OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS MINUTES

OCTOBER 20, 1997

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Agenda

KALAMAZOO CHINESE CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP - SITE PLAN REVIEW - PROPOSED CHURCH FACILITY - 5334 PARKVIEW AVENUE

VLIETSTRA BROS. SWIMMING POOL CO. - VARIANCE FROM FRONT SETBACK REQUIREMENT FOR LATOSZEWSKI - 405 CLUBVIEW

CITY OF KALAMAZOO - VARIANCE FROM 200' PUBLIC ROAD FRONTAGE REQUIREMENT - 7134 STADIUM DRIVE

CHIME SCHOOL - SITE PLAN REVIEW - 6750 CHIME ST.

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A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Zoning Board of Appeals on Monday, October 20, 1997, commencing at approximately 3:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall, pursuant to notice.

MEMBERS PRESENT:

Brian Dylhoff, Chairperson
Thomas Brodasky
David Bushouse
William Saunders

MEMBERS ABSENT: Lara Meeuwse

Also present were Rebecca Harvey and Mike West on behalf of the Planning and Zoning Department, Patricia R. Mason, Township Attorney, and five (5) other interested persons.

CALL TO ORDER

The Chairperson called the meeting to order at 3:04 p.m.

MINUTES

The Board considered the minutes of the meeting of October 6, 1997. Mr. Brodasky moved to approve the minutes as submitted. Mr. Saunders seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

 

KALAMAZOO CHINESE CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP - SITE PLAN REVIEW - PROPOSED CHURCH FACILITY - 5334 PARKVIEW AVENUE

The next item was the application of Christopher Lai, representing Kalamazoo Chinese Christian Fellowship, requesting site plan review of a proposed 4,500 sq. ft. church facility. The subject site is located at 5334 Parkview Avenue and is within the "R-2" Zoning District classification.

The report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference. Ms. Harvey stated that the main issue was the driveway spacing in that the proposed driveway was not sufficiently spaced from nearby residential driveways and from the intersection. Further, it was noted that, with regard to on-site vegetation, the applicant had proposed retaining the existing vegetation at the site, except in the area in which the building would be constructed.

The Chairperson questioned Ms. Harvey with regard to the proposed driveway. She stated that it was in compliance with the Access Management Guidelines except as to spacing, and had been approved by the Kalamazoo County Road Commission. The only issue regarding the drive was its spacing. She felt that the Board should determine whether the drive could be located elsewhere on the site and better comply with Ordinance requirements.

The applicant was present, along with David VanDyke, architect for the project. In response to questioning by the Chairperson, it was stated that a dumpster would be placed in the parking lot and would be enclosed. The plan showed a dumpster pad in the northwest corner of the site. The applicant proposed moving the location to the northeast corner, nearer to the building.

The location of barrier-free parking was discussed, and the Chairperson commented he felt that the parking could be relocated in better proximity to the entrance point of the building. Mr. VanDyke agreed, stating that it could be moved closer to the entrance and that he would revise the ramp detail and present it to the Township for review and approval.

Mr. Brodasky questioned the applicant as to whether any thought had been given to moving the entrance to the east. Mr. VanDyke stated that that this would be too close to the overpass and that there was a drop in topography in this area which made location of the entrance in that area undesirable.

The location of the access point was discussed, and it was determined that it had been located as far from the intersection as was possible, given the size of the site. Board members agreed that this location was the "optimum" in that the Board was more concerned about distance from the intersection than from adjoining residential drives.

There was no public comment offered, and the public hearing was closed.

There was discussion of signage, and Mr. VanDyke stated that a sign proposal would be presented to the Township and would go through the permit process.

There was discussion of screening, and it was noted that the plan shows retention of natural vegetation along the western boundary. It was felt that this should be confirmed as a condition of approval and that a landscape plan for the developed area should be presented.

Mr. Brodasky moved to approve the site plan with the following conditions, limitations and notations:

(1) That the church facility is proposed to be served by one standard two-way drive approximately 26' wide. A right-turn-in deceleration lane approximately 110' in length is proposed along Parkview Avenue. Approval was subject to the review and approval of the access point by the Kalamazoo County Road Commission. It was noted that the driveway location does not conform to the spacing requirements of the Access Management Guidelines, but it was felt that it was located at the optimum point on the site in that it was as far west as could be located, i.e., as far from the intersection as was possible.

