OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS

August 23, 2005

Agenda

EKEMA - PARCEL AREA VARIANCE - NORTH SIDE OF WEST G AVENUE, WEST OF RAVINE ROAD - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-01-230-095 AND 3905-01-230-099)

MILLER - ACCESSORY BUILDING REVIEW - 1735 SOUTH VAN KAL STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-30-101-033)

WALDRON - ACCESSORY BUILDING REVIEW - 4172 WOLF DRIVE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-06-180-060)

UNCLE BOB'S SELF STORAGE - EXPANSION OF A NON-CONFORMING USE VARIANCE - 1515 SOUTH 11TH STREET - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-24-452-010 AND 3905-24-452-020)

A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Zoning Board of Appeals on Tuesday, August 23, 2005, commencing at approximately 3:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Millard Loy, Chairman
Dave Bushouse
James Turcott
Grace Borgfjord
Duane McClung

MEMBERS ABSENT: None

Also present were Jodi Stefforia, Planning Director; Mary Lynn Bugge, Township Planner; James W. Porter, Township Attorney; and approximately 15 other interested persons.

CALL TO ORDER

The Chairman called the meeting to order at approximately 3:00 p.m.

MINUTES

The Chairman said that the first item was consideration of the minutes of July 26, 2005. Mr. Turcott made a motion to approve the minutes as submitted, and the motion was seconded by Mr. McClung. The Chairman called for a vote on the motion, and the motion passed unanimously.

EKEMA - PARCEL AREA VARIANCE - NORTH SIDE OF WEST G AVENUE, WEST OF RAVINE ROAD - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-01-230-095 AND 3905-01-230-099)

The Chairman indicated that the next item on the Agenda was the variance request of Henry Ekema and Raymond Ekema to combine two non-conforming parcels to satisfy the minimum area requirements in the "RR" Rural Residential District. The Chairman called for a Staff report. Ms. Bugge presented her report dated August 23, 2005, and the same is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Bugge explained that Section 66.201 required a parcel to have 200 feet of road frontage and an area of 1.5 acres in the Rural Residential District. Currently, each parcel had 100 feet of frontage and an area of 18,480 feet. She said the combined parcel would meet the 200-foot road frontage requirements, but would still fall short of the area requirement, since the combined area would only equal 36,960 square feet.

Ms. Bugge explained that the applicants' father purchased the property prior to 1965, one lot was divided off the property and built upon. She said the remaining parcels were not made of record until 1987, when the property was split into three nonconforming parcels through recorded documents. She said, since that time, the frontage requirement has not changed, but the square footage requirement was increased. She noted that, in 1996, the applicants requested a variance and were denied, but were granted some relief by the Zoning Board of Appeals. However, in 2003, the Rural Residential District size requirement increased to 1.5 acres for a parcel and one acre for a lot or site condominium with water.

Ms. Bugge took the Board through the review standards for a nonuse variance. After a review of the criteria, she concluded by saying, if a variance was granted, the Health Department would still have to approve the property for well and septic, and a driveway permit would have to be issued by the Kalamazoo County Road Commission.

The Chairman asked if there were any questions of Ms. Bugge. Hearing none, he asked to hear from the applicants. Mr. Henry Ekema told the Board that Ms. Bugge had accurately described the situation and told the Board that he and his brother felt as if they were backed into a corner and respectfully requested some relief from the Board.

The Chairman asked if there were any questions of the applicants. Hearing none, he called for comments from the audience. Ms. Bugge noted that a neighbor living at 5211 Forest River Way, adjacent to the subject property, had contacted the Planning Department and indicated that they had no objections to the parcel combination.

Mr. Turcott stated that the parcels in the area seemed quite uniform and wondered whether this would trigger similar requests to build on the other substandard lots. Ms. Bugge indicated that most of the other parcels were, in fact, grandfathered, and therefore, granting this request would not trigger similar requests in the area.

The Chairman asked if there were any further questions. Hearing none, he called for Board deliberations. Mr. McClung said that many others in the area had built upon much smaller parcels and that he did not see a problem in granting the variance as it relates to the surrounding area. The Chairman also said that he did not have a problem in granting the variance, since it would bring the property more into compliance than it currently exists. Mr. Turcott said, in light of Ms. Bugge's comments, he was comfortable with granting the proposed variance.

Ms. Borgfjord said she wanted it specifically noted in the minutes that the parcel had likely existed in its current configuration since 1965 and in recorded form since 1987. She said the fact that the property had existed in this state for such an extended period of time weighed in favor of granting the variance.

Ms. Stefforia said that there might be a similar request for the 85-foot parcel located to the west of the parcels currently under consideration. Mr. Ray Ekema told the Board that he owned that property and had made it part of his homestead. He said he would likely combine it with his homestead because he wanted to build a pole barn on the property in the future. Therefore, it was unlikely there would be a request for construction of a home on the lot.

