OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

PLANNING COMMISSION

January 22, 2004

Agenda

9th STREET VENTURE PLAT - TENTATIVE APPROVAL OF PRELIMINARY PLAT - 9th STREET AND WEST MAIN STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-14-155-070)

WEST POINTE CONDOMINIUMS (GRANGER GROUP) - SPECIAL EXCEPTION USE AMENDMENT - SITE PLAN REVIEW - EAST SIDE OF NORTH 10th STREET - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-13-125-001 THROUGH 3905-13-125-115)

REVIEW OF CITY OF KALAMAZOO PROPOSED COMPREHENSIVE PLAN AMENDMENT

REVIEW OF CITY OF PORTAGE PROPOSED COMPREHENSIVE PLAN AMENDMENT

A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Planning Commission on Thursday, January 22, 2004, commencing at approximately 7:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Neil G. Sikora, Chairperson
Deborah L. Everett
Kathleen Garland-Rike
Terry Schley
Lee Larson
Mike Ahrens

MEMBER ABSENT: James Turcott

Also present were Jodi Stefforia, Planning Director; Mary Lynn Bugge, Township Planner; Patricia R. Mason, Township Attorney; and approximately 20 other interested persons.

CALL TO ORDER

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

AGENDA

Mr. Larson moved to approve the Agenda as submitted. Mr. Ahrens seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

MINUTES

The Planning Commission considered the minutes of the meeting of January 8, 2004. Mr. Schley moved to approve the minutes as submitted, and Mr. Larson seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

9th STREET VENTURE PLAT - TENTATIVE APPROVAL OF PRELIMINARY PLAT - 9th STREET AND WEST MAIN STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-14-155-070)

The Planning Commission reviewed the proposed 9th Street Venture Plat, a one-lot commercial plat, located near the northwest corner of 9th Street and West Main Street. The proposed plat would consist of the remainder portion of Parcel No. 3905-14-155-070, which is located in the "C" Local Business District zoning classification. The Report of the Planning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Bugge stated that the applicant is developing the main portion of the parcel as the Belle Tire site. The remainder of the parcel would make up the one-lot plat. The area of the proposed lot is 21,214 square feet, in excess of the minimum requirement of the Ordinance, and the width at the building setback of 120 feet is met. No direct access to North 9th Street is proposed in accordance with the previous approval of the Menards' development. Access for the proposed plat from the existing development's driveways to 9th Street and West Main through an easement on the Belle Tire site would be provided. However, Ms. Bugge stated that, in order to meet the State requirements for land division, the Township's Land Division Ordinance text should be modified to allow access from an internal private drive, rather than from a public street. She suggested that any recommendation for approval prohibit direct access to 9th Street subject to the adoption of a text modification for plat access through an internal private drive.

Ms. Bugge reviewed the criteria of Section 290.200, noting that the proposed plat was in compliance. Specifically with regard to Section 290.202A, Ms. Bugge stated that a 50-foot street right-of-way must be deeded to the Kalamazoo County Road Commission. This right-of-way would be along 9th Street. Direct access to 9th Street would be prohibited, however, access would be provided through the established driveways of the Menards' site, subject to the adoption of a text modification by the Township Board. An easement over the Belle Tire site must be provided. It was noted that the proposed lot complies with the remainder of the Section.

Tim Timmons was present, representing the applicant, along with the engineer of the project. He stated that he was available for questions.

Mr. Ahrens moved to recommend tentative approval of the preliminary plat subject to the following:

(1) No direct access to 9th Street; access must be provided from an internal private drive through the Belle Tire site; an easement for shared access must be recorded and on file with the Township.

(2) A 50-foot street right-of-way must be dedicated to the Kalamazoo County Road Commission.

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

WEST POINTE CONDOMINIUMS (GRANGER GROUP) - SPECIAL EXCEPTION USE AMENDMENT - SITE PLAN REVIEW - EAST SIDE OF NORTH 10th STREET - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-13-125-001 THROUGH 3905-13-125-115)

The Planning Commission considered the special exception use and site plan review of proposed amendments to the West Pointe Condominiums project. The developer is proposing to replace 58 previously-approved dwelling units with nine (9) 10,000-square-foot office buildings. The subject property is located on the east side of North 10th Street in the "R-3" Residence District zoning classification, and is Parcels Nos. 3905-13-125-001 through 3905-13-125-115.

