OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS MINUTES

February 22, 1999

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Agenda

PROGRESSIVE LODGING - SITE PLAN REVIEW - 2 PROPOSED HOTELS - 2575 S. 11TH STREET

SIGN ART - VARIANCE REQUEST TO ALLOW FREE-STANDING SIGN WITHIN SETBACK - 5018 WEST MAIN ST.

KLERK - VARIANCE REQUEST TO ALLOW DIVISION OF EXISTING PARCEL - 873 N. 2ND STREET

WAREHOUSE DISTRIBUTORS, INC. - SKETCH PLAN REVIEW - PROPOSED BUILDING ADDITION IN VILLAGE FOCUS AREA - 6471 STADIUM DRIVE

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A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Zoning Board of Appeals on Monday, February 22, 1999, commencing at approximately 3:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall, pursuant to notice.

MEMBERS PRESENT:

Thomas Brodasky, Chairperson
Millard Loy
David Bushouse
William Saunders
Sharon Kuntzman

MEMBERS ABSENT: None

Also present were Jodi Stefforia, Township Planning Director, Mary Lynn Bugge, Township Planner, Patricia R. Mason, Township Attorney, and six (6) other interested persons.

CALL TO ORDER

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

MINUTES

The Board considered the minutes of the meeting of February 1, 1999. The changes suggested by the Planning and Zoning Department were noted. Mr. Loy moved to approve the minutes as amended, and Ms. Kuntzman seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

PROGRESSIVE LODGING - SITE PLAN REVIEW - 2 PROPOSED HOTELS - 2575 S. 11TH STREET

The Board considered the application of Progressive Lodging for site plan review of two proposed hotels on the property at 2575 S. 11th Street. The subject property is located on the east side of 11th Street, south of Stadium Drive and north of Holiday Lanes. The property is located within the "C" Local Business District Zoning classification.

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

Ms. Stefforia noted that there is currently a house occupying the property, which house would be removed. The access proposed was satisfactory. However, as to parking, the site plan was deficient as to one space. The Ordinance required one parking space per room. However, she noted that there was sufficient room on the site to add one parking space. Ms. Stefforia stated that, in her opinion, landscaping along the south property line and along the 11th Street frontage should be required due to the intensity of the development. It was reported that the applicant had responded to Fire Department review comments with a revision to the plan.

Ken Patel was present on behalf of the applicant. He stated that Progressive Lodging is a lodging construction company. He noted that the company was interested in abiding by local Ordinance requirements.

In response to questioning by the Chairperson, Mr. Patel stated that he believed the applicant had addressed all Fire Department concerns. Mr. Loy questioned the applicant, and Mr. Patel stated that the franchising hotel companies would require a great deal of landscaping. It was pointed out that the applicant should submit a landscaping plan to the Planning and Zoning Department staff for review and approval.

Mr. Loy questioned the applicant concerning proposed signage on the east side of the property. Mr. Patel stated that the sign would be "quite a ways away" from the highway. He acknowledged that the signage would have to go through the permit process.

Tobey Karnemaat was present on behalf of the Township Fire Department, stating that he believed the applicant was addressing the Fire Department’s review comments. He noted that any landscaping should keep in mind the vertical clearance needs of the Fire Department.

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

There were questions as to whether the proposed site would include any part of the AT&T right-of-way. Ms. Stefforia stated that the owners of The Kitchen Shop parcel had purchased the neighboring right-of-way.

Mr. Saunders moved to approve the site plan with the following conditions, limitations and notations:

(1) That the driveway access point as proposed satisfies the Access Management Plan and Guidelines. It was noted that the applicant must obtain the review and approval of the Kalamazoo County Road Commission for the access point.

(2) That the site plan be revised to add one additional parking space for a total of 114 spaces. All parking must be dimensioned as required by the Ordinance.

(3) That a detailed lighting plan, including fixture type, height, wattage, shields, etc., must be provided for staff review and approval by the applicant before applying for a building permit. All lighting must comply with the requirements of Section 78.700 of the Zoning Ordinance.

(4) That all signage is subject to review and approval through the permit process pursuant to Section 76.000 of the Zoning Ordinance before any signage may be placed on the property.

(5) That a detailed landscaping plan be submitted by the applicant prior to applying for building permit which provides screening/buffering of the development from 11th Street and along the southern property line. The landscaping plan should include pines or other trees.

(6) That site plan approval is subject to the review and approval of the Township Fire Department.

(7) That site plan approval is subject to the review and approval of the Township Engineer upon a finding that the site engineering is adequate.

