OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS MINUTES

July 13, 1998

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Agenda

WALLY’S SUB SHOP - BOARD INTERPRETATION RE: SEALCOATING/ RESTRIPING - 6475/6477 STADIUM DRIVE/3311 S. 9TH STREET

MORFORD, THAD & KATHRYN - VARIANCE FROM 200’ ROAD FRONTAGE REQUIREMENT - 7268 WEST ML AVENUE

 

MILL CREEK APARTMENTS - SITE PLAN AMENDMENT FOR RELOCATION OF

ON-SITE STORMWATER RETENTION POND - 3080 MILL CREEK DR.

BUCKHAM HIGHLANDS - VARIANCE FROM ON-SITE STORMWATER RETENTION REQUIREMENT - EAST SIDE OF 9TH STREET, APPROX. 2,600’ SOUTH OF WEST MAIN

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A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Zoning Board of Appeals on Monday, July 13, 1998, commencing at approximately 3:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall, pursuant to notice.

MEMBERS PRESENT:

Brian Dylhoff, Chairperson
Thomas Brodasky
David Bushouse
Lara Meeuwse

MEMBER ABSENT: William Saunders

Also present were Mike West on behalf of the Planning and Zoning Department, Scott Paddock, Ordinance Enforcement Officer, Robert C. Engels, Township Attorney, and approximately fourteen (14) other interested persons.

CALL TO ORDER

The Chairperson called the meeting to order at 3:03 p.m.

MINUTES

The Board considered the minutes of the meeting of June 15, 1998. The revisions suggested by Mr. West were noted. Mr. Brodasky moved to approve the minutes as amended, and Mr. Bushouse seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

 

WALLY’S SUB SHOP - BOARD INTERPRETATION RE: SEALCOATING/ RESTRIPING - 6475/6477 STADIUM DRIVE/3311 S. 9TH STREET

The next item was the application of Mehdi Purazrang, representing Wally’s Sub Shop, for interpretation as to whether sealcoating a previously nonconforming parking lot striping arrangement requires restriping in compliance with Ordinance standards, including parking space size requirements established by Section 68.201 of the Zoning Ordinance. The subject site is located at 6475/6477 Stadium Drive/3311 S. 9TH Street and is within the "C" Local Business District zoning classification.

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

Mr. West pointed out that, on December 15, 1997, the ZBA deliberated and concluded that the sealcoating of the existing parking lot at the subject site in the summer of 1997 constituted a "change" and required restriping in compliance with Ordinance standards and guidelines. The December 15, 1997, approval required that a revised site plan which showed the parking at the subject site in compliance with Ordinance standards be submitted to Township staff for review and approval prior to the parking lot being restriped.

In late May/early June of 1998, the applicant restriped the existing parking lot at the subject site prior to providing a revised site plan for Township staff review and approval. Additionally, the applicant has also expanded and restriped the parking lot to the southeast without satisfying other conditions attached to the December 15, 1997, approval.

Mr. West stated that the newly established restriping arrangement at the subject site has not been provided in compliance with Ordinance standards and guidelines. The following two previously referenced deficiencies exist at the subject site:

The parking lot aisle located along the north side of the restaurant building is not the minimum 20’ wide as specified in the Access Management Guidelines (16’ - 18’ width from the end of the parking spaces to the Stadium Drive entrance drive/right-of-way).

A parking space located along the northwest portion of the subject site has been restriped within the Kalamazoo County Road Commission right-of-way.

Mr. West said that Mr. Purazrang had stated that he would eliminate the parking space infringing on the right-of-way but still wanted an interpretation of the six spaces along the front (north) side of the building. Mr. West stated that 25 spaces are needed for the subject property to comply with those required for the restaurant and the house that is on the property, and Mr. Purazrang was proposing 36 spaces. The elimination of the six spaces would still leave 29 spaces.

Attorney Dennis McCune was present to speak on behalf of Mr. Purazrang and stated that Mr. Purazrang had been at the site for 10-12 years. He rented part of the building space in the past, and the six parking spaces in the front of the building had always been there. Mr. Purazrang tenant left, and he decided to expand his business. He also decided to sealcoat the parking lot.

Mr. McCune stated that, if the front parking spaces are eliminated, it will look like no one is there and people will not know if Wally’s Sub Shop is still in business. The same square footage is being used as was used in the past, and Mr. McCune did not believe that sealcoating was enough to require a change in the configuration of the parking lot.

Mr. West stated that the Access Management Plan requires a minimum 20’ width in the parking lot aisle located along the north side of the restaurant building. Mr. West stated that the combination of a reduced aisle width and the proximity of the Stadium Drive entrance creates an unsafe situation for both vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

Board members questioned Mr. West about various possible ways of establishing parking spaces in front of the building, but the possibilities discussed would still result in some parking lot/access deficiency.

