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OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

PLANNING COMMISSION

July 8, 1999

Meeting Minutes

Agenda

ADULT BUSINESS REGULATIONS - TEXT AMENDMENT - PUBLIC HEARING
SIGN ORDINANCE - DRAFT #1 - WORK ITEM
INDOOR RECREATIONAL USES - TEXT AMENDMENT - WORK ITEM
MASTER LAND USE PLAN AMENDMENT - INDUSTRIAL LAND USE POLICIES – RESUME PUBLIC HEARING
TREE PLANTING INITIATIVE

A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Planning Commission on Thursday, July 8, 1999, commencing at approximately 7:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall, pursuant to notice.


MEMBERS PRESENT:
Wilfred Dennie, Chairperson
Marvin Block
Millard Loy
Ted Corakis
Stanley Rakowski
Elizabeth Heiny-Cogswell

MEMBERS ABSENT:
Ken Heisig

Also present were Jodi Stefforia, Planning Director, Mary Lynn Bugge, Township Planner and Patricia R. Mason, Township Attorney, and five (5) other interested persons.

CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order at 7:01 p.m.

AGENDA

The Chairperson suggested moving item #5 to consideration below item #7.

Mr. Block moved to approve the agenda as amended, and Mr. Rakowski seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

MINUTES

The Planning Commission discussed the minutes of the meeting of June 24, 1999. The Chairperson suggested a slight change to page 3 to remove the word "had" in the third paragraph. Changes suggested by the Planning and Zoning Department were noted. Mr. Rakowski moved to approve the minutes as amended, and Mr. Corakis seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

ADULT BUSINESS REGULATIONS - TEXT AMENDMENT - PUBLIC HEARING

The Planning Commission again considered the proposed text amendment regarding adult regulated uses which had been tabled from the meeting of June 10, 1999. The report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

The Chairperson noted that the issue had been discussed with the Township Board at the preceding joint meeting. The Planning Commission and Township Board had discussed the fact that concerns were raised about the studies reviewed regarding deleterious secondary effects, i.e., concerns that the studies were conducted in communities which were not similar in size to Oshtemo Township, and concerns that the studies were 10-20 years old. Additionally, there was concern with allowing commercial or retail uses within an Industrial District. The Planning and Zoning Department had been requested to research the availability of property within the "C" and "C-1" Districts. Ms. Bugge had analyzed commercial property which would be at least 500’ from residentially zoned properties. Ms. Bugge presented overhead projections of Sections 13, 14 and 25 illustrating with blue hash marks the location of commercial properties at least 500’ from residentially zoned property. However, Ms. Bugge indicated that the text at present requires a certain setback from family-oriented uses. Ms. Bugge noted the presence of movie theaters, restaurants like McDonald’s and the mall, which she felt would qualify as family-oriented uses, and limit the availability of commercial properties. Ms. Bugge was also concerned about allowing such uses in "gateway" areas.

Mr. Corakis commented that he preferred allowing such uses within the Commercial rather than Industrial Districts. However, he was concerned that such uses might be detrimental to such businesses as the malls, which attract children as customers. Mr. Rakowski felt that such uses would be a problem in either zone and that whatever text was drafted was likely to be challenged. Reference was made to an article which had appeared in the Kalamazoo Gazette and Detroit News concerning challenge by the American Civil Liberties Union to the efforts of Detroit-area communities to regulate adult uses.

Mr. Block noted that he would rather see such uses in the Commercial District but was concerned about their effect on other commercial uses. Mr. Block, however, preferred the Commercial District in that the available land was not cheap and not necessarily improved with empty buildings. Ms. Heiny-Cogswell also supported locating such uses in the Commercial versus the Industrial Districts. Mr. Loy agreed, stating, however, he believed that malls and restaurants would be family-oriented uses and that the setbacks proposed in the text would apply.

After analyzing the sections in which Commercial zoning was located, it was suggested that perhaps only Section 14 would have available property since other sections were limited by the presence of family-oriented businesses. The Planning Commission members agreed that the mall, non-liquor-licensed restaurants, movie theaters, video stores and recreational uses such as West Hills would be considered "family oriented."

There was a discussion of the possibility of creating an overlay zone, the location of which would be chosen by geographical considerations.

The Planning Commission’s consensus was that Planning and Zoning Department staff analyze the availability of commercial properties, i.e., availability based upon the presence of family-oriented uses.

