THE CHARTER TOWNSHIP OF OSHTEMO

Township Board Minutes

October 26, 1999

The Oshtemo Township Board held its regular meeting at the Township Hall. The meeting was called to order by Supervisor Fleckenstein, at 7:00 p.m.

PRESENT:
Supervisor Ron Fleckenstein
Clerk Deb Everett
Treasurer Lois Brown
Trustee Norm Anderson
Trustee Marvin Block
Trustee David Bushouse
Trustee Fred Johnson

Also present was Patricia Mason, Township Attorney, Bob Snell, Township Engineers along with 13 interested people.

Motion made by Block, seconded by Johnson to approve the minutes of the October 12, 1999 meeting as prepared. Carried.

Income to the General Fund of $8,081.60 and disbursements of $77,259.68 were reported. Fire Fund disbursements of $31,982.28 were reported. Motion made by Johnson, seconded by Block to acknowledge the receipts and pay the bills. Carried.

CITIZENS COMMENTS

Brian Maloney, owner of Rollerworld, addressed the Board concerning the Planning Commission minutes of September 9, 1999 which refers to his facility located in Gun Plain Township, stating that it is unpaved, overgrown and generally unkept. He felt it was inappropriate to inspect properties outside of the Township for a means of determining whether or not property would be maintained. He further stated that the facility in Gun Plain Township was in bankruptcy when purchased, in major disrepair, and he has put a significant amount of money into it. It is closed in summer, lawn is contracted to be mowed, and the driveway has been gravel since purchased. He feels he has done a very good job of maintaining his facility in Oshtemo Township. He also advised the Board that he has learned of proposed legislation in Lansing that would require adult businesses to be special exception uses and would also require that they be renewed each year with a fee. The requirements would effect any business designated as a special exception use. He further stated that he had seen the final draft of the proposed ordinance for adult businesses which would make them a permitted use in an Industrial zone. He felt it was not proper for these to be a permitted use while indoor recreation uses would be a special exception use. He urged the Board to reconsider their support of the proposed text change that would classify indoor recreational uses as a special exception use.

DISCUSSION WITH KALAMAZOO COUNTY ROAD COMMISSION

Kalamazoo County Road Commissioners Maggie Grobben and Lara Meeuwse, along with Managing Director Ron Reid were present to discuss current and future road projects with the Board and hear any concerns. Director Reid advised the following preliminary schedules for future major primary road projects:
2000 - Reconstruct intersection at Parkview and South 11th Street
2001 - North 9th Street from West Main to West H Avenue
2002 - Stadium Drive widened to 5 lanes from South 8th Street to South 6th Street
2003 - Stadium Drive widened to 5 lanes from South 6th Street to South 4th Street
He further advised that the distribution formula for funding from gas tax, diesel tax and vehicle registration fees (Public Act 51) will expire on September 30, 2000. A state mandated study is underway and report is due by July 1, 2000 with legislation to be adopted by October 1, 2000.

In response to questions/concerns of the Board, Mr. Reid advised the following:
Traffic signal at Stadium Drive and South 4th Street should be installed around November 1st.
There are no plans to widen Stadium Drive west of South 4th Street, due in part to the railroad overpass. Ownership is hard to determine as would be funding for replacement.
The Road Commission will investigate the complaints the Township received regarding some of the microseal projects done this year.
There are currently no Township roads being considered for primary road status.
Repairs in the Springwood Hills area due to road cuts for the water installation will be watched closely.
It has not been Road Commission policy to establish bike lanes. Some roads are paved with 4 foot shoulders instead of 3 foot.
The Road Commission works with a land owner for tree replacement when they are removed for road work.
The Road Commission does not currently have an Adopt a Road plan. The only road in the county that would qualify is Sprinkle Road. Private groups have been maintaining it.
Requests for the Road Commission to investigate widening South 9th Street south of Quail Run to facilitate left turns into the credit union and repairs of potholes on South 11th Street north of Holiday Lane were made.

Brian Maloney thanked the Road Commission for their assistance with the drainage problem at Stadium Drive and South 7th Street. Mr. Reid stated they appreciated his patience and assistance.

Commissioner Grobben advised that the participating funds for next year should be approximately the same as this year.

Supervisor Fleckenstein thanked the Commission for their participation and cooperation in the Springwood Hills water project.

