OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS MINUTES

June 15, 1998

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Agenda

SLOCUM, RICHARD - VARIANCE FROM 200' ROAD FRONTAGE/50,000 SQ. FT. AREA REQUIREMENTS - 2788 N. VANKAL STREET

COLLINS, PHILIP & NEDRA - VARIANCE FROM 200' ROAD FRONTAGE/4:1

DEPTH-TO-WIDTH RATIO REQUIREMENTS - NW╝ L.S. 16, NE╝ L.S. 17

WEST MAIN AUTO (RICK & DAWN BOVEN) - SITE PLAN AMENDMENT TO

ALLOW FOR ALTERNATIVE SCREENING ARRANGEMENT - 6211 WEST MAIN

SEELYE WEST - SITE PLAN REVIEW - PROPOSED 6,000 SQ. FT. BUILDING ADDITION AND EXPANDED PARKING AREA - 6883 WEST MAIN

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A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Zoning Board of Appeals on Monday, June 15, 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
William Saunders

MEMBER ABSENT: Lara Meeuwse

Also present were Mike West on behalf of the Planning and Zoning Department, Scott Paddock, Ordinance Enforcement Officer, Patricia R. Mason, Township Attorney, and approximately twenty-one (21) other interested persons.

CALL TO ORDER

The Chairperson called the meeting to order at 3:05 p.m.

MINUTES

The Board considered the minutes of the meeting of June 1, 1998. The revisions suggested by Mr. West were noted. Mr. Brodasky moved to approve the minutes as amended, and Mr. Saunders seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

SLOCUM, RICHARD - VARIANCE FROM 200' ROAD FRONTAGE/50,000 SQ. FT. AREA REQUIREMENTS - 2788 N. VANKAL STREET

The next item was the application of Richard Slocum for variance approval from the 200' road frontage and 50,000 sq. ft. area requirements established by Section 66.201 of the Zoning Ordinance. The subject site is located at 2788 N. VanKal Street and is within the "AG"-Rural District zoning classification.

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

The subject parcel had been created prior to 1965 and the adoption of the dimensional requirements for unplatted parcels. It is a rectangular piece of property with 88' of frontage on North VanKal Street and a depth of 217'. The subject property is considered lawfully nonconforming and "buildable" at the present time. There is a single-family residence with a house and attached garage presently on the property.

The applicant was seeking approval for the acquisition of additional property to be combined with the existing parcel. Reference was made to the parcel map attached to the report. The applicant is interested in building a small pole barn on the property and the addition of certain square footage would allow the establishment of this building in compliance with setback requirements.

Other similar applications in which property was combined with an existing lawfully nonconforming parcel so as to render it in greater compliance with Ordinance provisions had been granted.

The Chairperson asked whether the applicant was present. Seeing that the applicant was not yet present, the Board decided to table the item to the end of the agenda.

 

COLLINS, PHILIP & NEDRA - VARIANCE FROM 200' ROAD FRONTAGE/4:1 DEPTH-TO-WIDTH RATIO REQUIREMENTS - NW╝ L.S. 16, NE╝ L.S. 17

The next item was the application of Philip and Nedra Collins for variance approval from the 200' road frontage and the 4:1 depth-to-width ratio requirements established by Section 66.201 of the Zoning Ordinance in association with a proposed land division. The subject site is located within the NE╝ of Land Section 16 and the NW╝ of Land Section 17 and is within the "AG"-Rural District zoning classification.

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

Mr. West directed the Board's attention to the Certificate of Survey attached to the Planning and Zoning report. The subject property consists of approximately 59 acres with a total of approximately 1,953' of road frontage. The applicant was proposing a land division which would create six buildable parcels which comply with the dimensional standards set forth in Section 66.201 of the Zoning Ordinance. The land division would also create two nonbuildable parcels, designated as parcels A and G, which would not comply with the 200' road frontage and 4:1 depth-to-width ratio requirements of Section 66.201. The applicant was proposing that parcels A and G be considered nonbuildable parcels until such time as they were developed either through the Land Division Act (platting) or through the Condominium Act (site condominiums) and/or until a public road is extended into the parcels to provide the necessary public road frontage. Mr. West made reference to other similar previous applications granted by the Zoning Board of Appeals (i.e., the application of Robinson and Dovetail Development).