Mr. Brodasky asked what had changed since the December 15, 1997, meeting and was told that nothing had changed.

The Chairperson asked Mr. McCune why the parking spaces had been striped without permission with the site plan not having been submitted and approved. Mr. McCune did not know. The Chairperson said that there was no right to stripe, and Mr. Purazrang responded that he felt he had permission to do the striping from what had been stated at the December 15, 1997, meeting.

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

The Chairperson stated that the interpretation of the effects of sealcoating should not be changed.

Mr. Brodasky could see nothing in the minutes of the December 15, 1997, meeting that stated that striping could be done.

Mr. Bushouse was concerned about it being impossible to comply and whether it was clear that there were no other options than changing the striping on the parking lot.

The Chairperson remembered that there were discussions at the December 15, 1997, meeting that there was no way to comply if the parking spaces were placed in front of the building. That is why Mr. Purazrang was to come back with a plan that was in compliance.

There was discussion regarding the number of accidents at the site, with Mr. West indicating that he did not know of the number and Mr. Purazrang saying that he had never paid an insurance claim for an accident.

Mr. Bushouse was concerned about the original character of Stadium Drive and the change from two lanes to five lanes and that Mr. Purazrang would not have come before the Board if he had not changed to a different use.

The Chairperson stated that a site plan had been requested, and Mr. West cited the examples of Migala and Westside Medical having to comply.

The Chairperson pointed out that the front of the store could be fenced off and tables could be placed in front, which could enhance the building and business without the six parking spaces.

Ms. Meeuwse stated that, if the site had been empty, there would be no question about having to comply. She did not believe that they should be partial to one citizen when they could not give the same to someone else.

Mr. Bushouse believed that, when someone has contributed to the community for years and has been there for a long time, that person should be entitled to some breaks.

Mr. Brodasky moved that the December 15, 1997, decision of the ZBA stand. Ms. Meeuwse seconded the motion.

Mr. West stated that guidance was needed from the Board because the striping had already been done. The Chairperson inquired as to the time frame with the rest of the site plan. Mr. West responded that the Sub Shop had not yet been converted, and the Chairperson inquired as to when the entire plan was going to be approved. Mr. Brodasky and Mr. Bushouse were in favor of allowing six months with Ms. Meeuwse more favorable to the end of the summer.

Mr. Brodasky suggested October 1, 1998, and the motion was amended to require that the parking area be in compliance by October 1, 1998. Specifically, the motion required elimination of the six parking spaces along the north side of the restaurant building and the one parking space within the right-of-way.

Ms. Meeuwse seconded the amendment to the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

 

MORFORD, THAD & KATHRYN - VARIANCE FROM 200’ ROAD FRONTAGE REQUIREMENT - 7268 WEST ML AVENUE

The next item was the application of Thad and Kathryn Morford for variance approval from the 200' road frontage requirement established by Section 66.201 of the Zoning Ordinance. The subject site is located at 7268 West ML Avenue and is within the "AG"-Rural District zoning classification.

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

Mr. West stated that the subject parcel was created in 1997 through the combination and redescription of former parcels 3905-27-255-018 and 3905-27-255-020. The subject parcel has 175’ of frontage and, since it was created in 1997, after passage of the 200’ road frontage standard, it is considered nonbuildable. Mr. West stated that, in the past, variances were granted in similar circumstances in both the Slocum and Borden requests.

Mr. Thad Morford was present and spoke to the Board. He stated he believed that his request meets all the requirements articulated in the past cases where variances had been granted. He stated that he acquired the parcel from his mother’s estate and has over 5Ż acres with much of that being wetlands and a small lake in the rear.

Mr. Brodasky inquired as to whether or not a site condominium was an option, and Mr. West responded that it was but that it was not considered because Mr. Morford only wants to construct a pole barn on the property.

The Chairperson commented that the situation was very similar to the two other cases.

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

Mr. Brodasky moved to approve the variance requested with the following reasoning:

(1) That compliance was unnecessarily burdensome. Acquisition of additional road frontage is not possible due to the size and configuration of adjacent parcels. However, it was noted that the subject parcel could be developed either through the platting process or through the site condominium process.

(2) That substantial justice weighed in favor of granting the variance in that similar applications had been granted by the Zoning Board of Appeals and in that the application is consistent with the previously stated policy of the Board with regard to such variances.

(3) That there were no unique physical circumstances, and the hardship was self-created.

(4) However, the variance would be consistent with the spirit and intent of the Ordinance and public health, safety and welfare would be secured through the variance. The 1997 parcel combination/redescription did not result in the creation of an additional parcel for development but rather the combination of a previously nonconforming buildable parcel and a nonconforming nonbuildable parcel. Further, the resulting parcel is in character with the surrounding area.

