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OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

PLANNING COMMISSION

September 27, 2001

Agenda

SOUTH 11TH STREET - REZONING (PARCEL NOS. 3905-25-335-011, 3905-25-335-015, 3905-25-335-030, 3905-25-335-040, 3905-25-335-050, 3905-25-335-060 AND 3905-25-390-010) - PUBLIC HEARING

OSHTEMO WOODS (OSHTEMO INVESTORS, LLC) - STEP I PLAT REVIEW - NORTH OF VENTURE PARK, WEST OF SOUTH 11TH STREET - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-25-105-010 AND 3905-24-335-020)

BUCKHAM HIGHLANDS SITE CONDOMINIUM PROJECT - SITE PLAN AMENDMENT - EAST SIDE OF SOUTH 9TH STREET (PARCEL NOS. 3905-23-205-024 AND 3905-23-130-035)

A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Planning Commission on Thursday, September 27, 2001, commencing at approximately 7:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Neil G. Sikora, Chairperson
Ted Corakis
Kathleen Garland-Rike
Stanley Rakowski
Deborah Everett
Elizabeth Heiny-Cogswell

MEMBER ABSENT: James Turcott

Also present were Jodi Stefforia, Planning Director; Mary Lynn Bugge, Township Planner; Patricia R. Mason, Township Attorney; and approximately 30 other interested persons.

CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order at 7:02 p.m.

AGENDA

Mr. Corakis moved to approve the Agenda as submitted, and Ms. Heiny-Cogswell seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

MINUTES

The Planning Commission considered the minutes of the meeting of September 13, 2001. Ms. Everett moved to approve the minutes as submitted, and Mr. Rakowski seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

Ms. Bugge indicated that the Planning Commission should consider a revision to the minutes of August 23, 2001, to amend them to state that access would be denied to certain lots to 9th Street rather than 11th Street as stated in the minutes. These corrections were appropriate as to the West Port Trails item. The typographical errors appear on pages 3 and 4. Mr. Rakowski moved to amend the minutes to refer to North 9th Street rather than 11th Street, and Ms. Everett seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

SOUTH 11TH STREET - REZONING (PARCEL NOS. 3905-25-335-011, 3905-25-335-015, 3905-25-335-030, 3905-25-335-040, 3905-25-335-050, 3905-25-335-060 AND 3905-25-390-010) - PUBLIC HEARING

The Planning Commission conducted a public hearing on the proposed rezoning request of William Eichelberg, as expanded by the Planning Commission, to rezone seven properties on the west side of South 11th Street, between Crystal Lane and Stadium Drive, from the "R-2" Residence to the "R-3" Residence District zoning classification. The Planning Commission would also consider amendment to the Master Land Use Plan to reclassify the area as "Transitional" from "Multi-Family Residential". The properties to be considered for rezoning include the following: 2854 South 11th Street, 2808 South 11th Street, 2820 South 11th Street, 2800 South 11th Street, 2780 South 11th Street, 2632 South 11th Street and a vacant property. The subject property is comprised of Parcel Nos. 3905-25-335-011, 3905-25-335-015, 3905-25-335-030, 3905-25-335-040, 3905-25-335-050, 3905-25-335-060 and 3905-25-390-010.

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

Ms. Stefforia reported that the applicant initially requested the rezoning of 2632 South 11th Street from the "R-2" to the "R-3" Residence District. This would allow for office use of the property. The Planning Commission expanded the request for public hearing purposes to include all parcels between the existing Commercial Local Business District to the north and the "R-4" Residence District zoning to the south.

The "R-3" District allows for office uses by right and office buildings by special exception use. Therefore, some of the residences on these parcels could eventually be converted to office use. A new office building would require special exception use approval. The conversion of an existing residence to an office would require only site plan review.

Ms. Stefforia indicated that of the seven parcels, three were rental properties, three are owner-occupied and one is currently vacant. No nonconforming situation would be created by rezoning.

