OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS MINUTES

FEBRUARY 28, 2000

HERITAGE CHRISTIAN ACADEMY - SIGN VARIANCE - 6312 QUAIL RUN DRIVE -(PARCEL NO. 3905-23-405-020)

HOLLENBECK CONSTRUCTION - SITE PLAN REVIEW - OSHTEMO BUSINESS PARK - (PARCEL NO. 3905-35-455-012)

MARTIN HOMES - SETBACK VARIANCE - 9112 WEST KL AVENUE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-20-282-100)

DONALD C. SIRRINE, JR. - VARIANCE TO RE-ESTABLISH NON-CONFORMING RESIDENCE - 8339 WEST H AVENUE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-09-205-032)

HAYWARD - VARIANCE TO RE-ESTABLISH NON-CONFORMING RESIDENCE - 3418 CHIME STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-35-135-070).

A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Zoning Board of Appeals on Monday, February 28, 2000, commencing at approximately 3:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township.

MEMBERS PRESENT:
Thomas Brodasky, Chairperson
Millard Loy
David Bushouse
Ted Corakis

MEMBER ABSENT:
Sharon Kuntzman

Also present were Mary Lynn Bugge, Township Planner, Patricia R. Mason, Township Attorney, and ten other interested persons.

CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order at 3:05 p.m.

MINUTES

The Board considered the minutes of the meeting of February 7, 2000. The Chairperson suggested a change to page 8 to indicate that the motion had carried 3-to-2. Mr. Corakis moved to approve the minutes as amended, and Mr. Loy seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

HERITAGE CHRISTIAN ACADEMY - SIGN VARIANCE - 6312 QUAIL RUN DRIVE -(PARCEL NO. 3905-23-405-020)

The Board considered the application of Heritage Christian Academy for a variance from Section 76.120 to allow a second identification sign at the subject site along the property’s 9th Street frontage at 6312 Quail Run Drive. The site is located in the "R-4" Residential District zoning classification, and it is Parcel No. 3905-23-405-020. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is included herein by reference.

Ms. Bugge reported that the school has a 30 square foot sign at the entrance on Quail Run Drive. Section 76.120 allows one 30 square foot identification sign for properties within the "R-4" District. The applicant was requesting a variance, which would allow a second 30 square foot sign along 9th Street.

The property is 42 acres in size with 1,500 feet of frontage on 9th Street an 150 feet of frontage on Quail Run Drive. The access point for the property is located on Quail Run Drive.

Richard Tyler was present on behalf of the applicant. The Chairperson asked whether there were plans for a second access point on 9th Street. The applicant responded that, in a future expansion of the school, a second access point may be added. At the present, the access was on Quail Run Drive. The applicant stated that they were seeking a second sign because of the indications from the public that it was difficult to find the school. Mr. Tyler stated that, because of the way the building was situated on the property, it was hard to see the site from 9th Street.

Mr. Bushouse commented that, since the property had a Quail Run address, he would think that most traffic would seek the site on Quail Run Drive rather than requiring an identification sign on 9th Street.

Mr. Loy stated that he was concerned about placing another 30 square foot sign on this property when many other similar applicants had been denied in previous years. He noted that it had been the applicant’s option to place the sign permitted by the Ordinance at the Quail Run entrance rather than along 9th Street. He was concerned that a future entrance point on 9th Street would be located farther to the north than the location at which the second sign was proposed.

After further discussion, Ms. Bugge noted that under the proposed sign text revisions being considered by the Township Board, the property would still be allowed only one free-standing sign of 30 square feet in area.

The Chairperson was concerned about setting a precedent when the sign provisions of the Ordinance had just been fully reviewed by the Planning Commission.

Mr. Bushouse was also concerned about consistency with past decisions, noting that the credit union in the area, as well as other businesses, had been restricted as to their signage to that which was allowed in the Ordinance.

