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OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

PLANNING COMMISSION

December 6, 2001

Agenda

MASTER LAND USE PLAN AND FUTURE LAND USE PLAN AMENDMENTS - PUBLIC HEARING

AGRICULTURAL DISTRICT - TEXT AMENDMENT - PUBLIC HEARING

RURAL RESIDENTIAL DISTRICT - TEXT AMENDMENT - PUBLIC HEARING

AGRICULTURAL AND RURAL RESIDENTIAL DISTRICTS - RELATED AMENDMENTS - PUBLIC HEARING

A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Planning Commission on Thursday, December 6, 2001, commencing at approximately 7:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Neil G. Sikora, Chairperson
Ted Corakis
Kathleen Garland-Rike
Stanley Rakowski
Elizabeth Heiny-Cogswell
James Turcott

MEMBER ABSENT: Deborah Everett

Also present were Jodi Stefforia, Planning Director; Mary Lynn Bugge, Township Planner; Patricia R. Mason, Township Attorney; and approximately 18 other interested persons.

CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order at 7:05 p.m.

AGENDA

The Chairperson suggested moving Item #7, public hearing on Master Land Use Plan and Future Land Use Map amendments to Item #4 on the Agenda. Mr. Corakis moved to approve the Agenda as amended, and Ms. Heiny-Cogswell seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

MINUTES

The Planning Commission considered the minutes of November 15, 2001. After some discussion, Ms. Garland-Rike moved to approve the minutes as submitted, and Mr. Turcott seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

MASTER LAND USE PLAN AND FUTURE LAND USE PLAN AMENDMENTS - PUBLIC HEARING

The Planning Commission conducted a public hearing on the final draft of amendments to the Master Land Use Plan and Future Land Use Plan Map related to the creation of an Agricultural District and Rural Residential District. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Stefforia summarized the history of the project, indicating that the Township's Master Land Use Plan has long called for a distinction between the densities within the western half and the eastern half of the Township. The Master Land Use Plan of the Township currently included the Rural Residential classification and recognized that only a handful of properties within the Township were utilized for agricultural purposes. Additionally, only a small number are assessed as agricultural property. Therefore, actual land use is not in accord with current Agricultural-Rural zoning.

In a recent survey of the community, support was indicated for continuing the differentiation of density in the western portion as opposed to the eastern portion of the Township; the community supported less density in the western two-thirds of the Township. Further, the community supported use of the open space community concept.

In an effort to implement the Master Land Use Plan and in accord with community support, the Planning Commission had drafted the text for the Rural Residential and Agricultural Districts. The Rural Residential District would be a rewrite of the current Agricultural-Rural District zoning classification and would encompass most of the currently zoned "AG-Rural" properties. The Agricultural District would function as a true agricultural zone, rather than a residential zone which allows agricultural use. The properties for zoning to the Agricultural and Rural Residential Zoning Districts would be considered at the meeting of December 20, 2001.

The Master Land Use Plan was being modified to clarify that the Agricultural District would be used to protect historically present agricultural uses, but that agricultural property would be convertible to Rural Residential if desired by the owner in the future. As to the Future Land Use Plan Map, the Residential classification would be expanded so as to encompass areas adjacent to areas currently zoned Residential and areas in which public water and sewer are available, which are or can reasonably be expected to develop as residential neighborhoods. A small area in the northeast portion of the Township would be revised to the Rural Residential classification due to the lack of density in that area.

Ms. Stefforia stressed that the proposed changes were meant to implement the Land Use Plan and not the result of a developer request.

The Chairperson referred to a display on the overhead projector of the Master Land Use Plan language as to the Rural Residential classification. The principal change was to add the last paragraph referencing agricultural activities as an important activity in the Township. It was a Master Land Use Plan goal to continue those activities historically present in the Township through use of the Agricultural District. However, the Master Land Use Plan and Map did not include a specific agricultural land use classification.

The Chairperson asked for public comment, and Earnie Best questioned why a traditional plat would not be compatible with development in the western portion of the Township. Ms. Stefforia stated that the Master Land Use Plan had as a goal preservation of the rural residential character of the Township and of the Township's natural features. It was felt that use of a non-traditional development technique would better serve these goals. Mr. Best stated that he felt that the Township should not limit traditional plats and should not force excessively-large lots because of the expense involved. He felt that two to three acre lot sizes would be "too expensive".

