OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP
November 18, 2004
WEST PORT VILLAGE (VISSER) - PLANNED UNIT DEVELOPMENT SPECIAL EXCEPTION USE AND SITE PLAN REVIEW - WEST H AVENUE - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-12-205-011 AND 3905-12-205-030)
ARBY'S - SPECIAL EXCEPTION USE AND SITE PLAN REVIEW - 6660 WEST MAIN STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-14-185-021)
EDDY - CONCEPTUAL PLAN REVIEW - INDOOR RECREATION FACILITY - 6745 STADIUM DRIVE - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-35-132-020, 3905-35-132-021 AND 3905-35-132-031)
A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Planning Commission on Thursday, November 18, 2004, commencing at approximately 7:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall.
MEMBERS PRESENT: Neil G. Sikora, Chairperson
Deborah L. Everett
MEMBERS ABSENT: None
Also present were Jodi Stefforia, Planning Director; Mary Lynn Bugge, Township Planner; James W. Porter, Township Attorney; and approximately 55 other interested persons.
CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m.
The Chairperson indicated that the first item of business was approval of the Agenda. Mr. Turcott made a motion to approve the Agenda as submitted. Ms. Garland-Rike seconded the motion, and the Chairperson called for a vote on the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
The Chairperson said that the next item for consideration was approval of the minutes of October 28, 2004 and November 4, 2004. Ms. Garland-Rike asked if in the last sentence, second paragraph on page 8 of the November 4, 2004 minutes, the word "perimeters" should be "parameters". Mr. Larson said it should be parameters. Ms. Everett made a motion to approve the November 4, 2004 minutes as amended, and the October 28, 2004 minutes as submitted. Mr. Larson seconded the motion. The Chairperson called a vote on the motion, and the motion passed unanimously.
WEST PORT VILLAGE (VISSER) - PLANNED UNIT DEVELOPMENT SPECIAL EXCEPTION USE AND SITE PLAN REVIEW - WEST H AVENUE - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-12-205-011 AND 3905-12-205-030)
The Chairperson said the next item for consideration was a planned unit development special exception use and site plan review for West Port Village, being Parcel Nos. 3905-12-205-011 and 3905-12-205-030, located on West H Avenue. The Chairperson called for a report from the Planning Department. Ms. Bugge submitted her report to the Planning Commission dated November 18, 2004, and the same is incorporated herein by reference.
Ms. Bugge explained that the applicant was proposing to establish a planned unit development on the south side of H Avenue between U.S. 131 and Drake Road. She said the property was zoned "R-2" Residence District and contained 38.5 acres. She said a condominium development is being proposed, utilizing the PUD criteria to allow 133 residential units and one nonresidential unit in two phases. She noted that only Phase 1 of the PUD is currently up for review, and that when Phase 2 is submitted in the future, it would be subject to review. She said the information regarding Phase 2 is being provided for informational purposes only.
Ms. Bugge told the Commission that West Port was going to be a condominium development where the buyers will own the interior of the dwelling units only. The exterior of all buildings and property will be owned in common and maintained by the condominium association.
She said Phase 1 would contain 39 single-family buildings and 17 two-family buildings, for a total of 73 residential units and one nonresidential dwelling on 23.4 acres. She noted that the nonresidential building would serve as a community area and management office, and once 60% of the residential units were constructed, the business office for Visser Construction.
Ms. Bugge reminded the Planning Commission of its conceptual review on August 12, 2004, and noted the changes eliminating three-family dwellings from the proposed plan. Ms. Bugge pointed out that Phase 1 was also changed to increase dwelling units from 64 to 73 units, and Phase 2 reduced from 72 to 60 dwelling units. She also said that the plans were changed to eliminate building footprints by replacing them with open boxes, which indicated the general location of future structures.
Ms. Bugge explained to the Commission and those in attendance that the PUD is a special exception use with review criteria considered when a formal site plan is conducted. She said the applicant was seeking special exception use and site plan approval for Phase 1 of West Port Village PUD condominium development. Ms. Bugge then took the Commission through the review criteria of Section 60.450 of the Ordinance. Once she completed the review criteria for the PUD, Ms. Bugge took the Commission through a detailed analysis of the site plan review criteria set forth in Section 82.800, together with proposed recommendations for site plan approval. Next, Ms. Bugge reviewed the special exception use criteria of Section 60.100 to address the review of the PUD. Lastly, Ms. Bugge indicated that it would be necessary for the Planning Commission to make a recommendation to approve or deny the condominium project to the Township Board.
The Chairperson asked Ms. Bugge why the last action of the Planning Commission would be a recommendation. Ms. Bugge explained that all plats and condominium projects have to be approved by the Township Board, and therefore, the Planning Commission is the recommending board regarding that issue. The Chairperson asked if the Planning Commission would approve the special exception use, PUD and site plan review. Ms. Stefforia said that was correct and that the Planning Commission approves all of the requests, with the exception of the condominium element which would go to the Township Board. Attorney Porter noted that approval of a condominium project was similar to the approval of a plat, and therefore, by statute, required Township Board approval.
The Chairman asked if there were any more questions of Ms. Bugge, and hearing none, asked to hear from the applicant. Mr. Dan Lewis introduced himself to the Commission as the engineer for the developer. Mr. Lewis said he thought that the Planning Department had covered the proposed project quite thoroughly, but wanted to make a few additional comments. He explained that the developer had looked at the internal walkway issue previously raised by the Planning Commission. He said in doing so, they looked at the traffic manual and compared the 12-foot width of a street lane to carry traffic at 55 mph and a 10-foot or 11-foot driving lane on a private road, and the developer thought that their paved 28-foot road would be adequate for carrying both cars and pedestrians. He said there was no through-traffic in this proposed development; most of the traffic would be traveling at a low speed, and with a 30-foot road and a one-foot curb and gutter, a 28-foot paved road would be adequate to handle all of the internal traffic and pedestrian needs of the development.
