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OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS

May 20, 2002

Agenda

WEST KALAMAZOO CHRISTIAN CHURCH - SITE PLAN REVIEW - 454 SOUTH DRAKE ROAD) - (PARCEL NO. 3905-24-230-064)

HOWLAND - FRONTAGE AND DEPTH-TO-WIDTH VARIANCES - 9455 WEST L AVENUE - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-29-205-011 AND 3905-29-205-016)

WALSH - DEPTH-TO-WIDTH VARIANCE - 430 N. VAN KAL STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-18-355-010)

WELLING, RIPLEY AND LABS - VARIANCE AND SITE PLAN REVIEW - 7100 STADIUM DRIVE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-34-230-046)

VOLKEL - FRONTAGE VARIANCE AND SITE PLAN REVIEW FOR SECOND DWELLING - 7280 WEST N AVENUE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-34-455-065)

A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Zoning Board of Appeals on Monday, May 20, 2002, commencing at approximately 3:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Stanley Rakowski, Acting Chairperson
Dave Bushouse
Jill Jensen
Grace Borgfjord

MEMBER ABSENT: Millard Loy

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

CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order at 3:00 p.m. by the Acting Chairperson, Mr. Rakowski.

MINUTES

The Board considered the minutes of the meeting of April 8, 2002. Ms. Borgfjord moved to approve the minutes as submitted, and Ms. Jensen seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

WEST KALAMAZOO CHRISTIAN CHURCH - SITE PLAN REVIEW - 454 SOUTH DRAKE ROAD) - (PARCEL NO. 3905-24-230-064)

The Board considered the application of West Kalamazoo Christian Church for approval of a site plan concerning a proposed 13,000 square foot addition to house office, miscellaneous activities, and classroom space at the existing church. The subject property is located at 454 South Drake Road within the "R-2" Residence District zoning classification and is Parcel No. is 3905-24-230-064. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Bugge noted that the Zoning Board of Appeals had granted approval for the original church building on March 4, 1985, and for an addition on April 29, 1991. The subject site contains 11.7 acres and is enveloped by the Skyridge Plat. The applicant proposed that the parking lot adjacent to the southwest side of the existing building be removed, and the addition constructed in that location. New parking would be provided to the southwest of the proposed addition. Only a portion of the site would be disturbed in construction, and the existing vegetation along the perimeter would be retained. Parking lot landscaping required under Section 75 and the details therefor would be needed for Township Staff review and approval. The applicant was requesting deferral of 38 parking spaces for future construction when needed. There was no proposed change to the access arrangement, and the existing sign would remain. The site was served by public water, and Ms. Bugge indicated that the applicant was conferring with the Public Health Department regarding the adequacy of the septic.

Chris Golland, an Elder of the Church, was present on behalf of the applicant. He stated that the current request for parking, 179 spaces, would accommodate the population of the Church at this time plus anticipated growth. The "banked" spaces could be added later when the population justified the need for more space.

He stated that the building addition would be "multi-purpose". The addition would not be in use when the sanctuary was in use.

In response to a question from Ms. Borgfjord, the applicant stated that the Church is not planning to turn the addition into a "charter school".

The Acting Chairperson asked for public comment, and none was offered. The public hearing was closed.

The Acting Chairperson reviewed the criteria of Section 82.800. Mr. Bushouse had questions with regard to the lighting, and Ms. Bugge indicated that the 25-foot pole height and 250 watt bulbs were in compliance with the lighting standards of the Township as long as the fixture was a sharp cutoff type.

Ms. Borgfjord had a question about public sewer, and it was indicated that it is not available in this area.

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

(1) That no change to the access arrangement is proposed or approved.

(2) That all parking conform to Section 68.000, and the northwestern-most space should be eliminated. The deferral of the construction of 38 spaces to be "banked" for future construction was approved; said spaces would be constructed if the Township determined that they were needed.

(3) That all lighting must comply with Section 78.700 of the Zoning Ordinance, and the fixture near the southeast corner of the addition should be relocated to the edge of the pavement.

(4) That the details of the proposed dumpster enclosure are subject to the review and approval of the Township Staff.

(5) That details with regard to landscaping for the parking area must be submitted to Township Staff for review and approval if in conformance with Ordinance requirements.

(6) That the approval is subject to the compliance with the requirements of the Township Fire Department pursuant to adopted codes.

(7) That approval is subject to the finding of the Township Engineer that site engineering is adequate.

(8) That an Earth Change Permit must be obtained from the Kalamazoo County Drain Commissioner.

