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OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS

December 17, 2001

Agenda

WEST MAIN MALL (KOHL'S) - SETBACK VARIANCE AND SITE PLAN REVIEW - 5161 WEST MAIN STREET (PARCEL NO. 3905-13-430-036)

WEST MAIN MALL - LIGHTING VARIANCE - 5161 WEST MAIN STREET (PARCEL NO. 3905-13-430-036)

QUAIL MEADOWS DEVELOPMENT / JAQUA REALTORS - SIGN DEVIATION - OFF-SITE REAL ESTATE SIGN - 5924 STADIUM DRIVE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-25-305-031)

QUAIL MEADOWS DEVELOPMENT / JAQUA REALTORS - SIGN DEVIATION - OFF-SITE REAL ESTATE SIGN AT HERITAGE CHRISTIAN ACADEMY - 6312 QUAIL RUN DRIVE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-23-405-020)

LAAKSONEN - FRONTAGE AND AREA VARIANCE - 628 SOUTH 8TH STREET (PARCEL NO. 3905-22-285-025)

A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Zoning Board of Appeals on Monday, December 17, 2001, commencing at approximately 3:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Sharon Kuntzman, Acting Chairperson
Ted Corakis
David Bushouse
Jill Jensen (after 3:12 p.m.)

MEMBER ABSENT: Millard Loy

Also present were Jodi Stefforia, Planning Director; Mary Lynn Bugge, Township Planner; Patricia R. Mason, Township Attorney, and five other interested persons.

CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order at 3:05 p.m. by the Acting Chairperson.

MINUTES

The Board considered the minutes of the meeting of November 19, 2001. Mr. Bushouse moved to approve the minutes as submitted, and Mr. Corakis seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

WEST MAIN MALL (KOHL'S) - SETBACK VARIANCE AND SITE PLAN REVIEW - 5161 WEST MAIN STREET (PARCEL NO. 3905-13-430-036).

The Board considered the application made on behalf of West Main 2000, LLC for a variance from the supplemental setback requirement of Section 64.700 and for site plan review of a proposed new Kohl's store to be constructed at the West Main Mall property located at 5161 West Main Street. The subject site is within the "C-1" Local Business District zoning classification and is Parcel No. 3905-13-430-036.

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

Ms. Stefforia noted that the subject site is the former West Main Mall site, and that the property is currently occupied by Lowe's home improvement store. In addition, a Hardings Marketplace store is located at the site. Last month, site plan approval was granted to construct a new Hardings immediately adjacent to the existing one, which would be demolished following completion of the new store. The proposed 86,584 square foot Kohl's department store would be built in its place.

It was noted that the Lowe's store had been reviewed by the Planning Commission due to the outdoor display component of the use. During that review, the Planning Commission and property owner had established the internal circulation and parking arrangement existing on the site. Only minor changes were proposed to the parking lot layout as part of this phase.

The first 600 feet along the west property line of the property abuts "C" zoning. Beyond that point, the Mall abuts "R-2" zoned land occupied by the golf course. Due to the "R-2" zoning, a supplemental setback of 85 feet from the west property line was required for all buildings and structures south of the first 600 feet from M-43. The applicant was requesting a setback of 79 feet, thus a six-foot setback variance is required.

Ms. Stefforia pointed out that the clubhouse and parking area on the golf course are the nearest to the area where the Kohl's building would encroach on the 85-foot supplemental setback. Ms. Stefforia reviewed the standards for a non-use variance. As to whether conformance was unnecessary burdensome, Ms. Stefforia pointed out that the applicant could achieve compliance for the southern 180 feet of the building and the 64-foot loading dock wall by "jogging" in six feet, or the entire building could be shifted six feet to the east or scaled back in size.

With regard to substantial justice, it was noted that the Zoning Board of Appeals had consistently denied variances for reduced setbacks on properties considered a clean slate. With regard to the previous actions of the Zoning Board of Appeals, it was noted that, in December of 1998, the Marathon gas station (formerly Total) at 5th Street and West Main had been denied a variance from the 85-foot supplemental setback requirement for the placement of gas pumps. The Zoning Board of Appeals had reasoned that the site could be reconfigured, and as a vacant parcel, options existed that allowed the setback requirements to be satisfied. The significant difference between the Total variance and the requested variance was that the gas station abutted residential property which was vacant but was anticipated to be developed for residential use. In this case, the property adjacent is utilized for a golf course, and residential development is not expected.

Further, as to unique physical circumstances, the existing internal circulation pattern creates some physical limitations on the site. Shifting the building six feet to the east would cause the reconfiguration of the existing drive aisle running along the recently-approved Hardings and for future tenants south of Hardings.

