OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS

April 27, 2004

Agenda

DE VISSER - SITE PLAN REVIEW - HOUSE CONVERSION TO OFFICE - 3988 SOUTH 9TH STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-35-330-031)

WALES - VARIANCE - PUBLIC SANITARY FACILITIES - 6307 ATLANTIC AVENUE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-35-215-062)

ZONDERVAN ENTERPRISES, LLC - SIGN DEVIATION - OFF-SITE SIGN - 3030 SOUTH 9TH STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-26-380-046)

WEST CENTURY CENTER - INTERPRETATION - PARKING REQUIREMENTS - 5015 WEST MAIN STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-13-430-041)

A regular meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Zoning Board of Appeals on Tuesday, April 27, 2004, commencing at approximately 3:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Grace Borgfjord, Acting Chairperson
Dave Bushouse
Duane McClung
James Turcott

MEMBER ABSENT: Millard Loy

Also present were Jodi Stefforia, Planning Director; Mary Lynn Bugge, Township Planner; James W. Porter, Township Attorney; and approximately 12 other interested persons.

CALL TO ORDER

Ms. Borgfjord, Acting Chairperson of the meeting, called the meeting to order at approximately 3:02 p.m.

MINUTES

The next item on the Agenda was consideration of the minutes of March 23, 2004. Mr. McClung made a motion to approve the minutes as submitted, and the motion was seconded by Mr. Turcott. The Acting Chairperson called for a discussion, and hearing none, called for a vote on the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

DE VISSER - SITE PLAN REVIEW - HOUSE CONVERSION TO OFFICE - 3988 SOUTH 9TH STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-35-330-031)

The Acting Chairperson indicated that the next item on the agenda was consideration of the request by Dave DeVisser, of DeVisser Landscape Service for site plan review for the conversion of a residence to an office with related site improvements.

The Acting Chairperson called for the Staff report, which is incorporated herein by reference. Ms. Stefforia told the Board that the property was currently located in a "R-3" Residential zone, but was located immediately adjacent to property zoned "I-R" Industrial District, Restricted, where the applicant's business is located. She said the applicant was proposing to convert a residence on the "R-3" property for its business office. She said, since the "R-3" parcel is nonconforming with regard to dimensional requirements, it had to be combined with the abutting property to become conforming. Ms. Stefforia explained that the conversion of a residence to an office was a permitted use in the "R-3" District. She said that the criteria to be satisfied for office use in the "R-3" District was outlined in Section 23.202 and that site plan would have to be considered pursuant to Section 82.800.

Ms. Stefforia provided the department review of Section 23.202 for the Board's consideration. Ms. Stefforia outlined the criteria. Ms. Stefforia said that there were no exterior changes proposed to the building, but that a parking drive aisle would be constructed to provide nine parking spaces. She said a large portion of the site would remain in its natural state, maintaining significant open space within the parcel. Ms. Stefforia said that there would be a freestanding light pole in the parking area and decorative landscape lighting along the walkway from the parking lot to the front door. The parking and drive would be more than 10 feet off the north property line and screened from view from the north by existing and supplemented landscaping. Ms. Stefforia noted that the screening was shown on the site plan, but that the site plan needed to be revised to satisfy the requirements of the Landscaping Ordinance.

Ms. Stefforia then reviewed Section 82.800 of the Zoning Ordinance with the Board members.

Ms. Stefforia explained to the Board that a new driveway would be constructed on 9th Street and that the existing residential driveway would be removed. She noted that the separation of the new driveway from the existing business driveway is 225 feet, while the Ordinance requires 230 feet. She also noted that the off-set of the new drive from one across 9th Street is only 60 feet, where the Ordinance requires an off-set of 150 feet. She said, given the limited amount of traffic which would be generated, the Staff was comfortable with the proposed location of the new drive. However, she noted that the proposed driveway would be subject to review and approval by the County Road Commission.

Ms. Stefforia added that a cross-connection to the applicant's parcel to the south for emergency vehicle access would be preferable. She also said that additional pavement would be needed to facilitate backing out of the most-western parking area and exiting the property without leaving the paved portion of the parking area.

Also, Ms. Stefforia recommended that the applicant provide a pedestrian connection between the office and the balance of its property.

Ms. Stefforia told the Board that, since the building was existing, setbacks were not an issue. However, she noted that outdoor storage was neither requested nor approved and that refuse would be handled with a residential-style herbie curbie.