The Board made reference to the Certificate of Survey which showed the proposed land division and the resulting parcels. Mr. Brodasky questioned the applicant with regard to the reasoning for leaving parcels A and G with only 100' of road frontage. The applicant responded that it was the plan to develop an interior road (perhaps a boulevard entrance) which would lead to an interior street system into parcels A and G. Parcels A and G would likely be divided into further lots through site condominium or plat development. These lots would have public road frontage from the future interior street system.

P.G. Walter was present on behalf of Delta Group for the applicant.

Public comment was called for, and Jim Frey made reference to his letter dated June 11, 1998, in opposition to the proposed variance. He stated that his property is across the street from the proposed parcel G. He felt that this proposal was different than others which had been granted by the Zoning Board of Appeals. He noted that this site is not across the street from an existing street as in the Dovetail application. Further, there is not an existing easement for access as in the Robinson application. He felt that the applicant should pursue their alternatives to conform to the Ordinance. He felt it was significant that the Zoning Board of Appeals did not know the layout of the future possible plat or site condominium development. He was concerned that the lot layout would dictate the placement of an intersection for an interior road system on 5th Street and that this location was possibly "not good" for the visibility.

Karen Finch was present, stating that she had not received any notice that this item was set for a meeting. She was concerned that a possible future road established on 100' of frontage would be very close to the driveway on her property. The Chairperson noted, in response to a question, that the Kalamazoo County Road Commission would be involved in the placement of the road intersection for any intersection of an interior street system to 3rd Street or 5th Street.

Debra Vandervest was concerned that the survey stakes she had seen at the site were inaccurate.

Georgia Kootz was concerned about the configuration of the proposed lot layout. After further discussion, it became apparent that Ms. Kootz was making reference to an earlier proposal of the applicant which had subsequently been revised.

Mike Olech expressed concern that his farming operation would be impacted by future residential development. He stated that he has an orchard in the area and raises hogs, cattle and chickens. He was concerned that future residential neighbors would be "offended" by his operation and would seek its elimination. He was also concerned that the location of the future possible road would be in a large sinkhole on the property. He also felt that the survey stakes were inaccurately placed.

Erin Weitekamp expressed concern about the location of the proposed road, feeling that the Zoning Board of Appeals should require a complete plan for any proposed future plat before granting a variance.

Jeff Gilchrist stated that he was not opposed to development but had not yet had a chance to review the parcel layout.

The Chairperson stated that he felt this was a similar application to those which had previously been approved. The variances would merely allow the applicant to divide his property and reserve certain land for future development through platting or site condominium means. The parcels which did not have sufficient frontage and which were in violation of the 4:1 depth-to-width ratio requirement would still be considered unbuildable until rendered conforming.

Mr. Saunders agreed, noting that, in the minutes of the meeting of December 1, 1997, Board members had agreed that it was appropriate to create a policy of approving this type of proposal so long as conditions could be placed on the variance approval which would render the proposed layout in keeping with the intent and spirit of the Ordinance. It was felt that the intent and spirit of the Ordinance could be met without immediate platting or site condominium development through conditional variance.

Mr. Bushouse agreed but expressed concern that Ordinance requirements be consistently applied so as to minimize curb cuts. He felt that requiring the applicant to comply with Ordinance standards for their proposed division would result in less curb cuts along 3rd and 5th Streets. He was also concerned about failure to adequately notice the public, although he recognized that the legal requirements for noticing had been met.

The applicant responded, indicating that, under the law, the applicant would have the right to divide its property into a certain number of parcels without the necessity of platting. The applicant stated they felt that their current proposal was consistent with the Land Division Act and that the proposed buildable parcels were in compliance with Ordinance standards. The so-called unbuildable parcels would not be utilized or built upon until they were platted or site condominiumized.

Mr. West stated that this proposal could be developed if parcels A and G were platted simultaneously or prior to the creation of the unplatted parcels. Further, this arrangement of parcels could have been created prior to the change in the Land Division Act and the resulting change to the Township's Land Division Ordinance.

After further discussion, Mr. Bushouse commented that he felt this proposal was different than the Dovetail and Robinson applications, which involved existing homes.

Mr. Saunders moved to grant variance with the following reasoning:

(1) That compliance was unnecessarily burdensome. It was recognized that the applicant had other development options; however, variance approval to allow for the reservation of the two parcels designated A and G for future residential development would be consistent with the available development options. The variance would not result in the creation of building site(s). The remaining parcels created by the land division would be considered buildable under Ordinance standards.