Ms. Jensen entered the meeting.

Ms. Stefforia made reference to the site plan criteria, noting that the site had previously been reviewed three times. Some further detail was needed regarding landscaping, and discussion of the need to screen the loading dock area and trash compactors was discussed. Further, Ms. Stefforia noted that the Kohl's site could not be subdivided from the overall site unless the sewer system was brought up to public standards.

The Acting Chairperson asked for comment by the applicant, and Tim Timmons, a partner in West Main 2000, LLC, noted that the developer had been working on locating a Kohl's at the site for three years. Mike Kreps was also present on behalf of the applicant. Mr. Timmons felt that there was justification for the variance since the developer was dealing with a pre-existing mall site that they were trying to "retrofit". He felt there would be a problem with shifting the Kohl's building to the east, not only in reconfiguration of the site circulation, but also because the view of Hardings would be "blocked".

Mr. Corakis had questions with regard to the size of the Portage Kohl's, and Mr. Timmons stated that he believed the size of the Portage store was approximately 86,000 square feet. Mr. Timmons was concerned about losing Kohl's at the site if the store was forced to reduce its size.

No public comment was offered, and the public hearing was closed.

Ms. Kuntzman stated that she had no objection to the variance in that the abutting property was used for a golf course, and it was not anticipated that it would ever be developed for residential use. Further, there is a steep wall between the properties.

Mr. Corakis agreed, as did Mr. Bushouse who commented that he felt Kohl's would have plenty of room around the building.

The Board members felt that it would be more of a problem for the site circulation pattern to be disturbed by shifting the building.

Mr. Corakis moved to grant a variance allowing a setback of 79 feet (variance of six feet) based upon the reasoning that:

(1) The abutting property use was a golf course and was not anticipated to be developed for residential use;

(2) There was a wall between the properties screening the golf course property from the Kohl's site; and

(3) The Kohl's property is at a lower elevation.

The motion was seconded by Mr. Bushouse, and it carried unanimously.

The Acting Chairperson asked Mr. Timmons to comment on the site plan, and he stated that the only major change to the site would be to the parking area "in front" of Kohl's, which would be shifted 90 degrees. He indicated that the landscaping along West Main Street would be in compliance with Ordinance standards.

In response to questions from Mr. Corakis, Mr. Timmons stated that shifting would add four to five more parking spaces in the area.

The Acting Chairperson asked about the loading dock in back of the Kohl's store and the trash compactor arrangement. After some discussion, it was noted that the applicant could work with the Township Staff regarding an acceptable screening arrangement for the loading dock and trash compactors. Ms. Stefforia requested that the applicant provided some schematics of the proposed areas.

No public comment was offered, and the public hearing was closed.

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

(1) As to access, the development would be served by the existing curb-cuts on Drake Road and West Main Street. No additional driveways were proposed or approved.

(2) Parking at the site exceeds Ordinance requirements. The existing parking lot layout would be modified as proposed by the applicant.

(3) Setback requirements of the Ordinance were to be satisfied except as approved in the variance.

(4) Outdoor display or storage is not permitted at the subject property without review and approval by the Planning Commission pursuant to special exception use criteria.

(5) Screening of the trash compactors and loading dock area is subject to Township Staff review and approval.

(6) Any changes to the existing lighting arrangement must comply with the provisions of Section 78.000, except as may otherwise be allowed by variance.

(7) Pursuant to Section 76.000, a sign permit is required before any new signage may be placed at the property.

(8) Details as to the species and size of proposed plantings along the north property line are subject to Township Staff review and approval pursuant to Section 75.000.

(9) Approval is subject to the review and approval and compliance with the requirements of the Township Fire Department.

(10) Approval is subject to the applicant satisfying the requirements of the Township Engineer.

(11) An Environmental Permit Checklist and Hazardous Substance Reporting form must be completed and submitted to the Township for the Kohl's tenant prior to occupancy.

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

WEST MAIN MALL - LIGHTING VARIANCE - 5161 WEST MAIN STREET (PARCEL NO. 3905-13-430-036).

The Zoning Board of Appeals reviewed the application made on behalf of West Main 2000, LLC for a variance from the lighting provisions of the Zoning Ordinance so as to allow use of 1,000 watt light fixtures within the parking lot and 400 watt flood lights to illuminate the building exterior of the proposed Kohl's store to be built at the West Main Mall property at 5161 West Main Street. The subject site is within the "C-1" Local Business District zoning classification and is Parcel No. 3905-13-430-036.