(2) That parking had been proposed in compliance with Ordinance standards.

(3) That all parking was subject to compliance with the dimensional standards of 10' x 20'.

(4) That all barrier-free parking is subject to ADA and Michigan Barrier-Free Guidelines and is to be designated by signage and pavement logo. It was noted that the applicant proposed relocation of the barrier-free spaces and would provide revised ramp details to the Township for review and approval.

(5) That the proposed building setbacks were in accordance with Ordinance standards.

(6) That no outdoor storage had been proposed.

(7) That the dumpster location would be revised, and detail with regard to enclosure would be provided to the Township for review and approval.

(8) That all site lighting was to be in compliance with the lighting guidelines set forth in Section 78.700, and a lighting proposal was to be submitted to the Township for review and approval pursuant to Section 78.720(g).

(9) That all signage shall comply with Section 76.115 and be reviewed and approved through the permit process.

(10) That screening along the northern and western boundaries of the site was to be accomplished through the retention of the "thick woods" which occupy a large portion of the subject site. The proposal to retain the natural vegetation as set forth on the plan was approved. A landscape plan for the developed portion of the site should be submitted to the Township for review and approval.

(11) That no variance had been requested.

(12) That approval is subject to the review and approval of the Township Fire Department.

(13) That approval is subject to the review and approval of the Township Engineer.

(14) That public water and an on-site septic system are proposed to service the proposed church facility. Approval is subject to the review and approval of the Kalamazoo County Health Department.

(15) That an environmental permits checklist and hazardous substance reporting form is required for review and approval pursuant to Section 69.000.

(16) That a revised site plan reflecting the conditions of approval is to be submitted to the Township.

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

VLIETSTRA BROS. SWIMMING POOL CO. - VARIANCE FROM FRONT SETBACK REQUIREMENT FOR LATOSZEWSKI - 405 CLUBVIEW

The next item was the application of Ron Vlietstra of Vlietstra Bros. Swimming Pool Company, representing Mick and Nancy Latoszewski, for variance approval from the 40' front setback requirement established by Section 64.200 of the Zoning Ordinance. The subject site is located at 405 Clubview and is within the "R-1" Residence District Zoning classification.

The report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference. Ms. Harvey noted that the Board had not previously reviewed a variance request with regard to a swimming pool location. However, a history of building setback variance applications had been provided in the report. She further noted that the applicant had submitted a drawing showing the proposed location of the pool and of existing improvements at the site.

The applicant was present, stating he felt that the Township would see many more applications for variance due to the placement of on-site septic systems. He stated that the drawing shows that the pool could be moved to the west; however, he had attempted to place the pool so as to retain an area at the western portion of the site for the placement of future drywells/septic systems. He noted that the County Health Department had stated it would like to see 20' between a drywell and the pool. However, they would approve 10-12'. He felt that the pool could not be moved to the south at all. Thus, the "setbacks" from Clubview and from Shadywood Drive were at issue. He stated, in response to questioning by the Board members, that the size of the pool at 17' x 35' did not include the decking thereon.

Mr. Bushouse commented that he would be more concerned about an above-ground pool or about a pool which included fencing near the property line.

The applicant stated that the Township's Ordinance does not prohibit an 8' stockade fence along the property lines of a lot.

The Chairperson commented, and other Board members agreed, that the Planning Commission should review the Zoning Ordinance and specifically address setbacks for pools.

In response to questioning by Mr. Brodasky, the applicant stated that 16' in width was the minimum pool size for a pool with a diving board.

The Chairperson sought public comment, and none was offered. The public hearing was closed.

The Chairperson asked whether any outbuildings were proposed. The applicant stated that a 6' x 6' or 6' x 8' pad on the far west side of the property would be established. However, there would be no outbuilding associated with the pool.