Ms. Stefforia reminded the Planning Commission that the Master Land Use Plan currently designates the property as "Multi-Family Residential". Therefore, reclassification to the "Transitional" classification would be required. She noted that the "R-3" District is designed as a transitional district to permit residential development together with other uses that do not generate a lot of traffic, congestion and parking problems; these uses are designed to be compatible with surrounding residential uses.

Ms. Stefforia reviewed the zoning and land use adjacent to the subject property. North of the property is zoned "C" Local Business with medical office building use. To the east is "R-3" Residence zoning with a mix of offices, homes and a church. To the south and west is "R-4" Residence zoning with senior housing and assisted-living facilities.

Ms. Stefforia reviewed the criteria for a rezoning request, first considering whether the proposed rezoning was supported by the adopted Master Land Use Plan. Again, it was indicated that this area is designated "Multi-Family Residential". Reclassification to "Transitional" would be required. Reference was made to the Master Land Use Plan descriptions of these two classifications.

Second, the Planning Commission was to consider to whether the proposed rezoning would severely impact traffic, public facilities and natural characteristics of the surrounding area, or significantly change population density. It was felt that office use would not significantly change density or negatively impact traffic. It was pointed out that "R-3" zoning does allow for three to four family homes. However, water and sewer service are available.

As to whether the rezoning would constitute a spot zone, Ms. Stefforia felt that the existing zoning was almost a spot since it was in place amongst "R-3", "R-4" and commercial zoning.

As to whether the proposed rezoning would be contrary to the established land use pattern, it was felt that the existing land uses in the area, being mixed, would support the rezoning.

As to whether the rezoning would stimulate further rezonings in the area, Ms. Stefforia felt that this was not probable since the area was bounded by the Commercial District and the AT&T right-of-way to the north. To the south, the property is part of the Crystal Lane retirement/senior assisted living campus.

The Planning Commission would also consider whether there had been a change in conditions in the surrounding areas which would support the proposed rezoning. Ms. Stefforia stated that one of the landowners in the area had submitted a letter indicating that he felt there had been changes in the area, which made it undesirable for single-family use. As to whether there are other sites available, Ms. Stefforia indicated that there was not a lot of "R-3" zoned property in the Township, and of what there is, most is not currently vacant and available.

Frank Eichelberg was present in support of the application. He indicated that he represents Eichelberg Builders. Eichelberg Builders currently has an office in the Holiday Terrace Complex but wanted a larger office. It was felt that this site would be good for a small office building. Mr. Eichelberg described Eichelberg Builders as providing quality offices, commercial and residential structures in Oshtemo Charter Township and in the area in general. He felt that rezoning the property would increase the property values in the area. He pointed out that the property to the south of that optioned by Eichelberg Builders had been on the market for some time. In his opinion, "R-3" zoning was appropriate in that office use would be compatible with area residential use.

In response to questioning by Mr. Rakowski, Mr. Eichelberg stated that Eichelberg Builders has an option on the property at 2632 South 11th Street. Further Eichelberg Builders might be interested in acquiring the property which is currently on the market. He stated that it was the plan to demolish the existing building and construct a small office building. At present, the plans did not include shared access.

Ms. Stefforia reminded the Planning Commission that they could not consider a specific use or site plan, but would have to consider all uses which would be allowed in the "R-3" zone.

The Chairperson asked for public comment, and Jim Putman stated he had no objection to the proposal. However, he would like to see a shared drive for his property which is the "v-shaped" property to the north. His site has only 190 feet of frontage.

Brent Rush, owner of the property optioned by Eichelberg Builders, stated that the property had been used as a rental home, but it was hard to justify expenditure of monies to improve the building because rents in the area would not justify such improvements.

Greg Taylor, representing Westwood Office Park, stated that, given the traffic in the area, he would like the applicant to consider adding a deceleration lane or a "thru traffic lane" at the site planning stage. However, he felt that offices in general would be a good use of the property in this area.

