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OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

PLANNING COMMISSION

November 21, 2002

Agenda

SPURR DENTAL OFFICE - SPECIAL EXCEPTION USE/SITE PLAN AMENDMENT - 1624 SOUTH DRAKE ROAD - (PARCEL NO. 3905-25-230-072)

WAL-MART - SPECIAL EXCEPTION USE/SITE PLAN AMENDMENT - WEST SIDE OF 9TH STREET - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-14-355-011, 3905-14-305-013 AND 3905-14-305-021)

WESTERN MICHIGAN STUDENT HOUSING LLC - REZONING OF 18 ACRES - PUBLIC HEARING - WEST SIDE OF NORTH DRAKE ROAD, SOUTH OF BEECH AVENUE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-13-230-012)

A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Planning Commission on Thursday, November 21, 2002, commencing at approximately 7:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Neil G. Sikora, Chairperson
Kathleen Garland-Rike
Elizabeth Heiny-Cogswell
Deborah L. Everett
Mike Ahrens
Lee Larson

MEMBER ABSENT: James Turcott

Also present were Jodi Stefforia, Planning Director; Mary Lynn Bugge, Township Planner; Robert C. Engels, Township Attorney; and approximately 60 other interested persons.

CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order at 7:02 p.m.

AGENDA

Mr. Ahrens moved to approve the Agenda as submitted, and Ms. Everett seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

ELECTION OF SECRETARY

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell nominated Ms. Garland-Rike for Secretary of the Planning Commission. Mr. Ahrens supported the nomination. Upon vote, all voted in favor of Ms. Garland-Rike as Planning Commission Secretary.

ELECTION OF NEW LIAISON TO ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell nominated Mr. Turcott to be the Liaison to the Zoning Board of Appeals, and Ms. Everett seconded the nomination. Upon vote, all voted in favor of Mr. Turcott as Liaison to the Zoning Board of Appeals.

MINUTES

The Planning Commission considered the minutes of November 7, 2002. Mr. Ahrens moved to approve the minutes as submitted, and Ms. Heiny-Cogswell seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

SPURR DENTAL OFFICE - SPECIAL EXCEPTION USE/SITE PLAN AMENDMENT - 1624 SOUTH DRAKE ROAD - (PARCEL NO. 3905-25-230-072)

The Planning Commission reviewed a request from John and Theresa Spurr for a special exception use/site plan amendment to allow reduced landscaping along the north property line of the subject parcel which is located in the "C-R" Local Business District, Restricted. The subject property is located at 1624 South Drake Road and is Parcel No. 3905-25-230-072.

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

Ms. Bugge reported that, when the Planning Commission granted special exception use and site plan approval on April 25, 2002, a deviation was permitted to grant the installation of "C" landscaping on the north and south sides of the applicants' property, rather than the prescribed "G" greenspace due to the width of the property. The applicants are now requesting that plant materials on the north side of their property be reduced to the requirements for an "A" greenspace, which requires one canopy tree and two understory trees per 100 linear feet. The area in question would require two canopy trees and four understory trees, rather than the four canopy trees, seven understory trees and 11 shrubs required by the "C" landscaping. She also noted that there is a retention pond on the north side of the property that might not accommodate the "C" landscaping. The property directly north of this property has a row of pine trees, but that landscaping is not under the control of the applicant. Ms. Bugge emphasized that the change would reduce the plantings but not the 20-foot greenspace width requirement.

The Chairperson inquired as to whether or not the property to the north was landscaped under site plan review, and Ms. Bugge responded that the landscaping that is there was probably done as prescribed by the Ordinance at the time the landscaping was done.

Ms. Garland-Rike inquired why the applicants were requesting another deviation from the landscaping requirement instead of asking for the "A" greenspace landscaping on April 25, 2002.

One of the applicants/owners of the property, Theresa Spurr, was present. She presented photographs of the property to illustrate how difficult it is to have "C" plantings in the north area.

The Chairperson sought public comment, but there was none, and the public hearing was closed.

The Chairperson asked for Board discussion. He stated that the photographs of the property were very helpful. Ms. Cogswell stated that the request was reasonable due to the water retention basin and the pine trees to the north, but she was concerned that the "A" landscaping requirement does not provide for shrubs, and she felt that shrubs might have value in that area. Ms. Bugge stated that there are shrubs along Drake Road and on the south side of the property. Ms. Heiny-Cogswell said that she believed what was being proposed should be fine. Ms. Everett agreed, especially taking into consideration the elevation of the buildings.

