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OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

TOWNSHIP BOARD

March 11, 2003

Public Comment session was held at the Township Hall. Supervisor VanDyke called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m.

PRESENT:
Supervisor John VanDyke
Clerk Deb Everett
Treasurer Nancy Culp
Trustee Lois Brown
Trustee Dave Bushouse
Trustee Ted Corakis
Trustee Stan Rakowski

Also present was Richard Reed, Township Attorney, Marc Elliott, Township Engineer, Kalamazoo County Commissioner Bob Brink, and 3 interested people.

PUBLIC COMMENT

The Board held discussion with Commissioner Brink on various topics, criminal justice facilities, police protection, and the proposed airport expansion.

Supervisor VanDyke called the regular meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.

PRESENT:
Supervisor John VanDyke
Clerk Deb Everett
Treasurer Nancy Culp
Trustee Lois Brown
Trustee Dave Bushouse
Trustee Ted Corakis
Trustee Stan Rakowski

Also present was Richard Reed, Township Attorney, Marc Elliott, Township Engineer, Planning Director Jodi Stefforia, Planner Mary Lynn Bugge, Ordinance Enforcement Officer Scott Paddock and approximately 24 interested people.

Motion by Brown, second by Corakis to approve the minutes of the February 25th meeting. Carried.

Income to the General and Fire Funds of $34,181.57 and disbursements of $152,666.40 were reported. Motion by Corakis, second by Rakowski to accept the report as presented. Carried.

CITIZENS COMMENTS

RENTAL HOUSING REGISTRATION ORDINANCE

Planner Mary Lynn Bugge reviewed the proposed rental housing registration ordinance before the Board for Second Reading.

Trustee Bushouse commented that with the little information provided regarding past and possible future problems, or the issue of college students taking over our single family neighborhoods, he can only conclude the Township is overreacting at this time to a possible problem. He further commented a recent ordinance had been adopted establishing definition of family. He also commented the problem areas in the past have been the Highfield/Century and Fairgrove areas; the Century/Highfield area for over 25 years has been discussed as being a commercial area with a hotel operation and never looked at to be a single family neighborhood. He commented the Fairgrove area is a condo neighborhood which has deed restrictions for single-family use and over a year ago there was a problem in that area which was addressed with current ordinances and as he drives through sees it has been solved. He further commented there is now the Jefferson Commons development, new projects on North Drake Road and behind the Skyridge/Burgundy Manor plats and pointed out the neighborhoods around those areas have deed restrictions, and looking at County Club Village and West Port Plat associations being active groups solving a lot of their own problems proves deed restrictions work. He commented he felt there are two types of rentals, apartment complexes and single family and duplexes throughout the Township and does not see where there was any attempt to separate the perceived problem into two different areas of solutions. He also commented he has not seen documentation over the past 18 months where a problem was not solved by current ordinances, especially in one and two family units. He reiterated there are current ordinances including litter and parking, building, fire, and property maintenance codes, state and health department rules and if a complaint is filed action can and will be taken by the appropriate agency. He commented that if given proper documentation over the next year that requires a new ordinance he would support it. He inquired if other Board members would wish to provide their drivers license number and the right to inspect their property and require items to be at a higher standard than your present house. He also commented he felt most problems can be solved by being informed and talking to your neighbors.

Trustee Corakis commented he is opposed to the ordinance for the same reasons as Trustee Bushouse.

Richard Schramm, 2001 South 4th Street inquired if owner occupied property converted to rental property is required to meet current building code. Planner Bugge advised a rental property would be required to meet the code that existed at the time of construction and the Property Maintenance Code would be required whether or not the ordinance is adopted. He also commented the fee would have to be passed on to renters.

Tom Brodasky, 6392 Buckham Wood Drive, urged the Board to adopt the ordinance as presented commenting that the Board has demonstrated its desire to be proactive with regard to important issues such as this and should be commended. He further commented it is imperative to implement the tools to bring rental property up to current code and occupancy limits to protect residents, especially in view of the increased pressure on rental property as more students move into our community and such measures will help prevent the tragic loss of life and may protect the Township from legal jeopardy. He also hoped the Township would revisit policy regarding safety, i.e., sprinklers systems and fire retardant construction in places of public gathering.

