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OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS

June 10, 2003

Agenda

ADAM'S OUTDOOR ADVERTISING - ALTERATION TO NONCONFORMING BILLBOARD - CORNER OF STADIUM DRIVE AND U.S. 131- (PARCEL NO. 3905-25-285-011)

KALAMAZOO COUNTY ROAD COMMISSION - FRONTAGE VARIANCE - 7697 STADIUM DRIVE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-34-185-010)

CAMPBELL - DEPTH-TO-WIDTH VARIANCE AND ACCESSORY BUILDING REVIEW - 4281 WOLF DRIVE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-06-180-021)

JONES AND BONNES - FRONTAGE VARIANCE - 5765 STADIUM DRIVE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-25-330-011)

A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Zoning Board of Appeals on Tuesday, June 10, 2003, commencing at approximately 3:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Millard Loy, Chairperson
Duane McClung
Dave Bushouse
Grace Borgfjord
James Turcott

MEMBERS ABSENT: None

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

CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order at 3:00 p.m.

MINUTES

The Board considered the minutes of the meeting of May 27, 2003. Mr. McClung moved to approve the minutes as submitted, and Ms. Borgfjord seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

ADAM'S OUTDOOR ADVERTISING - ALTERATION TO NONCONFORMING BILLBOARD - CORNER OF STADIUM DRIVE AND U.S. 131- (PARCEL NO. 3905-25-285-011)

Ms. Stefforia stated that the applicant was asking that its variance request from the provisions of Section 62.151 so as to allow alteration to an existing billboard at the southeast corner of Stadium Drive and U.S. 131, be tabled. She suggested the meeting of June 24, 2003. Mr. McClung moved to table the item to that meeting, and the motion was seconded by Mr. Bushouse. The motion carried unanimously.

KALAMAZOO COUNTY ROAD COMMISSION - FRONTAGE VARIANCE - 7697 STADIUM DRIVE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-34-185-010)

The Board considered the application of Ronald Reid, Managing Director of the Kalamazoo County Road Commission, for a variance from Section 66.201 so as to allow a land division that results in the creation of a parcel without frontage on a public street. The proposed new parcel is currently and would continue to be used for storm water management. The subject site is at 7697 Stadium Drive within the "I-1" Industrial District zoning classification, and is Parcel No. 3905-34-185-010.

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

Ms. Bugge stated that Oakridge Woods LLC is the owner of the parcel containing 7.8 acres at 7697 Stadium Drive. It is the location of West Side Auto Body. A drainage basin on the site is used by the owner and by the Kalamazoo County Road Commission. The Road Commission has an easement for access and use of the drainage basin for public storm water purposes.

The owner of the parcel is now seeking to transfer title to a portion of the property which contains the basin to the Road Commission for liability purposes. This division would create a parcel with no road frontage. An access easement for ingress and egress to the basin would be maintained. Additionally, the Oakridge Woods' property, i.e., the West Side Auto Body use, would retain a recorded easement permitting its use of the pond for drainage purposes from the portion of the property currently developed. The proposed new parcel would be 1.43 acres in size.

Ms. Bugge reviewed the standards for a nonuse variance. As to whether conformance would be unnecessarily burdensome, Ms. Bugge suggested that the Board consider the location of the existing buildings and the fact that the basin was used for public storm water drainage purposes.

As to substantial justice, Ms. Bugge pointed out that similar applications had been granted in the case of Buysse and concerning a case involving the City of Kalamazoo.

Mr. Bushouse commented that he recalled another similar case involving the Ken Sowles' property.

As to whether there were unique physical circumstances, Ms. Bugge suggested that the Board note the location of the existing buildings and the drainage basin. It was felt that the hardship was self-created in that it was at the discretion of the applicant; however, the proposed action would allow ownership of the basin by the Road Commission, who was the primary user of the basin. Ms. Bugge felt that the spirit and intent of the Ordinance would be served, and that the public health, safety and welfare would be secured, given that the property in question is used for public storm water purposes and would continue to be used for the drainage of the Oakridge Woods' site.

No public comment was offered, and the public hearing was closed.

The Chairperson felt it was straight forward, given the use of the proposed property and that the variance was consistent with past decisions.

