OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

PLANNING COMMISSION

February 26, 2004

Agenda

SOOS & ASSOCIATES - DIMENSIONAL DEVIATION - 5370 WEST MAIN STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-13-255-060)

BETZLER FUNERAL HOME, INC. - SPECIAL EXCEPTION USE RENEWAL AND SITE PLAN REVIEW - 6080 STADIUM DRIVE - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-26-440-026 AND 3905-26-440-033)

SKY KING MEADOWS - SEECO 2, LLC - PLANNED UNIT DEVELOPMENT - CONCEPTUAL REVIEW - EAST SIDE OF 9TH STREET, SOUTH OF SEECO DRIVE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-14-380-010)

A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Planning Commission on Thursday, February 26, 2004, commencing at approximately 7:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Neil G. Sikora, Chairperson
Deborah L. Everett
Terry Schley
Lee Larson
Mike Ahrens
James Turcott
Kathleen Garland-Rike
MEMBERS ABSENT: None

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

CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order at 7:02 p.m.

AGENDA

The Chairperson called for approval of the Agenda. Mr. Ahrens made a motion to approve the Agenda as submitted. Mr. Schley seconded the motion. The Chairperson called for a vote on the motion, and the motion passed unanimously.

MINUTES

The Chairperson called for consideration of the minutes of the meeting of February 12, 2004. Mr. Turcott made a motion to approve the minutes as submitted. Mr. Schley seconded the motion. The Chairperson called for discussion on the motion, and hearing none, called for a vote on the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

SOOS & ASSOCIATES - DIMENSIONAL DEVIATION - 5370 WEST MAIN STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-13-255-060)

The Chairperson said that the next item was the dimensional deviation for Soos & Associates, and asked for a report from Ms. Bugge. Ms. Bugge presented her report dated February 24, 2004, to the Planning Commission, and the same is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Bugge stated that the applicant was Eric Styer of Soos & Associates on behalf of Starbucks Coffee Company. She said that the property at issue was located at 5370 West Main Street (Parcel No. 3905-13-255-060), at Maple Hill Mall, and was located in the "C" Local Business District. She said that the request was for a deviation to allow a nonconforming parcel to be buildable. Ms. Bugge explained that the property is currently occupied by the Chicken Coop restaurant, and that the applicant was proposing to use the existing site and remodel the building. She indicated that the applicant was requesting the deviation from the dimensional criteria to permit the parcel to be buildable, in that, it does not meet frontage and area requirements for parcels in the "C" Local Business District and is not grandfathered.

Ms. Bugge explained how Section 66.203, recently adopted by the Planning Commission, allowed deviations from parcel dimensions if certain criteria were met under the Ordinance.

Ms. Bugge then proceeded through the criteria for granting a deviation, and noted that the parcel was established prior to March 31, 1997. She also noted that the parcel met the minimum dimensional requirements for a platted lot. In addition, she stated that both McDonald's and the Firestone parcels, which were in close proximity to the subject property, are lawfully nonconforming parcels that meet the 200-foot frontage requirement, but do not meet the area dimensional requirements, and therefore, would support the deviation.

Ms. Bugge focused on the fact that the Planning Commission is given the authority, to further public health, safety and welfare, by requiring that certain conditions be met before granting the deviation. She specifically noted that conveyance or dedication of a 66-foot right-of-way could be required for ingress and egress, which she noted would not be applicable in this case. However, she did point out that shared and/or cross access with adjacent properties and restricted or prohibited curb-cuts could be required when the Access Management Guidelines could not be satisfied, and reasonable access is otherwise available to the subject property. She then proceeded to point out to the Board on an overhead the two, one-way driveways onto West Main. She noted where the two Mall driveways were in relationship to the driveways on the subject the property, and she noted that Mall Drive to the east is only 86 feet from the east property line of the subject site and that the Mall Drive to the west was only 250 feet from the west property line. Additionally, the cross-access drive between the subject site and the adjacent parking area was indicated.

