OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS MINUTES

December 20, 1999

Agenda

SKY KING INDUSTRIAL PARK - UNIT 1 - SITE PLAN REVIEW - SOUTH SIDE OF STADIUM DRIVE - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-34-255-028/022)

KALAMAZOO CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS - SIGN VARIANCE - 3800 SOUTH 12TH STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-36-280-010)

MARTINSON - FRONTAGE VARIANCE - 5284 WEST G AVENUE (PARCEL NO. 3905-01-230-100)

RICHARD AND SARAH DE RUSHA - FRONTAGE VARIANCE - VACANT LAND ON THE NORTH SIDE OF WEST KL AVENUE, WEST OF 8TH STREET (PARCEL NO. 3905-22-285-050)

THEODORE E SNOW - DEPTH-TO-WIDTH VARIANCE - 8332 & 8340 WEST KL AVENUE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-21-255-040)

DENNIS AND DIANE ERIKSON - SETBACK VARIANCE - 38 SUMMERSET DRIVE (LOT 86 OF SPRINGWOOD HILLS NO. 4)

A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Zoning Board of Appeals on Monday, December 20, 1999, commencing at approximately 3:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township.

MEMBERS PRESENT:
Thomas Brodasky, Chairperson
David Bushouse
Sharon Kuntzman
William Saunders

MEMBER ABSENT:
Millard Loy

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

CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order at 3:00 p.m.

SKY KING INDUSTRIAL PARK - UNIT 1 - SITE PLAN REVIEW - SOUTH SIDE OF STADIUM DRIVE - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-34-255-028/022)

The Board considered the application of Sky King, LLC for a site plan review of a proposed 9,870 square foot industrial building to be located on Unit 1 of the Sky King Industrial Park site condominium development. The subject property is on the south side of Stadium Drive, east of 7th Street, within the "I-1" Industrial District zoning classification (Parent Parcels 3905-34-255-028/022). The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Stefforia stated that the interior street serving the development is private, and therefore, the access to the unit would not require a driveway permit from the Kalamazoo County Road Commission. Access for the unit would be via the interior private road, in that approval of the site condominium development had as a condition that no unit within the development be permitted to directly access Stadium Drive.

The future tenants of the building were not known. However, the site plan called for 27 parking spaces to be provided, with a potential to add 16 more spaces as needed in the future. The Township staff was comfortable with the parking as proposed.

Ms. Stefforia stated that dumpster details as well as lighting plans should be submitted to Township staff for review and approval. The Township Fire Department and Township Engineer had approved the proposal.

Jamie Dyer and Bruce Kuipers were present on behalf of the applicant. The applicant indicated that, since the future tenants were unknown, it was also unknown whether a dumpster would be needed at the property. It was indicated that lighting details would be submitted to the Township along with building plans.

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

The Chairperson asked whether any screening should be required on the east side due to the neighboring residential property. The applicant indicated that there was no objection to putting evergreen trees along the "top of the hill" on the east line of the property.

After further discussion, Ms. Kuntzman moved to approve the site plan with the following conditions, limitations and notations:

(1) That access be provided to the unit via the interior private street.

(2) That no outdoor storage had been proposed or approved for the site.

(3) That, prior to the establishment of a dumpster on the site, location and enclosure details must be provided to the Township for review and approval.

(4) That details of the proposed lighting, including fixture type, height, wattage, shields, etc. must be provided to the Township staff for review and approval prior to issuance of a building permit. All site lighting must comply with Section 78.700 of the Zoning Ordinance.

(5) The sign permit must be obtained pursuant to Section 76.000 before any signs were placed upon the property.

(6) That screening along the east side of the property be established through plantings.

(7) That no variance had been sought or obtained for the site.

(8) That site plan approval was subject to the approval and requirements imposed by the Township Fire Department.

(9) That approval was subject to the approval and requirements imposed by the Township Engineer.

(10) That an Environmental Permits Checklist and Hazardous Substance Reporting form must be completed and submitted to the Township as each tenant was identified.