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell moved to amend the special exception use to permit a reduction in the landscaping requirement along the north line of the property to an "A" greenspace, giving special consideration to the uniqueness of the "C-R" Zoning District and the consequences it triggers for landscaping requirements because of the adjacent "R-3" zoning. She also considered that the property to the north is developed as a 4,800 square foot dental office, which is the same use as that on the subject property. She also said that an "A" greenspace would be required on adjacent "R-3" properties, and that while the request is for a reduction in the amount of plant material required, the width of the greenspace would remain 20 feet, which is the width required for a "C" greenspace. Ms. Everett seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

WAL-MART - SPECIAL EXCEPTION USE/SITE PLAN AMENDMENT - WEST SIDE OF 9TH STREET - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-14-355-011, 3905-14-305-013 AND 3905-14-305-021)

Next, the Planning Commission reviewed a request from Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. for a special exception use/site plan amendment to allow an increase in the size of the garden center (outdoor display) for the future store to be located on the west side of 9th Street, south of West Main Street. The store and parking area would be located in the "C" Local Business District. The subject property is comprised of Parcel Nos. 3905-14-355-011, 3905-14-013 and 3905-14-305-021.

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

Mr. Larson asked that he be recused as he had participated in previous Wal-Mart discussions before becoming a member of the Board. Ms. Everett moved to grant his request, which was seconded by Mr. Ahrens. Upon a vote on the motion, the motion carried unanimously.

Ms. Stefforia reported that the applicant is seeking a special exception use and site plan amendment to the special exception use and site plan approval which was given on June 27, 2002, to expand the garden center, which is located on the northeast side of the building.

Since the June 27, 2002 meeting, the applicant has acquired the Metro Storage facility to the north, and that land has been added to the development site.

The previously-approved size for the garden center was 10,584 square feet, with the applicant now requesting approval to increase the size of the garden center by 6,000 square feet. This request is being made because the Planning Commission did not approve seasonal display within the parking lot. The footprint of the building is also increased, and whereas previously there were 755 parking spaces provided on the plan, there now will be a total of 792 parking spaces.

Ms. Stefforia pointed out that, while the landscaping satisfies the Ordinance and the review comments from June, the plantings along 8th Street have neither been diversified nor staggered to appear naturally occurring rather than planted. She asked that, if the amended site plan is approved, it should be subject to and include by reference the conditions of the June 27, 2002 approval.

David Oakes was present for the applicant. He stated that the additional property that was acquired was "L" shaped, and now allows the applicant to have a rectangular-shaped property which allows for more parking in the garden center area. He said that, with Township approval, the store can now be expanded in the future to a Wal-Mart Superstore. He said that there would be no cross access between Wal-Mart and the outlot so the customers could not access West Main Street. The expansion of the garden center for seasonal sales will allow for containment in an enclosed area. He also said that there would be an expansion of the stock area with that expansion now taking place. The goal of Wal-Mart is to have everything inside the building.

He said that the buffering along 8th Street was done, taking into account the future expansion to a superstore. He said that the applicant would work with the Township to make plantings more natural. What is presently shown as greenspace in the front of the site will change with expansion, and the applicant knows that it is necessary to come back to the Planning Commission for approval. Future plans call for a gas station operation in an area that is now shown as greenspace.

Ms. Garland-Rike asked if the garden center was being expanded so everything could be placed indoors. Mr. Oakes responded that the applicant was not allowed to do seasonal sales in the parking lot, and it wants to make seasonal sales items available to customers, which is the reason for the expansion. She also asked if there was a greenhouse area, and Mr. Oakes said that there was, and it was there so there would be live plants year-round. He stated that there was fencing in front of the greenhouse structures.

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell asked why parking had gone up by 40 parking spaces, and Mr. Oakes explained that it was because of the expansion of the building and how the new layout allowed for a rectangular parking area.

Ms. Garland-Rike asked if there would be outdoor display in the back of the fencing, and Mr. Oakes said that everything would be within the black picket fence area. Mr. Ahrens asked if the only change was to make the garden center larger, and Mr. Oakes confirmed that was the case.

The Chairperson asked for public comments.

