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OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS

November 19, 2001

Agenda

WEST MAIN MALL - SITE PLAN REVIEW - 5161 WEST MAIN (PARCEL NO. 3905-13-430-036)

THIRD REFORMED CHURCH - SIGN DEVIATION - SETBACK, AREA AND HEIGHT - 2345 NORTH 10TH STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-11-280-045)

INSTANT INTERIORS - PERMITTED USES "I-R" INDUSTRIAL DISTRICT RESTRICTED - INTERPRETATION - SECTIONS 40.205 AND 40.208

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

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

MEMBER ABSENT: None

Also present were Jodi Stefforia, Planning Director; Mary Lynn Bugge, Township Planner; Robert C. Engels, Township Attorney, and eight other interested persons.

CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order at 3:03 p.m.

MINUTES

The Board considered the minutes of the meeting of November 5, 2001. Mr. Corakis moved to approve the minutes as submitted, and Ms. Kuntzman seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

WEST MAIN MALL - SITE PLAN REVIEW - 5161 WEST MAIN (PARCEL NO. 3905-13-430-036).

The Zoning Board of Appeals considered the application of West Main 2000, LLC for site plan review of a proposed 86,584 square foot Kohl's department store and 51,760 square foot Hardings grocery store at 5161 West Main Street. The property is the former West Main Mall site and is Parcel No. 3905-13-430-036.

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

Ms. Stefforia reported that the applicant is now moving to Phase II for this site. Phase I involved the Lowe's store with Phase II being the construction of a new Hardings store, and when it is completed, the present Hardings store will be demolished, and the new Kohl's store built. The new Hardings store will be approximately 11,000 square feet smaller than the existing store.

Ms. Stefforia noted that a sidewalk is shown around the perimeter of the Kohl's building, but the sidewalk should be extended across the front of the Hardings store. She also noted that a setback of 85 feet from the west property line is required, but there is only a 79-foot setback shown for the Kohl's building.

Josh Weiner was present on behalf of the applicant. He stated that his goal for the project was to have the finest retail development in Kalamazoo County. He now has secured tenants who want to be in as quickly as possible so he is trying to be on a fast track for completion of the project. The first step is the new Hardings and then the demolition of the old Hardings and construction of the Kohl's building.

Mr. Weiner stated that the only change in the parking layout is on the east side of the Kohl's building, and he believes that the change will make for better traffic flow.

He stated that there is going to be a change in the lighting for Kohl's parking on the north side of the building. The height will be greater but will comply with the Ordinance. Specifications will be provided prior to installation.

Mr. Weiner stated that the setback on the west side of the Kohl's building would be 79 feet, and that was based on the size of the Kohl's footprint. He will be requesting a 6-foot setback variance.

There will be trash compactors, and all of the trash areas will be appropriately screened. Additional details will be provided to staff.

There will be no additional freestanding signs for either building.

Mr. Weiner also stated that negotiations with the Post Office have finally been completed and have resulted in a change in flow of traffic in the southeast corner of the site.

Mr. Corakis asked when ground would be broken on the project. Mr. Weiner stated that the new Hardings would be commenced as soon as there was confirmation of column spacing. This will be a winter build, and it will not interfere with the existing use of the property. The Hardings store will have no down-time as the new store will be up and running before the old store is demolished.

Kohl's has added 15 parking spaces. Mrs. Bugge inquired about the loading docks, and Mr. Weiner stated that Hardings on the southwest corner had sufficient room for trucks to do a 360 degree turn.

The Chairperson asked for public comment, and there was none so the public hearing was closed.

The Chairperson inquired if the variance could be done today, but was informed that no notice had been given, so it would have to be considered at a future meeting.

Ms. Stefforia inquired about the wattage of the lighting in front of Kohl's, and she stated that, if it was more than 400 watts, a variance must be sought. The applicant stated that would be done.

The Chairperson inquired about loading dock screening, and Mr. Weiner indicated what the screening would be and stated that he thought that it was in compliance, but he would talk with Ms. Stefforia to be certain.

Mr. Bushouse stated his appreciation for Mr. Weiner's efforts with the Post Office.

Ms. Kuntzman moved to approve the site plan conditioned upon the following:

(1) The extension of the sidewalk across the Harding's frontage;

(2) Compliance with setback requirements;

(3) No outdoor display or storage on the property;

(4) Dumpster and/or compactor location and enclosure details must be provided to and approved by the Township;

(5) Lighting being in compliance with Township regulations;

(6) Signage being in compliance with Township regulations;

(7) Loading dock screening being in compliance with Township regulations; and

(8) Site plan approval being subject to approval of the Fire Department and the Township Engineer.

