OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS

September 28, 2004

Agenda

BELLE TIRE, INC. - DEVIATION - HEIGHT OF FLAG POLE - 6780 WEST MAIN STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-14-155-060)

SEELBINDER - VARIANCE - DEPTH TO WIDTH AND FRONTAGE - 2215 NORTH DRAKE ROAD - (PARCEL NO. 3905-12-280-030)

BROOKFIELD - ACCESSORY BUILDING REVIEW - 9139 STADIUM DRIVE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-32-480-016)

THE LOOKING GLASS CHILD CARE - DEVIATION - WALL SIGN - 5527 PARKVIEW AVENUE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-36-130-090)

KRAFT - ACCESSORY BUILDING REVIEW - 1709 SOUTH VAN KAL AVENUE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-30-101-043)

A regular meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Zoning Board of Appeals on Tuesday, September 28, 2004, commencing at approximately 3:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Millard Loy, Chairperson Dave Bushouse Grace Borgfjord Duane McClung James Turcott MEMBERS ABSENT: None

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

CALL TO ORDER

The Chairperson called the meeting to order at 3:00 p.m.

MINUTES

The next item for consideration was the approval of the minutes of August 24, 2004. Mr. McClung made a motion to approve the minutes as submitted. The motion was seconded by Dave Bushouse. The Chairperson called for a vote on the motion, and the motion passed unanimously.

BELLE TIRE, INC. - DEVIATION - HEIGHT OF FLAG POLE - 6780 WEST MAIN STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-14-155-060)

The Chairperson indicated that the next item on the Agenda was the application from Belle Tire, Inc. for a deviation from Section 76.175A to allow the use of a 60-foot flag pole when the Ordinance limits flag poles to 30 feet in height. The subject property is located at 6780 West Main Street and is Parcel No. 3905-14-155-060. The Chairperson reminded the Board that they had tabled this matter at their July meeting, allowing the applicant the opportunity to apply for a text amendment. The Chairperson called for a report from the Staff. Ms. Stefforia presented her report dated September 28, 2004, to the Board, and the same is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Stefforia reminded the Board that the item had been tabled from their July 27, 2004 meeting to allow the applicant to apply for an amendment to Zoning Ordinance regarding height limitations. She noted that the applicant had filed an application for an amendment to increase the height limitation of flag poles to 60 feet on September 20, 2004. With regard to the present matter, Ms. Stefforia directed the Board's attention to Section 76.175 regarding commercial establishments and the flag pole height limitation of 30 feet. She said the original site plan for Belle Tire showed a flag pole height of 30 feet, but the proprietor subsequently erected a 60-foot flag pole. She noted, not only was the height of the flagpole a problem, but that the 400-watt light fixtures indicated by the applicant at the last meeting, to light the flag, exceeded the Ordinance limitations of 175 watts per lamp.

She asked that the Board take note of the report from the Township Attorney, who had been asked to consider whether a deviation to allow a 60-foot flag pole only for American flags would be permissible. She attached a copy of Township Counsel's Memo dated August 23, 2004, in which the Attorney had pointed out that, while a height limitation for flag poles might be a reasonable time, place and manner restriction, it had to be made without reference to the content of the speech, and therefore, a proposal to allow taller flag poles for American flags only was prohibited.

Ms. Stefforia then reviewed the standards of approval of sign deviation. With regard of whether the approval would be materially detrimental to property owners in the vicinity, she asked the Board to consider the visibility of, and the potential noise related to, the large flag. She also asked that the Board take into account the lighting necessary to illuminate the flag at night. She also asked that they consider that the property is at an important commercial location at the four corners of 9th and West Main Streets.

With regard to the hardship, Ms. Stefforia noted that there were no unique conditions at the site to distinguish it from other properties, and if a deviation was granted, it would likely apply to all subsequent applicants. She also noted, if the flag was placed on a 30-foot pole, given the fact that the corner was highly visible, there would be no impairment to the applicant's ability to properly display the flag.

Ms. Stefforia addressed the issue of whether the deviation would be contrary to the General Purpose section of the Ordinance, and asked that the Board consider the stated purpose of the Sign Ordinance, to-wit: to protect natural beauty and distinctive character of the Township - protect against visible chaos and clutter - provide an environment which fosters growth and business development - eliminate distractions which are hazardous to motorists and pedestrians - protect the public's ability to identify establishments and premises.