Ms. Jensen seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

HOWLAND - FRONTAGE AND DEPTH-TO-WIDTH VARIANCES - 9455 WEST L AVENUE - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-29-205-011 AND 3905-29-205-016)

The Board considered the application of John and Charlene Howland for a variance from the provisions of Section 66.201 to allow a land division that results in a parcel with less than the required 200 feet of frontage and a parcel with a depth greater than four times the width. The subject property is located at 9455 West L Avenue, and is Parcel Nos. 3905-29-205-011 and 3905-29-205-016. The property is located in the "AG" Agricultural District zoning classification. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Stefforia noted that the applicants had written a letter to the Township expressing interest in acquiring the 66-foot right-of-way that the Township owns on West L Avenue. The right-of-way was deeded to the Township in 1982 by a former owner as part of a depth-to-width ratio variance and land division approval. The applicants were seeking to combine the 66-foot wide piece with their abutting 330-foot wide piece and then subdivide the parcel into two. One resulting parcel would have a frontage of 196 feet and the other 200 feet. However, at least one parcel would exceed the 4-to-1 depth-to-width ratio requirement.

Ms. Stefforia reviewed the non-use variance criteria. As to whether conformance was unnecessarily burdensome, Ms. Stefforia noted that the applicant could comply with Ordinance requirements if four additional feet were acquired from an abutting landowner. Moreover, the applicant could comply with frontage requirements by platting or site condominiumizing the property.

With regard to substantial justice, Ms. Stefforia noted that past applications were granted with regard to the 4-to-1 depth-to-width ratio requirement when other dimensional standards of the Ordinance, such as frontage, were satisfied. The Zoning Board of Appeals had tended to deny frontage variances when there was an opportunity to plat or site condominiumize. Ms. Stefforia saw no unique physical circumstances preventing compliance, and she felt that the hardship was self-created. In her opinion, the variance if granted would make a legally non-conforming parcel even more non-conforming, going from an 8-to-1 depth-to-width to a 10-to-1 depth to width.

Charlene Howland, the applicant, was present. She referenced another similar parcel in the area. After some discussion, it was recognized that this was the Saunders' parcel which had been granted a 4-to-1 depth-to-width ratio variance. However, this parcel had adequate frontage. Ms. Howland stated that she had gone to other neighbors and could not acquire an additional four feet. She stated that she and her husband had thought about platting the property but did not want to upset a neighboring property owner by establishing a public road.

After further discussion, Mr. Bushouse commented that he was concerned that the proposal of the applicant required that the Township sell its 66-foot right-of-way. Further, he felt that the design offered by the applicant looked like what used to be known as a "spite strip". In his opinion, it was important to consider that the 66-foot right-of-way had been established to allow for anyone to utilize the land area for a public road to access interior property for development purposes.

Mr. Borgfjord felt, as did Mr. Bushouse, that it was important for the Township to keep its 66-foot right-of-way.

No public comment was offered, and the public hearing was closed.

Board members reviewed the non-use variance criteria. It was recognized that the property has use currently, and that the applicant could meet the dimensional standards of the Ordinance without acquisition of the 66-foot right-of-way through platting and site condominiumizing.

The Board members felt that substantial justice weighed in favor of denying the variance in that other similar frontage variances had been denied. Four-to-one variances had been granted only where frontage was in conformance. Board members agreed that there were no unique physical circumstances, and the hardship was self-created. Board members were also concerned that the proposed variance was not in the spirit and intent of the Ordinance in that the resulting parcels would be more non-conforming than the existing site.

The applicant indicated that she was willing for the Board to table the item so that she could discuss her development options with Township Staff.

Ms. Jensen moved to table consideration of the application to June 17, 2002. Ms. Borgfjord seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

WALSH - DEPTH-TO-WIDTH VARIANCE - 430 N. VAN KAL STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-18-355-010)

The Board considered the application of Doug and Laurie Walsh for a variance from the depth-to-width provisions of Section 66.201 to allow the creation of a two-unit site condominium where one site would have a depth greater than four times the width. The subject property is located in the "AG" District zoning classification, and is Parcel No. 3905-18-355-010. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Bugge stated that the subject site contains approximately 8 acres situated on the east side of Van Kal Avenue. The current site is "grandfathered" having 217 feet of road frontage with a depth of 1,602 feet. The applicant was proposing to divide the property into two site condominium units in order to construct a home on the rear portion of the property and sell the front portion. Proposed Unit 1 would conform to all dimensional requirements for a lot, but Unit 2 would exceed the permitted 4-to-1 depth-to-width ratio. Unit 2 would satisfy area and width at building setback but exceeds the 4-to-1 ratio.

