OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

PLANNING COMMISSION

 

February 10, 2005

Agenda

CASTLE ROCK BUILDERS - SITE PLAN REVIEW - SITE CONDOMINIUM / CONDOMINIUM - 1750 NORTH 10TH STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-12-355-050)

FLAG POLE HEIGHT TEXT AMENDMENT - WORK ITEM

A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Planning Commission on Thursday, February 10, 2005, commencing at approximately 7:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall.

MEMBERS PRESENT: James Turcott, Chairman
Deborah L. Everett
Lee Larson
Kathleen Garland-Rike
Mike Smith
Fred Gould
Terry Schley

MEMBERS ABSENT: None

Also present were Jodi Stefforia, Planning Director; Mary Lynn Bugge, Township Planner; James W. Porter, Township Attorney; and approximately four other interested persons.

CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m.

AGENDA

The Chairman said the first item for consideration was the approval of the Agenda. Ms. Everett made a motion to approve the Agenda as submitted. Mr. Larson seconded the motion, and the Chairman called for a vote on the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

MINUTES

The Chairman asked if the members of the Planning Commission had a chance to review the minutes of January 27, 2005. Mr. Smith said the minutes could be approved as submitted except for the fact that Ms. Garland-Rike was referred to as Mr. Garland-Rike on page 4 of the minutes. The Chairman asked if there were any other corrections. Mr. Larson made a motion to accept the minutes as amended, seconded by Mr. Smith. The Chairman called for a vote on the motion, and the motion passed unanimously.

CASTLE ROCK BUILDERS - SITE PLAN REVIEW - SITE CONDOMINIUM / CONDOMINIUM - 1750 NORTH 10TH STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-12-355-050)

The Chairman indicated that the next item for consideration was the site plan review for a site condominium for Castle Rock Builders. He said the Planning Commission needed to conduct site plan review of the proposed site condominium / condominium development containing four dwelling units in two buildings. The subject property is located 1750 North 10th Street, Parcel No. 3905-12-355-050. The Chairman called for a report from the Planning Department. Ms. Stefforia submitted her report to the Planning Commission dated February 10, 2005, and the same is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Stefforia explained that the property in question is a parcel 1.4 acres in size located on North 10th Street. She said the applicant wanted to subdivide the property pursuant to the Condominium Act to create a two-unit site condominium, and then within each site condominium establish a two-unit building (duplex) for a total of four condominium dwellings.

Ms. Stefforia explained that last month the Zoning Board of Appeals had lifted a limitation which had been placed on the property pursuant to a variance allowed in 1997. She explained that the Zoning Board of Appeals had previously prohibited direct access to 10th Street, but had lifted that condition for the most northerly parcel in the proposed condominium development. She said that relief was granted January 25, 2005. Ms. Stefforia then proceeded to take the Commission through the site plan review criteria of Section 82.800, specifically pointing out the need to have the Township review the Master Deed and Bylaws, and that the developer comply with the Stormwater Management and Erosion Control provisions of Section 78.500.

The Chairman asked if there were any questions of Ms. Stefforia, and hearing none, asked to hear from the applicant. Mr. Buford introduced himself to the Planning Commission. He said he thought Ms. Stefforia had covered most of the issues and asked if the Planning Commission members had any questions.

Ms. Everett asked Mr. Buford if he owned the entire parcel that was going to be condominiumized. Mr. Buford indicated that he did; he then explained how he was going to locate a two-unit condominium on the north site condominium unit having access to 10th Street. He then explained that the residence to the south would be expanded into a two-unit condominium and would continue to gain access via the easement shared with the property immediately to the south.

Mr. Larson asked why the electrical service was referenced on the site plan. Mr. Buford said that there was previously a booster pump station located on the property. He told the Commission that the booster station had been abandoned and that he would be responsible for removing it from the site. Ms. Stefforia added that the Township had located a booster station there at one time, but it was relocated along the east/west easement serving the interior of the larger parcel out of which the lots abutting 10th Street were split.

The Chairman asked if the applicant would be the one removing the abandoned equipment. Mr. Buford said that he would.

Mr. Gould asked what the long-term plans were for the property being serviced by the landlocked parcel abutting U.S. 131. Mr. Buford said he did not own that property so he was not certain what the owner would be doing with the land.

