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OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

PLANNING COMMISSION

June 15, 2000



SKYVIEW ESTATES -- SPECIAL EXCEPTION USE AMENDMENT FOR UNITS 8 AND 9 AS ONE PROPERTY 
(PARCEL 3905-18-460-008)

MAPLE HILL AUTO CENTER -- SPECIAL EXCEPTION USE AMENDMENT AND SITE PLAN REVIEW 
5622 WEST MAIN STREET (PARCEL 3905-13-180-035)
                                                                                                                                            
A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Planning Commission on Thursday, 
June 15, 2000, commencing at approximately 5:30 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township.

MEMBERS PRESENT:	
Ken Heisig, Acting Chairperson
Ted Corakis
Stanley Rakowski
Marvin Block
Wilfred Dennie (after 6:16 p.m.)	

MEMBERS ABSENT:	
Elizabeth Heiny-Cogswell
Neil Sikora

Also present were Jodi Stefforia, Planning Director, Mary Lynn Bugge, Township Planner, and 
Patricia R. Mason, Township Attorney (after 6:34 p.m.), and 10 other interested persons.

CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order at 5:41 p.m.

AGENDA

Mr. Corakis  moved to approve the Agenda as submitted, and Mr. Block seconded the motion. The 
motion carried unanimously.

MINUTES

The Commission considered the Minutes of the meeting of May 25, 2000.  Mr. Block moved to approve
the Minutes as submitted, and Mr. Rakowski seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

	
SKYVIEW ESTATES (BRUNETTE) - SPECIAL EXCEPTION USE AMENDMENT

The Planning Commission considered the request of Mr. and Mrs. Brunette for an amendment to the 
previously granted Special Exception Use approval for the Skyview Estates open space community. 
Requested amendment would allow construction of a hangar on applicants’ property before house is 
more than 50% constructed.

Mr. Heisig reviewed the request. Ms. Stefforia presented the Planning Department staff report 
which is incorporated herein by reference. Staff recommended approval of the request with 
conditions identified in staff report.

Ms. Stefforia informed the Commission that the development had never been submitted to the 
County for review as is required of anyone developing  site condominiums. Therefore, the current 
situation arose due to a lack of communication in the early stages of designing the Skyview 
Estates open space community.

The applicant, Mr. Brunette, stated he was requesting approval to allow the hangar to be built on 
units 8 and 9 which he and his wife had purchased to be treated as one site. Due to unforeseen 
delays regarding obtaining a well permit from the Environmental Health and Services Department at 
the County, this relief is requested.

The applicant explained that his builder had submitted drawings for a building permit for the house
in April. When applying for a well permit, the County raised the issue that well permits cannot 
be issued for sites within the Skyview Estates development at this time. The County’s current 
position is due to known ground water contamination east of this development.

Although many parties are involved in the water issue at this time, it has caused a delay to the 
applicants as they are unable to begin construction on the house until it is resolved to some 
level of confidence that water will be available - municipal or a well - when the house is 
completed.

Mr. Brunette indicated that a plane he order five years ago is now ready for delivery and 
although he has hangar space for the short-term, however he needs his own hangar for permanent 
storage. If the current problems had not been encountered, the timing of the hangar would have 
been appropriate and this request unnecessary. 

The applicant also stated that he will be storing building materials for the house temporarily 
within the hangar. Said materials are also ready as this delay was unexpected and construction 
was to have commenced in April.

Mr. Brunette further stated he hoped his request had enough unique circumstances that would 
allow the Commission to grant the request without establishing a negative precedence.

Mr. Heisig asked the applicant when the water issue will be resolved.

Mr. Brunette stated he did not know, but a meeting to discuss it further was being scheduled. 

Ms. Stefforia stated that although agreement will be reached on how to address the water supply 
issue, resolution of the matter to the point of water being available may be more than a year 
away.  That is, a well permit will not be issued next week and similarly, installation of public 
water cannot be accomplished immediately if that is the chosen remedy.

Upon questioning by Mr. Corakis, the applicant informed the Commission that only site work had 
been done on the site, no foundation or footings were in place as a building permit had not been 
issued yet.

Mr. Heisig opened the meeting to public comment on the subject request.

Del Foster, the airport manager, stated that he supports the request. He informed the Commission 
that 6 of the 15 sites had been sold already. He encouraged the Commission to extend public water
to the development.

Mr. Foster asked the Commission to consider other site owners within the development and their 
need for hangars before the house(s) are completed.

Mr. Heisig reminded the audience that the Commission was only considering the current application - 
that of the Brunettes.

There were no further comments, and the public hearing was closed.

Mr. Heisig reviewed the request and the Special Exception Use criteria of Section 60.100 for 
Planning Commission consideration. 

The Commissioners found the request to be compatible with other uses permitted in the AG, 
Agricultural-Rural zoning district. The condition of prohibiting hangars before the house was at 
least 50% complete was unique to this development as the Commission - in approving this open 
space community - wanted to ensure that a residential neighborhood resulted and not "an airport".  
Relief from that condition for the subject request was in keeping with the previously granted 
approval.