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

KALAMAZOO CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS - SIGN VARIANCE - 3800 SOUTH 12TH STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-36-280-010)

The Board considered the application of Kalamazoo Christian Schools for a variance from the provisions of Section 76.145 to allow a 160 square foot, 14 foot tall, temporary sign announcing the new school building under construction on the property at 3800 South 12th Street within the "AG" Agricultural-Rural District zoning classification. The property is Parcel No. 3905-36-280-010. Since the applicants were not present, the item was tabled to the last on the Agenda.

MARTINSON - FRONTAGE VARIANCE - 5284 WEST G AVENUE (PARCEL NO. 3905-01-230-100)

The Board considered the application of Richard Martinson for a variance from Section 66.201 regarding the requirement of 200 feet of frontage on a public street. The subject property is located at 5284 West G Avenue within the "AG" Agricultural-Rural Zoning District classification (Parcel No. 3905-01-230-100). The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

It was noted that the applicant purchased the subject parcel on January 30, 1997. The parcel is vacant, having 100 feet of frontage on West G Avenue, and 18,400 square feet of area. Section 66.200 of the Ordinance requires 200 feet of road frontage and a minimum parcel area of 50,000 square feet. The applicant was under the impression that the parcel was buildable because it was "grandfathered", i.e., established prior 1965. The Township staff was unable to locate evidence in its records that would indicate that the parcel did pre-exist the frontage and area requirements. Ms. Bugge noted that there were ten non-conforming parcels of roughly the same frontage and area configuration along G Avenue. Evidence existed in the Township records that six of the parcels were "grandfathered", and therefore considered buildable despite their lack of sufficient frontage or area. Parcels 091, 095 and 099 had been held as one parcel as of 1965, and an application for a variance by the Ekemas as to these parcels had been denied by the Zoning Board of Appeals. To the east of the subject parcel was 66 feet of road frontage that was part of Parcel 01-230-013 owned by William and Susan Gates. The Gates had also applied for a variance and had been denied. As part of the application regarding the Gates' variance, the Report of the Planning and Zoning Department at that time had identified the subject property as "grandfathered". Ms. Bugge noted that the applicant does not have the option of platting the property in that it is insufficient in area for platting purposes.

The applicant was present, stating that at the time he purchased the property, he had spoken to Rebecca Harvey, the Township’s Planning Director, who had indicated to him that the property was "grandfathered". He felt that there would be practical difficulty and hardship to him if the Ordinance were enforced. Ms. Bugge noted that Ms. Harvey's Report on the Gates' application had indicated that she considered the property "grandfathered". However, Ms. Bugge was unable to find any evidence in the Township records prior to a 1981 land contract on the parcel. It was pointed out that the property owner could research on his own or through a title company the chain of title to establish when the parcel was created.

The Chairperson called for public comment, and Mr. Ekema spoke, stating that he owned four parcels to the west of the subject site. He stated that his father had purchased the four as separate parcels in the early 1960's leaving Parcel 100, i.e., the subject property. Therefore, Mr. Ekema felt that the property must be grandfathered. The Township Attorney stated that she suspected, given the configuration of the parcels, that the parcel was grandfathered, and that a search of title information would establish this fact.

Mr. Saunders moved to table the item to the meeting of January 17, 2000, to give the applicant an opportunity to research the title of his parcel. Ms. Kuntzman seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously. It was noted that, should the applicant find proof that the parcel predated the applicable zoning standards, the parcel would be considered buildable, and he could apply for a building permit without return to the Zoning Board of Appeals.

RICHARD AND SARAH DE RUSHA - FRONTAGE VARIANCE - VACANT LAND ON THE NORTH SIDE OF WEST KL AVENUE, WEST OF 8TH STREET (PARCEL NO. 3905-22-285-050)

The Board considered the application of Richard and Sarah DeRusha for a variance from Section 66.201 of the Ordinance to allow a land division that results in a parcel that does not have 200 feet of frontage on a public street. The subject property is located on the north side of KL Avenue, west of 8th Street (Parcel NO. 3905-22-285-050). The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Bugge noted that the subject parcel is the vacant property which had 210 feet of frontage on KL Avenue. However, the property abutted multi-family buildings on the adjacent parcels at 7106 and 7086 KL Avenue, which were constructed in the 1970's. The drain field for the multi-family dwellings was located at the southeast corner of the subject property, occupying approximately 31 feet of the road frontage, and is 96 feet deep.

