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OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS

January 28, 2003

Agenda

SAGO PROPERTIES, LLC - PARKING SETBACK VARIANCE AND SITE PLAN REVIEW 3477 and 3497 SOUTH 9TH STREET - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-35-212-020, 3905-35-212-030 AND 3905-35-212-040)

METRO, LCC - LIGHTING VARIANCE - 5900 STADIUM DRIVE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-25-305-045)

A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Zoning Board of Appeals on Tuesday, January 28, 2003, commencing at approximately 3:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Millard Loy, Chairperson
Duane McClung
Grace Borgfjord
James Turcott

MEMBER ABSENT: Dave Bushouse

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

CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order at 3:02 p.m.

MINUTES

The Board considered the minutes of the meeting of December 16, 2002. Mr. McClung moved to approve the minutes as submitted, and Ms. Borgfjord seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

SAGO PROPERTIES, LLC - PARKING SETBACK VARIANCE AND SITE PLAN REVIEW - 3477 AND 3497 SOUTH 9TH STREET - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-35-212-020, 3905-35-212-030 AND 3905-35-212-040)

The Board considered the application of Mark Eddy, on behalf of SAGO Properties, LLC, for a variance from Section 33.406 of the Zoning Ordinance so as to allow parking between the building and front property line along Atlantic Avenue, and for site plan review of an 11,860 square foot commercial building to be located on the east side of South 9th Street at Atlantic Avenue. The subject site is located in the "VC" Village Commercial District at 3477 and 3497 South 9th Street, and is comprised of Parcel Nos. 3905-35-212-020, 3950-35-212-030 and 3905-35-212-040.

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

Ms. Bugge reminded the Board that it had granted site plan approval for a two-story building and associated parking for the site in 2000. That approval expired after one year. The owners now wish to develop an 11,860 square foot, single-story commercial building on the parcels which would be combined. Building placement and site layout were essentially the same as on the previously-approved site plan.

It was noted that Section 33.406 prohibits parking between the building and the front property line. This site has two "front yards" along 9th Street and Atlantic Avenue, respectively. The variance would allow parking closer to the Atlantic Avenue right-of-way. It was noted that AT&T has an easement over the first 30 feet off of Atlantic Avenue which precludes placement of a building closer to the street than is shown on the plan. However, the easement does not limit parking in that area.

Ms. Bugge reviewed the criteria of Section 33.400 pertaining to site development standards. The frontage requirement was satisfied. It was noted that the building would be within the 35-foot height limitation. The building satisfied the setback requirements and would be served by public sanitary sewer. The 9th Street sidewalk would be preserved, and a new sidewalk established along Atlantic Avenue.

As to shared parking and access, with the previous approval, the Zoning Board of Appeals had granted a deviation to allow two driveways for the subject site, conditioned upon an easement over the 9th Street driveway for future sharing with the northern abutting parcel and provision for cross-access to the east along with closure of the Atlantic Avenue driveway, if and when a drive or street is established on the abutting Township parcel. The proposed site plan reflected the cross-access to the Township parcel, but an easement to the northern parcel had not been shown.

Ms. Bugge suggested that the Zoning Board of Appeals discuss the building's appearance to determine whether it met the requirements of Section 33.400(9) as to architectural elements.

Ms. Bugge reviewed the variance criteria, noting that the parking proposed by the use exceeded that required under the Ordinance by 30 spaces. Concerning substantial justice, Ms. Bugge noted that the Zoning Board of Appeals had granted a variance to LaRue's Restaurant in July of 2002 for a parking lot expansion at the existing site. Like the subject site, the LaRue site was a triangular shape.

Ms. Bugge suggested that the Board consider whether the 30-foot easement along Atlantic Avenue was a unique physical circumstance, along with the unusual shape of the site, preventing compliance. Concerning whether the hardship was self-created, Ms. Bugge again noted that the parking suggested exceeded that required by the Ordinance for office and retail use. More spaces than indicated might be required if a restaurant use was proposed.

