OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

Township Board

April 25, 2000


The Oshtemo Township Board held its regular meeting at the Township Hall. The meeting was 
called to order by Supervisor
Fleckenstein, at 7:00 p.m.

PRESENT:
Supervisor Ron Fleckenstein
Clerk Deb Everett
Treasurer Lois Brown
Trustee Norm Anderson 
Trustee Marvin Block
Trustee Dave Bushouse
Trustee Fred Johnson

Also present was Richard Reed, Township Attorney, Bob Snell, Township Engineer, and 13 
interested people.

Motion made by Block, seconded by Johnson to approve the minutes of the April 11th regular 
meeting and April 12th special
meeting. Carried.

Income to the General Fund of $11,393.32 and disbursements of $178,572.07 were reported. Income 
to the Fire Fund of $16.50 and disbursements of $593,064.42 were reported. Treasurer Brown 
noted that $100,000 from General Fund disbursements and $400,000 from Fire Fund disbursements 
were in the form of investments made. Motion made by Anderson,
seconded by Johnson to acknowledge the receipts and pay the bills. Carried.

                                     CITIZENS COMMENTS

Kadir Mohmand, 6147 Old Log Trail questioned the sale of Township owned property on Stadium 
Drive, the assessment of Trustee Johnson=s property, and stated he believes certain people 
receive special treatment. 

Tom George, a resident of Texas Township, introduced himself as a candidate for the 61st House 
District.

                                       SIGN ORDINANCE 

Wilfred Dennie, Chairman of the Planning Commission presented a recommendation regarding 
amending the Sign Ordinance. He advised they began their review in1998, indicating the overall 
goal was to simplify the ordinance with an objective to eliminate visual chaos and clutter, 
the two main concerns being public safety and aesthetics. He further advised the proposed
draft combines all sign text into one ordinance, eliminating reference to signs in other parts 
of the Zoning Ordinance, attempts to combine by zone all the factors relating to signage for 
particular zoning district and regulate signs by use rather than by zoning district. Mr. 
Dennie further advised the planning department did an excellent job putting together a 
reference package to define various types of signs and the Planning Commission felt it was 
important to consider the purpose they serve and how they impact our community. 

Trustee Bushouse inquired regarding how the definition of a wall sign relates to gas station 
canopies, would political signs on public property be removed, are the US flags put up by 
the Oshtemo Business Association considered special event signs and was consideration given 
to the 30 square foot minimum being 32 sq ft since a sheet of plywood is 4 feet x 8 feet. 

Chairman Dennie and Planning Director Stefforia advised the gas station canopy would not be 
considered a wall sign, political signs are not now allowed in any public right of way, US 
flags would not be considered a sign, and it was felt the uses allowed the 30 square feet 
would not likely use a sheet of plywood for a sign; temporary signs would allowed at 32 
square feet.

In reference to Mr. Bushouse=s question regarding political signs, Supervisor Fleckenstein 
advised the Township would enforce the ordinance to the best of its ability.

Trustee Johnson inquired if barber poles would be allowed. Mr. Dennie felt they would be 
interpreted as a wall sign. Ms. Stefforia advised under current ordinance they would have 
to meet the height restriction and not rotate and an interpretation could be sought from the 
Zoning Board of Appeals. Mr. Fleckenstein felt this may need to be 
revisited.

Ed Annen, 1722 West Kilgore, representing Seelye-Wright Automotive Group, 6883 West Main
commented the difficulty with the proposed ordinance is inserting residential aesthetics into 
commercial zoning and stated the auto dealers should be allowed the visual chance to enhance 
and display their product with balloons and banners and urged the Board to reconsider the 
ordinance as it relates to commercial zoning. 

Kadir Mohmand commented the sign ordinance reminds him of a communist country where they 
control people and the sign ordinance hurts business people who create jobs. 

Mike Seeyle, 5545 Blue Spruce, owner of Seeyle-Wright Automotive Group, commented the issue is 
very important to their livelihood, asked the Board not the change the rules in the middle of 
the game, feels his dealership is so far off the road he needs something to grab attention, all 
car dealers use this type of signage, and they pay large tax amounts and keep expanding to pay 
more taxes. 

Jim VandenBerg, 1816 Killington, owner of Maple Hill Auto Center, 5622 West Main, commented 
that he strongly oppose the proposed action, they need this type of sigange to exist, it is 
one of the few things they can do on the lots to merchandise, most big brand signs are not 
seen by passers by and need something at eye level to catch their attention.