Mr. Stanley Rakowski, of 7151 West G Avenue, asked if there would be an outdoor P.A. system. Mr. Oakes stated that there would not be an outdoor P.A. system, and the Chairperson said it would be included in any future motions.

Michael Pashby, 473 North 8th Street, questioned what seasonal outdoor display there would be during the winter. He said that the building seems to grow with each meeting, and all he will see from his front yard is Wal-Mart. He also asked if it would be possible to move the water retention pond to the east to preserve the existing topography.

Pam Larson, of 405 North 8th Street, stated that she was disappointed with the planting scheme. She does not like the burning bushes shown along 8th Street, and noted that there were many non-native trees being proposed for planting. She that only three of all the plants are native. She said that it might be more expensive to purchase native plants, but they would be cheaper over the long run. She had a list of trees that she thought would be more appropriate, and she said she would share them with the applicant. She commented on the wildlife that is on the property, and stated a desire to hold onto some form of life. She felt there was a disregard for the environment.

There being no further public comment, the Chairperson reviewed the Section 82.800 site plan review requirements and commented that the previously-approved access arrangement had not changed, and that no direct connection to West Main Street would be established with the additional land purchased by the applicant. He also commented on the parking spaces expanding to 792 spaces.

The Chairperson further noted that the building satisfies setback requirements and that placing the building as proposed on the site causes the loading docks, compactor and transformers to back up to 8th Street. The garden center remains on the northeast corner of the building, but the applicant is requesting that the size of the garden center be increased by 6,000 square feet because the Planning Commission did not approve seasonal display within the parking lot. He stated that, pursuant to the applicant's agreement in June, the area will be enclosed with 11-foot-tall decorative fencing. He also noted that the footprint of the building is larger to provide for additional storage space. He said that the landscaping satisfies the Ordinance, and the review comments from June except that plantings along 8th Street have neither been diversified nor staggered to appear naturally occurring rather than planted. He noted the concern that had been expressed about the species being planted. Mr. Oakes stated that he was not a landscape architect and acknowledged that Ms. Larson had brought out many good points. He said he would be happy to work with Township Staff to vary the species so there would be more native plantings.

The Chairperson stated that the Zoning Board of Appeals denied the applicant's request to use 1,000 watt light fixtures, and site lighting will have to comply with Section 78.700. The Zoning Board of Appeals granted a variance to allow the 9th Street freestanding sign to be up to 90 square feet, provided it satisfies height and setback requirements, and that a second freestanding sign may not be erected on the property.

He noted that the Fire Department has approved the site plan, and that storm water and other site engineering issues are being reviewed by the Township Engineer. Pre-treatment of storm water should be considered. Ms. Heiny-Cogswell suggested that the storm water basin be shifted to the east, stating that it would preserve the existing terrain and would add character to the development. Mr. Oakes responded that the applicant has worked with the Township Engineer and Drain Commissioner and must be able to satisfy them, but would look into the possibility of moving the water retention basin to the east.

The Chairperson next considered the Section 60.100 Special Exception Uses. In considering if the proposed use is compatible with the other uses permitted within the "C" Local Business District, he noted that retail sales are permitted, so the proposed use is compatible.

He next inquired if the proposed use would be detrimental or injurious to the use or development of adjacent properties or to the public. Ms. Garland-Rike stated that an effort should be made to make Wal-Mart less injurious to people on 8th Street. One way of accomplishing that would be by looking to move the water retention basin to the east.

The Chairperson stated that a 6,000 square foot increase in the size of the garden center would not detrimentally affect the health, safety, morals or welfare of the community.

The Chairperson next questioned if the proposed use encourages the use of the land in accordance with its character and adaptability. It was noted that the garden center will be enclosed by decorative fencing. Ms. Garland-Rike asked if stacking had been considered, and if it would be in line with the height of the fence. Ms. Stefforia responded that stacking would not be allowed to be any higher than the fence.

Mr. Ahrens moved to approve the special exception use conditioned on the stacking of display material being no higher than the decorative fence. Ms. Garland-Rike supported the motion. There being no public comments, a vote was taken, and the motion carried unanimously.

