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OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS

March 19, 2001

Agenda

KALAMAZOO GOSPEL MISSION - INTERPRETATION - SECTION 24.203

MC DONALD'S CORPORATION - VARIANCE SECTION 78.720(c) - 6820 WEST MAIN STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-14-155-050)

MC DONALD'S CORPORATION - DEVIATION FROM SECTIONS 76.170 AND 76.175(d) - 6820 WEST MAIN STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-14-155-050)

A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Zoning Board of Appeals on Monday, March 19, 2001, commencing at approximately 3:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Millard Loy, Chairperson
David Bushouse
Sharon Kuntzman
Ted Corakis

MEMBER ABSENT: Jill Jensen

Also present were Jodi Stefforia, Planning Director, Mary Lynn Bugge, Township Planner, and Patricia R. Mason, Township Attorney, and seven 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 February 5, 2001. Mr. Corakis moved to approve the minutes as submitted, and Ms. Kuntzman seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

KALAMAZOO GOSPEL MISSION - INTERPRETATION - SECTION 24.203

The Board considered an interpretation as to whether a homeless shelter for men, women and children is a permitted use under the provisions of Section 24.203 of the Zoning Ordinance regarding the "R-4" Residence District. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Stefforia stated that the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission had contacted her concerning the former Sherwood Place facility on Stadium Drive and whether a homeless shelter at that location would be allowed. In reviewing the provisions of the Ordinance, Ms. Stefforia stated that the closest applicable provision appeared to be Section 24.203 as to a permitted use in the "R-4" Residence District. This provision allows for "day nurseries, nursing, handicapped, convalescent, senior citizens' and foster homes.

Nick Westra, the Executive Director of the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission was present on behalf of the applicant. He stated that Kalamazoo Gospel Mission had been in the area for the last 70 years. The Mission was in the process of determining its options for providing housing for women and children on an emergency basis. The former Sherwood Place was seen as open and available and appeared to be a possible option because it was designed for the care of individuals. He felt the use in question was akin to a nursing home in that a nursing home assists those who are helpless for medical reasons and the shelter would provide assistance to those who are helpless because of a life situation; men, women and children would be assisted with housing at the site for up to one year.

It was indicated that the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission is a charitable, non-profit, Section 501(c)(3) corporation. In addition, the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission is an ecclesiastical corporation. The Mission was Christian-based and used Biblical principles to provide assistance.

In response to questions from Mr. Corakis, the Executive Director stated that Bible classes and church services would be provided for residents. There would be no services provided to a transient population.

The Chairperson asked about the downtown facility, and the applicant indicated that this would be maintained.

Mr. Bushouse had questions regarding skills training at the site. The applicant stated that life skills would be taught but no trade skills would be involved.

In response to a question from Ms. Kuntzman, the applicant indicated that a day nursery for children would be located in the building. This nursery would provide care for the children of residents but not for a broader population.

The Chairperson asked for public comments, and Mary Kinney, a resident and business owner on Stadium Drive, expressed concern about the possibility of trespassing from the Sherwood site to her property. She was also concerned about the possibility of domestic violence at the site.

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

The Township Attorney noted that, because the applicant was an ecclesiastical corporation, a federal law enacted in October of 2000 would be applicable. This Act was known as the "Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000". This Act required that no government impose or implement a land use regulation in a manner that imposed a substantial burden on religious exercise unless the government demonstrated the imposition was in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest and was the least restrictive means of furthering that interest. The Attorney felt, therefore, religious missions which provided temporary shelter should be allowed under the Township's Zoning Ordinance. The closest applicable provision appeared to be in the "R-4" Residence District. The Section 24.203 which allowed day nurseries, nursing, handicapped, convalescent, senior citizens' and foster homes was referenced. The Attorney pointed out that the "R-4" Residence District is the multi-family district of the Township, and it would appear that a temporary housing for a group of unrelated persons would best fit within the "R-4" District.

The Chairperson stated that, in reviewing what was allowed in Section 24.203, in his opinion, the temporary housing shelter would be compatible with the provision. He pointed out that, should the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission seek to establish its use at the Sherwood Place site, it still would be subject to site plan review by the Township Zoning Board of Appeals.

Ms. Kuntzman stated that she agreed, believing that the proposed use fit with the provisions of Section 24.203, noting that, for example, a day nursery was involved in the proposed use.

