OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS MINUTES

June 1, 1998

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Agenda

BORDEN, TERRY & JUDITH - VARIANCE FROM 200' ROAD FRONTAGE/
50,000 SQ. FT. AREA REQUIREMENTS - 6321 PARKVIEW AVENUE

TABACZYNSKI, MARK - VARIANCE FROM 200' ROAD FRONTAGE/4:1 WIDTH-TO-DEPTH-TO-WIDTH RATIO REQUIREMENTS - 2387 N. 9TH STREET

SEECO - SITE PLAN AMENDMENT TO PERMIT OCCUPANCY OF ALLOW USE AS A MEDICAL CLINIC - UNITS #7 AND #8, SEECO COMMERCIAL PARK, CORNER S. 9TH STREET & SEECO DRIVE

McDONALD'S - VARIANCE FROM COMMERCIAL SIGN REQUIREMENTS - 5394 WEST MAIN

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A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Zoning Board of Appeals on Monday, June 1, 1998, commencing at approximately 3:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall, pursuant to notice.

MEMBERS PRESENT:

Thomas Brodasky, Acting Chairperson
Lara Meeuwse
David Bushouse
William Saunders

MEMBER ABSENT: Brian Dylhoff

Also present were Mike West on behalf of the Planning and Zoning Department, Scott Paddock, Ordinance Enforcement Officer, Patricia R. Mason, Township Attorney, and approximately five (5) other interested persons.

 

CALL TO ORDER

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

 

MINUTES

The Board considered the minutes of the meeting of May 18, 1998. The comments of Mr. West were noted. Ms. Meeuwse moved to approve the minutes as amended, and Mr. Saunders seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

 

BORDEN, TERRY & JUDITH - VARIANCE FROM 200' ROAD FRONTAGE/ 50,000 SQ. FT. AREA REQUIREMENTS - 6321 PARKVIEW AVENUE

The Board considered the application of Terry and Judith Borden for variance approval from the 200' road frontage requirements established by Section 66.201 of the Zoning Ordinance. The subject site is located at 6321 Parkview Avenue and is within the "C" Local Business District zoning classification.

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

Mr. West noted that the property is within the Village Focus Area. He stated that the subject parcel was created in 1972 through a land division of a former parent parcel which had 298.98' of frontage on Parkview Avenue and which was 2.5 acres. The 1972 split resulted in four parcels. Since the split occurred after 1965, all four parcels are considered nonbuildable under the Ordinance. It was also noted that a single-family residence is presently located on the subject parcel, and the house was constructed in the late 1800's. The applicant is requesting approval from the 200' road frontage requirement to render the subject parcel buildable. The applicant is proposing the combination of three of the four parcels created in the 1972 split into one parcel which would have 173.85' of road frontage on Parkview Avenue and be 1.68 acres in size. Thus, the combination would create a parcel in compliance with the area requirements of the Ordinance and come into closer compliance with the frontage requirements.

Mr. West referred the Board's attention to the 1990 application which had been granted for Wilbur and Mary Lou Wilson, which was similar to the instant request.

In response to questions by the Acting Chairperson, it was noted that the applicant is pursuing acquisition of the AT&T right-of-way, which would result in 200' of frontage for the parcel in question on Atlantic Avenue. The possibility of rendering the parcel buildable through the platting or site condominium process was also discussed. It was noted that, to site condominiumize, two units would be required. However, one lot could be created through a "one-lot plat."

The applicants were present, stating that they had completed the purchase of all three parcels. They indicated they had purchased all available land on Parkview Avenue in that the parcels on either side had, themselves, insufficient frontage. They felt it would be of benefit to combine the three unbuildable parcels into one.

Mr. Saunders commented that the resulting parcel, after combination, would have the largest amount of road frontage as compared to parcels in the general area.

There was no public comment offered, and the public hearing was closed. The Acting Chairperson stated that the combination of the three parcels would result in a parcel in character with the area.

After further discussion, Mr. Saunders moved to approve the variance with the following reasoning:

(1) That conformance is unnecessarily burdensome. The proposal would result in the elimination of three nonbuildable parcels and the creation of one parcel of 1.68 acres with 173.85' of frontage on Parkview Avenue. The resulting parcel would thus come into conformance with the area requirements of the Ordinance. Further, acquisition of additional road frontage on Parkview Avenue was not possible due to the existence of adjacent parcels with less than 200' of frontage. Further, acquisition of the AT&T right-of-way immediately south of the parcel would render the parcel conforming, and this was being pursued. It was noted that, should the portion of the AT&T right-of-way south of the parcel in question be acquired and combined, this variance would expire.

