THE CHARTER TOWNSHIP OF OSHTEMO
Township Board Minutes
September 14, 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.
Supervisor Ron Fleckenstein
Clerk Deb Everett
Treasurer Lois Brown
Trustee Marvin Block
Trustee David Bushouse
Trustee Fred Johnson
Also present was Richard Reed, Township Attorney, Bob Snell and Larry Stehouwer, Township Engineers along with 40 interested people.
Motion made by Johnson, seconded by Block to approve the minutes of the August 24, 1999 and August 27, 1999 meetings as prepared. Carried.
Income to the General Fund of $23,358.14 and disbursements of $222,500.94 were reported. Income to Fire Fund of $3,253.25 and disbursements of were $51,428.56 were reported. Motion made by Block, seconded by Johnson to acknowledge the receipts and pay the bills. Carried.
Richard Schramm, 2001 South 4th Street, presented the Board with a letter and documents relating to his property at Stadium Drive and South 7th Street which had been denied for rezoning. He sought to clarify that the zoning text changed during the process of purchasing the property and asked the Board to reconsider their decision. Supervisor Fleckenstein responded he would contact Mr. Schramm for discussion of the matter.
Brian Maloney, owner of Rollerworld, 7491 Stadium Drive, whose property was included in the same denial as Mr. Schramm=s also asked the Board to reconsider their decision.
DANGEROUS BUILDING HEARING - 6137 HORIZON HEIGHTS
This item was back before the Board after being tabled at the July 13th meeting. Results from a May 19, 1999 hearing were presented by Ordinance Enforcement Officer Scott Paddock along with current photos of the property. Repairs required as a result of the May 19th hearing have not been done. It was Mr. Paddock=s recommendation to give the owner 60 days to bring the property into compliance then order the property razed.
Supervisor Fleckenstein reminded the Board this has been a long standing problem, at least 10 years, has consumed extensive staff and legal counsel time and feels it is time to bring this issue to a close.
Attorney Reed advised that State statue provides the owner must be given 60 days to make the required repairs before demolition. If demolition takes place the cost is billed to the owner and payable in 30 days. If not paid, the cost is placed as a lien against the property and placed on the next tax bill.
Motion made by Block, seconded by Johnson to accept the recommendation and approve the resolution allowing 60 days to make the required repairs and if not done, the property be demolished. Roll call vote showed Bushouse-yes, Johnson-yes, Block-yes, Brown-yes, Everett-yes, Fleckenstein-yes.
SPECIAL EXCEPTION USE TEXT CHANGE
A proposed text change amendment regarding Special Exception Use was presented for Second Reading. It would allow no application that had been denied could be resubmitted for one year except on grounds of changed circumstances and also that no expansion, alteration or change of a Special Exception Use could be made without approval of the Planning Commission.
There were no comments and a motion was made by Block, seconded by Johnson to approve the text change amendment. Roll call vote showed Bushouse-yes, Johnson-yes, Block-yes, Brown-yes, Everett-yes, Fleckenstein-yes.
REZONING REQUEST - NORTH DRAKE ROAD
An ordinance amendment, rezoning approximately 12.5 acres of land on North Drake Road, from R-2 to R-3 was presented for Second Reading.
There were no comments and a motion was made by Brown, seconded by Johnson to approve the rezoning. Roll call vote showed Block-yes, Bushouse-yes, Johnson-yes, Everett-yes, Brown-yes, Fleckenstein-yes.
Motion made by Everett, seconded by Block to amend the Master Land Use Plan from R-2 to R-3. Roll call vote showed Johnson-yes, Bushouse-yes, Everett-yes, Brown-yes, Block-yes, Fleckenstein-yes.
AMENDMENT TO NATIONAL ELECTRICAL CODE
Building Official Bob Horton requested that the Board amend our ordinance
Electrical Code to conform to State standards so the 1999 code will be automatically adopted.
Trustee Bushouse advised that the 1999 code should be in effect by October, therefore, we could wait and adopt it at that time. Attorney Reed advised the proposed change will bring our current code into compliance of the State rules.
Motion made by Johnson, seconded by Block to approve the change and amend the ordinance regarding the Electrical Code. Roll call vote showed Block-yes, Bushouse-yes, Johnson-yes, Everett-yes, Brown-yes, Fleckenstein-yes.
WEST MAIN WATER EXTENSION
The matter of a proposed water main extension on West Main from the Township Hall to 4th Street was back before the Board for the first public hearing.
Engineer Snell reviewed the district boundaries, the plans for the project and estimated cost. He further presented scenarios for financing the project using township funds and recouping the cost with a front footage assessment of $26.00 along with a benefit fee that would based on volume of use. He proposed no benefit fee for single family residential, 2 for duplex, and 3 for commercial uses.