Ms. Bugge said the Planning Commission should consider a reduction in the number of drives at the site because it was not in compliance with Access Management Guidelines. The Planning Department talked with the Michigan Department of Transportation, and MDOT would like to see both of the drives closed to M-43 West Main or if the two drives were not closed, at the very least, the east drive of the subject property should be closed, and the west drive converted to a two-way driveway. She said that the current site plan provided a two-way drive on the east and a one-way drive on the west drive, which would create traffic conflict. Again, she recommended that the Planning Commission consider if both drives should be closed, or at the very least, that the east drive be closed, and the west drive be converted to a two-way drive until such time as the building was removed or reconfigured, and then the West Main drive should be permanently closed, and access permitted only from the interior of the Mall site. Ms. Bugge said that the applicant had indicated the Mall and Starbucks did not want to see the drives closed.

The Chairperson asked Ms. Bugge how far the west drive of the subject property was to the Mall drive to the east. After a brief discussion, it was concluded that the west drive of the subject property was approximately 180 feet to the Mall drive to the east.

The Chairperson, looking at the photo of the site, said he was unclear as to how the subject property was accessed through the Mall property. Ms. Bugge indicated the internal entrance on the east side of the property from the Mall parking area, immediately west of the Mall drive, which is east of the subject property. Mr. Ahrens asked if there was common ownership of the subject property and the remainder of the Mall property. Ms. Bugge indicated that there was common ownership of the subject property and the Mall, but that it did not include the abutting Target property. Mr. Ahrens noted that the access to the east would be through a parking area. Mr. Schley asked about the Mall drive and its elevation with regard to the subject property. Ms. Bugge stated there was a difference in elevation at the rear of the property but that the site could be accessed through the common parking area. Mr. Schley asked if one accessing the Mall drive could make a lefthand turn into the subject property from the drive, and Ms. Bugge indicated that one could not.

The Chairperson asked to hear from the applicant. Mr. Eric Styer, on behalf of Soos & Associates, addressed the Commission. He explained that Starbucks wanted to keep all of the drives open, and that there were several reasons for their request. He said he thought if the existing drives were closed, there would be a queing problem for their drive through and a disruption of the traffic flow. He said that they were not proposing removing the building, but simply making renovations to the building, and were hoping to retain the site as-is because they did not want to do an entire site renovation.

Ms. Garland-Rike asked if Mr. Styer expected a lot of drive-through traffic. Mr. Styer said that he did expect drive-through traffic because they were serving convenience items that people wanted quickly. He said, if people had to access through the parking lot, he thought it would create a significant bottleneck for their operation.

Mr. Turcott asked what the seating capacity of the restaurant would be. Mr. Styer said approximately 26 seats. He said that the capacity of the restaurant from the prior occupant would not change.

Ms. Everett asked if they were not allowed direct access to West Main, whether there would be any other way to operate the new facilities. Mr. Styer said that he did not think so at this time. Ms. Bugge said that it appeared they could close the east drive, turn the west drive into a two-way drive, and establish a circular traffic pattern. Ms. Everett said accessing West Main is always a serious problem.

Mr. Ahrens asked if the applicant had any traffic numbers. Mr. Styer said that they had not conducted a traffic analysis at this time. Ms. Garland-Rike told Mr. Styer that they should seriously consider what Ms. Everett had said about access on West Main Street. She explained to the applicant that it was extremely difficult, especially at high-traffic hours, to gain access to West Main as it was a very congested area. She went on to tell the applicant that there were apartments being built to the north of the subject property, and she thought, if there was an access point within the Mall itself, it would actually encourage residents from that area to patronize the business. Mr. Styer said he understood that, but they were spending a great deal of money on the building renovations and providing new access points was difficult as financing was limited.

Ms. Garland-Rike asked the applicant how many parking spaces they would have. Mr. Styer said approximately 19. Ms. Garland-Rike noted that was almost one parking space for each seat in the facility, to which Mr. Styer concurred, and that to add another access point would result in the loss of four parking spaces. She said that if the applicant removes four parking spaces, they would still have 15 parking spaces, and they would have access to the common parking area.

Ms. Everett asked the applicant why they would need to remove four parking spaces. Mr. Styer said he thought it would be necessary to meet the width requirements for ingress and egress if a wider drive was proposed to the common area.

The Chairperson asked if the existing exit drive was a right-turn only. Ms. Bugge indicated that it was, but Ms. Stefforia noted that it was over designed in that one can easily turn left from the west drive.

