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OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

PLANNING COMMISSION

Meeting Minutes

May 27, 1999

 

Agenda

PUBLIC HEARING - 9TH STREET REZONING REQUEST - ACREAGE ON WEST SIDE OF 9TH STREET (MOHMAND)

PUBLIC HEARING - STADIUM DRIVE REZONING REQUEST - SOUTH SIDE OF STADIUM DRIVE (HILL)

A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Planning Commission on Thursday, May 27, 1999, commencing at approximately 7:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall, pursuant to notice.

Members present:

Wilfred Dennie, Chairperson
Marvin Block
Stanley Rakowski
Millard Loy
Ken Heisig
Elizabeth Heiny-Cogswell
Ted Corakis

Also present were Jodi Stefforia, Planning Director, Mary Lynn Bugge, Township Planner and Patricia R. Mason, Township attorney, and approximately 19 other interested persons.

CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m.

AGENDA

The Chairperson suggested adding a discussion of the special meeting scheduled for June 2, 1999. Mr. Loy moved to approve the agenda as submitted, and Mr. Heisig seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

MINUTES

The Planning Commission discussed the minutes of the meeting of May 13, 1999. The Chairperson suggested for future minutes that, under commissioner comments, each commissioner’s comments begin a separate paragraph. Mr. Block moved to approve the minutes as submitted and Mr. Rakowski seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

9TH STREET REZONING REQUEST - PUBLIC HEARING - ACREAGE ON WEST SIDE OF 9TH STREET (MOHMAND)

The Planning Commission next discussed the rezoning request of Mr. and Mrs. Kadir Mohmand requesting that parcel 3905-14-355-011 be rezoned from the
"R-2" residential to the "C" local business district zoning classification. The property is approximately 25.73 acres located on the west side of 9th Street, approximately 1,200 feet south of West Main. The report of the Planning and Zoning Department has been incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Stefforia presented an overhead graphic depicting the area and the property at issue. She noted that the "block" of commercial property north of West Main had been in existence since the 1960s. The area south of West Main was rezoned commercial in the 1970's. She stated that the applicant had purchased the subject property believing that at least a portion was zoned in the commercial district. Ms. Stefforia stated that approximately 25% of "C" zoning within the township is vacant. The statistic did not include the mall properties. She stated that if the rezoning were granted, a master land use plan change would be required; the property is within the 9th Street focus area.

The Chairperson noted that in scheduling the rezoning application, the Planning Commission had not expanded the area under consideration beyond the applicant’s property. There was questioning concerning the odd shape of the parcel and it was noted that the odd configuration was a result of the 9th Street extension.

Sheri Mohmand, one of the applicants and an attorney, spoke on behalf of the application. She felt that the commission should approve the rezoning application stating that in her opinion the master land use plan would not require amendment. She felt that the future land use map within the plan indicated commercial zoning for her property. Further, she stressed that the rezoning would not severely impact traffic, utilities, population density, or the natural characteristics of the area. Further, the rezoning would not result in a spot of commercial zoning. Rezoning was also not contrary to the established land use pattern in the area which was a mixed use. She also felt that there had been a change in conditions within the area which supported rezoning.

Mrs. Mohmand stated that it was a dream of her husband’s to have a small business in the area, a specialty store selling carpet. She further stated that it was their plan that she also establish a law office on the property. She made reference to Page 82 of the Master Land Use Plan, specifically the future land use map. She felt that the commercial zoning encompassed this property. Further, she pointed to Page 79 of the Master Land Use Plan stating that the proposed rezoning was consistent therewith. She felt the rezoning would be a natural expansion of the commercial note node in the area. Further, the proposed uses were compatible with the land uses to the north. Specifically, a small commercial specialty store and a law office. She made reference to the uses in the area; the car wash, rental center, car dealership, hardware store, medical building, etc. Further, the property is near a main arterial road. There is adequate space on the property for compliance with set back, parking standards, etc. She felt the property could comply with the access management plan of the township. She felt that the proposed uses at the site were also supported by the land use rules for the 9th Street focus area. She felt the township should promote land use by people who live in and want to stay in the area.