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell moved to approve the site plan amendment subject to access remaining as previously approved, parking being expanded to 792 parking spaces, the building satisfying the setback requirements, and the garden center increasing by 6,000 square feet. The area shall be enclosed by an 11-foot-tall decorative fence. The applicant must work with Township Staff to satisfy the 8th Street landscaping agreement from the June 27, 2002 meeting, with more native species being incorporated in the landscaping.

Site lighting shall comply with Section 78.700. Storm water and other site engineering issues must be reviewed and approved by the Township Engineer with consideration given to the pre-treatment of storm water, and the applicant must pursue the feasibility of shifting the retention pond to the east to preserve the natural topography and natural drainage to the west. The applicant must work with Township Engineer and Staff regarding the shift to the east.

Approval for the amended site plan is subject to all of the conditions of the June 27, 2002 approval. There shall be no outdoor P.A. system.

Ms. Everett seconded the motion, and with no public comment, the motion carried unanimously.

WESTERN MICHIGAN STUDENT HOUSING LLC - REZONING OF 18 ACRES - PUBLIC HEARING - WEST SIDE OF NORTH DRAKE ROAD, SOUTH OF BEECH AVENUE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-13-230-012)

The Planning Commission commenced public hearing on the proposed rezoning of approximately 18 acres of a 50-acre parcel from "R-3" Residence District and "C-1" Local Business District to "R-4" Residence District. The subject property is located on the west side of North Drake Road, south of Beech Avenue and is Parcel No. 3905-13-230-012.

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

Ms. Stefforia reported that the subject property comprises 50 acres with 32 acres being zoned "R-4" Residence District, 11 acres being zoned "C-1" Local Business District, and 7 acres being zoned "R-3" Residence District. The applicant is requesting that the entire parcel be zoned "R-4" Residence District. The applicant is proposing to establish an upscale student housing apartment development on the land. An apartment development could be established on the property through the Planned Unit Development process, but Township Staff recommended that rezoning be pursued rather than the Planned Unit Development.

The zoning and land use of the properties adjacent to this property include "R-2" zoning to the north, and a mix of residential and nonresidential uses to the east. To the south, there is "C-1" zoning with a vacant parcel and the Maple Hill Mall and to the west, there is "R-4" zoning with that area including Hospice and the Bronson Place facilities.

"R-4" Residence District zoning is designed to permit the greatest density of residential uses allowed in the Township, together with other residentially-related facilities designed to service the inhabitants of the area.

The house that is located on the subject property has historic value, and it is desired that the house be preserved and turned into a community facility. Discussions have taken place with the applicant and Kalamazoo College to obtain an easement to preserve the tree-lined drive that leads to the historic house.

Ms. Garland-Rike inquired about the background of the Transitional zone along Drake Road. Ms. Stefforia stated that the zoning was probably in place when the plan was adopted in 1993 and remained "R-3". Ms. Garland-Rike speculated that probably had to do with the residential area across the street.

Dave Sanehotz was present on behalf of the applicant. He indicated that two other representatives of the owner, Gary Fairchild and Mitch Bailey, were present.

Mr. Sanehotz stated that the owners of the property wanted to use the property for multiple family student housing. The owners are aware that Croyden Avenue needs to go through the property, and the owners plan to do so. Maple Hill Mall is 15 to 20 feet lower than the subject property so no access is going to be likely through the Mall.

He stated that the property is not good for commercial use because there is low visibility and no good access. "R-4" zoning will increase the type of use allowed on the property. There will be less traffic than there would be with commercial zoning. At this time, there is no plan to utilize the entire parcel, and the owners believe that it is better to have one continuous use on that parcel rather than mixed uses.

It is contemplated that 400 apartment units could be developed, and this would result in less traffic than if it remains a mixed-use area.

Mr. Larson stated that the elevation change between the Mall property and the parcel is not significant, but there is a berm along the north line of the Mall property. Ms. Heiny-Cogswell noted that in a "R-4" zone eight units per acre are allowed, while in a "R-3" zone, only four units per acre are allowed. Ms. Stefforia stated that the "C-1" zone would allow eight units, but there would be a two person per dwelling unit limitation.

The Chairperson asked for public comments.

Ms. Stefforia indicated that four letters had been received regarding the rezoning.

Henry and Jo Anne Clapp reside at 4505 Sunnydale Avenue. They oppose the rezoning because of the increase in traffic.

Gilbert and Helen Reinkensmeyer, who reside at 4611 Dunhill Terrace, also oppose the rezoning due to the increased traffic.

