THE CHARTER TOWNSHIP OF OSHTEMO

Township Board Minutes

FEBRUARY 24, 1998

 

The Oshtemo Township Board held its regular meeting at the Township Hall. The meeting was called to order by Supervisor Fleckenstein, at 7:00 p.m.

PRESENT:

Supervisor Ron Fleckenstein
Clerk Elaine Branch
Treasurer Lois Brown
Trustee Norman Anderson
Trustee Marvin Block
Trustee David Bushouse
Trustee Fred Johnson

Also present was Richard Reed, Township Attorney and Robert Snell, Township Engineer, along with 67 interested people.

The Cub Scout Den 9 from Mattawan was introduced and they led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Motion made by Block, seconded by Brown to approve the minutes of our last meeting two meetings, February 10 and February 17, as prepared. Carried.

Income to the General Fund of $586.68 and disbursements of $66,085.40 were reported. Fire Fund income was$.00 with disbursements of $16,477.59. Motion made by Johnson, seconded by Anderson, to approve the report and pay the bills. Carried.

CITIZENS COMMENTS

None

DISC GOLF

At the December 16 meeting, the Township Board had asked the Park Committee to review their recommendation to develop a Disc Golf course at the Oshtemo Township Park. This request was generated from concerns expressed by Dan Mautte in a letter to the Board.

Clerk Branch reporting for the Park Committee, explained that the Committee held a meeting with Mr. Mautte, Larry LaBond, from the Disc Golf league and Roger Taylor, owner of the Wild Bird Center. Information and concerns were shared. After the Committee held a subsequent meeting to consider the matter, it was their recommendation to continue with the plans for the Disc Golf, as previously approved.

The Park Committee had prepared twelve points of information to provide a view of the thought process that went into their recommendation. The following is a summary of the twelve points, a full copy of the text is filed in "Supplements to the Minutes".

1. Property was acquired with the aid of a State Grant. The grant applications recognized the need for recreational facilities in the township. This use meets the goals and purpose set forth in these applications.

2. The Master Park Plan was tool for development but not cast in stone. It was understood from the beginning that there would some day be recreational development.

3. Last July, the Board approved $4,000 for the 9 holes of Disc Golf, to be located on the east side of the park. (A map was provided, showing the proposed lay out of the course.) The map differs from the earlier map because the soccer and softball fields will not go at this park. Flesher Field is better equipped for these uses.

4. It appears that Disc Golf would be an activity for all ages and would not require expensive equipment, only a Frisbee is needed.

5. The course will not require the trees and brush to be cleared and fairways groomed. In fact, most of the clearing that will be necessary has already been done. The southern portion of the park, in the woods, will not be affected at all.

6. The new fairways, are for the most part, not even visible from the trails and will not interfere with people walking those trails. The one trail that will have cross the course has an open view and players would not throw until it is clear.

7. The 9 hole course will actually only use less than 1 acre. It will require about two mower widths, which is 10' total.

8. This activity would have low maintenance and the players from the Disc Golf League have a reputation of keeping the course litter free, as well as deterring vandalism and loitering.

9. It would be nice to have enough land to be able to provide for both a full nature preserve and recreational activities. We do not have and this plan seems to be non-intrusive to the existing trails.

10. The wildlife may be disturbed but most will adjust and come back.

11. We will not need to have additional insurance because our general liability insurance would cover this in the same way it would cover other activities. If tournaments are ever held at this location, we could consider collecting a fee .

12. Only 9 holes have been approved, so far. If another 9 holes is approved in the future, it would located on the west side of the park and would not affect the trails or mature woods.

Clerk Branch closed by stating that the Committee realizes it is hard to please everyone but they truly felt this activity would be a good compromise use. She then made a motion to reaffirm the Board=s approval for the 9 holes of Disc Golf. The motion was seconded by Trustee Johnson.

