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OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

PLANNING COMMISSION

July 24, 2003

Agenda

HILL - REZONING - PUBLIC HEARING - WEST MAIN STREET - 17 PARCELS -

(PARCEL NOS. 3905-14-255-050, 3905-14-288-041, 3905-14-405-020, 3905-14-430-010, 3905-14-430-071, 3905-14-282-090, 3905-14-288-060, 3905-14-405-030,3905-14-430-040, 3905-14-288-010, 3905-14-288-070, 3905-14-405-040, 3905-14-430-050, 3905-14-288-020, 3905-14-405-010, 3905-14-405-050, AND 3905-14-430-060

JONES - SPECIAL EXCEPTION USE - OFFICE BUILDING - 5765 STADIUM DRIVE -

(PARCEL NO. 3905-25-330-011)

OAKWOOD PROPERTIES - CONCEPTUAL PLAN REVIEW - PLANNED UNIT DEVELOPMENT - NORTHEAST CORNER OF STADIUM DRIVE AND 8TH STREET - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-35-105-010 AND 3905-26-355-040)

A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Planning Commission on Thursday, July 24, 2003, commencing at approximately 7:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Neil G. Sikora, Chairperson
Deborah L. Everett
Elizabeth Heiny-Cogswell
James Turcott
Lee Larson

MEMBERS ABSENT: Kathleen Garland-Rike
Mike Ahrens

Also present were Jodi Stefforia, Planning Director; Mary Lynn Bugge, Township Planner; Patricia R. Mason, Township Attorney; and approximately 65 other interested persons.

CALL TO ORDER

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

AGENDA

Mr. Larson moved to approve the Agenda as submitted, and Ms. Heiny-Cogswell seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

MINUTES

The Planning Commission considered the minutes of the meeting of July 10, 2003. Ms. Everett moved to approve the minutes as submitted, and Mr. Turcott seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

HILL - REZONING - PUBLIC HEARING - WEST MAIN STREET - 17 PARCELS -

(PARCEL NOS. 3905-14-255-050, 3905-14-288-041, 3905-14-405-020, 3905-14-430-010, 3905-14-430-071, 3905-14-282-090, 3905-14-288-060, 3905-14-405-030,3905-14-430-040, 3905-14-288-010, 3905-14-288-070, 3905-14-405-040, 3905-14-430-050, 3905-14-288-020, 3905-14-405-010, 3905-14-405-050, AND 3905-14-430-060

The Planning Commission conducted a public hearing on the proposed rezoning of 17 properties located along West Main Street between 9th Street and 10th Street, from the "R-2" Residence District (11 properties) and the R-3" Residence District (6 properties) to the "C" Local Business District zoning classification. The subject properties are Parcel Nos. 3905-14-255-050, 3905-14-288-041, 3905-14-405-020, 3905-14-430-010, 3905-14-430-071, 3905-14-282-090, 3905-14-288-060, 3905-14-405-030,3905-14-430-040, 3905-14-288-010, 3905-14-288-070, 3905-14-405-040, 3905-14-430-050, 3905-14-288-020, 3905-14-405-010, 3905-14-405-050, and 3905-14-430-060.

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

Ms. Stefforia stated that 10 of the 11 properties that are zoned in the "R-2" Residence District are located within the 9th Street Focus Area Overlay Zone. She stated, except for the properties at the northwest corner of 10th Street and West Main, which area is planned within the Master Land Use Plan for "Transitional", that all the subject properties are within the 9th Street Focus Area. Ms. Stefforia stated that the proposed rezonings are not supported by the Master Land Use Plan and Future Land Use Plan Map. On April 22, 2003, the Township Board adopted a resolution disapproving the distribution of the necessary Master Land Use Plan amendment. Ms. Stefforia reminded the Planning Commission that the Township Planning Act requires that the Planning Commission request permission from the Township Board for distribution of a proposed Master Land Use Plan amendment. As a result, no notice of a proposed Master Land Use Plan amendment had been distributed to neighboring jurisdictions, utility companies or to Kalamazoo County. Therefore, the Planning Commission could not consider a Master Land Use Plan/Future Land Use Map amendment.

Ms. Stefforia reviewed the zoning and land uses adjacent to the area, including the residential Westport Plat to the north, the Country Club Village Plat to the east and south, the West Pointe Office Center also to the east, and the residential district to the west.