The Chairman asked if there were any comments from the neighbors. Ms. Stefforia said the property owner to the south had sent a letter to the Township, inquiring as to why the applicant was being allowed to split his property, since he thought there were deed restrictions on the land. The property owner to the south also asked why he was not able to split his property. Ms. Stefforia explained to the Commission that Mr. Buford's request was not a split because it was being done through the Condominium Act. She also explained that the property owner to the south could have possibly done the same thing had he not built his home directly in the center of his property.

The Chairman asked if there was any public comment, and hearing none, called for Commission discussion. After a brief discussion, Mr. Schley made a motion to approve the site condominium/condominium based upon the Staff report and the fact that the criteria of Section 82.800 had been met, but subject to the following conditions:

(1) Approval shall be subject to Township review of the Master Deed and Bylaws, and finding them acceptable prior to their recording.

(2) Development shall comply with the Stormwater Management and Erosion Control provisions of Section 78.500.

(3) The two units on the north site condominium unit shall share an access drive to 10th Street.

Mr. Larson seconded the motion. The Chairman called for discussion on the motion, and hearing none, called for a vote. The motion passed unanimously.

FLAG POLE HEIGHT TEXT AMENDMENT - WORK ITEM

The Chairman indicated that next item was a work item dealing with the flag pole height amendment. The Chairman said he understood that the Planning Commission would be having a work session with the Township Board next Tuesday to discuss this matter among others. He said it was necessary that the Commission discuss this to finalize its recommendation to the Township Board.

The Chairman said he thought the first page of the Planning Department's Memo dated February 2, 2005, set forth the general policy which the Commission had agreed to at its last meeting, which would then be incorporated within the particular sections of the Zoning Ordinance as set forth on page 2 of the Memo.

Ms. Garland-Rike said that she thought the various pole heights and setbacks could be incorporated in Sections 76.175 and 76.185 as set forth in the Memo. Ms. Everett expressed some concern about regulating the size of the flag due to possible enforcement difficulties. Ms. Stefforia said size limitations could be enforced, and in fact, it would be easier to have something in place to enforce than no standards at all. Mr. Larson agreed with Ms. Stefforia and said that, since Mr. Schley had pointed out that there was a recognized standard for the size of flags in relationship to flag poles, and he thought it would be appropriate to establish such requirements.

Ms. Garland-Rike said, in addition to the Betsy Ross site, she had gone and researched the U.S. Code and that half staff was clearly defined as one-half the way from the top of the pole to the bottom of the pole. Mr. Schley said that was true, but there was still some gray area as to where the flag should be flown in relationship to the midpoint of the pole. He said, given that vagueness, there could be some difficulty with regard to enforcement.

The Chairman said he thought it was appropriate to look at the height of the pole in relationship to the size of the flag to insure that the flag was not dragging on the ground when it was supposed to be at half mast. Ms. Garland-Rike said she thought it provided a rational basis for setting certain limitations on the flag size. The Chairman said he agreed and that he had looked at eight different sites, one of them prepared by an engineering company, and thought that the size of the flag was clearly relevant in relationship to the height of the pole. Mr. Larson said he thought they should include in their recommendation a specific size of flag for the various permitted pole heights. The Chairman asked what the pleasure of the Commission was with regard to a recommendation.

Mr. Smith asked if they would put in the same restrictions regarding additional poles on site. Mr. Larson said he thought that they should, and that there was a sound basis for limiting the overall number of flag poles allowed on a parcel, and that relating it to the amount of frontage certainly seemed rational.

Mr. Larson said he thought it was also good to place a limitation on the flag pole height in the agricultural and residential districts. The Commission members concurred.

Ms. Everett asked whether or not the Commission could impose conditions regarding the care of the flag. Attorney Porter expressed some concern as to whether or not they could enforce Federal regulations, but if they could not, they could certainly make reference to the recommendations in the Flag Code as adopted by Congress.

The Chairman asked if it was the consensus of the Commission to recommend what is provided on page 1 of the Planning Department's Memo, or whether they wanted to go beyond that and increase the overall size of the flag poles. Mr. Smith said he thought a 60-foot flag pole was sufficient. Mr. Larson said he did not see any reason to go beyond that height.

Ms. Bugge, returning to the issue of the care of flags, said that perhaps they could require all flags to be kept in good repair under Section 76.400 and not just American flags, thereby avoiding the Attorney's concern regarding preemption under Federal law. Attorney Porter said that Ms. Bugge's proposal deserved consideration since it would be content neutral, and something the Township could enforce.