Mrs. Mohmand also stressed that the proposed uses were unlikely to be high traffic generators. She felt that the uses would compliment the natural features of the property, i.e., the rolling topography and area pond. In Mrs. Mohmand’s opinion the property was not likely to be developed residentially due to its proximity to intense commercial uses along West Main.

Although there was other "C" vacant property, she questioned the data indicating 25% vacancy. Further, the placement of the vacant property would not be correct for the proposed uses. She also stressed that she and her husband were told by their seller and a township official that at least part of the property was zoned commercially.

The Chairperson asked for public comment and Lee Larson, an 8th Street resident, stated that his property was located at the northwest corner of the subject property. He noted that property north of this had been zoned commercially for some time. He felt that the land use plan of the township indicated commercial zoning only for the existing commercial property in the area. He felt that the residents in the area were relying on the plan which called for large lot residential south of the commercial node. He believed that the rezoning should remain as is noting that there was commercial property just north of the subject which is vacant and available. He felt rezoning of this property would severely impact residential property in the area.

The public hearing was closed.

Mr. Block questioned the applicant as to whether an 8th Street access was proposed and the applicants responded that it was not proposed.

The Chairperson stressed that the purpose of the Planning Commission could not be on the suggested uses of the applicant but on all uses that could be made of the property if rezoned.

Ms. Stefforia noted that the 25% vacancy statistic was derived from current assessment records. Ms. Stefforia also noted that as to the Master Land Use Plan the map and text had to be considered in conjunction. She believed the text was clear that the intent of the plan is that this particular property be located within the 9th Street focus area.

The Chairperson concurred stating that when the Master Land Use Plan was adopted, it identified five sensitive areas one of which was the 9th Street focus area. Mixed uses for the 9th Street focus area were suggested. The plan called for a blending of commercial with other uses such as residential and office development. The 9th Street focus area plan was followed by the adoption of tools to implement the plan such as the open space and PUD texts. This parcel could be developed with either development option.

Reference was made to the rezoning analysis. As to whether the proposed rezoning was supported by the adopted Master Land Use Plan, the Chairperson, said that one vital portion of the plan was in its goal of maintaining the vitality of existing commercial zoning. He felt that expanding the area currently zoned commercial would negatively impact the vitality of other commercial land in the area. Further, the Master Land Use Plan called for mixed uses in the area through PUD, open space and other implementation tools.

Mr. Corakis concurred stating that PUD development could be established on the site due to its size. He felt denial of the rezoning was necessary to protect existing residential zoning and uses on 8th Street.

The Chairperson stressed that the Master Land Use Plan discourages strip zoning and therefore, segmenting the property and rezoning only part would also be inconsistent with the Master Land Use Plan.

Mr. Loy commented that he felt that the Planning Commission and township, in adopting the Master Land Use Plan, had gone to great lengths to be sensitive to development in the area. He felt that expanding the commercial zoning would allow for a helter skelter spread of commercial development and would have a negative impact on 8th Street residences.

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell also felt that the main issue was maintaining the vitality of area commercial zoning and discouraging stip zoning. She stated that she would relish the development of a speciality carpet store in the area but felt that adding additional commercial zoning in this node would be contrary to the Master Land Use Plan.

The overall consensus of the Planning Commission was that the Master Land Use Plan did not support commercial zoning in this area.

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. Since sewer and municipal water would serve the project and given the carrying capacity of the roads, the Planning Commission felt that there would be no severe impact.

However, there was concern about the residential character of 8th Street and the feeling that rezoning of this property would have a severe impact on those residences. There could be no guarantee that development would only occur on the east side of the property. Mr. Heisig agreed given the uses allotted in the commercial zone. He felt that the uses as proposed by the applicant were compatible but was concerned that rezoning would allow any use permitted, or a special exception, within the commercial zone.