Greg Zieber, owner of property in the Springwood Hills area, stated that he felt that the proposed amendments were contrary to growth. He felt that the Township should not prevent growth.

Ms. Stefforia responded that the proposed amendments were intended to preserve open space and natural features, as well as the Township's rural character. Moreover, the proposed amendments were in recognition of limited infrastructure and utilities in these areas.

Mr. Zieber stated that he felt more development would provide a better tax base, and he felt that municipal services would flow from more density.

The Chairperson stated that the challenge in creating infrastructure was financing for extension of public water and sewer, etc.

Ms. Garland-Rike commented that the Township currently has identified expanded areas in its Master Land Use Plan in which a higher degree of residential density would be encouraged. Further, she noted that the survey, which was recently conducted, had been drafted to seek a response as to whether density in the western and eastern portions of the Township should be the same. She felt that the survey results were clear that the community supported differentiation in density.

Dave Corning, a resident of West KL Avenue, had questions as to the 1.25 dwellings per acre proposed for open space community development. Ms. Stefforia responded that this was an overall density number, and there were no proposed minimum size requirements for individual lots or building sites in an open space community.

Robert Pose had questions regarding open space, and it was noted that these provisions would be considered for public hearing on December 20, 2001. Mr. Zieber also had questions regarding dimensional standards, and he was urged to make these comments at the meeting of December 20, 2001.

In response to further questions, Ms. Stefforia noted that the expansion of the Residential classification on the future Land Use Plan Map indicated that these areas were proposed to be rezoned to the "R-2" zoning district. These are areas which have utilities and are in areas of currently dense residential development.

The Chairperson asked for public comments on the Master Land Use Plan's Future Land Use Plan Map.

Mr. Zieber had questions regarding the Commercial classification. Ms. Stefforia indicated that this project had not included a study of the Commercial classification, but of the Residential and Agricultural land use classifications.

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

The Chairperson asked whether the Planning Commission members wished to table this item to the meeting of December 20, 2001, since other components of the project were being considered for public hearing at that date. The Planning Commissioners agreed that they were satisfied that no changes should be made to the proposed language and felt comfortable with making a recommendation at the present meeting.

Mr. Corakis moved to recommend the Master Land Use Plan text amendment and Future Land Use Plan Map amendment as proposed to the Township Board. Mr. Rakowski seconded the motion.

The Chairperson asked for public comment on the motion, and Norman French asked the Commission about the area at the corner of 4th Street and Stadium Drive, noting that water and sewer service were available in this area. It was noted that this area would continue to be classified Rural Residential on the Master Land Use Plan Map. Ms. Stefforia noted that sewer service was not readily available north of Stadium Drive in this area. However, she agreed that the area south of Stadium Drive might be considered for future rezoning to the "R-2" District and reclassification to the Residential District due to the density of development in that area and the presence of utilities. However, she felt that the Future Land Use Plan Map should not be changed currently in that this area was a "spot" not adjacent to an area currently classified Residential. Ms. Stefforia noted that the assumption of Planning Commissioners and staff was that, if water and sewer were available to an area, and the area had a high residential density, "R-2" zoning should be considered.

Ken Heisig commented that the Planning Commission should adopt the motion. He stated that he had heard comments for years that indicated community support for maintaining the rural character of the Township. He felt that the proposed amendments to the Master Land Use Plan and the Future Land Use Plan Map served this goal.

Upon a vote on the motion, the motion carried unanimously.

AGRICULTURAL DISTRICT - TEXT AMENDMENT - PUBLIC HEARING

The Planning Commission conducted a public hearing on the final draft of the text proposed for a new zoning district, i.e., the Agricultural District. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

The Chairperson noted that currently 69% of the parcels in Oshtemo Charter Township are zoned Agricultural-Rural. However, only 41 properties of the 2,681 properties are classified agriculturally for assessment and tax purposes. The draft of the new Agricultural District addresses creating a true Agricultural District, and 34 properties have been identified for possible placement in this new zoning district. The balance of properties currently zoned Agricultural-Rural would be in the Rural Residential District or part of an expansion to the "R-2" Residential District.

The Chairperson read the proposed Statement of Purpose for the Agricultural District. He made references to the permitted uses within the District, the primary use which would be farm operations as defined in the Michigan Right To Farm Act.

Ms. Stefforia presented handouts including a comparison of the existing districts and new proposed Agricultural and Rural Residential Districts.

The Chairperson asked for public comment, and none was offered. The public hearing was closed.

