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OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

PLANNING COMMISSION

June 28, 2001

Agenda

VISION WEST - REZONING REQUEST - KL AVENUE/8TH STREET - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-22-285-061, 3905-22-285-070 AND PORTIONS OF PARCEL NOS. 3905-22-285-051 AND 3905-22-285-080

LOWE'S - OUTDOOR DISPLAY - SPECIAL EXCEPTION USE AMENDMENT - (PARCEL NO. 3905-13-485-005)

BLODGETT/BILIKE - SITE PLAN REVIEW - CONDOMINIUMS ON FAIRGROVE STREET (PARCEL NOS. 3905-26-287-022, 032, 042 AND 052)

BEST - SITE CONDOMINIUM - SITE PLAN REVIEW

A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Planning Commission on Thursday, June 28, 2001, commencing at approximately 7:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Neil G. Sikora, Chairperson
Ted Corakis
Elizabeth Heiny-Cogswell
Deborah Everett
James Turcott

MEMBERS ABSENT: Kathleen Garland-Rike
Stanley Rakowski

Also present were Jodi Stefforia, Planning Director; Mary Lynn Bugge, Township Planner; Patricia R. Mason, Township Attorney; and approximately 20 other interested persons.

CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order at 7:04 p.m.

AGENDA

Ms. Stefforia suggested adding under "Other Business" the dias reshuffle. Mr. Corakis moved to approve the Agenda as amended. Ms. Everett seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

MINUTES

The Planning Commission considered the minutes of the meeting of June 14, 2001. Ms. Everett moved to approve the minutes as submitted, and Mr. Turcott seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

VISION WEST - REZONING REQUEST - KL AVENUE/8TH STREET - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-22-285-061, 3905-22-285-070 AND PORTIONS OF PARCEL NOS. 3905-22-285-051 AND 3905-22-285-080

The Planning Commission considered rezoning of the southern one acre of Parcel No. 3905-22-285-051, all of Parcel Nos. 3905-22-285-061 and 3905-22-285-070, and the western 20 feet of Parcel No. 3905-22-285-080 from the "R-4" Residence District to the "I-1" Industrial District zoning classification. The subject properties are on the north side of West KL Avenue, west of South 8th Street.

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

Ms. Bugge explained that the applicant requested rezoning of the southern one acre of 3905-22-285-051 so as to be consistent with the remainder of the property owned by applicant adjacent thereto. The subject property contains 4.2 acres with approximately one acre zoned "R-4" Residence.

Prior to initiating a rezoning, Vision West had requested that Parcel No. 3905-22-285-051 be combined with Parcel Nos. 3905-22-285-005 and -021; the combined parcels consist of approximately 8.8 acres. This acreage contains one existing industrial building and one under construction. A proposed third building is now undergoing site plan review.

When the application was received, the Planning Commission decided to expand the area under consideration to include three other properties which also contain "R-4" zoning. The total combined area of "R-4" zoning under consideration is 2.23 acres.

Ms. Bugge indicated that the adjacent property to the north is "I-1" Industrial zoning and industrial use. To the east is "I-1" Industrial zoning and non-conforming residential and business uses. To the south is "I-1" Industrial zoning, agricultural and non-conforming residential uses. To the west is "I-1" Industrial zoning and industrial use. The Master Land Use Plan indicated that the area in question is classified industrial.

Tim Davis, with Vision West, was present on behalf of the applicant. Mr. Davis indicated that the applicant only seeks rezoning of its own parcel so as to build another industrial building on the combined property of the applicant.

The Chairperson asked for public comment, and Gordon Daam, owner of Parcels 061 and 070, stated that he opposed the rezoning of the property to the east and west. However, he recognized that since he does not own that property, and it complies with the Master Land Use Plan, it will probably be rezoned. However, he strongly opposed rezoning of his own property. He felt that rezoning to the Industrial District was premature. In his opinion, the majority of the land use in the area was not industrial. He urged that rezoning of his property be denied since 15 people call his property their home.

Mr. Daam was concerned that rezoning of the property would change the applicable setbacks and landscaping requirements so as to be less protective of the residential uses. He felt his property needed the protection of differing zoning. Further, he was concerned about being rendered a non-conforming use. He felt all these elements would affect his ability to get quality tenants in his multi-family housing.

Jennie Payton, a KL Avenue resident, stated that she was representing the opinions of five or six tenants of the building who opposed the rezoning for Parcels 061 and 070.

