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OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

PLANNING COMMISSION

October 28, 1999

Agenda

VAN DOESELAAR - SITE PLAN REVIEW OF RESIDENTIAL SITE CONDOMINIUM - 10361 WEST MAIN STREET

DEFINITION OF DWELLING - TEXT AMENDMENT - PUBLIC HEARING

CORAKIS - SPECIAL EXCEPTION USE - SITE PLAN REVIEW - 6703 STADIUM DRIVE

SIGN TEXT - DRAFT 5

INDUSTRIAL TEXT AMENDMENT - DISCUSSION ITEM

A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Planning Commission on Thursday, October 28, 1999, commencing at approximately 7:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall, pursuant to notice.

MEMBERS PRESENT:
Wilfred Dennie, Chairperson
Marvin Block
Millard Loy
Ted Corakis
Stanley Rakowski

MEMBER ABSENT:
Ken Heisig
Elizabeth Heiny-Cogswell

Also present were Jodi Stefforia, Planning Director, Mary Lynn Bugge, Township Planner, and Patricia R. Mason, Township Attorney, and six (6) other interested persons.

CALL TO ORDER

The Chairperson called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.

AGENDA

The Chairperson suggested adding a discussion of a joint meeting with the Township Board of November 16, 1999, under "Other Business". Mr. Corakis moved to approve the Agenda as amended, and Mr. Rakowski seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

MINUTES

The Planning Commission considered the Minutes of the meeting of October 14, 1999. Mr. Loy moved to approve the Minutes as submitted, and Mr. Corakis seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

VAN DOESELAAR - SITE PLAN REVIEW OF RESIDENTIAL SITE CONDOMINIUM - 10361 WEST MAIN STREET

The Planning Commission considered the site plan of a proposed two-unit residential site condominium development on the property at 10361 West Main. The property is situated in 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 applicants reside on the 9.25 acre parcel in question. The applicants had sought to split the property via land division, however, necessary variances had been denied. The applicants were proposing to subdivide the property into two conforming condominium sites with the balance of the land becoming an open space common element of the condominium development. Each site would be approximately 165.4 feet x 661.5 feet in size. The sites would conform to width, area and depth-to-width requirements of the Ordinance. The existing home would be located on the east unit, and west unit would be developed with another single family home. The applicants proposed a second drive off West Main which had been approved by MDOT.

The Chairperson had questions for the Township Attorney with regard to condominium ownership. The Attorney indicated that each unit could be under separate ownership. The two units would have an ownership interest in the common element. The Township Attorney confirmed that the access management guidelines would not be strictly applicable, but could be considered in site plan review. The dimensional standards applicable to the units would be reflected under the building site and lot portion of Section 66.201.

The applicants were present and stated that the diagram submitted shows the approximate placement of the proposed drive. The existing drive would serve the new site, and the existing home would be served by a new drive. Mrs. VanDoeselaar indicated that MDOT had recommended the drive arrangement. When a common drive had been discussed with the MDOT, they had insisted on a two-drive system. Mr. Rakowski and Mr. Block expressed surprise that MDOT would insist on two drives. It was indicated that there had been some talk about widening the existing drive, but the MDOT had still insisted on two. The applicants indicated that they would be agreeable to utilizing one common drive if MDOT would approve.

No public comment was offered, and the public hearing was closed. The Chairperson summarized the application, and the Planning Commission conducted a review under Section 82.800.

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

(1) Access be provided to the two condominium units utilizing a common or shared drive if approval of such a drive could be obtained from MDOT. If MDOT would not approve a shared drive system, a two drives system to serve the units was approved.

(2) Common elements would consist of approximately five (5) acres of open space.

(3) Approval was subject to the review and approval of the proposed Master Deed and Condominium Bylaws by the Township Attorney. Such review and approval was required before issuance of any building permit.

(4) No Fire Department review was required.

(5) Township Engineer review was not required, but all stormwater was required to be retained on site.

(6) The building sites would be served by well and septic.

Mr. Rakowski seconded the motion.

The Chairperson called for public comment, and Barry Crouch, a resident on the west side of the proposed common area, asked whether the common area and the use thereof could be altered. The Township Attorney indicated that the condominium Master Deed could identify the common area as "convertible", and therefore allow for a possible future use. However, in the event the applicants wished to utilize the common area for other than open space, they would need to return to the Township for an amendment of the site plan approval.

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

DEFINITION OF DWELLING - TEXT AMENDMENT - PUBLIC HEARING

The Planning Commission next considered a text amendment to Section 11.250(3) as to the definition of dwelling. It was proposed that the Ordinance be amended to remove the word "bearing", thus eliminating the requirement that the perimeter wall of the dwelling be a bearing wall. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

There was no public comment, and the public hearing was closed. Mr. Corakis moved to recommend approval of the text amendment, and Mr. Block seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

CORAKIS - SPECIAL EXCEPTION USE - SITE PLAN REVIEW - 6703 STADIUM DRIVE

The Planning Commission next considered the application for a special exception use and site plan review for a proposed 11 building self-storage facility at 6703 Stadium Drive. The property is located within the "C" Local Business District zoning classification. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Mr. Corakis indicated that he would be abstaining on the item based upon conflict of interest in that he and his wife were the applicants. The application would be represented by Attorney Paul Vlachos.

Ms. Stefforia stated that the project would require a setback variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals due to the application of a supplemental setback; the property abutting the property to the east is zoned "AG" Agricultural-Rural Zoning District classification. Ms. Stefforia urged that the Planning Commission not grant a special exception use permit or site plan approval prior to application for the variance. However, she felt it was appropriate for the Planning Commission to consider whether the use of the property would satisfy the special exception use criteria, and therefore, determine whether a variance request would be sent on to the Zoning Board of Appeals for action.

Ms. Stefforia pointed out that the site is located in the Village Focus Area. A subcommittee was working on a Village Commercial District text, which if adopted as proposed in the final draft, would not include self-storage facilities as permitted or special uses in the Village Commercial District. Reference was made to the statement of purpose of the "C" District and to the goals of the Village Focus Area. There was discussion of the uses and zoning of property within the area. It was pointed out that to the east is predominantly single family residential and the Chime Street School. There was residential and the Oshtemo United Methodist Church north across Stadium Drive. To the northeast were commercial businesses typically located in converted houses. To the west was residential and vacant. South of the property was the AT&T right-of-way used for recreational purposes.

Ms. Stefforia stated that she and Ms. Bugge had inquired into public safety attitudes toward such developments, and it was felt that self-storage facilities should be oriented with access aisles between buildings visible from the street. The proposed project was not oriented in this fashion.

The Chairperson summarized the application.

Mr. Vlachos, representing the applicants, stated that the parcel is long and narrow. He felt that the proposed use was compatible as a special exception use. Further, he felt that the use was compatible with the area. He pointed to the paving business located in the vicinity. The photo studio on the first 300 feet of the site would remain. The self-storage buildings would be to the back of the property. In his opinion, the proposed use was the best possible use given the narrowness of the parcel at 175 feet. Mr. Vlachos stressed that in his opinion the use would not be injurious to other uses in the area, in that only the back portion of the long narrow piece would be utilized. Further, it would not be visible from Stadium Drive as placed. The site would be secured with fencing and security lighting. Mr. Vlachos felt that given the apartment buildings within the area, a self-storage business was needed.

The Chairperson questioned the applicants with regard to the hours of operation. It was noted that it was planned that the hours of operation would be in the daytime from approximately dawn to dusk as late as 8 p.m. The project would be gated and controlled by a key card. However, there would not be access after hours. There would be no office at the facility, but it would be controlled at the photo studio in the house at the front of the site.

There was discussion of the proposed fencing, with Mr. Rakowski stating that he would like to see something more decorative than chain-link. Mr. Block felt that decorative fencing would not be as secure.

Ms. Stefforia inquired of Mr. Vlachos as to his reasoning that a storage facility in the "back yard" of single family homes and near a school would be in character with the Village Focus Area. Mr. Vlachos responded that he felt that the property was "too narrow" to do much with it. Further, he felt that the woods would buffer the residences and the school. Ms. Stefforia expressed concern that the school playground was at the property limits.

Mr. Rakowski questioned the applicant with regard to phasing, and Mr. Corakis stated that the project would be phased over five to six years. He stated this would be discussed further in site plan review. In response to Mr. Loy, Mr. Corakis stated that there would be no vehicle parking and no outdoor storage at the site.

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

The Chairperson reminded the Planning Commission that a special exception use may not be appropriate in every location zoned. The Planning Commission must make a site specific review.

The Planning Commission considered whether the proposed use was compatible with other uses expressly permitted in the "C" District. Again, the purpose of the "C" District was referenced. There was also discussion of the vision for the Village Focus Area. The Chairperson reminded the Planning Commission that it was the intent of the Village Focus Plan to restore 9th Street and Stadium’s intersection to a more "village-like look". There was discussion with Ms. Stefforia pointing out that there was a study currently of converting the AT&T right-of-way to a "pedestrian path/linear park.