Mr. Bushouse stated that he also felt that the use was a logical one in the "R-4" District and that the use of the Sherwood Place property for this type of shelter was appropriate. However, he understood Ms. Kinney's concern, stating that he felt this could be addressed in site plan review. He expressed concern that the property would be going off the tax rolls, but felt that the Township should help serve the kind of population which would be assisted by this shelter. Nevertheless, he felt that the Planning Commission should consider adding a specific reference to temporary housing or shelters in Section 24.203.

Ms. Kuntzman pointed out that the Zoning Board of Appeals was only providing an interpretation of Section 24.203 and was not providing approval for a particular use of a particular site.

Mr. Corakis expressed concern that shelters would be allowed anywhere in the "R-4" District and felt that the Planning Commission should consider this.

Ms. Kuntzman moved to interpret Section 24.203 to allow a religious facility's use for temporary shelter of persons. The motion was seconded by Mr. Bushouse, and it carried unanimously.

MC DONALD'S CORPORATION - VARIANCE SECTION 78.720(c) - 6820 WEST MAIN STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-14-155-050)

The Board considered the application of Gene Oberlander on behalf of McDonald's Corporation for a variance from the provisions of Section 78.720(c) to allow building-mounted lights to exceed a height of 15 feet. The subject site is located in the "C" Local Business District zoning classification and is located at 6820 West Main Street (Parcel No. 3905-14-155-050). The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Bugge displayed a layout of the proposed McDonald's site. It was noted that the applicant is constructing a "quick-serve" restaurant with a drive-through window at the site, which is an out-parcel south of the Menards store. The project was granted special exception use and site plan approval on February 22, 2001, by the Planning Commission. As part of the motion, it was required that the site conform with Section 78.700 unless a variance is granted.

The applicant proposed that 13 translucent cap beams be installed on the mansard roof. These beams would extend to the top of the roof line, nearly 17 feet in height. Section 78.720(c) states that building-mounted light fixtures shall not exceed 15 feet in height. Ms. Bugge submitted a drawing of the McDonald's building elevation and a handout concerning her observations of other McDonald's facilities and their roof beam lighting configurations. She presented photographs of other sites, illustrating that some cap beams were white, some were yellow and some beams were lighted only at the bottom of the cap beam. The applicant had made reference to the Maple Hill Mall site, and Ms. Bugge commented that site was not in compliance with its approval. However, it was noted that the Maple Hill Mall site is lower in grade than the adjacent West Main Street. The property in question is approximately five feet higher in grade than the center of West Main Street.

Gene Oberlander and June Machala were present on behalf of the applicant. Mr. Oberlander stated that the applicant was not seeking to put in bright lights and felt that their proposal was in keeping with other new construction in the Township. The applicant was proposing yellow roof beams.

In response to questions from the Chairperson, Mr. Oberlander stated that the roof beams proposed were standard. If the top portion of the beam were not lighted, Ms. Machala was of the opinion that the McDonald's would receive a number of phone calls about a "lighting problem".

There was discussion of the other types of roof-beam systems at area McDonald's facilities. Ms. Machala stated that the Richland site is a totally different building type. Ms. Bugge pointed out that the photographs show that in those facilities with a mansard roof, many times the roof beams may go to the top of the roof but not be lighted all the way up.

Mr. Corakis expressed concern about setting a precedent. He believed that if the Township approved two feet higher than the Ordinance allowed now, they would be asked to provide four feet next time.

The applicant was questioned regarding the workings of the cap roof beam, and Mr. Oberlander stated that each beam has two tubes which provide the lighting. One tube would be in the top of the beam and the second tube in the bottom.

Mr. Bushouse expressed concern about setting a precedent for lighting west of U.S. 131. He was also concerned about the amount of light at this site. He made reference to a decision regarding the lighting at the Total Station, and felt that variance in this site would be contrary to that decision.

The Chairperson stated that he felt that the Township needed to uphold its Ordinance, particularly given the decision on the Total Station. To decide contrary would not serve substantial justice. Further, he felt that the applicant had the ability to conform to the Ordinance in that they could light the lower portion of the roof beam or not light the beam at all.

The Chairperson asked for public comment, and Tom Brodasky stated that he agreed with the comments of the Board with regard to not setting an undesirable precedent. He stated that he had visited McDonald's all along the eastern seaboard and had never considered lighting as part of his decision to be a patron of McDonald's. Mr. Brodasky commented that, in his opinion, there was no justification for granting the variance.

The public hearing was closed.

The Board members agreed that there were no unique physical circumstances at the site which would prevent compliance. Mr. Corakis reiterated his concern about setting a precedent which would apply to the other out-parcels at this site.