Ms. Everett asked how much traffic Starbucks was likely to generate and whether or not they offered items other than coffee. Mr. Styer said that the menu varied, but it did include pastries, sandwiches and salads as well as coffee. Ms. Everett asked what their hours of operation would be. Mr. Styer said from approximately 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. each day. Ms. Everett asked what the peak hours would be, to which Mr. Styer said that it depended on the particular area.

Mr. Ahrens questioned whether or not the Commission needed to consider access at the present time. Ms. Bugge said that they did because that was one of the specific criteria which needed to be considered to determine whether or not the site would be granted a deviation from dimension criteria.

The Chairperson reminded the Commission that it had made the determination, when Walgreen's was built, to eliminate the drives on West Main Street. He said he felt there must be a compelling reason in order not to be consistent with their prior decision, and that he simply did not see any compelling reason to deviate from their previous policy. He noted that traffic was a huge problem, and he believed that the Commission should do everything it could to encourage people to access these businesses through the Mall, for safety reasons. He specifically said he did not want to introduce another reason for more accidents on West Main Street. Mr. Styer said the drive-through was so close to the access point on the east side of the property, that any more than three or four cars would create a back-up and confusion, so he thought it would be safer to maintain the entrance and exit on West Main Street.

Mr. Schley said traffic congestion in the area demanded strict application of the Access Management Guidelines should be applied. He said that back-up of traffic trying to access this drive-through was secondary. His primary concern was the congestion along West Main which he said was a very hazardous area. Mr. Schley said that, if a deviation was granted, he thought the Access Management Guidelines needed to be enforced. Mr. Larson said that he concurred, and that his wife had been hit by a driver turning left out of a right-turn-only drive in the West Main area. He said that there were entirely too many curb-cuts and that the Commission's primary focus should be safety.

Mr. Styer said that they could reconfigure the drive to encourage people to turn right only, and he thought that would be better than having gridlock within the site. Ms. Bugge did note for the Commission and pointed out on the overhead that the access drive to the east, as currently configured, would require individuals to drive around the building next to the drive-through area in order to park. She again noted that, if the west drive of the subject property were made two-way, it would help to alleviate that problem.

Mr. Larson said that was part of the dimensional problem with the subject property, and perhaps, this was not the appropriate use for this property. The Chairperson agreed and said simply because the current use is there, does not mean that a similar use should be there, or that it was suitable for their proposed use. The Chairperson said that it was a safety problem, and it had to be fixed, and if he had to choose between "stacking" or "smacking", he would choose the "stacking" because it was best for all concerned.

Mr. Styer said that he understood the safety concerns, but that all issues were based on economics, and if required to do a complete regrading of the site, it would have substantial impact and be a deal breaker. He understood that he needed to appease the Commission, but he thought the Commission should allow the applicant to function in a reasonably economic fashion.

The Chairperson asked if there were any other comments from the Planning Commission. Mr. Schley said that he agreed with the comments of Mr. Larson. Ms. Bugge reminded the Commission that the property could continue to be used in its current configuration as long as they did not need to obtain a building permit, and perhaps they could consider granting the deviation with the condition that all access to West Main would be prohibited in the future when the building was removed or the size altered. Ms. Stefforia said that would simply postpone the decision to some future date, and she suggested that the applicant move the interior access point on the east further to the south to avoid the "queing" problem. Ms. Everett asked if they could access the site from the rear of the property. Mr. Styer said that would require a grade change, and it was likely too short a distance to accommodate it.

Mr. Styer said that they could do all the things that the Board was asking if they simply scrapped the building. However, if they closed the two drives, it would kill the use that they propose for the property, and that they needed access to the highway. Mr. Larson said he thought they could close both of those drives, angle the parking, and it would resolve all of the problems raised by the applicant. He said that there other viable solutions, to which Mr. Styer concurred, but it would require reworking the site.