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

A depiction of the proposed plan was displayed. Ms. Bugge reminded the Planning Commission that the applicant had received special exception use and site plan approval for 114 residential condominium units contained in 30 buildings on October 16, 2000. Three of the buildings with 12 dwelling units and portions of the private drives and other infrastructure had been constructed. The applicant was requesting an amendment to allow the replacement of 58 dwelling units in 15 buildings with nine 10,000-square-foot office buildings. The office buildings would be located on the east side of the property adjacent to U.S. 131. If approved, the total building area would be reduced by approximately 27,000 square feet, but due to the parking lots, open space would be decreased by 12%, to a total of 60% open space for this site. The existing access drive from 10th Street would be used, and cross access was proposed to the West Pointe Office Center south of the subject property. This would permit use of another existing 10th Street driveway. The applicant was proposing to retain 15 residential buildings with 56 dwelling units.

Ms. Bugge stated that, based upon traffic studies conducted previously for this and the adjacent site, the proposed change would result in a net increase of approximately 186 traffic trips per day on weekdays over the previously approved residential use. However, since office use would not normally take place on weekends, she estimated 580 less trips on weekend days than what would have occurred if the residential buildings were constructed. Ms. Bugge felt that this would have a minor impact on the capacity of North 10th Street. Further, the traffic to the proposed office buildings would be heading in the opposite direction to the residential traffic in the area.

Ms. Bugge reviewed the criteria of Section 82.800. Cross access as proposed was discussed and would need to be redesigned. It was noted that the applicant would require a commercial driveway permit from the Kalamazoo County Road Commission. She stated that the parking proposed was in compliance with ordinance standards. With regard to the proposed gate in the north parking lot between the residential and office portions, the Township Fire Department was satisfied with the proposal of the applicant. Although the number of parking spaces proposed were sufficient, some modification for accessible spaces would need to be made.

As to lighting, Ms. Bugge felt that the lighting as proposed was excessive for the site and required redesign. She stated that the fixtures indicated on the plan were not sharp cut-off as required and that the plan did not meet the footcandle limitation at the perimeter of the site. The proposed lighting was not "subdued in character" as is required in "R-3" zoning. It was suggested that any approval be subject to submission of a light fixture detail and lighting plan in conformance with the Ordinance.

There was discussion of proposed landscaping. On the north, adjacent to "R-2" zoning, the applicant was proposing a type "C" greenspace 20 feet wide. Ms. Bugge suggested that the Planning Commission consider whether this was adequate. She noted that the last office approval in a "R-3" zone, adjacent to an existing dwelling in the "R-2" District had been approved with a type "F" greenspace, 35 feet wide. Adjacent to highway U.S. 131, a type "B" landscaping to the north and south had been suggested. The plan also indicating existing vegetation would be retained. Township Staff was satisfied with type "B" except in the area where vegetation meeting the Township's requirement is sufficient. Therefore, the applicant should provide a type "B" greenspace on the east with credit for existing vegetation. At the south, a minimum of type "C" was required, and Township Staff suggested that type "C" was appropriate. On the west side, it was noted that this area had previously been approved with a type "B" greenspace in addition to retaining existing trees. The trees within Pond No. 1 had deteriorated, and the applicant was proposing to remove the dead and dying trees from the pond and place replacement plantings along 10th Street. It was noted that the applicant would be required to replace materials in conformance with a type "B" landscaping along the west side.

As to parking lot landscaping, it was noted that the plan met or exceeded the number of canopy trees required. However, no low-growing shrubs had been suggested within the parking lot island. Further, some parking islands did not meet the 10-foot requirement width for planting areas. It was suggested that the parking lot islands be approved to contain a 10-foot-wide planting area and plant material in accordance with the Ordinance requirements.

Landscaping is also proposed adjacent to the parking areas and the drive to the southern office park. This landscaping would act as a buffer between the residential and office uses.

Ms. Bugge noted that the plan did not differentiate between existing and proposed grading based on the proposed site layout. It was noted that a site grading plan indicating current grading and proposed changes must be submitted to the Township for review.

As to the proposed buildings, their suggested height was in excess of that allowed by the Ordinance. The applicant was proposing to continue the style and height of building in the office park to the south. This would require a height variance.

As to drainage, Ms. Bugge noted that the Township Engineer would review the plan to determine whether the proposed drainage system was adequate to meet the requirement of on-site retention of stormwater.

The criteria for office development in the "R-3" District contained in Section 23.404 was reviewed.