Mr. Rakowski moved to recommend approval of the Agricultural District text as submitted. Mr. Corakis seconded the motion. No public comment was offered on the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

RURAL RESIDENTIAL DISTRICT - TEXT AMENDMENT - PUBLIC HEARING

The Planning Commission conducted a public hearing on the final draft of a text proposed for the Rural Residential District. The proposed text represented an amendment of the current Agricultural-Rural District, i.e., Compiled Section 20.000.

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

It was noted that the Agricultural-Rural District is being amended to the Rural Residential District, including an amendment of Statement of Purpose and amendment to some of the permitted and special uses. The District, as amended, would implement the Master Land Use Plan, which envisions a differentiation between residential densities in the western half of the Township verses vs. the eastern half of the Township. The Rural Residential District would facilitate preservation of Oshtemo's rural character by encouraging use of open space community provisions as opposed to the traditional platting process. It was anticipated that 80% of the properties now zoned in the "AG-Rural zoning district would remain part of the Rural Residential District.

The Chairperson read the Statement of Purpose and reference was made to the Comparison Table.

The Chairperson asked for public comment, and Rick Ouweleen commended the Planning Commission on its long-range planning. He felt that these revisions had been needed for a long time. In his opinion, it was important for the Township to adhere to its Master Plan.

Roger French was present, and he asked whether riding stables would be allowed in the Agricultural District. It was noted that riding stables, if meeting the definition of farm operation in the Right To Farm Act and in keeping with GAAMPS, would be allowed.

Hugh Anderson congratulated the Planning Commission on its work. He indicated that he was the Chairperson of the Township Zoning Board years ago, and he had run into opposition to the creation of a Master Land Use Plan. He felt that the proposed revisions were thoughtful and addressed the needs and desires of the majority of people living within the Township.

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

Mr. Corakis complimented the Township Staff on its hard work regarding the items.

Mr. Corakis moved to recommend the Rural Residential District text as proposed. Mr. Turcott seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

AGRICULTURAL AND RURAL RESIDENTIAL DISTRICTS - RELATED AMENDMENTS - PUBLIC HEARING

The Planning Commission conducted a public hearing on the final draft of text amendments to various Zoning Ordinance provisions related to the changes proposed for creation of the new Agricultural District and Rural Residential District. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference. It was noted that the amendments were principally necessary to prevent conflicts between existing provisions and the text of the new Districts. Reference to the term "agriculture" had been eliminated for example. The Chairperson presented a highlight of the provisions.

The major change to the sections in question was in Section 78.400 regarding the keeping of poultry, swine, horses or livestock as pets or for educational purposes. Ms. Stefforia noted that the one acre for each large animal provision had been recommended by Michigan State University's Extension Service. She noted that, if property owners had more than the permitted number of animals currently, their use would be "grandfathered". However, she suggested that landowners document the number of animals that they have at the time of the adoption of this section.

The Chairperson asked for public comment, and Earnie Best stated concern about some property owners who located manure close to their property line. Ms. Bugge noted that there were some existing provisions in Section 78.410 regarding odors and flies.

Mr. French commented that he agreed with Mr. Best that there should be some controls on the location of manure.

The public hearing was closed. Planning Commissioners agreed that the proposed language of Section 78.400 should be modified to provide that "(C) A building other than the residence, used to shelter animals and/or any area use to store, dispose of, or compost manure, shall not be located closer than 50 feet to any property line and not nearer than 150 feet to any pre-existing dwelling on adjacent premises under different ownership."

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell moved to recommend approval of the text provisions with the revision suggested for Section 78.400, to the Township Board. Ms. Garland-Rike seconded the motion.

A member of the public had a question with regard to whether spreading manure would be considered disposal. It was noted that farm operations would be exempt from the provisions of Section 78.400. With regard to those people keeping animals for pets or educational purposes pursuant to Section 78.400, spreading manure on gardens as a fertilization technique would not be considered disposal.

Upon a vote on the motion, the motion carried unanimously.

OTHER BUSINESS

It was noted that there was no other business to be conducted.

PLANNING COMMISSIONER COMMENTS

Mr. Turcott complimented the Staff on its work concerning the Agricultural and Rural Residential Districts.

The Chairperson commented on the Agenda for the next meeting.

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the Commission, the meeting was adjourned at approximately 8:40 p.m.

OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP
PLANNING COMMISSION


By:

Minutes prepared:
December 11, 2001

Minutes approved:
, 2001