Mr. Schley pointed out that, when the sites were developed around Lowe's and Menard's, they were not allowed direct access and the businesses did not seem to have any problem operating. He explained that, if there were an old electrical problem on site, the applicant would be told to fix it, and that the access management was no different, and that the Commission should not base its decision on economic issues. Mr. Styer said that they wanted to reuse the structure, and therefore, he felt they should receive some consideration from the Planning Commission in that regard. Ms. Everett said that perhaps they could close the east drive, keep the west drive open, and if there were future development, then close both drives and comply with the Access Management Plan. Mr. Ahrens said that he agreed and did not see how they could take away both drives to the highway. The applicant said that it was a State issue, but that the State in this case was following the Township's Access Management Guidelines. Mr. Ahrens again noted that he did not think that one drive off the common area was reasonable.

Ms. Everett noted that she thought the Commission should look at the site plan at the same time it considered this issue. She said she thought they could have one drive on West Main and one drive through the Mall, and it would be adequate. Ms. Stefforia said that most of the people accessing the site, particularly in the morning, would not want to make a right-hand turn out of the site, but rather would want to make a left-hand turn to head downtown and that a right-turn-only sign would not help.

Mr. Larson said that he thought they should close both of the access drives. Ms. Everett did note that, if they wanted to go east, they could go back through the Mall to the light to make a left-hand turn.

The Chairperson asked what action the Commission could take in this regard. Ms. Bugge explained the various options. Mr. Schley made a motion to approve the deviation pursuant to Section 66.203, provided that both of the drives accessing West Main Street were closed. Mr. Larson supported the motion. Ms. Bugge noted for the Commission that, by the motion, no building permit would be issued unless both the drives were closed. Ms. Everett asked what the desires of MDOT were. Ms. Bugge said that MDOT would like to see both of the drives closed.

The Chairperson called for public comment, and hearing none, called for a vote on the motion. The following voted yes: Neil Sikora, James Turcott, Terry Schley, Lee Larson, and Kathleen Garland-Rike. The following voted no: Deborah Everett and Mike Ahrens.

The applicant asked how he would appeal their decision. Attorney Porter told the applicant that they would have to appeal to Circuit Court.

BETZLER FUNERAL HOME, INC. - SPECIAL EXCEPTION USE RENEWAL AND SITE PLAN REVIEW - 6080 STADIUM DRIVE - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-26-440-026 AND 3905-26-440-033)

The Chairperson said that the next item for consideration is the special exception use renewal and site plan review for Betzler Funeral Home. The Chairperson asked to hear from Township Planner, Mary Lynn Bugge. Ms. Bugge presented her report regarding the Betzler Funeral Home dated February 24, 2004, and the same is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Bugge told the Commission that the applicant was Roy Betzler of Betzler Funeral Home, and the property is located at 6080 Stadium Drive (Parcel Nos. 3905-26-440-026 and 3905-26-440-033). She explained that the property is located in the "C-1" Local Business District, and the applicant is seeking a special exception use and site plan review for an expansion of an existing funeral home. A similar proposal had been approved, subject to conditions on October 24, 2002, but construction had not commenced, and certain conditions have not been satisfied. Therefore, reconsideration of the request was required.

Ms. Bugge reviewed the special exception use criteria of Section 60.100 with the Commission and proceeded to review the site plan under Section 82.800 of the Township Zoning Ordinance. The Chairperson asked if there were any questions of Ms. Bugge.

The Chairperson asked what the difference was between the proposed plan and the one that the Commission had reviewed on October 24, 2002. Ms. Bugge indicated that there was an additional 2,500 square feet added to the proposed addition, and a reduction of five parking spaces. Ms. Bugge said that the reduction of parking spaces was, in part, done in order to allow for appropriate access by the Oshtemo Township Fire Department.

The Chairperson asked if there were any further questions. Mr. Schley asked if the purpose of withholding the certificate of occupancy was to obtain the commitments requested by the Planning Department. Ms. Bugge said that the withholding of the occupancy certificate was only tied to the proper completion of the landscaping or the submission of a performance guarantee. All other requirements had to be satisfied prior to the issuance of the building permit. Mr. Schley asked what items needed to be completed prior to the issuance of a building permit. Ms. Bugge said that all of the things were highlighted in her report to the Planning Commission.

Mr. Turcott said that the Commission earlier expressed a concern regarding the greenspace to the north. He asked what type of hedge the Planning Commission was proposing. Ms. Bugge explained that the area to the north abutted an existing road right-of-way, and therefore, there was limited space, and it would be more practical to provide for some type of hedge or narrow evergreen plantings along the northern portion of the parking area.