There was a review of the goals of the Village Focus Area. The Chairperson stated that he would agree that the use is normally appropriate for the commercial zone, but felt that the use was not compatible with the Village Focus Area plan and its goals. He also felt that the width of the parcel would not necessarily make other uses of the site impossible. Ms. Bugge pointed out that the applicant is proposing 33,000 square feet of buildings on the site. The Chairperson stated that he felt granting a special exception use should further the goals of the Master Land Use Plan.

Ms. Rakowski wondered whether the proposed use would qualify as a small service/retail use.

Mr. Block had questions about the size of the buildings which the applicant indicated would typically be 30 feet x 100 feet. Mr. Block was concerned that most storage buildings have a metallic or industrial use look. He felt that this was not the look the village was intended to achieve.

The Planning Commission considered whether the proposed use would be detrimental or injurious to the use or development of adjacent properties or the general public. Again reference was made to the uses surrounding the subject site. The Chairperson questioned whether the use would be encouraging development in this area consistent with the Village Focus Plan.

The Planning Commission considered whether the use would promote public health, safety and welfare. There was concern that a setback variance would be required. In addition, the Chairperson stated that he felt that the development would make the goals of the Village Focus Area less viable. The Chairperson also stated that, although he did not feel that the use was a safety hazard, he was concerned about the location near a school.

The Planning Commission considered whether the proposed use would encourage use of the land in accord with its character and adaptability. The Chairperson pointed out that a major drug store had been considered and rejected for the area as not being in keeping with the village. In addition, there had been concern about a proposed soccer facility in the area.

Mr. Rakowski stated that he, too, had a problem seeing how this use would meet the criteria given its location in the Village Focus Area. Mr. Block agreed, especially given the high degree of building coverage proposed for the site.

The consensus of the Planning Commission was that the proposed use would not be compatible with the Village Focus Area Plan and with the general vicinity. Further, it was felt that the land could be used for a small retail use.

The applicant expressed the desire to withdraw the application. The Planning Commission members stated that they would permit the withdrawal. Therefore, no action was taken on the application.

SIGN TEXT - DRAFT 5

The Planning Commission reviewed Draft 5 of the proposed text regarding signage. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference. Ms. Stefforia reviewed the changes made from Draft 4. She indicated that a chart had been attached which could replace Sections 76.160, 76.170, and 76.180.

There was a discussion of the wall signage issue concerning multi-tenant buildings. Mr. Loy expressed that he felt allowing wall signage on non-tenant space would lead to visual clutter. After discussion, it was the consensus of the Planning Commission members that wall signage equal to one square foot for each lineal foot of tenant space should be allowed, but must be affixed to the tenant’s suite.

There was discussion of the proposed provision concerning industrial signage which would allow industrial buildings a free-standing or wall sign. It was felt by Planning Commission members that wall signs were not as necessary for industrial sites in that they were not generally patronized by the public.

Draft 6 would be discussed with the Township Board at the meeting of November 16, 1999.

INDUSTRIAL TEXT AMENDMENT - DISCUSSION ITEM

The Planning Commission discussed a memorandum from the Planning Department concerning proposed text amendments to the Industrial District provisions. There was a discussion of the purposes of the "I-R" and "I" Districts. The Planning Department had obtained ordinances from various other townships and cities to consider how they applied land use regulations to their light industrial districts. It was discovered that many allow offices within the Industrial District.

There was a discussion of the City of East Lansing’s provision concerning office/ industrial parks. The Planning Commission members agreed with the concept of allowing larger offices, scientific and research facilities. There was discussion of possibly limiting offices to a certain percentage of the "park". It was recognized that there was some concern with preserving industrial zoning for industrial use. The Planning Commission members agreed that they liked the concept of allowing accessory uses within an industrial park such as a restaurant.

The Chairperson sought public comment, and Dave Ash of PRC Bertolissi stated that he felt that the Township should allow office/industrial park development similar to that allowed in the Portage and Kalamazoo Commerce Parks. He felt that this would particularly enhance the 9th Street corridor.

It was agreed that the staff would draft an outline of proposed revisions to the industrial text provisions.

PLANNING COMMISSIONER COMMENTS

Mr. Block stated that there would be a meeting on November 8, 1999, of the "Convening the Community" group. Mr. Loy stated that an Oshtemo Business Association meeting would take place on November 17, 1999, at Pines West.

OTHER BUSINESS

The Chairperson stated that his proposed Agenda for the joint meeting with the Township Board was the sign ordinance provisions, communication tower changes, the definition of dwelling and the purpose and use of the Master Land Use Plan and zoning decisions.

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 9:40 p.m.

Minutes prepared:

November 2,1999

Minutes approved:

November 4, 1999