Concerning the proposed lighting, Ms. Stefforia said that the Staff had questioned the need for 25-foot tall light post with a 400-watt light in the parking area, and she suggested that a reduction in the height of the pole and the wattage might be appropriate. She noted that all lighting had to be in compliance with the lighting guidelines set forth in Sections 23.202(b) and 78.700 of the Zoning Ordinance.

Ms. Stefforia said that a sign identifying the business currently exists along 9th Street, and that if additional signs were requested, a sign permit would be required pursuant to Section 76.000 of the Zoning Ordinance.

Ms. Stefforia next directed the Board's attention to the landscaping requirements as they relate to abutting properties. She indicated that the site plan needed to be revised to achieve compliance with the provisions of Section 75.000 of the Ordinance. She also noted that all site improvements, parking and landscaping had to be installed before issuance of a certificate of occupancy.

Ms. Stefforia noted for the Board and the applicant that the site plan would have to receive Township Fire Department approval, along with review and approval by the Township Engineer for overall design and storm water management.

The Acting Chairperson asked if there were questions of the Planning Staff. The Acting Chairperson then asked Ms. Stefforia if the entire parcel under consideration was zoned "R-3". Ms. Stefforia indicated that it was.

The Acting Chairperson then asked the applicant for his presentation. Mr. Bruce VanderWeele told the Board that he had assisted in preparing the site plan for the Board's view and approval, and he said he would consider any questions of the Board.

Mr. Turcott asked who would be parking at the office. Mr. VanderWeele said primarily Staff, not clients. He explained that the DeVissers had a staff of five and that rarely would any of the clients or customers of DeVissers Landscape Service ever be coming to the office, except possibly to pay a bill.

The Acting Chairperson asked if there were any further questions of Mr. VanderWeele. Mr. Turcott inquired as to why the plans showed the lighting as proposed if their business hours would typically be 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mr. Turcott asked if it was for security purposes. Mr. VanderWeele said that security was his primary focus. Dave DeVisser told the Board that there had been some vandalism and theft in the area, and that was the reason for the proposed lighting.

The Acting Chairperson asked the applicant if the equipment was fenced in, and Mr. DeVisser said it was not fenced. He again pointed out that was the purpose for the proposed lighting.

Mr. McClung asked what the maximum permitted wattage was under the Zoning Ordinance. Ms. Stefforia said the permitted wattage depended upon the height of the pole. She said for poles 15 feet and under, the lighting was restricted to 175-watt lights, but for poles over 15 feet, 400-watt lights were permitted.

Hearing no further questions of Mr. VanderWeele, the Acting Chairperson called for Board deliberations. Mr. Bushouse said he thought that the proposed site plan looked routine and complimented DeVissers on their landscaping. The Acting Chairperson asked the Board members if they had any questions or concerns.

Ms. Stefforia asked if the Board was going to address the cross-connection issue. Mr. VanderWeele said they had considered it, but that most of the heavy equipment was kept to the south. He said he did not believe that the Township Fire Department would need a turnaround since it probably would fight the fire from the street area. Ms. Stefforia said that the Board could leave it up to the Fire Department and the applicant to resolve together.

Mr. Turcott asked whether Ms. Stefforia was referring to a pedestrian cross- connection or vehicular cross-connection. Ms. Stefforia said she was referring to both vehicular and pedestrian cross-connections between the two parcels. The Acting Chairperson pointed out that the site plan would be subject to Township Fire Department approval. Mr. Bushouse said that would be appropriate provided it was subject to the appropriate code. Mr. VanderWeele asked if the cross-connection would have to be paved. Ms. Stefforia said that the only portion that would have to be paved would be the portion located on the parcel under consideration. She said paving requirements would not apply to the old parcel which was not being considered for site plan review. The Acting Chairperson said, if there was no further discussion, she would consider a motion.

Mr. McClung made a motion to approve the site plan as presented, provided that

(1) The proposed driveway is subject to approval by the Kalamazoo County Road Commission;

(2) The driving aisle be extended to facilitate backing out of the western-most parking space;

(3) A pedestrian connection be established between the office and the balance of the business property.

(4) Outdoor storage is neither requested nor approved on the "R-3" Residential District portion of the applicant's property.

(5) All site lighting shall be in compliance with the lighting guidelines set forth in Sections 23.202(b) and 78.700.