The Chairman asked if there was any further discussion. Hearing none, Ms. Borgfjord made a motion to grant the applicants' request for an area variance to combine the two nonconforming parcels and make the combined property a buildable parcel for the reasons set forth in the record. Mr. McClung seconded the motion. The Chairman called for a vote on the motion, and the motion passed unanimously.

MILLER - ACCESSORY BUILDING REVIEW - 1735 SOUTH VAN KAL STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-30-101-033)

The Chairman indicated the next item on the Agenda was a request by Michael and Marie Miller to construct an accessory building on their property that will exceed the ground floor area of the dwelling. The subject property is located at 1735 Van Kal Street, being Parcel No. 3905-30-101-033. The Chairman asked to hear from the Planning Department. Ms. Stefforia presented her report dated August 23, 2005, and the same is incorporated hereby reference.

Ms. Stefforia said the applicants wish to construct a 1,536 square foot accessory building on a two-acre parcel where the two-story dwelling was 1,890 square feet, with 1,080 square feet on the ground floor. She noted, because the proposed accessory building exceeded the ground floor area of the dwelling, it had to be reviewed by the Zoning Board of Appeals, pursuant to Section 78.820. Ms. Stefforia pointed out the location of the proposed building on an overhead for the Board's review.

Ms. Stefforia took the Board through the provisions of Section 78.820. The Chairman asked if there were any questions of Ms. Stefforia. Hearing none, the Chairman asked to hear from the applicant. The applicants were not present at that time. After a brief discussion, it was the consensus of the Board to table the matter until the end of the meeting in hopes that the applicants or their representative would be present to discuss the matter with the Board.

WALDRON - ACCESSORY BUILDING REVIEW - 4172 WOLF DRIVE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-06-180-060)

The Chairman said the next item up for consideration was the request of William Waldron to establish an accessory building which, when combined with all existing accessory buildings, results in the total floor area exceeding the ground floor area of the dwelling. The subject property is located at 4172 Wolf Drive, being Parcel No. 3905-06-180-060. The Chairman called for a report from the Planning Department. Ms. Stefforia submitted the report from the Planning Department dated August 23, 2005, and the same is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Stefforia explained to the Board that the applicant wished to construct a 1,792 square foot accessory building on approximately 9.3 acres. She said there was an existing accessory building in addition to a detached garage. She said, in addition, there was a small accessory building on the property that was not reflected on the site plan, and she said the Board should discuss this matter with the applicant.

Ms. Stefforia then took the Board through the provisions of Section 78.820, as set forth in her report. Ms. Stefforia asked that the Zoning Board of Appeals discuss both the color and the building materials for the proposed building, as well as the use of the building which could not be for business purposes.

The Chairman asked if there were any questions of the Planning Department, and hearing none, he asked to hear from the applicant. Mr. William Waldron introduced himself to the Board. He explained that the small accessory building located close to the proposed structure was an old tin shed which he currently did not use for anything other than the storage of fire wood. Mr. Waldron said the new building would have black shingled roof, with one-foot eaves and grey steel siding. He said there would be a 10-foot by 10-foot slider on the gable end and two 10-foot by 9-foot overhead doors on the roadside along with the service entrance door. Ms. Borgfjord asked for confirmation that the siding would be grey metal with a black shingled roof. Mr. Waldron said that it would.

Ms. Borgfjord then asked if he would be extending the drive to service the proposed structure. Mr. Waldron said he would not, since it was only going to be used for storage of tractors. Ms. Borgfjord then asked what was in the tin shed located behind the area for the proposed building. Mr. Waldron said firewood was stored there. Ms. Borgfjord asked Mr. Waldron if all of the activities to take place within the structure would be solely for his personal use. Mr. Waldron assured her that the new building would be used solely for his personal use with no business activities whatsoever.

The Chairman asked that the applicant consider some landscaping. Mr. Waldron said he had some apple trees near the south end of the structure, and he did mow around it and that there was at least one pine tree in front.

The Chairman asked if there were any comments from the audience. Mrs. Waldron told the Board that she and her husband also owned the 38 acres to the south of the 9-acre parcel.

The Chairman said, in the past, when there had been large buildings, the Board had considered doing away with older accessory buildings. The Chairman asked if the applicants would agree to dispose of the tin shed currently located on the property. Mr. and Mrs. Waldron agreed to do so.

