OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS

June 28, 2005

Agenda

COOK - ACCESSORY BUILDING REVIEW - 6547 LINDENHURST DRIVE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-02-330-028)

THOMPSON - FRONTAGE VARIANCE - 2111 NORTH DRAKE ROAD - (PARCEL NO. 3905-12-280-060)

A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Zoning Board of Appeals on Tuesday, June 28, 2005, commencing at approximately 3:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall.

MEMBERS PRESENT: James Turcott, Acting Chairman
Dave Bushouse
Grace Borgfjord
Duane McClung

MEMBERS ABSENT: Millard Loy, Chairman

Also present were Mary Lynn Bugge, Township Planner; James W. Porter, Township Attorney; and approximately 10 other interested persons.

CALL TO ORDER

The Chairman called the meeting to order at approximately 3:00 p.m.

MINUTES

The Chairman said that the first item on the Agenda was consideration of the minutes of May 24, 2005. Mr. McClung made a motion to approve the minutes as submitted. The motion was seconded by Ms. Borgfjord. The Acting Chairman called for a vote on the motion and the motion passed unanimously.

COOK - ACCESSORY BUILDING REVIEW - 6547 LINDENHURST DRIVE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-02-330-028)

The Acting Chairman indicated that the next item was the consideration of an accessory building review for the Cooks. The applicant was requesting a site plan review of a proposed accessory building with an area larger than the ground floor area of the dwelling. He noted that the property was located at 6547 Lindenhurst Drive (Parcel No. 3905-02-330-028).

The Acting Chairman called for a report from the Planning Department. Ms. Bugge submitted her report to the Planning Department dated June 28, 2005, and the same is incorporated herein.

Ms. Bugge explained to the Zoning Board of Appeals that the applicant's property was located in an "R-2" Residence District. She noted that the request was being made under Section 78.820 of the Ordinance. The ground floor of the applicant's dwelling was 1,396 feet and the proposed accessory building was 1,728 feet. She said that the applicant was requesting approval of an accessory building exceeding the ground floor area of their dwelling by 332 square feet.

Ms. Bugge then proceeded to take the Board through the provisions of Section 78.820 as set forth in her report. Ms. Bugge did submit a revised second page of her report noting an increase in height of the building to 23' 9", as well as a reconfiguration on the overhead garage and entry doors. Ms. Bugge then proceeded to review the proposed design and elevation drawings with the Board members. Ms. Bugge made specific note of the need to extend the minimum side and rear yard setbacks to at least the height of the accessory building at its highest point.

The Acting Chairman asked if there were any questions of Ms. Bugge. Hearing none, he asked to hear from the applicant. Ms. Jennie Cook spoke on behalf of herself and her husband. Ms. Cook presented pictures of their home to the Board. She said that the proposed accessory building would have siding and brick to match their residence. She said on the south and east walls where there were no windows or doors, they were willing to provide landscaping.

Ms. Borgfjord asked Ms. Cook, based on the elevations on the property, how much of the accessory building would be seen from the road. Ms. Cook said they wanted to place the building toward the south end of their property but were limited, in that, there was an easement running along the southern 33' of their property. However, Ms. Cook said she did not think that much of the building would be visible from the road.

Ms. Borgfjord asked if there would be a separate drive to the accessory building. Ms. Cook indicated that there would be a separate drive installed and that they had already received approval and a new driveway permit from the Kalamazoo County Road Commission. She noted that it would be an asphalt drive from Lindenhurst on the east side of the property running south to the proposed accessory building.

Mr. Bushouse asked if there would be an upper level to the proposed structure. Ms. Cook indicated that there would not. She said the only reason they were proposing the structure be 24' tall is to make sure that it is compatible with their home. She also said it would help accommodate the overhead doors they were proposing to install.

Mr. Bushouse asked what they would be storing within the accessory building. Ms. Cook said lawn equipment, cars and recreational vehicles. Mr. Bushouse specifically asked if there would be any commercial equipment stored at the site. Ms. Cook said that there would be no commercial equipment stored at the site at all.

The Acting Chairman asked the Cooks if they understood that the property was in a residential zone and that any storage at the site would have to be residential in nature. Mr. and Mrs. Cook both acknowledged that there would be no storage of commercial materials at the site, no business activities, no one living in the building, and no storage of other people's personal property.

The Acting Chairman asked if there was any public comment. Mr. Thurman Bryant introduced himself to the Board. He said he was building a house immediately east of the Cooks' property. He said he thought his house would be within 60' to 70' of the lot line and had questions regarding the proposed structure. He said he was against having such a large accessory building located so close to his home. He also questioned why the building had to be 24' tall. Mr. Cook pointed out they could build a 32' x 42' building already and that they were not exceeding the height limitations currently imposed by the Ordinance.

Ms. Bugge pointed out that the 24' height was within Ordinance limitations and was more in keeping with the roof lines of the house.