(2) That substantial justice weighed in favor of granting the variance in that other similar variances had been granted in the past. Particular reference was made to the Wilson application granted 5/21/90.

(3) That there were no unique physical circumstances justifying the variance, and the hardship was self-created.

(4) However, the spirit and intent of the Ordinance would be observed and the public health, safety and welfare secured if the variance were granted in that the resulting parcel would eliminate three nonbuildable parcels and create a parcel in closer conformance to frontage requirement and in conformance with area requirements. Further, the parcel was in character with the area. Indeed, it was noted that the resulting parcel would have among the largest of the frontage in the area.

The motion was conditioned upon the submission of a written, executed and recorded deed on file combining the three parcels into one.

Mr. Bushouse seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

 

TABACZYNSKI, MARK - VARIANCE FROM 200' ROAD FRONTAGE/4:1 WIDTH-TO-DEPTH-TO-WIDTH RATIO REQUIREMENTS - 2387 N. 9TH STREET

The next item was the application of Mark Tabaczynski for variance approval from the 200' road frontage and 4:1 depth-to-width ratio requirements established by Section 66.201 of the Zoning Ordinance. The subject site is located at 2387 N. 9th Street and is within the "AG"-Rural District zoning classification.

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

It was noted that the subject parcel was created in 1994 through a property redescription with the adjacent parcel (i.e., parcel 101). Prior to 1994 (and prior to the adoption of the frontage and depth-to-width ratio standards in 1965), the two parcels each had 165' of frontage and the subject parcel exceeded the 4:1 depth-to-width ratio. The 1994 redescription did not modify the pre-existing road frontage or significantly alter the area or depth-to-width ratio. However, the redescription did modify the subject parcel's nonconforming status, making it subject to current road frontage and depth-to-width ratio standards and thus rendering it nonbuildable.

Mr. West noted that the Board had granted similar variance requests in the past, specifically noting the Diekema-Hamann-Architects' application granted on 6/19/86. Further, the Junker application granted with regard to 4:1 depth-to-width ratio was also similar.

The applicant was not present, but Mr. West stated that the applicant was in the process of moving from to North Carolina. The applicant had asked that the Board proceed in his absence.

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

The Acting Chairperson felt that, given the similarity of the past decisions, the variance "would not be a problem." He felt it was significant that no appreciable change to the configuration of the parcel had been made by the redescription. Therefore, a parcel predating 1965 was essentially being allowed to continue to be buildable by this variance. Other Board members agreed.

Mr. Saunders moved to grant the variances requested with the following reasoning:

(1) That conformance was unnecessarily burdensome. The options of platting or site condominiumizing were present. However, given that there is an existing residence on the site and given the fact that the parcel is in basically the same configuration as existed prior to 1965, it was reasonable to grant variance to the property so as to render it buildable.

(2) That substantial justice would weigh in favor of granting the application in that similar applications had been granted in the past. No basic change to the frontage or depth-to-width ratio had been made on the parcel since 1965, and the parcel's configuration was in character with the general area.

(3) That there were no unique physical circumstances justifying variance, and the hardship was self-created; however, the spirit and intent of the Ordinance would be observed and the public health, safety and welfare secured if the variance were granted.

Mr. Bushouse seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

 

SEECO - SITE PLAN AMENDMENT TO PERMIT OCCUPANCY OF ALLOW USE AS A MEDICAL CLINIC - UNITS #7 AND #8, SEECO COMMERCIAL PARK,

CORNER S. 9TH STREET & SEECO DRIVE

The next application item was that of Bruce Kuipers of Delta Design Systems, representing Seeco Investments, for site plan amendment to permit occupancy of allow a medical clinic use within the previously approved Seeco Retail Center. The subject site is located at the southeast corner of S. 9th Street and Seeco Drive and is within the "C" Local Business District zoning classification.

The report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference. Mr. West pointed out that this site plan amendment would really only affect the use of the site. The applicant sought to use the building established at the site for a medical clinic. No change to the site improvements was suggested. The parking established at the site was sufficient to provide parking to the medical clinic use as required by the Zoning Ordinance.

Jim McCarty of Delta Design was present, along with Mike Seelye, on behalf of the applicant to answer questions.

In response to questions by the Acting Chairperson, it was indicated that the medical clinic would operate between 5:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., which hours may later be expanded to 11:00 p.m. The medical clinic would be used for a "dialysis operation."

Mr. Bushouse questioned the applicant with regard to parking, and the applicant responded that it is believed only about 40 of the spaces would in fact be utilized.

No free-standing signage was proposed. Signage would be established on the face of the building pursuant to the permit process.

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

Ms. Meeuwse moved to grant site plan amendment with the following conditions, limitations and notations:

(1) That the approval was subject to the conditions of site plan approval for the Seeco Commercial Park Condominium expansion, in addition to the applicable conditions in previous approvals of 8/18/97 and 7/7/97.