The applicants had recently sold the multi-family properties and also deeded the property with the drain field to the buyers. Therefore, a reduction in the road frontage of the subject property to 179 feet had been caused, making the subject property non-conforming and non-buildable. The applicant was seeking a variance from the 200 foot frontage requirement to allow for recognition of the sale of the multi-family property to its new owner. The applicant, in addition, was proposing to combine the subject property with a landlocked parcel to the north. This would eliminate one non-conforming landlocked parcel and bring the subject property into compliance with area standards. It was noted that the subject property is located within the "R-4" zone, and the landlocked parcel that would be combined therewith is in the "I-1" Industrial zone.

The applicants were present, stating that, when they had sold the multi-family properties, they had not been aware that the drain field was so far over the property line. They had been required to deed the drain field to the new buyer when the multi-family units were sold.

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

The Zoning Board of Appeals members recognized that the applicants did have options for conformance with Ordinance provisions; a public road could be established at the site and/or there could be platting or site condominium development of the property. Mr. Saunders was concerned about setting a precedent that would not allow the Zoning Board of Appeals to deny future variance requests. He was also concerned that the hardship was self-created. Ms. Kuntzman also felt that, since the applicant had other options, she was not in favor of granting a traditional variance.

It was recognized that, if a variance was denied, however, the sale of the multi-family properties would be problematic because the sale would result in the creation of a non-conforming property, i.e., the subject property.

Therefore, Mr. Saunders moved to grant a variance for purposes of Township recognition of the sale of 7106 and 7086 KL Avenue so as to allow the remaining acreage, Parcel Nos. 3905-22-285-050 and 010 as one parcel, with the condition that the two parcels be combined as proposed by the applicant, and with the further condition that no building on the combined parcels be permitted until there was conformance with the dimensional requirements of the Ordinance, including the frontage requirement through platting, site condominium development and/or extension of a public road into the property. Mr. Bushouse seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

THEODORE E. SNOW - DEPTH-TO-WIDTH VARIANCE - 8332 & 8340 WEST KL AVENUE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-21-255-040)

The Board next considered the application of Theodore E. Snow for a variance from Section 66.201 to allow a land division that would result in a parcel having a depth-to-width ratio greater than four times at 8332/8340 West KL Avenue. The subject property is located in the "AG" Agricultural-Rural Zoning District classification and is Parcel No. 3905-21-255-040. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Bugge explained that the subject parcel (Parcel A) is owned by Mr. Snow and contains two dwellings and an accessory building. The existing parcel is non-conforming with regard to depth-to-width ratio. The applicant also owns the vacant non-conforming parcel to the east designated as Parcel B (Parcel 3905-21-255-051), which consists of 2.7 acres but lacks road frontage. The applicant proposes to split off and sell Parcel C and to combine Parcels A and B. Parcel C would conform to all dimensional requirements and contain one of the dwellings currently situated on Parcel A. The combined Parcel A and B would conform to frontage and area dimensional requirements, but would exceed the depth-to-width ratio requirement by 154 feet. It was pointed out that the current parcel configuration consists of two non-conforming parcels, and if the variance is granted, the recombination and split would result in one conforming and one non-conforming parcel. Further the landlocked parcel would be eliminated.

Mr. Snow was present and stated that he had no problem with the depth-to-width of his property in that he felt that his land was a sort of a "preserve".

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

The Chairperson felt there would be no problem with the variance, and Mr. Saunders agreed, commenting that the Zoning Board of Appeals had previously granted variance where the resulting parcels would have sufficient frontage, and variance would result in coming closer to compliance with Ordinance provisions. In this case, since both parcels would have sufficient frontage and would result in greater compliance with the Ordinance by eliminating one non-conforming parcel, variance was appropriate. Ms. Kuntzman and Mr. Bushouse agreed.

Mr. Saunders moved to grant variance from the depth-to-width ratio requirement with the provision that Parcels A and B be combined based upon the following reasoning:

(1) As to whether conformance was unnecessarily burdensome, it was recognized that the applicant could continue using the parcels as they existed. However, substantial justice would weigh in favor of granting the variance, and due to the previous precedents established by the Zoning Board of Appeals.