Mr. Jeffrey Smith said he lived across the street from Mr. Thurmond and said he thought they would clearly be able to see this structure from his home. He said he thought it would be unsightly and did not want to see such a large accessory building constructed. He then asked whether or not the subject property was part of the West Port Trails Subdivision and subject to the plat restrictions. Ms. Bugge informed Mr. Smith that the subject property was not part of the West Port Trails Subdivision and, therefore, was not subject to any of its plat restrictions.

Mr. Bushouse said he did have some concern given the fact that there were not a lot of outbuildings in the area. He said he understood people's concerns and noted that many of the larger outbuildings which had been permitted were on larger parcels than the one at issue. Mr. Bushouse said he had driven the area and found nothing that large in the vicinity. He noted that the Board has previously granted permission for accessory buildings like this, but most of them were located around the airport where hangars and other large accessory buildings had already been constructed. He said with that he had reservations but would wait to hear from the other Board members.

The Acting Chairman said he shared the concerns raised by Mr. Bushouse and said he was not sure whether it would fit into the proposed setting.

Ms. Borgfjord said she had driven through the subdivision and she too was concerned about the proposed size of the structure. However, she said perhaps with the appropriate screening it would be permissible. She also noted that the applicant was not proposing a pole barn but a site built structure with brick and vinyl siding. Mr. McClung pointed out to the Board and those in attendance that the applicants could put up a structure nearly as large as the one proposed. He said the applicant was only asking for an additional 332 sq. ft. He also noted that the proposed structure would match the house and, therefore, he thought it would look more like a detached garage, not like a pole building.

The Acting Chairman asked if the applicant built an accessory building in compliance with the size limitations if it could still be 24' high. Ms. Bugge indicated that it could since that was within the height limitations for properties that size. Ms. Bugge also noted that if the applicant had built a 2,000 sq. ft. ranch, they could build this accessory building without consideration by the Zoning Board of Appeals. She said the proposed structure was in proportion to the house because the house was a 2-story structure. Mr. McClung said that he agreed with Ms. Bugge's comment and again noted that it looked more like a garage rather than an accessory building.

Ms. Borgfjord noted that it was in close proximity to a platted subdivision. She said therefore if permission was granted, she would like to see it landscaped to lessen the impact on surrounding neighbors.

The Acting Chairman asked if the applicants would be willing to discuss screening the structure. Mrs. Cook said they had designed the structure so that the front of it would be facing their house and they made it wider so as to maximize the impact of their view and made it more shallow so as to lessen the impact on the neighbors. She said they would be more than willing to provide screening.

Ms. Borgfjord asked what plans they had to screen the property. Mr. Cook said they would be willing to plant 8' to 9' pine trees and cluster them along the east side of the structure.

Ms. Bugge asked if the applicants could specify what the proposed setbacks on the property line would be. She stated that the set backs had to be sufficient in order to allow planting of the proposed pine trees. Ms. Cook said they would set the structure back 30' to 35' from the east property line and approximately half way back on the property. She said she wanted to make sure that the entire structure was not placed behind Bryant's home so as to obstruct their rear yard view.

Mr. McClung asked about the setback from the easement. Ms. Bugge indicated there was no setback requirement from the easement but that the setbacks were to be figured from the property line. Attorney Porter concurred.

The Acting Chairman asked if there was further discussion and hearing none, said he would entertain a motion. Ms. Borgfjord made a motion to approve the accessory building as requested by the Cooks provided that it be setback 30' to 35' from the east property line and screened along the east side from the adjoining property with 8' to 9' pines as approved by the Planning Department and, further, that the accessory building be restricted to personal uses and not used for any commercial storage or activity. Mr. McClung seconded the motion. The Acting Chairman called for a vote on the motion and the motion passed unanimously.

THOMPSON - FRONTAGE VARIANCE - 2111 NORTH DRAKE ROAD - (PARCEL NO. 3905-12-280-060)

The Acting Chairman indicated the next item on the agenda was consideration of a request for a variance from Section 66.201 to allow a land division resulting in two parcels, one with less than 200' of frontage on a public street and another parcel with no frontage on a public street. He noted the subject property was located at 2111 North Drake Road (Parcel No. 3905-12-280-060).

The Chairman asked for a report from the Planning Department. Ms. Bugge submitted her report of the Planning Department dated June 28, 2005, and the same is incorporated herein by reference. Ms. Bugge noted that the applicant's property was located in the "R-2" Residence District and that they were requesting the variance to allow land division resulting in two parcels, one with less than 200' of frontage and the one with no frontage. She said the request was being made by Janice Thompson on behalf of the Edwin Lambeck Trust. Ms. Bugge explained that the subject property was a non-conforming 23 acre parcel with approximately 95' of frontage on North Drake Road with a depth of 2,600 feet. She said that the property, which contained a single-family dwelling, was not legally non-conforming and, therefore, not grandfathered and was technically unbuildable.

Ms. Bugge said that Mr. Lambeck had requested a permit to construct a second home in 1967 which was granted by the Township on the condition that a road be constructed acceptable for public dedication. However, she said the road was never built, and, eventually, a land division did occur, resulting in the current configuration of the property.