WEST MAIN WATER EXTENSION

Engineer Snell presented the proposed assessment roll for the West Main Water Extension. He advised that a request had been made for modification to clarify the conditions of the roll. He advised that it has been brought to his attention that the board selected Alternative #2 at the September 28th meeting which was $3000 per benefit and $21.97 per foot, while the roll being submitted indicates charges of $2,000 per benefit and $23.50 per foot. He further stated an effort was made to reduce the benefit rate to $2,000, taking into consideration parcels that would have very high assessments and considering decisions the Board may make in the future regarding the front foot assessments and benefit fees, which could result in small lots having a $3, 000 benefit fee. He then read the conditions of the roll which included:

All properties would be assessed a front foot rate of $23.50 levied at time of connection until July 1, 2005.
Beginning July 2, 2005 all remaining unconnected properties will be assessed at the front foot rate established under Ordinance #38.
Corner lots will be assessed on both sides lying within the district with a maximum exemption of 150 from the longest side.
Double frontage lots (lots with frontage on opposite sides) less than 264 feet in depth will be assessed on the length of the longest frontage only.
All properties located in and/or extending beyond the district boundary will be subject to a $2,000 benefit fee until July 1, 2005 and thereafter the benefit established by ordinance due and payable at time of connection.
Each property will be exempt one benefit for one single family residence. A property being split must assign the exempt benefit to one parcel.
All payments for benefits will be due in full at time of connection and/or future building expansions at time of building permit issuance.
All front foot assessments may be paid in installments - property with 200 or more feet of frontage over a term of 5 years at 6% interest and property with less than 200 feet in two installments at 8% interest.

Attorney Mason requested clarification on the interest rates. Treasurer Brown advised that she had spoken with Attorney Reed who responded that the rate of 6% was typographical error and should be 8% as stated in the current Township policy.

Trustee Block stated he thought previous discussion had included any property interested in connecting within the first 5 years would pay the current rate, afterwards, up to 10 years, the charge would be current rate at time of connection and properties would be required to connect after 10 years. Supervisor Fleckenstein responded that his understanding of what has been developed is that the rate for the next 5 years would be $23.50 and beginning July 2, 2005 any properties not connected would be assessed at current rate and at the end of 10 years all properties would have to make connection.

Trustee Anderson asked for clarification on the time of connection; is mandatory connection required. Engineer Snell responded that the current proposal does not include mandatory connection, however, after 5 years the properties would be assessed.

Clerk Everett stated she did not recall discussion including mandatory assessment or connection. The minutes of the September 28th meeting reflect approval of Alternative #2 and clarification was made that there would be no financial obligation unless a property was connected. She further stated her concern that the people who attended the September 28th meeting left with the understanding that those who connected would be charged and those who did not connect would not be charged.

Supervisor Fleckenstein stated this has been a difficult issue, trying to find a compromise to give the business people what they need, find a way to repay the fund, and thinks the proposal is a reasonable compromise.

Elaine Branch, 7654 West Main stated she has kept track of the issue through the minutes and really appreciates the effort that has been put into listening to both the business needs and the residents concerns. She further stated it doesn=t appear that what was decided or directed at the last meeting is in fact reflected in this proposal. She inquired what the actual motion and Board action taken were. Clerk Everett responded that the minutes of the September 28th meeting reflect the motion was made to accept what was presented as Alternative #2 which would include the entire project frontage in the district, the established ordinance rate, currently $21.97 per foot, for all properties in the district, to be paid at time of connection, and an additional charge would be applied to all commercial properties called a benefit at a rate of $3,000, to be paid as they occur.

Mrs. Branch stated she felt it would be a mistake and send the wrong message to change the proposal.

Nella Langeland, 7653 West Main, inquired if the entire Board had been included in the decision, and is fearful of what else may be changed. She commented that the people had indeed left the last meeting feeling it was resolved. She hoped the Board would stand by the action taken at the last meeting.

Grace Borgfjord, 9802 Sunnywood Drive, commented to Mrs. Langeland that any decisions the Board makes are done on their own. She further commented that this matter has been under discussion for well over a year and would appreciate a decision to move this forward.

Trustee Anderson commented that he was not aware that were limitations on the time of connection.

Trustee Bushouse pointed out that in most districts, both sides would be assessed, whereas in this case, only one side of the street will be assessed; this must be taken into consideration when establishing the rates.

Trustee Block suggested that connection be required when a property is sold. It was determined that it would be very difficult to track for that purpose.

Trustee Johnson felt changes should not be made without the property owners concerned being present. Attorney Mason advised that property owners will be noticed for the public hearing on the assessment roll.

Motion made by Block, seconded by Brown to reaffirm Alternative #2 as originally approved.

Clerk Everett inquired if there had been research as requested by Trustee Bushouse regarding the installment payment of the benefit fees. Engineer Snell responded it had been reviewed to the extent of determining that the $3,000 would result in some excessive rates, therefore the suggestion to lower it to $2,000 and adjust the front foot charge. Treasurer Brown responded that the water and sewer projects need to be self supporting and some costs must be applied and collected up front to be able to keep a fund available for other projects.

