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OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

PLANNING COMMISSION

Meeting Minutes

AUGUST 13, 1998

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Agenda

STRATFORD HILLS OPEN SPACE COMMUNITY - SPECIAL EXCEPTION USE/SITE PLAN AMENDMENT

KL MINI-STORAGE - PHASES IV AND V - SPECIAL EXCEPTION USE/SITE PLAN REVIEW

SIGN STANDARDS - TEXT AMENDMENT TO SECTION 76.000

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A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Planning Commission on Thursday, August 13, 1998, commencing at approximately 7:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall, pursuant to notice.

Members present:

Wilfred Dennie, Chairperson
Millard Loy
Ted Corakis
Marvin Block
Lara Meeuwse
Ken Heisig
Elizabeth Heiny-Cogswell

Members Absent: None

Also present were Rebecca Harvey, Township Consultant regarding Planning and Zoning, Scott Paddock, Township Ordinance Enforcement Officer, Patricia R. Mason, Township Attorney, and five (5) other interested persons.

CALL TO ORDER

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

AGENDA

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

MINUTES

The Planning Commission considered the minutes of the meeting of July 9, 1998. The Chairperson suggested a minor change to page 2 to read that, in the third paragraph, "the Commission reviewed the existing two ordinances with the 1992 proposal." Mr. Corakis moved to approve the minutes as amended, and Mr. Heisig seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

The Planning Commission considered the minutes of the meeting of July 9, 1998. The changes suggested by the Planning and Zoning Department were noted. The Chairperson suggested a change to page 2 in the second paragraph under "Text Amendment" to read "the proposed ordinance looked pretty good." Mr. Loy moved to approve the minutes as amended, and Mr. Corakis seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

 

STRATFORD HILLS OPEN SPACE COMMUNITY - SPECIAL EXCEPTION USE/ SITE PLAN AMENDMENT

The next item was consideration of the application of Wickford Corporation regarding Stratford Hills and requesting special exception use/site plan amendment of the Stratford Hills Open Space Community. The subject property is located within the North Ż of Land Section 33 with approximately 1,000’ of frontage on the east side of 4th Street and is within the "AG" Agricultural-Rural District Zoning classification.

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

Reference was made to the vicinity map, which was also displayed on the overhead projector for Planning Commission members’ reference and for the benefit of the public. It was noted that the Planning Commission had approved special exception use permit and granted site plan approval for the Stratford Hills Open Space Community and related site condominium development on October 24, 1996.

The applicant had completed Phases I and II, which involved units 1-54. The applicant proposed the construction and completion of the amended Phase III by winter of 1998. The applicant had purchased additional property, i.e., north portion of lot 16 of the Frie & Gibbs Plat, which was adjacent to property already owned and approved as part of the Open Space Community. It was noted that the existing approval included an access street to Stadium Drive which would run along lot 15 of the Frie & Gibbs Plat. The applicant therefore requested amendment of the approval to allow expansion of project boundaries to include a portion of lot 16 (which encompassed approximately five acres), the addition of four building sites, the addition of 2.5 acres of open space, and a minor reconfiguration of the interior streets and relocation of interior street intersection with Stadium Drive. It was also proposed that there be a reconfiguration of building sites 128-138 to increase the distance from Stadium Drive and increase open space/provide open space linkages around the subject 11 building sites. The number of phases would be reduced from five to three.

Ms. Harvey stated that, due to the addition of acreage and elimination of the two-family dwellings, the density was comparable in the project to the density previously approved even though four building sites were added. The proposed site plan was reviewed and the location of the additional open space was noted. Ms. Harvey stated that the changes proposed for phasing continued to meet the "parameters" of the previous approval.

Harrison Nelson Wilson, president of Wickford Corporation, was present on behalf of the applicant. He stated that the site plan showed the proposed changes and that they were minor in nature. He felt that the addition of open space improved the project.

The Chairperson questioned the applicant with regard to how the applicant felt about the workability of the Open Space Community text. The applicant stated that they were pleased with how the project had been developed and had received many favorable comments from residents and others. He felt that the units had "good acceptance in the market." The applicant expressed that they were glad they developed through the Open Space Community text rather than a traditional subdivision development approach as originally planned.

In response to questioning by the Chairperson, the applicant reiterated that there had been two-family dwellings at the entrance point to the project and that these had been eliminated and were now planned to be single-family dwellings.

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

The Chairperson directed the Commission’s attention to the special exception use criteria of Section 60.100/200. The Commission first reviewed whether the proposed amendments were compatible with other uses expressly permitted in the Agricultural-Rural District. Planning Commission members felt that there were no real differences between what was proposed and what had been previously approved. In fact, it was felt that the project was more compatible due to the fact that open space had been added and that all development would be single-family homes.

The Planning Commission next discussed whether the proposed amendments would be detrimental or injurious to the use or development of adjacent properties or to the general neighborhood. Again it was concluded that single-family development in a residential area was compatible with what was originally imapproved and would not be detrimental to other properties adjacent and in the general neighborhood.