Ms. Bugge sited other similar variances that had been granted where the subject properties conformed with other dimensional standards and needed only a 4-to-1 ratio variance.

Gary Hahn was present on behalf of the applicants. Ms. Borgfjord questioned Mr. Hahn as to why Unit 1 had been suggested as such a small size. Mr. Hahn responded that Unit 1 meets the lot size requirements of the Ordinance. He stated that the applicants were seeking to keep as much of the land as possible at the rear for them to build on.

The Acting Chairperson sought public comment, and Chad Hughson commented that he owns 35 acres adjoining the property which he had purchased last spring. He stated that it was his goal to preserve natural features on his property. He expressed that he was strongly against the variance because there were other properties in the area which would seek to do the same "thing". He was concerned that Unit 1 was extremely small and that the size of the proposed unit did not meet Master Land Use Plan goals.

The public hearing was closed.

Mr. Bushouse commented that the proposed configuration was not in keeping with the character of the area, and therefore, he felt that substantial justice would not be served by granting the variance; he also felt that the spirit and intent of the Ordinance would not be met. Therefore, he was not in favor of the proposed variance. In his opinion, the configuration was not in keeping with the rural nature of the area. Ms. Borgfjord agreed, stating that she felt Unit 1 was too small.

Mr. Rakowski disagreed, stating that, in his opinion, other parcels in the area had a similar depth. Mr. Rakowski reviewed the non-use variance criteria. Mr. Bushouse stated that he felt other applications which had been granted, such as VanDoeselaar, were different because the resulting parcel configurations were in keeping with the character of their area.

After further discussion, Ms. Jensen moved to deny the variance reasoning that:

(1) The applicant had other development options for configuration of the property.

(2) The configuration was not in keeping with the character of the area, and therefore did not meet the spirit and intent of the Ordinance or the goals of the Master Land Use Plan.

Ms. Borgfjord seconded the motion.

The Acting Chairperson asked for public comment on the motion, and Gayle Stevens stated that, in her opinion, the area was not rural anymore and expressed concern about the amount of traffic in the area. She felt that the Board should not "stop progress". She indicated she has no objection to the variance. She stated that her property is similarly configured, and she would like to be able to "do something" with it.

Chad Hughson commented that, in his opinion, the area was rural in nature and that there were many landowners in that area with substantial acreage which they sought to preserve.

Mr. Hahn stated that he felt that the proposal of the applicant was bringing the parcel into closer compliance with Ordinance standards, and therefore, the variance should be granted.

Upon a vote on the motion, the motion carried 3-to-1 with Mr. Rakowski voting in opposition.

WELLING, RIPLEY AND LABS - VARIANCE AND SITE PLAN REVIEW - 7100 STADIUM DRIVE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-34-230-046)

The Board considered the application of Robert Buckley on behalf of Welling, Ripley and Labs for a variance from side setback provisions of Section 64.300 and site plan review of a proposed 33,465 square foot addition to the existing showroom facility. The subject property is located in the "C" Local Business District zoning classification at 7100 Stadium Drive and is Parcel No. 3905-34-230-046. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Bugge stated that the addition would be two stories and would result in a building with a total area of 57,625 square feet. The variance would allow the west side of the building to be built in line with the current building line. The existing building is approximately 22 feet from the west property line. However, due to the proposed height of the addition at 26 feet, a setback of 26 feet is required by the Ordinance.

Robert Buckley, architect for the project, was present on behalf of the applicant. He stressed that the proposed addition would follow the existing building line. He stated that the existing building has a pitched roof on half of the building and a flat roof on the other half. The addition would not alter the look of the front elevation in that the addition would have a flat roof, not pitched. The proposed addition was at 26 feet in height so as to duplicate in the showroom space the ceiling heights in which the furniture would be located in homes which are being built with cathedral ceilings.

Ms. Borgfjord had questions with regard to the retention pond, and the applicant responded that the existing pond would not be relocated. Further in response to questions from Mr. Bushouse, the applicant stated that the retention pond currently retains all storm water on site.

No public comment was offered, and the public hearing was closed.

The Acting Chairperson reviewed the criteria for non-use variances. The Board members agreed that conformance was unnecessarily burdensome given that the applicant had no other reasonable options because of the existing building line. Further, substantial justice would weigh in favor of granting the variance in that other similar applications had been granted. The hardship was not self-created due to the existing building.

Mr. Bushouse commented that he did not see a problem with the variance since the addition would be in line with the existing building.

Mr. Bushouse moved to grant the variance based on the Board's analysis of the non-use variance criteria; the motion was seconded by Ms. Jensen. The motion carried unanimously.