The Chairperson asked for public comment, and Nancy Labadie stated that she was a teacher and agreed that another sign was needed at the school.

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

Mr. Bushouse moved to deny a variance and limit the site to one 30 square foot sign as allowed in the Ordinance, with the following reasoning:

(1) That conformance with the Ordinance was not unnecessarily burdensome. The Zoning Ordinance allowed one sign at the property, and it was felt that the Quail Run address would provide sufficient information as to how to locate the property.

(2) That substantial justice would weigh in favor of denying the variance, in that other similar applications had been denied.

(3) That there were no unique physical limitations on the property which prevented compliance with the Ordinance.

(4) That the hardship was self-created, and that the location of the existing sign and access point were at the discretion of the applicant.

(5) That a variance would be contrary to the spirit and intent of the Ordinance in that the Planning Commission had recently reviewed the sign provisions of the text and made a recommendation to the Township.

Mr. Corakis seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

HOLLENBECK CONSTRUCTION - SITE PLAN REVIEW - OSHTEMO BUSINESS PARK - (PARCEL NO. 3905-35-455-012)

The Board next considered the application of Hollenbeck Construction for a site plan review of a proposed 62,000 square foot industrial building to be established within the Oshtemo Business Park, located on the east side of 9th Street, in Land Section 35, in the "I-R" Industrial, Restricted District. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Bugge noted that the applicant is proposing the 62,000 square foot building as part of the Phase III of the Oshtemo Business Park. The proposed building would mirror the other buildings, one which was nearly complete, and the other which was under construction. All buildings share storm water management facilities and have coordinated internal circulation. Access to the Park is via 9th Street through a center road called Technology Avenue. In addition, the Park is served by two access points from N Avenue.

Mr. Corakis had questions as to whether there was occupancy of Building 2. Scott Paddock, Ordinance Enforcement Officer, was present, and stated that he believed that the user occupying Building 2, had a certificate of occupancy.

Jerry Eckhoff, the architect for the project, was present on behalf of the applicant. He stated that he believed the applicant had addressed all issues raised by the Planning Department and the Fire Department.

Mr. Bushouse had questions about the screening along N Avenue, which Ms. Bugge indicated would have to be established as required on previous approvals.

Mr. Paddock indicated that there some violations at the site with regard to signage in that individual tenants had established banner signs.

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

Mr. Loy moved to approve the site plan for establishment of this third building at the site, as requested by the applicant, with the following conditions, limitations and notations:

(1) That access to the site would be as previously approved for Phases I and II.

(2) That the parking lot layout was approved as proposed. Additionally, it was approved that 114 spaces be constructed, and that the area along the east property line be reserved for an additional 46 spaces. This area for 46 spaces would be reserved and must be constructed with parking if it was determined by the Township that existing parking was inadequate.

(3) That no outdoor storage was proposed or approved.

(4) That all site lighting comply with the requirements of Section 78.700 of the Zoning Ordinance.

(5) That no identification signage be placed on the property except in compliance with Section 76 of the Zoning Ordinance approved through the permit process.

(6) That landscaping must be installed consistent with the approved site plan before occupancy is permitted, or a performance guaranty in an amount to be determined based upon the value of the required landscaping must be provided.

(7) That the site is subject to the review and approval and conditions imposed by the Township Fire Department.

(8) That the approval is subject to the review and acceptance of the site engineering is adequate by the Township Engineer.

(9) That an Environmental Permits Checklist and Hazardous Substance Reporting Form be provided by each tenant for the subject building.

(10) That no building permit be issued for establishing the Phase III building until all Ordinance violations in Phases I and II were rectified.

(11) That an Environmental Permits Checklist and a Hazardous Substances Reporting Form must be completed and provided for all tenants locating in any building in this development.