Michael Husted, a resident of the northeast corner of KL Avenue and 8th Street, requested that the Planning Commission deny rezoning. He stated that he had moved to the area because he enjoyed living in the "country". He felt that too much traffic would be generated by industrial use, and he was concerned about protecting residential use and property values in the area.

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

The Chairperson summarized the application, and suggested that the Planning Commission consider the criteria involved in rezoning requests. The Chairperson made reference to the first criteria, which was whether the proposed rezoning was supported by the adopted Master Land Use Plan. It was the consensus of the Planning Commission that the rezonings were supported by the Master Land Use Plan since the property in the area was industrially-classed. Mr. Corakis indicated that he felt "R-4" zoning was more of a spot in the midst of industrial zoning, and therefore, not supported by the Master Land Use Plan.

The Planning Commission considered whether the proposed rezoning would severely impact traffic, public facilities and the natural characteristics of the surrounding area or significantly change population density. Given the size of the properties involved and the fact that the properties were currently developed, it was felt that there would be no severe impact. However, the Chairperson noted that, in his opinion, there would be a severe impact for properties 061 and 070 by the rezoning in that they would be rendered non-conforming. Furthermore, the more stringent landscaping and setback standards that applied due to differing zoning would disappear.

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell stated that she felt that rezoning of parcels east of 051 was premature.

Ms. Everett agreed, stating that to leave the parcels east of 051 in the "R-4" zoning would provide protection.

Mr. Corakis stated that, in his opinion, there was no reason to leave the 20 feet on the west side of Parcel 080 as "R-4" zoning since there was already a building on the site, and it was within the "I-1" District. Ms. Everett had questions with regard to whether the owner of 080 was opposed to rezoning, and Ms. Bugge indicated that the owner had made contact and was surprised that the property was "I-1" zoned already. She stated that the property in this area had been in the industrial zoning classification since prior to 1984.

The Planning Commission considered whether the rezoning would constitute a spot zone. In that the zoning would be an extension of industrial zoning in the area, it was decided that this would not be a spot.

The Planning Commission considered whether the proposed rezoning would be contrary to the established land use pattern. As to Parcel 051, it was the consensus of the Planning Commission that it would not be contrary to the established land use pattern, which was a mixture of use, but property to the west and north was industrial. However, Planning Commissioners felt that, given the use of Parcels 061 and 070, rezoning of those parcels would be contrary to the established land use pattern.

The Planning Commission considered whether the rezoning would have the effect of stimulating similar rezoning requests. Planning Commissioners felt that further rezonings might be stimulated in the area, but this would be consistent with the Master Land Use Plan. However, such rezonings might not be stimulated in that most property in the area was currently zoned for industrial use.

The Planning Commission considered whether there had been a change in conditions in the surrounding area which would support rezoning. Planning Commissioners felt that there had been changes which would support rezoning of 051 due to the development of the remainder of the property.

Planning Commissioners felt that there might be adequate sites properly zoned elsewhere; however, only one acre of the property under consideration was vacant.

Mr. Corakis moved to recommend approval of the rezoning of Parcel Nos. 051 and 080 to the "I-1" Industrial District zoning classification. He further moved to deny rezoning of Parcel Nos. 061 and 070, thereby leaving them in the "R-4" Residence District classification. Ms. Everett seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

LOWE'S - OUTDOOR DISPLAY - SPECIAL EXCEPTION USE AMENDMENT - (PARCEL NO. 3905-13-485-005)

The Planning Commission considered the application of Brett Bailey, Lowe's Store Manager, for amendment to the previously-granted special exception use permit for approval for outdoor display and sales at Lowe's to allow expansion of the display area onto the sidewalk in front of the store. The subject property is located at 5125 West Main Street, is Parcel No. 3905-13-485-005, and is within the "C-1" Local Business District zoning classification.

The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference. Ms. Stefforia noted that, although the outdoor display currently at the site is more than 20% of the overall building size, the applicant would like to display various items in front of the store on the sidewalk under the canopy. The application suggested displaying sheets of drywall under the lumber canopy. Between the lumber canopy and main entrance, it was proposed that examples of sheds available at 1/4 their real size be attached to the exterior of the building. Also in that area, sheets of fencing typical of those for sale would be attached to the building. A display for patio blocks and other seasonal items near the garden center entrance was proposed. East of the main entrance, propane tanks would be displayed.

The applicant was present and stated that they were not seeking permission for display and sale of propane tanks and were not interested in including patio blocks.