(6) Pursuant to Section 76.000, a sign permit will be required before any wall signs can be placed upon the building;

(7) A revised landscaping plan is required before a building permit may be issued.

(8) All site improvements, parking and landscaping, shall be installed prior to the issuance of a certificate of occupancy.

(9) Site plan approval is subject to the applicant complying with the requirements of the Township Fire Department, pursuant to adopted codes.

(10) Site plan approval is subject to the Township Engineer finding that the proposed engineering to be adequate.

(11) The two parcels of the applicant must be combined.

Mr. Turcott seconded the motion. The Acting Chairperson called for further discussion. Hearing none, she called for a vote on the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

WALES - VARIANCE - PUBLIC SANITARY FACILITIES - 6307 ATLANTIC AVENUE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-35-215-062)

The Acting Chairperson indicated that the next item on the agenda was the consideration of an application from Michelle Wales-Isaacs for a variance to allow construction of a duplex on a parcel not served with public water and sewer. The subject property is located at 6307 Atlantic Avenue in the "VC" Village Commercial District, and is Parcel No. 3905-35-215-062. The Acting Chairperson called for the report from the Planning Department, which is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Jodi Stefforia explained to the Board that the application was being presented pursuant to Section 33.404 of the Township Zoning Ordinance. She said the subject property consisted of a 1.2-acre and contains a residence. She said the applicant wants to divide the property to create an additional home site upon which she wishes to construct a duplex. She explained, under Section 33.404, the Zoning Ordinance requires development in the "VC" District to be served with public water and sewer. She noted that the Ordinance did exempt single-family homes when public sanitary facilities were not available. She said the Kalamazoo County Environmental Health Division had approved the well and septic for a duplex.

Ms. Stefforia reviewed the standards for approval of a nonuse variance based on practical difficulty and whether the Ordinance was unnecessarily burdensome. She said that public water is more than 700 feet away, and sewer is over 1,000 feet away. She did note, however, that another single-family dwelling could be constructed with well and septic and would constitute a reasonable use of the property if the variance were denied.

Ms. Stefforia asked whether or not substantial justice would be applied to both the applicant as well as other property owners in the District. Ms. Stefforia said this was the first variance request from the public utility requirements within the "VC" Village Commercial District. She noted that the Zoning Board of Appeals had granted a variance to allow a house conversion to an office use where existing well and septic would be utilized until such time as water and sewer became available. She said, given that only one duplex is being requested, she did not believe that it would set a negative precedent for granting a similar variance for a larger development.

Ms. Stefforia asked whether there were unique physical characteristics and limitations which prevented compliance with the Zoning Ordinance. Ms. Stefforia again noted that water is approximately 700 feet away and that sewer is approximately 1,100 feet from the subject property.

Ms. Stefforia asked whether the situation was self-created. Ms. Stefforia pointed out that the development of a duplex, rather than a single-family residence, was at the discretion of the applicant.

Lastly, Ms. Stefforia asked whether the spirit of the Zoning Ordinance would be observed and public health, safety and welfare secured if the variance was granted. Ms. Stefforia told the Board that she was not aware of any plans to extend public sanitary in Atlantic Avenue and asked the question of whether the duplex could be considered similar enough to a single-family residence to warrant granting the requested variance.

The Acting Chairperson asked if there were any questions for Ms. Stefforia.

Mr. Bushouse asked if this issue had been presented to the Sewer and Water Committee to determine whether or not sewer and/or water was, in fact, available to the site. Ms. Stefforia said she had not submitted it to the Sewer and Water Committee because she believed it was not financially viable. Given its location and the fact that sewer and water would only serve those properties on the south side of Atlantic Avenue, she did not believe it would be a viable alternative. She noted that it was not her intent to circumvent the Committee and that, if the Board chose, the Board members could table it and reconsider the matter after it had been reviewed by the Sewer and Water Committee.

Mr. Bushouse pointed out that the Sewer and Water Committee was quite aggressive in installing sewer and water where the Township felt it was needed. He said that he did not want to see someone install a well and septic and later find out that sewer and water are going to be installed and then be asked to pay for the installation cost of public utilities.

A brief discussion was held between the Board members, and when the Zoning Board of Appeals would meet next. Mr. Bushouse made a motion to table the matter May 11, 2004, to allow it to be reviewed by the Sewer and Water Committee. The motion was seconded by Mr. McClung.

