OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP
December 14, 2004
Township Board work session was held at the Township Hall. Supervisor VanDyke called the meeting to order at 5:00 p.m.
Supervisor John VanDyke
Clerk Deb Everett
Treasurer Nancy Culp
Trustee Dave Bushouse
Trustee Ted Corakis
Trustee Stan Rakowski
Trustee Neil Sikora
Also present was James Porter, Township Attorney, Bob Snell and Marc Elliott, Township Engineers and Planning Director Jodi Stefforia.
Proposed development on South 9th Street - Planning Director Stefforia advised a residential condominium project has been proposed on the west side of South 9th Street. To serve the project the developer will install force main in the 9th Street right of way, and force main, gravity sewer and a pump station with the development. She further advised the force main and pump station would serve a much larger area than the development and the Sewer/Water Committee recommends the Township participate in the project by covering the cost difference, approximately $107,000, to locate the pump station at a more central location for future use and indirectly pay for the station over time by waiving the benefit fee for up to 50 dwelling units in the development. Developer Ken Watts was present and requested the number of benefit units waived be increased to 83. There was discussion that more of the main could be located on the development property instead of the street right of way. Consensus was the Township would consider participating in the project and requested the engineer to provide estimates for the alternative location of the main.
Township Insurance Package - Kevin Decker, representing Municipal Consultant Managers, provided an annual review of the Township's liability, property and vehicle insurance.
The work session was adjourned at approximately 6:45 p.m.
Supervisor VanDyke called the regular meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.
Also present were James Porter, Township Attorney, Marc Elliott, Township Engineer, and approximately 45 interested people.
Motion by Corakis, second by Sikora to approve the November 23rd Regular meeting minutes. Carried.
Income to the General and Fire Funds of $88,821.58 and disbursements of $512,080.30 were reported. Motion by Rakowski, second by Sikora to accept the receipts and disbursements report. Carried.
PLANNING COMMISSION RECOMMENDATION TEXT AMENDMENT - FLAG POLE HEIGHT
Planning Director Jodi Stefforia advised the Planning Commission conducted a public hearing on the request of Belle Tire to amend Section 76.175A of the Zoning Ordinance to increase the height limit for flag poles from 30 feet to 60 feet and recommends the request be denied.
Trustee Corakis commented prior to the sign ordinance changes adopted in 2000, it did not address flag poles, the first proposal was for 25 feet then later changed to 30 feet. He further commented there were fourteen public meetings on the ordinance language and there was no public comment.
Trustee Rakowski advised he was also on the Planning Commission when the ordinance was changed; he felt the flag pole at the Township Hall could be used for the standard. He commented Belle Tire presented a site plan with a 30 foot pole and knew the rules.
The following citizens commented:
Bob Janssen, 8670 Almena Drive, inquired why there is a 30 foot limit, he felt there is no hindrance to traffic and it appears the Township tries not to get along.
Sue Deschot, 8951 Briarwood, advised she had collected over 1,500 signatures including Senator Tom George to keep the flag. She commented everyone has done something illegal, even the Board. She further commented she took time off work to attend the meeting.
Barbara Johnson, 7863 West H Avenue, commented the height was an arbitrary choice; the noise from the flag flapping is less offensive than that of traffic, horns, etc. She referred to ZBA minutes concerning a previous application for a variance on pole height that indicated Trustee Bushouse had commented he felt the Township should not determine height. She commented that other townships do not have height requirements.
Tim Mallett, 7404 West H Avenue, commented he sees both sides to the issue, businesses must follow rules, there should be repercussions for breaking the rules but would like to see the flag stay.
Mindy Wielinga, 1510 Kingston, commented she loves seeing the flag and presented a petition with 50 signatures in favor of it.
Bill Baker, 8341 Gibbs, commented the issue is dear to his heart, understands there is an ordinance but the Township should bring the standard up and offered to contribute $500.00 toward the installation of a 70 foot pole for the Township Hall.
Ron Jacobs, 4179 North 6th Street, commented there had been discussion of balance and proportion and concern regarding visual clutter and safety. He felt if safety were an issue the three grandfathered taller poles would have been removed. He further commented there had been a proposal from one Planning Commissioner at the hearing to keep the ordinance in place but allow one taller pole. Mr. Jacobs also commented the Board is elected by the people and the power always rests with the people. He felt the Board did a super job with the West H Avenue project.
Pete Weatherhead, District Manager for Belle Tire commented they knew the rules; the flag pole installer did not receive the message, all of their buildings constructed since September 11, 2001 has the same flag pole, this is the first battle over it. He further commented it was not their intent to raise civil disobedience but the people have spoken that the ordinance is not appropriate.
Trustee Bushouse commented the ordinance went through the process of many hearings; he was torn as he understands the need for regulations but also understands what looks nice. He further commented that flags do have advertising value and pointed out a large flag that can be seen from a great distance in Holland. He advised he would favor a discussion of location based on lot size and setback but feels the ordinance should stay in place. Mr. Bushouse commented the small flags placed in cemeteries on Memorial Day mean as much as a big flag. Commenting on the lighting necessary for illumination of large flags, he advised the Township has tried to prevent light pollution west of US 131.