(2) That substantial justice would require 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) That, 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 in that the proposed land division would have complied with the Township Ordinances in effect prior to the adoption of the Land Division Act and Ordinance and as based upon the conditions which would be imposed. The variance would allow for the reservation of property and its future development consistent with the Land Division Ordinance or site condominium procedures.

The variance was conditioned upon the requirement that no building permit would issue for building upon parcels A and G until these parcels comply with Zoning Ordinance requirements through extension of public road, platting or site condominium development.

Mr. Brodasky seconded the motion, and the motion carried 3:1, with Mr. Bushouse voting in opposition.

 

WEST MAIN AUTO (RICK & DAWN BOVEN) - SITE PLAN AMENDMENT TO ALLOW FOR ALTERNATIVE SCREENING ARRANGEMENT - 6211 WEST MAIN

The next item was the application of Rick and Dawn Boven, representing West Main Auto, for site plan amendment to allow for an alternative screening arrangement at the previously approved West Main Auto site (formerly Lindstrom's). The subject site is located at 6211 West Main and is within the "C" Local Business District zoning classification.

The report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference. It was noted that the site consists of approximately 1.2 acres occupied by West Main Auto and Great Lakes RV Rental. Between 1978 and 1981, the Zoning Board of Appeals granted various approvals to the subject site, which were conditioned upon the requirement that a berm be constructed, landscaped and maintained along the eastern and western property boundaries.

In February of 1998, the applicant removed the landscaping from the berms due to its unsightly condition. The applicant was proposing screening through the construction of a wood fence along the eastern and western berms. An expansion to the asphalt drive was being proposed in conjunction with the alternative screening proposal. The extension of the drive would encroach into a portion of the eastern berm, resulting in a reconfiguration of that berm.

Mr. West stated that he felt the Board should inquire as to whether the alternative arrangement proposed by the applicant would satisfy the original intent of the Board in placing the screening condition on the property. He also recommended that the Board subject any approval to the review and approval of the Township Engineer for consideration of water retention issues.

The applicant was present and confirmed that the vegetation on the berm had been unsightly and that he felt establishing a fence along the berm would give it "a clean look." The applicant presented a revised drawing of the proposed screening arrangement.

The Chairperson questioned the applicant as to the reason for the change in the width of the drive. He stated that adding 6' to the drive would give "a little more space to accommodate trailers and other vehicles" that accessed the site.

Mr. Brodasky commented that he felt the fencing arrangement would "be a lot nicer." He noted that there was a lot of wild-looking vegetation to the south.

In response to questioning by the Chairperson, Mr. West and the Township Attorney noted that the Board could determine that, if the applicant meets current Ordinance requirements as to screening, the proposed new arrangement would be satisfactory. There was a discussion of screening options.

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

Mr. Brodasky wondered whether the revisions to the site would necessitate conformance of the entire site with current Ordinance standards. It was recognized that some features, including a sign at the site, were lawfully nonconforming in that they predate current standards. The Township Attorney advised that, unless the lawfully nonconforming feature was impacted by a proposed revision, it could continue. Therefore, it was felt that the proposed changes to the drive and screening arrangement would not necessitate the entire site coming into compliance with Ordinance standards.

There was a discussion of the extent of screening along the eastern and western portions. It was felt that the fencing and berm should be extended at least as far as the depth of the existing residences on either side, i.e., approximately 110'.

Mr. Saunders moved to approve the site plan amendments to allow the expansion of the asphalt drive as proposed and an alternative screening arrangement along the east and west property lines of the property. The applicant was authorized to establish a 4' fence on the existing berms (or, in the alternative, a 6' fence without berm) to a depth of 110' from West Main and replace plantings on the remainder of the berm along the property lines. The applicant was required to submit a specific plan to Township staff for review and approval. The motion was further conditioned upon review and approval by the Township Engineer.

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

 

SEELYE WEST - SITE PLAN REVIEW - PROPOSED 6,000 SQ. FT. BUILDING ADDITION AND EXPANDED PARKING AREA - 6883 WEST MAIN

The next item was the application of Bruce VanderWeele, representing Seelye West, for site plan review to allow for the construction of a 6,000 sq. ft. building addition (sales & service) and an expanded parking area. The subject site is located at 6883 West Main and is within the "C" Local Business District zoning classification.