Mr. Steve Visser introduced himself and his brother, Dan, to the Commission. He explained that they were willing to look at the bike path along H Avenue, but thought it would be more appropriate to look at it during Phase 2 of the proposed development. He said, with the recent bike tunnel being installed under U.S. 131, he thought it would be best to see what the bike needs along H Avenue actually were, once the use of the tunnel was established.
Steve Visser explained that they had their landscape architect, John Post, take a look at the proposal. He said they were comfortable with Type C landscaping along H Avenue. However, he thought they might need some adjustment regarding low shrubs due to the propensity of them to get lost in the natural overgrowth in the area. He also said that they would like to add evergreens to the Type C landscaping to create a permanent, year-round screening.
The Chairperson asked if there were any questions of the applicant. Ms. Garland-Rike asked what the home, which is being converted into an office and community area, would look like. She said the description was somewhat vague and wanted to know whether or not it was going to be compatible. Steve Visser said they had received a limited Building Permit and had completely changed the roof line and re-roofed the facility with new overhangs. He said that the exterior of the home would be brick and siding which would match the condominium development. He said they would do everything they could to make it compatible and fit in with the residential character of the condominium units. He also noted that they were bringing the home up to commercial standards because, as an office building, it had to meet commercial codes.
Mr. Turcott asked if there would be continued use of the office once the proposed condominium development was completed. Steve Visser said that he thought they would be there for quite some time; he said they planned on using the office, not only for the development of the proposed condominiums, but for other construction work that they do in the Kalamazoo County area, and they intended to stay there for the indefinite future.
Ms. Stefforia asked how the Vissers' clientele would access the office and the model at the condominium project. Steve Visser said it would be by appointment only, because it was going to be a gated community so they would have to call in order to obtain access to the site.
Ms. Bugge asked if there would be a keypad on the island for the condominium owners. Steve Visser said that is what they currently had planned. Ms. Bugge asked if the gates were going to be stand-up gates or sliding gates. Steve Visser said it would depend upon the slope of the ground. Ms. Bugge indicated that sliding gates were much more aesthetically pleasing.
Mr. Schley explained to the Commission that it had just come to his attention that his office had been asked to do some architectural work on the office building/community center. He inquired of the Attorney as to whether or not he would have to recuse themself due to a conflict of interest. After clarification as to the work done by Mr. Schley's firm, Attorney Porter indicated that he should abstain from voting on the matter, since he did have a financial interest in the work done on the office building. It was the consensus of the Commission to allow Mr. Schley to abstain from voting on this matter.
Ms. Garland-Rike asked about signs for the proposed development. Steve Visser said he wanted to put in an entrance sign and also an office sign along H Avenue. He said they would comply with the Township guidelines in all respects. He indicated they would be submitting plans in the near future.
The Chairperson asked if they could have a temporary sign. Ms. Bugge said that they could have a temporary sign during construction and a permanent sign identifying the development.
The Chairperson asked why the woodlot had been divided into the two phases. Mr. Lewis said he thought that is what the Township was requesting. Ms Bugge said she thought it made more sense if it was all included in Phase 1 of the development. Mr. Lewis said that could be done if that is what the Township wanted to see happen.
Mr. Turcott asked if there was going to be one or two condominium associations. Steve Visser said there would only be one condominium association.
The Chairperson asked what the walking trail would consist of. Steve Visser said the walking trail would likely be of wood bark or other natural materials.
Mr. Larson asked how the retention areas would be planted. Steve Visser said he was not quite sure, but he thought there would be some general seeding done, along with natural growth. Mr. Larson asked if there would be any standing water in the retention areas. Steve Visser said the retention area along H Avenue would have water in it for a period of time before it ultimately leached out. Mr. Larson then asked if there would be some wetland plants placed there for landscaping purposes. Steve Visser said he thought they would put in some natural grasses and wetland plants in the H Avenue retention area.
Mr. Larson asked why the developer had not put any sidewalks or a pedestrian circular pathway throughout the proposed development. Mr. Lewis said the minimum private road requirements are 24 feet and they believed a 30-foot road, with curb and gutter, would allow adequate circulation for both pedestrians and traffic. Mr. Larson asked if the side areas of the road would be specifically designated for walking. Steve Visser said that they would not, and that people in West Port preferred not to have sidewalks and thought they were a waste of money. He also said that designating a specific portion of the road right-of-way for pedestrians might cause confusion regarding parking.
Ms. Garland-Rike asked if the Township's Sidewalk Ordinance distinguished between public or private roads. Ms. Bugge said that it did not, but the Commission had the authority to deviate based upon topography or if a street was a cul-de-sac. Ms. Stefforia also noted that the Commission had authority to deviate from the Ordinance under the planned unit development standards.
Ms. Garland-Rike asked why they had not designated a walking area within the paved road surface. Ms. Stefforia said she believed the developer thought it would cause confusion.
Dan Visser said he would like to come to some sort of agreement with the Commission on this issue. However, since it was a semi-retirement community and not a neighborhood with children, he did not believe sidewalks made sense in the proposed development. He also noted that there was no thoroughfare or flow-through traffic in this development, and that it was really just one large cul-de-sac. Therefore, he thought it warranted a deviation from the sidewalk requirement.
