OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

PLANNING COMMISSION

 

September 22, 2005

Agenda

CHEMICAL BANK - SPECIAL EXCEPTION USE AND SITE PLAN REVIEW - 6080 WEST MAIN STREET - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-14-288-060 AND 3905-14-288-070)

A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Planning Commission on Thursday, September 22, 2005, commencing at approximately 7:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall.

MEMBERS PRESENT: James Turcott, Chairman
Deborah L. Everett
Terry Schley
Mike Smith
Lee Larson
Kathleen Garland-Rike
Fred Gould

MEMBERS ABSENT: None

Also present were Jodi Stefforia, Planning Director; Mary Lynn Bugge, Township Planner; James W. Porter, Township Attorney; and approximately five other interested persons.

CALL TO ORDER

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

AGENDA

The Chairman asked if there were any changes to the Agenda. Ms. Stefforia said she would like to add a brief discussion regarding the Heritage Pines Plat to Item #5 "Other Business." Mr. Gould made a motion to approve the Agenda, as amended. The motion was seconded by Mr. Schley. The Chairman called for a vote on the motion, and the motion passed unanimously.

MINUTES

The Chairman stated that the next item was the minutes of September 8, 2005. Ms. Garland-Rike made a motion to approve the minutes as submitted. Mr. Smith seconded the motion. The Chairman called for a vote on the motion, and the motion passed unanimously.

CHEMICAL BANK - SPECIAL EXCEPTION USE AND SITE PLAN REVIEW - 6080 WEST MAIN STREET - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-14-288-060 AND 3905-14-288-070)

The Chairman said the next item up for consideration was a special exception use and site plan review for a proposed 3,100 square foot bank, with drive-through services, at 6080 West Main Street, Parcel Nos. 3905-14-288-060 and 3905-14-288-070. The Chairman asked to hear from the Planning Department. Ms. Stefforia submitted her report to the Planning Commission dated September 22, 2005, and the same is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Stefforia explained to the Planning Commission that the applicant was requesting a 3,100 square foot bank, with drive-through services. She said banks were a special exception use in the "R-3" Residence District and were subject to conditions and limitations as set forth in Section 23.404.

Ms. Stefforia then took the Commission through a review of the surrounding properties, noting their zoning and current occupied uses. Next, she reviewed with the Commission the provisions of Section 60, dealing with special exception use, and in conjunction therewith, Ms. Stefforia took the Commission through all of the individual criteria of Section 23.404. In so doing, she emphasized the need for a photometric plan, as well as a need to discuss with the applicant how lighting would be reduced during non-business hours. In addition, she explained that a landscaping plan would need to be submitted, which called for a Type C greenspace along property lines. She noted, however, that the applicant was asking for a deviation from the 20-foot greenspace requirement along the west property line to allow a reduction of six feet for a distance of approximately 140 feet.

Ms. Stefforia concluded her report by reviewing the provisions of Section 82 with regard to setback. She emphasized those areas that needed clarification or specific conditions attached to the proposed site plan.

The Chairman asked whether it was the drive to the east or the west for which the applicant could not meet the required distance separation. Ms. Stefforia said, under the Access Management Guidelines, it was the distance to the drive to the east which did not fully satisfy the 275-foot spacing requirement.

The Chairman asked to hear from the applicant. Mr. Michael Mair, of the Kalleward Group, introduced himself to the Planning Commission. He said that he wanted to expound on some of the items raised in the Planning Department's report. He noted that the height of the proposed structure at its peak was 25 feet 8 inches, but according to the Township Ordinance, measuring the roof at the midpoint would result in a building height of 18 feet.

Mr. Mair pointed out that the building would only occupy 5% of the site, when 30% coverage was allowed. He emphasized the shared access with the property to the east, which would allow the property to the east to abandon its existing drive when it developed in the future.

Mr. Mair said they would like to see a deviation for the greenspace to the west, in order to provide the appropriate turn radius for the Fire Department. He also noted that the deviation requested along their west property line would be abutting a parking lot serving the office building to the west.

Mr. Mair indicated that the hours for the bank would be from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday, with no late evening hours planned.

Mr. Mair drew attention to the proposed lighting on site, noting that it would all be sharp cut-off lighting, directing the light downward. He said they would have a photometric study done and present it to the Township Planning Department.