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

It was noted that previous approvals for the development of the site had been dealt with by the Planning Commission in that outdoor display and sales is a special exception use. However, the recent proposal by the applicant for expansion of the service/repair portion of the site was considered by the Planning Commission on May 14, 1998, at which time the Planning Commission concluded that the proposed expansion would constitute a change from an accessory use, which is customarily incidental to outdoor vehicle display and sales, to a primary use, thereby requiring site plan review by the Zoning Board of Appeals. The applicant was requesting site plan review for a proposed 6,000 sq. ft. building expansion (for sales and service) and an addition of approximately 20,000 sq. ft. of paved area for customer service and employee parking. It was noted that, in previous considerations of development at the site, the Planning Commission had consistently attempted to preserve the existing on-site service drive arrangement, as well as the possibility of future extension of that service drive along the southwest portion of the subject portion parallel to South 8th Street.

The applicant was present, stating that the proposed building addition would include six bays in the garage and additional office for the sales and service employees. The building addition would be to the "west and south" of the existing building. No additional outdoor display was proposed. The added parking was for employees and customers. The dumpsters would be relocated to the southeast portion of the site.

The Chairperson questioned the applicant as to whether there would be any additional greenspace added in front of the building. The applicant responded that there would not be. There was discussion of the location of the bay doors on the new addition. It was recognized that the floor plan of the proposed addition would "draw activity" to the west of the site in that the main entrance was being relocated. Mr. VanderWeele stated that the sales and service managers for the use were also present to answer questions.

The Chairperson asked for public comment, and Lee Larson, a resident of South 8th Street to the southwest of the site, commented that he had three concerns. First, he was concerned about the noise generated by the repair facility. He noted that he had had to talk with the manager of the site about the noise when the bay doors had been left open. Further, there was an intercom system which was very noisy. Second, he was concerned about the hours of operation and that they should not go too far into the night. Third, Mr. Larson was concerned as to whether the proposed lighting at the site would have any impact on adjacent properties. He felt that the Board should require additional screening or other methods to minimize noise and lighting impact.

Pam Larson reported that a car alarm had gone off at the property during Memorial Day weekend and that they had finally resorted to calling the Township Fire Department to deal with the issue and get the alarm turned off.

Michael Pashby stated that he also felt that noise was a problem at the site. April Pashby stated she felt that the addition would generate even more noise than was currently generated at the site.

Bob Seitz, office manager, stated that some calls had been received concerning the P.A. system at the site. In response, the volume on the outdoor speakers had been turned down. He stated that the use does have night crews working on cars into the late evening but that they could keep the bay doors shut at night.

There was discussion as to whether the applicant could eliminate the P.A. system through use of modern technology, such as paging or telephones. The applicant responded that they had looked into some alternatives but would still end up having some equipment outside of the building.

Clark Lang, the service manager, reported that a second service shift crew comes in around 5:30 p.m. and leaves between 11:30 p.m. and 3:00 a.m. It was noted that the site services many cars from other Seelye lots, as well as customer cars.

There was again a return to discussion of the P.A. system, and Scott Paddock, Ordinance Enforcement Officer, stated that he would need to research whether the P.A. system had even been authorized for the site in its previous approvals.

There was discussion of the additional service bays, and Mr. Lang stated he felt that the addition of these bays might reduce the likelihood of the need to work into late-night hours. It was noted that the dealership is currently open for sales two nights per week until 8:00 p.m. The Chairperson expressed he felt that the service bay doors should be closed between by 5:30-6:00 p.m. daily. Mr. Brodasky agreed. The applicant stated that he would have no objection to having the service bay doors closed after 6:00 p.m. daily. He stated that the new air circulation system in the building addition would allow for the closing of these doors.

Mr. Bushouse commented that he is able to hear the intercom at the site from 7th Street. He felt that the applicant should go to a more modern system.

There was discussion of the barrier-free parking requirements at the site, and it was noted that there would be a requirement of three given the 52 proposed parking spaces.

The Board returned to a discussion of the hours of operation, and it was noted that the service area opens at 7:30 a.m. Paging would generally be necessary after 9:00 a.m. The applicant was satisfied that the service bay doors would only be allowed to stand open during the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.

As to the paging system, the applicant's representative, Mr. Seitz, stated that he would have all the outdoor speakers turned down again.

There was discussion about possible additional screening along the western portion of the site, and the Chairperson stated he felt that additional screening was needed only after further development to the south and not with this particular addition.

Mr. Brodasky moved to approve the site plan with the following conditions, limitations and notations:

(1) That modifications to the existing access drive off West Main and the interior service road arrangement are not proposed. The existing service drive arrangement and potential for future extension of the service drive along the southwest portion of the subject parcel parallel to South 8th Street should be maintained.