Jeff DeNooyer, 1426 Edgemoor, owner of Metro Toyota, 5850 Stadium Drive, expressed concern 
with the proposed ordinance, feels his business has been a good venture for himself and the 
Township, they are an outdoor retail business, other areas do allow banners and balloons, 
they create a festive atmosphere and have been a part of their business practice as long
as he has been involved and prior. 

Bill DeNooyer, 1531 Edgeridge Circle, owner of DeNooyer Chevorlet, 5800 Stadium Drive, 
commented they try to be a good neighbor, always try to comply with ordinances and work with 
the Township, studies show drive by business is the second largest source of traffic for auto 
dealers especially in used car sales, it is critical they have an opportunity to point to
displays, feels that rules have been changed, feels they were not given an opportunity to look 
at the ordinance and has concerns regarding the communication process.

Ms. Stefforia advised there was discussion at the Planning Commission regarding send a notice 
specifically to the dealerships, however, Township Attorney opinion was that they could not 
single out a particular group for comment. She further advised there were two notices placed 
in the Kalamazoo Gazette, a notice in the Township newsletter and the Oshtemo Business
Association was aware. She also pointed out that the signs listed as prohibited are also 
prohibited in the current ordinance by not being listed as allowed and advised she felt the 
balloons proposed as prohibited would be the large display balloons not balloons tied to 
antennas and comments had been received by people offended by the large balloons. She also 
stated the proposed ordinance is more generous that the current provisions by allowing 
special event signs and portable signs, festoons are not specifically allowed now but would 
be identified as not permitted, the ordinance would not regulate any sign not seen
from the public right of way and they tried to be flexible with existing establishments 
between Drake Road and US 131; they would not have to meet the proposed setback requirements 
since the area is fairly developed already, it was felt it would be unfair to change the 
setback.

Mr. Seelye responded their business is much different than the majority of commercial 
businesses, reiterating their business is an outdoor display, most of the sales go on in the 
lot, which is not the case for Mennard=s, Lowe=s or Meijers and an outdoor atmosphere is more 
important for auto dealers.

Mr. Annen stated Ms. Stefforia had pointed out why the proposed ordinance must be revisited, 
referring to her comment regarding the type of balloon the ordinance meant to address; the 
proposed ordinance does not differentiate. He further advised the Board to not let a few 
complaints be interpreted as public opinion. 

Mr. Johnson inquired if any Board members had ever heard a complaint from the public regarding 
the balloons. Board members indicated they have not.

Mr. Bushouse commented his own personal experience is that his grandchildren like the large 
balloons at Seelyes and DeNooyers; feels the streamers at Seelyes are more obnoxious than a 
gorilla sitting out front for a week so he does have a problem with that portion of the 
ordinance and stated as the ordinance becomes more restrictive, advertising becomes more
creative and the problem is not solved by taking sides, building a barrier not in anyone's 
best interest.

Treasurer Brown inquired if there had been any consideration given to holding a public hearing 
with the auto dealers to hear both points of view and reach a compromise, agreeing with Mr. 
Bushouse that the silver streamers can be seen for miles and are agitating but the large 
display balloons she doesn=t find offensive and would the Planning Commission consider such a
meeting and the representation of the auto dealers present could circulate the word needed to 
have this discussion and find a compromise.

Mr. Dennie inquired how the Planning Commission can legally invite a special forum to a meeting, reiterating they had been
advised not to single out any selective citizenry within the Township. 

Mrs. Brown suggested a public hearing be scheduled on the proposed ordinance and the representation of the auto dealers
present put forth effort on their part to be informed; call the Township Office, watch for the notices in the Gazette and get their
group here to discuss their point of view and share some positive approaches to their needs. She further commented that what
she is hearing is Awe pay a lot of taxes and you are taking away our rights@, and wished to clarify that the Township collects the
tax dollars but keep very little; the Township is a pass through agency for taxes.

Mr. Dennie advised he is not opposed to the suggestion, but was curious that the Planning Commission has been discussing this
item for two years with no attendance and inquired what specific notification those present received that the item would be
presented at this meeting

Mr. Seelye indicated a gentleman in the audience, indicating he did not know his name who had been into his office a couple of
times and presented things, advised him of this meeting. (The gentleman was identified as Kadir Mohmand.) Mr. Seelye further
commented that he doesn=t read the public notices in the Gazette or every piece of mail he gets and where his taxes go after
being collected is not his concern; he is a taxpayer, that is what is important. 