Harry Wierenga was present on behalf of the applicant. He stated that the office park to the south had been successful, but there were slow sales on the residential condominium portion of the development. Concerning access, the access to the south was existing but could be revised if necessary. The gate was proposed to the north so that traffic would not pass through the residential area to the office park. Mr. Wierenga stated that landscaping would be provided, but the applicant prefers canopy trees. There were questions for the applicant concerning the timing of removal of the dead trees along the west side and replanting, and he stated that this would probably take place in the spring. As to grading, he stated that they had tried to work as closely as possible with the reconfigured topography of the site as it exists today. The "erosion problem" had been worked on during the fall. He stated that lighting would be brought closer to compliance with the Ordinance as to footcandles at the perimeter, and the number of fixtures would be reduced. They would also reduce the height of fixtures to 20 feet. The lighting unit would be a shoe-box or sharp cut-off fixture, and the use of Bollards lighting would be considered. He stated that the applicant understood that they needed a height variance for the buildings, but this was a continuation of the same style as the buildings to the south. The applicant would submit a detailed landscaping plan.

There were questions for the applicant's representative concerning the "phasing" of the site. He stated that the site was anticipated to be built out in five to seven years. Landscaping and other improvements would be established as buildings were constructed. The applicant's representative had no further specifics as to "phasing" of the improvements to the site.

Ms. Garland-Rike commented that, in the previous approval, the applicant had been required to retain landscaping. However, she was concerned that landscaping had not been retained or had died. Further, she was concerned that there was not enough buffering between the residential condominiums proposed and the office buildings. Further, she did not see that, in certain areas, there would be enough room, given topography and retaining wall construction, for the screening to be established. She also felt that screening would be problematic due to the placement of the pond and the area between the office and residential use. The applicant's representative commented that canopy trees require little area for planting and that there would be "plantings all along the edge" between the two uses.

There was a discussion of requiring landscaping completely around the perimeter in the first phase of building, i.e., with the commencement of Building One. Other improvements would be phases to accompany building construction.

The applicant's representative could give no specific details as to proposed phasing, and was reluctant to indicate that landscaping around the perimeter would be established with the commencement of the first building. The applicant's representative stated that it was preferred that landscaping be installed adjacent to buildings as constructed. The applicant's representative stated that the applicant was interested in knowing whether the Township was in favor of the concept of office use in this area. There was discussion with the representative as to whether the applicant was really seeking a conceptual plan approval. The representative stated that the applicant wanted a special use approval and not merely a conceptual plan approval at this point. The applicant's representative said that the building phasing would probably commence with buildings in the southeast and moving northward.

Mr. Ahrens commented that he could support a motion for special exception use allowing the office use, but felt that perimeter landscaping should be established with the commencement of the first building. Further, he felt that there should be some plantings established between the residential condominiums and offices in the first phase of building. Ms. Bugge stated that she felt there would be a problem with establishing plantings between the residential condos and the offices until the parking lots for each building had been established. However, a performance guarantee for this landscaping could be required in Phase One.

Mr. Schley commented that he was concerned about identifying specific phasing lines since the special exception use approval would only be for one year. He felt that more specifics as to landscaping proposed and the phasing of all site improvements were needed before special exception use approval could be considered. Mr. Larson agreed. Ms. Everett commented that she would not necessarily be opposed to office development in the area but was concerned that the applicant was suggesting building over five to ten years without specifics as to phasing of improvements.

The Chairperson stated that, in concept, he would prefer to see office buildings in this area which would act as a buffer between the residential uses and U.S. 131. However, he also agrees that a clearly phased plan is needed. Additionally, he feels that landscaping around the perimeter is crucial, and a landscaping plan for the entire site is necessary prior to any approval. He felt that it was important for the applicant to bring the landscaping around the condominium project into compliance with previous approvals. In his opinion, there was a need for a lot more specifics prior to approval of the project.

Ms. Garland-Rike noted the statement of purpose for the "R-3" District. She was concerned that the proposed office buildings would not be compatible due to their bulk with residential use in the area. She felt that the buildings could be redesigned to be more compatible in appearance with residential uses in the area. Ms. Everett commented that she did not have a problem with office buildings in this location, but she was concerned about specifics.

The Chairperson noted the options of the Planning Commission, which were to deny the special use after public hearing, table the item before or after public hearing, or the applicant could withdraw his application or request it be tabled. The applicant's representative stated that he wished to hear public comment on the item, but requested that it be tabled so that the applicant could present further information to the Planning Commission.