Mr. Schley said that he would not be voting on this matter, but he did want the applicant to understand that, in senior-oriented housing, walkways were more necessary than in most developments. He said that most national standards would strongly advocate for sidewalks in this type of development.
Steve Visser asked when the Ordinance became effective. Ms. Stefforia indicated March 24, 2004. Steve Visser said, because the development was one large cul-de-sac, they should be allowed a deviation from the sidewalk requirement. Mr. Larson said he thought an aging population made it a necessity that there be a pedestrian walkway in the proposed development, and he thought that should be included as part of the proposal. Mr. Ahrens asked if the pedestrian component could not be accomplished within the road right-of-way. Mr. Larson said the Commission had asked that pedestrian traffic be addressed specifically at the last meeting, and he did not think it was appropriate for people to be asked to walk in the street. Mr. Ahrens agreed, noting that, with a 133 units, there would be quite a bit of traffic in the proposed development.
The Chairperson said he had mixed feelings, since this was a private, limited access area, but he was very concerned about using the paved road surface for pedestrian traffic. He also said that they had required sidewalks for other new developments in the Township, and he was concerned about deviating from their previous actions.
Ms. Everett asked Steve Visser how the people would be getting their mail. Steve Visser said he was not sure. Ms. Everett said that she thought it tied into the pedestrian traffic issue. She said she thought if people were going to get their mail at the Community Center, it would be even more important to develop a pedestrian walkway. Steve Visser said they would likely have mailboxes in front of their homes.
The Chairperson asked if there was any other questions for the applicant. Hearing none, the Chairperson opened the public comment portion of the meeting.
Barbara Johnson told the Commission that, what was happening on this area of H Avenue helped her make sense of what was happening where she lived on H Avenue, and the fact that development was being shoved down her throat.
Ron Walters said he knew the Vissers and that they did quality work. However, he said he would like to block this type of development if he could. He said the density was much too great, but he understood that the area was zoned "R-2", and the Vissers had the right to develop their property. However, he objected to any nonresidential uses on H Avenue and objected to Vissers having a permanent office within the proposed development.
Theresa Wright told the Commission that she lived across the street on ten acres which she purchased in 1985. She said, at the time they purchased the land, they were under restrictions prohibiting development and hoped the property always remained rural. She said she thought the developer should know that they raise animals which cause noise and odors, and she was very concerned about density.
Laura Meeuwse told the Commission that she lived across the street, and she was concerned about the traffic and the car lights. She said she was also concerned about the steepness of the berm, as well as the ability of the retention basin to retain all of their water on site. She said she was particularly concerned about the west side drainage and asked that the drainage be closely reviewed by the Township. She said she was also very concerned about the change in the character of the land, but realized that the Vissers had the right to develop their property in accordance with the Township's Zoning Ordinance.
Emmanuel Thompson said he had purchased 12½ acres because of the country setting. He questioned what the Township was doing to safeguard the interests of all of the people. He inquired as to whether the water and sewer projects being proposed in his area were to further the interest of Vissers' project.
Rick Patterson questioned the Planning Department's report that the project was consistent with the area. He said that the proposed project was totally inconsistent with the area, and while it might be legal, it certainly was not compatible with the surrounding development. He said he thought that the proposed sewer would cost him $70,000 for his two properties and questioned whether his expense was being incurred to further the interest of these developers. Mr. Patterson also said, if the Vissers could put up a sign, he might put up a sign that said "I have cows, and they poop."
Marty Schultz told the Commission that he took exception to the Staff's report that the proposed project was consistent with the residential development in the area. He said he thought this proposed development was totally inconsistent with adjoining properties. He also said, when they had met with the Sewer and Water Committee, they were told that the proposed water and sewer in the area was not part of a broader plan, and after hearing the Vissers' proposal, he was not sure that was entirely true.
Kevin Travis told the Commission that he would like to see them preserve the rural character of the Township, and he thought it was the desire of the Planning Commission to drive people out of Oshtemo Township with confiscatory taxes or by seizing their property. The Chairperson asked if Mr. Travis had any facts to support his negative allegations against the Planning Commission. Mr. Travis made reference to the current sewer and water taxes and the interest rate being charged by the Township if the property owners could not pay in full, which he called a predatory lending scheme which would likely result in the Township seizing people's property. He said he thought the Township residents should drive the Township Board and the Planning Commission out of the Township, rather than the other way around. The Chairperson noted for the record that every allegation that Mr. Travis made against the Planning Commission had nothing to do with the Commission, since they had no control over sewer or water development, nor the assessments associated therewith, or contracting for the installation of said services. The Chairperson said he thought Mr. Travis' negative comments were inappropriate and directed at the wrong board.
Tim Mallett told the Commission that initially he wanted to come, sit down and listen, but he did have a few questions of the Commission. He asked how a person could be allowed to excavate their property without ever receiving a permit from the Township. Ms. Stefforia explained that this property owner, just as any other property owner, had the right to do site work on their property, including earth moving, if they chose to do so, without obtaining any permits from the Township.
Mr. Mallett said he thought the Planning Commission should be responsible to the people who own property in the Township and pay taxes, and not just the developers.
Sharon Bausman told the Commission that she lives right next door to the proposed development, and when she found out about it, she was "just sick". She said they could not stop it, but she did not necessarily want to see a bike path, which would cause more loss of her front yard. She also asked that the Planning Commission do what it could to limit the impact on surrounding property owners as much as possible. She also voiced an objection to allowing a business office as part of the development.
