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OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

PLANNING COMMISSION

Meeting Minutes

April 22, 1999

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Agenda

WEST POINT CENTRE OFFICE PARK - SPECIAL EXCEPTION USE/SITE PLAN REVIEW PUBLIC HEARING - NORTHEAST CORNER 10TH STREET AND WEST MAIN STREET

RECONSIDERATION OF SEELBINDER REZONING REQUEST - 2215 N. DRAKE ROAD

WORK ITEM - ADULT REGULATED USES AND FINDINGS OF RESEARCH

WORK ITEM - DRAFT #2 - TEXT AMENDMENT TO SPECIAL EXCEPTION USES

PUBLIC HEARING - INDUSTRIAL LAND USE POLICIES - MASTER LAND USE PLAN AMENDMENT

1999 1ST AND 2ND QUARTER WORK PLAN REVIEW/RECEIPTS

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A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Planning Commission on Thursday, April 22, 1999, commencing at approximately 7:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall, pursuant to notice.

Members present:

Wilfred Dennie, Chairperson
Millard Loy
Elizabeth Heiny-Cogswell
Stanley Rakowski
Ted Corakis
Marvin Block

Members Absent:

Ken Heisig

Also present were Jodi Stefforia, Planning Director, Mary Lynn Bugge, Township Planner, Patricia R. Mason, Township Attorney, and eight (8) other interested persons.

CALL TO ORDER

The Chairperson called the meeting to order at 7:01 p.m.

 AGENDA

The Chairperson suggested adding a discussion of the upcoming joint meeting with the Township Board. Mr. Loy moved to approve the agenda as submitted, and Ms. Heiny-Cogswell seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

 

MINUTES

The Planning Commission next considered the minutes of the meeting of April 8, 1999. Mr. Block moved to approve the minutes as submitted, and Mr. Rakowski seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

 

WEST POINT CENTRE OFFICE PARK - SPECIAL EXCEPTION USE/SITE PLAN REVIEW PUBLIC HEARING - NORTHEAST CORNER 10TH STREET AND WEST MAIN STREET

The next item had been tabled from the meeting of April 8, 1999. The applicant, LandTech, Inc., on behalf of West Pointe Development, LLC, was requesting special exception use and site plan review of a proposed office park development. The development would include nine 10,000-sq.-ft. office buildings. The proposed development would be located on approximately 11.72 acres at the northeast corner of 10th Street and West Main Street within the "R-3" Residence District zoning classification.

The report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference. Ms. Stefforia stated that the Zoning Board of Appeals had considered a height variance at its meeting of April 19, 1999. The variance was denied in that the Zoning Board of Appeals found that the development could be established in compliance with Ordinance provisions. Single-floor and walkout buildings were possible. The ZBA felt that the 25’ height restriction was more in keeping with the character of the homes across the street and with Walnut Woods.

The Chairperson asked for the applicant’s comments as to whether he would like to go forward with the proposal given the action of the ZBA. The applicant was present, stating that the height variance had been sought to allow some flexibility in the design of the office project. However, Mr. Wierenga felt that the applicant could design around the 25’ height limitation with what he described as a pseudo-mansard roof or "Chicago-style" roof. Mr. Wierenga illustrated, at the request of the Chairperson, how a "Chicago-style" roof would appear.

The Chairperson noted that the report received from KATS recommended improvements to 10th Street and that the applicant had indicated he would be willing to construct and pay for these improvements. One change from the previous plan was that nine buildings were proposed, all two stories. This redesign would reduce total building square footage coverage at the site by approximately 4,000 sq. ft. Ms. Stefforia noted that the Fire Department had not had an opportunity to review the revised plan. Any approval should be subject to that review and approval. The redesign of the site results in approximately 47% green space. The parking proposed was in excess of that required by approximately seven spaces. Further, the applicant had provided for possible connections, for cross access, to the property to the north. The Chairperson reminded the Planning Commission that it had previously expressed concern about the retention basins and their proximity to 10th Street. Further, the density of the development was previously a concern as it would relate to traffic impact on 10th Street.

Mr. Wierenga illustrated the changes made to the plan since the last meeting. He noted that the building "faces" along 10th Street had been reduced. More of the existing trees at the site would be retained, and there would be less grading. There would be more space between buildings. Mr. Wierenga felt that the proposed development was consistent with the character of the area, and he noted that there were a number of two-story residences at the "top of the hill on 10th Street" which were in excess of 25’ tall. Mr. Wierenga presented an illustration of the front elevation as it would appear from across 10th Street.