(2) That no exterior changes or modifications to the subject site were proposed with the change in use. The use would utilize previously approved building, access drive off Seeco Drive, on-site parking facilities, outdoor lighting, refuse/dumpster enclosure location, and landscaping/greenspace arrangement.

 

(3) That the approved parking was adequate for the use.

(4) That issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy for the proposed change in use is contingent on final inspections/approvals from the Building, Mechanical, Electrical, Fire and Planning and Zoning Departments to insure compliance with all applicable regulations.

Mr. Saunders seconded the motion, the motion carried unanimously.

 

McDONALD'S - VARIANCE FROM COMMERCIAL SIGN REQUIREMENTS - 5394 WEST MAIN

The next item was the application of Peter Kane, on behalf of McDonald's Corporation, for variance approval from the commercial sign requirements established by Section 76.125 of the Zoning Ordinance. The subject site is located at 5394 West Main and is within the "C" Local Business District zoning classification.

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

The applicant requested variance to allow a second free-standing sign at the site, which sign consisted of a rock with corporate logo. As to substantial justice, Mr. West stated that no similar previous applications had been received, i.e., proposed business logo on landscaping features at the site. However, the Board had been faced with variance applications requesting second sign variances, particularly for "highway uses" and multi-family developments.

As to the character of the area, all free-standing signage in the area except as identified in the report was consistent with Ordinance limitations.

Mr. West pointed out that, in 1993, the Board had interpreted the Zoning Ordinance definition of "sign" in Section 11.560 to include a flag with corporate logo. Mr. West stated that the applicant had been previously aware that corporate logos on flags and other items at the site would be considered a "sign."

Peter Kane was present, stating that indeed the applicant had been aware of the signage provisions of the Ordinance. He stated that the rock in question had been excavated in the process of the remodeling. It had been placed in front of the play area as landscaping. The owner of the site had put the logo on the rock, believing it was a good way of welcoming customers to the site. The applicant felt that the rock was not necessarily a sign but a landscaping feature. However, the applicant acknowledged that the rock would be visible from West Main.

The Acting Chairperson, although not offended by the appearance of the rock, was concerned that variance in this circumstance would lead to other similar applications.

There were questions with regard to internal site signage used for directional purposes, and Mr. West stated that it had been the interpretation of staff that on-site/internal signage meant for directions to customers on site was not required to have a permit. However, if the corporate logo was placed on such internal signage, it was considered advertising falling within the definition of "sign" under the Township Ordinance. Mr. West suggested that, if the Board was so inclined, it could direct the Planning Commission to pursue a text change to address internal signage or "landscape" signage.

Ms. Meeuwse stated that this application reminded her of the numerous applications received for Summer Ridge in which they requested a second sign off site.

Don Russell, restaurant manager, stated that they understood the rock was a sign but felt that the variance could be granted in keeping with the spirit and intent of the Ordinance. He stated that McDonald's had always had landscaping features on site which contained the corporate logo. He stated the intent of the rock was not to bring customers from off site but merely to welcome customers who came on site.

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

Ms. Meeuwse moved to deny the variance with the following reasoning:

(1) That reasonable signage options were available to the applicant, such as free-standing sign and wall signage. Therefore, conformance was not unnecessarily burdensome. Further, the applicant had a reasonable use of the site for its restaurant use without the variance.

(2) That substantial justice would not weigh in favor of granting the variance. The Board had not previously considered similar applications regarding corporate logo on landscaping elements. However, a variance for second signs had consistently been denied except in those limited circumstances involving highway oriented uses and multi-family development. Therefore, it was felt that granting the variance would set an undesirable precedent and lead to other similar variance applications regarding other types of landscaping elements and/or logos on internal signage.

(3) That there were no unique physical circumstances justifying the variance.

(4) That the hardship was self-created in that the design and construction of the subject site occurred in 1998 under current commercial sign standards.

(5) That granting the variance would be contrary to the spirit and intent of the Ordinance in that the Ordinance currently allows for a variety of free-standing and wall signage options for the subject site. Further, the ZBA previously interpreted that corporate logos were sufficient advertising to render a flag or other item signage.

Mr. Saunders seconded the motion, stating that he would like the Planning Commission to consider text amendment to address signage vis-a-vis landscaping elements and/or on-site signage not directed to the general public but to on-site customers. Other Board members agreed.

Upon a vote on the motion, the motion carried 3:1, with Mr. Bushouse voting in opposition to the motion.

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 4:35 p.m.

Minutes Prepared:
June 2, 1998

Minutes Approved:
June 15, 1998