The Board reviewed whether the conformance was unnecessarily burdensome. It was noted that the proposed swimming pool could not be placed in accordance with all setback requirements due to the size of the lot and the location of existing house and septic system. Further, it was noted that the property in the area has problems with drywell and septic. There was discussion of the fact that an area should be left at the site to establish future drywell/ septic systems. Ms. Harvey noted that drywell and septic could be placed at the front of the lot.

After further discussion, Board members agreed that the pool location could be pushed to the west to meet the setback requirement from Clubview. However, the pool could not be located in compliance with the setback from Shadywood.

As to substantial justice, it was noted that the Board had not previously reviewed a variance request for the establishment of a pool. Mr. Saunders recalled past applications which were granted where there was an existing home and the location was limited for a garage or outbuilding.

As to unique physical circumstances, again it was noted that the pool could not be placed in conformance with the Shadywood setback, given the size of the lot and existing improvements.

It was felt that the hardship was self-created but the spirit and intent of the Ordinance could be met if the pool complied with the Clubview setback. Again there was comment that the matter should be referred to the Planning Commission for review of setbacks applicable to pools.

Based upon the preceding discussion, Mr. Saunders moved to grant variance from the setback required from Shadywood, requiring the pool to be placed 40' from the Clubview right-of-way, with the following reasoning:

(1) That conformance was unnecessarily burdensome in that the pool could not be located in compliance with all setbacks.

(2) That substantial justice would be served by the variance.

(3) That the spirit and intent of the Ordinance would be met due to the type of structure (pool) involved (i.e., that it would be below ground).

Mr. Bushouse commented he felt that, since the pool was below ground, included no poolhouse or other structure, included no fencing, the variance from setback would be appropriate. He stated that, if the pool included structures, etc., he would feel differently.

Mr. Brodasky seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

The applicant offered to provide information to the Planning Commission when it considers the pool setback issue.

CITY OF KALAMAZOO - VARIANCE FROM 200' PUBLIC ROAD FRONTAGE REQUIREMENT - 7134 STADIUM DRIVE

The next item was the application of Alberto Forero, Public Service Engineer, representing the City of Kalamazoo Department of Public Utilities, for variance approval from the 200' public road frontage requirement established by Section 66.201 of the Zoning Ordinance. The subject site is located at 7134 Stadium Drive (water tower site) and is within the "C" Local Business District Zoning classification. It was noted that Mr. Forero had asked that the item be placed at the end of the agenda so that he would have an opportunity to be present. Therefore, the item was tabled.

CHIME SCHOOL - SITE PLAN REVIEW - 6750 CHIME ST.

The next item was site plan review for the placement of "portable buildings," as well as related site modifications, at the site of Chime Street Elementary School. Variance approvals from the following Zoning Ordinance provisions are proposed: Section 64.200 - 10' sideline setback, Section 66.201 - 40' building separation, Sections 68.201/68.312 - parking standards. The subject site is located at 6750 Chime Street and is within the "AG"-Rural District Zoning classification.

The report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference. Ms. Harvey noted that four portable buildings had been placed at the site and were in use as classrooms, cafeteria, etc. In conjunction with the placement and in response to the Township Fire Department concerns, the school district had made some modifications to the parking lot and playground. The variances at issue related to items where there was an inability to comply with current Ordinance standards. It was noted that some other aspects of the site might not conform to the current Ordinance provisions but, since no changes had been proposed or made to these areas, and since the site was existing, it was felt that no variance was necessary; there were pre-existing lawfully nonconforming aspects at the site.

It was noted that the southernmost portable building is closer than 10' from the sideline setback; therefore, variance was required. All four portable buildings fail to comply with the 40' building separation from one another and from the existing main school building. The southernmost parking lot is partially located on the AT&T right-of-way. Further, parking lots at the school had been recently restriped. Some spaces were in conformance, but some were striped at 9' x 18', which did not conform to current Ordinance standards.

It was noted that the Fire Department had reviewed the proposed plan and was satisfied. Again, it was noted that the school district had made modifications to the proposed site and site plan in response to Township Fire Department concerns.

Public comment was sought, and Mr. Ted Corakis noted that a fence had been previously located on the west side of the site. Now no fencing was available to stop the kids from crossing onto his property. He noted that the fence had not been in place for some five years.

