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OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS

April 8, 2002

Agenda

PATTISON - FRONTAGE AND DEPTH-TO-WIDTH VARIANCES - 1600 BLOCK OF 9TH STREET (AT THE END OF STEEPLECHASE COURT) - (PARCEL NO. 3905-11-355-041)

HARDINGS - WALL SIGN DEVIATION - 5161 WEST MAIN STREET- (PARCEL NO. 3905-13-430-036)

EICHELBERG - SITE PLAN REVIEW - HOUSE CONVERSION TO OFFICE USE - 2800 SOUTH 11TH STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-25-335-040)

HANSEN (SPURR DENTAL OFFICE) - SUPPLEMENTAL SETBACK VARIANCE - 1624 SOUTH DRAKE ROAD - (PARCEL NO. 3905-25-230-074)

A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Zoning Board of Appeals on Monday, April 8, 2002, commencing at approximately 3:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Stanley Rakowski, Acting Chairperson
Dave Bushouse
Jill Jensen
Grace Borgfjord

MEMBER ABSENT: Millard Loy

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

CALL TO ORDER

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

MINUTES

The Board considered the minutes of the meeting of March 18, 2002. Ms. Borgfjord moved to approve the minutes as submitted, and Ms. Jensen seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

PATTISON - FRONTAGE AND DEPTH-TO-WIDTH VARIANCES - 1600 BLOCK OF 9TH STREET (AT THE END OF STEEPLECHASE COURT) - (PARCEL NO. 3905-11-355-041)

The Board considered an item tabled from the meeting of March 18, 2002. The applicant requested a variance to allow a parcel with inadequate frontage and a depth-to-width ratio in excess of 4-to-1 to be buildable. The subject property is west of 9th Street in the 1600 block, at the end of Steeplechase Court. The subject property is located in the "AG" Agricultural-Rural District zoning classification and is Parcel No. is 3905-11-355-041.

It was noted that the item had been tabled so that the Attorney could research and consider whether a 66-foot right-of-way could be required of the applicant should he decide to plat the subject property as a one-lot plat. The Township Attorney opined that the Land Division Ordinance did not allow for the requirement of an easement. The Ordinance did have an intent to connect to interior properties, and therefore, there was a section in the Land Division Ordinance concerning connection of street systems to adjacent properties. However, since the applicant would not be proposing an extension of Steeplechase Court, there would be no provision in the Ordinance to require a connection or right-of-way.

Ms. Bugge pointed out that Section 66.203 of the Zoning Ordinance allowed the Zoning Board of Appeals to grant a variance conditioned upon the requirement of conveyance or dedication of a public 66-foot right-of-way. Therefore, as a condition of any variance granted, the Board could require a 66-foot right-of-way. The requirement of such a right-of-way would meet the spirit and intent of the Zoning Ordinance and the Land Division Ordinance. The Attorney felt that the application was distinguishable from others that would be received in that the subject property was the only location which could connect the adjacent plat to the interior lands and ultimately 9th Street.

Ms. Bugge indicated that the Road Commission suggested that the 66-foot right-of-way run the entire length of the property along its north boundary line. The Road Commission had indicated that a road would probably not develop on the whole length of the property but would connect at some point to the property to the north. However, they had not evaluated the most appropriate place along the north boundary line to make that connection.

The applicant was present and had questions regarding the platting process. It was pointed out that the establishment of a plat could eliminate the need for the frontage variance, but that the applicant would continue to require a 4-to-1 depth-to-width ratio variance unless some of the parcel's area was deeded to the adjacent property.

Mr. Bushouse suggested that a variance be granted conditioned upon an easement 66 feet in width along the north boundary line of the property 100 feet east from the west property line where it met Steeplechase Court. He felt that this would best serve the goal of connection to 9th Street without overburdening the subject property. The applicant indicated that his property is flat for about one-third of the length east from Steeplechase but then drops.

After further discussion, Mr. Bushouse moved to grant a variance from the frontage and depth-to-width ratio requirements conditioned upon the conveyance or dedication of a public 66-foot wide right-of-way east 100 feet from the west property line of the subject parcel along its north boundary line. It was reasoned that the variance would best meet the spirit and intent of the Ordinance. Ms. Jensen seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

HARDINGS - WALL SIGN DEVIATION - 5161 WEST MAIN STREET- (PARCEL NO. 3905-13-430-036)

The Board considered the application of Harding & Hill, Inc. regarding the Hardings at West Main 2000, 5161 West Main Street, Parcel No. 3905-13-430-036. The application sought deviation from the wall sign provisions of Section 76.170 to allow a wall sign package that exceeds the number of wall signs and the area permitted. The subject property is located in the "C-1" Local Business District zoning classification. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Stefforia indicated that her husband had an interest in the request, and therefore, she stepped down from the dias during consideration of the item.

