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OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS

October 16, 2000

Agenda

TAPLIN ENVIRONMENTAL- VARIANCE AND SITE PLAN REVIEW - 5100 WEST MICHIGAN AVENUE - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-24-485-040, 030, 020 AND 019)

RAVINE ROAD APARTMENTS - VARIANCE - SETBACK - 3510-A NORTH DRAKE ROAD (PARCEL NO. 3905-01-290-021)

SHILTS - VARIANCE - WIDTH - 2949 SUNSET ROAD - (PARCEL NO. 3905-26-456-110)

A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Zoning Board of Appeals on Monday, October 16, 2000, commencing at approximately 3:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Thomas Brodasky, Chairperson
Millard Loy
David Bushouse
Sharon Kuntzman
Ted Corakis

MEMBER ABSENT: None

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

CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order at 3:00 p.m.

MINUTES

The Board considered the minutes of the meeting of October 2, 2000. Mr. Corakis moved to approve the minutes as submitted, and Ms. Kuntzman seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

TAPLIN ENVIRONMENTAL- VARIANCE AND SITE PLAN REVIEW - 5100 WEST MICHIGAN AVENUE - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-24-485-040, 030, 020 AND 019)

The Board considered the application of Taplin Environmental Contracting Corporation for a variance from the provisions of Sections 68.100 and 41.301 to allow the parking of trucks and outdoor storage of heavy equipment on an adjacent parcel conditioned upon combining the parcels within six months. A variance was also requested from Section 68.202 to allow a gravel surface for the parking and maneuvering of trucks and storage of heavy equipment. The applicant further requested site plan review for building additions at 5100 West Michigan Avenue. The subject property is located in the "I-1" and "I-2" Industrial Districts and is comprised of Parcel Nos. 3905-24-485-040, 030, 020 and 019.

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

The applicant is the owner of five abutting parcels located in two different zoning districts. Parcel No. 24-485-019 was referred to as Parcel 1 on the site plan. This parcel is located in the "I-1" Industrial District zoning classification. Parcels identified as Parcels 3, 4 and 5 on the site plan are located in the "I-2" Industrial District. The remaining parcel owned by the applicant is Parcel No. 25-230-020 and is identified as Parcel 2 on the site plan. Parcels 3, 4 and 5 were non-conforming but grandfathered. Parcel 1 is conforming. Parcel 2 is not conforming and not grandfathered.

The applicant was proposing the use of a portion of Parcel 1 for parking and storage to serve the buildings located on Parcels 3 and 5. The applicant is seeking a variance to permit the use of a portion of Parcel 1 for the off-site parking of trucks and outdoor storage of heavy equipment. It is the intent of the owner to combine Parcels 1, 3, 4 and 5 by March 31, 2001. Combining the parcels would create one conforming parcel and eliminate three non-conforming parcels. Once combined, the parking and outdoor storage would no longer be off-site.

Pursuant to Section 41.301, outdoor storage is limited to 100% of the area of the principal building on the parcel for "I-1" zoning. The applicant was requesting a variance to allow for the use of the square footage of the buildings on Parcels 3 and 5, i.e., 12,692 square feet, to be considered as the amount permitted for outdoor storage. Moreover, the applicant requests a variance from the paving requirements to allow the use of gravel in the truck parking and maneuvering area. The driveway access point and parking spaces on the east side of Parcel 5 will be paved. The applicant was also requesting site plan review of two additions which would be 1,804+ square feet each to be used for truck washing.

In response to a question from Mr. Corakis, Ms. Bugge stated that the communications tower in the area was not located on this property, but on the parcel to the west. The tower property has a right-of-way on the south side of Parcel 1.

Attorney Jordan Schau was present on behalf of the applicant, along with Robert Buckley, the architect for the project. They indicated their availability to answer questions.

The Chairperson observed that the area seemed well screened from adjacent properties. He confirmed with Attorney Schau that the parcels in question would be combined within six months.

In response to a question from Mr. Loy, the applicant indicated that the existing drive was reinforced, and new paved areas would be completed within the next three weeks.

No public comment was offered.