Robert and Joyce Ruekert of 4505 Croyden Avenue, oppose the rezoning because the proposed use does not fit in with the character of the neighborhood and would result in increased traffic and noise. They also believe that the tenants would be transient with no connection to the neighborhood.

Janice Pone, who lives at 4512 Croyden Avenue, objected to the rezoning based on increased traffic.

Wayne Crippin, a long-time resident at 5177 Beech Avenue, spoke as a representative of the residents of Beech Avenue. Mr. Crippin stated that, once the property is rezoned to "R-4", the applicant can do anything with that property and is not limited to previous representations. He questioned whether there is really a need for more student housing and questioned whether an inventory of student housing had been conducted by anyone. He speculated that an overabundance of student housing leads to obsolescence and decay of the existing units.

He also asked if a traffic study had been done, and he stated that Drake Road is very busy now. There are no sidewalks and limited bike paths. The Drake/West Main intersection is already overloaded, and he questioned whether students should have housing closer to Western Michigan University.

He also stated that the project is incompatible with the surrounding area and pointed out that Croyden School is for severely impaired children. He also referenced Friendship Village, the Beech Avenue residential properties, Bronson Place, Hospice and other residential property.

He believed that the student alcohol problems make for a bad fit for this area. He suggested that perhaps there should be a separate classification for student housing.

Mr. Crippin questioned whether there were sufficient Sheriff's patrols to properly police the Township, and questioned whether or not a special assessment district should be applied to this property, with the assessment against the property owners. He also questioned if consideration had been given to the negative impact on property values and the effect on the tax base, and if the residents of Beech Avenue, which is a protected neighborhood, would be assured that the 20-acre parcel immediately to the south of Beech Avenue would remain "R-2" single family to act as a buffer.

Mr. Crippin presented a letter from the Beech Avenue Neighborhood Association.

Jim Anderson, who lives at 4617 Canterbury, stated that the least desirable development for the property is as student housing. Real estate values and taxes would be affected, and the students would be disruptive. He was very concerned about traffic and the lack of a traffic study.

Sandra Muller, of 2102 North Drake Road, has been an owner/resident since April and is appalled that student housing is being considered. She would rather see a business and business traffic rather than students on that property.

Rich Kamminga, a representative of residents at The Fountains at Bronson Place, commented that, if the rezoning does go forward, it would be advantageous to the residents of Bronson Place in that the project as proposed would provide as much of a buffer as is possible, but he still would rather not see the student apartments built.

James Glidden spoke on behalf of the Residents Association at Bronson Place. He stated that he has been there since January of 1998, and prior to that, he lived for 33 years on Winchell Avenue. He speculated that there would be a total of 708 students in residence on the property, and they would not be supervised by Western Michigan University police, and the Township would have to do the policing. He was concerned with the security and safety of people who might be walking, and those with physical disability concerns. He also questioned whether the Noise Ordinance would be enforced, and asked if there would be traffic controls such as speed bumps and stop signs within the development. He also stated that the property would become a short cut to Kalamazoo Central High School, and that it would increase the traffic in that area. He noted that the site plan calls for future construction of student housing. He questioned who would police the students, and asked that the quality of life be kept in mind when considering student housing.

Jean Maile is the CEO of Hospice Care. She stated that the average stay at Rose Arbor is 20 days, and that is precious time with peace and quiet being very important. It is a home-away-from-home for the last days of the residents' lives. Now, residents can be taken outside in their beds, and she is upset that Croyden Avenue will be open to Drake Road. She was told in 1998 that there were no plans to open Croyden Avenue. Traffic is a grave concern as Croyden Avenue is not used very much now, but students will cut through the Rose Arbor property. She is also very concerned about increased noise levels.

Mike Ritzer of 5166 Beech Avenue was concerned about how Beech Avenue was going to be protected. He is opposed to student housing and was concerned about the increased density that would be allowed if rezoning goes from "R-3" to "R-4".

Karen Longnecker of 4002 Dunhill Terrace spoke, stating that she resides on the east side of Drake Road and expressed concerns with traffic because there are many young families in the area. She is also concerned about property values, increased vandalism, noise and public safety. She believed that there would need to be police coverage from 1 a.m. to 7 a.m., and there are three Sheriff's Dept. deputies on duty for all of Kalamazoo County at that time. She stated that there already is student housing in Oshtemo Charter Township, and the publicity that has generated has been very unfavorable.

