OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS MINUTES

May 17, 1999

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Agenda

OSHTEMO TOWNSHIP FIRE STATION NO. 2 - SITE PLAN REVIEW - 3500 S. 6TH STREET

VANDERMEER (CAMP RAVENWOOD KENNEL) -VARIANCE TO ALLOW ALTERATION OF NONCONFORMING USE - 5746 PARKVIEW AVENUE

LARUE’S RESTAURANT - VARIANCE TO ALLOW REDUCED FRONT YARD SETBACK - 6375 STADIUM DRIVE

BUFORD - VARIANCE TO ALLOW REDUCED FRONT YARD SETBACK - 7783 LAJESSICA

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A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Zoning Board of Appeals on Monday, May 17, 1999, commencing at approximately 3:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall, pursuant to notice.

MEMBERS PRESENT:

Thomas Brodasky, Chairperson
Sharon Kuntzman
David Bushouse
Millard Loy

MEMBER ABSENT: William Saunders

Also present were Jodi Stefforia, Township Planning Director, Mary Lynn Bugge, Township Planner, Patricia R. Mason, Township Attorney, and seven (7) other interested persons.

CALL TO ORDER

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

MINUTES

The Board considered the minutes of the meeting of May 3, 1999. The changes suggested by the Planning and Zoning Department were noted.

Mr. Bushouse moved to approve the minutes as amended, and Ms. Kuntzman seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

OSHTEMO TOWNSHIP FIRE STATION NO. 2 - SITE PLAN REVIEW - 3500 S. 6TH STREET

The Board considered the request of the Township Fire Department for site plan review of the proposed Fire Station No. 2 to be located at 3500 S. 6th Street within the "I-R" Industrial District Restricted Zoning classification.

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

It is proposed that a 10,585-sq.-ft. Fire Station be constructed on a parcel of approximately 4.35 acres on the west side of 6th Street north of Stadium Drive. The Fire Station would replace the existing station No. 2, which is located on Parkview Avenue. With regard to parking, Ms. Stefforia noted some concern as to a parking space located along the north edge of the pavement behind the station. There was concern that backing from this space would be impeded by the 8" concrete pad. After some discussion, it was clarified that this pad was not raised and therefore backing would not be inhibited. Consequently, it was felt that this space would not need to be eliminated.

Ms. Stefforia stated that she felt the Board should discuss screening and landscaping. The proposed plan did not indicate the presence of existing vegetation or proposed screening. She further noted that the site would be served by public utilities.

In response to questioning by Mr. Bushouse, it was noted that all persons within 300’ of the site had been provided notice of the meeting.

Bruce VanderWeele was present, representing the site plan. He stated that the dumpster enclosures at the site would be stockade fence in nature and that the revised site plan would indicate this. As to landscaping and screening, Mr. VanderWeele said that the area around the site is heavily wooded and that there was some "berming" since the area had been mined at one time. He therefore felt that there would be a natural barrier between the Fire Station and the "AG"-zoned property.

Concerning stormwater retention, six catch basins would be established. Mr. Bushouse had questions with regard to whether these catch basins would be connected with or affect the County storm drain. Mr. VanderWeele stated that the County drain would not be affected by the catch basins at the site. However, the Township may be required to put in a culvert by the Kalamazoo County Road Commission.

There was discussion of whether a parcel was located along the front of 6th Street between the Fire Station site and 6th Street. It was the understanding of the Township that the Road Commission would be giving this parcel to the Township so that the Township parcel would have frontage on 6th Street.

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

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

(1) That the subject site would be served by one access point on 6th Street. The proposed driveway is subject to the review and approval of the Kalamazoo County Road Commission. It was noted that the proposed drive meets Access Management Guidelines.

(2) That the parking proposed for the site was adequate and that the parking lot layout and site circulation were satisfactory.

(3) That no outdoor storage was proposed or approved.

(4) That the dumpster enclosure as described by the applicant was satisfactory; details should be provided on a revised site plan.

(5) That all site lighting be in compliance with the lighting guidelines of Section 78.700 and a detailed site lighting plan presented to Township staff for review and approval.

(6) That any proposed signage be in compliance with Section 76.000 and be approved by staff before placement on the site.

(7) That the existing vegetation at the site be retained as far as was practicable. No additional screening was required. Further, a landscaping plan with regard to the landscaping around the building should be presented to Township staff for review and approval.

(8) That the final site plan incorporate all Township Fire Department comments.

(9) That the approval was subject to the review and approval of the Township Engineer.