Ms. Stefforia noted that the applicant for the original site plan approval had not initially requested the display at issue here. The display was started without approval, and it was indicated that the applicant had been allowed to leave live plant materials in the proposed areas pending review of the application. Several complaints had been received about "storage" on pallets in the outdoor display previously approved in the fenced area. The complaints state that the stacking of plastic-wrapped pallets of 20-pound bags of fertilizer, potting soil, etc. with heights greater than 20 feet above the ground was storage rather than display. It was felt that these areas were unsightly. Further, the fencing was not vinyl-clad as represented by the applicant and as approved by the Planning Commission. Further, the Fire Department had notified the Store on more than one occasion that the pallets stored in piles behind the building must be removed from the fire lane.

Ms. Stefforia indicated that the Township had previously approved some seasonal outdoor display and sales in the front area of the Target, Jewel-Osco and Meijer.

The sheds and fencing proposed by the applicant would be year-round, and live plants would only be seasonal. Planning Commissioners were cognizant that any decision on this application would be setting a precedent. Ms. Stefforia indicated that Menards is now putting year-round material outside on their sidewalks without prior approval.

Mr. Corakis expressed concern about the landscaping items, such as railroad ties, and live product being placed in the parking lot. Ms. Stefforia indicated that the Ordinance Enforcement Officer had previously brought this to the attention of the store manager, and it had been cleaned up, but was now back. Ms. Stefforia stated that she would send the Ordinance Enforcement Officer back to the site to deal with this issue.

There was discussion of the approved display area behind the fencing and the fact that it was not in conformance with Planning Commission requirements. The fence was not vinyl-clad, and the height of material stacked in the display area was not as discussed. Ms. Everett agreed, stating that some of the items in the chain-link display area are higher than the fence.

Brett Bailey, the Store Manager, was present and stated, with regard to the product in the parking lot, that on occasion product is received, dropped off in the parking area, and then worked into the store as practicable. In response to questioning by Mr. Corakis, the applicant indicated that sometimes five truck loads per day were received. He was seeking permission to allow these "areas" in the parking lot for trucks to drop off live plants. The plants would be left in the parking area until they could be taken into the store.

The Store Manager indicated that he believed that he had addressed the concerns of the Fire Department with regard to the pallets in the fire lane and did not know there was still a problem.

The Store Manager indicated that they would comply with whatever the Township required, but they were seeking permission to display live plant material, storage sheds, fencing and drywall.

Ms. Stefforia noted that she had determined that a further violation at the site was that the back area was supposed to be fenced with slats but was now only chain-link.

The Planning Commission discussed the five display areas which were under consideration:

(1) The fence display on the west side which was attached to the building.

(2) Storage sheds also on the west side attached to the building.

(3) Live plant material on the sidewalks on a seasonal basis, near the garden center.

(4) Drywall under the lumber canopy year round.

(5) Temporary seasonal display in the parking area at the side of the garden center (fenced display area) for truck drop-off of product.

Ms. Everett had questions with regard to the Meijer proposal previously rejected by the Planning Commission, and Ms. Stefforia reminded the Planning Commission that Meijer had sought to have pallets of potting soil, etc., along with live plants in the parking area from April until the items were sold late summer.

Ms. Bugge questioned the applicant, and he clarified that only plants would be located on the sidewalk in front of the store. They were not seeking other landscaping materials in that area.

It was the consensus of the Planning Commission that the display area previously approved behind the fencing was not now functioning for display but rather storage. The factors considered were the height of the material and the amount of material in this area, which indicated that it was not placed so as to allow customers to browse the merchandise and purchase it. Ms. Stefforia indicated that she would see about commencing enforcement with regard to this area immediately.

The Chairperson reviewed Section 60.100. Planning Commissioners agreed that a proposed outdoor display and sale use would be compatible with other uses expressly permitted in the "C-1" District. However, outdoor storage would not be compatible and was not allowed in the "C-1" District as a permitted or special use.

Ms. Everett expressed the opinion that the fence and shed areas, as well as the live plant material, as proposed, would constitute display. However, the stacking of drywall would constitute storage, in her opinion. Mr. Turcott agreed.

With regard to the parking lot "staging area" for truck drop-off, Mr. Corakis expressed that he felt this was "storage". He questioned the applicant, who indicated that there is not presently enough room in the fenced display area to store these items. The Store Manager stated that, since it sounded like the applicant was going to need to move the stacked pallet materials in the fenced display area, i.e., the bagged items, to a different area, there would be enough room for the live plant material to be moved into the display area immediately upon delivery.