Ms. Meeuwse inquired whether the existing building was in setback compliance, and Mr. West indicated that it was in compliance.

Ms. Meeuwse seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

 

MILL CREEK APARTMENTS - SITE PLAN AMENDMENT FOR RELOCATION OF ON-SITE STORMWATER RETENTION POND - 3080 MILL CREEK DR.

The next item was the application of Matt Weaver of Campbell Caron Group, representing Mill Creek Apartments, for site plan amendment to allow for relocation of the on-site stormwater retention pond proposed to accommodate Phase IV. The subject site includes the site of Mill Creek Apartments (3080 Mill Creek Drive) and is located within the "R-4" and "C" Districts.

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

 

Mr. West stated that this proposed amendment involved Phase IV of Mill Creek Apartments with Phases I, II and III having been previously developed.

On September 8, 1997, the ZBA granted requests for a dwelling unit density variance and non-contiguous road frontage variance which would allow for the future construction of Phase IV of the Mill Creek Apartments.

The variance approvals were conditioned upon the inclusion of two parcels to the overall Mill Creek development; one, a .68-acre parcel (on the south side of the subject site), which would be retained as undeveloped and under common ownership with the Mill Creek property; and, two, a 1.83-acre parcel (southwest side of the subject site), which would serve as the building site for the 20-unit apartment building.

On April 20, 1998, the ZBA granted site plan review for construction of a 20-unit apartment building and related parking facilities (Phase IV - Mill Creek Apartments) upon the southwest portion of the subject site. The site plan review was proposed and approved consistent with the conditions of the September 8, 1997 variance approvals.

The applicant is now requesting a site plan amendment to allow for the relocation of the originally proposed on-site stormwater retention pond which will service Phase IV from the northwest portion of the Mill Creek property to the former .68-acre parcel located along the southern portion of the subject site.

Mr. West referred to a letter that was sent by Mr. Bart Arrigo, which cited an October 6, 1992, easement agreement between Mill Creek Apartments and parcels located immediately east for stormwater drainage. Mr. Arrigo requested that, prior to any approval from the ZBA, the Board receive a certification from the Mill Creek engineers that the changes requested will not interfere with, restrict the flow of, decrease the capacity or affect the integrity of the existing stormwater drainage system.

Mr. West’s review of the documents provided by Mr. Arrigo revealed that the easement referred to in Mr. Arrigo’s letter was applicable to existing stormwater retention ponds located along the northern portions of the subject site. The stormwater retention pond associated with Phase IV would be a separate system.

Mr. Matt Weaver was present on behalf of Mill Creek Apartments, and he stated that the retention pond was designed to be separate and independent from the retention ponds in the other phases of the Mill Creek project and the proposed retention pond is separate from those that are subject to the easement agreement referenced in Mr. Arrigo’s letter.

Ms. Meeuwse inquired as to why the originally approved site of the pond was proposed to be moved.

Mr. Weaver stated that he did not want to interfere with previous easements and, when the site was being examined, it was clear that the new pond was greenspace, was located near the pool, and was used by residents as a courtyard. He did not want to lose that recreational greenspace. The engineers have indicated that the soil on the newly proposed retention pond is sandy, loam and gravel, and it is a superior location from the soil standpoint.

Mr. Weaver also indicated that Pinehurst Development is located nearby and there are possibly going to be cross-social issues. He did not want any increased liability with cross traffic and believed that there would be less cross traffic with the new site for the retention pond.

Aesthetically, the new proposed location contains woodlands and brush. The wooded area would allow the pond to not be visible and, when it is hidden and not seen, people will tend to stay away.

Mr. Weaver stated that some trees would have to be eliminated, but any tree destruction will be confined to the north corner of the subject area. Vegetation would be restored to enclose the location. There will be greater costs at this site, but the benefits outweigh the costs. The pond would be kept small and deep and should be able to be maintained as a dry pond.

Mr. West stated that the Township Engineer has determined that the area is adequate for the necessary capacity but will require fencing.

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

Ms. Meeuwse inquired about the potential impact to adjoining properties. The applicant represented that the amount of trees being removed would be minimized. The Chairperson observed that there would still be trees shielding the site from Stadium Drive and houses to the west.

 

Mr. Weaver stated that the resident to the west had observed the location and had no objection to the relocation of the pond. The resident told Mr. Weaver that he would not be present at the hearing. Mr. Weaver reiterated that damage would be held to a minimum and that there would be no gaping holes around the pond.

The Chairperson and Mr. Brodasky were concerned about additional landscaping and making it a possible requirement of approval.

Mr. West indicated that the site plan amendment could be approved with the condition that a supplemental landscaping/screening proposal be submitted to Township staff for review and approval.

Mr. Weaver stated that he was not opposed to some loose language regarding restoration around the pond. He stated that the northwest corner of the pond was to be the entrance point for excavation and they would restore that area. The entire perimeter area would be left untouched. It is their desire to screen with all the natural vegetation that is possible.

Mr. Bushouse described a possible conflict as he is a trustee of a neighboring church. It was determined by the Township Attorney that this did not result in a conflict for Mr. Bushouse.

Ms. Meeuwse moved to grant the site plan amendment to allow for the relocation of the on-site stormwater retention pond with the following conditions, limitations and notations:

(1) That there be assurance that the wooded area would be preserved, as much as possible, to accommodate construction of the retention pond.

(2) That a plan for additional landscaping and/or screening around the pond be submitted to Township staff for review and approval.

(3) That there be assurance that the space previously designated as the retention pond will be kept as greenspace.

(5) That approval shall be subject to review and approval by the Township Engineer.

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

 

BUCKHAM HIGHLANDS- VARIANCE FROM ON-SITE STORMWATER RETENTION REQUIREMENT - EAST SIDE OF 9TH STREET, APPROX. 2,600’ SOUTH OF WEST MAIN

The next item was the application of Del Hambley of Hambley-Beyer Development, representing Buckham Highlands, for variance approval from the on-site stormwater retention requirement established by Section 78.600 of the Zoning Ordinance. The subject site is located on the east side of South 9th Street, approximately 2,600’ south of West Main (North Ż of Land Section 23) and is within the "R-2" District zoning classification.

Mr. West stated that the subject site received conceptual plan review and special exception use/site plan review for a 40-building-site residential development on February 12, 1998, and March 12, 1998, respectively. Condition #7 of the March 12, 1998, site plan approval required that the existing stormwater retention pond (southwest portion of the subject site) proposed to service the development be reconfigured so as to maintain low visual impact and preserve open space/ natural features and be consistent with the Township’s rural character.

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

Mr. West said that the 9th Street Focus Area Development Plan calls for the establishment of natural stormwater systems within the area. The applicant’s proposal calls for use of a natural low area off site and less reconfiguration of the existing on-site stormwater retention pond.

Mr. Del Hambley was present on behalf of the applicant and introduced Scott Carlyle, who is the architect. Mr. Carlyle stated that they would obtain a drainage easement on the parcel belonging to Mr. Riley. The volume would be ten times more than needed as the soil is good for drainage. There will be no standing water problem in contrast to the former site, which was not good for drainage. The two east cul-de-sacs will empty into this new retention pond.

Mr. Bushouse observed that there would be a little less than 20,000 sq. ft. and that the existing contours would be used with the addition of a little property to the north. He inquired as to how fast the drainage would be to KL Avenue and into Arcadia Creek.

Gary Hahn is the surveyor, and he stated that the site is ╝ mile from KL Avenue so the quantity of water draining from this site should make no difference. Ms. Meeuwse asked if there would still be water on the Riley property, and it was explained that Riley property was being purchased but that a small piece of property being retained by Riley would need an easement, which would be granted by Riley.

Mr. West stated that they would need easements from all affected parcels, including the 30-acre parcel located to the east being proposed for purchase by the applicant.

Mr. Hahn stated that there would be no change to the grade to the off-site area, and pipe would be run on the property. The Chairperson was concerned about standing water, and Mr. Hahn assured him that it was not anticipated that there would be any standing water. Mr. Bushouse asked about the basin in the southwest corner, which is a Kalamazoo County Road Commission drainage basin. Mr. Hahn told Mr. Bushouse that the Road Commission was allowing Buckham Highlands to drain their water into that basin. Mr. Hahn went on to say that it is expected that the Road Commission will release the property containing that basin to Buckham Highlands in return for an easement.

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

Ms. Meeuwse moved to grant the variance from the on-site stormwater retention requirement with the following reasoning:

(1) That past ZBA decisions in similar requests had granted variance.

(2) That the general character of the surrounding area and the circumstances and site conditions of the past decisions warranted granting of the variance.

(3) That there are no unique physical circumstances on the subject site preventing compliance with Ordinance standards.

(4) That stormwater design and location are at the discretion of the applicant.

(5) That the proposal was consistent with the land use objectives set forth in the 9th Street Focus Area Development Plan and would result in use of natural stormwater systems in the area and less reconfiguration of the on-site stormwater retention pond.

(6) That the approval was also subject to Township Engineer review and approval and receipt of written, executed and recorded easements from all affected parcels.

 

The motion was seconded by Mr. Brodasky, and the motion carried unanimously.

 ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 4:52 p.m.

Minutes Prepared:
July 14, 1998

Minutes Approved:
July 20, 1998