Matt Weaver, representing the owners of Mill Creek Apartments asked for clarification on number of occupants allowed in the R-4 zoning district. Ms. Bugge advised the zoning ordinance would allow up to four unrelated people with no more than two per bedroom. He further commented he felt there were ordinances already in place to deal with anticipated concerns and an opinion of the Michigan Supreme Court in a case involving Delta Township and student housing, commented it would be easier for the Township to sweep out a whole class of persons desiring residential accommodations than to legislate and enforce against a specific behavior it finds offensive and finds associated with the unrelated class. Protecting constitutional rights of citizens comes before making life easier for government. He further commented he lives in the Township, does not feel it is over regulated, but in this case the Township is looking forward to a potential problem, jumping too far too fast.

Mike Fleckenstein, owner of property on West Michigan and Highfield commented he has had discussions with ordinance enforcement personnel and feels they do a good job in controlling any problems and while he has no problem providing information of what he owns feels the ordinance is overkill and the fee too high.

Norm French, 9470 Stadium Drive, commented he has one rental unit, this is a time of economic downswing, there is a need for less government and the ordinance would not accomplish anything other than more paperwork.

Al Rowe, property owner in Danford Creek, asked for clarification of the fee. Ms. Bugge advised he would pay one application fee for his two rental units if they were filed simultaneously.

George Fiala, 5832 Castleton Lane, commented as a resident on the fringe of WMU's expansion, which seems ever further into the Township, he applauds the effort to the Planning Commission and Township Board in trying to have ordinances in place. He further commented he is concerned about the protection of the character and stability of the residential areas in the Township and thinks it is essential for the Township Board to have these ordinances in place.

Gladys Ahrens, 1960 Highfield, commented as a property owner the value has fallen because of students coming into the area, there is no pride of ownership. She also commented it is very good that there will be a limit of occupants in homes rented as some houses in her neighborhood have well above 4 or 5 occupants and these regulations will help protect the few owners still there.

Kyle Smith, Realtor, commented he felt the ordinance singles out renters and landlords, i.e., the parking requirements and was not certain the ordinance would achieve the objectives.

Clerk Everett commented this ordinance was initiated to protect single family neighborhoods along with the definition of family, there are neighborhoods at risk and residents have expressed concern. She further commented rental property is a business, standards should be high, the fee is a business expense and probably tax deductible and equates to less than 15 cents per day. She also commented the ordinance is a tool to be proactive and is very minimal compared to other communities requirements and not unreasonable. She advised she would support removing the drivers license number as a requirement on the application to respect privacy.

Trustee Rakowski commented he would agree with removing drivers license number requirement.

Supervisor VanDyke commented while he sees some benefit he does not feel drivers license numbers are needed, and has difficulty with more new rules.

Trustee Brown commented she does not view this as new rules but rather as overlapping rules which leads her to support the position of Trustee Bushouse.

Bob Jeffery, 2179 North 10th Street inquired if Board members owned rental property. He was advised that Trustees Bushouse and Corakis do. He commented he is not involved in student housing, does not rent to students, but feels he is being treated as having ghetto rentals. He further commented he agreed with Trustees Bushouse and Corakis and problems should be dealt with as they happen.

Trustee Corakis commented there is only one area where single-family homes are a student ghetto and that is Century/Highfield which has occurred in the last eight to ten years. He commented he owns a house there but only rents to families.

Mike Fleckenstein commented he objects to using the term ghetto.

Treasurer Culp commented the Township is acting in a proactive way, is not against students, but to keep track of rental property and the fee is not that high.

Motion by Everett, second by Culp to adopt the ordinance. Roll call vote showed Brown-no, Bushouse-no, Corakis-no, Culp-yes, Everett-yes, Rakowski-no, VanDyke-no.