The Chairperson asked for public comment, and Kadir Mohmand stated he believed that the United States Constitution was "great" and that, in drafting this text, the Township should remember the Constitution.

Jacob VanGiessen commented he agreed that it was a "hairy situation" in deciding where to allow these uses. He felt if it was impractical to locate such uses in the Commercial District that an overlay zone might be a better possibility.

Mr. Mohmand again spoke, questioning why the Township was considering such a text if no applicant for an adult use was seeking permission to locate within the Township. He felt that, if people were told they could not do something, then they wanted to do it. Therefore, he believed that adopting the text might cause "trouble." The Chairperson explained that an interest group in the Township had requested consideration of the text and that the matter had been referred to the Planning Commission by the Township Board.

After further discussion, Mr. Corakis moved to table consideration of the item to the meeting of August 12, 1999, to allow Planning and Zoning Department analysis of the availability of Commercial property, taking into account the presence of family-oriented businesses. Mr. Loy seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

SIGN ORDINANCE - DRAFT #1 - WORK ITEM

The Planning Commission next considered draft #1 of a proposed new Sign Ordinance. The report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference. Ms. Stefforia noted that the Ordinance was proposed as a separate Ordinance, not a part of the Zoning Ordinance. She asked that the Commission consider amortizing nonconforming signs.

In response to questions by the Township Attorney as to the reason that it was proposed as a separate Ordinance, Ms. Stefforia stated that she would like to see different variance criteria considered than that required for Zoning Ordinance provisions. However, she supported the idea of having "variances" considered by the Zoning Board of Appeals with the possibility of appeal to the Township Board.

The Township Attorney stated that she would like to have an opportunity to review and comment on the Ordinance, i.e., the text and the concept of creating a Sign Ordinance separate from the existing Zoning Ordinance.

Mr. Corakis moved to refer the text to the Township Attorney for review and comment by the August 12, 1999, meeting. Mr. Block seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

INDOOR RECREATIONAL USES - TEXT AMENDMENT - WORK ITEM

The Planning Commission next discussed the possibility of a text amendment regarding indoor recreational uses. The report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

The Chairperson reminded the Planning Commission that the idea of amending the Ordinance to include indoor recreational uses within the Industrial District had been previously discussed. It was noted that such uses generally include large buildings of an "industrial-looking or warehouse-type appearance." Such uses as indoor soccer, indoor golf and tennis were noted.

Ms. Stefforia stated it was proposed that Section 30.210 be eliminated and that skating rinks, bowling alleys, indoor recreational facilities and health clubs be added as special exception uses within the "C," "C-1," "I-R" and "I-1" zoning district classifications.

After further discussion, Mr. Loy moved to schedule public hearing on the item for August 26, 1999. Mr. Rakowski seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

MASTER LAND USE PLAN AMENDMENT - INDUSTRIAL LAND USE POLICIES – RESUME PUBLIC HEARING

The Planning Commission resumed discussion and public hearing on the proposed Master Land Use Plan amendment regarding the Industrial Land Use Policies. It was the consensus of the Planning Commission that reference to the adult regulated uses should be eliminated and reference to allowing indoor recreational facilities as a use in Industrial Districts should be included.

Mr. Loy moved to table further consideration of the Land Use Policies to the meeting of August 12, 1999. Mr. Rakowski seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

TREE PLANTING INITIATIVE

It was noted that the proposed tree planting initiative had been discussed at the joint meeting with the Township Board. As many as 200 trees would be removed between West Main and H Avenue as part of the road improvement project. It was felt that the Township should make contact with Soil Conservation and others to determine what resources for tree planting were available. Further, it was felt that it would be appropriate to determine whether volunteers from the Homeowners’ Association, churches, etc., would help with tree planting. Further, the Kalamazoo County Road Commission would be consulted regarding plantings within the right-of-way. It was the consensus of the Planning Commission that inquiry should continue into this initiative.

PLANNING COMMISSIONER COMMENTS

Mr. Loy commented that developer Josh Weiner’s appearance at the Oshtemo Business Association had been delayed.

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell suggested the possibility of Planning Commission discussion of capital improvements. Ms. Stefforia noted that there was an existing Township Board subcommittee with regard to capital improvements and that generally such improvements were so expensive that developers paid for their installation as needed to serve certain projects.

Mr. Block updated the Planning Commission regarding the status of the road improvement and sewer expansion project.

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 9:05 p.m.

By:  Elizabeth Heiny-Cogswell, Secretary

Minutes prepared: July 9, 1999

Minutes approved: