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OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS

July 23, 2001

Agenda

WILLIAMS KITCHEN & BATH - VARIANCE - NON-CONFORMING FREESTANDING SIGN - 6827 STADIUM DRIVE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-35-115-061)

OSHTEMO BUSINESS PARK - SITE PLAN REVIEW - PHASE V - CORNER OF N AVENUE AND 9TH STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-35-455-025)

A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Zoning Board of Appeals on Monday, July 23, 2001, commencing at approximately 3:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Millard Loy, Chairperson
Sharon Kuntzman
Ted Corakis
Jill Jensen

MEMBER ABSENT: David Bushouse

Also present were Jodi Stefforia, Planning Director, Patricia R. Mason, Township Attorney, and five other interested persons.

CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order at 3:04 p.m.

MINUTES

The Board considered the minutes of the meeting of July 9, 2001. Mr. Corakis moved to approve the minutes as submitted, and Ms. Jensen seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

WILLIAMS KITCHEN & BATH - VARIANCE - NON-CONFORMING FREESTANDING SIGN - 6827 STADIUM DRIVE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-35-115-061)

The Board considered the application of The Sign Shop on behalf of Williams Kitchen & Bath for a variance from the provisions of Section 62.151 to allow the replacement of a non-conforming freestanding sign in the Village Commercial District. The subject property is located at 6827 Stadium Drive and is Parcel No. 3905-35-115-061. The item had been tabled from the meeting of July 9, 2001, because the applicant proposed a smaller sign during the meeting for the Board's consideration.

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

Ms. Stefforia stated that the revised proposal for signage included less overall area, lower height, and was generally in compliance with the provisions for a ground-mounted sign as permitted in other zoning districts. The proposed sign would be 6.5 feet tall and 36 square feet in area, plus an enclosed/solid sign base of approximately 9 square feet that places the display area bottom 2 feet above the ground. The existing sign at the site is 11 feet tall and 44 square feet. The leading edge of the existing sign is 53 feet from the centerline of Stadium Drive, or 3 feet from the right-of-way. The building is located 94 feet from centerline, or 44 feet from the right-of-way.

It was noted that, because the sign existing at the site is lawfully non-conforming, the sign face could be changed and handled administratively. However, the new sign involves more than a face change.

Ms. Stefforia reviewed the standards for a non-use variance. As to whether conformance was unnecessarily burdensome, it was noted that the applicant had the option of changing the face of the existing sign. However, the existing sign posts were unstable and would have to be reinforced. Moreover, the proposed sign was smaller and shorter in height than the existing sign.

It was discussed whether substantial justice would be served by granting the variance in this case. It was noted that the Zoning Board of Appeals previously granted a variance to Glas Associates for a 32 square foot, 7 foot tall, ground-mounted sign placed 64 feet from the street centerline, or 14 feet from the right-of-way. The variance was based on a finding that conformance was unnecessarily burdensome, given the distance of the building from the right-of-way and given the fact that the distance would indicate that wall signage would lack visibility. Further, the character of the area had been considered. Further, the Board had determined that the intent and spirit of the Village Focus Area Plan would be met by the scale of the sign and by the preservation of the historic building.

Ms. Stefforia noted that the area involved in the current request contains few freestanding signs. The signs that do exist tend to be small scale and ground-mounted. Ms. Stefforia stated that, in her opinion, the property needs an identification sign due to its location in order to be visible to passing traffic. However, the hardship was self-created in that the change in signage was at the election of the owner.

In response to questioning from Mr. Corakis, it was confirmed that the proposed sign is smaller in square footage and in height than the existing sign.

Ms. Kuntzman questioned whether the sign would meet the standards allowed in other districts for freestanding signage. Ms. Stefforia indicated that the sign would meet the ground-mounted standard for signage allowed in other districts.

Ms. Jensen commented that she felt that the proposed sign would be an improvement over the existing sign and that it would be more in keeping with the character of the area.

Wayne Shields, of The Sign Shop, was present on behalf of the applicant. He stated that, in his opinion, the proposed sign was "better looking" than the existing sign. He believed that there was a need to replace the existing sign because the existing sign was not structurally sound. He noted that the applicant had tried to comply with the ground-mounted criteria and still retain visibility for the property. In his opinion, the hardship was not self-created in that the site needs signage, and the existing sign requires replacement. He felt that the distance of the existing building from the roadway would indicate that, as in the previous application, any wall signage on this building would lack visibility.

Sam Mashni, the owner of the property, stated that, in his opinion, the proposed sign would be replacing an eye sore. He stated that the replacement sign would be placed in the same location, but would be smaller in square footage and height. The applicant felt that the address placement on the sign would be of assistance to emergency access and to customers alike.

The Chairperson sought public comment, and Brian Dylhoff stated that he was concerned about the lighting of the sign. In response to his questions about the lighting of the sign, it was stated that it would be interior lighted. The existing sign is lighted by ground-mounted lights directed upward toward the sign.

The public hearing was closed, and the Board began deliberation.

There was discussion about the proposed illumination method and whether interior lighted or back lighted signs were in keeping with the character of the area. The Chairperson noted that canopy signs, which are allowed in the Village District, are traditionally back lighted. It was noted that marquis signage, also allowed in the Village, is back lighted. There were several signs in the area, according to Mr. Corakis, which were interior lighted within the Village. In his opinion, the lighting would not present a problem.

Mr. Shields stated that he believed that ground-mounted signage, if lighted from the exterior, could be more glaring because of the chance that the ground-mounted lighting could be moved and could blind oncoming traffic.

The Chairperson commented that, due to the speed of the traffic on the road and the setback of the existing building, he believed that a freestanding sign was needed by the site.