(8) That the Environmental Permits Checklist and Hazardous Substance Reporting Form had been completed and were on file with the Township.

The motion was seconded by Mr. Loy and carried unanimously.

Mr. Patel was very complimentary and commended the Planning and Zoning Department, as well as Township Fire Department and its personnel, for their cooperation and professionalism.

 SIGN ART - VARIANCE REQUEST TO ALLOW FREE-STANDING SIGN WITHIN SETBACK - 5018 WEST MAIN ST.

The next item was the application of Sign Art on behalf of Consumers Credit Union for a variance from Section 76.125(b) of the Zoning Ordinance so as to allow a proposed free-standing sign on the corner parcel at 5018 West Main Street. A variance from the setback requirement from Drake Road is requested. The subject property is within the "C-1" Local Business District Zoning classification.

The report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference. Ms. Bugge noted that the Zoning Ordinance in Section 76.125 permits the placement of two free-standing signs on any lot, parcel or building site which abuts two streets. These signs are subject to the following conditions: (1) each sign must be located so as to serve traffic along a different street and (2) each sign shall be located no closer than one-half the required front building setback from the street it serves and no closer than one-and-one-half the required front setback from the other abutting street. The applicant proposed the placement of two free-standing signs on the subject site. The secondary sign serving Drake Road would be in compliance with setback requirements. The primary sign along West Main was proposed to be 60 sq. ft., approximately 19' in height, and located 85' from the center of West Main right-of-way (85' minimum required) and 130' from the center of Drake Road right-of-way (180' minimum required).

Ms. Bugge circulated photographs of the subject property, noting that free-standing signage could be placed on the site in compliance with Ordinance standards. However, this placement would interfere with an existing catch basin. Further, visibility limitations exist when approaching the site from the west due to topography, the Montgomery Ward Service Center facility, and existing vegetation in the MDOT right-of-way to the west. Ms. Bugge felt it was significant that the applicant was attempting to work with an existing site, i.e., building, landscaping, catch basin, etc. Therefore, she felt that conformance was unnecessarily burdensome. As to substantial justice, a variance had been granted to the Phoenix Properties site at Stadium and Fairgrove where there were visibility concerns and limitations on placement due to parcel shape. The Speedway application had been granted where there was limitation on location options because of existing paving and traffic patterns, as well as concerns with visibility. Similarly, the Migala application had been granted due to limited location options based on existing paving and circulation patterns that predated adoption of sign and setback standards. It was felt that there were unique physical circumstances with regard to the property in that the placement of a sign was limited by the pre-existing layout of the building, parking and circulation patterns, the catch basin, and on-site landscaping. Further, the topography of the site is lower than the adjacent site to the west, i.e., the Montgomery Ward Service Center, which has a higher roofline, a projecting canopy. It was also felt that the hardship was not self-created due to the physical circumstances limiting placement of the sign.

Ehren Koelsch was present on behalf of the applicant and submitted additional photographs of the site. He stated that the sign was supposed to be placed approximately 10' west of the power pole. He stressed that locating the primary sign in accord with Ordinance requirements would be a problem due to the existing building, topographical features and landscaping. Further, the applicant was contending with the MDOT clear-vision areas which limited placement. He felt that setting the sign 85' from the center of West Main would place it in line visually with other area signs. In response to questioning by Mr. Loy, the applicant stated that wall signage did not present a good option to the applicant due to the applicant’s name and logo.

Ms. Bugge stated that the other signs in the area were predominantly shopping center signs and prior lawful nonconforming signs. So there was almost no signage in the area which was in compliance with Ordinance standards.

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

The Chairperson expressed that, in his opinion, the variance was reasonable. Other Board members agreed, stating that they were comfortable with the degree of the variance to be granted under the circumstances. Mr. Saunders stressed that it was significant that the applicant was attempting to accommodate an existing building and site.

Mr. Bushouse questioned whether there would be any signage for the ATM. The applicant responded that there would be signage on the ATM itself but this signage would not be visible to traffic on the roadways.

Mr. Saunders moved to approve the variance based upon the following reasoning:

(1) That conformance was unnecessarily burdensome in that placement of the sign was limited by an existing catch basin, and that visibility problems would exist if placed in conformance with Ordinance standards due to existing landscaping and topography.

(2) That substantial justice would weigh in favor of granting the variance in that previous similar applications had been granted.

(3) That there were unique physical circumstances preventing compliance, such as the pre-existing layout of the building, parking and circulation patterns, the catch basin, on-site landscaping and topography.

(4) That the physical circumstances also indicated the hardship was not self-created.