Planning Commission members concurred that the rezoning would not result in spot zoning. This would be an expansion of existing commercial zoning. Further, the rezoning would not necessarily be contrary to the established land use pattern in the area. However, the mixed land use pattern in the area could be better accomplished through development under the open space community and PUD options.

The Planning Commission next discussed wheither the proposed rezoning would have the effect of stimulating similar rezoning requests in the vicinity. All Planning Commission members felt that there was a danger that rezoning of this property would result in rezonings continuing south along 9th Street which would destroy the area and be contrary to the Master Land Use Plan’s goals for the area.

The Planning Commission discussed the changes and conditions of the surrounding area. It was felt that these changes would not support rezoning. Particular reference was made to the Buckham Highlands residential development. However, development of the property as zoned under the open space and PUD text would not negatively impact the area.

The Planning Commission also felt that there were adequate sites properly zoned and available elsewhere to accommodate the proposed use. Twenty five percent of the commercial property in the township is vacant. Further, there is vacant commercial property north of the subject site.

Mr. Loy moved to recommend denial of the rezoning and Master Land Use Plan amendment based upon the above rezoning analysis and the consensus: (1) That rezoning would be contrary to the Master Land Use Plan goals and policies. (2) That rezoning would have a domino effect of creating other rezoning requests in the area. (3) That the rezoning would be contrary to establishment of mixed land use in this area. (4) That other applications in the area to expand commercial zoning had been denied. (5) That other commercial vacant property was available for the proposed uses. Mrs. Heiny-Cogswell seconded the motion.

The Chairperson asked for comment on the motion. The applicant, Kadir Mohmand, passed out distributed a handout to the Planning Commission members, a document from the seller of the property which indicated that it was commercially zoned. He stated that he was also told by a township official that a portion of the property was commercially zoned. Ms. Stefforia stated that Mike West, the former Township Planner, had denied telling Mr. Mohmand that the property was commercially zoned.

Mrs. Mohmand stressed that the future land use map, in her opinion, showed the property as being commercial. The Chairperson stated that the lines drawn in the Master Use Plan indicated general areas and were not drawn to indicate particular parcel lines. It was noted that when the Master Land Use Plan map was drawn, the 9th Street extension was not yet in existence and therefore, the curved lines in the road on the map cannot be used to indicate particular parcel lines.

Upon a vote on the motion, the motion carried unanimously.

The Chairperson stated that in his opinion the rejection of the rezoning request was not a comment on the uses suggested by the applicant but was based on the particular property for which the commercial zoning was proposed.

 STADIUM DRIVE REZONING REQUEST - PUBLIC HEARING - SOUTH SIDE OF STADIUM DRIVE (HILL)

The next item was consideration of the rezoning of five parcels from the "AG" agricultural rural district zoning classification to the "R-3" residential district zoning classification, those parcels being 33-402-312, 33-402-039, 33-402-031, 33-402-023, and 33-402-028. Further, the Planning Commission would consider the rezoning of one parcel from the "AG" agricultural rural district zoning classification to the "R-3" residential district zoning classification or the "C" local business district zoning classification, that being 33-402-040. All properties are on the south side of Stadium Drive between Yucca Point and 6th Street. The report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

It was noted that the Planning Commission had expanded the area for consideration beyond the applicant’s parcel, i.e., 040. Ms. Stefforia stated that the Master Land Use Plan shows this area as residential. Rezoning the property to the "R-3" zone would not render any uses in the area non-conforming. The "R-3" zoning district is a transitional zone which allows residential and non-residential uses. The "C" district allows for retail sales and services.

In response to questioning by the Chairperson, the township attorney indicated that the Planning Commission could consider an recommend rezoning of all or part of the area noticed.

The applicant was present. Charles Hill, agent for the owner of the property, i.e., 040, stated that the owner of parcel 023 had a specific request of the Planning Commission.