The Chairman asked Mr. Mair if the drive-through would have the same hours as the bank itself. Mr. Mair indicated that it would. The Chairman asked what the ATM hours would be. Mr. Mair said he believed that the ATM would be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Mr. Mair noted that he thought they provided for ample stacking for any cars accessing the site, as well as adequate parking.

Mr. Larson asked why the applicant wanted to construct 24 parking spaces, when the Township Ordinance only required 17 spaces. Mr. Mair said that the bank hoped to be successful. He said, since they were bringing the driveway as far north as they were, they thought it was prudent to use the internal space for additional parking, and that, if necessary, they could accommodate a reduction in the overall parking. Mr. Larson asked how many employees the bank would have. Mr. Mair said they would have four to six employees.

The Chairman asked if most of the people accessing the site would use the drive-through. The Chemical Bank representative, Mark Montross, said that it would be approximately 50/50. The Chairman said, as he had mentioned earlier, that he thought that the stacking would be adequate, but asked how many vehicles could be accommodated in each of the drive-through lanes. Mr. Mair said each lane could accommodate five, one in service and four waiting for service.

The Chairman asked if there would be a reduction in lighting after hours. Mr. Mair indicated that there would. Mr. Schley asked if this would be based on a time clock. Mr. Mair verified that a timer would be used.

Mr. Schley asked if many of the bank documents would be handled internally through a shredder, and if that was the reason why a dumpster was not being proposed. Mr. Montross acknowledged that was the case. Mr. Schley asked if any of the paper would be recycled. Mr. Montross said that he was not sure.

Ms. Bugge asked what the percentage of people accessing the property would be after hours. Mr. Montross said that he did not have that information, and that it would be hard to determine that for a new location.

The Chairman opened the public portion of the meeting and asked for public comment. Mr. Bruce Kroeze introduced himself to the Commission. He said that he had a couple of issues that he wanted to know about, since he owned the property directly north of the site. He first asked what the landscaping requirements would be along the property's northern border. He also raised a concern because a surveyor on site had mentioned that the developer was looking to cut several of the pine trees on what he believed to be his property. Mr. Mair said that the applicant had absolutely no intention of disturbing any of the trees on the north property line. He also reassured Mr. Kroeze that Oshtemo Charter Township had very good landscaping standards, which they would adhere to in order to screen his property.

The Chairman asked if there was any further public comment. Hearing none, he called for Commission deliberations.

The Chairman began deliberations by noting that many of the issues raised by the Planning Department had been addressed by Mr. Mair. He asked what the Planning Department would require within the greenspace if the deviation requested was granted. Ms. Stefforia pointed out that both a Type A and a Type B greenspace are allowed within a ten-foot area, so she was of the opinion they could accommodate the requested deviation with the required number of plantings within the remaining 14 feet provided on the site plan.

Ms. Everett said she did not think allowing the deviation would be a problem, since the facility to the west was a commercial building, and the subject property would be abutting the parking lot. She said she was most concerned about the property owners to the north and wanted to focus on that issue. Ms. Garland-Rike said she was concerned about the property to the north, as well. She noted that many pine trees tend to lose their lower branches and do not provide an effective screen, and she was concerned about the lights shining onto the properties to the north. Ms. Stefforia noted, for the Commission's consideration, that Type C landscaping does not contain any pine trees. Ms. Garland-Rike said she would encourage the developer to provide dense foliage in order to screen the properties to the north.

Mr. Schley asked if the elevation of Bertolissi's parking lot was lower than the subject property. Ms. Stefforia said she thought it was. Mr. Schley said that he did not believe it would be a problem to reduce the screening to the west, given that it was abutting a parking lot and given the change in grade. The Chairman said he thought that the major concerns being voiced were with regard to the property to the north.

Mrs. Kroeze said she thought the trees shown on the site plan were on their property, but to the extent that any of their trees were being shown as screening, she wanted the Planning Commission to know they did not have any branches six to eight feet above the ground. Ms. Everett asked for clarification regarding the property line.

The Chairman then asked what type of screening would be necessary. Ms. Stefforia said a Type C would be necessary, but noted that the applicant was not requesting credit for the existing trees in the area. Ms. Everett asked what Type C screening would consist of. Ms. Stefforia said it would consist of two canopy trees, four understory trees, and six shrubs of three to thirteen feet tall at maturity, per 100 feet. She said, in this case, they have 240 feet along the north boundary line, and therefore would require 2.4 times the number of trees she had just listed.