There was a review of the site plan criteria of Section 82.800. It was noted that the applicant was requesting a deviation from the Access Management Guidelines to allow for two access points. The odd configuration of the property limited its internal circulation, and Ms. Bugge felt that the second drive would facilitate internal circulation on the site as well as emergency access.

Ms. Borgfjord had questions as to where loading would take place. Mr. Turcott asked for clarification on the landscaping along Atlantic Avenue.

Mark Eddy was present on behalf of the applicant. He stated that the parking variance requested was necessary, given the unique shape of the property and its frontage on two streets. The configuration limited the development options of the applicant. Mr. Eddy felt that the Zoning Board of Appeals had granted a similar application in the case of the LaRue's site. He stated that the applicant was agreeable to closing the Atlantic Avenue curb-cut if a road or driveway developed at the east end of the property on the Township's site. Mr. Eddy felt that the plan complied with the spirit of the Village Focus Area development plan. He stressed that the applicant would be complying with all requirements of the Ordinance, except with regard to parking. As to loading, it was not foreseen that there would be use of the building which would require substantial deliveries. Therefore, deliveries would be through the front door.

There were questions to the applicant from the Chairperson as to whether five or six light poles would be established at the site. The applicant responded that the drawing and the plan note would be made consistent. Further details of the lighting would be supplied in the photometric plan.

The applicant had questions concerning how the parking was computed in that they had determined 80 spaces would be required by the Ordinance.

Ms. Borgfjord had questions concerning the appearance of the building. It was noted that the building would be brick and glass.

Returning to the issue of parking, the Chairperson stated that he would rather see all parking established while the site was under construction so that there would be no need to tear up established landscaping if a use established at the site in the future needed such parking. Further, he felt that the triangular shape of the site made development somewhat challenging. It was recognized that, unlike the typical corner lot, this triangular shape meant that there was no "fourth side" in which to place parking.

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

Board members felt, with regard to the variance, that it was significant that the building could not be placed in the AT&T right-of-way, and therefore, the buildable area of the site was limited. Parking placement options were further limited by the triangular shape of the site. Further, Board members felt that closure of the Atlantic entrance, in the event the Township developed a road or drive on the east side of the site, was within the spirit and intent of the Village Focus Plan.

In response to questioning, the applicant said that they would also not object to providing an easement for cross-access to the property to the north if the owner of that property was agreeable. Mike Seelye was present on behalf of the applicant, and stated that, in previous conversations with the property owner to the north, it seems this would be possible.

Mr. McClung moved to grant a variance from Section 33.406 to allow parking along Atlantic Avenue between the building and the front property line as requested by the applicant, based upon the analysis and discussion of the Board, in particular, the unique triangular configuration of the site with frontage on two streets and the impairment of buildability posed by the AT&T right-of-way were noted. The LaRue's application was cited as support for the variance. Mr. Turcott seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

The Chairperson discussed the criteria of Section 82.800. There was also reference made to the requirement of Section 33.400 regarding whether there was compliance with subpart 9D which required either a physical or visual break in the facade of the building every 30 feet for purposes of adding depth and dimension to the building. The applicant's representative stated that the windows and brick would be on one plane, and the area underneath the roof line would be a projection or overhang on a different "plane"; however, there would be no variation horizontally. It was noted that the building in question is proposed to be 178 feet long, which was twice as large as the Paragon Health Building, which was similar thereto. Ms. Bugge observed that the building seemed to have a flat appearance because there were no doors on the front facade facing 9th Street. There was discussion of whether at least two doors could be placed on the front facade to "break up" the look of the building. There was also a suggestion that the applicant could consider false columns between the windows and extending the overhang. The Chairperson observed that this may make more sense than doors on the front facade since the entrance was from the parking lot. It was the consensus of the Board members that the current design was "flat".

Mr. Seelye stated that he was concerned about placing doors on the front facade because they may not meet the needs of the tenants. It was the Board consensus that some redesign of the building was needed to create visual breaks, but that the matter could be left to Township Staff for review of a revised plan.

