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OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

PLANNING COMMISSION

April 10, 2003

Agenda

HOME OCCUPATIONS - TEXT AMENDMENT - PUBLIC HEARING

"I-1" INDUSTRIAL DISTRICT - TEXT AMENDMENT - PUBLIC HEARING

SIGN ORDINANCE - TEXT AMENDMENT - PUBLIC HEARING

ACCESS MANAGEMENT PLAN UPDATE - DRAFT #2 - WORK ITEM

LANDSCAPING ORDINANCE - DRAFT #1 - WORK ITEM

PROPOSED REZONINGS OF WEST MAIN STREET

A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Planning Commission on Thursday, April 10, 2003, commencing at approximately 7:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Neil G. Sikora, Chairperson
Lee Larson
Kathleen Garland-Rike
Deborah L. Everett
Elizabeth Heiny-Cogswell
James Turcott

MEMBER ABSENT: Mike Ahrens

Also present were Jodi Stefforia, Planning Director; Mary Lynn Bugge, Township Planner; Patricia R. Mason, Township Attorney; and five other interested persons.

CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m.

AGENDA

Mr. Larson moved to approve the Agenda as submitted, and Ms. Heiny-Cogswell seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

MINUTES

The Planning Commission considered the minutes of the meeting of March 27, 2003. Ms. Stefforia suggested changes to page 6 to clarify the fifth full paragraph. At the end of the paragraph she added the statement, "however, she did mail a letter two weeks prior to the owners of the kennel and residence in the expansion area." Further, the sixth paragraph was revised to refer to "multiple-family" in the Township's Master Land Use Plan. Mr. Turcott moved to approve the minutes as amended, and Mr. Lee Larson seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

HOME OCCUPATIONS - TEXT AMENDMENT - PUBLIC HEARING

The Planning Commission conducted a public hearing on the proposed text amendment to the Township Zoning Ordinance, revising the current provisions concerning home occupations. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Bugge described the proposed changes which included replacing the existing definition of home occupation in Section 11.310 and adding a new Section 78.900. Ms. Bugge stressed that the proposed changes were broadening the opportunities for home occupations within the Township.

The Chairperson asked for public comment, and Stan Rakowski stated that he felt the proposed changes were a "strong progressive move" to update the Zoning Ordinance. He said the changes recognized the new mobility of society. In his opinion, the changes presented new possibilities for Oshtemo residents. However, he felt that the Planning Commission should table the item so as to discuss the proposed changes with the Township Board at a joint meeting prior to recommendation. Mr. Rakowski had questions concerning whether home occupations would be allowed in a detached garage or building, and Ms. Bugge stated that such home occupations would be allowed as a special exception use. He had questions concerning commercial vehicles, and Ms. Bugge directed his attention to Section 68.150, which allow light commercial vehicles up to a one-ton capacity to be parked in residential zones.

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

Mr. Larson moved to recommend approval of the text to the Township Board as proposed. Mr. Turcott seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

"I-1" INDUSTRIAL DISTRICT - TEXT AMENDMENT - PUBLIC HEARING

The Planning Commission conducted a public hearing on the proposed text amendment to allow office uses on "grandfathered" parcels, i.e., lawfully nonconforming parcels in the "I-1" Industrial District.

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

Ms. Stefforia reminded the Planning Commission that Township Staff had recommended a text amendment to allow office buildings in the "I-1" Industrial District on legally nonconforming parcels that do not meet the minimum area criteria as a special exception use. She noted that there are five properties that are sub-standard and grandfathered as to the minimum area requirement. This text amendment had been proposed in 1999-2000; however, it was removed in Draft 4 due to comments at a joint board meeting. There was concern at that time over opening the Industrial District to general office uses when other zoning districts satisfy the need. However, Township Staff believed that the proposed amendment was appropriate, given that only five properties were grandfathered and, due to their size, have very limited use.

Ms. Stefforia presented a depiction of the location of the five parcels in question.

Ms. Everett commented that she felt the proposed text amendment made sense due to the size of the parcels; in her opinion, they were not suited to industrial use.

The Chairperson asked for public comment, and Richard Schramm stated that he owned one of the five parcels located at the intersection of 7th Street and Stadium Drive. He expressed that he was in favor of the proposed text change.

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

Ms. Everett moved to recommend approval of the proposed text change to the Township Board. Mr. Larson seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

SIGN ORDINANCE - TEXT AMENDMENT - PUBLIC HEARING

The Planning Commission conducted a public hearing on the proposed text amendment to the Zoning Ordinance regarding the sign provisions so as to reduce the setback from 25 feet to 10 feet and so as to allow tenants in multi-tenant buildings to have an additional wall sign.