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

It was noted that the proposed lighting arrangement would add one light pole on the east side of the Kohl's building. This would contain both horizontally-mounted light fixtures and flood lights directed toward the store. Moreover, a pole at the north end of the parking area east of the Shell Station would be replaced. On the eight existing poles and the two new poles, 1,000 watt perpendicular-mounted light fixtures would be installed. On the four poles nearest the Kohl's store, flood lights would be added. The flood lights would be directed at the building. These would utilize 400-watt fixtures.

Ordinance limitations require use of 400-watt fixtures for the light poles, and limit the flood lights for illumination of the building to 175-watts.

The applicant indicated that the proposed lighting arrangement would achieve building exterior illumination levels of ten foot-candles, which is within the 20-foot candle Ordinance limitation. Moreover, the property would comply with the restrictions on illumination levels at the property perimeter.

It was noted that the Zoning Board of Appeals had granted a variance in 1999 to the Lowe's site for use of 1,000-watt light fixtures in the parking area.

The variance criteria were reviewed. As to substantial justice, it was noted that, with regard to the application of Lowe's, the ZBA reasoned that the area was an established commercial one where use of greater wattage was acceptable, given the illumination levels of nearby commercial properties. Further, the Zoning Board of Appeals had based variance upon perimeter illumination levels being below Ordinance limits.

It was also noted that a variance had been granted to the Marathon station (formerly Total), resulting in a lighting arrangement that exceeds the foot-candle limits at the property perimeter. This was based in part on the width of the street right-of-way.

The Zoning Board of Appeals had also granted a variance to Maple Hill Chrysler to allow modification to an existing site lighting arrangement for use of 1,000-watt fixtures and illumination level of 20 foot-candles at the perimeter where the Ordinance limit is .1 foot-candle. The ZBA had distinguished between developing areas and the existing commercial areas with regard to feasibility of compliance with Ordinance limitations.

In response to questions from Board members, the applicant indicated that new fixtures were installed when the Lowe's site was developed. The Lowe's parking lot used 1,000-watt fixtures, and the remainder was at 400 watts. Mr. Timmons stated that he felt that the overall lighting arrangement would meet the spirit of the Ordinance in that the perimeter lighting and on-site illumination levels would be within Ordinance requirements.

There was discussion of the use of fewer number of poles with the higher watt fixtures with Mrs. Bugge expressing the opinion that use of 400-watt fixtures with more poles would provide a more even lighting arrangement.

There was discussion of the illumination of Lowe's building, and it was stated that this would be identical to the manner in which the Lowe's building is lighted.

No public comment was offered, and the public hearing was closed.

Mr. Bushouse commented that he felt that there was a difference between the commercial area east of U.S. 131 and those areas west. The commercial area east of U.S. 131 was an area of more intense lighting, and therefore, he felt that the proposed lighting arrangement was acceptable, given the character of the area. He felt that the request would not result in lighting much different than what was existing. In his opinion, fewer number of poles would provide for better site circulation. Mr. Corakis agreed.

Mr. Bushouse felt that the most important aspects of the Ordinance, i.e., those Ordinance restrictions on lighting level at the perimeter and as to glare from the site were being met. He felt that the variance was justified by the location of the property, noting that Drake Road is a five-lane road, that West Main Street is the commercial corridor of the Township, and that the golf course would not be greatly impacted by the lighting arrangement. Further, he noted that the area to the south, the Lowe's site, has the same lighting as proposed.

Ms. Kuntzman agreed that, given that this was a highly-concentrated commercial area, a variance was appropriate. She felt that it was more important that the lighting of the site be consistent with the area, rather than an area in which drivers would go from a dimmer to a more highly-lighted area on the same site. She had no objection to the lighting of the building as long as there would be no glare on adjacent property.

Other Board members agreed.

Mr. Bushouse moved to grant a variance so as to allow 1,000-watt fixtures on the light poles at the site and to allow the building to be illuminated using 400-watt fixtures premised upon the location of the site and a highly-concentrated commercial area with existing higher levels of illumination. It was reasoned that consistency in lighting at this site and on adjacent sites was more desirable and in the spirit and intent of the Ordinance standards. Mr. Corakis seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

QUAIL MEADOWS DEVELOPMENT / JAQUA REALTORS - SIGN DEVIATION - OFF-SITE REAL ESTATE SIGN - 5924 STADIUM DRIVE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-25-305-031)

The Board considered the application of Jaqua Realtors on behalf of Quail Meadows Development for a deviation to allow placement of a real estate sign at the base of the existing Quail Run/Quail Meadows identification sign established off-site in 1985 pursuant to a variance. The subject sign is located at 5924 Stadium Drive within the "C" Local Business District zoning classification and is Parcel No. 3905-25-305-031.