The Planning Commission considered whether the proposed use would be detrimental or injurious to the use or development of adjacent properties or the general neighborhood. Planning Commissioners felt that the seasonal nursery materials and their display would not be injurious. Such display would be in keeping with other approvals. Ms. Everett expressed the opinion that the display of the fencing and shed materials, since they were connected to the type of business involved, would not be injurious. The applicant indicated that there would not be sufficient room for the sheds inside the display area. It was recognized that this decision would set a precedent, but Planning Commissioners agreed that the application may be distinguishable from others received in that the shed and fencing items were physically mounted on the building, were reduced in scale and were in keeping with the nature of the use of the property.

Planning Commissioners agreed that the drywall storage would be injurious to adjacent properties and the general public.

The Chairperson expressed concern about allowing the store to have a cluttered appearance which would not be conducive to public health, safety and welfare. Ms. Heiny-Cogswell agreed. Ms. Everett indicated that, in her opinion, the improper use of the fenced display area previously approved was more detrimental and injurious to adjacent properties and the general public, and the Chairperson agreed, stating that this item needed to be addressed.

The Planning Commission considered whether the proposed use would encourage the use of the land in accord with its character and adaptability. Planning Commissioners agreed that, with regard to the shed, fencing, and live plant materials, that the use would be in accord with the character, given the use of the building.

The Chairperson asked for public comment, and James King indicated that, in his opinion, that the "mess" in the parking lot should not be allowed and that it is unsightly. In his opinion, the fencing and sheds were display and should be allowed to stay. There was no other public comment, and the public hearing was closed.

Mr. Ms. Heiny-Cogswell stated that she felt it should be clear in the minutes that the fencing and shed display was only acceptable given its location (at a distance setback from Drake Road), the orientation (not facing Drake Road), the fact that it would not interfere with pedestrian access, and that the items were typically found outside, as well as being in keeping with the use of the building. The area as defined at present was satisfactory.

Ms. Everett moved to grant a special exception use permit amendment to approve:

(1) The display of the sheds and fencing in the size and location in which it currently exist at the site; and

(2) The sidewalk display of live plant materials on a seasonal basis.

Ms. Everett further moved to disapprove amendment to allow:

(1) Outdoor stacking of drywall; and

(2) Parking lot storage/display of live plant materials.

Approval of the amendment was contingent on the applicant bringing the fenced display areas into compliance with the original approval. The motion was seconded by Mr. Turcott, and it carried unanimously.

BLODGETT/BILIKE - SITE PLAN REVIEW - CONDOMINIUMS ON FAIRGROVE STREET (PARCEL NOS. 3905-26-287-022, 032, 042 AND 052)

The Planning Commission considered the application of Theodore and Pamela Bilike, Joyce Blodgett, and Terry and Cynthia Blodgett for site plan review of a proposed creation of eight condominiums from four existing duplexes on four separate platted lots. The subject properties are located at 6056, 6074, 6092 and 6112 Fairgrove Street. The subject property is Parcel Nos. 3905-26-287-022, 032, 042 and 052.

The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference. The property is Lot 2, 3, 4 and 5 of Quail Run Estates. Each lot has a duplex. Since condominiumizing the duplexes would constitute a split of a platted lot, the Township Board had to approve the division. The Township Board did approve the split on April 11, 2000, along with a variance in that the width and area of the platted lots currently do not satisfy the minimum requirements of the Zoning Ordinance. However, the duplexes were built in 1996 and 1997, and the non-conformity was not caught.

The Chairperson and Mr. Turcott both indicated that they lived in the general area but not within 300 feet. Neither member felt they would be biased. The Township Attorney opined that there was no requirement that either member abstain.

Terry Blodgett was present on behalf of the applicants. In response to questioning by the Chairperson, Mr. Blodgett indicated that an association would be created to take care of the limited common elements.

Public comment was offered with David Marcus, indicating that he is a resident of Quail Run 3. He had questions regarding the number of people who could reside in each of the units. It was indicated that the Township currently does not limit the number of unrelated persons who can reside together in a residence, and therefore, there would be no limitation on the number of people who could reside in the building, regardless of whether it was condominiumized. It was indicated that the Township is exploring a definition of families and/or limiting the number of unrelated persons who may reside in one building.

Mr. Marcus expressed concern that these properties had not been kept up, i.e., the lawns were not mowed, and there were often cars on the lawns.