There was no other public comment offered, and the public hearing was closed.

The Chairperson directed the Board's attention to the first variance issue with regard to 10' sideline setbacks for the southernmost portable building. It was noted that the Board had previously reviewed variance requests in the Plainview Plat, which abuts the AT&T right-of-way. In addition, the application by Dunshee, which also abuts the right-of-way, was noted. In that case, the Dunshee property was allowed a 0' sideline setback. An additional factor was the interest that the school district had an interest in the property across the AT&T right-of-way, i.e., Flesher Field.

In response to questions by Mr. Brodasky, it was noted that the southernmost portable is 3-5' from the right-of-way line.

After further discussion, Mr. Saunders moved to grant variance from the 10' sideline setback requirement for the southernmost portable, noting:

(1) That the portable buildings were located along the perimeter of the existing school for accessibility and in response to existing playground design and land cover (vegetation).

(2) That the southern boundary of the subject site abuts a 150'-wide AT&T right-of-way.

(3) That Flesher Field abuts the AT&T right-of-way to the south across to the Township park from the school site. Reference was made to the interest of the school district in Flesher Field.

(4) That past decisions support variances from the rear/sideline setback requirements where sites abut utility rights-of-way. The application of Dunshee was referenced.

(5) That the spirit and intent of the Ordinance was served by the variance decision, given the nature of the abutting right-of-way and past decisions of the Board.

The motion was seconded by Mr. Brodasky and carried unanimously.

With regard to the 40' building separation requirement, Ms. Harvey stated that the 40' requirement applied to separation between principal buildings. This requirement was primarily meant to address multiple-family buildings on a site, for example. Board members felt that the portable buildings might not necessarily be accessory buildings but that their function might be different than a typical "principal or primary building." Thus, the portable buildings, in the opinion of Board members, were more akin to accessory buildings. Further, the location of the portable buildings had been established to suit the "safety" of, and accessibility for, the children vis-a-vis the existing main school building. Board members further felt it was significant that the Fire Department concerns had been addressed with regard to building separation. Mr. Bushouse noted that the portable containing the cafeteria was attached to the principal building.

Mr. Brodasky moved to grant variance from the 40' building separation requirement with the following reasoning:

(1) That conformance was unnecessarily burdensome, noting that the portable buildings had been located along the perimeter of the existing school building for accessibility and in response to existing playground design and land cover (vegetation). Thus, the function of the site was served.

(2) That substantial justice was served by granting the variance.

(3) That the spirit and intent of the Ordinance was met in that the buildings were more akin to accessory or ancillary than being principal buildings. Further, the Fire Department's concerns with regard to the site had been addressed.

(4) It was felt that the hardship was self-created but that the other factors regarding the buildings outweighed this criterion.

(5) That the health, safety and welfare of the children was secured by granting the variance.

Mr. Bushouse seconded the motion, and The motion carried unanimously.

As to the issue of off-site parking, it was noted that the south lot encroaches on the AT&T right-of-way. Ms. Harvey noted that the Board had previously allowed off-site improvements where the Board could conclude that on-site parking could be established (i.e., that there was sufficient room on site) if the off-site arrangement becomes unavailable. Further, the Board in the past had required an easement (written permission) to be on file with the Township.

It was noted that there was sufficient property on site to establish on-site parking if necessary. Board members agreed that the variance would be no problem as long as the school district had legal permission from AT&T. Mr. Bushouse commented it was his understanding that adjacent land owners could purchase the right-of-way from AT&T.

After further discussion, Mr. Brodasky moved to grant variance conditioned upon provision of a written agreement by AT&T or purchase of the property by the school district along the location of the south parking lot. Mr. Saunders seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

As to the dimensional standards for parking spaces, Ms. Harvey noted that some spaces comply with the Ordinance requirements and some do not. In a similar situation, at the West Main Mall/Hardings, the applicant had striped some spaces correctly and some incorrectly. In that case, the ZBA had granted temporary relief for the life of the striping based upon information received from the striping contractor. There was concern that, even if required to immediately reseal and restripe, there would be "bleed-through" which would cause confusion in the parking area. Therefore, it was felt that granting a temporary variance would be in the interests of public health, safety and welfare. Mr. Brodasky commented that he felt a three-year variance would be acceptable. If the parking/striping were not sufficiently worn at that time, the matter could return to the Board for additional consideration.