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

Ms. Stefforia noted that, with a 20-foot greenspace required along arterials, the current 25-foot sign setback requirement resulted in sign placement in parking lots. Therefore, Township Staff was suggesting a change to Section 76.420 to allow a setback of 10 feet from any public right-of-way line. Further, as to tenant wall signs, it had come to Township Staff attention that occupants of multi-tenant buildings may have a need for an additional wall sign. Ms. Stefforia suggested that the Ordinance be amended to allow tenants to have one wall sign on each exterior wall of the suite that they occupy, up to two signs.

The Chairperson asked for public comment, and Ted Corakis had questions with regard to whether the proposed change would apply to all zoning districts. Ms. Stefforia noted that the change as to the number of signs would refer to commercial tenants within a multi-tenant development.

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell expressed concern that tenants in multi-tenant buildings already have access to freestanding signage and wall signage. She felt that the proposed change was adding "a lot" of signage.

Ms. Everett made reference to other municipalities in the area where multi-tenant buildings affix signage to the "back" wall so as to provide further identification of the tenants in the building.

Reference was made to Hamilton's Landing as an example. It was felt that with the development of Wal-Mart, it might be desirable for tenants of the Hamilton's Landing project to have signage on the back exterior wall of their suite.

The Chairperson observed that he would support signage on the "back of the building" given as an example. He felt that in these cases the signs would serve the public interest. However, he was concerned about the effect in all areas of the Township.

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell made reference to West Century Center and stated that she could see the advantage of this property having wall signage on the "back" in that access from the Kohl's site could be made to the West Century site without exit onto West Main Street or Drake Road; the two sites enjoy cross access, and therefore, there was an advantage to the public of this exterior "back" wall signage.

Mr. Larson had questions with regard to lighting, and Ms. Stefforia referred him to Section 76.410.

There was additional discussion of whether exterior wall signs should be allowed on the "back" of the building or reserved for those walls which were accommodating a public entrance door.

Ms. Stefforia noted that "stand alone businesses", i.e., buildings which were used by one user and not multiple tenants, were allowed signs on all four sides of the building. Further, she expressed concern that the Zoning Board of Appeals in the past had denied freestanding sign variances based upon the generous wall signage allowed in the Ordinance. When the signage provisions had been recently revised, the wall signage allowed was reduced.

Mr. Turcott stated that he was comfortable with the proposed text amendment. He felt it was reasonable given the reduced wall signage allowed by the revised text.

The Chairperson also expressed support for the proposed text amendment, stating that he felt it would apply to strip malls such as Hamilton's Landing and West Century Center. In his opinion, the additional signage would help the type of small businesses which locate in these multi-tenant centers.

Ms. Everett agreed, giving the example of Wal-Mart and Hamilton's Landing. She felt that the Wal-Mart would draw customers from outside the Oshtemo Charter Township area. The signage on the back exterior wall of Hamilton's Landing would allow Wal-Mart customers to see the type of businesses which are located at the Hamilton's Landing site. She agreed that this type of signage would help "smaller businesses".

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

Mr. Turcott moved to recommend approval of the proposed text amendment, and Ms. Everett seconded the motion.

Mr. Corakis commented on the motion that he had no problem with allowing two signs to tenants of multi-tenant buildings. He also felt that such signage would help the public find smaller businesses.

Upon a vote on the motion, the motion carried 5-to-1 with Ms. Heiny-Cogswell voting in opposition.

ACCESS MANAGEMENT PLAN UPDATE - DRAFT #2 - WORK ITEM

The Planning Commission reviewed Draft #2 of proposed amendments to the Township Access Management Plan. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference. Ms. Stefforia stated that she had made changes from Draft #1 related to the street network improvement and signalizations based on the comments of the Planning Commission and based on review of the 2025 Transportation Plan of KATS.

Ms. Stefforia noted that the City of Kalamazoo had rejected the traffic study of the student housing project located at Croyden and Drake. Current plans were calling for a light at the corner of Croyden and Drake, but Ms. Stefforia was not aware of whether the City had approved this revised traffic impact study.

There was a discussion of the proposed changes to pages 12 and 13 of the Plan concerning street network improvements/signalization. As to Item 7, it was the consensus of the Planning Commissioners that this be revised to state "Improving Maple Hill Drive north of West Main Street so as to include lane delineation and boulevard design". Further, as to Item 9, Planning Commissioners agreed that the additional traffic signal should be located on Maple Hill Drive at the entrance of Evergreen North, i.e., the intersection of Maple Hill Drive and Vintage Lane.