The applicant asked if she could address the Board. Ms. Wales-Isaacs said they had waited several months for other issues to be resolved, and they hated to see this matter delayed further. She pointed out that other properties in the area recently received approval for well and septic and stressed to the Board that time was of the essence.

Mr. Turcott asked if the Sewer and Water Committee could expedite their review as well as the Zoning Board of Appeals to move this matter ahead more quickly. Mr. Bushouse said he would ask that the Sewer and Water Committee meet as soon as possible. The Acting Chairperson told the applicant that she understood her desire to move ahead quickly, but she believed it was in the applicant's best interest to wait and see what the Sewer and Water Committee determine before they proceeded further.

Mr. Isaacs told that Board that he did not believe it would be cost effective to put in utilities in that there were only five houses on the street, and he asked if the Board could not proceed. Mr. Bushouse said that he appreciated Mr. Isaacs' concern, but the Sewer and Water Committee often looked at the overall impact on the Township in terms of the future in 10, 20 or 30 years. Mr. Bushouse said that the Township may very well want to bring water down that street, not only to benefit the limited number of people there, but other properties in the general vicinity, and he thought it was in everyone's best interest to consider that before moving ahead with improvements that might otherwise be unnecessary.

The Acting Chairperson asked if there was any further discussion on the motion, and hearing none, she called for a vote on the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

ZONDERVAN ENTERPRISES, LLC - SIGN DEVIATION - OFF-SITE SIGN - 3030 SOUTH 9TH STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-26-380-046)

The Acting Chairperson indicated that the next item for consideration was the application of Zondervan Enterprises, LLC for its building located at 3030 South 9th Street. She explained that the subject property, being Parcel No. 3905-26-380-046, was located in the "VC" Village Commercial District and that the applicant was seeking a deviation to allow the replacement of an off-site sign. The Acting Chairperson called for a report from the Planning Department, which is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Bugge explained to the Board that the request was being made for a deviation from Section 33.410. She presented a historical review of the development in the area and noted that the subject building was built in 1978 or 1979 by Grover Brussee. She said, at that time, the Township was told that the complex would be condominiumized. However, the property was not condominiumized, and eventually it was divided up and sold off, resulting in the Aspen Building (now owned by Zondervan Enterprises, LLC), being located on a nonconforming, landlocked parcel without frontage on 9th Street. She said, at the time of construction, the Aspen Building had frontage on 9th Street and was in compliance with the frontage requirements. She noted that the Village Square of Oshtemo condominium was established in 1991, creating a general common element upon which the sign currently was located within an easement area of 30 by 50 feet.

Ms. Bugge said that, since the sign was off-site, by definition, it would constitute a billboard. She said that billboards were not permitted along 9th Street or within the Village Commercial District. She reviewed the permitted sign size and height within the Village Commercial District, and noted that the subject sign did not comply either in size or in height.

Ms. Bugge said, given the condition of the sign, the applicant was requesting a deviation to allow replacement of the existing, nonconforming sign. She reviewed the standards of approval for a sign deviation with the Board, the first of which was, whether the granting of the requested deviation would not be materially detrimental to the property owners in the vicinity. Ms. Bugge indicated that, while billboards are not considered a permitted use within the area, the sign had existed for a number of years, and the replacement would not increase the number of signs in the area. She also noted that a replacement sign, in conformance with the dimensional criteria of the Village Commercial District, would reduce some of the current nonconformance of the existing sign.

Ms. Bugge said the next criteria was whether "the hardship created by a literal interpretation of the Section is due to conditions unique to that lot, building site, or parcel and does not apply generally to other properties in the Township". She suggested that the Board consider whether the fact that the property was not adjacent to the road was unique, or whether the fact that the freestanding sign had initially been developed in accordance with the Zoning Ordinance and then subsequently became nonconforming was unique. She also asked whether the Board might consider, as a unique factor, the fact that there was an easement created for the sign at the time that the property lost its road frontage.

Ms. Bugge pointed out the Aspen Building could have a freestanding sign on its own property as well as a wall sign.

Lastly, Ms. Bugge asked whether the granting of the deviation would not be contrary to the general purposes of this Section, or set an adverse precedent. She attached a copy of the Statement of Purpose of the Sign Ordinance and asked the Board to review the same as part of its deliberations.

