OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS

December 13, 2005

Agenda

STERENBERG - FRONTAGE AND AREA VARIANCE - KILLINGTON DRIVE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-11-455-017)

DE FOREST - ACCESSORY BUILDING REVIEW - 10463 WEST H AVENUE - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-07-205-016, 3905-07-130-030 AND 3905-07-130-020)

A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Zoning Board of Appeals on Tuesday, December 13, 2005, commencing at approximately 3:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall.

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

MEMBERS ABSENT: None

Also present were Jodi Stefforia, Planning Director; James W. Porter, Township Attorney; and six other interested persons.

CALL TO ORDER

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

MINUTES

The Chairman stated that the first item on the Agenda to be considered was the minutes of November 15, 2005. Mr. Turcott made a motion to approve the minutes as submitted. Ms. Borgfjord seconded the motion. The Chairman called for a vote, and the motion passed unanimously.

STERENBERG - FRONTAGE AND AREA VARIANCE - KILLINGTON DRIVE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-11-455-017)

The Chairman indicated that the next item on the Agenda was consideration of a request for a variance from Section 66.201 to allow a land division resulting in the creation of two parcels with less than 200 feet of frontage and 50,000 square feet in area. The Chairman said the subject property was located on Killington Drive, Parcel No. 3905-11-455-017. The Chairman asked to hear from the Planning Department. Ms. Stefforia presented her report to the Zoning Board of Appeals dated December 13, 2005, and the same is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Stefforia explained that the subject property is unplatted, two acres in size, but surrounded by the platted lots within the Plats of Westport Nos. 3, 4 and 11. She said that the property has approximately 255 feet of frontage on Killington Drive and is located in the "R-2" Residential District. She stated that the applicant is requesting to have two parcels, neither of which would meet the frontage or square foot requirements, but would result in parcels with approximately 127 feet of frontage and an area of 43,560 square feet.

Ms. Stefforia said the subject property was scheduled to be included in Westport No. 11, but it was removed at the last minute when the property was purchased by an adjacent homeowner to create a buffer to his house, which fronted on Old Log Trail. Because the property was purchased prior to platting, the land was not included in the Plat, and therefore, had to be considered under the general provisions of the Zoning Ordinance, for parcels which require a minimum frontage of 200 feet and an area of 50,000 square feet. Ms. Stefforia asked the Zoning Board of Appeals if they wished to grant a variance to do so subject to the Health Department's approval of the placement of septic tanks on each of the resulting parcels.

Ms. Stefforia then took the Board through the standards of approval for a nonuse variance.

The Chairman asked if there were any questions of Ms. Stefforia, and hearing none, he asked to hear from the owner. Mr. James Sterenberg introduced himself to the Zoning Board of Appeals. He said he had purchased the property to either build a home or for investment purposes. Since purchasing the property, he has chosen to build on another lot, and he wished to split the parcel into two to make it more consistent with the area and more desirable to potential buyers.

The Chairman asked if there were any questions of Mr. Sterenberg. Hearing none, he asked to hear from the public.

Mr. Bob Brink, Kalamazoo County Commissioner, introduced himself to the Zoning Board of Appeals. Mr. Brink explained that he lived at 6314 Killington, which is the property immediately to the west. Mr. Brink said that the lot was purchased as a single parcel, and he thought it should be sold as a single parcel. He stated that he understood the desire to separate this parcel from the home to the north because of the poor condition of the home on Old Log Trail. He said that the lot currently conforms to zoning and building standards, and was ideal for the construction of one house. He said, because of the topography, it would be difficult to build two homes on the parcel without a substantial amount of fill, resulting in possible erosion and run-off problems.

Mr. Brink told the Board members that he and his neighbor had agreed to buy the property from Mr. Sterenberg for $86,000, but wanted to approach the Zoning Board of Appeals to divide the parcel, with one-half going to the neighbor to the east and one-half to himself. He said, once the buyer found that out, he said he could not wait the two weeks to have the Zoning Board of Appeals make a decision; he backed out of the sale, and now, Mr. Sterenberg is currently before the Board to ask for exactly what Mr. Brink had suggested that he and his neighbor do in order to add the property to their parcels. Mr. Brink then provided the Board with photographs of the property, showing the ravine and the proximity of the other houses in the area.

Mr. Brink told the Board that, looking at the standards for granting a variance, there was absolutely no basis to grant a variance in this case.

Mr. Bill Dunden then introduced himself to the Board. He said he owned Lot 179 on Old Log Trail, northeast of the subject property. Mr. Dunden said that the current property was a buildable site, and that variances should only be granted for undue hardship. He said there was no hardship in this case and that all the applicant was doing was trying to increase his financial benefit, which was no reason to grant a variance.

Mr. Rick Schaeffer introduced himself, and he said he owned property on the other side of the subject parcel. He said he had no problem with the applicant building one house on the property, but thought, with the topography of the subject property, that dividing into two parcels was not a viable option.

Ms. Stefforia informed the Board that she had received a phone call from Kevin Lalone, who also opposed the land division.

The Chairman asked if there were any further public comments. Hearing none, he called for Board deliberations.

Mr. McClung asked, if the property was site condominiumized or platted, whether the applicant could develop it as proposed. Ms. Stefforia indicated that they could, and that such a request could not be denied, since under those circumstances, it would meet all of the provisions of the Township Ordinances.

Mr. Bushouse said that he was bothered by the fact that there were alternatives, and he was concerned about setting a precedent of dealing with these issues at the Zoning Board of Appeals' level, when they should be dealt with elsewhere. He said the Township Board, on occasion, has divided lots within plats. Attorney Porter noted that the subject property was not a platted lot. Mr. Bushouse said he understood that, but he noted that all of the property surrounding the subject parcel was platted, but again indicated that would not necessarily give the Board the basis to grant the variance.