Mrs. Brown commented the Township makes every effort to get public notices in the Gazette in plenty of time so that everyone
who has a concern has an opportunity and address them, the office is always open to questions and has an has an excellent
front staff who can advise what is on an agenda and Township notices are also on our website. She further commented the
Township tries to be very diligent to keep the public informed and doesn=t feel one group has been singled out.

Mr. Seelye responded he feels the proposed ordinance singles them out by not realizing the nature of their business. 

Mr. Mohmand commented that he has to come two or three times to look at the bulletin board to see when there is a meeting,
and addressed Mrs. Brown=s comments about the staff stating he is required to fill out Freedom of Information Act requests for
documents. He further stated he feels he must watch to make sure the Board follows the law and urged the Board to not be
hungry for power. 

Supervisor Fleckenstein responded to Mr. Mohmand stating the Board does follow the law, appreciates his involvement and
input in the community and advised as it relates to public meetings also abides by the law; notices are posted on the bulletin
board within the required time frame. 

Clerk Everett commented it was unfortunate that the auto dealers input was not presented at the Planning Commission meetings
but felt the Township does make an effort to communicate by publishing and posting notices in the Gazette, on the website and
having the information available by phone; and with three boards meeting twice a month, six township wide mailings would be
necessary to notify every individual, the cost would astronomical and taxpayers might have a problem with that. She further
commented that the auto dealers input should have been gathered, it would have been important, but as a consumer festoons
and balloons do not attract her to a particular dealership, and didn=t realize those things were important to the business. Mrs.
Everett inquired of Ms. Stefforia if the items the businesses now have in place would be grandfathered. 

Ms. Stefforia advised they would become legal non-conforming and pointed out that Maple Hill Auto would be in the protected
area.

Ms. Stefforia advised that Planning Commission agendas are posted on the bulletin board at least 10 days before the meeting,
which is not required, there are business owners on the Planning Commission, the proposed ordinance is draft number 12 and
pointed out that auto dealers would be allowed more square footage of signs than currently allowed. 

Mr. Annen felt the ordinance would still have to be revisited as the balloon issue is not resolved. 

Trustee Block commented he feels this is a two way street, auto dealers are not being singled out, they are very successful and
just as important as others who also have concerns in a different way. He further commented he feels this can be worked out
and advised the entire Township must be considered and not single out auto dealers, a particular plat or individual, but felt they
should be more proactive; pointing out that this issue had been discussed for two years. 

Attorney Reed commented he feels the proposed ordinance is one of the best comprehensive and shows greatest thought of
most of the sign ordinances he has read, Oshtemo Township=s first sign ordinance comprehensive provisions were inserted in
the Zoning Ordinance in approximately 1968 and it was the intent then that such things as balloons, even on antennas not be
allowed, however, the written ordinance and the practice have diverged continually for about 20 years. He further commented
that any regulation provided for balloons on antennas for one business would have to be allowed for another; only with certain
narrow parameters can a citizen or business be singled out and given treatment which is not generally afforded others similarly
situated. He also stated it is a good idea to allow the community to participate and voice views in the matter and can be
returned to the Planning Commission. He also felt the Planning Commission deserves a great deal of credit for coming up with a
very good ordinance under difficult circumstances and the ordinance as proposed now is much more liberal and lenient than that
which was intended when the ordinance was originally drawn 20 years ago.

Supervisor Fleckenstein agreed with Mr. Reed that a great deal of credit be given to the Planning Department and Planning
Commission for their work on the ordinance. He also commented that with regard to communication he would strongly suggest
that the Oshtemo Business Association become more active and improve the lines of communication; it could be most helpful.
He further commented that the point had been made that legally a particular group cannot be singled out, notices are published
in the Gazette, on the website and bulletin board. He stated that although he would not be drawn in by balloons and streamers
they may very well be a valuable tool in the marketing effort for auto dealers and he doesn=t feel they should be denied the
opportunity to have the tools they need. He advised he would like to the ask the Planning Commission to take the item back,
gather input and compromise on some of the issues important to the business community.

Motion made by Johnson, seconded by Bushouse to return the sign ordinance amendment to the Planning Commission for
further review and public comment. Carried.

                         TRANSFER OF LIQUOR LICENSES-HOLLY=S INC

A request from Holly=s, Inc. to transfer ownership of their liquor licenses was presented. Attorney Reed advised this is a routine
request, transferring ownership from an entity owned by a group of shareholders to a second entity owned by the same
shareholders. 