Mr. McClung moved to approve the variance based on an analysis of the nonuse variance criteria. Mr. McClung further conditioned granting the variance on the execution and recording of an easement allowing the continued use of the drainage basin by the Oakridge Woods, i.e., West Side Auto Body, site for the portion of the site currently developed. Further, as a condition, an executed and recorded easement was required to allow Kalamazoo County Road Commission ingress and egress to the basin. Mr. Turcott seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

CAMPBELL - DEPTH-TO-WIDTH VARIANCE AND ACCESSORY BUILDING REVIEW - 4281 WOLF DRIVE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-06-180-021)

The Board considered the application of Dwight Campbell for a variance from Section 66.201 to allow a parcel with a depth of more than four times the average width to be considered buildable, and for review of a new accessory building proposed to be constructed on the property. The subject site is at 4281 Wolf Drive within the "RR" Rural Residential District, and is Parcel No. 3905-06-180-021.

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

Ms. Bugge noted that the parcel in question has 200 feet of road frontage, but is not considered "buildable" since it does not conform to the 4:1 depth-to-width ratio. The property has a depth of approximately 2,840 feet and an average width of about 218 feet. In addition, Ms. Bugge stated that the applicant was proposing construction of an 1,800 square foot accessory building which exceeds the 492 square foot area of the residence currently located on the property. Therefore, the Ordinance requires review.

Ms. Bugge noted that, although the 14-acre property is not considered "grandfathered", the dwelling at the site pre-existed 1965. However, sometime after 1965, the north seven acres were split from the parent parcel to create the abutting parcel to the north. At the same time, 200 feet of road frontage was added to the subject property. Therefore, the boundary changes made subsequent to 1965 brought the frontage into compliance with dimensional standards, but exacerbated the nonconforming depth-to-width ratio.

Ms. Bugge also noted that there were seven small buildings, including the residence, on the property. The applicant was proposing to demolish three small accessory buildings, totaling an area of 1,500 square feet, upon the establishment of the proposed accessory building.

The applicant had included a narrative with his application concerning the use of the proposed building for storage of personal property. It was also noted that the applicant would seek in the future to establish another dwelling at the site and demolish the existing dwelling.

Ms. Bugge reviewed the standards applicable to nonuse variances. As to whether conformance was unnecessarily burdensome, it was noted that the property contained the existing small dwelling since prior to 1965. Further, the current parcel configuration had existed prior to 1984.

Ms. Bugge reviewed prior similar applications in which a variance had been granted.

As to unique physical circumstances, Ms. Bugge noted the depth of the property extended to the section line and that there was a lack of additional roads in the area, stating that these might be considered unique physical circumstances. It was noted that the construction of an accessory building was at the discretion of the applicant, and therefore to some extent, the hardship was self-created. However, the property had extended to the section line for many years. Further, the changes which had eliminated the "grandfathered" status of the property had caused the depth-to-width ratio to increase, but had brought the property into compliance with the frontage requirement.

There was a discussion of the criteria of Section 78.820.

The applicant was present, stating that the accessory building was a "pole barn kit" he had purchased. The pole building would have steel siding, a cement floor and a shingled roof. He planned to use the pole building for personal storage, and no electrical service to the building was planned. The applicant stated that he would be storing a 34-foot motor home during winter months in the building. Further, he and his wife had two vehicles which would be stored inside. Further, household furnishings and items could be stored in the building during construction of a new dwelling on the site.

No public comment was offered, and the public hearing was closed.

The Chairperson stated that, in his opinion, the parcel was similar to others in the area. Further, he felt it was significant that other similar applications had been granted. Moreover, the "back" of the property was the County line.

Mr. Bushouse questioned whether there would be any benefit to requiring a 66-foot right-of-way along one of the property lines to the west line of the site. After discussion, Mr. Bushouse concluded that, in his opinion, this would not be beneficial to the Township because of the location of the "swamp", the County line, and the lack of other roads with which to connect.

Mr. Bushouse moved to grant the variance, and Mr. McClung seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

The Board analyzed the proposed 1,800 square foot accessory building under the criteria of Section 78.820. It was noted that the accessory building would have a 12-foot wall and a pitched roof. Therefore, its height would be approximately 18 feet.

It was noted that the building would be placed more than 300 feet from the parcel abutting to the east and from Wolf Drive. It would be 70 feet and 120 feet from the north and south property lines, respectively. The building would be located 200 feet west of the abutting residence to the north. The applicant stated that the siding on the building would be "off" white.

