively impact traffic. Rezoning would lead to strip development, which would result in a large number of curb cuts.

(3) That extending commercial zoning to the west would be contrary to the goals of the Master Land Use Plan to avoid strip development.

(4) That rezoning would stimulate further rezonings in this area and in other commercial nodes within the Township.

(5) That there was an extensive amount of commercial zoning which was available in the Township for development.

(6) That there had been changes in the area, further residential development, which would not favor rezoning.

(7) That it would be difficult to replace prime industrially zoned property, and there was little industrial zoning left within the Township.

Mr. Loy seconded the motion.

The Chairperson expressed concern that expanding commercial property to the AT&T right-of-way and to the west would create such a large area of commercial properties that it would be incompatible with the goals of the Village Focus Area. He suggested that the Commission place on its work plan a discussion of how commercial zoning expansion should take place in the vicinity of the Village Focus Area compatible therewith.

Mr. Schramm stated that he would be interested in knowing whether the Planning Commission would favor "R-3" zoning in this area. The Chairperson stated that the Planning Commission could not conclude as to the appropriateness of "R-3" zoning without a full analysis of the criteria for rezoning.

Ms. Meeuwse noted that the applicant has reasonable use of this property, stating that offices are allowed as a special use within the "I-1" zone, at least certain offices are allowed. She felt that the applicant had uses to which his property could be put but that the applicant merely wanted to use the property in a way that was not allowed in the current zoning.

Upon a vote on the motion, the motion carried 4:2 with Mr. Corakis and Ms. Heiny-Cogswell voting in opposition.

GARB-CO PUD (INDY-C-KAL) - SEU/SITE PLAN AMENDMENT - OUTDOOR SALES OUTSIDE 7-11 STORE - CORNER KL AVENUE & DRAKE ROAD

The next item was consideration of the application of Donald J. Barker on behalf of Indy-C-Kal, Inc., for special exception use permit/site plan amendment of the proposed outdoor retail sales of various products in conjunction with the operation of the 7-11 Food Store at the corner of KL Avenue and Drake Road (5034 West KL Avenue). The subject property is situated in the SE╝ of Land Section 24 and is within the "R-4" Residence District Zoning classification and is part of a Planned Unit Development (fka Multiple Use Development).

The report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Harvey noted that there was a need for specifics as to the proposal from the applicant, such as types of products which would be proposed for outdoor retail sales. She noted that the Planning Commission had dealt previously with outdoor/seasonal sales activity but had not considered such activity as part of a PUD.

It was noted that the applicant was not present, and Ms. Harvey stated that the Township had tried to convey to the applicant that the Planning Commission would require additional information and could not act in his absence. The applicant stated that he would be present with the information requested. The Planning Commission discussed tabling the item in that it was 9:30 p.m.

Mr. Loy moved to table the item to February 26, 1998. Mr. Corakis seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously. It was noted that the applicant should be informed that the Planning Commission was not inclined to table the item any further in that the applicant is currently operating in violation of the Township's Zoning Ordinance in that the activity was being conducted without prior approval.

OTHER BUSINESS

There was discussion of the previous Township Board meeting. The recommendation regarding Commercial Centers had been set for First Reading. With regard to the 9th Street Overlay Zone, the Township Board had returned the item to the Planning Commission with several concerns. The Township Board had asked that the Planning Commission again consider "R-3" zoning for the area. Further, the Township Board was concerned about requiring sewer service in the area where it might be impractical. The Township Board was also concerned that the proposed overlay zone was too restrictive.

The Chairperson suggested discussing the 9th Street Focus Area Overlay Zone, along with the Neighborhood Commercial Overlay Zone, with the Township Board at the next joint meeting. It was suggested that the Township Engineer be present in order to address the sewer availability question.

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the Commission, the meeting was adjourned at 9:45 p.m.