As to whether conformance was unnecessarily burdensome, the Board considered the fact that the variance to allow off-site storage and parking would be temporary in nature in that, upon the combination of the parcels, three non-conforming parcels would be eliminated, and all parking and outdoor storage would be on-site. It was noted that, as to unusual physical circumstances, the topography of Parcel 5 is steep to the north, preventing its use for parking and storage. The hardship was not self-created in that the topography of the site was not created by the applicant.

The Board also considered the relief from the paving requirement for parking of trucks and heavy equipment. The Chairperson expressed that he felt that the variance was appropriate, given that asphalt would tend to break up under the heavy weight of trucks and equipment. Further, the site had been used without pavement since the 1970's. The area in question, moreover, was not accessed by customers. Similar applications had been granted with regard to Roe-Com and John Neiuwenhuis. Mr. Corakis agreed that, given the long operation of the proposed site, a variance was appropriate.

Mr. Corakis moved to grant the temporary variance from Sections 68.100 and 41.301 to allow for off-site parking and storage, and variance to allow relief from the paving requirements of Section 68.202 for parking of trucks and heavy equipment, as requested by the applicant, premised upon the preceding discussion, and conditioned upon combination of Parcels 1, 3, 4 and 5 within six months. Outside storage is limited to 12,692 square feet in the "I-1" zoning. Mr. Loy seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

The Board considered the proposed site plan amendment, and it was noted that no change would be made to the access.

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

(1) That no changes were proposed to the existing access point.

(2) That the proposed building additions meet the setback requirements.

(3) That no additional screening or planting would be required.

(4) That site lighting must comply with the requirements of Section 78.700.

(5) That the variance granted for off-site parking and outdoor storage from Sections 68.100 and 41.301, as well as the variance previously granted from Section 68.202, for relief from the paving requirement, were noted.

(6) That approval is subject to the review, approval and conditions imposed by the Township Fire Department.

(7) That the approval is subject to the review and acceptance of site engineering by the Township Engineer.

(8) That the Hazardous Substance Reporting Form and Environmental Checklist have been completed and are on file with the Township.

The motion was seconded by Mr. Corakis.

Mr. Bushouse expressed concern about Fire Department reviews of this and other sites. He asked about whether any hydrants would be required at the property. The proposed hydrant locations off-site were discussed. Mr. Bushouse again expressed concern about the conditions imposed after the fact by the Fire Department. The Township Attorney stated that, if a condition imposed was based upon the Township's Fire Code, an applicant could seek a variance from the Fire Code Board of Appeals. If the Fire Department condition was based upon general health, safety and welfare, thus the Zoning Ordinance, an applicant could return to the Zoning Board of Appeals for consideration of the particular issue and whether the condition would be imposed.

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

RAVINE ROAD APARTMENTS - VARIANCE - SETBACK - 3510-A NORTH DRAKE ROAD (PARCEL NO. 3905-01-290-021)

The Board considered the application of Kerry Lafer and Pam Brownell, representing Ravine Road Apartments, for a variance from the provisions of Section 64.100 to allow six carports to be located on-site within the setback area along Business Route 131 at Ravine Apartments. The subject site is located at 3510-A North Drake and is Parcel No. 3905-01-290-021. The property is within the "AG" Agricultural-Rural Zoning District classification.

The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference. Ms. Bugge noted that the property is located east of Ravine Road and south of Business Route 131 and is triangular in shape. It serves as a 50-car parking lot for the Ravine Apartments. The parking lot is located in the Township, with the balance of the complex in Kalamazoo Township. The applicant wishes to place a 6-unit carport over 6 existing parking spaces in line with the north side of Building No. 1 and abutting a grassy area adjacent to Business Route 131. The carports would be located within the 40-foot setback from Business Route 131. Placement of the carport further to the south and in conformance with the setbacks from both roads would place it in the middle of the parking lot and create a hazard to circulation. They could be placed adjacent to the west side of Building No. 1; however, this would obstruct the existing parking lot aisle and the view from the first floor apartments. Additionally, access by emergency vehicles would be hampered. A drawing depicting the carports was presented. Pam Brownell was present on behalf of the applicant to answer questions.

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

The Chairperson stated that he felt that the variance was appropriate in that the carports would not be intrusive and were in character with the remainder of the parking lot.