Mr. Bushouse expressed concern that the proposed accessory building would be so much larger than the small house existing at the site. However, it was felt that this property had some distinguishing features in that the existing home predated 1965, and it consisted of 14 acres. Additionally, the applicant was proposing the removal of three smaller accessory buildings totaling 1,500 square feet. In addition, the applicant had expressed an intent to demolish the existing home at the site in the future and establish a new dwelling approximately 1,800 square feet in size. Therefore, Board members were satisfied the Board would not be setting a general precedent for pole buildings four times the size of a dwelling. In this case, it was felt that the proposed building was not excessively sized, but only excessive given the size of the existing dwelling.

Ms. Borgfjord moved to approve the proposed accessory building conditioned upon removal of the three small accessory buildings within six months of the issuance of a certificate of occupancy for the subject pole building. A performance guarantee would be required from the applicant before issuance of a certificate of occupancy in an amount sufficient to guarantee removal or demolition of the three small accessory buildings. It was noted that the applicant would need to return to the Township for permission to establish a new dwelling at the site. Mr. Bushouse seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

JONES AND BONNES - FRONTAGE VARIANCE - 5765 STADIUM DRIVE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-25-330-011)

The Board next considered the application of Dennis R. Jones on behalf of Joyce and John Bonnes for a variance from the provisions of Section 66.201 so as to allow a parcel with less than 200 feet of frontage to be considered "buildable". The subject property is located at 5765 Stadium Drive within the "R-3" Residence District zoning classification, and is Parcel No. 3905-25-330-011.

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

Ms. Bugge noted that the subject property is nonconforming in that it lacks sufficient frontage and exceeds the permitted depth-to-width ratio. The site has only 97 feet of road frontage and a depth of 554 feet. The applicant was seeking a variance so as to make the parcel buildable in order to renovate the existing building or construct a new building at the site. It was noted that construction of a new office building on the property would require special exception use and site plan approval.

Ms. Bugge stated that the original parcel had 97 feet of road frontage and extended south to the AT&T right-of-way. However, in 1985, the rear 283-foot portion of the site had been sold to the owner of Lot 5 of the Plainview Plat. Therefore, the parcel had lost its "grandfathered" status. It was felt significant that the amount of frontage had not been altered at that time, and that the depth-to-width ratio was reduced by this split.

There was discussion of whether the parcel in question could be platted or site condominiumized. Ms. Stefforia pointed out that, since there was water and sewer available to the site, it could be platted or site condominiumized to be made buildable. However, a variance from the depth-to-width ratio would still be required. Past decisions were reviewed, particularly in the case of Everett and in the case of Eichelberg. Ms. Bugge felt that there were no unique physical circumstances at this site except that the frontage did exist prior to 1965. The split which had caused the lost of "grandfathered" status had reduced nonconformity. As to whether the hardship was self-created, it was felt that it was, but again, it was pointed out that the split in question had reduced the nonconformity of the site.

The applicant, Dennis Jones, was present. He stated that he had been leasing office space in the Township and wanted to buy a site. He indicated that he did not know whether he would be able to acquire additional property from the neighbor to the east.

Mr. Bushouse questioned the applicant concerning the use of the south 400 feet of the site. Mr. Jones stated that he planned to keep this area green. Mr. Jones stated that he was proposing only one building on the site.

There was discussion of the plan to place an office building on the corner of Plainview and Stadium Drive, and whether there could be a possibility for cross-access with the site in question. Ms. Bugge felt that it might be possible, but felt that it was probable that the site was "too tight". Further, it might be undesirable to put more traffic onto Plainview Avenue.

There was discussion of the possibility of cross-access with the Hope Woods' site. The applicant expressed a willingness to talk with the property owner regarding cross-access. It was felt that this Hope Woods' site was at a level grade with the subject property.

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

Mr. Bushouse agreed with the suggestion of Ms. Stefforia that, as a condition of any variance, the applicant should be required to seek cross-access.

Mr. McClung moved to grant the variance with the following conditions:

(1) That only one building be established on the subject property.

(2) That the applicant was required to negotiate and use a cross-access arrangement satisfactory to the Township, unless the Township Staff is satisfied that reasonable terms for cross-access cannot be negotiated with one of the abutting landowners.

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

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 4:00 p.m.

OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP
ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS

By:
Millard Loy, Chairperson

By:
Duane McClung

By:
Grace Borgfjord

By:
Dave Bushouse

By:
James Turcott

Minutes Prepared:
June 13, 2003

Minutes Approved:
, 2003