Ms. Stefforia reminded the Planning Commission that, in December of 2002, it had concluded that there was adequate vacant or underutilized commercial property within the Township and that the Planning Commission did not desire to add to the amount of commercial land in the Township since this could be detrimental to the redevelopment of existing commercial property. Ms. Stefforia listed the rezoning criteria for consideration by the Planning Commission.

The Chairperson asked for comment by the applicant. Charles Hill was present, stating that he represented the 17 property owners. He stated that these properties had been within the Overlay District for the last five years and that there had been no demand for the uses allowed in the underlying or in the Overlay Zone. He felt that there was an abundance of vacant office space in the area and that there was no demand for residential use in this area. He felt that the property along West Main was undesirable even for rental residential use. He stated that only two of the 17 property owners could, themselves, qualify for development under the PUD provisions. He felt that it would be difficult for the property owners to cooperate so as to combine their properties for development of a PUD use.

Mr. Hill made reference to the minutes of the Planning Commission of December 8, 1994, in which the Focus Area was discussed. He emphasized that the Planning Commission had indicated commercial uses would be allowed within the Area. Further, the Planning Commission had stated that the Focus Area would allow flexibility. He said that, since sewer and water are available to the area, this property should be rezoned. In his opinion, the rezoning would not result in a strip of commercial since it would tie two commercial areas together to the south. Further, he believed that the property owners would agree to a "residential buffer". In his opinion, the best and highest use of the area would be commercial development. Mr. Hill felt that the rezoning of the property would not stimulate further commercial zoning requests due to the existing development in the area.

The Chairperson asked the Township Attorney to comment on the issue of the Master Land Use Plan. The Township Attorney reiterated that the Planning Act requires Township Board approval of the distribution of a proposed Master Land Use Plan amendment. However, in this case, the Township Board had determined that the area had recently been studied and that no further Master Land Use Plan amendment in the area was desired. Therefore, the Township Board had disapproved the distribution of a Master Land Use Plan amendment.

The Chairperson asked for public comment, and Sue Melanger, a resident of the Country Club Plat, stated that she felt that the Township should support the Overlay concept. She stated she was glad that the Township had decided no change to the Master Land Use Plan should be made. She stated that she was against the rezoning.

Mr. Breisach stated that he had participated in the process of developing the Overlay Zone. He was in support of the Zone and felt that it was the result of a very thorough discussion and study. He felt that the concepts in the Overlay Zone were well thought out. He urged the Planning Commission and the property owners to work with the Overlay Zone. In his opinion, rezoning to the commercial district would result in negative impact on the nearby residential plats. He was against rezoning or a change to the Master Land Use Plan.

Steve Duisterhof stated that his family lives in the Country Club area. He was concerned about encroachment on the neighborhood by a commercial development. He felt that commercial development would jeopardize property values in the Plat. Further, such development would impinge on the quality of life in the neighborhood. He felt that the Plat was already somewhat of an island, and he felt that further rezoning would result in a negative impact.

Dan Thompson, a Country Club resident, was concerned that break-ins and vandalism in the area were increasing. He felt that further rezonings would cause erosion in the neighborhood. He supported the Overlay Zone and felt it should be retained.

Herma Breisach stated that she and her husband had been residents of the Country Club development since it was originally platted. She felt that commercial zoning would drastically decrease the value of her property. In her opinion, the Plat was a "family neighborhood" and that commercial zoning near the Plat would jeopardize its security. In her opinion, commercial zoning would give the Township little or no control over development. She felt that the Overlay Zone did allow for developmental controls.

Linda Fredricksen was concerned and opposed to the rezoning. She had purchased her property because of the "community" feeling of the neighborhood and felt development for commercial uses would impinge on the quality of life.

Ken Bertolissi stated that he had served on the committee concerning the Overlay Zone for two years. He believed that the Focus Area Overlay Zone was intended to allow commercial zoning which "fit in" with residential uses. He pointed to residential buffers and stated that the area was heavily wooded. He stated that, on the east side of the south side of West Main, there was a residential buffer of 165 feet where plat owners had purchased the property in back of their lots. He again stated that the Overlay Committee had discussed the possibility of allowing small businesses in the area, and he felt that this was one of the intents of the Focus Area plan. In his opinion, it was unreasonable for the Township to believe that this area would remain residential and there was no demand for office use.

Jack Michler stated that he was pleased that the Township had refused to look at a Master Land Use Plan change again. He supported the Overlay Zone, stating that he believed it was based on "wisdom".