Ms. Bugge cautioned the Board about establishing a property without any frontage and questioned whether or not it would set an undesirable precedent. She did note, however, if the variance were not granted that she thought it might be appropriate for the ZBA to consider a variance to allow the existing parcel to be considered buildable in order to issue building permits for renovation of the existing home. Ms. Bugge then took the Board through the review criteria for a non-use variance.

The Acting Chairman asked Ms. Bugge how the division had been allowed to take place. Ms. Bugge explained that prior to 1997 and the amendment to the Land Division Act, properties could be divided by deed without previous approval of the Township. She said people would often record unbuildable parcels and they would not be caught until such time as somebody tried to obtain a building permit.

The Acting Chairman asked to hear from the applicant. Ms. Janice Thompson said she lived at 2780 South 11th Street. She said the property belonged to her father and was currently in his trust. She said her father had been told that he needed to construct a county road and, in fact, had taken steps to do that but the County Road Commission refused to accept the road and that is why the road had not been completed. She said they had had an offer on the house but without the balance of the property. She indicated they wanted to divided the existing property in compliance with the Township Ordinance and retain the rest for sale to a developer. She said she thought if they split the property as proposed that the home could maintain access with an easement across the larger parcel to North Drake Road.

The Acting Chairman asked if there were any questions of Ms. Thompson and hearing none asked if there was any public comment. There being no public comment, the Acting Chairman called for Board deliberations.

Mr. McClung asked what was currently happening with regard to changes in the Township Zoning Ordinance regarding private roads. Ms. Bugge indicated the text changes currently being addressed were only applicable to commercial and industrial developments. She said private roads could be permitted within a PUD or open space development for residential purposes.

Mr. McClung said that if the request were granted there would not be a need for a public road at the present time.

Attorney Porter said while he was sympathetic with the applicant's request, he was concerned about setting a precedent which would, in fact, allow a parcel with an existing residence to be divided creating a parcel which had no frontage on a public street. He said he was concerned about setting an adverse precedent which might be used to argue for further such divisions in the future. Mr. Bushouse asked if the fact that it existed in its current configuration would weigh in favor of granting the variance and against granting similar requests. Attorney Porter said he did not believe it would be any different than somebody with frontage in compliance with the Ordinance wanting to divide their residence with no frontage and leaving the remainder with frontage for future development. He said the fact that the property had existed in its current configuration for more than 30 years weighed in favor of granting a variance to treat the parcel as a buildable parcel or grant some other type of relief but not the relief being requested.

Ms. Bugge asked if they maintained the frontage of the subject property with the residence if they could then divide the rear portion of the property reserving it for future development with an easement across the frontage for a future road. Attorney Porter said allowing such a split would be more consistent with the past practices of the Zoning Board of Appeals and maintain the integrity of the Ordinance. He said in so doing they would not be reducing any of the existing frontage, which had been in its present configuration for more than 30 years, nor would they be creating a developed property without road frontage, and the Township could then require construction of an appropriate public or private road before the interior property was developed.

Mr. Jim Douglas, real estate agent for Ms. Thompson, asked for clarification. Ms. Bugge explained that it would be necessary to reconfigure the property in order to maintain the frontage on North Drake as part of the parcel containing the residence and that it be designed in such a fashion that when the road was developed that the parcel with the residence would have sufficient frontage on that road in order to bring it into compliance with the Ordinance. Attorney Porter noted that they would need to retain an access easement for the benefit of the interior property and provide an easement to the Township.

Mr. McClung asked if two easements would be necessary. Attorney Porter indicated that there would be one easement but it would be reserved for the benefit of the owners and the Township for purposes of constructing the road to the interior of the property. Attorney Porter thanked Mr. McClung for the clarification.

Attorney Porter suggested that if the variance was granted that the motion to do so be fashioned as follows: "Motion to grant a variance to allow the division of the property to create two parcels. Parcel A to contain the residence and the existing 95' of frontage on North Drake Road in configuration and compliance with the Township Zoning Ordinance (reconfiguration of the parcel to be done in cooperation with the Township Planning Department) subject to a reservation of easement for the benefit of Parcel B and the Township for development of a platted subdivision or condominium development to be accessed by a public or private road designed and constructed in compliance with County and Township requirements."

The Board members asked that it be noted that the request was granted because the property had existed in its current configuration with only 95' of frontage for a period in excess of 30 years.

Mr. McClung, for the reasons stated in the record, moved to approve the motion as presented by counsel. The motion was seconded by Mr. Bushouse. The Acting Chairman asked if there was further discussion and hearing none called for a vote on the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Other Business None.

Adjournment

There being no further business to come before the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Board adjourned at approximately 4:20 p.m.

OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP
ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS

By:
James Turcott

By:
Dave Bushouse

By:
Grace Borgfjord

By:
Duane McClung

Minutes Prepared:
, 2005
Minutes Approved:
, 2005