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

THIRD REFORMED CHURCH - SIGN DEVIATION - SETBACK, AREA AND HEIGHT - 2345 NORTH 10TH STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-11-280-045)

The Zoning Board of Appeals next considered the application of Third Reformed Church located at 2345 North 10th Street for deviations to locate a 9-foot high sign with 54 square feet of display area, placed 12 feet from the street right-of-way where a sign with a maximum height of 5 feet and a display area of 30 square feet is permitted, and a 25-foot setback from the right-of-way is required. The property is located in the "R-2" Residence District zoning classification and is Parcel No. 3905-11-280-045.

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

Mrs. Bugge stated that the Church had received a variance in 1981 to permit a 25 square foot sign on the property. The sign was to conform to the permitted height, which was six feet, and was to be placed 50 feet from the center line of the street, which is 17 feet from the street right-of-way. Mrs. Bugge also stated that she had looked at other church signs on North 10th Street and provided the Board with the sign display area, height and setback of each sign. She also reminded the applicant about the conditions stated in Section 74.410G regarding the use of electronically-changeable display areas on signs.

Mr. Corakis questioned Mrs. Bugge concerning the 1981 variance, and asked for confirmation that the sign was to be 12 feet from the right-of-way. Mrs. Bugge stated that it was to be 17 feet from the right-of-way, and that right now, it is located almost on the right-of-way.

Mr. Bushouse inquired as to whether it was a 50-foot or 33-foot right-of-way, and Mrs. Bugge stated that it was a 33-foot right-of-way from the center line.

Bruce VanderWeele was present on behalf of the applicant. He commented on the Staff Report by stating that he did not consider the base to be part of the sign.

Mr. VanderWeele stated that the Church driveway goes up a hill, and they want the sign placed where it can be seen, and also they want it higher so it won't be covered by snow. Mrs. Bugge provided a drawing of the sign, and Mr. VanderWeele explained that the top of the sign showed the Church logo. They want to have an electronic message center below, which would be 2 feet x 6 feet. He did not believe that traffic approaching from the south side of the property, due to an incline on 10th Street, would be able to see the sign if it was not close to the road.

The Chairperson asked if there was any public comment. There being none, the public hearing was closed.

Mrs. Bugge recalled that in 1994 Immanuel Fellowship Church installed a sign that did not meet the setback requirements. A variance was sought and denied, and the Church had to move the sign.

The Chairperson stated that the Sign Ordinance is relatively new, and that on state highways, signs must be 30 feet from the right-of-way. He stated that the bottom part of the sign, the LED, was an issue that must be discussed by the Board.

Mr. Corakis recalled that, in some instances, the street number had to be considered as a part of the sign. He noted that the existing sign was not placed in accordance with the variance granted in 1981, as it was not compliance with the setback. He was concerned about the precedent that would be set by the Board if the application was approved.

Ms. Stefforia noted that the Church is a destination, and that an eye-catching sign was not needed to draw people to the Church.

Ms. Kuntzman stated that the bottom part as proposed must be considered a part of the sign. She did not believe that LED was consistent with a residential area. She also was concerned about the precedent that would be set if the application was granted.

Mr. Bushouse was very concerned and did not believe that the sign as proposed was the right sign for the area. He believed that the sign was too large.

Ms. Jensen stated that she thought the sign went beyond what was needed and was not in keeping with the area. She also felt that the sign was too big.

The Chairperson believed that there would be visibility from either direction if proper setback was observed.

Ms. Kuntzman stated that there are three driveways for the Church, and that she did not believe that there would be any visibility problem.

Mr. Corakis stated that he had approached the property from the south, and had no trouble spotting the Church.

The Chairperson stated that the applicant should come as close to sign requirements as possible. He also did not believe that LED was good for a residential area. He stated that the sign should be kept as far away from the road as possible in order not to have the snow problems that Mr. VanderWeele had described. He also believed that the bottom part of the sign would be considered as part of the sign. He was concerned, not only with the precedent that would be set with the other churches on 10th Street, but also with other businesses. He wanted the standards of the Sign Ordinance to be maintained.

A motion to deny the applicant's request was made by Ms. Kuntzman on the basis that the problem was self-created, there was no visibility problem, it would not affect the business of the Church to comply with the Sign Ordinance, and approval would set an adverse precedent. Ms. Jensen seconded the motion, and upon vote, the motion carried unanimously.