(2) There were no unique circumstances, and the hardship was self-created, however, variance would be in keeping with the spirit and intent of the Ordinance in that it would eliminate a landlocked parcel, bring one parcel into conformance with the Ordinance, and result in only one non-conforming parcel, which however, met frontage and area requirements.

Ms. Kuntzman seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

DENNIS AND DIANE ERIKSON - SETBACK VARIANCE - 38 SUMMERSET DRIVE (LOT 86 OF SPRINGWOOD HILLS NO. 4)

The Board considered the application of Dennis and Diane Erikson for a variance from Section 64.100 to allow a reduced setback from Almena Drive for a new residence at 38 Summerset Drive (Lot 86 of Springwood Hills No. 4). The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Stefforia indicted that the Zoning Ordinance of the Township had been amended in August of 1998 to designate certain setback requirements for various streets in the Township. Prior to the 1998 Amendment, the setback requirement for Almena Drive was 40 feet from the right-of-way for properties in the Residential District. The changes made to the Ordinance in 1998 designated Almena Drive as one of the streets warranting a greater setback requirement of 120 feet from the center line. It was noted that the Springwood Hills Plat was established prior to the 1998 Amendment. The applicant had obtained a permit for placement of septic on the property in reliance upon information provided from the Township Building Department, which was not aware of the 1998 Amendment. Therefore, the proposed building would not sit on the parcel given the 120 foot setback from Almena and the approved placement area of the septic system.

The applicants were present, stating that there was no way for their proposed home to meet the 120 foot setback requirement. The applicants indicated that there was a hill on the area in back of the proposed home location, which would inhibit placement of the home and the septic tank.

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

Mr. Saunders noted that variances had been denied in the past where there was sufficient property to meet setback requirements. He did not feel that this was the case here. He also felt that the location for the placement of the septic tank was limited at this site.

There were discussions with the applicant about whether the width of the home could be reduced. The applicant responded that a 57 foot wide house would not meet deed restrictions on the property.

In response to questioning by Mr. Bushouse, the applicant stated that the septic could not be located to the south.

After further discussion, Mr. Saunders moved to grant the variance with the following reasoning:

(1) That compliance with the Ordinance was unnecessarily burdensome in that the Springwood Hills Plat lot layout had been established prior to the adoption of the setback requirements in August of 1998; further based upon the misinformation provided by the Building Department, and the fact that the building footprint would not fit on the property given the placement of the septic system on the north side and the limitations on moving the septic to another location, compliance was unnecessarily burdensome.

 

(2) That substantial justice would weigh in favor of granting the variance in that other applications which were denied were not similar to this application; they involved lots upon which a building could be placed in compliance with Ordinance standards.

(3) That the hardship was not self-created and that the Plat predates Ordinance requirements.

 

(4) That the spirit and intent of the Ordinance would be observed by granting the variance.

Mr. Bushouse seconded the motion, and the motion carried 3-to-1 with Ms. Kuntzman voting in opposition.

KALAMAZOO CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS - SIGN VARIANCE

The Board returned to discussion of the application of Kalamazoo Christian Schools for a variance to allow a temporary 160 square foot sign at a height of 14 feet. The applicants were still not present, however, the Board did discuss the item. It was noted that Section 76.145 allows temporary signs 16 square feet at a height of 8 feet to advertise new buildings in the "R-3" Residential District and lower. However, no provision for such signage in the "AG", "R-1" or "R-2" Districts was made. A 32 square foot, 8 foot tall sign is allowed in the Commercial District. There was discussion that a sign ordinance was under consideration by the Planning Commission, which would allow for 30 square foot signs in the Agricultural District.

Mr. Saunders moved to grant variance to the site to allow for a 30 square foot sign at a 8 foot height to advertise the site of the future elementary school now under construction. Mr. Saunders reasoned that the current Ordinance was inadequate in that it did not allow for any such signage in the Agricultural or Residential Districts (other than "R-3" and lower). It was premised upon the proposed sign text being considered by the Planning Commission. Ms. Kuntzman seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

MEETING DATES FOR YEAR 2000

Ms. Kuntzman moved to adopt the meeting dates as proposed for the year 2000, with the exception of January 3, 2000. Mr. Saunders seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 4:45 p.m.

Minutes Prepared:
December 23, 1999

Minutes Approved:
January 17, 2000