Mr. Bushouse said he would like to see some trees planted around the subject building, perhaps a couple of trees toward the road, toward the north end of the building, and he asked that be made part of the motion. Ms. Borgfjord agreed with Mr. Bushouse, saying that the one large accessory building they had approved on Van Kal had no landscaping around it, even though they had agreed to put in landscaping at the time of receiving their approval from the Zoning Board of Appeals. Ms. Borgfjord asked if the occupancy permit could be held until they complied with the landscaping condition. Ms. Stefforia said that they could do that if the Building Department would assist them in that endeavor.

Ms. Borgfjord made a motion to approve the request for an accessory building in excess of the ground floor area of the dwelling on the condition that the small tin structure on the property be removed and that landscaping be put in place along the west side of the proposed structure. Mr. McClung seconded the motion. The Chairman called for further discussion. Hearing none, he called for a vote on the motion, and the motion passed unanimously.

UNCLE BOB'S SELF STORAGE - EXPANSION OF A NON-CONFORMING USE VARIANCE - 1515 SOUTH 11TH STREET - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-24-452-010 AND 3905-24-452-020)

The Chairman said the next item for consideration was the request from Uncle Bob's to allow the expansion of the existing self-storage facility which is currently a non-conforming use in the "C" Local Business District. The subject property is located at 1515 South 11th Street, being Parcel Nos. 3905-24-452-010 and 3905-24-452-020. The Chairman asked to hear from the Planning Department. Ms. Bugge submitted her report to the Board dated August 23, 2005, and the same is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Bugge explained that self-storage facilities in the "C" Local Business District were originally a special exception use, but in 2000, the Township Zoning Ordinance was amended to eliminate storage warehouse facilities as a special exception use in both the "C" and "C-1" Local Business Districts. She said these facilities are now only permitted as a special exception use within the "I-1" Industrial District. Ms. Bugge then pointed out the non-conforming use language of Section 62 of the Township Zoning Ordinance, and she said the only option was to consider a variance for the requested expansion.

Ms. Bugge then took the Board through the standards for approval of a nonuse variance as set forth in her report. The Chairman asked if there were any questions from Ms. Bugge, and hearing none, asked to hear from the applicant's representative.

Mr. Ron Antuma, civil engineer, introduced himself to the Board as a representative on behalf of Locke Sovran 1 LLC. He explained that the request was to construct a 60-foot by 300-foot climate-controlled self-storage facility.

The Chairman asked Mr. Antuma what would be stored in the climate-controlled facility. Mr. Antuma said he was not exactly sure, but the developer was putting them in many of their sites within the State of Michigan.

Mr. Turcott asked if they would be located where they now have outdoor storage on the south end of the facility. Mr. Antuma indicated that was correct.

The Chairman asked what would happen to the existing RV's. Mr. Antuma said there was no intent to expand RV storage to the north because the property drops off precipitously.

Ms. Borgfjord asked if people could come and go as they pleased to the storage facility. Mr. Antuma said he believed that was correct, in that, people could access the site using a key code. The Chairman asked if there was a property manager on site. Mr. Antuma indicated that there was.

Attorney Porter asked what constituted climate control, whether it was heating and cooling or just cooling or just heating. Mr. Antuma said it included heating and cooling, as well as humidity control.

Mr. Bushouse asked if people would be renting their own individual spaces or whether they would drop the materials off and have somebody store the materials at the site. Mr. Antuma said he thought every party would have their own individual space. Mr. Turcott asked if the facility would be used primarily for electrical and furniture storage. Mr. Antuma said he thought that was one of the most likely uses for the facility.

The Chairman said that the building is twice the size of the other buildings and asked if the building would be the same color as the other structures. Mr. Antuma said he was not sure.

Mr. Turcott asked if the additional building would increase traffic more than the storage of RV's. Mr. Antuma said he thought there would be a little bit more traffic as a result of the new structure.

Mr. Bushouse said he had inspected a number of storage facilities. He said those with climate control usually had a staff on hand with stated hours of operation to load and unload the items to be stored. He said he could not image there being access the full width of the building for individuals to store materials themselves. Mr. Bushouse expressed some concern over the proposed traffic to the site. Mr. Antuma then noted he was not sure how individual users would access the building.

Mr. Bushouse said if they swapped the outdoor storage for indoor storage, even though there was some concern regarding traffic, he thought that would be a factor supporting a change in the proposed use.

The Chairman said if large trucks tried to access the building, he was concerned about traffic lanes and congestion in and around the building. However, he said if would be up to the Planning Department to look at those issues.

Mr. Turcott noted that the DeVisser variance did not increase the scope of the use. He said, in that case, the building was constructed to house equipment which was already on site. He said here, it was different; he thought the scope of the use would increase. Ms. Bugge agreed.

Mr. Turcott asked if they were going to limit the number of RV's allowed at the site. Ms. Bugge suggested taking a look at that during site plan review because many of the vehicles seem to be abandoned at the site.