Jan Boynton concurred with the comments of Mr. Marcus, and stated that she felt the Bylaws submitted by the applicant should be carefully scrutinized to make sure that the condominiums would be kept in repair, and the common elements taken care of.

The Township Attorney indicated that the Township does have Litter, Weed, and Parking Ordinances which might be applicable to some of the problems identified.

The public hearing was closed, and the Chairperson summarized the application.

Mr. Turcott moved to approve the site plan review with the following conditions:

(1) The Township Staff and Township Attorney review and approve the Master Deed and Bylaws.

(2) That approval of the Master Deed and Bylaws by the Township occur prior to any recording of those documents.

(3) That approval was subject to compliance with the provisions of the Land Division Act and the Condominium Act as applicable.

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

BEST - SITE CONDOMINIUM - SITE PLAN REVIEW

The Planning Commission considered the application of Earnie Best for site plan review of a proposed creation of a 5-unit residential site condominium development on 5.8 acres at the northeast corner of Almena Drive and Van Kal Street. The subject property is located in the "AG" Agricultural-Rural District zoning classification and is Parcel No. 3905-19-305-110.

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

Ms. Bugge indicated that Units 1 and 2 of the proposed site condominium project would have driveways on Van Kal. Unit 3 would have frontage on both Van Kal and Almena, and Units 4 and 5 would have frontage on Almena. There would be no interior roads in the site condominium project. This property is not currently within the "well restricted area" as determined by the County Health Department. With regard to the road systems, it was noted that Van Buren County has authority for the driveway curb cuts on Van Kal, and Kalamazoo County has authority for Almena Drive. The Van Buren County Road Commission indicated two of the sites may be required to utilize a shared-driveway cut. Electric, gas and telephone utilities are in existence along Van Kal and Almena. Sites would be served by individual well and septic.

Ms. Bugge reported that each site exceeds the Township's dimensional requirements for one and two-family homes.

Additional right-of-way for Almena Drive would be required by the Kalamazoo County Road Commission. Van Buren County would not require additional right-of-way for Van Kal.

The applicant indicated that he had spoken with the Kalamazoo County Human Services Department (Health Department) and that they indicated that there would not be a problem with well permits. The applicant indicated that he was aware that the County is revising its well permit restrictions to mile from any "well hit". Therefore, the area in question could change.

The Chairperson asked for public comment, and Mary Hecken, a resident of the area, indicated she was concerned that a maximum of ten units could be placed on the property. She was concerned especially about impact on traffic because of the number of accidents on Van Kal. She was particularly concerned about turns from the condominium units onto Van Kal.

Ms. Everett indicated that the Township could request the Road Commission to examine possible problems; however, the jurisdiction over such issues was with the Road Commission.

The applicant indicated that he had spoken with Van Buren County Road Commission, which indicated that they plan to widen Van Kal at this location. There would be a 200-foot setback or distance for any drives from the stop sign. Only two drives from the condominium project would be located on Van Kal.

Ms. Everett suggested that the Township's speed trailer could be placed in this area for purposes of compiling traffic data.

James King, a neighbor on Almena, expressed concern also about the traffic, and that the speed limit in this area was very fast. Further, he was concerned that the property does not have access to public utilities. In his opinion, the density being proposed was too great for this area. It was explained that the density under the Township Ordinance was the same for platted and site condominiumized developments. Further, it was explained that the Road Commission determines the speed of the roads.

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

After further discussion, Mr. Corakis moved to approve the site plan with the following conditions, limitations and notations:

(1) That driveway permits be obtained from the Kalamazoo County Road Commission or Van Buren County Road Commission as appropriate.

(2) That approval is subject to the Kalamazoo County Human Services Department finding the development suitable for wells and septic systems.

(3) That approval is subject to the review and approval of the Master Deed and Bylaws by the Township Staff and Township Attorney.

(4) That individual buildings must be placed in compliance with Township requirements.

(5) That storm water must be managed on each site.

(6) That approval is subject to compliance with the Condominium Act.

Further, it was noted that the Township place the traffic trailer in this area, compile data and provide such data to the Road Commissions. It was suggested that the public concern regarding the traffic issues be communicated to the Road Commissions. Ms. Everett seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

Members of the public again expressed concern about the density of the proposed project, and the applicant indicated that, although he could legally place two-family homes on the units, it was his current plan to have only single-family homes.

OTHER BUSINESS

There was a reshuffle of the dias.

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 10:10 p.m.

OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP
PLANNING COMMISSION

By:

Minutes prepared:
July 2, 2001
Minutes approved:
, 2001