Jan Thompson, who lives south of the property optioned by Eichelberg Builders, and within the seven parcels being considered, stated that she and her husband had built their home 34 years ago. They were concerned that their lot is only 70 feet wide and did not know whether the house could be used for office use because there may not be sufficient room for parking. She stated that she really was not for and was really not against the proposal.

The Chairperson indicated that there were some protections within the "R-3" District to assure adjacent property use for residential use, but the office use would be compatible.

There was no other public comment, and the public hearing was closed. The Chairperson summarized the application.

It was the consensus of the Planning Commission that the Master Land Use Plan, although it did not currently support the rezoning, should be amended to designate the area in question as "Transitional". Ms. Garland-Rike commented that the area was one involving mixed uses, and she felt that the "Transitional" classification would be in keeping with that character. Mr. Corakis agreed, stating that he believed there had been many changes in the area in the last 10 to 15 years, and he felt that the current use and classifications were inappropriate. Mr. Rakowski agreed that amendment to the "Transitional" classification would be in order due to changes in the area, including the increased traffic that could be expected due to the Western Michigan University development. Ms. Everett pointed out that the area was currently designated for multi-family use in the Plan, but that if developed as classified, this would lead to much more density than if developed in the "R-3" District. She felt the area could benefit from less residential density.

There was discussion of whether all or a portion of the parcels should be rezoned at this time, and Mr. Corakis indicated that he felt that the entire area should be rezoned so that there was no spot zoning.

Mr. Rakowski commented that he would like to see shared drives encouraged in the site plan review process, particularly for small lots or parcels.

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell indicated she agreed with Ms. Everett's comments concerning use of the property for those uses allowed in the "R-3" District as being more beneficial to area than if developed as multi-family.

The Chairperson noted that the Township had received correspondence from the owners of the property south of the Thompson parcel, Mr. and Mrs. Langkam, who are in support of the rezoning.

Charles Jacobs, who lives at 2820 South 11th Street, indicated that he was concerned that his property was too narrow for office use. Ms. Bugge pointed out that the home currently on the site could be converted to office use, and the back of the parcel used for parking. However, the parcel could continue for use as a single-family home.

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell had questions with regard to the controls on nonresidential development in the "R-3" District, and it was pointed out that, with regard to office buildings, the Planning Commission could modify landscaping and other requirements through the special exception use process to protect residential use in the area. Given this, Ms. Heiny-Cogswell indicated her support for the rezoning of all the parcels at this time.

It was the Planning Commission's consensus that the proposed rezoning would not severely impact traffic, public facilities and the natural characteristics of the surrounding area, or significantly change population density. Mr. Corakis commented that offices generally generate less traffic impact than residential use. Mr. Rakowski felt that others other uses in the area would generate more traffic, but that this rezoning to the "R-3" would allow for less traffic than if the area were developed "R-4". Mr. Corakis felt that the area is a prime area for office development, given the street networks in the area, etc.

Planning Commissioners reasoned that, if the entire area were rezoned to the "R-3" District, it would not constitute a spot zone. The Planning Commissioners also agreed that the established land use pattern in the area would support the rezoning, given the range of uses currently in the area. Planning Commissioners also felt that rezoning would not stimulate further inappropriate rezoning requests. Planning Commissioners recognized that there had been changes in conditions in the surrounding area which would support the proposed rezoning. The Western Michigan Research Park and Engineering School, as well as the development of offices across the street were cited. Further, there was a new assisted-living facility in the area as well as a new hotel.

Planning Commissioners agreed that there were not sufficient adequate sites in the area for the proposed use.

Mr. Rakowski moved to amend the Master Land Use Plan to reclassify the area in question to the "Transitional" classification and to rezone all seven parcels to the "R-3" District zoning classification. His motion was based upon the analysis of the rezoning criteria by the Planning Commission. Mr. Corakis seconded the motion.