Mr. Larson said he would like to see less driveway and parking as well as additional screening. Ms. Garland-Rike said, while she thought it was a good use for the property, she would like to see the applicant lessen the amount of pavement and provide assurances that there would be adequate screening for the properties to the north. She said typically people have their bedrooms in the rear of their home, and headlights pointing north would create undue intrusion on the residences to the north.

Mr. Schley said he liked the counter-clockwise traffic pattern, but noted that sharing the drive with the east property created a need, not only to screen the subject property, but to screen that area of the shared drive for the property to the east.

Ms. Everett asked Mr. Larson how far back he would like to see the pavement moved. Mr. Larson said approximately ten feet in order to encourage less pavement and a deeper green space. The Chairman said he was not sure that they would necessarily get more plantings in that area. Mr. Larson said that might be true, but if the pavement was moved ten feet further to the south and the front of the property perhaps graded a bit lower, they could create a bit of a bank to create an additional buffer to the properties to the north.

Mr. Schley asked the applicant if they would be willing to reduce the number of parking spaces. Mr. Mair said that one of the difficulties was handling the change in grade, from the front of the property moving northward. He said, in order to balance the site and use the joint drive with the property to the east, it was necessary to take the drive as far north as they had planned. He said, given the extent of the drive, the result was to simply open up enough parking area for 27 spaces. He asked that the Planning Commission take into account the extensive greenspace provided within the site itself, as well as on the north and south sides of the proposed site. He said, while they could possibly pull back from the northern edge of the property, he would not want to make any final decisions until they had talked to their engineer.

Mr. Schley asked if the Planning Commission's concern was that there was too much pavement, or whether the concern was the headlights affecting the properties to the north. The Chairman said his main concern was the lighting issue. Mr. Larson said, while he would like to see more greenspace, he was also concerned about traffic lights, as well as the lighting on the property itself.

Mr. Schley said he thought it was an either/or subject - either move the development further to the south or put in a hedge or possibly a fence. Mr. Mair said he agreed, and his client would be willing to provide additional screening, including a hedge, to protect the properties to the north. Ms. Stefforia said that, while she understood the Commission's concern, this was not a commercial use; it was an office use.

Ms. Everett said that, while the hours of the operation were important, she did not want to have the lights intrude on the neighbors to the north. She thought the problem could be solved with appropriate screening, both for the properties to the north and to the northeast. Mr. Schley pointed out that, once the cars made their first turn onto the property, any headlights from the cars would be pointed westward and would no longer be a problem. Ms. Everett agreed and said, while she would like to see more greenspace, she thought that the screening issue was the most important.

Mrs. Kroeze said her primary concern was the fact that their property was totally open to the property to the south. Mr. Kroeze said he would like to see something done to provide a barrier between their property and the bank. Mr. Mair said that his client would be more than willing to work with the neighbors to get their input and satisfy them with regard to the screening requirements.

Ms. Garland-Rike said she was still concerned about there being too much asphalt and parking on site. She noted, as she had stated in previous meetings, that the parking requirements in Oshtemo were quite liberal, and she certainly did not think they needed parking spaces beyond what was allowed by the Ordinance. Mr. Mair pointed out that they were only building on five percent of the site, and that there were extensive greenspaces internally, as well as on the north and south sides of the project.

Mr. Schley said he understood the concerns raised, and that parking was an issue which could be considered as a condition of the special exception, but with the north and south orientation of the parking, he thought the impact on the public's view of the parking was diminished. Therefore, he recommended that the Planning Commission concentrate more on screening than on parking. He suggested that the focus be on what type of screening would address the concerns expressed by the Commission and the neighbors. Ms. Everett agreed and said she could live with the parking, if there was adequate screening. The Chairman said he agreed. Mr. Larson said that he could agree, if they would address the parking lot lighting as well.

The Chairman asked what it would take to provide for adequate screening. Ms. Stefforia said she would like to see the applicant and the neighbors meet and discuss what would satisfy both parties and then return to Staff for a final determination. The Chairman said he thought that would be adequate if the screening was established sufficient to avoid light spilling onto the neighbors' property. Mr. Schley said he would be comfortable with that, provided that there was an agreement to also provide adequate screening for the driveway to the east and that it be made part of the Shared Access Agreement and Easement approved by the Township.