Ms. Stefforia reminded the Zoning Board of Appeals that, in 2001, it had denied the request from Metro Toyota to have a 80-foot flag pole. Ms. Stefforia then concluded that issues such as this are more appropriately handled by the Planning Commission and the Township Board through a text amendment rather than through the grant of a deviation.

The Chairperson then asked if there were any questions of Ms. Stefforia. Hearing none, he asked to hear from the applicant. Mr. Pete Weatherhead told the Board that he thought the people had spoken. He said he thought it was very much a non-issue and thought it was appropriate for the Board to let them have a 60-foot flagpole. He said it was not at all about advertising, and that they had similar 60-foot poles at all of their other stores.

The Chairperson asked if there were any questions of the applicant. Hearing none, he asked to hear from those in attendance.

Mr. Bob Janssen introduced himself to the Board. He said he never knew that the Township had such a restrictive ordinance and did not believe that the present pole or flag blocked anybody's vision. He inquired as to whether or not he was living in Russia. He said he was proud of the flag and did not see any problem with it as it currently existed.

Thea Lapham said she lived on South 9th Street, and she said loved the flag. She said this was the busiest intersection in Oshtemo Township, and she thought it worse than some areas on Westnedge, particularly when trying to stay in one's lane while making a turn. She said, given the amount of traffic and the distractions in navigating that intersection, she did not think there needed to be one more thing flashing around, creating a visual distraction for drivers. She said she thought this was the same principle upon which the Township had banned inflatable displays at DeNooyer Chevrolet. She said, if the issue was about patriotism, the owner should do a better job of following general rules of etiquette with regard to the flag. She said she has seen the flag flying in the rain, and when President Reagan died and the flag was flying at half mast, it was dragging on the ground. She noted that all of these were in contravention of good etiquette and thought it would be better if the applicant worried about those issues, instead of the height of the flag pole.

The Chairperson asked if there was any further public comment. Hearing none, he closed the public portion of the meeting. The Chairperson asked for comments from the Board.

Mr. Bushouse said he was somewhat torn on this matter. He said as the Township pursued additional regulations, people became more and more creative at avoiding the regulations. He said they had placed limits on car lots to prohibit balloons and flags and other items which create a visual distraction. He said, at the time that the Ordinance was rewritten, they actually raised the flag height from 20 feet to 30 feet, and that while he did not necessarily agree with the current height limit, that was the height agreed to by the Township.

Mr. Bushouse explained that as he travels throughout the state, he has an opportunity to see a lot of different development. He noted a large flag that he saw on 8th Street in the Holland area which was quite beautiful. However, he also noted that it was located on DeNooyer's car lot and that anybody in the area that wanted to know where DeNooyers was would simply be told to take U.S. 131 to 8th Street and look for the flag. He said in many cases, flags are simply attention-getters for commercial businesses. He said he thought that the size of the flag at Belle Tire was also an attention-getter.

Mr. Bushouse also noted that the Township has tried diligently to eliminate light pollution. He said that years ago the Township lost control of the lighting east of U.S. 131 and was making a concerted effort to not allow that to happen west of U.S. 131, and he was very concerned, given the size of the flag, that the applicant would want to use larger lights to light the flag at night. He said this would further exacerbate the light pollution problem. He said he thought it was important that the Township be consistent with all of the businesses west of U.S. 131. Therefore, he was not inclined to grant a deviation.

Mr. Bushouse said he thought this should go to the Planning Commission, have a public hearing and make a recommendation to the Board regarding text changes, if any. He said he hoped there would be some type of middle ground, but thought it should be left to the Planning Commission and the Township Board to make that determination.

Mr. Turcott said he agreed with Mr. Bushouse's comments regarding lighting. He said the Planning Commission would hold a public hearing on October 28, review the matter and make a recommendation to the Township Board. Therefore, he did not believe it was something the Zoning Board of Appeals should address.

Ms. Borgfjord said she agreed with both Mr. Bushouse and Mr. Turcott, and that this was definitely not about patriotism but about the height of the flag pole. Therefore, she said she thought the Board should decline the deviation request.