In response to questions, the applicant indicated that the numbers of the address would be reflective.

The Chairperson felt satisfied with the lighting of the proposed sign, given that it would have to meet Ordinance standards, and if glaring, would be handled as an enforcement issue.

After further discussion, Ms. Kuntzman moved to approve the proposed sign so long as it was placed in the location of the existing sign with the following reasoning:

(1) That compliance was unnecessarily burdensome due to both the setback of the building and the speed of the adjacent roadway. Given those factors, wall signage would not be visible.

(2) That substantial justice would weigh in favor of granting the variance due to the character of the area and the prior precedent established by the Zoning Board of Appeals in the Glas Associates' approval.

(3) That the intent and spirit of the Village Focus Area Plan would be met due to the design of the proposed sign as a ground-mounted sign and the fact that it was smaller in area and height than the existing signage at the site.

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

OSHTEMO BUSINESS PARK - SITE PLAN REVIEW - PHASE V - CORNER OF N AVENUE AND 9TH STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-35-455-025)

The Board considered the application of Hollenbeck Construction concerning the proposed construction of a Phase V building within the Oshtemo Business Park. The applicant requested site plan review of a proposed 47,100 square foot industrial building within the Oshtemo Business Park. The subject property is located at the northeast corner of N Avenue and 9th Street, and is Parcel No. 3905-35-455-025. The property is located in the "I-R" Industrial District.

The proposed Oshtemo Business Park received site plan review and approval of the site condominium development by the Planning Commission in the fall of 1998. However, as of the date of the meeting, the site condominium project had not been officially established. Nevertheless, the applicant was requesting site plan review for the proposed Phase V building. The proposed tenant of the building was unknown to the Township.

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

Ms. Stefforia noted that Oshtemo Business Park is served by proposed Technology Avenue off 9th Street. Technology Avenue was approved as a public street. However, Ms. Stefforia suggested that the Zoning Board of Appeals should question the applicant as to the timing of the completion and dedication of Technology Avenue to the Kalamazoo County Road Commission as a public street.

She further reported that the Fire Department needed a turnaround on the site, and that this has been communicated to the applicant. She was satisfied with the landscaping around the perimeter and in the parking lot. However, Ms. Stefforia noted that the Township Engineer had a list of concerns regarding the incompleteness of the Park. Further, the site plan showed public water would serve the site, and Township records indicated that the public water main was not in Technology Avenue as shown on the site plan.

Larry Hollenbeck and Karen Gabany were present on behalf of the applicant. They stated that this would be a single tenant building and did not wish to disclose the name of the tenant at this time. The tenant would have approximately 60 employees.

There was discussion of completion of Technology Avenue, and the applicant indicated that it could be completed by the end of this year. The only item missing was the top coat. The applicant was hesitant to put the top coat on due to construction traffic.

The applicant took issue with the Township Engineer's comments concerning the sewer. He stated that all elements had been completed. He also believed that public water was in this area, but indicated that he would confirm this with the City of Kalamazoo. Mr. Hollenbeck stated that the site condominiumization of the project could be completed with the Phase V building.

Mr. Corakis was concerned about placing a stop sign at the end of Technology Avenue, and the applicant indicated that this would be done.

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

The Chairperson summarized the application.

Mr. Corakis suggested that the applicant be required to dedicate Technology Avenue to the Kalamazoo County Road Commission prior to occupancy of the Phase V building. He also believed that the applicant should complete the site condominiumization of the project with the Phase V building.

There was discussion of the fact that the Kalamazoo County Road Commission would likely be satisfied with either the completion of Technology Avenue or a performance bond in order to accept the street as public.

After further discussion, Ms. Kuntzman moved to the approve the site plan with the following conditions, limitations and notations:

(1) That prior to occupancy of the Phase V building, Technology Avenue be dedicated to and accepted by the Kalamazoo County Road Commission.

(2) That each tenant is subject to the review and approval of the Township consistent with provisions of the Zoning Ordinance to insure that the proposed use is permitted within the "I-R" District, and that adequate parking is available on site to accommodate the users of the building. Parking shall comply with the approved site plan and the provisions of Section 68.000.

(3) That the site plan approval was conditioned upon compliance with the requirements of the Township Fire Department.

(4) That the site condominiumization of the Oshtemo Business Park be completed prior to occupancy of the Phase V building including review and approval of the Master Deed and Bylaws by the Township Staff and Township Attorney.

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

(6) That a sign permit in compliance with Section 76.000 of the Zoning Ordinance be applied for and granted by the Township prior to placement of any identification signage on the property.

(7) That all landscaping be installed consistent with the approved landscaping plan (sheet 52 as dated 6-27-01) (before occupancy is permitted or a performance guarantee in an amount determined based upon the value of the required landscaping must be provided).

(8) That the applicant provide detailed storm water calculations and soil borings to a depth of eight feet below the proposed drywells in order to determine if adequate storm water retention will be possible for the site as proposed. Further, all requirements of the Township Engineer for the site and the Park must be satisfied.

(9) That site plan approval is subject to the applicant satisfying the requirements of the Township and the City of Kalamazoo for extension and possible looping of public water to adequately serve the site before a building permit may be issued.

(10) That an Environmental Permit Checklist and Hazardous Substance Reporting form must be completed and provided for all tenants locating in the building.

(11) That an earth-change permit from the Kalamazoo County Drain Commissioner's office is required before earth-moving activities may commence on the site.

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

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 4:15 p.m.

OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP
ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS


By:
Millard Loy, Chairperson

By:
Sharon Kuntzman

By:
Ted Corakis

By:
David Bushouse

By:
Jill Jensen

Minutes Prepared:
July 26, 2001
Minutes Approved:
, 2001