Based upon the random nature of the noncomplying spaces, and the past decisions of the Board, Mr. Bushouse moved to grant a variance for a four-year period. Mr. Brodasky seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

The Board continued with site plan review, and Ms. Harvey noted that no detail with regard to the barrier-free ramp had been provided.

There was extensive discussion with regard to the dumpster location, and there was concern that it was not serviceable without maneuverability onto Chime Street. Mr. Bushouse felt that locating it in another area of the site would cause problems because of children at play. There was discussion that the problem with maneuverability and the resulting complications therefrom could be alleviated by nighttime, evening, off-hours service.

There was discussion of fencing at the site, and it was agreed that any existing fencing should be maintained in good repair.

Mr. Brodasky moved to approve the site plan with the following conditions, limitations and notations:

(1) It was noted that the subject site is currently served by two access points. Changes have not been proposed to the existing access arrangement. Therefore, the access arrangement is not subject to compliance with Section 67.000 of the Access Management Guidelines.

(2) The variance for off-site parking and from the dimensional standards of the Ordinance with regard to parking were noted.

(3) As to barrier-free parking, it had been adequately provided. However, it was required that barrier-free access ramp should be located and designed for review and approval by the Township.

(4) The variances with regard to sideline setback and building separation were noted.

(5) It was required that dumpster enclosure detail be provided for review and approval by the Township. The dumpster was to be serviced during non-school hours.

(6) No additional exterior site lighting had been noted in conjunction with the site improvements.

(7) No additional screening was required; however, fencing existing should be properly maintained.

(8) Approval is subject to the review and approval of the Township Fire Department and Township Engineer.

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

 

CITY OF KALAMAZOO - VARIANCE FROM 200' PUBLIC ROAD FRONTAGE REQUIREMENT - 7134 STADIUM DRIVE

The Board returned to the request for variance approval from the 200' public road frontage requirement for the site at 7134 Stadium Drive.

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

Ms. Harvey noted that the proposed division of property into two parcels required Township approval. Therefore, the Board should condition approval on land division approval.

Mr. Saunders clarified that the proposal involved dividing the parcel so as to create parcel A, which would conform with the Ordinance, leaving parcel B, which would not be in compliance with Ordinance standards.

Mr. Bushouse noted that the Kalamazoo County Road Commission had previously divided a parcel, leaving themselves 33' of road frontage, for access to a leaching basin. Ms. Harvey noted that this division had occurred prior to the Land Division Act and that, if the split were to occur today, it would need a variance.

It was noted that the variance could be conditioned upon the specific use of the site, similar to the "tower" properties, such as Roe-Comm. Board members agreed that they felt that 66' right-of-way would be sufficient, given use of the site and its traffic-generation characteristics.

Mr. Bushouse felt that it was advantageous to allow the split, thus creating a viable tax-generating building site. However, it was recognized that a disadvantage would be that the division of property would allow a second driveway where the current configuration allows only one drive. One way to meet the spirit and intent of the Ordinance, which is to minimize drives, would be to condition variance approval on the requirement that parcel A utilize the driveway on parcel B for access.

There was no public comment offered, and the public hearing was closed.

Mr. Forero was present and suggested also that a connection/access road across parcel A to connect the furniture store property to the drive on parcel B could be established.

Mr. Brodasky moved to grant variance approval based upon the current use of parcel B as a site for water storage tank and conditioned as follows, based upon the previous discussion of the Board:

(1) Municipal approval of the land division.

(2) Use of the drive on parcel B by parcel A for access (i.e., a written and executed easement on file with the Township is required).

(3) Pursuant to the suggestion of the applicant, an easement across parcel A so as to permit the connection of the parcel to the east to the driveway on parcel B (and the appropriate written and executed easement) is required.

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

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 5:25 p.m.