Ms. Bugge pointed out that there were some other off-site signs that either had been constructed under a previous ordinance or were constructed illegally. She again pointed out that this was somewhat unique in that originally the sign was in compliance, and then the frontage of the property was subsequently sold off.

The Acting Chairperson asked if there were any questions of Ms. Bugge. Mr. McClung asked if the applicant had a design of the replacement sign. Ms. Stefforia pointed out that was not relevant to the current matter before the Board.

The Acting Chairperson asked to hear from the applicant.

Scott Zondervan introduced himself to the Board. He said he could show the Board a design of the sign if they wished, but the Board declined. Mr. Zondervan said that they wished to replace the sign due to the disrepair of the current sign. He explained how they had purchased the building and were rehabilitating it for office space, and how they wanted to enhance the overall appearance of the area.

The Acting Chairperson asked if there was any other questions of the applicant. Hearing none, she closed the public portion of the meeting, and called for Board deliberations.

Mr. Bushouse told the Board members that he thought this matter was unique in that this sign had been constructed legally under the Zoning Ordinance, and when the property was divided, an easement had been designated for the sign to continue at its current location. Mr. Bushouse pointed out that, if someone looked at other signs in the Township which do not have frontage, a decision to grant this deviation, based upon the fact that it was, at one time, a legally pre-existing sign, would not have a precedential effect upon those other properties.

A brief discussion ensued regarding other properties in the Township and how this decision might affect the other properties. It was the consensus of the Board that this situation was different due to the initial legal status of the sign at the time of its construction.

Mr. Bushouse said he thought the situation was unique enough that they would not be setting a bad precedent for other properties in the Township. Mr. Turcott asked if the current sign could remain. Ms. Bugge said that it could, but they could not make any changes to it without a variance.

Mr. Turcott said he was concerned about setting an adverse precedent, but he felt that Mr. Bushouse was correct in his assessment that this is unique enough that it would not have applicability elsewhere. The Acting Chairperson said that she believed it was unique, and it would not open the door to further requests for similar variances. Mr. McClung said he thought the fact that it had been previously established in accordance with Township Ordinances and had a designated easement for its location weighed in favor of granting the sign deviation.

Attorney Porter told the Board that he believed that the circumstances were unique enough that they would not be setting a detrimental precedent for other requests. He said if they simply were granting a variance to allow an off-site sign, he would be opposed to it, in that, it would create a negative precedent affecting numerous other properties without frontage on a public road which might make similar requests for off-site signage. However, given the Board's perspective on how this sign was developed and continued under a specific easement for the sign, he was comfortable with the Board's grant of the sign deviation.

Mr. Bushouse made a motion to grant the sign deviation for the reasons set forth in the record. The motion was seconded by Mr. Turcott, and the Acting Chairperson called for further discussion. Hearing none, she called for a vote on the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

WEST CENTURY CENTER - INTERPRETATION - PARKING REQUIREMENTS - 5015 WEST MAIN STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-13-430-041)

The Acting Chairperson indicated that the next item for consideration was the application of West Century Center Partnership requesting an interpretation of the parking requirements for mixed uses under Section 68.302 or a deviation from the parking requirements under Section 68.600 of the Zoning Ordinance. The Acting Chairperson called for the report from Staff, which is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Stefforia told the Board that West Century Center was built in 1990 and was a mixed use commercial facility. She explained that the latest site plan for the Center indicated that it has 276 parking spaces, but that the difference between what was required and available was likely 100, possibly 200 parking spaces, given the additional spaces needed for restaurant employees. However, she noted that the calculations did not necessarily take into account the reduction for various tenants having different peak times. Given the current mix of tenants, West Century Center would be required to have 364 parking spaces (383 with expansions), plus one for each restaurant employee on each of the five restaurants' largest shifts.

Ms. Stefforia said that both Hunan Gardens and McGinnis Landing were requesting expansions of 2,200 square feet and 1,500 square feet, respectively. She said that the Staff was uncomfortable granting the administrative approval of the expansions, knowing that there were insufficient parking spaces per the Zoning Ordinance requirements. She said that the restaurant expansion alone would require 37 additional parking spaces. If the expansion was merely for retail space, only 18 spaces would be required, resulting in a difference of 19 additional parking spaces. Ms. Stefforia added that the applicant had verbally indicated that there was an unofficial agreement with Colonial Kitchen to allow 50 Hunan Garden employees to park there on Friday nights.