(10) That public utilities would serve the Fire Station.

(11) That an Environmental Permits Checklist and Hazardous Substance Reporting Form be completed and on file with the Township.

Ms. Kuntzman seconded the motion, and the motion carried with three members voting in favor and one member (Mr. Bushouse) abstaining.

 

VANDERMEER (CAMP RAVENWOOD KENNEL) -VARIANCE TO ALLOW ALTERATION OF NONCONFORMING USE - 5746 PARKVIEW AVENUE

The next item was the application of Jeff and Renee VanderMeer for two variances. The first variance was from Section 66.201 to allow a nonconforming parcel to be buildable, and the second variance would be from Section 62.151 to allow the alteration of a nonconforming use, i.e., removal of two buildings relating to a dog kennel and replacement with one new building. The subject property is located at 5746 Parkview Avenue within the "R-2" Residence District Zoning classification.

A letter had been received from the Oshtemo Veterinary Hospital in support of the variance application.

Ms. Bugge reported that the applicants own and operate a boarding kennel and grooming shop on the subject property as a prior lawful nonconforming use in the "R-2" Residence District. The business had been operating at this site for over 40 years. The applicants propose removing two old buildings and replacing them with one new building.

Ms. Bugge stated that there was "R-4" Zoning to the north and east, "AG" Zoning south and "R-2" Zoning to the west.

The applicants’ parcel is considered nonbuildable in that it has insufficient frontage. Between 1965 and 1967, approximately 50’ of frontage was added, which rendered the parcel unbuildable; the parcel lost its prior lawful nonconforming status.

The applicants were present, stating that the new building would be more efficient and more aesthetically pleasing. The applicants also felt that enclosing certain areas through the use of the new building would make the use quieter. The applicants felt that, in order to modernize the use and accommodate increased business, the replacement of the two old buildings was necessary.

Ms. Kuntzman questioned the applicants with regard to whether they own property to the west, and the applicants indicated that they owned approximately seven acres total. They wish to establish the new building in proximity to the existing building for efficiency purposes.

The Chairperson sought public comment, and Dan Naugle indicated that he had lived across from the site for approximately 15 years. He felt the applicants had done a good job of maintaining and improving the site and that it was "neater and quieter" since their acquisition. He felt that the applicants were conscientious and responsible, and he supported the variance.

The public hearing was closed.

Mr. Bushouse stated that he was in favor of the variance in that granting the variance in this case would not establish a precedent to allow a new kennel business to establish itself in an "R-2" zone.

As to whether conformance was unnecessarily burdensome, Board members felt it was significant that the variance would not alter or change the use of the property but merely allow the applicant to upgrade and improve the aesthetics of the business. Therefore, the impact on adjacent properties would be lessened. It was felt that substantial justice would weigh in favor of granting the variance in that a similar application, i.e., the Visser application, had been approved. There were no unique physical circumstances, and the hardship was self-created; however, it was felt that the variance would be in accord with public health, safety and welfare in that granting the variance would allow a long-established business to upgrade its facility and better serve its clients. The alterations at the site requested would allow the aesthetics of the site to be improved.

Ms. Kuntzman moved to approve the variance from Section 62.151 based on the above analysis. Mr. Loy seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

As to the proposed variance from the dimensional requirements of the Ordinance set forth in Section 66.201, the applicants were questioned by members of the Board as to whether additional frontage could be added from their adjoining parcel. Ms. Stefforia stated she felt that the dimensions of the two parcels could be redrawn so that both were in compliance with the Ordinance. One parcel had a total of 375’ of frontage and the subject parcel a total of 116’ of frontage. The applicants stated that they would be able to redraw the dimensions but would prefer not to. Board members agreed, after discussion, that the item should be tabled so as to allow the applicant to work on a plan of reconfiguration. If both parcels could be drawn in compliance with Ordinance standards, no variance would be necessary. If not, the applicants could return to complete consideration of the variance request.

Ms. Kuntzman moved to table the variance request to the meeting of June 7, 1999. Mr. Loy seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

 

LARUE’S RESTAURANT - VARIANCE TO ALLOW REDUCED FRONT YARD SETBACK - 6375 STADIUM DRIVE

The next item was the application of Dave LaRue on behalf of LaRue’s Family Restaurant for variance request from Section 64.000 to allow reduced front yard setbacks along Stadium Drive and Parkview Avenue to facilitate a proposed addition to the existing restaurant building. The subject property is located at 6375 Stadium Drive within the "C" Local Business District Zoning classification.