The following people spoke in opposition of the Disc Golf:

Lee & Pam Larsen - 405 N. 8th
Richard Brewer - 2550 N. 5th
Becky & Cal Csia - 2831 N. 2nd
Steve Allen - 2424 S. 8th
Patricia Tracy - 2560 Mansfield
Dave Heinicke - 3752 S. 4th
Kay Takahashi - 2550 N. 5th
Roger Taylor - 7684 W. Main
Alta Lahner - 6088 Old Log Trail
Dan Mautte - 6132 Torrington
Margaret Strzelecki - 6926 Oak Highlands

Their concerns included, but were not limited to, the following:

It does not comply with the original park plan.
Bird watching is a faster growing activity.
East & south intended to remain fairly passive.
Disc golf will serve a small, special interest group
Not a compatible use of park.
Need open space.
Erosion
Destroy wildlife habitat.
Discs are hard and dangerous.
Neighbors not notified.
Just a fad, will not last.
No Board Members will use it!
Cost $13,000.
Too much area used & fairways will be bigger than stated.
Tax money should not support an activity for a small group.
People can use Coldbrook Park.
Not enough thought or study by Park Committee. No impact study.
Most people who support it are not from Oshtemo.

In response to some of these comments, the it was explained that this activity was introduced by the Disc Golf League, however, the Committee felt it will become popular with many age groups in our township and be used by all. The cost approved was $4,000, not $13,000. And the southern area of the park will remain undeveloped and natural, as stated in the grant application.

The following people spoke in support of Disc Golf:

Joe Bergen - 2912 S. 9th
John Jeffreys - 1424 Wickford
Alicia Carter - 217 E. Eliza, Schoolcraft
Fred Cramer - CR 653, Gobles
Mark Ellis, PDGA Dir. - Farmington Hills
Joe Jackson - Paw Paw Lk Drive
Larry LaBond, Disc Golf League - 6320 Ivywood Drive
Scot Wilson - 4132 Standish
Brent Summerville - S. 1st Street

Their remarks included:

Looking forward to Disc Golf in Oshtemo Park, nothing to do there now!
Good activity out in nature.
Excited about it.
Good family activity.
Women like the sport, good exercise. Way to relieve stress.
Inexpensive.
Low impact on land & wildlife.
People just want park to themselves.
Very little risk of injury.
In last 7 years, no claims to PDGA insurance.
Sport for all ages.
Popular in other States. Played there since 1978.
Growing sport here.
Coldbrook
's course has more impact because it has 18 holes crowded together.
Coldbrook
's course is in pine trees, not much light so not much grass. More erosion.
Will be compatible with the trails.
Share park with other communities, because Oshtemo residents use their parks.
Can continue to use the trails and never even see the course.

After all comments were heard, Trustee Block stated he was impressed to see so many at the meeting. Only three showed up for our budget hearing, which dealt with thousands more than $4,000. He also reminded the audience that we have regular meeting dates, our agenda is available ahead of the meeting & on the Internet, many meetings are published in newspaper and synopsis is always in the paper and yet no one takes the time to keep informed. He felt this was a good use for our park with less impact than a youth soccer league would have. He stated he would vote for it.

Trustee Bushouse was also surprised to see so many people. He had experience with this type of activity at the Special Needs Camp he works at. He thought the Disc Golf was a good sport for kids and he would enjoy it with his grandchildren. He stated he was in favor of it because it would be another activity for the park, with a minimum impact.

When the vote was taken on the motion to reaffirm the approval for Disc Golf, it passed

6 to 1, with Trustee Anderson voting "no".

BILLIARD'S PLAYGROUND - LIQUOR LICENSE

Supervisor Fleckenstein reported that action would not be taken, at this meeting, on the request from Billiard's Playground for a Class C Liquor License. Attorney Reed informed the Board that due to the addition of the restaurant area, this business may need to return to the Zoning Board of Appeal for a revised Site Plan Review. The parking requirements could change with the change of use. He did not recommend acting on the request until we are certain we have compliance with the ordinance.

The Supervisor, knowing that people had waited to address the Board on this issue, stated we would take public comment on the item, but it would be returned to the Board at a later date for action on the request.

Matthew Rosendaul stated he had purchased the business in January of 1997 and was now seeking approval of a Class C license that would be transferred from another municipality in Kalamazoo County. He explained it is his intention to remove the arcade games and create a lounge area so his customers can eat, watch television and play tarts. They would only serve beer and wine.

He felt he ran a good clean establishment and had only called the Sheriff on one occasion.
The neighbors/public were invited to visit his business, assuring them that they would be surprised.

The following patrons of Mr. Rosendaul spoke in support of granting the liquor license:

Mike Campbell of 4112 Valley Ridge, Kalamazoo, a patron since 1991, stated there would not be a bar. They have good food and he would like to be able to have a beer with his food. He wasn't looking for a place to get drunk.