There was a discussion of the distances between buildings and property lines.

The issue of traffic was then discussed. There are approximately 4,600 total cars per day on 10th Street; 770 trips would be added by this site. Mr. Wierenga indicated he believed that there would be little impact during a.m. peak hours. He felt there would be little impact on the residential traffic in the area in that the traffic to and from the office project would be going in the opposite direction during peak hours than residential traffic. He reiterated that the developer had agreed to make the improvements indicated by KATS and the Kalamazoo County Road Commission to 10th Street. In his opinion, if the development were residential in character, this site would have a much more injurious impact on 10th Street. He made reference to the traffic count numbers in the Planning and Zoning report, and he stated that he was largely in agreement with these numbers. There would be between 450-700 trips per day, but these would not combine with the "peak" traffic from the residential areas. Again he noted that office traffic is "counter flowing."

The Chairperson had questions with regard to the water retention areas. The applicant responded that the north pond had been "set back" further from 10th Street. Additionally, a 4’ fence of a residential character, like wrought iron, would be placed around each pond. The ponds were very narrow in width and would have a very "low profile" appearance to 10th Street. Although the ponds would retain water, the applicant indicated that they might be interconnected so that they were similar in level. It was likely the slope would be 1:2.

There was a discussion of the location of proposed site lighting.

The Chairperson asked for public comment, and Peg Cancro asked about which building would be established first. The Chairperson noted that phasing would have to be discussed. Ms. Cancro also stated that she was still concerned about her ability to make a left turn into her drive during p.m. peak hours. Further, she was concerned about the possibility of accidents from the north drive turning left on 10th Street.

There was discussion of the phasing, and the applicant indicated that he would like to phase "building by building" in the following order: Buildings #8, #9, #5, #7, #6, #4, #3, #2, #1.

Fred Antosz had a question about the sanitary sewer, and the sanitary sewer project anticipated along 10th Street was discussed. It was noted that the developer would be paying for sanitary sewer to go north of West Main by approximately 1,400’.

Mary England wondered whether the Commission had any control over the timing of the phasing. She wondered whether the applicant could stop "midstream." It was noted that the applicant had indicated that the buildings might be established over ten years. The Township Attorney stated that the Ordinance requires that development commence under a special exception use permit within one year or the permit would expire. The Attorney stated that her interpretation would be that the applicant would have to commence the development within one year and that, if more than one year expired between the completion of one phase and the commencement of another, the applicant would need to obtain an extension or reapproval.

Ms. England stated that she felt there was no need for this development given that Walnut Woods and other area office buildings had occupancy problems. She would rather see single-family homes at this site. She wondered if a 4’ fence was a "safe height." The applicant indicated that 4’ fencing was a Michigan standard for the fencing of pools.

Bonnie Banghart discussed the development west of 10th Street, behind the plat, which she felt would also generate more traffic for 10th Street. The Chairperson pointed out that information received from the Planning Commission was that residential development would create more trip generations than office development.

Bernie Zwart stated that he suspected the development would "go down the drain." He was concerned about the location of retention ponds along 10th Street and felt that they were an eyesore. He thought that the retention areas should be relocated to other low areas near U.S. 131.

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

The Chairperson again summarized the aspects of the development. Reference was made to the criteria of Section 60.100/200. The Planning Commission discussed whether the proposed use was compatible with other uses expressly permitted within the "R-3" Residence Zoning District. Reference was made to the Statement of Purpose for the "R-3" District. Members felt that offices are compatible with residential use, particularly since traffic flows in different directions during peak periods. Further, this development would be compatible in that the developer had agreed to make certain road improvements recommended by KATS and the Kalamazoo County Road Commission in Phase I of the project.

The Planning Commission next discussed whether the proposed use would be detrimental or injurious to the use or development of adjacent properties or to the general neighborhood. The Chairperson noted that density and traffic had been of the greatest concern at the last meeting. Mr. Block felt that the developer’s elimination of two buildings and the agreement to put in the road improvements would alleviate the problems about which he had previously been concerned. Mr. Rakowski expressed that he was glad to see two potential connections to the north to accommodate future cross-access. He felt this would keep curb cuts to a minimum in the area. The Chairperson stated that he was pleased with the spacing between the buildings, which had been improved by the elimination of two buildings at the project. He felt the project had been enhanced by the changes made. Mr. Corakis agreed, recognizing that more green space would remain at the site. Further, the lighting proposed by the applicant would be compatible.