Julie Cattaneo stated that she lived in the Westport Plat. She was concerned about commercial zoning and the lights which would shine into her property from a commercial parking lot adjacent to her lot.

Casper VanderVeen stated that he had lived at this property on 10th Street since 1954. He wanted to live at the property for the rest of his life. He was concerned that the traffic in the area was already dangerous, and that there was not enough protection. He felt the Township should keep this neighborhood "quiet".

Rick Luczak stated that he had purchased his home in August. He stated that, at that time, he had investigated the area zoning and would not have purchased his property if it had been surrounded by commercial.

Mary Parker, a Lodge Lane resident, asked for a show of hands in opposition to the rezoning, and most of those present indicated that they were opposed by raising their hands.

John Hazel stated that he did not agree with the applicant's comments about a natural boundary which would stop further commercial rezonings. Mr. Hazel stated that he had bought his home through one of the applicants who was a Realtor. He stated that the Realtor had emphasized the quiet of the neighborhood. He felt that it was hypocritical that the Realtor was now trying to make the area noisy.

Virginia Carpenter stated that she had lived in her house since 1967 and could understand that something might happen to develop near the neighborhood. However, she opposed the rezoning.

Don Halstead felt that the burden should be on those seeking rezoning to prove their case. He felt that there were not enough factors in favor of rezoning, and that the Township should reject the application.

Jack Hamilton stated that he owns several pieces of property in the Township. He stated that, in his opinion, the rezoning was appropriate because the property to be rezoned did not touch the Country Club Plat except at one corner.

Barbara Hughey, a Lodge Lane resident since 1962, stated that she was opposed to the rezoning, and she hoped that the area would remain a "good neighborhood".

Charles Hill stated that the Township Planning Commission should refer to Goal 5 of the Focus Area Plan which called for mixed uses including commercial uses. He felt that there was no provision in the current Overlay Zone for small commercial uses. Ms. Stefforia stated that small commercial uses could be a part of the area through the PUD concept. Ms. Stefforia indicated concern that the applicant stated that the 17 property owners could not work together to create a PUD since commercial zoning, as requested, could result in 17 separate curb cuts on West Main.

Bill Engel stated that he had lived at the last parcel on West Main for 50 years. He felt that at some time the area would change and that it was not good residential.

Justin Tjalma was concerned about development in the area. He stated that traffic would keep increasing, and it was likely that retaining residential in the area would result in further degradation of the area because of the quality of the person who would want to live on such a busy street.

The Chairperson made reference to a letter in opposition to the zoning by Bruce Kroeze.

The public hearing was closed.

The Planning Commission considered the rezoning criteria. With regard to whether the proposed rezoning was supported by the adopted Master Land Use Plan, it was the consensus of the Planning Commissioners that neither the Future Land Use Map nor the goals of the Master Land Use Plan were supportive of the rezoning.

As to whether the proposed rezoning would severely impact traffic, public facilities and the natural characteristics of the surrounding area, or significantly change population density, it was the consensus of the Planning Commission that a strip commercial development was likely to result if the properties were rezoned. They felt this would have a resulting negative impact on traffic and the character of the area.

As to whether the rezoning would constitute a spot, Planning Commissioners agreed that it would not be a spot zone.

Concerning whether the proposed rezoning would be contrary to the established land use pattern, it was the consensus of Planning Commissioners that it would be. Ms. Everett commented that, given the amount of residential use in the area, the extension of commercial would be contrary to the land use pattern.

As to whether the proposed rezoning would have the probable effect of stimulating similar rezoning requests in the vicinity, Planning Commissioners agreed that the granting of the proposed rezonings would likely lead to additional rezoning requests along West Main and probably along 9th Street.

Planning Commissioners felt that there had been no change in conditions in the surrounding area which would support the proposed rezoning. Again, the availability of commercial acreage in the Township had been discussed in December 2002. It was felt that there had been no changes since the conclusion of the Planning Commissioners that there was adequate commercial zoning in the Township. Ms. Everett commented that the highest and best use of a property was not necessarily the use which was in the best interests of the community as a whole. She was concerned that, if the property were rezoned, the Township would lose development control over the property. It would likely degenerate into "strip commercial" like the Westnedge corridor.

Mr. Turcott moved to recommend denial of the rezoning based upon the Planning Commission's analysis of the rezoning criteria. The motion was seconded by Ms. Everett.