Mr. Corakis seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

MARTIN HOMES - SETBACK VARIANCE - 9112 WEST KL AVENUE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-20-282-100)

The Board considered the application of Daniel Kern of Martin Homes and Brian and Nancy Labadie for a variance from Section 64.100 to allow the establishment of a new house on Lot 10 of the Nature Way Plat at 9112 West KL Avenue. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Bugge noted that Lot 10 is the only lot of the Plat which faces KL Avenue, and the lot is 143 feet deep. The required building setback is 70 feet from the right-of-way. The current building setback, as measured from the center line, is 20 feet greater than when the lot was created.

It was noted that the applicants wish to place a manufactured home and basement on the subject property. The placement of the dwelling and septic system is limited by the location of a storm water drainage easement on the east 90 feet of the property.

Ms. Bugge noted that there were discussions with the County Human Services Department to determine where the applicants would be permitted to place a septic system and reserve area. There was concern that the Health Department would allow for establishment of the septic system only to the rear of the lot which would require placement of the home within the setback.

Ms. Bugge noted that adjacent parcels had homes which were set back approximately 100 feet from the center line of KL Avenue.

Daniel Kern of Martin Homes was present, stating that he believed that there would not be enough room for the establishment of the septic and a reserve area except to the rear of the property. Mr. Bushouse disagreed, stating that he believed that, given the configuration of the property, it was likely the Health Department would allow for establishment of the area in front.

There was discussion of the need to accommodate the future location of a garage on the site.

Mr. Loy stated that he would be in favor of granting a variance to allow the home established on the property to be in alignment with other homes in the area.

In response to a question from Mr. Corakis, it was indicated that the subject site would be served by public water.

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

Mr. Corakis moved to grant a variance of 34 feet (to allow a home to be placed 36 feet from the right-of-way line) unless the County Human Services Department approved a location for a septic system and reserve area alternative to establishment in the rear of the property. Moreover, even if an alternative location were permitted by the County Human Services Department, Mr. Corakis further moved that a 20 foot variance (allowing the home to be established 50 feet from the right-of-way) be approved so as to allow alignment of the home with other area residences. Mr. Corakis reasoned:

(1) That conformance was unnecessarily burdensome due to the necessity to place the septic system at the site, and the fact that this was a lot which pre-dated existing setback provisions.

(2) That substantial justice would weigh in favor of granting the variance in that allowing a variance to the property would permit a residence to be established in character with other area residences. Further, a variance would allow establishment of a septic system and reserve area at the property.

(3) That there were unique physical circumstances requiring a variance, due to the fact that building area and the area for a septic system and reserve was limited by the 90 foot easement for storm water drainage on the property.

Mr. Loy seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

DONALD C. SIRRINE, JR. - VARIANCE TO RE-ESTABLISH NON-CONFORMING RESIDENCE - 8339 WEST H AVENUE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-09-205-032)

The Board considered the application of Donald C. Sirrine, Jr. for a variance from Section 62.000 to allow the re-establishment of a house on a foundation that does not satisfy the setback requirements of the Zoning Ordinance. The subject property is located at 8339 West H Avenue within the "AG" Agricultural-Rural Zoning District classification, and is Parcel No. 3905-09-205-032. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

It was noted that the original residence on the subject site was destroyed by fire on December 26, 1990. At that time, the original farm house was approximately 100 years old. A building permit was granted in 1991 for the placement of a foundation and a manufactured home on the subject site, even though the setback as proposed was not in conformance with the 70 feet required in the Ordinance. However, subsequently, the Township adopted Section 64.210, which rendered all non-conforming residential buildings existing as of March 11, 1996, as legal non-conforming structures.

On March 13, 1999, the new residence was destroyed by fire, but the foundation remains, and has been certified structurally sound by a licensed engineer. The applicant sought to re-establish a house on the existing foundation.

In response to questions from Mr. Bushouse regarding the three small lots to the west, Ms. Bugge indicated that the residences on the two developed parcels were within the setbacks, as was the house to the north, but were legally non-conforming. It was pointed out that there was a well and septic, as well as existing outbuildings at the subject site.