Barbara Johnson stated, since the applicant was asking the Commission to approve the PUD, that this matter was not a "done deal". She asked if the Commission could say, no, to the proposed project. Mr. Schley said that they could not necessarily say, no, to the project, if the developers met the criteria. However, the Chairperson said it was not simply a "done deal"; they still had to review the proposed project to make sure that it complied with Township Ordinances.
Emmanuel Thompson said he was concerned that they were being assessed in order to put in improvements for other people's development.
Mr. Ahrens stated that he was concerned about the comments that somehow the Township is attempting to take people's property away. He explained that there had been numerous meetings dealing with development along H Avenue. He said that the public hearing process was an opportunity to take public comment, but the people had to understand that this was a legitimate use and that the developer had a right to develop their property, just as the other property owners did.
The Chairperson again expressed to those in attendance that it was not the Planning Commission that taxed anyone within the Township; it was not the Planning Commission that was doing anything to the residents. The Commissioners were simply following the Ordinance and reviewing the proposed plans in accordance therewith.
An audience member asked how they could keep property in their area from being developed. Mr. Larson said that there is only one sure way to control property development, and that was to own the property. Attorney Porter indicated to those in attendance that it was in their best interests to obtain a copy of the Zoning Ordinance and the Zoning Map and understand what was and was not allowed in their area, depending upon the zoning classification. He said that was one way for people to better understand the process and participate in the development of the Township, by having a better understanding of the zoning process.
The Chairperson asked if there was any more public comment, and hearing none, he closed the public portion and called for Commission deliberations.
Ms. Garland-Rike said she thought there needed to be a decision made on the sidewalk issue. She said that she thought that there needed to be some type of walkway throughout the project, and that while she did not want to design it, she thought there was a need for pedestrians to get around within the proposed development.
Mr. Turcott asked how long the subject property had been zoned "R-2". Ms. Stefforia said it had been zoned "R-2" for at least ten years, perhaps 20 years. She explained that the eastern one-third of the Township had been designated higher density residential for decades.
Mr. Turcott asked for clarification from the developer regarding use of the office after all the condominium units were sold. Steve Visser said they planned to use that office even after the condominium project was fully developed.
Ms. Everett said she thought they should restrict the office sign to the interior of the property and not allow it along H Avenue. Ms. Everett asked if they could make such a restriction. Ms. Stefforia said she believed that they could as part of the conditions attached to the PUD, and Attorney Porter agreed with Ms. Stefforia. Steve Visser said it would be fine with them if their office sign was located on the interior of the property.
Ms. Everett asked the applicants if they could narrow the road and install sidewalks. Steve Visser said they would prefer to keep the roads wider, but designate an area within the road as a walkway.
Ms. Everett asked whether or not the developers could put a walking path throughout the project. She said she was concerned about maintaining consistency among the various developments within the Township. Steve Visser said he did not want people walking behind the residential homes. Ms. Bugge pointed out that they could do that, since all of the real estate was going to be owned in common by the condominium association.
Steve Visser said he thought that the Commission should look at each proposed development separately, and if there were reasons for not requiring sidewalks, that they not be imposed. Ms. Stefforia said that they could allow deviation consistent with the provisions in their Sidewalk Ordinance, or as part of the latitude granted to the Planning Commission in developing a planned unit development.
Mr. Turcott asked if they could deny the request for an office within the PUD. Ms. Stefforia said that they would need a good reason to do so since PUD's are allowed up to 20% nonresidential development, and the developer in this case was asking for a very small office use within the PUD.
Mr. Turcott asked about the location of the trees within the boundary lines. Ms. Bugge said she was most concerned about whether or not the trees on the east property line were located within the development, but that was mostly part of Phase 2 and really was not an issue currently before the Planning Commission. Mr. Ahrens suggested that the Commission require screening along the east and west sides of the property. Attorney Porter noted that they would have the latitude to require screening along the west property line since it was part of Phase 1, but that the majority of the east property line was in Phase 2, and he felt that such a requirement would exceed the Commission's authority. Mr. Ahrens said they could require screening along the east side of Phase 1 if they chose. Attorney Porter agreed.
Mr. Larson suggested perhaps having screening along H Avenue, the northeast corner and the northwest corner of the property. Ms. Bugge pointed out that would be more consistent with the fact that there was no development along the east or west boundary lines, south of H Avenue.
Ms. Garland-Rike inquired about the need for the bike path. Ms. Stefforia reminded the Commissioners that the last time the Commission discussed this issue, they had agreed to wait until Phase 2 of the development to see what the impact of the tunnel was on bike traffic in the area. After a general discussion concerning the bike path, it was the consensus of the Commission to put off development of the bike path until Phase 2 of the project was developed.
The Chairperson asked if the first step in the process would be the approval of the special exception use. Ms. Stefforia agreed that it would be.
Mr. Larson said he would want to condition the approval of the special exception use upon the development of a pedestrian walkway throughout the project, separate from the roadway. He said this could include sidewalks within easements or pedestrian walkways elsewhere, but there needed to be some pedestrian circulation plan for the proposed development.
Mr. Ahrens asked if they needed to see a landscape plan before approving the development. Ms. Bugge said the Commission could approve the project and make it subject to the submittal of a landscape plan to be approved administratively.
Ms. Everett said that the Commission needed to resolve the issue of the pedestrian pathway before moving forward. Ms. Garland-Rike said she believed that there needed to be some type of walkway within the residential development. Mr. Larson agreed and said that the walkway needed to provide pedestrian access without walking in the streets. Mr. Larson said again that could either be done through sidewalks within the road easement or a pathway throughout the open space. Mr. Ahrens said that he could agree with that. The Chairperson said that he agreed with Mr. Larson. Mr. Ahrens asked if they would have to table the matter. Mr. Larson said that he did not believe they had to table the matter, but simply make it a condition of their approval.