Trustee Bushouse noted that in the case of Mr. VanDam=s property, the benefit fee is more than the front foot fee, which could be more than the cost of a building itself, and felt that for this district, to paying such a large amount over time. Treasurer Brown responded that the fund must be repaid so other projects could be funded; it is not prudent use of tax dollars to use the Township as a financial institution, which we are doing to some degree in respect to the front foot charges.

Dick VanDam, 8132 West Main, inquired how the number of benefits were determined; the original discussions indicated he might from 1 to 4, now the number is 9. He further stated that although he doesn=t mind paying the benefit, wonders how the number got so high and suggested raising the front foot charge which can be financed and lower the benefit. Engineer Snell advised the same chart in the ordinance that determines benefits for sewer was used based on water meter readings from various uses and their square footage.

Engineer Snell responded that when the alternative plans were compiled, an estimate was used for the benefits. The current number was determined when the Planning Department and Assessor were asked to use the chart and determine the number of benefits actually in place now.

Trustee Johnson asked for clarification on residents who do not wish to connect. Supervisor Fleckenstein responded they would be not assessed until time of connection.

Clerk Everett inquired if the Engineer could explain how the number of Mr. VanDam=s benefits were determined. Treasurer Brown also felt the number was excessive and it should be checked.

Clerk Everett also inquired if the roll can be altered at the public hearing if other information or study is done. Engineer Snell suggested that any changes should be made now and his opinion is the $3,000 benefit is too high.

Clerk Everett commented that when the benefit fee of $3,000 was being discussed; the number of benefits were not at the level they have become and felt Mr. VanDam has a valid concern.

Consensus was to make any changes now if desired. Supervisor Fleckenstein suggested using $23.50 front foot charge and $2,000 benefit fee. Treasurer Brown commented that she could agree with the change but had a problem with being presented with a proposal different than what was originally approved.

Trustee Block wished to amend his motion. After several points of clarification the motion was made for the roll to reflect the following:

All properties in the district will be assessed a front foot rate of $23.50 levied at time of connection until July 1, 2005.
Beginning July 2, 2005 connecting properties will be assessed at the front foot rate then in effect established under Ordinance #38.
Corner lots will be assessed on both sides lying within the district with a maximum exemption of 150 from the longest side.
Double frontage lots (lots with frontage on opposite sides) less than 264 feet in depth will be assessed on the length of the longest frontage only.
All properties located in and/or extending beyond the district boundary will be subject to a $2,000 benefit fee.
Each property will be exempt one benefit for one single family residence. A property being split must assign the exempt benefit to one parcel.
All payments for benefits will be due in full at time of connection and/or future building expansions at time of building permit issuance.
The front foot assessment shall be paid commencing at the time of request for service/connection or as provided for by installment payment. All front foot assessments may be paid in installments - property with 200 or more feet of frontage over a term of 5 years at 8% interest and property with less than 200 feet in two installments at 8% interest.

The motion also included setting the public hearing for the roll for November 9th, and a verification of the number of benefits being charged.

Roll call vote showed Bushouse-yes, Johnson-yes, Block-yes, Anderson-yes, Brown-yes, Everett-yes, Fleckenstein-yes.

INDOOR RECREATIONAL USES - TEXT AMENDMENT

The proposed text amendment concerning indoor recreational uses was before the Board for First Reading. Indoor recreational uses would be a special exception use in the C, C-1, I-R and I-1 zones.

Trustee Block inquired of Mr. Maloney where he had learned of the proposed legislation he referred to earlier. Mr. Maloney advised he had contacted State Representative Chuck Perricone=s office. Trustee Block then moved to table the item until more information became available regarding the legislation.

Attorney Mason advised that if such legislation were to be enacted, all Township policy regarding special exception uses would have to be reviewed and this item should be acted upon according to its own merit.

Trustee Block withdrew his motion and then made a motion, seconded by Johnson to set the text amendment for Second Reading on November 9th.

Brian Maloney advised the Board that in his opinion, the Board should not try to micro- manage what goes in by creating special exception uses. He reiterated that recreational uses should be allowed in commercial or industrial zones.

Richard Schramm, 2001 South 4th Street, advised the Board that he supports Mr. Maloney=s efforts to make his use permitted in the industrial zone. He also requested that consideration be given to reinstating offices as a permitted use in the industrial zone. He presented the Board with information concerning Kalamazoo Commerce Park, which allows mixed uses. He suggested amending the text amendment under consideration to include offices as a permitted use in the I-R district.

Supervisor Fleckenstein responded if the Board desired to seek a change, the appropriate course of action would be to return the item to the Planning Commission for review.