The applicant was present, and stated that he was looking to build on the property and had believed that the foundation was in compliance with the Ordinance standards. He felt that there might be some question as to whether the home was 50 percent destroyed by the March, 1999 fire. However, it had now been demolished. Ms. Bugge indicated that the Township did not know at the time the home was demolished that the foundation was legally non-conforming.

Mr. Corakis asked how far the well and septic were from the foundation, and the applicant estimated 45 feet. The foundation was a "full basement foundation". The applicant indicated that he had put in floor trusses and flooring pursuant to the requirement of the last Zoning Board of Appeals meeting which required the foundation to be capped as a condition of granting a variance to permit a land division.

The Chairperson called for public comment, and Conrad Tisland, who lives west of the property, commented that he was in support of granting the variance. He stated that in 1991, he had a survey performed, which indicated that his residence was 100 feet from the center line of the road. Ms. Bugge stated that, according to Township information, the Tisland home was 64 feet from the right-of-way.

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

It was noted that in other cases where a variance had been denied, a "new foundation" which had not been placed in conformance with the Ordinance and the issued building permit was involved. Previous cases of a pre-existing foundation had been granted.

Mr. Loy moved to grant a variance to allow the re-establishment of the home on the existing foundation with the following reasoning:

(1) That substantial justice would weigh in favor of granting the variance in that it would be in character with the setbacks of other area residences.

(2) That a variance would be consistent with the Board’s actions granting other similar variance applications.

(3) That the existing well and septic, as well as out-buildings, limited the placement options of the applicant. Therefore, conformance was unnecessarily burdensome, and there were unique features of the property which prevented conformance.

Mr. Corakis seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

HAYWARD - VARIANCE TO RE-ESTABLISH NON-CONFORMING RESIDENCE - 3418 CHIME STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-35-135-070).

The Board next discussed the application of Eugenia, Carl and Susan Hayward for a variance from Section 62.000 to allow re-establishment of a house in the location of a home which was destroyed by fire. The proposed location does not satisfy the setback requirements of the Zoning Ordinance. The subject property is located at 3418 Chime Street within the "C" Local Business District zoning classification. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Bugge noted that the applicants would like to place the new house at the location similar to the old house, which house had pre-existed the Zoning Ordinance setback of 70 feet from the right of way. The homes on the same side of Chime Street have setbacks ranging from approximately 36 to 42 feet from the center line of the road.

Mr. Corakis indicated that he had property within 300 feet of the subject site, but felt that he could be impartial and would have no financial interest. The applicant did not object to his acting on the proposed variance, and the Township Attorney indicated she thought of no requirement that Mr. Corakis abstain.

It was pointed out that the subject property is within the Village Focus Area, and Ms. Bugge presented photographs of the site in the area.

Mr. Loy noted that the Village Focus Area plan and the proposed text for the Village Commercial District were intended to reduce setbacks in the area. A possibility of zero setbacks was proposed. Further, the area encouraged parking to the rear and a mixture of commercial with residential uses. Given the Focus Area plan, Mr. Loy felt that the proposed variance would be in keeping with the Master Land Use Plan.

The Chairperson agreed, stating that if the home were established in conformance with setback, it would look "odd", given the character of the area. It was pointed out that both the Adams and Logsden applications, which were similar, had been approved and were also located on Chime Street. The applicant was present to answer questions.

No public comment was offered, and the public hearing was closed.

Mr. Corakis moved to grant a variance to allow the establishment of the residence in approximately the same location as the prior lawful non-conforming home which had been destroyed by fire. He reasoned that the variance would allow establishment of the residence in keeping with the Village Focus Area plan and the intent of the Ordinance. Further, a variance would be in keeping with the general area and would serve substantial justice in that it would be consistent with other similar applications which had been granted. Mr. Loy seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned

Minutes Prepared:

March 2, 2000