The Planning Commission then discussed whether the proposed amendments would promote the public health, safety and welfare. It was recognized there was no real change to the project, merely a small extension. Ms. Meeuwse felt that the layout of the lots along the drive connecting the project to Stadium Drive was actually an improved design.

As to whether the proposed amendments would encourage the use of the land in accord with its character and adaptability, Planning Commission members felt that it would. Four building sites were added, but the overall density had not changed materially. Planning Commission members felt that the rural character of the project was maintained.

Ms. Meeuwse moved to approve special exception use regarding the Open Space Community and related site condominium project based upon the preceding discussion and the conclusion that the criteria of Section 60.100 had been satisfied. The following conditions, limitations and notations were noted:

(1) That approval included the expansion of the boundaries of the special exception use permit to include a portion of lot 16 of the Frie & Gibbs Plat.

(2) That approval was conditioned upon the requisite amendments to the project’s Master Deed and Bylaws, including restrictions on the use of and tree removal within the expanded open space area (specifically south of unit 138).

(3) That approval is subject to the review and approval of the Township Engineer and Fire Department.

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

Ms. Meeuwse moved to approve the site plan for the Open Space Community/site condominium development with the following conditions, limitations and notations:

(1) That the boundaries of the site be expanded to include a portion of lot 16 of the Frie & Gibbs Plat.

(2) That the requisite Master Deed and Bylaws amendments be made, including restrictions as to use of and tree removal within the expanded Open Space area (specifically south of unit 138).

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

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

 KL MINI-STORAGE - PHASES IV AND V - SPECIAL EXCEPTION USE/SITE PLAN REVIEW

The next item was the application of Grover Brussee on behalf of KL Mini-Storage (aka Stor-N-Lock) for special exception use/site plan amendment to allow for the approval of Phases IV and V. The subject property is located at 5169 KL Avenue within the SE╝ of Land Section 24 and is within the "C" Local Business District Zoning classification.

The report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference. The location of the site was illustrated on the vicinity map. Ms. Harvey indicated that a partial history regarding approvals of the site had been included in the report. The area of the site which was the subject of the proposed application had originally been approved for commercial development. It was thereafter proposed to be open space or greenspace. Subsequently, a truck rental area was approved in this location but a green buffer retained.

The applicant now proposed to relocate the truck rental use to the back of the site and reduce the number of truck rental spaces from 12 to 7. The area formerly occupied by the truck rental use would be utilized for an 11th storage building, which was larger than the other buildings at the site but otherwise similar in its positioning, design and function. This building would be built in two stages. It was noted that the Planning Commission had originally been concerned about the visibility of the truck rental area at the front of the site. Ms. Harvey pointed out that the previous approvals for the property had been conditioned upon receipt and compliance with MDEQ wetlands permit. She stated that the site does not yet comply with the permit according to information received from MDEQ.

The applicant was present and explained the circumstances surrounding the MDEQ permit. He stated he felt that the plantings and other requirements for compliance with the permit had been completed. In response to questioning by the Chairperson, Mr. Brussee stated that he had been verbally told prior to receipt of the letter from the MDEQ dated March 4, 1998, that he had final approval. There had not been an inspection of the site subsequent to the March 4, 1998, letter of the MDEQ which set out the ways in which the site did not comply with the permit.

The Chairperson stated he felt a time frame should be set for completion of the site and final approval for compliance with the MDEQ permit. The applicant stated he believed he could get final approval from the MDEQ within 30 days. Planning Commission members agreed that a September 30, 1998, deadline was reasonable.

There was discussion of the fact that the compliance with MDEQ permit was an enforcement matter since it was a requirement of the site plan approval(s).

The Chairperson questioned the applicant with regard to the proposed phasing of development of the new building, and the applicant stated that the building would be set up in two sections. The applicant wanted to be able to occupy one section without completing the second half. He stated that he planned to complete the site work involved in the amended site plan with Phase IV, i.e., the phase which would include the construction of the first half of building 11. A temporary wall and door would be constructed on the first half of the building. The second half of the building would be added in Phase V. The building in question would be the same height, coloring, and would be positioned consistent with other buildings at the site. The doors on the building would be of the same type as on other buildings. The storage use would be office equipment, furniture, etc. The difference between the proposed building and others on the site was that it would be climate controlled. However, it would be divided as the existing building was, into individual storage units.

In response to questioning by Ms. Meeuwse, the applicant stated that the truck rental parking would be relocated to the back of the site in Phase IV.

It was noted that the Township Engineer had reviewed and approved the project, and his letter of August 5, 1998, was referenced.

The applicant indicated that the completion of Phase V would constitute the "complete development" of the property in question. A 20’ strip along the east of the property line would be retained as green area. The site plan showed the additional plantings which would be added in this green area.