Clerk Everett commented that Planning Commission Chairman Wilfred Dennie had advised the Board at the last meeting that they will be discussing the commercial commerce type of use for consideration. Mr. Schramm responded that he would appreciate having the process expedited

Clerk Everett also commented that there will be a joint Township Board, Planning Commission, and Zoning Board of Appeals meeting in November and hoped this would a topic of discussion. Supervisor Fleckenstein advised that it is planned to be.

Upon the vote, the motion carried.

STADIUM DRIVE REZONING REQUEST

The rezoning of two parcels located at the southwest corner of Stadium Drive and South 6th Street, from AG to R-3, was before the Board for Second Reading.

Motion made by Johnson, seconded by Brown, to approve the rezoning.

Brian Maloney advised the Board that he does not object to the rezoning, however, wishes the Board would give the same consideration to all who come forward. The Master Land Use Plan can be amended; the properties within the township should be looked at for current and future use to help the community grow.

Char Schramm advised the Board that she does not object to the rezoning. She further stated she owns property across the street purchased in 1986 with the idea of having commercial and office use, which was effected by the text change in 1989 which removed those uses from the I-R district. In the same area, across the street, the Planning Commission sees fit to change the Master Land Use Plan to zoning that will allow offices. From her perspective this is not being fairly considered. She also urged the Board to get a time commitment from the Planning Commission for a review of the Industrial district text. She presented the Board with an article from the Kalamazoo Gazette of October 15th referring to Texas Township zoning for an office park development allowing office and industrial use in a given area.

Richard Schramm commented that this is a decision the Board is making and the Planning Commission has recommended for spot zoning. He further stated there has been discussion of how R-3 was created to be used as spot zoning and felt the I-R zone was also created to become a buffer between residential use and industrial use, however, the way the text was modified it is an ineffective tool for that purpose and feels the Township should act promptly to correct the inequities.

Roll call vote showed Block-no, Anderson-yes, Bushouse-no, Johnson-yes, Everett-yes, Brown-yes, Fleckenstein-yes.

Motion made by Brown, seconded by Everett to amend the Master Land Use Plan from AG to R-3. Roll call vote showed Johnson-yes, Bushouse-no, Everett-yes, Brown-yes, Block-no, Anderson-yes, Fleckenstein-yes.

PERSONNEL COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION
SALARY STEP CHART FOR 2000

Personnel Committee Chairman Marv Block presented their recommendation of a salary step chart to be used for 2000 and beyond.

Motion made by Block, seconded by Anderson to approve the salary chart.

Treasurer Brown commented that she had asked to meet with the Personnel Committee and had received no response and did not appreciate being ignored. Trustee Block responded that he believed Treasurer Brown had been on vacation when they met. Treasurer Brown felt there had been other opportunities for him to reach her.

Clerk Everett asked how the chart is to be administered. Trustee Block responded Personnel Director, Supervisor Fleckenstein is responsible. Clerk Everett further commented that as a former staff member, she felt that much of the tension that occurs when salary considerations are progressing is due to a lack of communication with staff members.

Treasurer Brown inquired how information regarding the new chart will be provided to staff members. Supervisor Fleckenstein advised it is his responsibility to do so. Clerk Everett suggested using a staff meeting for this purpose, with individuals meeting with the Supervisor afterwards if they so choose.

Trustee Bushouse inquired if the guidelines that had been submitted with the chart previously were still being proposed. Trustee Block advised they were not.

Elaine Branch inquired how the chart had been upgraded, who decides the level of the job position, if each employee knows what their level is, and would the level change when going to the new chart.

Trustee Block advised the new chart has 12 steps at each level instead of 8 as on the current salary chart and the Personnel Director determines the job level. Supervisor Fleckenstein advised that the employees are aware of their job level and the levels will not change when applied to the new chart.

Mrs. Branch stated that she is still of the opinion that the Supervisor, Clerk and Treasurer positions should all be equal. They have different but equal responsibilities.

The motion was carried 4-3 with Brown, Bushouse and Everett voting no.

BOARD MEMBER COMMENTS

Trustee Bushouse advised that he will be absent from the November 9th meeting and the November 16th joint boards meeting.

                                                        ************

Trustee Block advised that the Leaf Committee will once again provide a leaf drop off site for residents at the Township Hall, on November 6th and November 20th from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. He further stated they are considering for next year a ban on burning leaves.

                                                        ************

Supervisor Fleckenstein advised that water connections for the Springwood Hills area are now taking place. There has been a delay on the landscaping.

The two problems found in the 10th Street sewer project have been corrected. After inspection the line could be released by the end of the week.

There was no further business and the meeting was adjourned at 10:25 p.m.

DEBORAH L. EVERETT                                                  Attested: RON FLECKENSTEIN
Township Clerk                                                                                     Supervisor