Ms. Bugge inquired as to whether the Planning Commission would have to reconsider the special exception use since it had been granted previously. Attorney Porter told the Planning Commission that due to the substantial changes in the proposed use, he would be more comfortable if the Planning Commission did, in fact, consider the special exception use again, as well as site plan review.

The Chairperson asked to hear from the applicant. Bruce Betzler, on behalf of Betzler Funeral Home, introduced himself to the Commission. He explained that they had obtained permission from the owners of the east parcel, which was under land contract to allow construction and that the land contract was almost paid off. He said that they were also in the final stages of acquiring the cross-parking easement required by the Township, and that it had been sent to their lawyer for finalization.

Mr. Betzler told the Commission that, in the past, when they had expanded the parking to the north, that he had knocked on all of the neighbors' homes in the area and that their primary concern was not the parking, but the lights from automobiles. He said in response to that they had planted large evergreens to the north and that they would continue that practice to create a total blocking barrier to the properties to the north. He explained that the change in the square footage of the expansion was due to his brother's operation of Precious Pets. He said that they needed an area to handle the management functions for the Precious Pets operation on site.

Mr. Betzler told the Commission how parking was normally handled during times of visitation and during funeral services. He said there was only full use of their parking lot during the times that there were actual funeral services. Mr. Schley complimented Mr. Betzler on how he had handled large funerals and the use of police to handle traffic. He then asked how Mr. Betzler was going to deal with fire equipment access. Mr. Betzler explained to the Commission how they had parking attendants on site during services and always maintained appropriate fire lanes for access to the site as directed by the Oshtemo Township Fire Department. Mr. Turcott asked for confirmation that Betzler had enough staff to maintain open fire lanes, and Mr. Betzler indicated that they did.

Mr. Ahrens asked how the original parking spaces had dropped from 140 to 126 and why it was being further reduced to 118. Ms. Bugge indicated that originally there was a misunderstanding as to how the parking spaces should be allocated, and that when they went back and compared the size of the chapel facility for services, as it related to churches, the actual number of parking spaces required was approximately 127. Mr. Ahrens said he asked last time if occupancy details could be provided for on the site plan. He asked whether or not the detail provided on this site plan was based on the Zoning Ordinance or the Building Code. Ms. Bugge indicated that the occupancy information provided for on the site plan was based upon the Building Code.

Mr. Schley asked if there are multiple services held on site. Mr. Betzler said that was not normally their practice.

Ms. Everett asked if they were going to obtain overflow parking from the adjacent Wiser property, and Mr. Betzler indicated that they were.

The Chairperson asked if there was any public comment. Mr. Greg Taylor said he represented H & L Services, which owns the property immediately to the east. He said that he had spoken to Scott Betzler and that they had a very good working relationship with Betzlers. He said that he was very supportive of the proposed development but did have a question regarding a possible encroachment by his property in the southeast corner of the Betzler property. He said he hoped to be able to get a copy of the site plan and address that issue with the Betzlers. He said he was concerned because that was the only available access point for his property.

Mr. Taylor then asked if the Village Commercial Focus Area required any specific conditions be applied to the property. Ms. Bugge indicated that it did not because, while it was in the Focus Area, it was not zoned Village Commercial.

Ms. Bugge asked what Mr. Betzler was going to do with the snow in the future as it did not appear that they had sufficient area to store snow in the winter. Mr. Betzler said that they likely would have to haul snow away from the site.

Mr. Betzler added that he was concerned about the proposed landscaping and the number of trees being requested by the Township. He said that they would certainly comply with the site plan, but they did want to discuss with their landscape architect what plantings they could use to comply with the Township's Ordinance, but not create a total site barrier of their proposed building improvement. Ms. Bugge noted that the applicant was requesting deviations from the landscaping requirements on the west, north and a portion of the south side of the property due to constraints on the developed portion of the site.

The Chairperson asked if there was any further comments from the public, and hearing none, closed the public portion of the meeting. The Chairperson said that, pursuant to the recommendation of the Township Attorney, they should first consider the special exception use permit and then review the site plan.