The Chairperson asked for public comment on the motion, and Jean Burns of 3000 South 11th Street had questions with regard to the scope of the motion. She also had questions as to whether the Planning Commission would rezone south of Crystal Lane. It was pointed out that there were no immediate plans by the Township to change the zoning of this area and that the Master Land Use Plan designated the area south of Crystal Lane for multi-family use.

Mr. Rakowski reiterated that he would like to see consideration of shared drives in the site plan review process.

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

OSHTEMO WOODS (OSHTEMO INVESTORS, LLC) - STEP I PLAT REVIEW - NORTH OF VENTURE PARK, WEST OF SOUTH 11TH STREET - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-25-105-010 AND 3905-24-335-020)

The Planning Commission conducted Step I plat review for recommendation to the Township Board of a proposed 59-lot subdivision to be known as Oshtemo Woods. The subject property is located north of Venture Park, west of South 11th Street and is Parcel Nos. 3905-25-105-010 and 3905-24-335-020.

Ms. Bugge indicated that the property is zoned "R-1" with a small portion zoned "R-2". All of Phase I of the Plat would be located within the "R-1" Residence District. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference. Phase I would consist of 59 single-family lots on approximately 28 acres. Each site would be served by public sewer and water. It was pointed out that the lots comply with the minimum dimensional requirements of the Township for single-family residences serviced by sewer and water. They range in size from 11,095 square feet to 24,086 square feet.

All roads in the proposed Plat would be public. They would be subject to approval by and dedication to the Kalamazoo County Road Commission. It was noted that Castleton and Lamplighter Lanes, existing roads in the Whitegate development, would be extended to the west. Additionally, Coddington Lane is proposed to extend west from 11th Street. It was also the intension intention of the developer to extend Oshtemo Woods Lane south to Venture Park Road. Ms. Bugge suggested that plans for this portion of the road and any modifications to the condominium development should be finalized prior to proceeding to Step II of the platting process. However, even if Oshtemo Woods Lane were not extended, the Plat would be served by two access points.

It was pointed out that stormwater retention/detention basins would be dedicated to the Kalamazoo County Drain Commissioner or the Road Commission as appropriate. They are subject to their review and approval.

Ms. Bugge pointed out that the Planning Commission would be providing a review and recommendation to the Township Board. The Township is obligated to approve the Plat if it complies with State law and Township ordinances.

Ms. Bugge reported that the applicant would need a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals to allow for a land division in that the parcel remaining after platting in Phase I would not have 200 feet of road frontage.

In response to questions from the Chairperson, Ms. Bugge indicated that the Township Engineer, Drain Commissioner and Road Commission would need to review and approve the retention and detention basins as appropriate.

Jeff Gardner of Oshtemo Investors, LLC, was present on behalf of the application. He noted that the applicant had initially sought rezoning of the parcel, which was denied. He felt that this proposed development meets all the requirements for the "R-1" District. In response to questions from the Chairperson, Mr. Gardner estimated that there would be two phases total for the project.

Mr. Corakis asked whether sidewalks or bike paths would be proposed and encouraged the developer to include sidewalks and bike paths in the Plat.

The Chairperson asked for public comment, and George Betton, a resident of Castleton Lane, asked about price range, and the applicant indicated that had not yet been determined. Mr. Betton was in favor of the connection of Oshtemo Woods Lane south to Venture Park, commenting that, if this extension were not made, there would be a lot of increased traffic through the Whitegate Plat. He encouraged the retention of as many trees as possible on the site and noted there were large oak trees in the vicinity of the retention basin that should be taken into consideration. He felt that property values would be increased for the developer if these trees were retained. He was concerned that the lots appear to be shallow.

Paul Konke was concerned about the effect of the development on the Whitegate neighborhood. He was opposed to change, but he wanted to keep the existing ambiance of the area. He was also concerned about traffic.

Brian Bergman, a resident of Powderhorn, had questions with regard to the applicable setback.