Jill Sanderson, who is a resident of Park Township and does business in our area, has played pool there for 5 years. She likes to play there because it does not have the atmosphere of a bar. It is clean, quiet and she isn't bothered like she would be in a bar. She has even used the facilities for business opportunities with clients.

Dick Harvey of 7878 Pickering, Portage, stated this is the cleanest poolroom around. He does not go to bars to play because people play for drinks and money, which causes problems.

A township resident named Ken, had been playing there for about 5 years. He said it is well managed, which makes a lot of difference. It does not have a BAR environment.

There were many residents from the near by plat that spoke in opposition to the liquor license and a petition was presented, signed by 80 residents of the Fairlane Plat and Quail Run who were against it.

Richard Stout, 2408 Strathmore
Don Myer, 2520 Mansfield
David Fortune, 2582 Strathmore
Jan Gibes, 2552 Strathmore
Joe Comiskey, 2519 Fairgrove
Richard Hruska, 2460 Mansfield
Patricia Tracy, 2560 Mansfield
Gary Lawson, 2608 Strathmore
Terry Rix, 2459 Fairgrove

Their concerns and comments included:

It's a good place for families and underage kids. Alcohol and kids is not a good mix.
Already too much noise at 2:00 a.m. from music and cars in parking lot.
5 or 6 calls have been made to the Sheriff regarding the noise, no reports because cars leave.
Noise and crime could go up.
Trash and litter a problem in their parking lot.
Not a good use between single family homes, apartments and funeral home.
Could promote disorderly patrons, vandalism and noise.
Should plan for worse scenario, alcohol and young people not good.
There are 6 bars within 2 miles. Don
't need this is Oshtemo, so close to a neighborhood.
His patrons seemed like good people, but they probably haven
't been here at 2:00 a.m.
It
's a nice cared for environment now, add alcohol and it will not stay that way.
Pictures shown of tire marks 75 feet off of the driveway, from doing donuts in lawn.
No matter how well he tries to control people, he won
't be able to.

After all comments were heard, a motion was made by Brown, seconded by Johnson to table the item until more information is received from our attorney and Planning Department. Carried.

A short break was taken at 9:55 p.m.

WESTPORT TRAIL NO. 1

Engineer Snell reviewed his recommendation to grant Step 1 approval to West Port Trail No. 1. He had received reports back with approvals from most of the agencies that review our plats, with the balance due with Step 2 approval. Motion made by Branch, seconded by Brown to grant Step 1 approval to Westport Trail No. 1. Carried.

 

INTER-SOURCE RECOVERY
INDUSTRIAL FACILITIES TAX EXEMPTION

Inter-Source Recovery's request for an extension on their IFT exemption was scheduled to return to the Board at this meeting, however, it became apparent that there was still information that was not correct. It was Attorney Reed's suggestion that we table the item again. Motion made by Brown, seconded by Block to table for more information . Carried.

 

FIRE DEPARTMENT PURCHASES

Air Packs Voice Boxes -

Approval was requested to complete the purchase of voice boxes for the firefighters air masks. The first phase was started in 1997 and has proven beneficial by providing clarity of communications. The cost of this last phase is $6,000.00.

Air Cylinder Replacements -

The Fire Department learned that the service life of fiberglass air cylinders is fifteen (15) years. They currently have 25 that have reached or exceeded that age and should be replaced. It was reported that they can reuse the valve assemblies from the replaced cylinders, which will save approximately $285.00 per cylinder and still meet MSA and USDOT standards. The cost of this replacement totals $8,375.00.

Motion made by Block, seconded by Johnson to approve the Fire Department=s capital purchases as requested. Carried.

 

GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS

A proposal was presented for the purchase of a computerized Geographic Information System (GIS). The system would allow our office to produce color maps for many purposes, i.e., zoning, sewer/water, tax parcels and voting precincts.

The GIS would be provided through Wilkens and Wheaton, and their support would be included in the purchase price. The proposal would also include the related software and one color printer. The cost of the system, which was included in the 1998 Budget, would be $20,000.00.

Motion made by Anderson, seconded by Johnson to approve the purchase of GIS, as requested. Carried.

There was no further business and the meeting adjourned at 10:40 p.m.

Elaine J. Branch, CMC
Township Clerk

Attested: Ron Fleckenstein
Supervisor