The Chairperson said that the Commission should specifically keep in mind those comments raised by Ms. Bugge in her presentation to the Planning Commission. Mr. Ahrens said he was concerned about an increase in the square footage of the building and yet the reduction in the parking spaces. He believed that it did not meet the Ordinance requirements. Ms. Bugge indicated that, with the cross-access agreement, the applicant would be entitled to a 10% reduction in required parking spaces. Mr. Schley said that this parking, like with movie theaters, would have peaks and valleys, and that it would only have a high impact on parking occasionally. Ms. Garland-Rike said that she had read an article recently in the Planning Newsletter which showed that there was a wide variation in parking requirements between municipalities. She noted that, when she compared Oshtemo's requirements to other communities, Oshtemo's parking requirements seemed quite high, and she did not believe there would be much of a problem in this situation.

The Chairperson asked if there were further comments, and hearing none, he said he would entertain a motion. Mr. Schley made a motion to approve the special exception use permit, provided that access would remain the same, and that a perpetual cross-access agreement with the adjacent Wiser property to allow access to Fairgrove Street be submitted to the Township for approval and subsequently recorded. Ms. Everett seconded the motion. The Chairperson called for further discussion, and hearing none, he called for a vote on the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

The Chairperson said the next item for consideration by the Planning Commission was the proposed site plan. Ms. Garland-Rike made a motion to approve the proposed site plan, provided the following conditions be met:

(1) A perpetual, cross-access and parking agreement with the adjacent Wiser property to permit access to Fairgrove Street and overflow parking must be submitted to the Township for approval and subsequently recorded.

(2) A new driveway permit must be obtained from the Kalamazoo County Road Commission.

(3) All parking must conform to Section 68.000 of the Zoning Ordinance.

(4) All lighting shall comply with Section 78.700 of the Zoning Ordinance. Specific light fixture and shield details, where necessary, for all outside lighting shall be provided for Township Staff review and approval.

(5) Any change to the existing sign will be subject to Township approval through the sign-permitting process.

(6) A detailed landscaping plan consisting of "A" greenspace to the east; "C" greenspace to the south, east of the driveway; and meeting interior parking lot criteria; with a deviation to forego landscaping to the west and containing an evergreen hedge to the north shall be submitted for Township Staff review.

(7) Landscaping shall be installed before a certificate of occupancy will be granted or a performance guarantee, consistent with the provisions of Section 82.950, must be provided.

(8) Approval for the project is subject to the current owners, Robert and Geraldine Davis, providing written consent for the proposed construction on the property, and both parcels must be combined by a recorded document when the land contract is concluded.

(9) Site plan approval shall be subject to the applicant satisfying Township Fire Department requirements pursuant to the adopted codes.

(10) Site engineering and stormwater management are subject to review and approval by the Township Engineer.

(11) An earth change permit from the Kalamazoo County Drain Commissioner's Office is required before any earth change activities commence.

Ms. Everett supported the motion. The Chairperson called for public comment, and hearing none, he called for a vote on the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

SKY KING MEADOWS - SEECO 2, LLC - PLANNED UNIT DEVELOPMENT - CONCEPTUAL REVIEW - EAST SIDE OF 9TH STREET, SOUTH OF SEECO DRIVE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-14-380-010)

The Chairperson indicated that the next item to be considered was the planned unit development conceptual review for Sky King Meadows, Seeco 2, LLC. Ms. Stefforia presented her report to the Planning Commission dated February 26, 2004, regarding the planned unit development conceptual review for Sky King Meadows, and the same is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Stefforia told the Commission that the applicant was Michael Seelye for Seeco 2, LLC, and the property was located on 9th Street south of Seeco Drive. She said that the parcel consisted of 34.85 acres currently zoned "R-2" Residence District. She said the request was for conceptual plan review of a planned unit development for Sky King Meadows.

Ms. Stefforia provided background information to the Commission, and noted that the Commission should take note that at least one of the road names had been rejected by the Road Commission, and the names of the roads should be reviewed by the Planning Commission. She also noted that the Focus Area Plan called for two intersections on 9th Street between KL Avenue and West Main Street, and that they already exist. She stated that the Commission should determine whether or not it wanted to see the development have two street intersections as proposed, or have it reduced to one intersection.