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

Mrs. Bugge noted that Quail Meadows development is a residential subdivision located off Quail Run Drive between 9th Street and Stadium Drive. Construction in the development recently resumed following a cessation of about two years. The development does not have any property abutting Stadium Drive. A permanent off-site sign for the development was located at the property of Rykse's Restaurant at the intersection of Quail Run Drive and Stadium Drive in the Commercial District. A variance was granted to allow that sign on December 2, 1985. The sign is 12 feet high and contains 40 square feet.

The applicant, whose company would be handling sale of the residences, sought approval to place a temporary 23 square foot real estate sign directly in front of the base of the existing sign. The sign would identify the realtor, indicate the type of homes available and point the way to model homes.

Mrs. Bugge pointed out that, under Section 76.160, off-site signs are prohibited for residential uses. However, the Ordinance does permit residential developments to have a 30 square foot ground sign, with a maximum height of five feet, placed on property for identification purposes. Section 76.150 allows one real estate sign per lot, not to exceed six square feet. However, a commercially-zoned property may have a real estate sign not exceeding 16 square feet.

Mrs. Bugge summarized that the applicant was seeking two variances -- one as to size and one to allow for an off-site sign.

Mrs. Bugge provided drawings of the sign proposed.

Reference was made to the letter received from Boyd Heckert, President of Mutual Resource Management for Quail Run I, who was opposed to the signage.

Kristin Kirkpatrick also provided a letter in opposition to the variance. Ms. Kirkpatrick is a resident of Quail Run I.

Mr. Bushouse had questions with regard to the signage, noting that in his opinion, the proposed sign was in the nature of a billboard, rather than an identification sign. He felt that it was advertising the real estate agency and homes for sale. He noted that Summer Ridge Apartments were denied a variance for an off-site sign in 1996 and 1997.

The Acting Chairperson asked for comments by the applicant, and Dan Jaqua was present, along with John Woods. Mr. Jaqua stated that the developers were pleased that they were at the point of marketing the homes at the site. However, they felt there was a hardship on the development and the need to "come back" from a black eye resulting from the bankruptcy of the previous developers. He felt that there was a need to change the perception of the public with regard to the development. Mr. Jaqua commented that he felt the site was unique because, even though the sign would be a billboard, it would be temporary. He estimated that the sign would be removed within two years, i.e., at the completion of the project. He stated that the sign was being placed in front of the existing sign in order to emphasize that it was temporary, but that its size had been determined to make it aesthetically pleasing. The owners of the property on which the sign would be placed had been consulted and approved of the sign concept. Mr. Jaqua also felt that it was important to differentiate the development from the others surrounding it.

There was no public comment on the item, and the public hearing was closed.

Mr. Bushouse stated that, in his opinion, granting the variance would be a problem, especially given the action of the Board on the Summer Ridge application. He felt that this application was similar. Further, he was concerned about setting a precedent which would allow such off-site signage to other developments which do not have frontage on a major street. Mr. Corakis agreed, noting his concern that other developers would ask for the same variance.

After further discussion, Mr. Bushouse moved to deny the deviation with the following reasoning:

(1) That the sign would constitute a billboard, and although located in the Commercial District, it was across the street from residentially-zoned and utilized properties.

(2) That other similarly-situated developments without frontage on a major street would seek deviation to place their own billboard advertising their developments which would be contrary to the spirit and intent of the Ordinance.

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

QUAIL MEADOWS DEVELOPMENT / JAQUA REALTORS - SIGN DEVIATION - OFF-SITE REAL ESTATE SIGN AT HERITAGE CHRISTIAN ACADEMY - 6312 QUAIL RUN DRIVE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-23-405-020)

The Zoning Board of Appeals reviewed a request for deviation to allow placement of an off-site sign identifying real estate for sale within Quail Meadows development. The sign is proposed to be placed on the site of Heritage Christian Academy, which is not part of the Quail Meadows development. The subject sign is proposed at 6312 Quail Run Drive, which is within the "R-4" Residence District zoning classification, and is Parcel No. 3905-23-405-020.

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

Mrs. Bugge noted that the proposed sign would be eight feet high and contain 20 square feet in area. She noted that Heritage Christian Academy had requested variance from the prior Sign Ordinance in February of 2000 to permit the location of a second identification sign on the property. The request had been denied.

In response to questions from Ms. Kuntzman, it was noted that the applicant could have a construction sign and a real estate sign placed on its own property, but that these signs would not be visible from 9th Street.