(5) That variance was in keeping with the spirit and intent of the Ordinance and the public health, safety and welfare would be observed in that the purpose of the commercial sign standards with regard to lots, parcels and building sites abutting two public streets was to allow reasonable sign options for the placement of two free-standing signs away from the corner of the intersection. The variance would allow for signage consistent with this intent. This signage would be visible and in character with the area.

Ms. Kuntzman seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

KLERK - VARIANCE REQUEST TO ALLOW DIVISION OF EXISTING PARCEL - 873 N. 2ND STREET

The next item was the application of William J. Klerk for variance from Section 66.201 of the Zoning Ordinance to allow the division of an existing parcel into two, creating one parcel that does not comply with the minimum frontage requirement of 200' and resulting in two parcels which do not satisfy the 50,000 sq. ft. minimum area requirement. The subject property is located at 873 N. 2nd Street in the "AG" Agricultural-Rural Zoning District classification.

The report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference. Ms. Bugge stated that there is an existing duplex on the property. The proposed division would create two parcels with 42,474 sq. ft. and 34,200 sq. ft. of area respectively. Road frontage for parcel B would be approximately 114'. Ms. Bugge stated, as to whether conformance was unnecessarily burdensome, that there were other reasonable options for the applicant to pursue. The subject parcel could be developed by platting or by condominiumizing the land. Further, without division, the existing duplex could be utilized.

As to substantial justice, other similar variances had been denied in the past. However, it was noted, as to the character of the area, that the platted lots near the subject property do have approximately 100' of frontage. Nevertheless, the unplatted properties were in conformance with Ordinance requirements. There were no unique physical circumstances preventing compliance. The hardship was self-created in that the property was purchased in 1991 after the dimensional and frontage requirements of the Ordinance were in place.

As to whether the spirit and intent of the Ordinance would be served, it was noted that the division would be in keeping with platted residential lots but not in keeping with the unplatted parcels on the west side of the road. Further, there were other means available to the applicant to enable him to create the desired second building site.

John Jackson was present on behalf of the applicant. He stated that Mr. Klerk was seeking to make a split so as to construct another duplex on the parcel. The applicant would like to develop without platting or site condominiumizing the land. He felt that the community would be better served by creating only two parcels rather than the greater number which could be created through platting or site condominiumizing.

The Chairperson noted that the Board had been reluctant in the past to grant variance of this magnitude where other development options existed. Mr. Loy stated he felt that the Board should stay the course and follow past precedent. He felt it was reasonable to require the applicant to pursue other development options. In his opinion, it would be impossible to find a reason to grant this application which would not exist in every other application. Mr. Bushouse stated he felt that it was significant that the division would be in character with the neighborhood.

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

Mr. Loy moved to deny the variance based on a finding that conformance was not unnecessarily burdensome in that other reasonable development options, such as platting and site condominiumizing, existed. Further, denial was consistent with substantial justice and past precedent of the Board. There were no unique circumstances, and the hardship was self-created. Mr. Saunders seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

WAREHOUSE DISTRIBUTORS, INC. - SKETCH PLAN REVIEW - PROPOSED BUILDING ADDITION IN VILLAGE FOCUS AREA - 6471 STADIUM DRIVE

The next item was the application for sketch plan review of a proposed building addition in the Village Focus Area which would not satisfy setback or parking provisions of the Ordinance. The subject property is located at 6471 Stadium Drive within the "C" Local Business District Zoning classification.

The report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference. Although the applicant was not present, Ms. Stefforia felt that the sketch plan review could take place. It was noted that Mr. Siegel of Warehouse Distributors, Inc., is proposing a 6,200 sq. ft. expansion and two 800 sq. ft. attached stores at the site. The plan would require use of off-site parking on parcels owned by the Township. Therefore, Township Board approval of the use of this property would be necessary. Further, the addition would be in line with the existing building and thus require a setback variance. It was noted that work is being done on the Village District text which may reduce setback requirements and parking requirements within the Village District. Although this text is in the works, the applicant was seeking to accomplish his development prior to the anticipated timeframe of the text amendment. The Chairperson stated he felt variance would be in keeping with the Village Focus Area Plan and would be appropriate.

There was a review of the nonuse variance criteria. Mr. Saunders stated that he would feel comfortable granting the variance and setting a precedent for any other property within the Village. The consensus of the Board was that the variances which would be necessary for the proposed project would be appropriate given the Village Focus Area Plan and past precedent. However, such variance(s) would be conditioned on a preapproval by the Township Board of use of Township property for parking.

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 4:05 p.m.

Minutes Prepared:
February 23, 1999

Minutes Approved:
March 1, 1999