Trustee Sikora advised he was on the Planning Commission at the time of the public hearing for the text amendment and commented all possibilities must considered when reviewing any ordinance or text amendment. He further commented he sees flags not taken care of or illuminated properly. He also commented he is saddened by the action of Belle Tire installing the flag pole and lights then waiting and making the issue the Township's fault adding that following laws is patriotic. Mr. Sikora also commented he supports many businesses in the Township but chose to buy tires elsewhere.
Supervisor VanDyke commented he felt people must be taken at their word until proved wrong; Mr. Weatherhead has advised the company knew the rules but the flag pole installer did not. He further commented the Board should remember they represent the people. Mr. VanDyke also commented there had been questions regarding his connection to Ms. Deschot advising he has known her family for many years and only signed the petition after the Planning Commission action had occurred.
Trustee Corakis he likes to see the flag, he became a citizen in 1996, has bought flags for display on Stadium Drive with the Oshtemo Business Association but he does not like what Belle Tire has done and will not do business with them. He felt the issue should be returned to the Planning Commission for further study.
Clerk Everett advised the Township had received e-mail regarding this issue and read one from resident Jack Brennan opposing any change in the ordinance language. She commented she also had three in favor.
Trustee Rakowski noted that of the 1,114 signatures he had reviewed only 163 appeared to be from Oshtemo residents. Ms. Deschot advised many were from employees of businesses located in the Township and some residents listed Kalamazoo as their address instead of Oshtemo.
Clerk Everett commented she was not opposed to looking at the ordinance language to address pole height based on parcel size and set back. She further commented there had been considerable advertising gained for Belle Tire by their actions and suggested the patriotic thing to do would be to take the pole down and follow the rules.
Motion by Corakis, second by Rakowski to send the item back to the Planning Commission to consider language to read "A lot, building site or parcel shall be limited to three flags. For lots, building sites and parcels with public street frontage in excess of 200 feet, three additional flags are permitted for every additional 200 feet of continuous public street frontage. Flag pole height may not exceed 30 feet, except that not more than one of the allowed poles may be 60 feet in height." Carried with Bushouse and Sikora voting no.
SEWER/WATER ORDINANCES, FEES, WEST H AVENUE PROJECT
The proposed Public Water Service Ordinance and text changes to the Wastewater Service Ordinance were before the Board for First Reading.
Motion by Everett, second by Rakowski to set Second Reading for December 21st. Carried.
REQUEST TO WITHDRAW REZONING APPLICATION STADIUM DRIVE - SECTION
Clerk Everett advised a letter from the Sherwood Place rezoning applicant indicating that he cannot proceed with the rezoning request at this time. The Planning Commission acted on the request in June and recommended the rezoning request be approved. Attorney Porter advised he would recommend accepting the request withdrawal.
Motion by Everett, second by Rakowski to accept the request for withdrawal of the rezoning application for the Sherwood Place property. Carried.
METRO TRANSIT AGREEMENT - 2005/2006
Supervisor VanDyke presented the request from Metro Transit for a two year agreement. There was discussion that the Board had approved a one year agreement for 2004 instead of the requested three year and had assumed Bill Schomisch would meet with the Board to discuss this requested agreement.
Motion by Corakis, second by Culp to postpone acting on the 2005/2006 agreement and request Mr. Schomisch meet with the Board. Carried.
TEXT AMENDMENTS FALSE ALARM, HUNTING AREA CONTROL & BURNING ORDINANCES
Attorney Porter and Ordinance Enforcement Officer Scott Paddock advised they were recommending text amendments to the following ordinances:
False Alarm - to clarify charges and add emergency medical alarms to the ordinance.
Hunting Area Control - to clarify title by adding no discharge of firearms
Burning - to correct text to read Court instead of County
Motion by Everett, second by Sikora to accept the amendments for First Reading and set Second Reading for December 21st. Carried.
REQUEST FROM ARBY'S REGARDING SIDEWALK CONSTRUCTION
Clerk Everett advised the Planning Commission had recently reviewed a site plan for Arby's to be located on West Main in front of Meijers. Arby's is requesting they be allowed to contribute funds for the required sidewalk along West Main to the Township and the sidewalk be constructed at such time the Township deems appropriate based on further development. Their concerns included the change in right of way along West Main and determining the proper location for the sidewalk.
Consensus was the Board would be amenable to their request and directed the Planning Department, Engineer and Attorney to prepare a draft agreement.
BOARD MEMBER COMMENTS
Attorney Porter advised Attorney Pat Mason had moved out of state and would not be representing the Township any longer; he will remain as primary attorney.
There was no further business and the meeting was adjourned at approximately 8:45 p.m.
DEBORAH L. EVERETT
Attested: JOHN VANDYKE