Scott Schrum also advocated the Oshtemo Woods Lane connection to Venture Park so as to avoid increased traffic on Lamplighter and Powderhorn. He stated that he hoped the Plat would include an area for recreation or play area. He was also concerned about retaining existing trees.

George Fiala, of Castleton Lane, recognized that the project was being developed in accord with its current zoning. He noted that the residents had opposed previous rezoning requests, and he felt that this Plat development was acceptable. He, however, shared concerns about the increased traffic and wanted to encourage the extension of Oshtemo Woods Lane to Venture Park.

The applicant indicated that they were in favor of connecting to Venture Park Road and that this would require the Venture Park Condominium Association to amend its condominium documents. They were in the process of doing so, and he was confident that this extension would go forward. The applicant indicated that they would be retaining as many trees as possible.

In response to comments by Ms. Garland-Rike, the applicant indicated that it was difficult to get the County Road Commission to work with the developer to "jog around" established trees. Further, the applicant indicated that they would consider establishing a park for the neighborhood but were concerned about possible liability and other issues. They might consider dedicating a park area to the Township.

Diane Mosley indicated that she bought her property because there was little traffic in the area and a lot of open space. She was concerned about the development.

The Chairperson observed that most residents of the Whitegate Plat appeared to be in favor of the extension of the Oshtemo Woods Lane connection to Venture Park.

The Chairperson asked for Board comment, and Ms. Heiny-Cogswell expressed concern about the habitat in the area and encouraged the Township Park Committee to pursue the possibility of a public recreation area in the Plat. She also felt that the Township should employ an arborist to assess the historic trees and try to preserve them.

Mr. Corakis stated that he felt that economic conditions would encourage the applicant to preserve trees in that the more trees, the more valuable the lots.

The Chairperson closed public comment and summarized the application.

Mr. Corakis moved to recommend tentative approval of the preliminary plat of Oshtemo Woods Plat Phase I with the following conditions, limitations and notations:

(1) That a legal opinion of ownership and use conditions/easements regarding the subject property be recorded and on file with the Township as required by Section 290.201.

(2) That a letter of recommendation from the Kalamazoo County Road Commission be received and on file with the Township.

(3) That plans for Oshtemo Woods Lane extension to Venture Park Road and the necessary modifications to the Venture Park Condominium project should be completed prior to Step II of the platting process.

(4) That all streets, being public, be reviewed and approved by the Kalamazoo County Road Commission.

(5) That the Township Board grant a variance to allow Coddington Lane to exceed the 1,000 foot length.

(6) That street lighting comply with Section 78.700.

(7) That the developer be encouraged to preserve the historic trees at the site to the extent possible, to establish a recreation area, and to include sidewalks in the project.

The motion was seconded by Ms. Garland-Rike.

Ms. Everett commented that, if there was a park established as a Township park, it would be open to everyone within the Township. If the residents wanted to retain the park only for use by the community, then a community association could be created.

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

BUCKHAM HIGHLANDS SITE CONDOMINIUM PROJECT - SITE PLAN AMENDMENT - EAST SIDE OF SOUTH 9TH STREET (PARCEL NOS. 3905-23-205-024 AND 3905-23-130-035)

The Planning Commission considered the application of Jim Beyer and Steve Seymoure of Bey-Moure, LLC, for amendment of the Buckham Highlands site condominium development. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

The applicants were seeking to reconfigure the Buckham Highlands open space community site condominium project. They proposed to abandon the open space community concept, preferring to develop a 48-unit single-family site condominium development. The original development was approved as a 40-unit open space community of two-family dwellings (therefore, up to 80 dwellings could be established at the site). To date, Units 1-23 had been officially established. Only single-family homes have been built. The layout would be further amended to modify the streets and loop them to meet Kalamazoo County Road Commission standards. More than 40% of the development area would still be dedicated as open space. Public sewer and water serve a portion of the development and would be extended to serve all sites.