INSTANT INTERIORS - PERMITTED USES "I-R" INDUSTRIAL DISTRICT RESTRICTED - INTERPRETATION - SECTIONS 40.205 AND 40.208

The Zoning Board of Appeals considered the application of Instant Interiors for an interpretation of Section 40.208, accessory buildings and uses, regarding conducting sales to the general public in a warehouse facility within the "I-R" Industrial District, Restricted. The subject property is located at 4001 S. 9th Street and is Parcel No. 3905-35-405-021.

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

Mrs. Bugge noted that selling merchandise to dealers for resale is permitted as a wholesale use of the property. The Board must decide if occasional retail sales would constitute an accessory use under Section 40.208.

Ms. Kuntzman asked if the Athletes Corner has retail sales. Mrs. Bugge indicated that retail sales were allowed as an accessory use in a recreation facility because the Pro Shop is in conjunction with the primary use as a recreational facility.

Robert Baker was present on behalf of the applicant.

Mr. Baker stated that the warehouse is a 70,000 square foot facility and services all of Michigan, northern Indiana and Chicago as a distribution center. Only 3,000 square feet of that facility would be put to the retail use. He would like to be open from either 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. or 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends only. He would have retail sales only when he has a lot of excess returned rental furniture merchandise. He does not intend to create a retail business and is not buying anything to sell. What is sold is the retired furniture from his rental business. He rents to high-end apartments throughout the Midwest.

The Chairperson asked if Mr. Baker had considered having an auction once, twice or three times per year. Mr. Baker said that he had never considered an auction, but if a lot of retired furniture comes back at one time, it would be difficult to wait a long period of time to have a sale. His rental business is seasonal with concentration around Labor Day and Memorial Day.

No one would be allowed in the warehouse during these sales as a 3,000 square foot area would be set aside and would not be a part of the warehouse.

The Chairperson inquired as to how the sales would be advertised. Mr. Baker indicated that he is considering a sign in front of the building, but he stated that word of mouth would probably be a more effective way of advertising. There is no sign there now, but he is allowed a sign. The sign would be subject to a 25-foot setback from the right-of-way, 60 square feet of signage and an 8-foot ground mount.

The Chairperson inquired as to if a variance would be needed for the sign setback. Mr. Baker stated that the sign could be put on the other side of his property so that no variance would be needed.

Mr. Baker wants to do the sales when they are necessary.

Mr. Bushouse stated that he had no problem with the proposal. He believes that industrial zones are somewhat commercial. He noted that a wicker company in Hillsdale has wicker sales in the month of August. Those sales are out of their warehouse, and Mr. Bushouse believes that is an accessory use to the wholesale business.

The Chairperson stated that it would not be a problem if it is an accessory use, but he does not want it to be able to take place seven days a week.

Ms. Kuntzman stated that any decision could not be based upon how often retail sales are conducted. She believed that the only determination would be whether or not it is an accessory use. The Chairperson stated that the consideration of when it was open to the public would determine whether it was an accessory use. He believed that once a month would be an accessory use, and perhaps, every weekend could be considered an accessory use.

Ms. Stefforia commented that 5% of the warehouse was going to be used once a month, and it was going to be his own excess product that was sold.

Ms. Kuntzman inquired whether wholesale sales could be done at any time, and the Staff responded in the affirmative as it is a permitted use.

The Chairperson asked for public comment. There being none, the public hearing was closed.

Mrs. Bugge if it is determined to be an accessory use, Township requirements must be met. Mr. Bushouse stated that it was a logical use to get rid of the retired furniture on site.

Ms. Kuntzman did not want to put conditions or parameters on an accessory use. She again stated that either it is or it isn't an accessory use. The Chairperson and Ms. Stefforia stated no, that it is the parameters that are set that make it an accessory use.

A motion was made by Mr. Corakis to declare sales to the general public in a warehouse facility an accessory use in this case because the retail business would use only 5% of the space, it is limited to two weekends a month, it is limited to the product distributed by the applicant, and it must meet the life and safety criteria. The motion was seconded by Dave Bushouse. The motion carried unanimously.

OTHER BUSINESS

Ms. Stefforia reminded the Board that tomorrow is the joint board meeting.

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 4:10 p.m.

OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP
ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS


By:
Millard Loy, Chairperson

By:
Ted Corakis

By:
David Bushouse

By:
Jill Jensen

By:
Sharon Kuntzman

Minutes Prepared:
November 20, 2001

Minutes Approved:
, 2001