Ms. Borgford moved to approve the site plan with the following conditions, limitations and notations:

(1) As to access, deviation from the Access Management Plan and Guidelines was granted to allow two driveway access points, one on 9th Street and one on Atlantic Avenue. The basis for deviation was the odd configuration of the site and the fact that two drives would facilitate that circulation and emergency access. In addition, deviation was conditioned upon the closing of the Atlantic Avenue driveway if a street is established on the Township property to the east in the future and on cross-access agreements between this property and the property to the north for shared use of the 9th Street driveway if the property owner to the north was agreeable. All driveways were subject to the review and approval of the Kalamazoo County Road Commission.

(2) Parking was subject to compliance with the variance granted. Moreover, each proposed tenant would require administrative review to assure that adequate parking was available.

(3) All three parcels must be combined by an appropriate recorded document into one parcel before a building permit is issued.

(4) The dumpster enclosure and gate shall be maintained in good repair at all times.

(5) Site lighting must comply with the requirements of Section 78.700. A lighting plan must be provided to Township Staff for review and approval prior to issuance of a building permit.

(6) A sign permit in compliance with Section 76.000 and Section 33.410 of the Zoning Ordinance must be obtained from the Township prior to placement of any wall signage on the property.

(7) A revised plan reflecting compliance with the landscaping requirements of the Zoning Ordinance must be provided before a building permit may be issued. Landscaping shall be installed as reflected on the site plan before a certificate of occupancy is granted, or a performance guarantee consistent with Section 82.950 must be provided to the Township.

(8) All building materials must comply with the provisions of Section 33.409, and a design of the building, revised to provide visual breaks, must be provided to Township Staff for review and approval.

(9) Site plan approval is subject to the review and approval of the Township Fire Department.

(10) The site plan approval is subject to the Township Engineer review and acceptance that site engineering is adequate.

(11) An Environmental Permits Checklist must be submitted before a building permit is issued.

(12) A Hazardous Substance Reporting Form must be completed and submitted for each tenant.

(13) An earth change permit must be obtained from the Kalamazoo County Drain Commissioner prior to any work at the site.

The motion was seconded by Mr. McClung, and it carried unanimously.

METRO, LCC - LIGHTING VARIANCE - 5900 STADIUM DRIVE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-25-305-045)

The Board considered the application of Robert L. Geniac, on behalf of Metro, LLC, for two variances from the lighting provisions of Section 78.720 to allow perimeter illumination levels to exceed Ordinance limits at the western driveway and the south property line and to allow use of 1000-watt, pole-mounted light fixtures where the Ordinance limit is 400-watts. The subject property is located in the "C" Local Business District at 5900 Stadium Drive, and is Parcel No. 3905-25-305-045.

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

Ms. Bugge reported that the applicant is constructing a new showroom facility for a Jaguar and Land Rover dealership on the former Deep Sea Aquarium site. Eleven light fixtures are proposed on nine poles at the site. Five of the fixtures are 400-watts which conform to the Ordinance. The remaining six fixtures are proposed to use 1,000-watt bulbs, exceeding the criteria of Section 78.720. It was noted that these same fixtures are currently in use on the Metro Toyota property next door. The fixtures would operate on a timer and be turned off after business hours.

Ms. Bugge noted that the perimeter illumination along the north property line would meet the Ordinance requirement of 0.1 foot candles. However, in the area of the west driveway abutting Quail Run Drive and along Stadium Drive, perimeter illumination levels would slightly exceed that allowed by the Ordinance and range from 0.2 to 0.5 foot candles.

Ms. Bugge reviewed the criteria for a non-use variance. It was noted that the applicant could use 400-watt fixtures, but more poles would be needed to achieve the same light levels on the site. Further, she suggested that the Board consider whether use of 1,000-watt fixtures would result in a more uniform lighting at the site, given that the existing lights at the Metro Toyota are the same fixtures. Further, shields would be provided for the west side of the fixtures closest to Quail Run Drive to reduce illumination in the drive area. Additionally, consideration should be given to the fact that lighting would be reduced by use of a timer after business hours.