Ms. Stefforia pointed out that the matter could be considered either under Section 68.302 for the Board to determine whether or not, given the mixed uses, that the maximum joint parking requirements would be less than the total individual requirements at peak needs for the users occurring at distinctly different times, or it could be considered under Section 68.600 by the Board with a grant of a deviation where there are practical difficulties or unnecessary hardship in carrying out the strict compliance of the parking requirements. She said that the primary question that needed to be asked by the Board was whether or not there was adequate parking available at the Center to allow the two restaurants to expand.

Ms. Stefforia let the Board know that she had mailed a notice to every tenant of the Center, and she had received no calls or letters opposing the expansion. There were no other tenants of the West Century Center other than the representatives of Hunan Gardens and McGinnis Landing in attendance.

Ms. Stefforia pointed out several errors in the report submitted by the applicant. She also stressed that the Board was not being asked for a variance, but only an interpretation and/or deviation from the Sections of the Zoning Ordinance to which she had previously referred.

The Acting Chairperson asked if there were any questions of Ms. Stefforia. Mr. McClung asked if the applicant had other alternatives. Ms. Stefforia said that the only alternative would be to not expand the restaurants.

Mr. Bushouse asked if there were any cross parking agreements available. Ms. Stefforia said that abutting property owners were unwilling and that the only other available sites were across a five-lane highway, and she was uncomfortable in recommending those sites as viable alternatives due to traffic and safety considerations.

The Acting Chairperson asked to hear from the applicant. Mr. Doug Poland of Mc Shane & Bowie introduced himself to the Board. He said he was present with representatives from West Century Center, as well as representatives from Hunan Gardens and McGinnis Landing. Mr. Poland admitted the applicants had made some errors in their initial computations. However, he said that they had determined that there were currently 291 spaces located at the retail center. He said that their request was not as extensive as it might appear, given that McGinnis Landing was seeking to have a private banquet area built which would be operated in off-peak hours. Mr. Poland highlighted the parking study done by West Century Center, and he indicated that peak use was typically on Friday and Saturday at approximately 7:30 p.m. However, he noted that, even with the greatest amount of use, there were still 41 free spaces available on site.

Mr. Poland said he agreed that the fundamental question, as presented by the Planning Department, was whether or not there was adequate parking. If there was adequate parking, does the strict reading of the Zoning Ordinance create a hardship, given the long-term lease that the tenants are currently under and given their need to expand to serve their client base. He said, if they currently had sufficient parking capacity, he believed that the Zoning Ordinance was an unnecessary hardship, and that the Board could provide the deviation and still comply with the spirit and intent of the Ordinance, which is to provide adequate parking for their patrons.

The Acting Chairperson asked if there were any questions of the applicant.

Mr. Bushouse told the applicant that they needed to carefully review their proposed expansion. He made reference to the Westwood area located just east of the subject property in the City of Kalamazoo. He said that he often found it very difficult to find parking in that area which often resulted in him going elsewhere. He said that he was a frequent customer of the Hunan Gardens, and while there might be some parking space available at West Century, he found on occasion that it was not convenient, and if the parking was too inconvenient, he would not continue to patronize Hunan Gardens. He said simply determining that there was parking in the northeast corner of the subject property alone, missed the bigger picture, which was convenience to the patrons of all the tenants of the facility. Mr. Bushouse again cautioned them to closely consider what they were proposing.

Mr. Poland said he agreed with what Mr. Bushouse was saying, but that even if they added an additional 100 spaces, it would not necessarily solve the problem which he had raised. Mr. Bushouse said that he understood that, and he was somewhat torn in how to evaluate the applicant's proposal.

Ms. Bugge asked if the West Century Center had studied the peak parking requirements during the lunch hour. Ben Yore of the West Century Center said that they had reached a consensus, after talking to all of their tenants, that it was only Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings which created any significant problems. He said that lunch had not been an issue with any of his tenants, and therefore, the lunch hour was not reviewed.

Mr. Rich Feister of McGinnis Landing introduced himself to the Board. He said they were really only asking for consideration for two nights of the week, that being Friday and Saturday nights. He said they were only proposing a 1,000 square foot addition which would be used for private parties and would not be used for overflow. He also said that it would not be used during their peak hours because their kitchen simply could not handle the additional capacity.