Mr. Larson also said that the Commission needed to incorporate into its approval screening on H Avenue, as well as the northern portion of the east and west property lines, in order to protect the residential homes in the area. A brief discussion ensued with regard to the type of screening to be developed along the east and west property lines. Ms. Bugge suggested that Type C be imposed along H Avenue and Type B screening be required for the first 200 feet of the east and west property lines. The Chairperson suggested that the Type B landscaping continue to be developed along the west property line as Building Permits were obtained. Ms. Bugge again reminded the Commission that if this were a plat, that it would not require any screening and that much of the area to the east and the west was open land. Dan Visser said, if the screening was required, they would have it installed, but would like to see most of it installed as the condominium units were being developed so that there would be somebody on site to maintain the landscaping. Otherwise, it would likely die.
Mr. Larson then suggested that the first 200 feet along the northern portions of the east and west property lines be landscaped with Type B landscaping and that H Avenue be landscaped with Type C landscaping, but that the Type B landscaping be continued along the west boundary line as the condominium units were developed and Building Permits were requested. Ms. Stefforia said that the applicant should receive credit for existing trees; the Commission concurred. Ms. Everett said that the applicant also wanted to put evergreens along H Avenue, but that the Type C landscaping did not allow it. Ms. Bugge said that the Commission could allow a mix of evergreens in with the Type C landscaping, if it so chose.
The Chairperson asked if there was further discussion, and hearing none, said he would entertain a motion. Mr. Larson made a motion to approve the special exception use permit based upon the comments of the Planning Commission members and the comments of the Planning Department Staff report, with the following conditions:
(1) Nonresidential use may not occur until 60% of the residential units are constructed. Office space for Visser Construction may occupy up to 50% of the proposed building.
(2) The residential character of the building proposed for nonresidential use shall be retained.
(3) The developer shall install Type C green space along H Avenue with a mix of canopy, understory and evergreen trees.
(4) The developer shall install Type B green space along the northern 200 feet of the east and west property lines, and that the developer continue with the Type B landscaping along the west property line as Building Permits are requested and condominiums are built within Phase 1 of the development.
(5) The sign for the permitted nonresidential use be limited to the interior of the property.
Mr. Turcott seconded the motion, and the Chairperson called for Commission comments, and hearing none, called for public comments.
Barbara Johnson asked why this was a special use. Ms. Stefforia explained it was a special use because the PUD had an office use component involved in a residential area. Ted Corakis told the Commission that he thought they should explain how a PUD is approved and that 20% of a PUD can be nonresidential, which requires a special exception use permit. Ms. Stefforia pointed out that, while a PUD could allow up to 20% nonresidential, that once the PUD was approved, it was site specific and would be limited, not only to the amount of office space approved, but would specifically be restricted to the office for Visser Construction. She said that if they ever wanted to change the proposed user, it would require an amendment to the PUD.
Ms. Meeuwse asked if there was a change in the PUD whether they would get notice. Ms. Stefforia assured them that they would get notice in accordance with state law.
Another audience member inquired as to what constituted Type B landscaping. Ms. Bugge explained what constituted Type B landscaping.
The Chairperson asked if there was further public comment, and hearing none, he called for Commission deliberations. Hearing none, he called for a vote on the motion. The motion passed unanimously, with Mr. Schley abstaining.
The Chairperson said that the next item for consideration was review of the site plan. Mr. Larson made a motion to approve the site plan with the following conditions:
(1) Easements and deed restrictions relating to the open space must be provided for review by Staff and the Township Attorney prior to the recording of the documents.
(2) The Master Deed and Bylaws must be provided for review by Staff and the Township Attorney prior to recording of the documents.
(3) No use in the PUD shall have direct access to H Avenue.
(4) Driveways to the existing dwelling shall be closed once Harborview Pass is constructed.
(5) Improvements to H Avenue are subject to approval by the Kalamazoo County Road Commission.
(6) All private streets are subject to Township Engineer review and a finding that they are adequate.
(7) Access to the remainder parcel shall be provided for in the Master Deed.
(8) All parking shall be in conformance with Section 68 of the Township Zoning Ordinance.
(9) Nonmotorized facilities shall be provided in compliance with site plan approval. Specifically, pedestrian access through the use of sidewalks within the road right-of-way easement or a pathway throughout the open space is to be provided.
(10) Placement of all buildings shall be in conformance with Section 64 of the Township Zoning Ordinance.
(11) Any signs shall comply with Section 76 of the Township Zoning Ordinance, and shall be subject to approval through the sign-permitting process.
(12) All outdoor lighting shall comply with the provisions of Section 78.720 of the Township Zoning Ordinance and are subject to Staff review.
(13) All areas of the PUD awaiting development shall be stabilized at all times. This shall be accomplished with grasses or other ground cover. Exception is granted for areas with an active Building Permit which shall still satisfy the County's and Township's Erosion Control and Sedimentation Control Ordinances.
(14) A Type C green space in accordance with Section 75 of the Zoning Ordinance shall be provided along H Avenue.
(15) A detailed landscaping plan shall be submitted for Staff review and approval.
(16) All landscaping shall be installed or a Performance Guarantee provided in accordance with the Township Zoning Ordinance prior to the issuance of any Certificate of Occupancy.