Ms. Kuntzman moved to approve a variance for the placement of the carports within the right-of-way of Business Route 131, but in compliance with the setback from Ravine Road with the following reasoning:

(1) That conformance was unnecessarily burdensome given the triangular shape of the property, the existing buildings and frontage on two roads. Further, placement in conformance with the Ordinance would create an unsafe circulation pattern and/or blocking of the access aisle on the west side of the building.

(2) That substantial justice would weigh in favor of granting the variance, given that the placement of the carports was in character with the remainder of the parking lot.

(3) That unique circumstances weighed in favor of granting the variance due to the triangular shape of the property.

(4) That the spirit and intent of the Ordinance would be observed, given the factors limiting placement and given that conformance would create an unsafe vehicle circulation pattern.

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

SHILTS - VARIANCE - WIDTH - 2949 SUNSET ROAD - (PARCEL NO. 3905-26-456-110)

The Board considered the application of Richard and Carol Shilts for a variance from the provisions of Section 66.201 to allow the revision of platted lot lines to create an additional homesite where the resulting property would be less than 100 feet wide at 2949 Sunset Road. The subject property is located within the "R-2" Residence District zoning classification, and is Parcel No. 3905-26-456-110.

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

Ms. Stefforia stated that the subject property is within the Pioneer Acres Plat and consists of one full lot (Lot 11), one-half lot (south half of Lot 10), one outlot (Outlot B) and 55 feet by 171 feet of metes and bounds acreage. The applicants were seeking to use the 66-foot wide outlot with an additional five feet from Lot 11 to create a 71-foot wide lot. The balance of Lot 11 would remain with the south half of Lot 10, resulting in a width of 100 feet. The south 5 feet of Lot 11 and Outlot B would be 20,765 square feet in area and 71 feet wide.

The Pioneer Acres Plat was established in 1953 and, when platted, the lot satisfied the requirements of the Subdivision Control Ordinance. It was noted that there are other lots in the area, the smallest of which was 67 feet wide. Lots 3, 4, 5 and 6 had 70 feet of width. Some of the lots in the Plat would be located in the Village Commercial District, which permitted a minimum frontage of 65 feet. Ms. Stefforia emphasized that it was not practical to require the establishment of a road to create the conforming frontage in that the road would use too much of the property.

Ms. Stefforia stated that, in 1987, a variance was granted allowing the shift of platted lot lines so as to cause one lot to lose the required frontage and area. The Board ruled that the balance of that acreage was determined to be unbuildable with the approval. In 1990, a variance was granted to allow reconfiguration that resulted in a lot having less than the minimum area. The variance was granted in part, in the Westport Plat, because of the character of the surrounding area. In 1991, a lot was approved which altered the back acreage of five lots being combined with one property with 66 feet of frontage on a public street. Ms. Stefforia reported that when variances were denied for parcel subdivision that do not satisfy Ordinance requirements, it was normally due to a finding that compliance was achievable with platting or condominiumizing provisions.

In response to questions from Mr. Bushouse, it was noted that Parcel 460 in the area would still have access to the public street that leaves more than 200 feet of frontage on Meridian.

The applicant, Carol Shilts, was present to answer questions. Mr. Bushouse expressed concern that the site be adequate to allow for building within the required setbacks. Ms. Bugge stated that the applicant would have to design a home to comply with setback provisions.

With regard to whether a precedent would be set, it was acknowledged that the Zoning Board of Appeals' decision on this application would set a precedent for Lots 9, 10 and Outlot A, which are currently one home site.

The Chairperson asked for public comment, and Linda and Ken Hall stated that they were the owners of Lots 7 and 8 across the street. They were concerned that a subdivision of Parcel 460 would be allowed to be made with each lot having only 71 feet of frontage. It was stressed that if Parcel 460 were platted, it would have to meet the current standards of the Ordinance, which provided for 100 feet of width in cases where there was sewer or water available and 80 feet if sewer and water were available.

The Board members agreed that a variance would be in character with the other lots in the area. After further discussion, Mr. Corakis moved to grant the variance based upon the Planning and Zoning Department's Report and the discussion of the Board. Mr. Loy seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 3:45 p.m.

OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP
ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS

By:

By:
Millard Loy

By:
Ted Corakis

By:
Sharon Kuntzman

By:
David Bushouse

Minutes Prepared:
October 19, 2000

Minutes Approved:
, 2000