Ms. Stefforia asked that the Commission keep in mind that the conceptual plan review is an initial step, and the PUD would require special exception use hearing along with formal site plan review. Ms. Stefforia continued to review the proposed site and to review the criteria provided for under Section 60.430 with the Commission, emphasizing that the Planning Commission should inquire of the applicant as to any planned improvements to the large open space area and whether or not it would be used for stormwater. She also emphasized the need to address whether or not the lots would be sold unimproved or be developed through a single builder responsible for completing the residential element of the project. Ms. Stefforia then reviewed the design standards of Section 60.440 of the Zoning Ordinance and asked the Planning Commission to look at the issue of extension of roads for future development. She also emphasized the need to address sidewalks and possible non-motorized access along 9th Street.

Ms. Stefforia stressed the need to comply with the greenspace requirements, particularly along 9th Street and along the perimeter of the overall nonresidential area within the development. She noted that, when the special exception use amendment and site plan review occur in the nonresidential area, care should be taken to insure that the use and its appearance be harmonious with the residential development, given its topography.

The Chairperson asked if there were any questions for the Planning Director. Mr. Ahrens asked why Sky King was not extended to the east property line. Ms. Stefforia said she thought that was an issue which should be discussed.

The Chairperson asked to hear from the applicant. Mr. Dan Lewis of Prein & Newhof introduced himself to the Commission. He said he would provide some background information with regard to the engineering and then let Mike Seelye address other issues such as the mixture of the uses and the lots within the proposed development. Mr. Lewis said that they had to rename Sky King, SKS Parkway and Michael's Landing to Mickey's Trail due to name conflicts within the list of available names in Kalamazoo County. Mr. Lewis explained the proposed stormwater retention area and that it was designed to handle the 200-year flood, but if there was any overflow, it would move along the roadway to the open area in the south, which was an unregulated wetland area.

Mr. Lewis explained that the Kalamazoo County Road Commission had raised a concern similar to that raised by Mr. Ahrens regarding the extension of SKS to the east and the eastern north/south street to the north. Mr. Lewis said that it was their position that the property to the north was already developed, and it would not be necessary to extend SKS to the east to assist in development of that property. He also said that the Road Commission did not like the cul-de-sac, and that it proposed an extension of Murphy's Circle back to Bell Street. However, he said that their response to the Road Commission pointed out that the area was a wetlands and would also result in the destruction of the only mature trees on site, and they were asking the Road Commission to reconsider. Mr. Lewis said the Road Commission was also seeking a center lane from the north property line of the subject property to the south property line. He said they were asking for reconsideration on that item, given that 75% to 80% of the traffic coming south would turn left off of 9th Street at SKS Parkway and that he did not believe it was necessary to have a center lane the full length of the subject property. He said their response to traffic would be to put a bypass lane on the right-hand side to accommodate those vehicles making left-hand turns onto SKS Parkway.

Mr. Mike Seelye introduced himself to the Commission and said he represented Seeco 2, LLC. He told the Commission that he understood that they could not make any commercial improvements in the proposed space along 9th Street until 60% of the residential development had been constructed. He said that he wanted to provide affordable housing in the area, and that the price range for the development would be from approximately $129,000 to $199,000. He said they would all be stick-built structures, built on site, possibly primarily by Todd Roberts and Mike Nelson. He said he is not sure if he would allow other builders to develop within the site, but that it was not likely.

Mr. Schley asked if Mr. Seelye would be developing sidewalks. Mr. Seelye said that he did not want to because he thought it would increase the cost and be counter-productive toward producing affordable housing. He explained that the cost of sidewalks added $500 to $1,000 per lot, and he didn't believe they would be useful internally. He said he would consider a pathway along 9th Street when the commercial development occurred. However, he asked that the Commission make sure that the Township makes other developers do the same because he did not want to prepare a pathway or walkway leading nowhere.

The Chairperson asked for questions and comments. Ms. Garland-Rike said she supported a trail along 9th Street. She said she understood the need to be consistent, but also wanted to stress that 9th Street would be the area where a pathway would actually allow people to walk to and from somewhere. Mr. Seelye acknowledged that fact, but said that there might be obstacles that would impinge on the ability to develop that pathway. Ms. Bugge said that she felt that there would also be a need for pedestrian access along Bell Street for the residences being built to the east.