The Planning Commission discussed whether the proposed use would promote public health, safety and welfare. There was a discussion of the redesign of the intersection at 10th Street and West Main. The Chairperson stated he wanted to see the Township be proactive in pushing for changes to the signalization at that intersection. He felt the Planning Commission should issue a letter to MDOT urging that the changes be made.

Mr. Loy confirmed with the applicant that sanitary sewer would be established with Phase I. Commission members felt it was favorable that the retention areas were located in "natural low areas." Mr. Loy expressed that he would like to see a condition of approval be that there be proper maintenance of the retention areas so that no weeds, etc., developed. Mr. Rakowski agreed. It was noted that lighting plan, landscaping plan and architectural plans for the roof design should be submitted to Township staff for review and approval. Ms. Heiny-Cogswell stated that she would like to see any access gates to the retention areas locked.

The Planning Commission considered whether the proposed use would encourage use of the land in accord with its character and adaptability. The Chairperson felt that the development would be in keeping with the character and adaptability of the land due to the enhancements to 10th Street, the cross-access potential, circulation at the site, green space, etc.

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell questioned the applicant concerning the spaces between buildings. She noted the courtyard designs of the original plan. The applicant responded that, due to the increased space between buildings, it was likely there would be outdoor patios and lunch areas which would be proposed as part of the landscaping plan. Ms. Stefforia again reminded the Planning Commission to consider requiring the applicant to specify what existing vegetation would be maintained and providing detail for same on a landscaping plan. The Chairperson felt this was important, especially along 10th Street. Ms. Heiny-Cogswell felt a detailed plan for the entire site was warranted.

Mr. Block felt the plan should show the proposed barrier-free parking. As to landscaping again, Ms. Heiny-Cogswell stated that any new plantings should be shown on the landscaping plan. There was discussion of the criteria of Section 82.800.

As part of this discussion, Mr. Loy expressed concern about the possibility of drives being blocked when dumpsters were emptied. The applicant indicated good success in other projects with coordinating the timing of emptying dumpsters so as to occur at low-traffic periods. The enclosure detail for dumpsters would be part of the landscaping plan.

There was a discussion of Phase I and, in addition to the establishment of building #8, its related parking and landscaping, Planning Commission members felt that establishment of the south curb cut and interior drive back to the area of building #5 should be established. Further, the retention pond along West Main should be constructed. The 10th Street road improvements, as well as sanitary sewer, were required in Phase I. Planning Commission members agreed that, once building #7 was begun, the northerly drive and retention areas should be established.

Mr. Loy moved to approve special exception use permit, finding that the criteria of Section 60.100/200 and 23.404 had been met. This finding was contingent on the establishment of the 10th Street road improvements as included in the recommendation of KATS (see PC minutes of April 8, 1999, p 4), as well as the extension of sanitary sewer in Phase I of the project. Additionally, it was required that there be appropriate maintenance of the retention ponds so as not to become overgrown with weeds or otherwise unsightly. Further, the approval was subject to the review and requirements of the Township Fire Department and Township Engineer. Further, it was required that Township staff review and approve the architectural design of the project, including the roof type. Township staff was also to review and approve the landscaping plan, which should include specific detail as to the vegetation which would be retained and all new plantings.

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

Mr. Loy moved to approve the site plan, with the following conditions, limitations and notations:

(1) That access as proposed was approved, as well as the proposed connections to the property to the north for cross access.

(2) That phasing was approved in the following order, building by building: #8, #9, #5, #7, #6, #4, #3, #2, #1. In each phase, all related parking and landscaping adjacent to the building must be established. In Phase I, the south curb cut, as well as retention pond on West Main, must be constructed. The 10th Street road improvements as outlined in the recommendation of KATS (see PC minutes of April 8, 1999, p 4) and the sanitary sewer extension must be established. Upon the commencement of construction on building #7, the northerly drive and retention areas must be established.

(3) That the dumpster locations were adequate and that the enclosure proposal must be detailed and included with the landscaping plan for Township staff review and approval.