Ms. Borgfjord moved to grant site plan approval for the proposed building addition with the following conditions, limitations and notations:

(1) That no change to the access arrangement was proposed or approved.

(2) That, as to parking, all parking must conform with Section 68.000. Parking for 44 cars must be provided, and the deferral of 82 spaces was approved. The deferred spaces must be constructed at the option of the Township if it is determined that they are needed.

(3) That all lighting must comply with Section 78.700. A photometric plan with fixture details must be submitted to Township Staff for review and approval.

(4) That details of the proposed dumpster enclosure must be submitted to Township Staff for review and approval.

(5) That a detailed landscaping plan in conformance with Section 75 must be submitted to Township Staff for their review and approval if the proposed landscaping plan conforms with Ordinance standards.

(6) That approval is subject to the applicant satisfying the requirements of the Township Fire Department pursuant to adopted codes.

(7) That approval is subject to the Township Engineer review and a finding that the site engineering is adequate.

(8) That an Earth Change Permit must be obtained from the Kalamazoo County Drain Commissioner.

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

VOLKEL - FRONTAGE VARIANCE AND SITE PLAN REVIEW FOR SECOND DWELLING - 7280 WEST N AVENUE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-34-455-065)

The Board considered the application of James VolKel for a variance from the provisions of Section 66.150 which would require 400 feet of frontage on a public street to allow a second dwelling on a parcel of land. If approved, the applicant was further requesting site plan review of the second dwelling pursuant to Section 82.000. The subject property is located at 7280 West N Avenue in the "AG" District and is Parcel No. 3905-34-455-065. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

The subject site is a 9.9 acre parcel on West N Avenue. There is currently a house with an attached garage, pool and a 672 square foot storage. A 2,160 square foot additional garage, pursuant to a building permit issued in April, is under construction. Recently, the applicant's builder sought a permit to drywall and insulate the building under construction. The plan submitted indicated a kitchen and bathroom were proposed to be established within the building on the upper level. As a result of the proposed improvements, the Building Code would classify the building as residential. The Planning Department's interpretation was that the improvements would cause the building to be considered a dwelling. This interpretation was confirmed by a conversation with the applicant in which he indicated his mother would be staying in the subject building several months a year. In addition, the building might be used by a live-in nurse in the future.

The Zoning Ordinance allows for a second dwelling on a parcel that has at least 100,000 square feet and 400 feet of frontage. The applicant's property satisfies the minimum area requirement, but does not satisfy the minimum frontage requirement in that it has only 328.5 feet of frontage.

In reviewing the non-use variance criteria, Ms. Stefforia stated that the applicant could subdivide the property and put the proposed building on its own site. However, there may be some difficulties with regard to setback from existing buildings. Further, the building in question could be used for storage and not as a dwelling. Ms. Stefforia noted that other applications had been granted where they were "temporary" in nature. She did not note any unique physical circumstances and felt the hardship was self-created.

As to the spirit of the Ordinance, Ms. Stefforia was concerned that a variance may be perceived as a way of getting around Ordinance criteria by commencing a building prior to obtaining approval from the Township. Further, she was concerned as to whether future owners would honor the limitations which the current applicant was saying would be placed on the use of the building.

It was noted that a letter had been received from David Miller, the neighboring landowner to the west, who objected to the variance.

Jerry Reitenour was present on behalf of the applicant. In his opinion, the building in question was at a proper setback in that it was 30 feet from the property line. The building was originally intended by the applicant for storage, but during the process of building, the owner was considering other uses. Therefore, an amendment to the building permit was sought. Mr. Reitenour said the applicant would comply with whatever the Township requires, and if he was to be limited to merely storage, he would just like to finish the building with drywall.

Mr. Bushouse expressed that he felt that the dwelling use of this building would be out of character with the area. Mr. Rakowski agreed, stating that he was concerned in that the variance would not be in keeping with past precedence regarding "temporary" variances. Further, there was a concern that the property would be split in the future, and the resulting frontage of at least one parcel would be non-conforming. It was felt that conformance was not unnecessarily burdensome in that the applicant had use of the subject site and the subject building without the variance.

Based on the preceding analysis, Mr. Bushouse moved to deny the variance to allow a second dwelling without 400 feet of frontage, and Ms. Jensen seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

OTHER BUSINESS

The Board members concurred that a special meeting could be scheduled for June 10, 2002.

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 5:25 p.m.

OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP
ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS

By:
Stanley Rakowski, Acting Chairperson

By:
David Bushouse

By:
Jill Jensen

By:
Grace Borgfjord
Minutes Prepared:
May 23, 2002

Minutes Approved:
, 2002