The Chairman asked if there was any further discussion on the matter. Hearing none, the Chairman called for a motion. Ms. Garland-Rike made a motion to approve the special exception use, as submitted, provided that:

(1) The applicant would meet with the neighbors to the north and reach an agreement on appropriate screening and have the same reviewed and approved by Township Staff.

(2) The parking lot lighting on the northwest portion of the property would be reduced in height and moved further to the south.

(3) There would be a reduction in lighting during non-business hours.

(4) A deviation would be granted for the greenspace width to the west. The deviation would be reduced six feet for a length of 140 feet in accordance with the site plan.

Mr. Larson seconded the motion. The Chairman called for further discussion, and hearing none, he called for a vote on the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

The Chairman called for a motion on the site plan. Ms. Everett made a motion to approve the site plan as submitted, subject to the following conditions:

(1) Approval is subject to obtaining appropriate permits from MDOT for the driveway and sidewalk.

(2) A Shared Access Easement and Maintenance Agreement with the adjacent property owner, including a 15-foot long by 20-foot wide greenspace along the north boundary line abutting the entrance drive, must be submitted to the Township for approval and subsequently recorded.

(3) Provision of a five-foot-wide sidewalk in conformance with MDOT standards in the West Main Street right-of-way is required.

(4) All parking must conform to Section 68.000 and Section 23.404.

(5) Approval shall be contingent upon submitting final building elevations for Staff review and finding them compatible with the site plan and within Ordinance limitations regarding height.

(6) All lighting shall comply with Section 78.700. A photometric plan and details of all exterior light fixtures shall be submitted to the Township for review and approval.

(7) All signs shall comply with Section 76.000.

(8) Landscaping in accordance with Section 75 shall be provided, except for the deviation along the west property line.

(9) A formal landscaping plan shall be submitted before a Building Permit may be issued.

(10) Landscaping shall be installed before a Certificate of Occupancy will be granted, or a Performance Guarantee, consistent with the provisions of Section 82.950, must be provided.

(11) Re-description of the property lines must occur and be evidenced by recorded documents prior to the issuance of a Building Permit.

(12) Site plan approval shall be subject to the applicant satisfying Fire Department requirements pursuant to the adopted codes.

(13) Site engineering and stormwater management are subject to review and a finding by the Township Engineer that they are adequate.

(14) Approval is subject to extension of the public sewer to the site.

(15) All utilities shall be underground.

(16) The Hazardous Substance Reporting Form and the Environmental Permits Checklist must be submitted before a Building Permit may be issued.

Mr. Smith seconded the motion. Upon vote, the motion passed unanimously. Mr. Larson asked to make one final comment. He told the applicant and Mr. Mair from the Kalleward Group that he appreciated the underground stormwater system.

Other Business

Ms. Bugge told the Planning Commission that, at the time Heritage Pines appeared before the Planning Commission, they were given two options to address the non-motorized pathway. She said they were given the option of a sidewalk or bike path, when they should have been given three options, which would have been a sidewalk, bike path or bike lane. She asked whether the Commission wanted to reconsider its requirement to install a bike path.

A discussion of the Planning Commission ensued with regard to the appropriate location for the use of sidewalks, bike paths and/or bike lanes. The difference between a bike lane and a bike path were discussed. A bike path is eight feet wide and separated from the road right-of-way, while a bike lane consists of a widening of the shoulder of the road.

Various points of view were expressed with regard to the safety of bike lanes versus bike paths and what the appropriate width for bike paths and bike lanes should be. After a fairly lengthy discussion, it was the consensus of the Commission to continue to work on this matter in order to better refine the standards and appropriate criteria upon which to base a decision as to what type of non-motorized pathway should be installed adjacent to future developments. Ms. Stefforia said she would put this matter on one of the Commission's upcoming work sessions.

Planning Commissioner Comments

None.

Adjournment

There being no further business, the meeting at approximately 8:30 p.m.

OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP
PLANNING COMMISSION

By:
Kathleen Garland-Rike

Minutes prepared:
September 27, 2005

Minutes approved:
, 2005