OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

PLANNING COMMISSION

Meeting Minutes

November 20, 1997

_____________________________________________________________________________

Agenda

COMMERCIAL CENTER - TEXT AMENDMENT

______________________________________________________________________________

A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Planning Commission on Thursday, November 20, 1997, 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
Lara Meeuwse
Elizabeth Heiny-Cogswell
Ken Heisig

Member Absent: Marvin Block

Also present were Rebecca Harvey (after 7:30 p.m.) of the Planning and Zoning Department, Patricia R. Mason, Township Attorney (until 8:00 p.m.), and five (5) other interested persons.

CALL TO ORDER

The Chairperson called the meeting to order at 7:07 p.m.

AGENDA

The Chairperson suggested adding, under "Other Business," a discussion of the agendas of the meetings of the Planning Commission for the remainder of the year. Mr. Loy moved to approve the agenda as amended. Mr. Corakis seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

COMMERCIAL CENTER - TEXT AMENDMENT

The next item was consideration of the amendment of the Township Zoning Ordinance with regard to Commercial Centers. It was proposed that Section 11 "Definitions" would be amended to renumber certain definitions and to add a definition of "Commercial Center" under Section 11.242. It was also proposed that a parking standard as to Commercial Centers be added under Section 68.304(d). Further, Section 30.219 was proposed to be amended to add "Commercial Center" as a permitted use in the "C" District. Moreover, Section 82.201 would be added with regard to the review and approval of a change in occupancy within a Commercial Center.

The report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference. The Township Attorney described the background of the item, noting that the Zoning Board of Appeals had requested that the Planning Commission consider defining the term Retail or Commercial Center. The Zoning Board of Appeals had also requested that the Planning Commission consider an amendment to provide a streamlined process for the review and approval of a change in occupancy of an individual suite therein so that a full site plan review before the Zoning Board of Appeals was not necessary.

Jack Hamilton was present, stating that he approved of the proposed administrative review and approval of a change in occupancy, but was bothered by the parking requirement. He felt that requiring parking to be calculated based upon an assumption that one-half of the center would be used for restaurant use would result in "too much parking." Mr. Hamilton stated he felt that the applicant or developer should be able to give a "breakdown" of the uses planned within a center. He did not think that "50-50" should be used.

The Chairperson explained that the proposed wording would indicate that, if a developer proposed a definitive breakdown of the uses, that percentage breakdown would be utilized in calculating parking. The assumption of 50% restaurant, 50% retail use, would be utilized only if a developer did not propose a specific percentage.

Mark Chilcott, with Plaza Corp., which owns West Century Center in the Township, was present, stating he had a similar concern with regard to parking. He felt that the proposed language should be reworded to more clearly express the intent. Mr. Chilcott had questions with regard to the intent of Section 82.201, expressing concern that a full site plan would need to be submitted to the Township with each change in occupancy. It was explained that the intent was just the opposite; it was intended that a change in occupancy would no longer require full site plan review before the Zoning Board of Appeals which is currently required where there is a change in use. The amended language would require only review and approval by Township staff.

Ms. Harvey arrived and stated that in most instances a change in occupancy would probably only require "a five-minute conversation." It was likely in most instances, where there were no structural changes, that the Planning & Zoning Department would merely refer to the site plan previously approved and obtain information with regard to the proposed occupant.

Gary Jones stated that he was a resident of Ontario and that in his home area they had an uncomplicated review procedure which did not require submission of full-blown site plans or drawings. Ms. Harvey stated that this was the intent of the Planning Commission in drafting the proposed language.

Al Daane, owner of Daane's, wondered what the definition of a restaurant would be. He queried whether his catering business and banquet facility would constitute a restaurant. The Chairperson stated he saw a difference between a catering business and a restaurant in the way that it is patronized by customers. Mr. Daane also wondered about a videostore which serves coffee and whether this would constitute a restaurant. It was felt that this would constitute a retail sales operation.

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

The Chairperson stated he recognized that most concern was directed to the parking provision. However, he felt it was important that there be a basis for determining the necessary parking in the event the developer did not present a specific tenant mix for approval.

Ms. Harvey stated she had been asked by several persons how the proposed language would affect existing Commercial Centers. She stated that the provisions would not be retroactive. Therefore, for an existing facility where no changes were made, no change to the facility was necessary. However, any future changes at existing Commercial Centers would be reviewed under the new standards. The administrative review process, for example, would apply to the next change in occupancy.

There was discussion of Section 82.201, and it was suggested that this language be somewhat modified to remove the reference to site plan. It was suggested that Section 82.201 state "There shall be no change in occupancy of an individual suite within a Commercial Center until the change has received Administrative review and approval by the Township."

There was discussion of Section 68.304(d) as to parking within a Commercial Center as to how this could be reworded to make it clear that parking within the Commercial Center would be calculated based on the information received from the developer as to the tenant mix.

At Ms. Meeuwse's suggestion, the following language was proposed: "Parking for a Commercial Center shall be calculated based on a definitive breakdown of the uses within the center as presented by the developer. If no definitive breakdown is presented, parking for a Commercial Center shall be calculated assuming that one-half of the square footage of the center will be used for retail sales and one-half for a restaurant."

In response to questioning from Mr. Heisig, the Township Attorney stated she felt that the proposed definition of Commercial Center under Section 11.242 would not limit the number of Commercial Center buildings which could be established on any one parcel. Therefore, more than one Commercial Center building could be placed on a particular parcel.

Ms. Meeuwse moved to recommend amendment of the Zoning Ordinance as follows:

A. Amend to renumber the definition of "building" as 11.235.

B. Amend to renumber the definition of "building site" as 11.236.

C. Amend to renumber the definition of "cemetery" as 11.240.

D. Amend to add a definition of "Commercial Center" as follows:

11.242 Commercial Center.

A commercial building designed for multiple occupancy within which any use permitted in the "C" Local Business District Zoning classification may be located. A change in occupancy of an individual suite within a Commercial Center does not constitute a "change in use."

Section 82.201 - There shall be no change in occupancy of an individual suite within a Commercial Center until the change has received Administrative review and approval by the Township.

Section 30.219 - Commercial Center.

Section 68.304(d) - Parking for a Commercial Center shall be calculated based on a definitive breakdown of the uses within the center as presented by the developer. If no definitive breakdown is presented, parking for a Commercial Center shall be calculated assuming that one-half of the square footage of the center will be used for retail sales and one-half for a restaurant.

Mr. Loy seconded the motion.

There was no public comment offered, and the motion carried unanimously.

The Township Attorney exited the meeting, and the Planning Commission continued its work session items.

OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP
PLANNING COMMISSION

 

By: ____________________________________________

Lara Meeuwse, Secretary

Minutes prepared:
November 21, 1997

Minutes approved:
December 11, 1997