(2) That no change to the previously approved outdoor vehicle display/sales area is proposed or approved.

(3) That the requirements imposed in previous approvals for the site, including December 19, 1991, were continued.

(4) That all parking spaces must comply with the dimensional standards at 10' x 20'.

(5) That three barrier-free spaces be established at the site consistent with the ADA and Michigan Barrier-Free Guidelines; all barrier-free parking is subject to ADA and Michigan Barrier-Free Guidelines and must be designated with signage and pavement logo.

(6) That proposed building setbacks comply with Ordinance standards.

(7) That, as to noise abatement, all service bay doors must remain closed before 9:00 a.m. and after 6:00 p.m. daily. There should be no use of the paging system prior to 9:00 a.m. or after the sales portion of the business closes, i.e., 8:00 p.m. two nights per week currently. It was noted that this provision as to paging was dependent upon the receipt of the results of the research of the Ordinance Enforcement Officer and assumes that the paging was permitted by previous approvals. It was recognized that the use was required to comply with the Township's Noise Ordinance.

(8) That the proposed dumpster relocation and enclosure is satisfactory.

(9) That modifications to the lighting arrangement were accomplished in March or April of 1998 in conformance with Ordinance standards, and no further modifications are proposed.

(10) That no additional signage was proposed or approved.

(11) That existing screening at the site is satisfactory.

(12) That no variance had been requested or approved.

(13) That approval is subject to the review and approval of the Township Fire Department and Engineer.

(14) That issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy for the proposed expansion is contingent on final inspections/approvals from the Building, Mechanical, Electrical, Fire, Planning and Zoning Departments to insure compliance with all applicable standards, conditions and regulations.

(15) That approval is subject to preparation and submittal of an Environmental Permits Checklist and Hazardous Substance Reporting Form for the proposed 6,000 sq. ft. expansion and review and approval pursuant to Section 69.000.

The motion was seconded by Mr. Bushouse. It was clarified that the applicant would need to work with Township staff with regard to the location of the third barrier-free space.

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

 

SLOCUM, RICHARD - VARIANCE FROM 200' ROAD FRONTAGE/50,000 SQ. FT. AREA REQUIREMENTS - 2788 N. VANKAL STREET

The Board returned to a discussion of the application of Richard Slocum for variance approval. The applicant was now present and stated that his neighbor had agreed to sell him property dimensioned at 40' x 250' (40' of frontage) for combination with his existing parcel. This would render his parcel in closer conformance to current Ordinance standards. There was discussion of the location of the neighbor's property's buildings, and it was noted that the home is at least 150' away from the current property line of the existing parcel. Therefore, there would be no adverse impact on the setbacks for the buildings on the adjacent property.

There was no public comment offered, and the public hearing was closed. It was noted that other similar applications, most recently the Borden application on June 1, 1998, had been granted. It was further noted that it was not the purpose of the application to create an additional buildable parcel but only to allow for the establishment of a pole building on an existing parcel.

Mr. Bushouse commented that he had no objection to the variance in that it brings the parcel into better compliance with existing Ordinance provisions. The Chairperson agreed.

In response to questioning, the applicant stated that the existing drive would be used to access the pole building. There was discussion of the Ordinance standards with regard to setbacks applicable to pole buildings.

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

(1) That conformance is unnecessarily burdensome in that the applicant presently has a lawfully nonconforming, buildable, parcel and seeks to acquire additional frontage and area which would render the resulting parcel in compliance with the requirements of a platted lot. The currently existing parcel is too small for development either through the platting process or through the site condominium process.

(2) That substantial justice would be served by granting the variance in that other similar applications had been granted in the past. It was felt it was significant that the additional frontage and land area would result in a parcel in closer conformance to Ordinance standards and would be consistent with the general character of the surrounding area.

(3) That there were no unique physical limitations on the subject parcel, and the hardship is self-created in that the proposed property acquisition is at the discretion of the applicant.

(4) That, however, the spirit of the Ordinance would be observed and the public health, safety and welfare secured if the variance is granted in that the proposal would not result in the creation of an additional parcel for development but would rather result in a parcel which is in closer conformance with Ordinance standards.

The variance was conditioned upon the requirement that no additional driveway be installed on the subject parcel and that all required building setbacks for existing and proposed buildings be maintained. Further, the additional property must be combined with the existing parcel through written, executed and recorded legal instrument on file with the Township.

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

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 6:00 p.m.

Minutes Approved: July 13, 1998