OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS MINUTES

February 7, 2000

CHARLIE PALM - DEPTH-TO-WIDTH RATIO VARIANCE - PROPERTY ON SOUTH SIDE OF H AVENUE (PARCEL NO. 3905-07-130-030)

JEFFERSON COMMONS - SITE PLAN AND VARIANCE - VACANT ACREAGE AT THE END OF NORTH MAPLE HILL DRIVE (PARCEL NO. 3905-12-380-010)

BUFORD - FRONTAGE AND DEPTH-TO-WIDTH VARIANCE - VACANT ACREAGE NORTH OF OAK PARK (PARCEL NO. 3905-15-105-019)

HERITAGE SELECT INC. REALTORS - OVERLAY ZONE PUBLIC UTILITY VARIANCE - 6221 WEST MAIN STREET (PARCEL NO. 3905-14-430-010)

A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Zoning Board of Appeals on Monday, February 7, 2000, commencing at approximately 3:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township.

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

MEMBER ABSENT:
None

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

CALL TO ORDER

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

MINUTES

The Board considered the minutes of the meeting of January 17, 2000. Mr. Loy moved to approve the minutes as submitted, and Ms. Kuntzman seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

CHARLES PALM - DEPTH-TO-WIDTH RATIO VARIANCE - PROPERTY ON SOUTH SIDE OF H AVENUE (PARCEL NO. 3905-07-130-030)

The Board next considered the application of Charles Palm and Jacalyn Ziehm for a variance from Section 66.201 to allow the parcel to exceed the 4-to-1 depth-to-width ratio requirement of the Ordinance. The subject property is on the south side of H Avenue, between Van Kal Street and Second Street (Parcel No. 3905-07-130-030).

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

Ms. Bugge indicated that the subject 33.9 acre parcel is owned by Kenneth Pioch and is vacant. A letter from Mr. Pioch urging the variance be granted was referenced. The applicant sought to purchase the parcel and construct one single family home on the southern portion of the property. However, the parcel is considered unbuildable because the depth is more than four times the mean width. The depth-to-width is 4.7-to-1. Parcel frontage and area meets the Ordinance criteria.

The applicant, Charles Palm, was present to answer questions from the Board. He reiterated that he and Ms. Ziehm are seeking to purchase the property to construct a single family home.

The Chairperson sought public comment, and Ken Pioch stated that he had purchased the property in 1972 as an investment for retirement. The variance was necessary to allow him to sell the property. He felt that one home on approximately 34 acres should be approved.

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

The Chairperson made reference to other similar variances granted in the past. He felt that there would be "no problem" with this variance due to the granting of those similar applications.

Ms. Kuntzman agreed, and stated that, since no landlocked parcels would be created by this variance, it was appropriate. Ms. Bugge stated that there were no landlocked parcels at present, and this variance would not create any. She also commented that there was access to interior lands. It was pointed out that other parcels in the area are similar in depth.

Mr. Loy commented that, since the frontage and area of the parcel conform to the Ordinance requirements, he would agree that a variance was appropriate.

Mr. Corakis moved to grant the variance from the 4-to-1 depth-to-width ratio requirement of Section 66.201 and allow the subject property to be buildable with the following analysis:

(1) That conformance was unnecessarily burdensome in that, although the parcel could be made conforming by dividing it, a landlocked parcel would be created by such a division.

(2) That substantial justice would weigh in favor of granting the variance in that other similar applications had been granted, and based upon the character of the area.

(3) That the spirit and intent of the Ordinance would be served by granting the variance in that no landlocked parcels would be created, and there would be access to interior lands.

Ms. Kuntzman seconded the motion. Mr. Bushouse questioned whether the applicant could later establish an accessory building without returning for an additional variance, and it was clarified that the applicant could build anything permitted on the property, with this variance, that could be established on a parcel meeting the 4-to-1 depth-to-width ratio requirement.

Upon a vote on the motion, the motion carried unanimously.

JEFFERSON COMMONS - SITE PLAN AND VARIANCE - VACANT ACREAGE AT THE END OF NORTH MAPLE HILL DRIVE (PARCEL NO. 3905-12-380-010)

The applicant, JPI Apartment Development, L.P., requests a site plan review and variance from Sections 24.207(d) for a proposed 240-unit multi-family development served by one access point on a public street on 30 acres north of Maple Hill Drive. The property is Parcel No. 3905-12-380-010. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

It was pointed out that the property is 60 acres in size; the southern half is zoned in the "R-4" Residential District, and the balance is within the "R-3" Residential District zoning classification. The applicant was seeking to develop the southern 30 acres zoned "R-4". The applicant proposed a 240-unit student apartment complex. At this time, the applicant proposed no use for the northern half.

The property has frontage on North Maple Hill Drive for approximately 390 feet. There is an easement over the property for a future extension of Maple Hill Drive to the north.

Section 24.207 of the Zoning Ordinance requires multi-family developments to have a minimum of two access points connecting to a public street. However, the Access Management Guidelines identify multi-family units with 500 or more dwellings as warranting a second access.

Ms. Stefforia stated that the proposed project meets Ordinance requirements except that two access points to a public street are not provided. Ms. Stefforia reminded the Zoning Board of Appeals that it had interpreted that the provisions of Section 24.207(d) are applicable in determining whether to grant a variance from the access requirement, not the general non-use variance criteria. She felt that the Board could consider conditioning approval on the provision of another access if the property to the north were developed.

In response to questions from the Chairperson, Ms. Stefforia pointed out that the Fire Department had approved one access point and the circulation layout as proposed.

Sally Rawlings was present on behalf of the applicant, along with their Engineer, Tim Woodhams of Gove Associates. She stated that the applicant hopes to break ground on the project in late April or early May.

Mr. Corakis had questions with regard to the clubhouse and other amenities, and it was stated that these would be private, for residents' use only. The project would be directed towards students of K College, Western Michigan University, etc., but the applicant hoped to attracted a wide range of tenants.

Mr. Loy asked whether the project would be phased, and the applicants responded that the entire project would be constructed at once, and they hoped to open in August of 2001. Due to the number of four bedroom units, there would be approximately 700 bedrooms in the project.

As to whether an additional connection could be established to Maple Hill Drive once extended, it was indicated that the west middle drive could be extended to connect.

Mr. Bushouse commented that he would like to see an inter-connection with the property to the north. The applicants agreed that they would be willing to put in an
easement for Fire Department and emergency access with a crash gate, but did not want a general cross access arrangement with the property to the north.

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

The Chairperson recognized that substantial justice would weigh in favor of granting the variance in that similar applications had been granted in the past. He cited the Pinehurst and Chestnut Hills Apartments. Further, the Access Management Guidelines supported one access point for the project based on the number of dwelling units.

Mr. Bushouse and Mr. Corakis agreed with the stipulation that a Fire Department access be provided to reach the property to the north.

After further discussion, Mr. Loy moved to grant the variance to allow the project to have one access point from a public street based on the preceding discussion with the following conditions:

(1) That a Fire Department/Rescue/Emergency access be provided to the north boundary of the development.

(2) That Maple Hill Mall Drive must be extended if the northern 30 acres is developed.

The motion was seconded by Ms. Kuntzman, and it carried unanimously.

The Board discussed site plan review, and Mr. Loy moved to approve the site plan with the following conditions, limitations and notations:

(1) That one access point would be provided from Maple Hill Drive to serve the subject site. The approval was subject to review and approval of this driveway/access point by the Kalamazoo County Road Commission.

(2) That the perimeter of the southern 30 acres not be disturbed as indicated on the plan.

(3) That all lighting comply with Section 78.700.

(4) That dumpster enclosure details be provided to Township staff for review and approval.

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

(6) That the site plan is subject to the review and approval and conditions imposed by the Township Engineer.

(7) That an earth change permit from the Kalamazoo County Drain Commissioner's Office be required before any earth work could begin.

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

BUFORD - FRONTAGE AND DEPTH-TO-WIDTH VARIANCE - VACANT ACREAGE NORTH OF OAK PARK (PARCEL NO. 3905-15-105-019)

The Board considered the application of Jim Buford for a variance from Section 66.201 to allow a land division which results in the creation of a parcel without 200 feet of frontage on a public street pending development of that parcel. The land division would also create a parcel which exceeded the depth-to-width ratio requirement of the Ordinance. The subject property is on the east side of North 6th Street, immediately north of Oak Park Residential site condominium within the "AG" Agricultural Zoning District classification. The property is Parcel No. 3905-15-105-019.

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

The subject property is 46.7 acres in size. The applicant is seeking to divide property to create three parcels. Two parcels would be created out of approximately 16 acres that front on 6th Street, and the balance of about 30 acres would be left for future expansion of the existing subdivision. The third parcel, or balance, would not have 200 feet of frontage on a public street. However, the outlots within Oak Park would be extended in order to continue a public street to the north, providing development options for the balance of the property. A variance to allow the creation of this parcel without 200 feet of frontage at the present time would be required. Additionally, as to the two parcels which would be created from the front 16 acres, the southern half would exceed the depth-to-width ratio requirement. Both of these parcels would meet frontage and area requirements.

Ms. Stefforia noted that the Zoning Board of Appeals had in the past granted temporary variances where land divisions would create parcels with no or sub-standard frontage. Such variances were typically conditioned upon no development occurring on the non-conforming acreage until a street is extended to provide the required frontage.

Ms. Stefforia noted that the approval of Oak Park had required a second access to 6th Street when Phase II of the development was established on the subject property. The
applicant noted that an extension of the cul-de-sac previously proposed in this area was not possible due to the "drop-off" in topography.

The Chairperson questioned the applicant with regard to the proposed plan for the 16 acres that fronted on 6th Street. The applicant responded that it was his plan to sell the acreage, and as he understood it, the northern eight acres would be developed with only a single family home. The southern parcel would also only contain one home.

Mr. Corakis was concerned that the access onto 6th Street for the existing Oak Park residential development was problematic due to sight visibility problems turning out of the project. He was concerned about dividing the front 16 acres and allowing potentially two more access points. Mr. Loy was also concerned about the possibility that each of the eight acre parcels could be developed with a separate plat or site condominium development, which would have their own access road. He was concerned that such intersections would not be adequately spaced. Ms. Stefforia stated that she felt that, under no circumstances, would the Kalamazoo County Road Commission allow two streets to be established in that 400-foot stretch of 6th Street.

Public comment was offered, and Mr. Alfred Altenbernt had questions about the possibilities for development of the property. It was pointed out that no mobile home parks or multi-family developments would be allowed. Mr. Buford stated that he would deed restrict this land so that, if developed with a residential subdivision, it would be similar to the existing Oak Park subdivision.

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

The applicant stated that he would be willing to include a public road easement to the Township, 66 feet wide, running along the east/west line of the proposed Parcels 1 and 2. This easement would allow for a public road which straddled the two parcels, which could be utilized if they were developed with a platted or site condominium subdivision. Such a variance would alleviate the concerns of the Board with regard to the creation of two parcels, each of which would have an intersection with 6th Street.

Mr. Loy moved to grant a variance to allow the land division as proposed by the applicant to create three parcels, one without adequate frontage, and one exceeding the 4-to-1 depth-to-width ratio requirement, with the following conditions:

(1) That an easement, 66 feet wide, along the east/west line of Parcels 1 and 2 (i.e., the front 16 acres) to the depth of the north parcel would be executed, recorded and on file with the Township. The easement would be to the Township so as to allow the creation of a public road thereon.

(2) That no development of Parcel 3 (the balance acreage) would be permitted until a public road was extended into the acreage, and the acreage satisfied all dimensional requirements of the Ordinance.

The motion was seconded by Ms. Kuntzman, and carried 3-to 2 1 with Mr. Bushouse and Mr. Corakis voting in opposition.

HERITAGE SELECT, INC. REALTORS - OVERLAY ZONE PUBLIC UTILITY VARIANCE - 6221 WEST MAIN STREET (PARCEL NO. 3905-14-430-010)

The Board considered the application of Robert Asher and Catherine Gasper of Heritage Select, Inc. Realtors for a variance from Section 50.500(i) to allow conversion of an existing dwelling for a real estate office where the Ordinance requires the provision of public water and sewer for non-residential uses in the 9th Street Focus Area Overlay Zone. The subject property is located at 6221 West Main Street in the 9th Street Overlay Zone; the underlying zone is "R-2" Residential. The Parcel No. is 3905-14-430-010. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Stefforia stated that this was the first request for office development in the Overlay Zone. The subject property contains a 1,900 square foot house built in 1947. The property is 1.74 acres in area. Section 50.000 requires the provision of public water and sewer. Water and sewer are not available to the property at this time. Both of the utilities are approximately 1,000 feet from the site. The applicants are willing to connect to utilities when they become available.

The Planning Commission had approved the proposed development and recommended a variance. The Planning Director also recommended a variance on the condition that there be mandatory hook-up within three months of the utilities becoming available to the property.

The applicants were present, indicating that they were available to answer questions.

The Board members felt that, given the fact that the office would be located in an existing dwelling, and given the size of the proposed office at approximately 1,900 square feet (where up to the 10,000 square foot office is allowed), requiring public water and sewer would be unnecessarily burdensome. The Board members agreed that granting a variance would not set a negative precedent in that large scale office development would still be required to obtain public water and sewer service.

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

Mr. Loy moved to approve the variance with the condition that the subject site be connected and serviced by public water and/or sewer within three months of their availability in front or along side the property. The variance was based upon the size and scale of the proposed office development and the distance of the utilities from the subject property. It was felt that given these factors, conformance was unnecessarily burdensome, substantial justice would be served by granting the variance, and the variance would be in accord with the spirit and intent of the Ordinance. Mr. Corakis seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

OTHER BUSINESS

Ms. Stefforia noted the revised Year End Report which had been provided to Board Members.

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 4:40 p.m.

Minutes Prepared:
February 10, 2000

Minutes Approved:
February 28, 2000

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