With respect to whether or not granting the request would be detrimental to the area, the 
Commissioners concurred that the applicant has submitted evidence of intent to satisfy the 
conditions of open space community approval. Any amendment should be specific to the applicants’ 
property. 

The Commission found that the open space community, when approved in 1999, had been determined to 
satisfy the criteria regarding promotion of the public health, safety and morals of the Township.

In considering if granting the request would encourage the use of the land in accordance with its 
adaptability and character, Mr. Heisig noted the previously voiced concern of the Commissioners 
regarding not wanting a development of hangars and no homes. 

Mr. Rakowski stated he was concerned about setting a precedence.  He stated he would not be inclined 
to approve this type of request in the future for others in this development.

Mr. Heisig stated he was comfortable that the current request is distinguishable from future 
requests given the evidence provided by the applicant demonstrating intent to satisfy Township 
requirements and that others are now aware of the water problem.

Ms. Stefforia told the Commission she had concern over timing the hangar occupancy to commencement 
of the house. She asked the applicant how long it would take to build the hangar.

In response, Mr. Brunette indicated that the hangar would be complete within four to six weeks. 
Materials had been ordered before he was reminded that construction of the hangar could not 
commence until the house was at least 50% complete.  Most of the materials to build the hangar 
are ready.

Mr. Heisig summarized the discussion and findings. He reminded the Commission that it is important 
that any motion for approval distinguish the current request from probable future requests. 

Mr. Corakis indicated he had concern over the number of other sites sold within this development.

Ms. Stefforia suggested that the Commission, if inclined to grant the request, tie occupancy of the 
hangar on the applicants’ obtaining a permit for the house.  

Finding that the current request satisfied the special exception use criteria, Mr. Block moved to 
grant the request of the applicants’ with the following conditions:

(1)	hangar may not be used to store household items;

(2)	similar requests, in the future, are discouraged;

(3)	Certificate of Occupancy for the hangar shall not be issued until the applicants’ obtain the 
Building Permit for the house.

Mr. Heisig invited comment on the motion from the audience.

The applicant, Mr. Brunette, stated he is concerned about the third condition.  Resolution of the 
water problem was unknown at this time. It may be a long time before both a course of action and 
progress on it are made. With winter weather coming, it would be a hardship to not be able to use 
the hangar. He asked the Commission to please consider eliminating the third condition.  He stated he 
felt he and his wife had demonstrated intent to build a home when they bought two sites and submitted 
building plans to the Township.

Mr. Block asked if the Township was willing to allow construction to start on the house before water was available.

Ms. Stefforia replied that the Township had agreed to allow the house to be started while the water issue 
was being resolved. A building permit is valid for 180 days of inactivity. Permit will then expire or may be extended.

Del Foster stated that the by-laws of the development prohibit a hangar without a house. 

Mr. Dennie entered the meeting.

Mr. Dennie questioned the status of resolving the water problem. He was updated by the Commission on the previous 
discussion. With that information, he stated he was comfortable voting on the matter.

There was no additional public comment on the motion, and the comment period was closed.

The motion was seconded by Mr. Rakowski.  The motion carried.


MAPLE HILL AUTO CENTER - SPECIAL EXCEPTION USE AMENDMENT / SITE PLAN REVIEW - 5622 WEST MAIN STREET 
(PARCEL NO. 3905-13-180-035)

The Planning Commission conducted a public hearing on special exception use amendment and site plan 
review for a proposed improvement to the Maple Hill Auto Center regarding an additional sales/showroom 
building.  The subject site is located at 5622 West Main Street in the "C" Local Business District zoning 
classification, and is Parcel No. 3905-13-180-035.  The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is 
incorporated herein by reference.

It was noted that the Planning Commission had granted special exception use/site plan approval for two 
additions to the existing building at this site on December 19, 1996.  In August of 1996, the Zoning Board 
of Appeals granted a variance from the 20-foot sideline setback requirement regarding that addition.  
Further, site lighting in the display area was granted a variance by the ZBA.  It was noted that the applicant 
would need to obtain approval from the Zoning Board of Appeals with regard to the proposed project so as to 
allow approval of the conversion of existing lights along Maple Hill Drive for use of 1,000 watt bulbs in the 
fixtures.  In addition, any revisions to the signage arrangement would require ZBA approval.

Special exception use/site plan amendment was requested from the Planning Commission regarding a proposed expansion 
of other use to include a new showroom/sales building for use by the Audi and Volkswagen line of vehicles.  
The additional building would reduce the amount of display area at the site, and would not increase the amount of paving.  

Jim VandenBerg was present on behalf of the applicant.  He stated that the Chrysler, Volvo, Hyundai and Subaru vehicles 
would be handled in the existing building, and Volkswagen and Audi would be handled in the new building.  However, 
it was felt that there would be advantages to having centralized management for all of the car lines.  The proposed 
project would reduce the number of access points onto Maple Hill Drive.  Further, the southern Maple Hill drive would be 
moved to the south for better internal circulation and access for the Fire Department.  The middle access point on 
Maple Hill Drive would be closed.  Therefore, there would be one less drive than currently exists at the property.  
The site would continue to have one access point onto M-43.  Mr. Dennie commented that he believes the changes to the 
access arrangement would be an improvement.