Wes VandenStreek of Beech Avenue stated that Beech Avenue is supposed to be a protected neighborhood, but it is really an endangered neighborhood. Street lighting is not good now, and student housing is not appropriate for the area. He questioned whether there was a need for more student housing, and he believed that the entire property would have to be developed in order to make it economically feasible.

Donna Endriukaitis of 4521 Croyden Avenue questioned why the property needed to be rezoned if the applicant was not going to develop the entire property.

Mr. Sanehotz stated that the plans do call for some development below Croyden Avenue.

Rosalie Novara of 5069 Beech Avenue expressed concern about police protection, and she noted that the applicant stated that the student housing was a preferred use to office, business or a mall extension. She pointed out that those all close before student housing activity starts. She is concerned about the noise, behavior and obscenities. These activities would be in proximity to seniors and terminally-ill and dying people. She believed that it was grotesque that those dying must listen to the obscenities of the students. She stated that there is not adequate policing in Oshtemo Charter Township, and police would have to be diverted from normal duties to solve problems resulting from the students. If it is allowed, she believed that the owners of the property should be specially assessed for the added police protection.

Paul Mulford of 720 South Drake Road stated that he manages an apartment complex and has decent students who live in that complex. They live right next door to seniors in the complex, and everyone is able to get along. He stated that it costs $250 to market in order to get one student tenant. In order to successfully market, the property must look good. He said that there is 90% occupancy for most complexes now, and he did not believe that more student housing is needed. The more money that is lost from unrented units, the less money will be put into the properties, which makes the properties less attractive, which results in being harder to get occupants for the apartments.

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell asked how many units he had in his complex, and he responded that he had 283 units.

Gary Fairchild represents the applicant, and he stated that they have 30 properties in the United States that are like that which is being proposed. He said that having so many units helps them to do a better design. He said that Croyden Avenue is a concern, and they could do traffic calming. They have experience running this type of property.

Kelly Seelbinder of North Drake Road stated that the area is peaceful. She was told that her area probably would not be developed, and she now does not want to see the area changed. She is upset about the Hospice people who would be exposed to student behavior.

Ms. Bugge stated that she had received a telephone call from Donald Bennett who expressed concern about traffic.

There being no further public comment, the public hearing was closed.

The Chairperson reviewed the criteria to be used when evaluating a rezoning request.

The first consideration is whether the proposed rezoning is supported by the adopted Master Land Use Plan. He noted that, while the Future Land Use Map does not depict parcel lines, Transitional, Commercial as well as Multiple Family land uses are designated for this area. However, as the request would rezone the entire property to Multiple Family, an amendment to the Future Land Use Map would be necessary.

The second criteria to be considered is, will the proposed rezoning severely impact traffic, public facilities and the natural characteristics of the surrounding area, or significantly change population density? He noted that Croyden Avenue is identified for extension from Maple Hill Drive to Drake Road in both the Master Land Use Plan and Access Management Plan. Regardless of what development occurs on the property, the extension will be sought by the Township. He noted that traffic will be impacted, and that a traffic study will be required by the City of Kalamazoo. The natural characteristics of the area will change as it is now a vacant parcel that had been used agriculturally in the past. The population density would be increased, but the site could be developed at similar densities through the Planned Unit Development process regardless of this rezoning request.

Ms. Everett asked if a traffic study had been started, and Ms. Stefforia indicated that the City of Kalamazoo was requiring a study to see how the extension of Croyden Avenue to Drake Road would impact on traffic. That study should also show the impact on Oshtemo Charter Township roads.

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell asked how many units would be permitted in a Planned Unit Development and whether that would allow the same density as rezoning. Ms. Stefforia said that it would.

Ms. Everett asked again about the traffic study, and Mr. Sanehotz stated that the time to complete the process depends on if a traffic count must be done.

The Chairperson pointed out that development will impact on traffic regardless of what it is, as there is no traffic there now for this parcel as it is not developed. The Chairperson said that any development would have an effect on traffic and population, and he asked about the difference. The applicant stated that, if eight units per acre are done, there should be 2,500 daily trips, while with "R-3" single family or an office park, the number of average daily trips would range between 3,500 and 11,000.