Mr. Jeff Bertolissi commented that he was concerned that the Planning Commission had not had enough discussion. Steve Duisterhof stated that he felt that the decision was well considered and based upon the rezoning criteria.

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

JONES - SPECIAL EXCEPTION USE - OFFICE BUILDING - 5765 STADIUM DRIVE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-25-330-011)

The Planning Commission conducted a special exception use and site plan review of the proposed 1,980 square foot office building to be established at 5765 Stadium Drive. The property is located within the "R-3" Residence District and is Parcel No. 3905-25-330-011.

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

Ms. Stefforia stated that the property is approximately 1.3 acres and currently contains a house that has been vacant for several years. It was proposed that the house be removed, and a new office building and associated parking be established. It was noted that the Zoning Board of Appeals had granted a variance, making the parcel buildable. The variance was conditioned upon only one building being established on the subject property, and also upon the applicant negotiating and using a cross-access arrangement satisfactory to the Township unless the Township Staff is satisfied that reasonable terms for cross-access could not be negotiated. Ms. Stefforia felt that a cross-access could physically be accommodated to the west if the two owners could agree. There was discussion of the special exception use criteria and the possible location of cross-access.

Walter Hanson was present along with the applicant, Dennis Jones.

As to cross-access, Mr. Hanson stated that letters had been sent to the owners of the property to the west and to the east, and no response was received. Mr. Hanson stated that the configuration of the driveway to the east on Hope Woods, and the pond, precluded a connection to the eastern property. The applicant was also concerned about cross-access with the west because it was not "in line" with the drive aisle. Further, it was felt that the proposed use would generate very little traffic, and the applicant was concerned about bringing traffic from the neighboring site. Additionally, the applicant did not want to disturb trees in the area where the connection would be located. The Township Attorney stated that any change to the cross-access requirement would need to be approved by Township Staff and/or the Zoning Board of Appeals.

As to lighting, the applicant stated that it would be direct cut-off and only lighted from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. During off-hours, only security lighting would be present at the site. The applicant stated that it would work with Township Staff concerning landscaping. Mr. Hanson stated that the dumpster would not be visible from the road; it would be a residential Herby-Curby and enclosed with fencing. Mr. Hanson stated that the building would be compatible with residential in style. He displayed a rendering of a brick building. The applicant would be keeping a significant amount of the existing grade and vegetation.

Dennis Jones stated that it was his goal to keep as many trees existing on the site as possible. He did not intend to develop the rear portion of the property.

The Chairperson opened the public hearing, and Henry Bonnes stated that he had lived in the house in question and planted some of the trees in 1959. He felt that the proposal of the applicant would be a big improvement. The public hearing was closed.

The criteria of Section 82.800 for site plan review was considered. As to the dumpster, Planning Commissioners were satisfied with the proposal, and Ms. Heiny-Cogswell suggested that some plantings around the wood fencing be added.

The Planning Commissioners considered the criteria for special exception use approval of Section 60.100. As to whether the proposed use would be compatible with uses permitted in the area, it was noted that the "R-3" zoning is "transitional". It was felt that the proposed use would be compatible in that it would be small and residential in appearance.

As to whether the proposed use would be detrimental or injurious to the use or development of adjacent properties or the public, it was the consensus of Planning Commissioners that it would not be detrimental. It was noted that the building would only encompass approximately 3.6% of the parcel in question, and the parking would be established in an area which did not abut neighboring residences.

As to whether the proposed use would promote public health, safety and welfare, given the scale of the business and its residential appearance, Planning Commissioners felt that it would not be detrimental. Further, Planning Commissioners agreed that the use would be in accord with the character and adaptability of the land, given that the applicant intended to leave much of the parcel natural.

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell moved to approve the special exception use permit based upon the analysis and Township Staff report concerning the criteria of Section 60.100. Mr. Larson seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

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

(1) That the proposed Stadium Drive access satisfies the Access Management Guidelines was noted. The Zoning Board of Appeals' requirement for a cross-access was supported.

(2) That any site lighting must comply with the requirements of Sections 78.700 and 23.404(g) of the Zoning Ordinance.

(3) That all landscaping shall be installed pursuant to the approved landscaping plan before a certificate of occupancy may be granted, or a performance guarantee consistent with Section 82.950 shall be provided to the Township.

(4) That a sign permit be obtained before any sign is placed upon the property.