Lynn Applegate, representing her father Robert Applegate of 977 North 6th Street, asked why the water could not be accessible from Almena since that would be closer for the businesses who want it. Engineer Snell adivsed a high pressure line is required on West Main due to topography, the line from Almena is low pressure.
Attorney Reed advised this hearing is to consider the district boundaries, project plans and cost. The assessment roll would be considered at a second hearing. He further stated that this district has brought forth issues the Township must deal with. Since Township policy has prohibited commercial strip development in an effort to maintain large rural residential sections, and since the road is 5 lanes wide, the water must go on both sides and due to elevation, must be a high pressure system. He further stated that by creating commercial nodes we have created the need for water in an area that can only be served by traversing areas of those who think they don=t need it, but we must in some fashion supply the need for those areas deliberately created as commercial nodes.
Stephen Bigelow, Attorney representing Norfolk Southern Corporation, presented the Board a formal objection to reserve right to future objection.
Steven Langeland, 6401 Old Log Trail, representing several property owners opposed to this project, presented to the Board a petition signed by property owners representing 20 % of the land area in the proposed district. He stated he believes a favorable petition of more than 50% of the land area in the current proposed district must be obtained, therefore, the petition as originally circulated is not valid. He further noted that one person who signed the original petition has changed his mind and signed the counter petition. He also noted an error in the notice that indicates the district going east from 6th Street on the north side of West Main. Engineer Snell adivsed the notice should have said 5th Street.
Lynn Sonnevil, 8613 West Main, stated he had received no information about this project, only a notice from the EPA regarding the Springwood project. Supervisor Fleckenstein advised he should have received a notice, this has been a high profile project and in fact there had been several articles in the Gazette. He further advised that this project is not related to the water project in Springwood Hills, the funding is a different source, and not available for other uses.
Lee Bontrager, 7981 West Main, stated he had not received a notice either and inquired if he could hook up to the water since his property is located next to the district. He felt since the water would be coming by his property at a later date he should be on the list now.
Lynn Applegate inquired why the line could not cross West Main at the Township Hall and go down the north side of West Main where there are more properties to share in the cost. Engineer Snell advised that crossings are usually done at intersections. Ms. Applegate stated her father is on a limited income, his land is in PA 116 and can not be developed, and the water would have no value to him. She felt the businesses should be paying for the project.
Brent Resh, representing Leaders Marine, 8518 West Main, stated that he can sympathize with the residents but the businesses are in favor of the project because they require the water to be able to build. He stated Leaders currently has an approved site plan but cannot move forward.
Randy VanDam, representing VanDam & Kruizenga and D & R Sports, 8178/8180 West Main, stated he also sympathizes with the residents, but their request is based on fire department requirements. He further stated perhaps the cost could be clarified; how many benefits would he pay and how long a term would it be spread, more information would be helpful. He also stated that insurance savings could be an offset of the costs.
Supervisor Fleckenstein inquired of Attorney Reed regarding the validity of the petition. Attorney Reed stated the petition has been certified as representing more than 50% of the land area and is sufficient; there is no time limit with regard to when a petition may be signed. Engineer Stehouwer advised that the person who had changed their mind had not been included in calculating the 50% in favor since all necessary signatures that those parcels were not on the original petition. Attorney Reed advised that the petition is valid, the counter petition is not effective since there is a valid petition with more than 50% in favor.
Treasurer Brown inquired if we are legally required to provide water by State statute. Attorney Reed advised that the statue does not provide that we must provide water, however, a situation has been created that has made it extremely difficult not to provide water; we can=t zone commercial and say we won=t provide water. Treasurer Brown stated that commercial nodes could be created to allow limited development.
Randy VanDam advised that their business was built before the current water flow requirements were in effect and they did not know this would be an issue.
Clerk Everett inquired if there had been other projects that the Township had paid for and then been reimbursed as properties were hooked up. She further asked if this must be done as a special assessment district.
Supervisor Fleckenstein and Treasurer Brown advised that in other large projects it is usually a developer who pays for the project. Treasurer Brown advised that the Township has not funded a project this large in the past.
Lynn Applegate asked if the businesses aren=t in effect developers and should bear the heavier burden, since they were aware of the availability of water when they built.
Treasurer Brown advised the name of the proposed district should be changed to 1999-3.
Trustee Bushouse stated he had received a letter from the Fire Department in response to his earlier concerns regarding their requirements. They advised the 1996 Fire Code and Appendix had been adopted. He further stated that he understands the Fire Department desire for water. He also felt the Township is obligated to finance the water extension with people paying when they hook up; this is a logical step and the water fund should be collecting for future projects.