In response to a question from Ms. Heiny-Cogswell, Ms. Stefforia stated that she would consult with the Michigan Department of Transportation to determine if any further signals on West Main, west of 9th Street, were contemplated.

The Township Attorney suggested that the revisions to the Access Management Plan be adopted through the procedure called for in the Township Planning Act so as to provide the weight of a planning document to the Access Management Plan. Further, it was noted that the Access Management Plan had originally been adopted in accord with the Township Planning Act. Therefore, Ms. Garland-Rike moved to request Township Board permission to give notice and distribute the proposed Access Management Plan changes to the County, neighboring communities and utility companies for their comment. Mr. Turcott seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

LANDSCAPING ORDINANCE - DRAFT #1 - WORK ITEM

The Planning Commission reviewed Draft #1 of the proposed amendments to the landscaping provisions of the Zoning Ordinance. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Bugge noted that Draft #1 was based upon the outline previously reviewed at the meeting of March 13, 2003. The proposed changes to Section 75.130 were discussed. The Township Attorney suggested a further change to the section. After discussion, it was agreed that the complete sentence would state: "However, the Greenspace Type shall not be greater than a "C" unless the proposed use is a Special Exception Use and its nature warrants additional greenspace as determined by the Planning Commission based upon review of the criteria of Section 60.100." Further, Table 75-B would refer to the "RR" District. Additionally, a note to the table would state: "Greenspace Type for Special Exception Uses may be increased by the Planning Commission based upon review of the criteria of Section 60.100."

There was a discussion of possible changes to the draft so as to offer "rewards" for use of a more natural storm water design. Further, there was a suggestion that language might be altered to encourage integration of landscaping into storm water systems.

As to Section 75.180, Ms. Bugge noted that the exact percentage of materials which would be required to be native would be discussed by the "Committee" which had been previously formed concerning use of native materials.

Ms. Bugge noted that the Planning Commission had previously suggested that Section 75.200 be revised to require identification of existing trees on proposed site plans. Ms. Bugge was recommending no change be made to this section, but that additional language be added to Section 82.800.

After discussion, it was agreed that Section 75.210 be revised to state that, when parking lots which are not in compliance with Section 75.000 are milled and resurfaced, landscaping in accordance with Section 75.140 is encouraged.

It was noted that Draft #2 would be discussed at the meeting of May 8, 2003.

PROPOSED REZONINGS OF WEST MAIN STREET

The Planning Commission received an application for rezoning of 17 properties along West Main Street between Westside Medical and 10th Street. The proposed rezonings were on both sides of the road. The applicant was requesting that the subject properties be rezoned from the "R-2" Residence District and "R-3" Residence District to "C" Local Business District. It was noted that all parcels on the south side of West Main Street are located within the 9th Street Focus Area Overlay Zone which allows office buildings as a special exception use.

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

Ms. Stefforia noted that at its December 2002 work session, the Planning Commission had discussed the status of commercial zoning. The Planning Commission had concluded that there was currently no need to expand the amount of commercial zoning in the Township.

It was further noted, that an amendment to the Master Land Use Plan to reclassify the properties in question to the commercial classification would be necessary. Therefore, Township Board permission to give notice and distribute the proposed Master Land Use Plan amendment was necessary.

Ms. Stefforia asked the Planning Commissioners to consider whether the area should be expanded beyond the applicant's 17 parcels. Planning Commissioners agreed that there should be no expansion.

The Planning Commissioners considered whether the amendments to the Master Land Use Plan and Future Land Use Plan should be studied further before going through the amendment process. It was the consensus of the Planning Commissioners that there was no need to study the area since the 9th Street Focus Area Overlay Zone had been adopted only five years ago. At that time, the entire area had been extensively studied.

Mr. Turcott moved to request permission from the Township Board to give notice and distribute the proposed Master Land Use Plan Amendment to the County, neighboring communities and utility companies for their comment. Mr. Larson seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

PLANNING COMMISSIONER COMMENTS

The Chairperson noted that a Commissioner of the Planning Commission of the City of Kalamazoo had asked whether the Township had ever considered establishing a commuter parking lot somewhere within the Township boundaries. It was the consensus of the Planning Commissioners that such a parking lot was not necessary.

Ms. Stefforia noted that plans for establishing the extension of the Kal-Haven Trail from 10th Street to the downtown area was planned for this year.

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the Planning Commission, the meeting was adjourned at 9:00 p.m.

OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP
PLANNING COMMISSION

By:
Kathleen Garland-Rike, Secretary
Minutes prepared:
April 15, 2003
Minutes approved:
, 2003