The applicant, Dan Jaqua, was present, stating that he felt that the Board should take into account the history of the development. Further, he was concerned about confusion at the 9th Street entrance. He felt there was no indication that the Quail Meadows development could be reached from 9th Street.

No public comment was offered, and the public hearing was closed.

The Acting Chairperson stated that, in her opinion, the same issues considered by the Board with regard to the Stadium Drive sign were also present concerning the 9th Street sign. Ms. Kuntzman felt it would be a mistake to set a precedent which would allow billboard signage, particularly in a residential zoning district.

Mr. Bushouse commented that he was concerned about maintaining the residential character of the 9th Street area and noted that the Board had previously made decisions based upon its concern that there not be a lot of signage in this area. Mr. Corakis agreed.

Mr. Bushouse moved to deny deviation based on the prior reasoning of the Board concerning the Stadium Drive sign, and based upon a finding that such signage would be contrary to and detrimental to the character of the 9th Street area. Mr. Corakis seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

LAAKSONEN - FRONTAGE AND AREA VARIANCE - 628 SOUTH 8TH STREET (PARCEL NO. 3905-22-285-025)

The Board considered an application by Kevin Laaksonen for a variance from the frontage and area requirements of the Zoning Ordinance concerning property at 628 South 8th Street, which is within the "I-1" Industrial District, and is Parcel No. 3905-22-285-025).

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

Mrs. Bugge reviewed a history of the site, including the fact that the parcel was created in 1983. In 1985, there was a request for expansion of the existing building and for an additional building. This request for frontage variance was denied. In 1995, a variance was granted for width less than 120 feet at the building setback to permit platting or establishment of a site condominium project. In August of 1995, site condominium review and approval was granted for the subject site, and the parcel to the east, those being 628 and 624 South 8th Street. However, the Kalamazoo County Health Department would not approve the project without public water or a test well to obtain suitable water, and therefore, the Master Deed was not recorded.

Public water is now available to the site, and therefore, the applicant could, given the existing variance, establish a one-lot plat or could establish the site condominium with the adjacent property if that owner were willing. The site could also continued to be used "as is".

It was noted that there is an existing 66-foot right-of-way, 33 feet of which is on the subject site, granted to the Township which was at one time intended for the placement of a public road. There is a drive located on the 66 feet shared by the subject site, by the parcel to the east (-030) and by the adjacent site recently under development by Architectural Glass and Metal (AGM).

Walter Laaksonen and his brother, Kevin, were present. Walter Laaksonen stated that he is an attorney and was representing his brother in the application. He emphasized that the only way to expand the existing building in compliance with the Ordinance would be to plat, and he felt that platting would not provide any benefit to the neighboring properties or the community. He felt site condominiumization was not available because two units were necessary. The applicant was seeking to expand his building to add storage. The applicant was not seeking to establish an additional building as was proposed and turned down in 1985. He stated that the applicant would not be seeking any setback variances for the site. Further, the applicant was not seeking an additional drive.

It was noted that the applicant's property may have been granted a building permit in 1995, based on the assumption that the site condominium was being established.

Mr. Bushouse expressed the concern that a prior owner had known the limitations on the number of sites which could be created but had disregarded them. He was concerned that the 66-foot right-of-way had been required so as to provide for the opportunity of public road. He was concerned that this roadway being used by three properties would not be taken care of.

Mr. Bushouse felt it was significant that the applicant was seeking only to expand the building and not add an additional building. Further, he felt that it was important that this area was in an "I-1" Zoning District.

Mr. Bushouse moved to grant a variance from the front footage and dimensional requirements so as to allow for the enlargement of the building at the subject property. He reasoned that the variance would be consistent with the spirit and intent of the Ordinance, given the character of the area, the "I-1" zoning and given that only a building enlargement, and not an additional building, was at issue. He noted that the property is utilizing a shared drive and that no new drive would be created on 8th Street. Additionally, he referenced the history behind the creation of Parcels -025, -030, and the parcels used by AGM. The variance is conditioned upon a shared drive maintenance and improvement agreement between the owner of the subject site, Parcel -030 and the AGM property. Mr. Corakis seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

OTHER BUSINESS

The Board considered the proposed meeting dates for the 2002 calendar year. Mr. Jensen moved to adopt the meeting dates, which would be for the second Monday of the month. Mr. Bushouse seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 5:40 p.m.

OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP
ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS


By:
Millard Loy, Chairperson

By:
Dave Bushouse

By:
Jill Jensen

By:
Grace Borgfjord

By:
Stanley Rakowski

Minutes Prepared:
December 20, 2001

Minutes Approved:
January 22 , 2002