The Acting Chairperson asked him what the maximum number of seating would be in the proposed banquet room. Mr. Feister said that the maximum capacity would be 67 people.

Terry Chiang introduced himself to the Board. He explained that the addition for Hunan Gardens would be used mostly for kitchen space. He said that the expansion which they were proposing would only add 35 additional seats.

Ms. Stefforia asked if Hunan Gardens was, in fact, having their employees park at Colonial Kitchen on Friday and Saturday nights. Mr. Chiang indicated that was their current practice.

The Acting Chairperson asked if there any further questions, and hearing none, she closed the public comment and called for Board deliberations.

Mr. McClung said that it did not appear to him that they had a real problem with parking, and that he thought there were serious limitations to the existing parcel because it was landlocked. He said in that respect this was a unique situation.

Ms. Stefforia said she was concerned about the other tenants, but she had not heard anything from them, and that none of them were present at the hearing to express any type of concern. The Acting Chairperson asked when they had been mailed their notices. Ms. Stefforia indicated that they had been mailed out Monday or Tuesday of the week prior to the meeting.

Mr. Turcott asked what the nature of the complaints were raised by Ms. Stefforia in her report. Ms. Stefforia said there were some informal complaints, and that they had not received formal complaints, except during the wintertime, which prompted the Township to require snow removal from the parking area.

Mr. Turcott said he was concerned about setting a precedent in this area. The Acting Chairperson noted that, if other businesses added to their overall area, they are required to add additional parking. Ms. Stefforia noted, however, that this was simply a change in use, not an actual addition to the site itself.

Mr. Bushouse said that he felt that the Township's parking requirements were a bit restrictive, and that at times, too restrictive with regard to the square foot ratio requirements. He said he felt that private enterprise had a commercial interest in making sure that there was adequate parking to serve all of the customers of the Center. He said, if all of the parking was taken up by the restaurant patrons, that it would drive the other businesses out of the West Century Center. He further said he had personal experience that there was parking available in the northeast corner of the site, but as he stated before, it was not convenient. However, Mr. Bushouse said parking still seemed to be available.

Attorney Porter noted that Ms. Stefforia had raised the possibility of restricting more restaurants from the facility, and that while he was not necessarily comfortable with adding that restriction as a condition of granting or denying the request of the applicant, he felt it should be put in the minutes and noted for the record that the Board would have to look closely at any restaurant expansions in the future due to the parking problems.

Mr. Bushouse said that, while he wanted to see the local businesses be allowed to expand and serve their clients, he felt that the parking issue was a serious matter, and that if they granted some type of relief, they would have to keep a very close eye on the effect on all the tenants within the West Century Center.

Mr. Turcott said he was concerned that this expansion was being used as leverage for a deviation from the parking requirements, and he did not want to see a request like this in the future. He said perhaps the Township did need to require additional parking. He noted he would consider any other similar request in the future very differently.

The Acting Chairperson told the applicant and the Board members that people in this society want convenience and if parking became too difficult, it would have a negative impact on the West Century Center. She said, on the other hand, she did not want to see asphalt laid down which was ultimately never used.

Ms. Stefforia said that, if the Board were inclined to grant some relief to the applicant, she was more comfortable with the Board granting the deviation, rather than making the determination under Section 68.302 regarding mixed uses. Attorney Porter concurred, stating that he did not believe that there was sufficient evidence, given the limited traffic study, to make a determination under Section 68.302 of the Ordinance.

After a brief discussion, the Acting Chairperson said she would entertain a motion. Mr. McClung made a motion to grant the deviation requested by the applicant, based upon the record of finding that there was practical difficult in carrying out strict compliance with the Zoning Ordinance, and that the deviation would be in keeping with the spirit and intent of the Zoning Ordinance. The motion was seconded by Mr. Turcott. The Acting Chairperson called for additional discussion, and hearing none, she called for a vote on the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

OTHER BUSINESS

Ms. Stefforia reminded the Board members that they had agreed to meet on May 11, 2004, and requested their attendance at that time.

ADJOURNMENT

There being no other business to come before the Board, the meeting adjourned at approximately 4:55 p.m.

OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP
ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS

By:
Grace Borgfjord, Acting Chairperson

By:
Dave Bushouse

By:
Duane McClung

By:
James Turcott
Minutes Prepared:
May 4, 2004

Minutes Approved:
, 2004