There was discussion about the width of proposed internal service roads and aisles, and it was noted that the applicant 
was working with the Fire Department regarding required turning radius and drive and aisle width. 

In response to questioning by Mr. Heisig, the applicant indicated that the retention pond was being deepened to about 
16 feet.  He noted that the retention pond at present is holding, not only water from the site, but also water run-off 
from the gas station and from the adjacent MDOT Highway.  Mr. VandenBerg stated that MDOT would be re-designing the 
driveway at the site so as to prevent highway surface water from entering onto the subject property.

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

Mr. Heisig made reference to Section 60.100, and the Board reviewed whether the proposed use was compatible with other 
uses expressly permitted within the "C" Local Business District zoning classification.  The Board members felt that the 
proposed use was compatible in that the Commercial zone is primarily for retail sales.  In addition, the proposal would 
represent an expansion of an existing sales/service facility at the site.

The Board considered whether the proposed use would be detrimental or injurious to the use or development of adjacent property.  
In that there was no increase in paving and the building would provide a visual break, the Board members felt that the proposed 
use would not be detrimental or injurious.  It was noted that adjacent properties were developed subsequent to the establishment 
of the original dealership.  In addition, Mr. Dennie commented that he believed that the elimination of one access point off 
Maple Hill Drive was a "favorable" change.

The Planning Commission considered whether the proposed use would promote public health, safety and welfare.  It was believed 
that the expansion of the site would not be detrimental to public health, safety or welfare.  It was noted that the site is served 
by public sewer and water.  However, it was felt that a detailed lighting plan should be submitted to Township Staff.  It was also 
recognized that the applicant would require a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals.  In addition, the Township Engineer would 
need to review and approve the plan.

The Planning Commission considered whether the proposal would encourage use of the land in accord with its character and adaptability.  
The Planning Commission members agreed that the proposal would meet this criteria, and that it was an expansion of an existing use.  
There was no proposal to increase outdoor display or paving at the site. 

Planning Commissioners reviewed Section 82.800.  As to access, Planning Commissioners again expressed that they felt that the elimination 
of one Maple Hill Drive access point would improve site circulation.  There was discussion with regard to parking, and Ms. Stefforia 
stated that the 11 spaces proposed would provide parking for the showroom.  However, she was concerned that additional spaces would be 
necessary for customer and employee parking.  The applicant indicated that employees parking in or adjacent to the fenced area near the 
retention pond.  It was agreed that the applicant should work with Township Staff to satisfy Ordinance requirements with regard to parking.

There was discussion of the screening which exists on a neighboring property.  The applicant stated that there was about 200 feet from his 
property line to the first multi-family housing unit on the abutting property.  However, space was not available on the subject property to 
establish additional green area or screening.

After further discussion, Mr. Dennie moved to grant a special exception use permit concluding, based upon the discussion of the Planning Commission, 
that the proposed expansion would meet the criteria of Section 60.100.  Mr. Corakis seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

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

(1)	That the access arrangement currently existing on the property be modified as proposed by the applicant to reflect the minor re-location 
	of the southern Maple Hill driveway and to close the middle access point on Maple Hill Drive.

(2)	That parking was required to comply with the requirements of Section 68.000.  It was required that the applicant submit a parking plan 
	to the Township and work with Staff to comply with Ordinance requirements.

(3)	It was recognized that lighting and signage were required to conform to Ordinance requirements unless variance were granted by the 
	Zoning Board of Appeals.

(4)	Approval was subject to the review and approval and conditions imposed by the Township Fire Department.

(5)	Approval was subject to the review and approval and any conditions imposed by the Township Engineer.

(6)	With regard to parking, it was noted that employee parking would be adjacent to or within the fenced area at the northwest corner of the site.

(7)	The proposed development is consistent with the Groundwater Protection Standards of Section 69.000.

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

PLANNING COMMISSIONER COMMENTS

Mr. Dennie commented that there was, with the recent rainfalls, a lot of dirt and gravel coming onto 10th Street from the construction project at the 
corner of 10th Street and West Main.  The Township Staff indicated that they would contact the County Drain Commissioner’s office regarding this problem.

Mr. Corakis noted that it appeared that all equipment had been removed from the site at the corner of 9th Street and West Main Street.  Although sewer 
assessment had been paid, it was uncertain whether the Menards project was going forward.

Mr. Rakowski commented that AT&T was planning to install fiber optic cables on the south side of G Avenue between 8th Street and 6th Street.

Mr. Block indicated that the Township Board had approved release of an easement with regard to the Pine Acres project contingent upon road installation.

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the Planning Commission, the meeting was adjourned at 7:05 p.m.

					
Minutes prepared:
June 19, 2000

Minutes approved:
July 13, 2000