Ms. Meeuwse questioned the hours of operation and building lighting. The applicant stated that hours of operation would be 9:00-5:00 on weekdays and 8:00-4:00 on Saturdays. There would be lighting on building 11 as shown on the plan.

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

The Chairperson directed the Commission’s attention to the special exception use criteria. The Planning Commission considered whether the proposed use was compatible with other uses expressly permitted within the Commercial District. Mr. Loy stated he felt that the use would be more compatible due to the relocation of the truck rental use and the reduction of truck rental parking spaces. Further, the amendment would be compatible in that building 11 was similar in height, design, etc., to other buildings at the site. The Chairperson also felt that the addition of vegetation to the eastern line of greenspace would render the use more compatible.

The Planning Commission considered whether the proposed use would be detrimental or injurious to the use or development of adjacent properties or the general neighborhood. Again it was noted that this was an expansion of an approved use and that the changes were improvements rendering the use less detrimental to and injurious to adjacent properties and the general neighborhood. Further, it was felt that this development, which would complete development of this site, would be advantageous.

The Planning Commission considered whether public health, safety and welfare would be promoted. The Planning Commission felt that the Township Fire Department and Engineer review could satisfy this criterion. Further, it was felt that the approval should be conditioned upon final approval from the MDEQ.

As to whether the proposed use would encourage use of the land in accord with its character and adaptability, Planning Commission members felt that the proposed use was in character and that it was an expansion of an existing approved use. Planning Commission members stated that this finding assumed compliance with and approval by the MDEQ.

The Planning Commission reviewed the criterion of Section 31.403 and determined that the truck rental outdoor activity would comply therewith.

Mr. Corakis moved to approve special exception use permit amendment, finding the criterion of Section 60.100 and 200, as well as Section 31.403, had been met, subject to the following conditions, limitations and notations:

(1) That approval was subject to Township Fire Department review and approval.

(2) That approval was subject to compliance with and final approval by the MDEQ.

(3) That approval was subject to the 20’ strip of greenspace with landscaping on the east side of the property as proposed on the site plan.

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

The Planning Commission then reviewed the site in view of the criteria of Section 82.800. The Chairperson questioned the applicant with regard to the truck rental use. The applicant responded that the public would generally come to the office and complete paperwork, and the staff would bring the truck from the back of the site to the customer. When the truck was returned, it would be returned to the office. The staff would take the truck to the back of the site. The truck rental parking area would be paved.

Ms. Meeuwse moved to approve site plan amendment with the following conditions, limitations and notations:

(1) That one access had been approved to serve the subject site.

(2) That customer parking was provided in compliance with the parking requirements for outdoor activities set forth in Section 31.403. It was required that the proposed access route to and from the truck rental area be clearly designated to avoid confusion or blocking of site circulation.

(3) That the proposed building/truck rental parking area complied with applicable setback standards.

(4) That any additional lighting in conjunction with the proposed amendments be detailed and submitted with specifications to Township staff for review and approval.

(5) That three dumpsters service the site; the easternmost dumpster located in close proximity to building 11 and the truck rental parking area.

(6) That no additional freestanding signage had been proposed or approved.

(7) That the landscaping of the 20’ greenspace area along the eastern side of the site as set forth on the plan was approved.

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

(9) That approval was subject to the final approval of the MDEQ.

(10) That the proposed phasing of the project (Phases IV and V), including completion of all site work in Phase IV, was satisfactory.

(11) That the truck rental parking area be paved.

(12) That hours of operation be Monday-Friday 9:00-5:00 p.m. and Saturday 8:00-4:00 p.m.

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

 

SIGN STANDARDS - TEXT AMENDMENT TO SECTION 76.000

There was discussion by the Planning Commission of the draft outline of proposed revisions to Sign Standards, including Section 11.560 and Section 76.000. It was noted that a revision to the definition of "billboard" in Section 11.230 might also be desirable to be consistent with the revised sign definition.

There was discussion of the 30-sq.-ft. sign provisions for the "R-3" District. It was noted that these had originally been adopted at the time the text change included offices within the "R-3" District.

The Chairperson wondered whether there was any reason to continue allowing a larger sign for shopping centers than those allowed to other Commercial businesses in the "C" and "C-1" Districts. There was also discussion of possible revisions to the corner lot sign provisions so as to reduce the number of signs to one. After further discussion, it was noted that Ms. Harvey may be able to arrange a seminar from the MSPO regarding signage for the Planning Commission, Township Board and Zoning Board of Appeals. It was felt that more discussion of the signage provisions would need to take place to determine the Commission’s thoughts on sign provision revisions.

 

OTHER BUSINESS

The Planning Commission discussed the upcoming joint meeting with the Township Board, and the Chairperson noted that three agenda items had been proposed to the Supervisor:

(1) The Schramm rezoning request, (2) Historic District status, and (3) possible sign provision text amendments.

ADJOURNMENT

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

Minutes prepared:
August 14, 1998

Minutes approved:
August 27, 1998