Ransom Myers, owner of parcel 023, stated that he was not in favor of zoning his property to the transitional "R-3" zone. He felt his property should be zoned "C" local business district because of its access to Stadium and 6th Street. Further, the property abutted the industrial zone and he felt that commercial zoning would be more consistent. He requested that the Planning Commission table the item so that his property could be considered for commercial zoning.

Mr. Hill stated that it did not matter to him if the item were tabled. He indicated that he felt that neither zoning district would negatively impact the area given the zoning to the east which was industrial and commercial. To the west there were also spots of commercial zoning. He felt it would be a natural expansion of the zoning in the area to have first commercial zoning and then "R-3" to 4th Street. He stated that he felt that the Stadium Drive expansion to five lanes would render the area non-conducive to residential use. Mr. Hill also said that neighborhood commercial would have been requested had it been available. In his opinion, the development of the property for a hotel or motel use which was allowed in the commercial zone would not be likely because of the lack of proximity to a highway. He felt that given the location, the property was likely to develop for small neighborhood businesses and offices. He also felt that "R-3" zoning would be appropriate in that the area is in transition between industrial and agricultural zoning.

The Chairperson asked for public comment and Helen Heighton, owner of the corner property - parcel 312, stated that she was not in favor of the rezoning of her property. She said that she had no objection to rezoning of other properties.

Nelson Harms stated that he has a residence at O’Park and Stadium and felt that it was a hazardous intersection. He had no objection to rezoning of property east of O’Park.

Kadir Mohmand asked whether any of the Planning Commission members had any relationship with the applicant. He also asked whether Commission members had received gifts or had been taken to dinner by the applicant. Mr. Corakis stated that other than the fact that the applicant had been on the same committee relating to the village focus area he had no relationship to the applicant. Other board members also indicated no relationship to the applicant. The Chairperson stated that any member who had a relationship with the applicant or financial involvement with the project would have to indicate a conflict of interest.

Barbara Beck asked about what uses were allowed in the "R-3" district. She was concerned that multi-family apartments could be constructed. It was indicated that such apartments were permitted within the "R-4" district but not the "R-3" district. The chairperson made reference to the uses which were allowed in the "R-3" district. Ms. Beck indicated that she was against the rezoning. She felt the area should remain residential.

The public hearing was closed and the Chairperson suggested that the Planning Commission consider the request of the adjoining property owner. Mr. Block wondered whether the owner of Parcel 028 would also like consideration of the commercial zone. He felt it would be appropriate to table the item to allow for proper noticing of consideration of the commercial zone for these two properties if the owners requested it.

After further discussion, Mr. Block moved to table the item to the meeting of July 22, 1999, so as to renotice the zoning request to eliminate consideration of parcel 312 and consider

"R-3" and commercial zoning for parcels 023 and 028. The renoticing was contingent upon the owners of parcels 023 and 028 making application and paying the appropriate fee by June 4, 1999. The motion was seconded by Mr. Rakowski.

Mr. Myers stated that he would be making an application.

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell indicated that she was non-supportive eliminating consideration of parcel 312.

Upon a vote on the motion, the motion carried 5 to 2 with Mr. Dennie and Mrs. Heiny-Cogswell voting in opposition.

PLANNING COMMISSIONER COMMENTS

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell indicated her appreciation for receiving the Michigan Planner Publication.

The Chairperson noted that the sewer project had been approved by the township board and Mr. Block added that the sewer extension would cross West Main along 10th Street at the cost of the developer of the parcel at the corner of 10th and West Main.

Mr. Block also mentioned the urban sprawl seminar and indicated the sign up deadlines.

Mr. Loy commented that the Oshtemo Business Association would be meeting at night again. The June meeting would be conducted at the Board Room of the West Main Medical Center.

OTHER BUSINESS

There was discussion of the agenda for the special meeting of June 2, 1999.

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 9:10 p.m.

Minutes prepared:
June 3, 1999

Minutes approved:  June 10, 1999