As to substantial justice, it was noted that Maple Hill Chrysler was granted a variance in 1997 and in 2000 for increased perimeter lighting and the use of 1,000-watt fixtures due to its location in an existing commercial area, and due to the fact that the site predated the Ordinance requirements, and because of outdoor display. Additionally, DeNooyer Chevrolet received a variance in 2000 to exceed the perimeter illumination levels allowed by the Ordinance. It was felt that there were no unique physical circumstances at the site and that the hardship was created by the applicant.

As to whether the spirit of the Ordinance would be observed, and the public health, safety and welfare secured, reference was made to the zoning and use of adjacent properties.

Ms. Bugge noted that she had received correspondence from Pam Larson, who expressed concern about the effect of the lights on the area in question, and from Daniel McDonough, who expressed concern because his bedroom windows face this property.

In response to questions from Ms. Borgfjord, it was noted that Maple Hill Chrysler is not required to have its lighting on the timer due to its location. The DeNooyer approval required a 9:30 p.m. reduction in lighting levels.

Bob Geniac was present on behalf of the applicant. Mr. Geniac stated that the applicant could comply with Ordinance requirements, but would need 15 to 18 poles with 400-watt fixtures, rather than the 11 poles suggested. In addition, so-called "bumper lights" to shine down on the cars would be necessary. In his opinion, fewer poles with fewer light sources, as well as the elimination of the bumper lights, provided illumination at the site, which was less injurious to adjacent properties.

The Chairperson was concerned about the effect of the lights on the adjacent condominiums. He pointed to the western-most light fixtures. There were questions regarding the timing system, and the applicant's representative stated that it would be similar to that use by Metro Toyota. Generally, lighting levels were reduced and turned off (except security lighting) within a half hour of the closing time, which Mr. Geniac stated was 9 p.m. on Wednesday night. The applicant stated that the fixture was a "box" and that the light source could not be seen. The bulb would protrude a slight bit below the box of the fixture. Again, Mr. Geniac expressed that he felt that the proposed lighting arrangement would be more uniform and less injurious to neighboring properties. He noted that the Ordinance does not have a restriction on the number of 400-watt fixtures which could be used.

The Chairperson agreed that it would be more desirable to have four 1,000-watt fixtures than ten 400-watt fixtures. It was also felt that it would be desirable to eliminate the "bumper lights". There was discussion of the lighting of the display pods, and it was noted that most of the existing pods would be eliminated. The remaining pod would not be lighted by flood lights. There was a discussion of the security lighting, and it was noted that the 400-watt fixtures might be used for the after-hours security lighting, but the 1,000-watt fixtures would not be used. After-hours lighting was for security purposes not for display purposes.

The Chairperson asked for public comment, and Kristen Kirkpatrick stated that she represented Quail Run One Association, and is an affected homeowner. Ms. Kirkpatrick stated that she and the Association did not object to the business locating on this site or the expansion of the Metro use. However, there was concern with the lighting arrangement. She stated that the Association was most concerned with reducing lighting at the site after dark (following business hours) so that homeowners were not disturbed. There was no opposition to security lighting. However, most lighting at the site should be shut off at 9 p.m. or 9:30 p.m. in her opinion. The Chairperson clarified that the position of the Association was that there was no objection to the 1,000-watt fixtures as long as lighting at the site was reduced by 9:30 p.m.

The Chairperson stated that he remained concerned about the light fixtures on the west line, and there was discussion of whether these fixtures could be shielded so that the light could not shine back into the area of the condominiums. After discussion, the applicant agreed that shields could be placed on the north and west sides of the northwest fixture and on the south and west sides of the southwest fixture.

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

Mr. McClung moved to grant the variance based upon the discussion and analysis of the Board with the conditions that:

(1) Shields be established on the north and west sides of the northwest fixture and the south and west sides of the southwest fixture.

(2) There be a substantial reduction in lighting after 9:30 p.m. with only security lighting at the site thereafter. The applicant was to provide a plan for security lighting to Township Staff for review and approval.

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

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 5:00 p.m.

OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP
ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS


By:
Millard Loy, Chairperson

By:
Duane McClung

By:
Grace Borgfjord

By:
James Turcott

Minutes Prepared:
January 31, 2003

Minutes Approved:
, 2003