Motion made by Anderson, seconded by Block to adopt the resolution approving the transfer. Roll call vote showed
Anderson-yes, Block-yes, Brown-yes, Everett-yes, Bushouse-yes, Johnson-yes, Fleckenstein-yes.

                                        COG DUES - 2000

Supervisor Fleckenstein advised dues for membership in the Council of Governments is now due and recommended payment
of $2,000.00 and appointment of the Supervisor as primary representative and Trustee Anderson as alternate.

Trustee Bushouse inquired of Mr. Fleckenstein what benefit he feels we have received from participation during the past year.
Mr. Fleckenstein responded we continue to have the opportunity of input with other governmental units in dealing with issues of
common interest, most recently the watershed issue, the GIS program and digital orthophotography. 

Motion made by Anderson, seconded by Johnson to approve payment of the dues and representatives. Carried 6-1 with
Bushouse voting no.

                           FLESHER FIELD - TREATMENT FOR GRUBS

Park Committee Chairman Johnson presented a proposal from Hadaway & Sons, our lawn maintenance contractor, for
treatment of a grub infestation, which includes rolling the lawn, thatching and raking, seeding, fertilizer and treatment of the
grubs, total cost not to exceed $,4,500.

This item was back before the Board after being postponed at the April 11th meeting to investigate Trustee Bushouse=s
suggestion of using Milky Spore as a treatment. Treasurer Brown advised the Committee had been advised Milky Spore would
not be effective on the European Chaffer grub. 

Mr. Bushouse advised the information he had gathered indicated the problem has been caused by a previous dry summer and
winter and unless the effected area is watered on a consistent basis, the chemical treatment will not be effective, and feels this
would be a temporary solution with toxins harmful to animals and kids. He commented we should just live with it for a season. 

It was noted that the Park Committee had discussed the possibility of installing a sprinkler system, however the cost is
prohibitive at this time.

Motion made by Johnson, seconded by Brown to approve the proposal from Hadaway & Sons. Motion defeated 4-3 with
Anderson, Block, Bushouse, Fleckenstein voting no.

                                GRANGE SIDING AND WINDOWS

Treasurer Brown presented a proposal from the Park Committee for siding and replacement windows for the Grange Hall. She
advised the current exterior is painted wood siding which has become costly to maintain as it requires painting at least every
other year. 

She further advised in an effort to retain the appearance of the building, the proposed siding and windows would be close in
appearance to the current siding and windows. 

Three bids were received:
Diamond Construction - $ 14,110.00
Farley Aluminum/Vinyl Siding - $15,805.70
Blackberry Systems - $18,800.00

The Park Committee recommends acceptance of Diamond Construction=s bid.

Trustee Bushouse inquired if consideration had been given to making the building barrier free. Mrs. Brown advised the
Committee did not address that issue, the primary concern at this time being preserving the structure, but could consider this as
a project for next year=s budget.

Trustee Anderson advised the Building Committee reviewed a proposal a few years ago regarding making the building barrier
free. Mrs. Brown indicated she would follow up on this.

Motion made by Brown, seconded by Anderson to accept the bid from Diamond Construction for $14,110.00 to reside and
install replacement windows at the Grange Hall. Carried. 

                                 BOARD MEMBER COMMENTS

Treasurer Brown advised the Township had completed the collection process for the Gypsy Moth spray program. In the
effected areas of the Township, 48% responded yes and paid, 52% responded negatively. We do not yet know how the
County plans to handle the program from this point.

Mrs. Brown also announced she would not be seeking re-election as Township Treasurer, she will be supporting Nancy Culp,
current Deputy Treasurer. She further stated she will be running for Trustee.

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Supervisor Fleckenstein commented Treasurer Brown has made significant contributions to the Township and wished her well. 

He also advised that Joan Burke, Executive Director of Community Access Center has announced her retirement.

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Trustee Bushouse advised a resident had concerns about recycling not being picked up timely. Treasurer Brown indicated she
had experienced the same problem and the Township Office has communicated these concerns to the waste haulers.

He also advised he had been asked if the rear door in the new fire station is tall enough for the snorkel truck. Trustee Anderson
advised it is.

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Trustee Johnson commented there has been a deer carcass on South 9th Street for several days. It was noted that Kalamazoo
County Animal Control nor the Road Commission does not address this type of problem.

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Engineer Snell commented that progress continues with the Springwood Hills water project, most connections have been made
and removal of old wells will be underway.

There was no further business and the meeting was adjourned at 9:00 p.m.

 

DEBORAH L. EVERETT                                              Attested: RON FLECKENSTEIN
Township Clerk                                                                                Supervisor