The report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference. The subject site is a triangular corner parcel at the intersection of Parkview Avenue and Stadium Drive. The site plan approval was received in 1983. A variance was granted in 1986 from the 70’ setback requirement from Parkview Avenue for a building addition on the west end. In 1997, the Zoning Board of Appeals granted variance for an addition to the rear of the building which maintained the 42’ setback from Parkview Avenue. The proposed expansions of the building would maintain existing building lines and setbacks.

As to whether conformance was unnecessarily burdensome, it was noted that, given existing building setbacks from Stadium Drive and Parkview Avenue and the layout of the facility, it would be reasonable for an addition to be proposed along the northwest end of the building. Further, reduced setbacks were proposed as part of the Village Area text which was being considered.

The Zoning Board of Appeals had set a precedent of granting variances that allowed expansions while maintaining existing building lines. Therefore, substantial justice would weigh in favor of granting the variance. It was felt that the initial site plan approval and subsequent variances could establish some unique physical circumstances which would limit the ability to create an addition at the property. It was further felt that the spirit of the Ordinance would be observed and the public health, safety and welfare secured especially considering the forthcoming text amendment concerning the Village Focus Area would allow for reduced setbacks within the Village.

The applicant presented an aerial photograph depicting the present building lines and the area proposed for building addition. The applicant indicated that there was no waiting area currently at the property and that the addition would allow for a customer waiting area along with increased food preparation area. The addition would not affect parking or site circulation at the property. There was some discussion of a proposed Phase II addition, but it was clarified that this addition was not the subject of the meeting.

The Chairperson sought public comment, and Mr. Corakis stated he owned the business across the street. He stated he had no problem with the proposed variance but was concerned about the lack of parking at the subject site. He felt that the site needed more parking and that many customers parked across the street. Ms. Stefforia noted that the parking at the site was in compliance with the Ordinance standards, and she felt that parking was not at issue in this variance since the additions would not involve increased seating capacity.

Renee VanderMeer stated that she and her husband ate at LaRue’s approximately 3-4 times per week and felt that the addition of a waiting area would be beneficial. She noted that she had never had to park off site in order to patronize the site.

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

Mr. Loy moved to approve the variance based on the preceding discussion of the variance criteria, and Ms. Kuntzman seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

 

BUFORD - VARIANCE TO ALLOW REDUCED FRONT YARD SETBACK - 7783 LAJESSICA

The next item was the application of James Buford for variance from Section 64.200 to allow a reduced front yard setback for a new home on a corner parcel, i.e., Unit #8 of the Oak Park development. The subject property is located at 7783 LaJessica.

The report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference. Ms. Stefforia noted that the "time line" of occurrences was set forth in detail in the report. She stressed that the building permit issued for the single-family residence at the site was approved based upon a site plan indicating that the proposed home would satisfy setback requirements. However, when the setback inspection was conducted, it was noted that the footings had not been properly placed. Setbacks were not approved due to the location of the footings approximately 12’ too close to Lisa Lane right-of-way. The applicant had tried to rectify the problem by obtaining approval for the street to be a private road or relocation of the right-of-way. The Road Commission had not approved either option. Therefore, the applicant was requesting variance. The home now is at the "basement stage."

The applicant was present and said that he is in process of building a home at the site. He felt that the footings and basement as established were in conformance with the approved site plan. Ms. Stefforia stated she felt that the problem was that the site plan showed measurements to the lot lines and the applicant had assumed the measurements were to the edge of the road surface.

The Chairperson expressed concern that the applicant had worked on the site in violation of a stop-work order. Mr. Buford stated that he had proceeded with the assumption that the road would become private.

Mr. Loy pointed out that the Planning Commission had denied a proposal to eliminate this road from the project. Board members were concerned that the applicant should have taken steps to rectify the setback problem prior to continuing work at the site.

The applicant abruptly left the meeting.

Mr. Loy moved to deny the variance with the following reasoning:

(1) That conformance was not unnecessarily burdensome in that a home could be placed on the lot which complied with setback requirements.

(2) That substantial justice weighed in favor of denial in that other similar applications, i.e., Robert Vohn and Richard Modderman, had been denied.

(3) That there were no unique physical circumstances limiting compliance, and the hardship was self-created.

(4) That the spirit of the Ordinance would not be observed if the variance were granted in that the actions taken by the applicant while the setback problem was unresolved were entirely at his own risk.

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

 

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 4:15 p.m.

 

Minutes Approved:  June 7, 1999