Ms. Garland-Rike asked if a dwelling unit was the number of bedrooms or the number of apartments. The applicant stated that it is the number of apartment units and does not refer to the number of bedrooms. Mr. Fairchild stated that there would be two, three and four bedroom apartments.

The Chairperson stated that the next criteria to be considered was, will the proposed rezoning constitute a spot zone granting a special privilege to one landowner not available to others? He concluded that it would not be, as the property abuts "R-4" Residence District zoning to the west and northwest, and the request does not establish a new node of multiple family zoning in the area.

The Chairperson stated that the next criteria to be considered is, is the proposed rezoning contrary to the established land use pattern? He noted that there is a mix of land uses in the area to consider, including senior apartments and housing to the east and west/northwest, single family residential to the east and north, and commercial to the south. Ms. Garland-Rike stated that she believes that the rezoning would be contrary to the established land use pattern.

The Chairperson indicated that the next criteria to be considered was, if the proposed rezoning is approved, what will be the probable effect on stimulating similar rezoning requests in the vicinity? He noted that there is vacant "R-4" Residence District land in the vicinity of this site, and it is possible that the owner of the property to the north may seek rezoning to "R-4" Residence District as a result of this request. The property to the north is master planned for multiple family zoning. Ms. Heiny-Cogswell noted that any rezoning is limited by commercial to the south and Beech residential to the north.

Ms. Everett asked if the owner of "R-2" zoned property requested a rezoning to "R-4" if that request could be denied because Beech Avenue is a protected neighborhood. Ms. Stefforia said that consideration might be given to re-designating that property as Transitional or Residential. Ms. Everett asked how else Beech Avenue could be protected, and Ms. Stefforia responded that money has been budgeted to do a land use study in this area, and the Beech Avenue area could be included in that study.

The Chairperson stated that the next criteria to be considered was, has there been a change in conditions in the surrounding area which would support the proposed rezoning? He noted that Township Staff stated that there has not been a change in the area to either support or be contrary to the proposed rezoning.

The last criteria to be considered was, are adequate sites properly zoned, available elsewhere to accommodate the proposed use? The Chairperson noted that there are only a couple of properties in the "R-4" Residence District remaining, but that additional areas planned for multiple family development remained, and are not yet zoned for such use, with the area north of the subject property being one of them. Ms. Heiny-Cogswell felt that there were properties available. Ms. Stefforia stated that there were not many large ones available now, but there are some properties that are designated as "R-4" which are not now so zoned. Ms. Garland-Rike inquired where those properties are located, and it was stated that they are on Stadium Drive, 11th Street, and Parkview, with a 30-acre property north of the subject property also available. There is a "R-3" property adjacent to that property with the probability that there would be an application to change the "R-3" zoning to "R-4".

The Chairperson stated that the question of whether there is a need for more student housing is not a consideration in the rezoning request. He further stated that whether the applicant is going to make money from the project is not a consideration. He noted that there has been an increase in police protection in areas of student housing. Ms. Garland-Rike stated that it was not one of the criteria for rezoning.

The Chairperson agreed that the subject property is located in a peaceful, undeveloped area, but stated that, for the rezoning, consideration could not be given to the disruption of wildlife and peace of the area. He also noted that the Township wants the Croyden Avenue extension completed.

Ms. Garland-Rike stated that she believed that, on one hand, most of the criteria would indicate refusal of rezoning, but even if the rezoning is not approved, the property could be developed as densely as it could with the rezoning. Ms. Stefforia said that was not true, as the number of units would be reduced, and the definition of family reduces the number of people allowed. Mr. Ahrens stated that there was still the opportunity to develop more densely no matter what decision is made regarding the rezoning.

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell stated that the biggest issue is that the rezoning is contrary to the established land use pattern. Mr. Ahrens pointed out that there are now available legal uses of the property that would upset the citizens. The Chairperson stated that future plans show commercial to the south and multi-family to the north. He also stated that he is not convinced that rezoning is contrary to the conditions in the surrounding area as there is a mix there now, and commercial is not as compatible as residential.

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell stated that, when development near Leisure Time was considered, the request was tabled for a traffic study. Mr. Ahrens indicated that was based on a site plan request. Ms. Stefforia stated that the Township wants Croyden Avenue extended, and a traffic study would show what improvements need to be made to Drake Road to accommodate the increased traffic.