Ms. Bugge stated that the applicant sought to relocate three of the existing signs from the front of the existing building to a new building which would house the Hardings Market. The Board was reminded that the store is located at West Main 2000 and will face Drake Road. Following completion of the new store, the existing Hardings store, which faces West Main Street and Drake Road will be demolished and replaced by a Kohl's department store. The current building has six signs on the West Main facade and three signs on the Drake side. The three signs that would be relocated, pursuant to the request, were the main Hardings Marketplace sign, the Flagstar Bank sign and the Spartan logo sign. The total area would be 392 square feet.

It was noted that the store would be located 670 feet from the center line of Drake Road.

Under Section 76.170, the store would be entitled to one wall sign at a maximum of 253 square feet. The applicant was requesting deviation to permit the three wall signs with the combined sign area exceeding the permitted area by 139 square feet.

It was further noted that the Lowe's signage was approved under the old Ordinance provisions.

Ms. Bugge reminded the Board that it had denied a request from Kalamazoo Beer Distributors for a deviation from the permitted sign area in order to reuse an existing sign. However, in that case, the building setback was less than 70 feet from the right-of-way.

Mark Hill was present on behalf of the applicant. He emphasized that the applicant would be eliminating six of the signs on the existing building, which were "grandfathered" under the old Ordinance provisions. However, they would like to reuse three of the signs. He noted also the considerable distance from Drake Road and indicated that the store would be an even further distance from West Main.

Josh Weiner, of West Main 2000, LLC, was present, stating he felt he deviation was appropriate because the application would reduce the number of signs at the site by two-thirds and would reduce the square footage of signage at the site by 40%. Further, he felt that there was a hardship in visibility due to the distance from Drake Road.

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

Board members agreed that the deviation would not be materially detrimental to property owners in the vicinity in that it was consistent with other signage at the site. Board members felt that the distance from Drake Road presented a hardship created by the literal interpretation of the Section. Further, it was reasoned that the deviation would not be contrary to the general purpose or set an adverse precedent because the deviation would bring signage at the Hardings Market into closer compliance with current Ordinance provisions.

Mr. Bushouse moved, based on the reasoning cited above, to grant the deviation, and Ms. Borgfjord seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

EICHELBERG - SITE PLAN REVIEW - HOUSE CONVERSION TO OFFICE USE - 2800 SOUTH 11TH STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-25-335-040)

The Board next considered the application of Bill Eichelberg for site plan review concerning the conversion of a residence to an office with related site improvements. The subject property is located at 2800 S. 11th Street and is Parcel No. 3905-25-335-040. The site is 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 "R-3" District allows conversion of homes to office use as a permitted use. The applicant sought to move his office (he is a builder) to the site. Ms. Stefforia made reference to Section 23.202 and the criteria located therein. She noted, with reference to this criteria, that there would be no external changes to the building itself. Further, the retention area would be located behind the house. Only two additional lights were proposed for the site, and these would have to be subdued. She felt the application met the requirements as to parking and screening of the site. The site would satisfy the Landscaping Ordinance provisions. The applicant had received tentative approval for its drive from the Kalamazoo County Road Commission.

With regard to the criteria of Section 82.800, Ms. Stefforia emphasized that she would like to see all site improvements, including parking and landscaping, be completed prior to the issuance of a certificate of occupancy. However, she felt it would be acceptable, if landscaping were not completed prior to the applicant seeking occupancy, that a performance guarantee be provided.

Craig Johnson, landscape architect, was present on behalf of the applicant. He stated that they had tried to design the site without removing existing trees to the extent possible. The driveway followed the existing location of the gravel drive. The applicant had tried to "break up" the parking with parking islands so as to keep a residential appearance. Fifteen parking spaces were provided at the site, but two to three spaces might be eliminated due to Fire Department requirements of a turnaround.