The Chairperson noted that there seemed to be a consensus of the Board that the matter be sent to the Planning Commission. He did note his disappointment that the applicant blatantly put up a 60-foot pole when they had agreed to a 30-foot pole, and thought the attempt to turn the matter into an emotional argument was not conducive to working out an appropriate solution. The Chairperson asked for a motion.

Ms. Borgfjord made a motion to deny the deviation request for the reasons set forth in the record. The motion was seconded by Mr. Turcott. The Chairperson called for further discussion. Hearing none, he called for a vote on the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

SEELBINDER - VARIANCE - DEPTH TO WIDTH AND FRONTAGE - 2215 NORTH DRAKE ROAD - (PARCEL NO. 3905-12-280-030)

The Chairperson indicated the next item on the Agenda was the request of David Seelbinder for a variance to allow a land division which would result in a property which does not satisfy depth-to-width provisions or the minimum width requirements of a building site with well and septic. The Chairperson asked for a report from the Planning Department. Ms. Stefforia presented her report dated September 28, 2004, to the Board, and the same is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Stefforia noted that the front of the property was located in the "R-3" zoning district and the rear portion of the property was located in zone "R-2". She said the property was located at 2215 North Drake Road, being Parcel No. 3905-12-280-030, and the applicant was seeking the variance in order to develop a two-unit site condominium.

Ms. Stefforia said that the subject parcel consisted of five acres with 165 feet of frontage on Drake Road. Under the Ordinance, a site condominium with well and septic requires a lot width of 100 feet, but only 80 feet of frontage when public water and sewer are available. She said the applicant was proposing to develop two lots, one with the existing dwelling and 80 feet of frontage to be served by public water and sewer. She said the other parcel would have an 85-foot frontage, but would not be served by public sewer or water.

Ms. Stefforia said the reason the new lot would not be served with sewer or water was the fact that the home, when constructed, would be more than 600 feet from the street. She said it is typically found unreasonable to require water or sewer due to the cost of extending sewer and the water quality issues associated with being that far back from the public water main. She said in dividing the property, the rear unit would have a depth greater than four times the width, and that while the parent parcel exceeded the depth-to-width ratio, it was grandfathered because it predated the Ordinance limitations. Ms. Stefforia summarized that the applicant was seeking a variance from Section 66.201 to allow the creation of a two-unit site condominium, where one of the units would have a depth greater than four times the width, and the minimum width at the building setback line of 85 feet would be less than the 100 feet required.

Ms. Stefforia reviewed the standards for approval for a nonuse variance and practical difficulty with the Board. With regard to whether or not there was unnecessary hardship and whether conformance would be unnecessarily burdensome, she noted that the creation of the two-unit condominium as proposed could not be permitted unless there was a variance to the depth-to-width ratio. She said that the property itself could not be subdivided as it currently exists unless a public street were extended to address the depth-to-width issue. She said that the applicant was seeking a variance from the minimum width requirement for the second parcel from 100 feet to 85 feet. However, she said that the rear site condominium would have a width of 165 feet approximately 170 feet from the road, well beyond the minimum required at that point.

Regarding substantial justice, Ms. Stefforia pointed out that there were other properties in the Township for which the Zoning Board of Appeals had granted similar variance and asked that they consider those variance decisions on page two of her report.

She said perhaps the issue before the Board was somewhat unique in that serving the rear parcel with sewer or water would be extremely difficult or that this lot could meet the minimum width requirements for those served by sewer and water, but that because of the distance from the road, it would be difficult to serve with sewer or water. She said it was also unique that the subject site condominium would be 165 feet wide at a point 170 feet from the road but simply would not have that width at the building setback.

With regard to unique physical characteristics and whether or not is was a self-created hardship, Ms. Stefforia said that the depth of the property might be considered a unique physical circumstance, but noted that the proposed parcel division was at the discretion of the owner.

In addition, Ms. Stefforia asked the Board to consider whether the spirit of the Ordinance would be observed and public health, safety and welfare secured if the variance were granted. She said the width requirement was put in place to make sure that there was adequate separation between well and septic where the home is to be installed. The lot at issue will actually be 165 feet wide at the dwelling, exceeding the minimum requirement by 65 feet. She said that the Health Department had already issued well and septic permits for the subject site. Lastly, she noted that granting the variance and allowing the parcel to become a site condominium would still require review and approval by the Planning Commission and the Township Board.