(4) That a detailed lighting plan consistent with Section 78.700 must be provided for the development before a building permit is sought for Phase I and reviewed and approved by the Township staff.

(5) That a Sign Permit must be obtained before a sign is placed at the property.

(6) That the site grading plan and/or landscaping plan should indicate the limits of earth change and/or disturbance, as well as measures that will be taken to protect existing vegetation along 10th Street.

(7) That an elevation and exterior architecture plan must be submitted to the Township staff for review and approval to ensure that same was in keeping with a residential character.

(8) That approval was subject to the review and approval of the Township Fire Department.

(9) That approval was subject to the review and approval of the Township Engineer. Any gating on retention areas must be locked.

(10) That the barrier-free parking must be noted on the revised site plan.

The motion was seconded by Mr. Rakowski and carried unanimously.

 

RECONSIDERATION OF PUBLIC HEARING DATE - SEELBINDER REZONING REQUEST - 2215 N. DRAKE ROAD

 

Staff requested that the Planning Commission reconsider the contents of the public hearing notice for the Seelbinder rezoning request and whether additional properties should be considered for rezoning. The subject property is located at 2215 N. Drake Road in the "R-2" Residence District. The Seelbinders requested rezoning to the "R-3" Residence District. The applicants had submitted a note indicating other property owners in this section of Drake Road had expressed an interest in having their property rezoned. Staff was recommending all parcels between the City of Kalamazoo Cemetery and the existing "R-4" parcel to the north be considered for rezoning.

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

Mr. Loy and Mr. Rakowski were concerned about rezoning property of others who had not requested such a rezoning. The Township Attorney noted that the Commission could expand the area under consideration and determine at public hearing the boundaries of any appropriate rezoning.

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell moved to notice all parcels for consideration of the "R-3" District and to conduct public hearing on June 24, 1999. Mr. Block seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

 

WORK ITEM - ADULT REGULATED USES AND FINDINGS OF RESEARCH

The Planning Commission next discussed draft #4 of the adult regulated use language in order to review findings of the Planning and Zoning Department regarding adult business regulation in other Michigan communities. The Planning and Zoning Department’s report is incorporated herein by reference. It was reported that there is not much local information or data and other area communities relied on the national studies previously referenced by the Planning Commission in adopting their adult regulated use ordinances. Planning Commission members felt that the secondary effects on the area, as well as on the community as a whole, justified use of the studies previously referenced.

Mr. Corakis moved to set public hearing on the matter for June 10, 1999. Mr. Block seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

 

WORK ITEM - DRAFT #2 - TEXT AMENDMENT TO SPECIAL EXCEPTION USES

The Planning Commission next discussed draft #2 of the proposed text amendments regarding special exception uses. The amendments proposed language regarding re-application and modification. Mr. Loy moved to schedule public hearing for June 10, 1999. Mr. Rakowski seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

 

PUBLIC HEARING - INDUSTRIAL LAND USE POLICIES - MASTER LAND USE PLAN AMENDMENT

The Planning Commission was to resume public hearing to consider draft #4 of the proposed Industrial Land Use Policy amendments. In that these policies concern the adult regulated uses, Mr. Loy moved to table the item to June 10, 1999. Ms. Heiny-Cogswell seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

 

 1999 1ST AND 2ND QUARTER WORK PLAN REVIEW/RECEIPTS

The Planning Commission considered the 2nd quarter work plan as revised by the Planning and Zoning Department based on Planning Commission input.

PLANNING COMMISSIONER COMMENTS

Mr. Rakowski noted that he had received comments from area residents expressing concern over the potential for contamination of their groundwater south of M-43. Ms. Stefforia stated that the Health Department would test groundwater for contamination. Mr. Rakowski also recommended further Township enforcement regarding traffic matters on G Avenue.

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell noted the upcoming MSPO conference. Further, she suggested that the Township take the initiative in tree planting where trees had been destroyed, for example, along 10th Street, due to the proposed road project.

OTHER BUSINESS

The Chairperson noted the agenda for the joint meeting would be an update on the sewer project, the work plan of the Planning Commission, upcoming Planning Commission public hearing items, and the tree planting initiative suggested by Ms. Heiny-Cogswell.

 

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the Commission, the meeting was adjourned at 10:05 p.m.

 

Minutes prepared:
April 23, 1999

Minutes approved:
May 13, 1999