(17) Existing trees proposed to be retained as open space along the west and south perimeter and the wood lot shall be protected during construction to ensure their future viability.
(18) Site plan approval shall be subject to the applicant satisfying the requirements of the Township Fire Department, pursuant to the adopted codes.
(19) Site plan approval is subject to the Township Engineer finding site engineering and private roads adequate.
(20) The Environmental Permits Checklist and Hazardous Substance Reporting Form have been provided to the Township.
(21) All of the woods in the southwest corner of the property shall be included in Phase 1 of the development.
(22) A non-motorized bike path along H Avenue will be considered during review of Phase 2 of the condominium project.
The motion was seconded by Mr. Ahrens. The Chairperson asked if there was any public comment, and hearing none, asked for further Commissioner comment. Hearing none, he called for a vote on the motion. The motion passed unanimously, with Mr. Schley abstaining.
The Chairperson said the next item for consideration was to make a recommendation to the Township Board regarding the condominium development. Mr. Larson made a motion to recommend approval of the proposed condominium development. The motion was seconded by Mr. Ahrens. The Chairperson asked if there was any public comment.
Ms. Meeuwse asked when this might proceed to the Township Board. Ms. Stefforia and Ms. Bugge said it was likely to be brought up before the Township Board sometime in December. The Chairperson asked if there was further Commissioner discussion, and hearing none, called for a vote on the motion. The motion passed unanimously with Mr. Schley abstaining.
ARBY'S - SPECIAL EXCEPTION USE AND SITE PLAN REVIEW - 6660 WEST MAIN STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-14-185-021)
The Chairperson said the next item for consideration was the special exception use and site plan review for a proposed 3,512 square foot restaurant with a drive-through window at 6660 West Main Street, being Parcel No. 3905-14-18-021. The Chairperson asked for a report from the Planning Department. Ms. Bugge submitted her report to the Planning Department dated November 18, 2004, and the same is incorporated herein by reference.
Ms. Bugge explained to the Commission that the applicant was seeking to establish a 3,512 square foot restaurant with indoor dining and drive-through service on one of the outlots in front of the Meijer store on West Main Street. She said the lot was approximately 1.6 acres in size, located in the "C" Local Business District, with all abutting land zoned commercial. Ms. Bugge said there was no direct access for the outlot to M-43, and that the property would be accessed via easements across Meijer's property.
Ms. Bugge then presented an overhead of the Arby's site plan. She explained how the drive-through service would be accessed and indicated the parking being provided. In addition, Ms. Bugge explained the topography of the site and the deviations that were granted by the Zoning Board of Appeals at its meeting of November 16, 2004. She indicated a deviation from the landscaping requirement along West Main Street was requested from the Planning Commission.
Ms. Bugge took the Commission through a review of Section 60.100 involving special exception use with recommended conditions. She then proceeded to take the Commission through Section 82.800 of the Zoning Ordinance, the site plan review provisions. She made various recommendations for conditions to be imposed upon approval of the site plan.
The Chairperson asked if there were any questions of Ms. Bugge.
Mr. Larson asked why there was a reference on the site plan to a future sidewalk. Ms. Bugge said that the sidewalk should be put in at the time of construction, otherwise, a performance guarantee would have to be provided by the applicant.
Ms. Garland-Rike asked what the frontage was on West Main. Ms. Bugge said it was approximately 203 feet.
Mr. Craig Hondorp introduced himself and Mr. Quinn to the Commission. He said he would like to highlight a couple of issues. He said that the flag would only be 30 feet in height. He told the Commission that the necessary easements were being worked on with Meijer and should be completed shortly. He said they were also working with the Fire Chief and would likely widen their entrance to 20 feet and move the dividing island further to the south in order to accommodate the entrance width being requested by the Township Fire Department.
Mr. Hondorp said they were requesting a deviation with regard to the landscaping due to the 11-foot difference between the street level and the ground level of the restaurant. Mr. Hondorp said if they were required to plant all of the trees, he thought it would block their restaurant from view from M-43 when the trees begin to mature. He told the Commission they were seeking a deviation to allow two fewer canopy trees and four fewer understory trees to the site. He said they were willing to add additional landscaping on the southeast and southwest corners of the property if the deviation was granted.
Mr. Paul Quinn said they were not opposed to installing trees per se, but wanted to see some deviation from the requirement in order to maintain proper visibility. He said he thought it was justified given the unique location of the site in relationship to the nearest road right-of-way. He said they were also not opposed to installing a sidewalk, but suggested that perhaps the Township take the money necessary to construct a sidewalk and put it into escrow. He said he thought it would be much better if the sidewalk was developed as a total project, given the changes in topography between the various outlots and the differences in the lot lines abutting M-43. Ms. Bugge indicated that might be possible. Attorney Porter said it is possible that they could work out an agreement with the Township to escrow those funds until such time as the sidewalk was constructed if the Commission would agree to such a proposal.
A brief discussion ensued between the various Commission members regarding the advisability of putting money in escrow for future sidewalks or developing the sidewalk as part of the project. Ms. Bugge asked if it would require Township Board approval to escrow the money. Attorney Porter indicated that it would. It was the consensus of the Commission that the applicant should simply proceed with the development of the sidewalk at the time construction is commenced. Following additional discussion, the Commission agreed an escrow agreement could be appropriate if the Township Board concurred, and cost estimates including design, construction and inspection were submitted for review.