(5) That landscaping to help screen the dumpster enclosure area be added.

(6) That the site plan approval was subject to the review and approval and conditions imposed by the Township Fire Department.

(7) That approval was subject to the applicant satisfying the stormwater management provisions of the Ordinance, and a finding of adequacy by the Township Engineer.

(8) That a Hazardous Substance Reporting form and an Environmental Permits Checklist shall be submitted to the Township before a building permit is issued.

(9) That the applicant was encouraged to use natural means of stormwater management.

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

OAKWOOD PROPERTIES - CONCEPTUAL PLAN REVIEW - PLANNED UNIT DEVELOPMENT - NORTHEAST CORNER OF STADIUM DRIVE AND 8TH STREET - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-35-105-010 AND 3905-26-355-040)

The Planning Commission considered the conceptual plan of a proposed 24-acre planned unit development to contain 122 dwelling units on the northern 20.5 acres and commercial development upon the southern 3.5 acres. The subject property is located at the northeast corner of Stadium Drive and 8th Street and encompasses Parcel Nos. 3905-35-105-010 and 3905-26-355-040.

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

The subject parcels are located in the "R-2" Residence District (Parcel No. 3905-26-355-040) and the "VC" Village Commercial District (Parcel No. 3905-35-105-010). The Chairperson indicated that the conceptual plan review was essentially a discussion with the developer and did not constitute an approval. The conceptual plan review was a guide to the preparation of the final site plan. Therefore, no public comment would be taken.

It was noted that the northern parcel, zoned "R-2", was proposed to consist of 42 dwelling units within 15 two and four-family buildings. The southern 13.5 acres, zoned in the "VC" District, would contain 80 dwelling units in multi-family buildings. Further, it was proposed that a commercial building be located along Stadium Drive.

Ms. Stefforia suggested a discussion of sidewalks along Stadium, 8th Street, and on the interior of the property. She expressed concern that there was no connection between the north and the south parcel, either for vehicle or pedestrian.

Ms. Stefforia suggested a discussion of landscaping, and it was her opinion that Type C landscaping should be established along Stadium Drive frontage and along 8th Street.

The applicant, Tom Kostosky, was present. He noted that the applicant had initially requested rezoning. There had been concerns with density, the type of development, and the conditions for development. With this proposal, the number of units had been reduced. Mr. Kostosky stated that the type of development had been decreased in intensity from his previous plans, and that he was not requesting a zoning change.

As to the retention pond, he stated that the areas would be more organic than they seem to appear on the proposed conceptual plan. They would be following the natural contours of the property. As to buffering on the property to the north, he stated that there were existing trees along the property line.

It was suggested to the applicant that he identify the natural features existing on the site. He did not propose connection between the north and south portions of the property because the greenspace would be lost. Further, he was concerned about "cut-throughs" from Stadium Drive to 8th Street.

As to the commercial portion, he was suggesting neighborhood services such as video store, etc. There was a discussion of the possibility of moving the commercial site closer to the Stadium Drive right-of-way and adding sidewalks along Stadium and 8th Street.

The Chairperson expressed concern that the design was "boring", and did not meld with the character of the Village Focus Area and its goals. Mr. Larson stated that he would like to see more thought put into a plan which had sensitivity to the natural features and character of the area. Planning Commissioners agreed that the plan was too square and had too many sharp edges. They felt that it should be more of a "planned development" rather than appearing to be three separate sites. Ms. Heiny-Cogswell stated that she felt the applicant needed to take into account and preserve the natural features of the site and felt that it would be more "organic" if the applicant first identified the natural features to be preserved and then built around them. She felt that the areas should be left separate but allow for a pedestrian walkway between the north and south half of the site.

Planning Commissioners agreed that Type C landscaping should be located along 8th Street and Stadium Drive, and possibly along the north line. Planning Commissioners also agreed that sidewalks should be added along Stadium Drive and up 8th Street. The Planning Commissioners agreed that the types of uses identified via the applicant were satisfactory in concept, but that they would like to see a change in the design. It was the consensus of Planning Commissioners that the applicant should return for another conceptual plan review after the uses had been redesigned. It was noted that the size of a single commercial building would be limited to 15,000 square feet.

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the Planning Commission, the meeting was adjourned at 9:55 p.m.

OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP
PLANNING COMMISSION

By:
Acting Secretary
Minutes prepared:
July 29, 2003

Minutes approved:
, 2003