Ms. Stefforia noted that the applicant's engineer indicated that the Kalamazoo County Road Commission would not require a temporary turnaround easement on Units 16 and 36, provided they are deed restricted to place their respective driveways on Caddam Wood Avenue. Written verification of the Kalamazoo County Road Commission position on the subject future road should be provided before the condominium amendments are recorded.

Gary Hahn and Jim Beyer were available to answer questions on behalf of the applicant. The Chairperson questioned Mr. Hahn and Mr. Beyer concerning the area along 9th Street and the trees in place. It was indicated that this area was intended to have trees pursuant to the requirements of the Ordinance. The developer had planted some trees and would continue to plant in order to screen the project from 9th Street. Ms. Stefforia indicated that the Ordinance required Type A landscaping in this area.

In response to questions from Mr. Corakis, the applicant stated that the open space area would be kept as natural as possible. There was discussion of renaming some of the public road area so as not to cause confusion.

The Chairperson asked for public comment, and Tom Brodasky, a resident of Buckham Wood Drive, asked that the Planning Commission approve the changes. He felt that the change to the road configuration would improve traffic flow, and he felt the new open space area would be beneficial. He recognized that some of the trees on 9th Street appeared to have been damaged by the harsh winter, but he felt that many of them would come back.

Helen Brodasky commented that the trees along 9th Street do create a "block" which screens the view from her house to 9th Street. She felt that the developer was doing a good job with the project.

Jim Beyer stated that the open space area does have existing trees, and they plan to preserve as many as possible. He felt that the original layout would not preserve existing trees as well as the amended layout.

Zafer Khaj owns neighboring property just south, and he indicated that he was not opposed to the project. He, however, had some questions which were answered.

The Chairperson closed public comment, and Ms. Garland-Rike commented that she was pleased with the changes to the project, feeling that they fit within her idea of new traditional neighborhood development. She made reference to the Master Land Use Plan as to the 9th Street Overlay Area.

The Chairperson summarized the application.

Ms. Garland-Rike moved to approve the site plan amendment, subject to the following conditions, limitations and notations:

(1) That written verification of the Kalamazoo County Road Commission's requirements as to Units 16 and 36 be provided before condominium amendments are recorded. This verification was required as to the deed restrictions to be placed on Units 16 and 36 as to their respective driveways being placed on Caddam Wood Avenue. Any deed restrictions required by Kalamazoo County Road Commission must be satisfied.

(2) That the Planning Commission's approval is subject to the applicant's compliance with the provisions of the Condominium Act.

(3) That, since street lights are shown on the development, the applicant was required to coordinate with Consumers Energy with respect to street lighting.

(4) That approval was subject to the Township's review and approval of the Master Deed and amendments to the Bylaws and finding them acceptable.

(5) That the development was subject to the review and approval of the Kalamazoo County Road Commission.

(6) That the Master Deed and Bylaw Amendments must be recorded by the applicant prior to building permit issuance for any site other than the original 23 units previously established.

(7) That the subject site would be served by public streets, water and sewer.

(8) That before earth-change activities begin, an earth-change permit from the Kalamazoo County Drain Commissioner's Office must be obtained by the applicant.

(9) It was noted that Units 16 and 36 have two front setbacks due to the future public street possibility, and therefore, the buildable area of those units was limited. The Zoning Board of Appeals was encouraged to deny any requests for setback variances for homes or accessory buildings on those units.

(10) The applicant was required to comply with the landscaping provisions of the Township's Zoning Ordinance.

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

OTHER BUSINESS

The Chairperson pointed out that the Township Board had inquired about discussion of the community opinion survey. It was agreed that this would be placed on the joint meeting agenda for November.

ADJOURNMENT

After various Planning Commissioner comments, there being no further business to come before the Commission, the meeting was adjourned at approximately 10:00 p.m.

OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION

By:

Minutes prepared:
October 1, 2001

Minutes approved:
, 2001