Mr. Schley made a motion to approve the special exception use upon the condition that direct access to West Main Street from the site be prohibited. The motion was seconded by Ms. Everett. The Chairperson called for public input, and hearing none, called for Commission deliberation. Hearing none, he called for a vote on the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Schley told the Commission that he believed that complying with the landscaping requirements would not be an undue burden on the applicant. He said they could cluster the trees in such a fashion as to maintain visibility.
Mr. Schley made a motion to approve the site plan with the following conditions:
(1) Approval shall be subject to prohibiting direct access to West Main Street from the site.
(2) Approval shall be subject to providing the Township with evidence of an access easement with Meijer for review prior to recording the document.
(3) All parking spaces and drive aisles shall be in conformance with Section 68 of the Township Zoning Ordinance.
(4) Approval shall be subject to applicant submitting sidewalk construction plans in accordance with MDOT specifications for Township review and construction of the sidewalk prior to the issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy or signing an escrow agreement subject to Township Board approval.
(5) A permit for construction in the right-of-way must be obtained from MDOT before construction of the sidewalk begins.
(6) Approval shall be subject to all building setbacks complying with Section 64 of the Township Zoning Ordinance.
(7) Approval shall be subject to all lighting complying with Section 78.700 of the Township Zoning Ordinance.
(8) Approval shall be subject to the submission of all sign details for review and approval through the sign-permit process. All signs shall comply with Section 76 of the Zoning Ordinance.
(9) Approval shall be subject to the flag pole being in compliance with Section 76 of the Township Zoning Ordinance.
(10) Approval shall be subject to Staff review and approval of a revised landscaping plan. Landscaping shall comply with Section 75 of the Township Zoning Ordinance.
(11) All landscaping shall be installed or a performance guarantee provided in accordance with the Township Zoning Ordinance prior to the issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy.
(12) Site plan approval shall be subject to the applicant satisfying Fire Department requirements pursuant to the adopted codes.
(13) Site plan approval shall be subject to the Township Engineer finding site engineering and stormwater management adequate and submission of an easement document for use of the Meijer's stormwater system for Township review.
(14) Site plan approval shall be subject to an easement for the extension of public utilities over the subject property being executed.
(15) Site plan approval shall be subject to compliance with the Land Division Ordinance.
(16) Site plan approval is subject to the applicant obtaining an Earth Change Permit from the Kalamazoo County Drain Commissioner.
Mr. Ahrens seconded the motion. The Chairperson called for public comment, and hearing none, called for Commission deliberations. Hearing none, he called for a vote on the motion, and the motion passed unanimously.
EDDY - CONCEPTUAL PLAN REVIEW - INDOOR RECREATION FACILITY - 6745 STADIUM DRIVE - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-35-132-020, 3905-35-132-021 AND 3905-35-132-031)
The Chairperson indicated that the next item on the Agenda was a conceptual plan review of a proposed indoor recreation facility for children at 6745 Stadium Drive, being Parcel Nos. 3905-35-132-020, 3905-35-132-021 and 3905-35-132-031. The Chairperson called for a report from the Planning Department. Ms. Stefforia submitted her report to the Commission dated November 4, 2004, and the same is incorporated herein by reference.
Ms. Stefforia said the applicant was proposing to construct an indoor recreation facility for children, including a childcare center. She said the proposal incorporated three parcels on Stadium Drive, having a combined size of approximately nine acres, with approximately 350 feet of frontage. She said they are proposing the construction of a 57,600 square foot indoor recreational facility.
Ms. Stefforia proceeded to take the Commission through a sketch review and an analysis of Section 33.400, Size Development Standards, being Sections 33.401 through 33.411 as it relates to the proposed development. Ms. Stefforia specifically asked the Planning Commission to comment on the proposed use and whether it would be acceptable as submitted or could be modified, despite its departure from the Ordinance limitations. Ms. Stefforia pointed out in her report the various areas in which the proposal did not comply with the Ordinance requirements.
The Chairperson asked if there were any questions of Ms. Stefforia. Hearing none, he asked to hear from the applicant. Mr. Mark Eddy of Maverick Realty and Development, introduced himself to the Planning Commission. He said his client wished to build a child gymnasium and day care center of approximately 57,000 square feet in size. He said he thought this would serve the residents of the community well, and he presented an architectural sketch for consideration by the Planning Commission.
Mr. Tim Woodhams, engineer for the development, said that he had proposed the site plan based in strict compliance with the Township Zoning Ordinance, with the exception of the size of the proposed indoor facility. He said they could adjust setbacks or soften the impact, depending upon the desires of the Planning Commission.
Al and Cindy Scharns introduced themselves to the Planning Commission. Ms. Scharns explained that they currently ran a 32,000 square foot facility in Battle Creek and had a smaller site in Texas Charter Township. She said that the development of this site was necessary in order to continue to serve their customer base in the area. She said they had more than 30 years of experience in running a day care and gymnastics programs. She explained that her husband was an Olympic judge in gymnastics and assisted in the training of youth in gymnastics.
Ms. Garland-Rike asked from where they drew their students. Ms. Scharns said from approximately a 170-mile radius.
Mr. Turcott asked about the number of children that would be at the site at any one time. Ms. Scharns said approximately 150, not including the day care. Mr. Turcott asked how children would be in the day care center. Ms. Scharns said approximately 110 children at any one time.
Ms. Stefforia asked if the Battle Creek facility looked like the facility they were proposing for the Village Commercial District in Oshtemo Charter Township. Ms. Scharns said that it did not; that the proposed building was much nicer. Mr. Scharns said that the building in Battle Creek was prefabricated steel construction, and that the one being proposed was far superior to what they currently had in Battle Creek.