Mr. Ahrens asked if the applicant would need approval from the Drain Commissioner. Dan Lewis said it was a private development, and therefore, they would only need an earth change permit from the Drain Commissioner's Office.

Discussion ensued with regard to the extension SKS to the east. Ms. Stefforia pointed out that one argument for not extending SKS to the east is that Lexy Lane to the south is a through-street, and that as a through-street, it would allow traffic to enter 9th Street further from the Wal-Mart drive, and provide a better overall traffic pattern. It was the consensus of the Commission that that was an accurate assumption.

Mr. Ahrens pointed out that the southern drive could possibly align with a future extension all the way to 8th Street. Mr. Turcott pointed out that he would like to support the comments of Ms. Garland-Rike with regard to the bike path to West Main Street. He said he thought it was very necessary that there be a non-motorized means to access Wal-Mart and Meijer.

Ms. Everett pointed out to the applicant that, while the Commission did not previously require non-motorized pathways or sidewalks, that the Ordinance imposing such a requirement was soon to be adopted. She emphasized that they had to start somewhere even if the initial paths and sidewalks installed did not necessarily connect to one another.

Mr. Schley pointed out that the Township was close to making sidewalks mandatory and emphasized that to the developer. Mr. Schley said he had not heard any comment with regard to discussion on access points, and he asked what the consensus of the Planning Commission was with regard to two access points versus what is proposed in the Focus Plan. Ms. Garland-Rike said that perhaps two access points were too many. Ms. Everett said, if there was commercial development in that area, that maybe one access point would not be sufficient, and that they would have difficulty accessing the residential lots currently proposed north of SKS Parkway. Mr. Ahrens pointed out that, if the road to the south was going to be used to access properties to the east as well as commercial development, perhaps they needed the second access point to the north.

Ms. Garland-Rike asked how many access points Buckham Highlands had. Ms. Stefforia said that they had one access point.

Ms. Everett said, after reconsideration, she did not really have a problem with two access points, given that most of the development was going to be low-density residential. Ms. Garland-Rike said that she was generally pleased with the plan and the proposed mixed uses; Ms. Everett agreed.

There was a general discussion regarding drainage in the area and the acquisition of some of the Road Commission drainage areas by the developer. Mr. Larson asked if the applicant could re-sculpture the retention area so that it had a more natural appearance. Mr. Lewis said that the applicant would be landscaping that area and pointed out that the slope was reduced from what it had been in the past from a one-on-three slope to a one-on-five slope, and therefore, it was more natural in that respect. Mr. Larson said that he thought it could be developed in using the existing topography to make it have a more natural appearance. The Engineer said that they had attempted to do that by using the existing slopes on the property. Mr. Larson said whatever could be done to make it appear more natural would be appreciated.

The Chairperson asked what the applicant proposed regarding an access plan for the commercial development. Mr. Lewis said that they proposed an access point off SKS Parkway, set back from the intersection as far as possible, and then running along 9th Street with a service drive, and then coming east to a point on Lexy Lane.

Commission members thanked the applicant and said that they looked forward to receiving the final proposal.

PLANNING COMMISSIONER COMMENTS

The Chairperson asked if there were any Planning Commissioner comments. Ms. Bugge said that they needed to schedule a proposed rezoning hearing for two parcels along Stadium Drive to "I-1" Industrial District. She said they would like to set that public hearing for March 25, 2004. Mr. Ahrens made a motion to set the public hearing for the proposed rezoning for March 25, 2004. The motion was seconded by Mr. Larson. The Chairperson called for vote on the motion, and the motion passed unanimously. Mr. Ahrens then pointed out that there was a third parcel in the area which the Planning Commission might want to include, and the Commission concurred on the amendment of the motion to include the third parcel along Stadium Drive at the time of the public hearing.

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the Planning Commission, the meeting was adjourned at 9:32 p.m.

OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP
PLANNING COMMISSION

By:
Kathleen Garland-Rike, Secretary
Minutes prepared:
March 2, 2004

Minutes approved:
, 2004