2003 ROAD PROJECTS

Trustee Bushouse presented the Road Committee's recommended list of projects for 2003. He noted the total amount exceeds funds budgeted and participating funds available from the Kalamazoo County Road Commission, however, project costs usually come in under the estimates. He further advised part of the project for North 8th Street would include cutting down the hill that currently exists there, which incurs the additional cost. He also advised the Road Committee will be sending a letter to the residents on North 8th Street and West J Avenue who would be effected by the special assessment districts.

2003 Road Projects

Project Cost Assmt Par Funds Twp Cost
Overlay
West J Avenue 114830 10120 52355 52355
North 8th Street (GH to G) 70000 6330 31835 31835
Chip Seal
North 9th Street (H to GH) 7680 3840 3840
GH Avenue (9th to 8th) 3962 1981 1981
South 8th Street (KL to Stadium) 28970 14485 14485
South 1st Street (M-43 to Almena) 15012 7506 7506
South 2nd Street (KL to Almena) 3892 1946 1946
KL Avenue (4th to 2nd) 19172 9586 9586
South 11th Street (Parkview to N) 17817 8908 8908
Total Project Costs 281335 16450 132442 132442
Total Funds Available 249954 16450 116552 116552
Additional Funds Needed 31381

Motion by Bushouse, second by Corakis to increase funds in the road budget by an additional $30,000. Carried.

Motion by Bushouse, second by Everett to adopt the resolution requesting the Kalamazoo County Road Commission establish a special assessment district for the paving of North 8th Street. Roll call showed Bushouse-yes, Corakis-yes, Culp-yes, Everett-yes, Rakowski-yes, VanDyke-yes, Brown-yes.

Motion by Bushouse, second by Everett to adopt the resolution requesting the Kalamazoo County Road Commission establish a special assessment district for the paving of West J Avenue. Roll call showed Corakis-yes, Culp-yes, Everett-yes, Rakowski-yes, VanDyke-yes, Brown-yes, Bushouse-yes.

FURNACE-A/C FOR GRANGE

Trustee Bushouse presented a recommendation from the Park Committee for replacing the current oil furnace and adding air conditioning at the Grange Hall. He advised use of the building has increased and these upgrades would enhance the facility. He further advised two bids were received and the committee recommends accepting the bid from Kalamazoo Heating & Appliance in the amount of $12,830.

Motion by Bushouse, second by Rakowski to accept the bid from Kalamazoo Heating & Appliance in the amount of $12,830. Carried.

HAWKERS/PEDDLERS ORDINANCE AMENDMENTS

Clerk Everett advised a recent license application brought to light three areas that need revision in the Hawkers/Peddlers Ordinance. She recommended adding to the application requiring the make, model, year, and color of all vehicles to be used, establishing a fee for less than a 30 day license at $20.00 for the first 10 individual solicitors and $5.00 for each additional solicitor, and authorizing the Ordinance Enforcement Officer to revoke a license as outlined in the ordinance.

Trustee Brown commented she felt a provision for school districts to inform the township of fund raising activity should be included.

Motion by Brown, second by Everett to table the item to March 24th for revision of the ordinance language and notify schools in the township of the proposed change. Carried.

OTHER BUSINESS

Richard Schramm advised the Board he had spoken with Supervisor VanDyke and Planning Director Stefforia regarding property he owns, a previously proposed text amendment, and asked if the Board could assist in expediting the matter.

BOARD MEMBER COMMENTS

Trustee Brown commented Commissioner Brink has been more in attendance, visible and responsive than any commissioner we have in a long time and she appreciates his efforts.

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Clerk Everett reminded the Board the next meeting is Monday, March 24th due to the special primary election being held on Tuesday, March 25th.

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Trustee Corakis advised he would be absent from the March 24th meeting.

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Trustee Rakowski advised the Fire Chief has made an inspection of the assembly of the new fire truck.

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Trustee Bushouse commenting on the rental registration issue stated he is in favor of regulation if there is a problem and hopes the Planning Commission and Ordinance Enforcement Officer will document any problems during the next 6-12 months.

There was no further business and the meeting was adjourned at approximately 8:10 p.m.

DEBORAH L. EVERETT
Township Clerk

Attested: John VanDyke
Supervisor