Given that request, Mr. Ahrens moved to table the item indefinitely so that the applicant could return with additional information and specifics. Mr. Larson seconded the motion.

The Chairperson asked for public comment, and Margaret Cancro, a 10th Street resident, commented that she was concerned that the Commission was in favor of offices in this location without first hearing from the public. She also objected to tabling the item and requested the Commission vote and deny the proposed project. She felt that the applicant had had ample opportunity to bring information before the Planning Commission.

Scott Powers, a resident of the condominium project, stated that the condominium buildings had not been built in any sequence. He agreed that the developer should be required to bring in a phasing plan, or the condominium residents would be likely to have buildings put in haphazardly in the office area. He felt further that there should not be cross access between the residential and commercial development. He was concerned that the offices are two stories and that the condominium units are essentially one story. In his opinion, there should be a tree line barrier between the condominium and office developments, and he also questioned whether this was possible given the location of the pond and other features at the site.

John Carroll stated that the residents nearby had been struggling with the applicant for four years and have endured an "unsuccessful" project. He felt that the developer should first be required to clean up the existing development before a second development is allowed. Moreover, he did not think that the area needed an additional office complex since there are vacancies in other existing developments.

Bonnie Banghart stated that she essentially lives across the street from a "sandbox" since the applicant had allowed the site to go to sand without any plantings or grass to avoid erosion. She felt that the reason the condominium units had not been successful was because the developer had not taken care of details at the site. She felt that the existing site should be addressed before the applicant was allowed to have a new approval.

Ed Hilton was concerned that the pond at the front of the site was located in a different spot on the site than in the original plan. He was concerned that no permit had been issued by the Drain Commissioner. He also cited a problem with mosquitoes from the pond. It was noted that the pond in question was not a public drain but a private retention basin, and therefore, the Drain Commissioner did not have jurisdiction. It was further noted that the Township Engineer had approved the location and specifications of the drainage pond in question.

James Vermeulen also reported problems with the pond. He was concerned that additional stormwater would not be retained within the drainage system at the site in that he already experiences water coming up into his yard from the development.

Rick Knapp stated that he noted 17 items that the Planning Commission had raised issues with. He felt that the Planning Commission should deny the application. He felt that, since the Township had put its trust in the developer, and the development had not complied with that trust within three and a half years, the Township should deny the application.

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

REVIEW OF CITY OF KALAMAZOO PROPOSED COMPREHENSIVE PLAN AMENDMENT

The Planning Commission reviewed the proposed amendments to the City of Kalamazoo's Comprehensive Plan concerning the west side area. The Report of the Planning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Stefforia stated that Township Staff did not find that the future land uses described in the Plan would be inconsistent with existing land uses on the west side of Drake Road within the Township. Staff suggested the following comments:

(1) The proposed parkway intersection with Drake Road align with Green Meadow Drive to both facilitate a mutually beneficial traffic signal as well as meet the minimum warrants to establish it. The Township requested an opportunity to be part of any future study and/or discussion regarding the intersection design and traffic signal placement.

(2) Oshtemo Charter Township is supportive of the Plan improvements of West Michigan Avenue.

(3) Development along Drake Road be required to follow access management principles.

Ms. Garland-Rike moved to authorize Township Staff to transmit a letter to the City of Kalamazoo's Planning Commission identifying the comments as outlined by Township Staff Report. Ms. Everett seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

REVIEW OF CITY OF PORTAGE PROPOSED COMPREHENSIVE PLAN AMENDMENT

The Planning Commission had received a draft copy of proposed amendments to the City of Portage's Comprehensive Plan concerning its update to the major thoroughfare plan found in the transportation chapter. The Report of the Planning Department is incorporated herein by reference. Ms. Stefforia stated that Township Staff had reviewed the full document and found it to essentially be an update regarding future street projects, street classifications, etc.

Ms. Everett moved to authorize Staff to provide a letter to the Planning Commission of the City of Portage, thanking them for allowing the Township's input, but indicating that the Township had no comments on the proposed plan. Upon a vote on the motion, five members voted in favor and Mr. Ahrens was opposed. The motion carried.

PLANNING COMMISSIONER COMMENTS

There was some discussion regarding the proposed office development and the need for information as to exactly what was approved for the site previously when the item returns for Planning Commissioner consideration.

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the Planning Commission, the meeting was adjourned at 9:50 p.m.

OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP
PLANNING COMMISSION

By:
Kathleen Garland-Rike, Secretary

Minutes prepared:
January 27, 2004

Minutes approved:
, 2004