The Chairman asked if there were any comments from the audience. Mr. John Clomon said he had a few concerns about the proposal. He said he and his parents live immediately west of the site. He asked whether the developer would be digging into the hill located at the site. He also asked if there would be increased traffic. He also noted that he had had problems with semi's pulling into his driveway in order to accommodate access to the proposed site. He also asked whether there would be large trucks going in and out 24 hours a day. Also given the fact that it was climate controlled, he was concerned about people living or carrying on unapproved activities. He noted that, in the past, he had to call the police because of bands practicing in one of the storage facilities.

The Chairman thanked Mr. Clomon for his comments, and he noted, if they approved the variance, he and his parents would also be notified when the Planning Commission reviewed the site plan proposal.

The Chairman asked if there were more public comments, and hearing none, called for Board deliberations.

The Chairman said he thought they were in somewhat a catch 22. He said he would like to see the business be allowed to expand, but that it was a very large building which would likely increase traffic somewhat and might have ingress and egress problems. Mr. McClung said he did not have a problem with the variance, but he would like to see some of the issues raised by the Board and the residents in the area addressed at the time of site plan review.

Mr. Bushouse said, if they could swap outdoor storage for indoor storage and not expand the outdoor storage elsewhere, he thought it would be reasonable to grant the variance to try to encourage more indoor storage. He said he thought the rest of the issues should be addressed by the Planning Commission. Mr. Turcott said he agreed with Mr. Bushouse's statement.

Ms. Bugge asked if they would be eliminating outdoor storage to the north. The Chairman said he thought that would remain, but they did not want to see the vehicle storage, which was displaced from the southern portion of the property, relocated to the north. He said they want to see outdoor storage to the north kept the same as currently existed.

Hearing no further Board discussions, the Chairman said he would entertain a motion. Mr. Turcott made a motion to grant the variance requested upon the condition that the outdoor storage on the north end of the property not be increased, and that all outdoor storage on the southern portion of the property be eliminated. The Chairman asked if there was support for the motion. Ms. Borgfjord supported the motion, and the Chairman called for a vote on the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

MILLER - ACCESSORY BUILDING REVIEW - 1735 SOUTH VAN KAL STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-30-101-033)

The Chairman said the Board needed to return to Item 4 since the representative for the Millers had arrived. Mr. Kyle Kraft, the applicant's son-in-law, introduced himself to the Board. Ms. Stefforia noted that this was the gentleman who had the large accessory building north of the Millers' property who had not put in the requisite landscaping. The Chairman explained to Mr. Kraft that the Board had already received the report from the Planning Department and asked if he would answer some of the questions raised during that report.

The Chairman asked how high the side walls would be. Mr. Kraft said approximately nine-foot side walls, with storage trusses which would meet the building height limitations of 20 feet. The Chairman questioned whether there would be regular garage doors on the proposed building. Mr. Kraft said that was correct. Ms. Stefforia pointed out that they could seek a taller building height by going through the review process in the Ordinance. Mr. Kraft said he did not believe that was necessary.

Ms. Borgfjord asked whether there would be exterior lighting. Mr. Kraft said he was not sure, since he had not discussed that matter with his father-in-law.

Mr. Turcott asked if there would be any business use. Mr. Kraft said there would be no business use, and that his father-in-law would use the accessory building to store a couple of antique tractors, as well as an antique car. He said the balance of the facility would be used for a workshop.

The Chairman asked if there would be any landscaping. Mr. Kraft said he thought his father-in-law would landscape the building since he liked to garden and had planted other trees on his property.

The Chairman asked if there would be a driveway to the building. Mr. Kraft said there would not be a drive since the traffic would not warrant an additional driveway.

The Chairman asked if there were any comments from the audience. Hearing none, he called for Board deliberations.

Mr. Bushouse said, as he had indicated earlier, that he would like to see some trees planted around the building, perhaps a couple of trees toward Van Kal, and a couple on each side of the structure. Ms. Borgfjord asked if they could require that as part of the building permit. Ms. Stefforia said they would follow-up to make sure that the trees were installed before occupancy of the structure.

Mr. McClung made a motion to approve the request, provided that landscaping trees be installed between the building and VanKal Avenue. Ms. Borgfjord seconded the motion. The Chairman called for further discussion on the motion, and hearing none, called for a vote on the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Other Business

None.

Adjournment

There being no further business to come before the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Board adjourned at approximately 4:30 p.m.

OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP
ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS

By:
Millard Loy, Chairman

By:
Dave Bushouse

By:
James Turcott

By:
Grace Borgfjord

By:
Duane McClung

Minutes Prepared:
August 29, 2005

Minutes Approved:
, 2005