The Chairperson wanted to know the rationale that would be used to deny the rezoning request. Ms. Garland-Rike stated that she had gone through all of the criteria and determined that denial of the request was supported by the criteria. She was asked to state her reasoning, and she said that the proposed rezoning was not supported by the adopted Master Land Use Plan because the Future Land Use Map would need to be amended. She stated that the proposed rezoning has the possibility of severely impacting the area, and Mr. Ahrens pointed out that it is an empty field now, and any development would cause an impact. Ms. Garland-Rike stated that the proposed rezoning does not constitute a spot zone granting a special privilege to one landowner that is not available to others. She was not sure if the proposed rezoning is contrary to the established land use pattern. She stated that the probable effect of rezoning would stimulate similar rezoning requests, as the owner of the parcel to the north would have justification to request rezoning of his parcel. She was neutral on whether or not there had been a change in conditions of the surrounding area which would support the proposed rezoning. She also felt if adequate sites were properly zoned and available elsewhere to accommodate the proposed use.

Mr. Ahrens indicated that he had done a similar evaluation, but had come up with six criteria supporting the rezoning, and only one not supporting rezoning.

The Chairperson said that, when considering whether the proposed rezoning is contrary to the land use pattern, you can only look at what is permitted in "R-4", and he thinks that the examination of this parcel supports rezoning.

Mr. Larson stated that the property is now zoned almost identically to what is shown in the Master Land Use Plan. The existing zoning would allow the use of the property that the applicant plans. He stated that mixed zoning in the area is consistent with how this is currently zoned, which also supports leaving it "as is".

Mr. Ahrens stated that the rezoning request supports the change, and he prefers "R-4" to commercial, although the impact on residents would be the same.

Mr. Larson stated that a Planned Unit Development would be the way for the development to be done and give a greater degree of control to the Township. It allows for creativity in how an owner uses the property.

The Chairperson stated that he could support the rezoning request as the criteria can easily be interpreted either way. Ms. Everett stated that the use for student housing should be put out of the picture because that is not what is considered for rezoning. Mr. Ahrens stated that he believes that a residential uses is a softer use than commercial. Ms. Garland-Rike commented that the area zoned commercial is not located in the area where residents have expressed concerns.

Ms. Garland-Rike moved to deny the rezoning request based on the criteria she had discussed. Mr. Larson supported the motion.

Gary Fairchild asked if the commercially-zoned portion of the subject property were taken out of the rezoning request, if it would make the rezoning more acceptable. Ms. Stefforia stated that doing so would still require an amendment to the Master Land Use Plan.

Mitch Bailey, also representing the applicant, stated that the owners had to buy all of the property regardless of how it was zoned. The owners do not build commercial property. If that area remains commercial, the road will have to be built to commercial standards. He also stated that the owners will have police and managers living on site.

Several of the citizens who had previously commented during the public comment time repeated their positions regarding the subject property.

Mr. Ahrens asked what sites are properly zoned and available elsewhere to accommodate the proposed use. Ms. Garland-Rike stated that there are sites available. Mr. Ahrens asked if there were adequate available sites. Ms. Stefforia stated that there was "R-4" zoning on this site, and there was a 30-acre site to the north.

Randy St. John, who lives at 5215 Beech Avenue, stated that a Planned Unit Development gives the ability to buffer.

Upon a vote on the motion, the motion carried 5 -to-1, with Mr. Ahrens voting no.

OTHER BUSINESS

Ms. Stefforia stated that Mary Kinney had delivered a letter thanking the Planning Commission for their efforts in her rezoning request.

PLANNING COMMISSIONER COMMENTS

On behalf of the Commission, the Chairperson welcomed Lee Larson to the Planning Commission.

Ms. Garland-Rike stated that, if the original Spurr landscaping plans had been available to the Commission, there might not have been a need for a second meeting to grant a further landscaping deviation.

Ms. Everett stated that the definition of family is on the Township Board Agenda for the first reading on Tuesday. The Rental Housing Registration Ordinance is also on the Agenda for the first reading.

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the Planning Commission, the meeting was adjourned at 10:43 p.m.

OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP
PLANNING COMMISSION

By:
Kathleen Garland-Rike, Secretary
Minutes prepared:
November 26, 2002
Minutes approved:
, 2002