Ms. Everett said she was not sure that the proposal would fit in with the Village Commercial District. Mr. Larson said he did not think there was any way that this building would look appropriate in the Village Commercial District.
Mr. Eddy said they had used earth tones and precast concrete as opposed to vinyl siding to make the proposed building more conducive to the Village Commercial development. Mr. Larson asked what the height of the proposed walls were. Mr. Eddy said approximately 28 feet.
Ms. Bugge asked why the structure had to be so wide. Mr. Scharns said that there were many long runways necessary for vaulting, and other large areas were needed for floor exercises so they needed the building to be as wide as currently proposed.
Ms. Everett asked how much of the proposed facility would be dedicated to the day care. Mr. Eddy said approximately 10,000 square feet.
Ms. Everett asked how many employees the applicants would have. Ms. Scharns said approximately 30 employees. Ms. Everett asked what the hours would be. Ms. Scharns said it would be start at 6:30 a.m. for day care and close at 9:00 p.m. when the gymnastic students left the building. Ms. Everett asked whether they would be operating on Saturdays or Sundays. Ms. Scharns said that they would, with the competition and events being held on Sunday.
Ms. Everett asked how much parking they expected to need for events. Mr. Scharns said approximately 250 vehicles.
Mr. Eddy again asked the Commission for their guidance on the proposed project. Mr. Larson said he would have trouble justifying the proposed use in the Village Commercial District. He said it is simply a "giant building." He said, if the facade was broken up, it might help, but he still had a hard time picturing this large of a structure in the Village Commercial District. He said it was simply too big, too tall and out of scale with the Village Commercial development.
Mr. Turcott said he thought the proposal would dwarf any residents residences in the area. Mr. Larson agreed, saying that the proposed structure was huge.
Mr. James Dally said that they could redesign the building to break up the facade and to create the image of a pitched roof on the facility in order to make it more compatible with the area. He also said if the Commission were inclined, they could set it back further from the road.
Mr. Larson raised a question about setbacks for fire requirements Mr. Woodhams said he had not talked to the Fire Marshall, but thought that 20 feet would be sufficient. Mr. Larson questioned whether that would be sufficient, given the size of the structure.
Mr. Schley said that the size of the building was certainly an issue. He said he thought it would be a tough battle. However, he thought if it was placed further from the street and the pitch of the roof was re-designed, along with the facade (to make it multi-dimensional), that it might fit into the area and meet the spirit and intent of the Ordinance. He said he thought the Commission might be able to overcome the scale of the building if they addressed the location, the roof and the overall design of the structure.
Mr. Larson questioned whether or not the applicant could meet the stated purpose of the Ordinance. The Chairperson said he shared the same concern because he did not see any way to support a building of this size as being compatible with the stated purpose of the Ordinance.
There was a fairly lengthy discussion between the Commission members and the applicant regarding possible changes and reconfiguration of the design. There was also a discussion about breaking the building down into multiple sections.
Attorney Porter asked the applicant and the Commission to keep in mind that, if they propose to build such a large structure, they would have to obtain a variance. He said he did not see how the applicant could meet the required standards for the grant of a variance to go from a 15,000 square foot building to a 57,000 square foot building. Ms. Stefforia said perhaps the applicant could request a variance from the 20-acre requirement for a PUD and deal with it in that fashion. Attorney Porter said that might be a possibility, but given the lateness of the hour, he hesitated to comment on whether or not that would be feasible.
The applicants thanked the Commissioners for their comments.
The Chairperson asked if there was any comments from the public.
Mr. Ted Corakis was in attendance, and he told the Planning Commission that he thought that this large building would not fit in the Village Commercial District at all. He said, if they allowed one large building like this into the Village Commercial area, he thought it would undermine the entire zoning plan.
The Chairperson asked if there were any further comments. Hearing none, he thanked the applicants for submitting their request, and wished them the best.
Review Antwerp Township's Proposed Master Land Use Plan Amendment
Ms. Stefforia told the Planning Commission that Antwerp Township had submitted a proposed Master Land Use Plan Amendment. She told the Commission that it would not impact Oshtemo Township in any way, and she suggested sending the standard letter that Oshtemo did not wish to comment on the proposed Master Land Use Plan Amendment. Mr. Larson made a motion to authorize the Planning Department to send a "no comments" letter to Antwerp Township. Mr. Ahrens seconded the motion. The Chairperson called for discussion, and hearing none, he called for a vote on the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Ms. Stefforia said, since she did not have any items for the December 2nd meeting, she suggested cancelling the meeting. Mr. Larson made a motion to cancel the Planning Commission meeting of December 2, 2004. The motion was seconded by Mr. Turcott. The Chairperson called for discussion, and hearing none, called for a vote on the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Planning Commissioner Comments
Ms. Bugge read a thank you note from Ms. Willie Wicks, on behalf of the SPCA, for their consideration of the kennel at their meeting of November 4, 2004.
Mr. Schley apologized to the Commission for not remembering that his office had done some incidental work on behalf of the Vissers, and that he wished he would have had more latitude in commenting on the issue of the sidewalks. He said he thought that the Commission should be less timid in its requiring of sidewalks, since the Commission had taken the position that it was necessary for the overall development of the Township.
Next, there was a general discussion regarding the notice requirements and procedures for the Planning Commission and what could be done to better inform the public about the actions taken both at the Planning Commission level, as well as the Township Board level.
The Chairperson asked if there were further comments, and hearing none, he adjourned the meeting at approximately 11:38 p.m.
OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP
Kathleen Garland-Rike, Secretary
November 22, 2004