The Chairperson asked if there were any questions of Ms. Stefforia. Mr. Bushouse asked if what the Board was being asked to do is basically approve two houses on five acres. Ms. Stefforia indicated yes.

Mr. Turcott asked Counsel if they were setting a legal precedent by determining that the current depth of the property was a unique physical circumstance. Attorney Porter indicated that the Board was setting a precedent, but he was not overly concerned by that because properties with this type of configuration could no longer be created in the Township. He said in the past that people would develop these long "bowling alley" lots which then often resulted in the type of request currently before the Zoning Board of Appeals. He said going forward these lots could no longer be created without a variance, and therefore, even if the Board were to establish a precedent of allowing a division of these lots, it would only be applied to those pre-existing, legal, nonconforming parcels. Therefore, he did not believe that the grant of the variance would exacerbate the problem.

The Chairperson asked to hear from the applicant, Mr. Seelbinder. Mr. Seelbinder explained to the Board that they had owned the house for a number of years. He said that they changed the zoning in 1999 in order to have a home office. He said, at that time, they planted additional trees on the rear portion of the property and had hoped to build a second home there in the future. He said that they were seeking a variance from both the depth-to-width ratio as well as the width requirements because it was impractical to serve a home on the rear parcel with sewer or water. He said that sewer was virtually impossible, and if the property were served with water, it would create water quality problems.

The Chairperson asked if there were any questions of the applicant. Mr. Bushouse asked if they were going to rent or sell the property. Mr. Seelbinder said they would rent it if they could afford to.

The Chairperson asked if there were any comments from the audience, and hearing none, closed the public portion of the meeting and called for Board deliberations. The Chairperson began by saying that he did not have a problem with the proposal. He said that the Board had looked at similar requests in the past and had granted such requests.

Ms. Borgfjord asked if the front parcel would meet all minimum requirements of the Ordinance. Ms. Stefforia indicated that it would, both frontage and total square foot requirements.

Mr. Bushouse told the Board that he hated to see the applicant incur the expense to subdivide the property for two houses. He said that he had held position for a long time, and thought they should grant both variance requests.

Ms. Stefforia told the Board that Mr. Seelbinder was told that he could use the residence closest to the home as an office and that he would not have to condominiumize the property. However, she said Mr. Seelbinder wanted to condominiumize it in order to be able to sell the property. Mr. Seelbinder said that was true, that he wanted the option of being able to either rent it or sell it, and that is why he had chosen to go to the expense of condominiumizing the property. He said that no one would likely purchase the property and condominiumize it, but because they enjoyed the property so much and wanted to live there, they were willing to go to the expense.

The Chairperson asked if there was any further discussion, and hearing none, said he would entertain a motion. Ms. Borgfjord made a motion to grant the variances as requested for the reasons set forth in the record. The motion was seconded by Mr. McClung. The Chairperson called for further discussion, and hearing none, called for a vote on the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

BROOKFIELD - ACCESSORY BUILDING REVIEW - 9139 STADIUM DRIVE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-32-480-016)

The Chairperson indicated that the next item on the Agenda was consideration of the application request of Michael Brookfield for a proposed accessory building which exceeded the ground floor area of the dwelling. The subject property is located at 9139 Stadium Drive and is Parcel No. 3905-32-480-016. The Chairperson called for a report of the Planning Commission, and Ms. Bugge presented her report dated September 28, 2004. The same is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Bugge explained to the Board that the applicant wanted to construct a third accessory building on the property. The proposed area of the building was 1,560 square feet. She said there was an existing 850 square foot building on the property, as well as an additional 200 square foot yard barn. She said that, under Section 78.800, the Ordinance requires site plan review when the aggregate area of the accessory building exceeds the ground floor area of the dwelling. She said that the current ground floor of the dwelling was 525 square feet.

Ms. Bugge reviewed the applicant's narrative with the Board. She said that the lot was 1.8 acres in size, located on the south side of Stadium Drive, west of 4th Street and surrounded on three sides by the Greystone Plat. Ms. Bugge then took the Board through the Standards of Approval for accessory buildings and noted the characteristics of the proposed accessory building, to-wit: a 30 x 52 foot structure and 1,560 square feet in area. She said the building height would be 21 feet 8 inches, less than the 25 foot height permitted on properties of 30,000 square feet or more. She again noted the style and design of the proposed structure.