Mr. Rakowski suggested the possibility of a shared drive if the property to the north develops as an office. The applicant, Bill Eichelberg, was present, stating that he would be open to the possibility of sharing a drive if details could be worked out with the owner to the north.

There was discussion of the possibility of designing the site to accommodate the possible shared drive, and Larry Harris, a landscape architect for the project, stated that the applicant would rather keep the design submitted and work out a connection later if the property to the north developed as an office.

Mr. Bushouse noted the possibility of the widening of 11th Street. Currently, the right-of-way is 33 feet from the center line. The applicant reported that the Road Commission had indicated that it would be adding six feet to the road surface on this side of the street. The driveway design was created to accommodate this road widening.

Mr. Bushouse wondered whether there would be room for the establishment of sidewalks in the future. The applicant indicated that, after widening, the road surface would still be 15 feet from the property line, and therefore, he felt that sidewalks could be accommodated in the future.

Jan Thompson, a resident to the north of the property, expressed concern about the changes taking place in the area. It was clarified with regard to her questions that some of the existing trees along the property line would be removed, and other plantings installed. There would be a combination of spruce and flowering shrubs established.

Ms. Thompson was concerned about car lights which would shine into her living room window from cars entering the driveway. The applicant stated that, in his opinion, the low shrubs would provide more screening from possible headlights. Further, as an office use, it would be unusual for cars to be entering or exiting the site after 5 p.m.

Lights would not be burning on the building all night. The lights established would be motion sensitive, the applicant stated.

The applicant also stated that he felt the proposal would improve drainage at the site so that it would not be a problem for the property to the north.

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

Mr. Rakowski emphasized that he would like to encourage a shared drive with the property to the north if it was developed as an office use.

He questioned the applicant concerning hours of operation, and Mr. Eichelberg stated that he generally closes between 5:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. There would be no heavy equipment located at the site as part of the operation of the office.

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

Ms. Borgfjord seconded, and the motion carried unanimously.

HANSEN (SPURR DENTAL OFFICE) - SUPPLEMENTAL SETBACK VARIANCE - 1624 SOUTH DRAKE ROAD - (PARCEL NO. 3905-25-230-074)

The applicant requested a variance from the supplemental setback required from the north and south property lines to allow the construction of a new office building on the subject property. The property is located at 1624 South Drake Road and is Parcel No. 3905-25-230-074. The property is located in the "CR" Local Business District zoning classification. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Mr. Rakowski indicated that he would like to abstain from consideration of the request because Dr. Spurr is his dentist.

Mr. Bushouse moved to allow Mr. Rakowski to abstain, and the motion was seconded by Ms. Jensen. The motion carried unanimously.

Ms. Bugge noted that the property does not currently comply with the dimensional requirements of the Ordinance, but that it is being platted and would conform once the platting process was complete. Further, the site plan would be reviewed by the Planning Commission at a future date.

It was pointed out that the properties abutting the subject site are currently zoned "R-3", although the Land Use Plan designates their future zoning as "CR". The property to the north, zoned "R-3", is also the location of a dental office.

Because the adjacent properties are "R-3", a supplemental setback of 85 feet from both the north and south property lines is applicable. Since the property is only 159 feet wide, no buildable area would remain.

Steve Bosch was present on behalf of the applicant. He argued that the situation was unique because the property would be unbuildable without a variance.

No public comment was offered, and the pubic hearing was closed.

Reference was made to the criteria required for the issuance of a nonuse variance.

Board members agreed that the conformance was unnecessarily burdensome in this case and that no buildable area would result from the supplemental setback.

Ms. Jensen moved to grant a variance conditioned upon use of the subject site for an office. It was required that the site meet the setbacks applicable to a commercial office building. It was reasoned that substantial justice would weigh in favor of granting the variance in that the office use would not be out of keeping with the office or residential uses in the area, and further in recognition that conformance was unnecessarily burdensome. Further, the hardship was not self-created. It was felt that the spirit and intent of the Ordinance would be observed by the variance in that the Land Use Plan indicated that surrounding properties would be zoned "CR" in the future.

Ms. Borgfjord seconded the motion, and the motion carried 3-to-0 with Mr. Rakowski abstaining.

ADJOURNMENT

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

OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP
ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS

By:
Stanley Rakowski, Acting Chairperson

By:
David Bushouse

By:
Jill Jensen

By:
Grace Borgfjord

Minutes Prepared:
April 11, 2002

Minutes Approved:
, 2002