Trustee Johnson stated he was sure we have searched for all available means, but maybe more information could be provided. He also felt the cost should be more to those who benefit more. He then made a motion to table the item and request figures regarding the cost, those who are interested in hooking up immediately and what they would pay. Several favorable comments were made regarding the motion. Engineer Snell advised the information could be provided at the next meeting on September 28th. The motion was seconded by Trustee Block. Carried.
PERSONNEL COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION
Personnel Committee Chairman Marv Block presented to the Board a revised salary step schedule which has 12 steps and reflects more accurately for cost of living. It provides that once step 12 is attained, salary increases would be limited to cost of living allowance. It is to be used as a guide, the entire step does not have to be given each year. Also presented to the Board were recommendations of the Committee regarding policies for outstanding performance, establishing a newly elected official=s compensation at the beginning step of the job level determined for that position, and in the case of any person appointed by the Board to complete a term, a beginning salary be established commensurate with experience. If the appointee wins election, the salary will be the beginning salary at the level designated for that position.
Trustee Bushouse objected to this process, stating that elected officials salaries have been set and people have entered positions at that range in the past. He felt this does not serve the best interest of attracting talented people for election seats.
Treasurer Brown questioned if a comparison was made with the previous chart, a level 5 step 7 on the old chart would be a level 5 step 3 on the new one. This sends a negative perception to the employee. She stated she would like more time for review and discussion with the Personnel Committee.
Trustee Block stated the previous chart had a larger percentage spread between steps, the proposed chart lessens the spread and allows more steps before reaching the maximum salary.
Motion made by Block, seconded by Johnson to approve the proposed salary step chart and recommendations of the Personnel Committee. Vote was tied with Block, Johnson and Fleckenstein voting yes and Brown, Bushouse and Everett voting no. The item will be returned to the Personnel Committee.
EXPANSION OF NO-DISCHARGE OF FIREARMS AREA
The Hunting Committee recently met with residents of the Leisure Point neighborhood on Drake Road regarding concerns of hunting activity on the west side of Drake Road at H Avenue. Their neighborhood has experienced problems with pellets falling on their residences as the hunting activity moves east due to development.
A recommendation from the Hunting Committee was presented to expand theANo Discharge of Fire Arms@ area from its current border, to GH Avenue on the North, Drake Road on the East and 10th Street on the West.
Trustee Bushouse inquired if residents in the effected area would be noticed of the DNR hearing, Attorney Reed advised they would.
Motion made by Johnson, seconded by Bushouse to adopt a resolution requesting that the DNR authorize expansion of the area. Roll call vote showed Johnson-yes, Bushouse-yes, Everett-yes, Brown-yes, Block-yes, Fleckenstein-yes.
AMENDMENT TO TRAFFIC CODE ORDINANCE
Supervisor Fleckenstein adivsed the Board that recent changes in the drunk driving laws of Michigan necessitates a change to our Traffic Code Ordinance. Tickets written under our ordinance provide revenues to the Township.
Motion made by Block, seconded by Johnson to set the proposed ordinance amendment for Second Reading on September 28th. Roll call vote showed Block-yes, Brown-yes, Everett-yes, Bushouse-yes, Johnson-yes.
PURCHASE OF EQUALIZER ASSESSING SOFTWARE
A request from Assessor Steve Hudson for the purchase of software for the assessing computer program was presented to the Board.
Trustee Bushouse inquired why this was not presented with other upgrades requests, i.e. tax and accounting programs. Treasurer Brown advised for the tax and assessing programs to be integrated a windows version of the assessing program is needed. Supervisor Fleckenstein advised this will complete the program updates.
Motion made by Brown, seconded by Everett to approve the purchase of the assessing software in the amount of $6,995.00. Carried.
AWARD CONTRACT-SANITARY SEWER-SOUTH 6TH ST
Supervisor Fleckenstein presented to the Board bids received for the installation of the sanitary sewer for the new fire station on South 6th Street. An estimate for this project was included in the previously approved construction costs.
Three bids were received:
Brigham Excavating $44,915
Peters Construction $47,984
Bailey Excavating $48,241
The Township Engineer=s recommendation was to accept the low bid from Brigham Excavating.
Trustee Bushouse inquired if the line would be installed to the property line as required by our ordinance. Engineer Snell advised he would verify that it would.
Motion made by Block, seconded by Johnson to authorize the project, extending to the property line. Carried.
BOARD MEMBER COMMENTS
Trustee Bushouse advised he will be absent from the November 9th meeting.
There was no further business and the meeting was adjourned at 9:40 p.m.
DEBORAH L. EVERETT
Attested: RON FLECKENSTEIN
Township Clerk Supervisor