Ms. Borgfjord said the property could also stay as it was and be developed, which weighed against granting the variance. She said it could also be platted or subdivided, and that neither its size nor topography would prevent the platting or subdividing of the property.

Mr. Turcott asked if the same limitations could be put on the property by the Health Department, whether it was divided or subdivided as a plat or a site condominium. Ms. Stefforia and Attorney Porter indicated yes. Mr. Turcott then commented that the applicant did have recourse, other than through the grant of a variance. Therefore, he said he saw no reason to grant such a variance.

The Chairman said the Board had denied similar requests to others, and while this was somewhat unique in that it was surrounded by platted property, he did not want to see a precedent set of dividing property when there were alternatives to condominiumize or subdivide the property, which provided a greater degree of oversight. He said the applicant had alternatives, and he thought the applicant needed to consider those alternatives.

The Chairman asked if there was any further discussion, and hearing none, he said he would entertain a motion. Mr. Turcott made a motion to deny the request to divide the subject property into two parcels, neither of which would satisfy the frontage or area requirements. Mr. Bushouse seconded the motion. The Chairman called for further discussion, and hearing none, he called for a vote on the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

DE FOREST - ACCESSORY BUILDING REVIEW - 10463 WEST H AVENUE - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-07-205-016, 3905-07-130-030 AND 3905-07-130-020)

The Chairman indicated that the next item on the Agenda was the site plan review of a proposed accessory building where the aggregate area of accessory buildings on the property exceeds the ground floor area of the dwelling. He said the subject property was located at 10463 West H Avenue, Parcel Nos. 3905-07-205-016, 3905-07-130-030 and 3905-07-130-020) within the "RR" Rural Residential District. The Chairman asked to hear from the Planning Department. Ms. Stefforia presented a report to the Board dated January 13, 2005 (December 13, 2005).

Ms. Stefforia explained to the Zoning Board of Appeals that, pursuant to Section 78.820, anytime that the aggregate area of the accessory buildings exceeds the ground floor area of the dwelling, a Zoning Board of Appeals' review is required. Ms. Stefforia explained that the subject property currently contains a car storage building, which was approved on June 24, 2003, a pool house, and a storage building, in addition to the dwelling. Therefore the accessory buildings total 11,240 square feet, which exceed the 3,809 square foot area of the ground floor of the residence. She indicated the proposed location of the accessory building, was approximately 460 feet from the road and 340 feet from the west property line. She said the applicant would be combining his existing property and the property to the west to create a 79-acre parcel. Ms. Stefforia suggested that the consolidation of the parcels be a condition imposed by the Zoning Board of Appeals before granting the variance. She said the applicant was looking to build the barn to house a horse, a pig and a goat.

Ms. Stefforia then took the Board through a review of Section 78.820, as set forth in her report.

The Chairman asked if there were any questions of Ms. Stefforia. Hearing none, he asked to hear from the applicant. Mr. Curtis Griffis said he was at the meeting to speak on behalf of Marc DeForest. Mr. Griffis said that the applicant wished to buy a pony for his two small children, as well as create family activities with the additional farm animals. He told the Board that the properties had been combined as requested. He said he thought the drawings and Ms. Stefforia's presentation were sufficient, and he asked if there were any questions.

Ms. Borgfjord asked if the proposed barn would be placed parallel to the building housing the automobiles. Mr. Griffis said that it would, and it would be directly to the west. He said that the barn would be located approximately 120 feet west of the existing car barn. He said they wanted to make the two buildings appear similar in structure, design and color, to unify the buildings on the property.

The Chairman asked if there were any public comment. Hearing none, he closed the public portion of the meeting. The Chairman called for Board deliberations.

Mr. Bushouse said he appreciated the applicant making the request. Since the proposed accessory building was an agricultural structure, technically, the applicant could have refused to submit the request to the Township. He said, based upon what he has seen the property owner do in the past, it seemed like a logical progression, and seemed appropriate.

Ms. Borgfjord said she was concerned about how much screening there was for the subject building, and she asked if the applicant would consider landscaping around the building. The Chairman said he thought landscaping was important, particularly to the north side.

Mr. Bushouse explained to the applicant's representative that the Board had asked for landscaping for other similar structures built within the Township under the provision of the Ordinance at issue. The applicant's representative said that they would be willing to landscape along the north side. He said he thought the owner might be concerned about landscaping to the west, since he wants to leave that area open for pasture. He also pointed out that there were quite a few existing trees to the north, and he thought that the car barn was visible mainly due to the driveway which opened up the view from the north. He said the other building would be further to the west and would be better screened. However, he again noted that they would be willing to put plantings north of the building.

The Chairman said that he would entertain a motion. Ms. Borgfjord made a motion to approve the request, with the provision that evergreens be planted along the north side of the proposed structure. Ms. Stefforia asked if any landscaping was needed to the west. After a brief discussion, it was the consensus of the Board not to require screening to the west due to the need to preserve the area for pasture. Mr. Turcott seconded the motion. The Chairman called for further discussion, and hearing none, he called for a vote on the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Other Business

The Chairman said the only item under "Other Business" was the adoption of the 2006 meeting dates. There was a brief discussion. At the conclusion of which, the meeting on July 25 was changed to July 11, 2006. Ms. Borgfjord made a motion to approve the dates as amended. The motion was seconded by Mr. Bushouse. The Chairman called for a vote on the motion, and the motion passed unanimously.

Ms. Stefforia did note for the record that Ms. Borgfjord had perfect attendance for the entire calendar year of 2005.

Adjournment

There being no further business to come before the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Board adjourned at approximately 4:00 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:
December 20, 2005

Minutes Approved:
, 2006