Mr. Gould asked what they would do with preexisting poles that exceeded the current height limitations. He said that he understood that their flag poles would be grandfathered, but that when the flags wore out, would have to replaced with an appropriate size flag. Ms. Stefforia said she would come up with appropriate language for any poles that exceeded the maximum height; they would have a set flag size which they could not exceed.

Mr. Gould said he had been approached by several people and asked why the Township even cared about regulating flag pole height. He asked what the original rationale was for setting a maximum height limitation. Ms. Stefforia said it originally came out of a desire to limit the use of flags as a sign, and therefore, they had proposed a height limitation to prevent any misuse of flags in lieu of a sign. Mr. Schley said he also thought they had worked through what the community thought was appropriate and had established a level of decorum to fight visual blight; not that he was saying the American flag was a blight, but that flags in general could be considered blight. Mr. Larson said he also thought it was appropriate to establish standards, since most of the flags were put up along major thoroughfares in the Township, and he thought there was a public safety factor involved, and that too many flags would constitute a distraction for those traveling on public highways.

The Chairman asked if there was any further discussion, and hearing none, said he would entertain a motion. Mr. Larson made a motion to recommend the flag pole heights and setback provisions, along with maximum flag size as set forth on page 1 of the Planning Department's Memo of February 2, 2005. Mr. Smith seconded the motion. The Chairman called for further discussion, and hearing none, called for a vote on the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

The Manager of Belle Tire asked what the flag pole heights and flag sizes were that were being recommended to the Township Board. Ms. Stefforia shared a copy of her Memo with the Belle Tire Manager.

Set Public Hearing for Rezoning Request

Ms. Stefforia said that the Township had received a rezoning request from the owners of D & R Sports Center. She explained that they were seeking to rezone an additional 440 feet on the rear portion of their larger parcel and 140 feet on their shallower parcel. She said that the front of the properties were both zoned "C" Local Business. She explained that the rezoning request was not consistent with the Master Land Use Plan. However, she noted that, in the past, they had looked at the existing parcels and rezoned some property, even though it was not entirely consistent with the Land Use Plan in that it was in keeping with the area.

The Chairman asked if they wanted to revisit the Master Land Use Plan. Mr. Larson said that he did not think that was necessary, and if there was a need to rezone, he thought they could base it upon the precedent of looking at expanding a current existing use to encompass more of the parcel.

Ms. Garland-Rike said she did not want to see the Master Land Use Plan opened because that would further encourage the development on the west side of the Township. She reminded the Commission that the survey of the Township residents showed that the citizens did not want to expand the commercial businesses in the western portion of the Township.

Mr. Larson said he thought basically there were two questions: Should they open up the Master Land Use Plan, and second, should the area under consideration be expanded beyond the applicant's request? Mr. Larson said he did not think they should expand the area to be rezoned and reiterated his opinion that they should not open up the Master Land Use Plan for an amendment. Mr. Schley said he agreed, and thought they should simply set the hearing for rezoning the property requested.

Ms. Stefforia suggested the date of March 10, 2005. Mr. Larson made a motion to set the public hearing for the rezoning request for March 10, 2005, but only for the area requested, with no revisions to the Master Land Use Plan. The motion was seconded by Mr. Gould. The Chairman called for a vote on the motion, and the motion passed unanimously.

Other Business

Ms. Stefforia informed the Planning Commission that they did not have any items for consideration, and therefore, the February 24, 2005 meeting could be cancelled if the Commission so chose. Ms. Everett moved to cancel the February 24th meeting, and the motion was seconded by Mr. Larson. The Chairman called for a vote on the motion, and the motion passed unanimously.

Planning Commissioner Comments

Mr. Gould suggested that the Planning Commission have additional copies of their Agenda items for people in the audience, or make an overhead so people in the audience could review what the Planning Commission was discussing. Ms. Stefforia said she would make sure that there were copies of the Agenda items for the public in the future.

Ms. Everett asked how the Planning Department was coming at setting up the committee for land use plan review. Ms. Stefforia said she was still working on that matter and would be talking to the Zoning Board of Appeals next Tuesday to arrange for additional committee members.

Adjournment

There being no further business, the meeting at approximately 8:15 p.m.

OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP
PLANNING COMMISSION

By:
Kathleen Garland-Rike, Secretary

Minutes prepared:
February 14, 2005

Minutes approved:
, 2005