Mr. Bushouse had questions as to how the Planning Commission had arrived at the 15-foot height limitation. It was noted that the Planning Commission had considered the Master Land Use Plan's policy of preserving the rural character of the Township. It was felt that the Planning Commission had attempted to allow a site to have reasonable lighting which would meet safety concerns but not necessarily serve as signage or a way in which to attract attention to the site.

Mr. Bushouse stated that he would agree that the proposal of the applicant was more in the way of signage than lighting. In his opinion, the applicant could conform with the Ordinance in that they could light the lower portion of the roof beam or leave the entire beam unlighted. Ms. Kuntzman agreed.

The Chairperson recalled working on the Lighting Ordinance when he was on the Planning Commission, stating that in his recollection safety was the main goal, as well as preservation of the rural character. In his opinion, the applicant's design was self-created, and that the applicant could conform to the Ordinance provisions.

Ms. Kuntzman moved to deny the request, based on the discussion of the Board. Mr. Corakis seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

MC DONALD'S CORPORATION - DEVIATION FROM SECTIONS 76.170 AND 76.175(d) - 6820 WEST MAIN STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-14-155-050)

The Board considered the application of Gene Oberlander on behalf of McDonald's Corporation for two deviations from the provisions of Sections 76.170 and 76.175(d) regarding directional signs. The first request is to allow an off-site directional sign at the development's 9th Street entrance, and the second request is to allow the directional signs to be greater than two square feet in area. The subject site is located in the "C" Local Business District at 6820 West Main Street, and is Parcel No. 3905-14-155-050. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Again, Ms. Bugge reminded the Board that there are three main entrance driveways shared by Menards and five out-parcels. One entrance is from 9th Street and two from West Main. McDonald's is immediately adjacent to the west side of the east shared driveway from West Main Street. All out-parcels are accessed from the service drives in Menards' parking lot. None would have direct access to West Main or 9th Street. McDonald's is proposing a free-standing sign located on their property adjacent to the shared driveway easement and wall signs which conform to the Ordinance. However, they are proposing two directional signs, one for each driveway on their parcel. The signs proposed would be 3.5 square feet in area, which would be 1.5 foot square feet in excess of the area allowed by Section 76.175(d). Moreover, the applicant was proposing to place an additional directional sign off premises at the shared main entrance driveway from 9th Street. Off-premises signs are prohibited under Section 76.170 and would be a billboard by definition.

Ms. Kuntzman had questions about the Lowe's sign which has spaces showing other proposed uses. It was noted that the Lowe's site is one parcel and considered a shopping center. The subject site is part of a development including six separate parcels and not a shopping center. Therefore, the signage allowed was different.

The Board considered whether granting the request for deviation would not be materially detrimental to property owners in the vicinity. There was concern about allowing increased directional sign area and allowing an off-premises sign for this out-parcel in that the remaining out-parcels could be justified in relying on the precedent. It was felt that there would be a cumulative effect due to the increased signage which would be detrimental.

Board members felt that the hardship was not due to any unique conditions, and was created by the applicant's site selection. June Machala commented that the parcel had been chosen because of traffic on M-43. She stated that, in her opinion, the deviations were justified to assist customers.

There was no public comment. The public hearing was closed.

Mr. Corakis commented that the Planning Commission had worked on the Sign Ordinance provisions for over one year. The sign provisions were new, and he felt that the Board should not depart from them.

Board members agreed that there would be concern that granting deviation would open the door for deviations to be granted to the other out-parcels and other properties in the area.

Reference was made to the application some years before of Summer Ridge to place a directional sign on the Firestone property. This request had been denied.

Mr. Bushouse commented that, in his opinion, substantial justice would require denial of the deviation in that to set up a small billboard down the street was not what the Township intended to allow as part of its sign provisions. He felt that McDonald's would be well recognized and did not need this additional signage.

Ms. Kuntzman agreed, stating that she felt people would quickly learn how to access the site.

The Chairperson recalled that there had been a lot of discussion at the Planning Commission about directional signage, and the size limitation had been instituted to allow enough room to provide direction to customers but not provide additional advertising. He felt there was no basis to deviate, and he was concerned about setting an undesirable precedent.

Mr. Oberlander stated that the applicant was withdrawing its application concerning both deviations.

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 4:18 p.m.

OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP
ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS

By:
Millard Loy, Chairperson
By:
Ted Corakis
By:
Sharon Kuntzman
By:
David Bushouse

Minutes Prepared:
March 22, 2001
Minutes Approved:
, 2001