With regard to the proposed uses, she said the applicant wanted storage for a boat and travel trailer.

Ms. Bugge noted again that the property was 1.8 acres in size, the applicant's dwelling was 525 square feet, and the applicant was proposing a 1,300 square foot addition to the dwelling in 2005.

She said that the proposed location of the accessory building was set forth in the sketch provided by the applicant, which would locate it south of the dwelling, which is approximately 149 feet from the road right-of-way, and approximately 22 feet from the north boundary line.

Ms. Bugge concluded by reviewing the existing land uses in the area and said that the Board could attach requirements to the review of the proposed accessory building if it deemed necessary to avoid or mitigate adverse impact to surrounding properties.

The Chairperson asked if there were any questions of Ms. Bugge. Hearing none, he asked to hear from the applicant.

Mr. Brookfield told the Board he and his wife had recently bought the property, and it was in a run-down condition. He said that they had done a lot of landscaping. Although they had not cut any trees, they had cut a lot of old brush and shrubs and had begun putting in additional landscaping.

Mr. Brookfield said they had wanted to put an addition on their house but felt that it would be best to construct an additional accessory building in order to assist in the remodeling of the home. He said they also had a 26-foot boat and 34-foot travel trailer which he wanted to get inside and thought the area would be much more sightly if he were allowed to build the accessory building. He explained that the accessory building would not look like a pole barn. He proposed to have the siding and the shingles match the house in order to make it more compatible with the residential area. He also said he was willing to plant large pine trees to screen the accessory building if the Board thought it would be more aesthetically pleasing.

The Chairperson asked if there were any questions of the applicant, and hearing none, he opened the public portion of the meeting.

Ms. Bugge passed out a letter from William Lake of 9098 Hobbit Circle, indicating his opposition to Mr. Brookfield's pole barn. He asked the Board, if the Board was inclined to grant the request to require trees to be planted which were a minimum five feet in height and which would grow to at least 15 feet in height.

Mr. Frank Teague introduced himself to the Zoning Board of Appeals. Using the overheads, he explained to the Board that he owned Lot 54 in the Greystone Plat. He said he was quite concerned about the proposed building. He said in the time that the Brookfields lived at the property, he thought a great deal of foliage had been cleared from the property. He said there were currently no trees to the rear of the building and thought that it would have a significant visual impact on his property because it would take 40 years for trees to grow to a sufficient height to screen the building. He thought that such a large building would take away from the wooded look of the property and suggested perhaps the building be relocated to the southwest corner of Mr. Brookfield's lot.

Ms. Sherri Tufts introduced herself to the Board, and explained that she lived on Lot 55 of the Greystone Plat. She said that she had lived there four years, and they very much appreciated the privacy of the lot. She said that she had a very narrow backyard and with the building of the size that Mr. Brookfield was proposing, she thought it would have a detrimental effect on the value of their home if they ever wished to sell. She presented some photos to the Board and said that with a two-story home, the building was likely to be quite visible regardless of any screening that Mr. Brookfield would install. She said that she wanted to be a friend with her neighbor, but she thought that installing a barn of this nature on the subject property, which is platted on three sides, was inconsistent with the surrounding properties.

Mr. Brookfield said that he had not cut any trees on the property but had only cut old, dead or dying brush and shrubs. He explained that the current accessory building was used as their garage, and he would like to paint it to be more compatible with the new accessory building he was proposing. He said the garage was an old barn red color that he did not think was necessarily aesthetically pleasing. He also noted, if the accessory building were moved to the southwest corner of his lot, it is likely that the people on the other side of his property in the Greystone Plat would have similar complaints as those voiced by the two residents in attendance. He again stressed he was going to build an accessory building that would look similar to a residential structure and not a typical pole barn.

The Chairperson asked if there were any further comments, and hearing none, he closed the public portion of the meeting.

The Chairperson noted that the side yard setback was going to be relatively close to the east property line. Ms. Bugge indicated that it would be a close fit, based upon a measurement from the leading edge of the structure, but that it would have to be in compliance with the Ordinance. The Chairperson said that perhaps some landscaping or planting of trees would be appropriate in order to protect the neighbors' view.

Mr. Bushouse said, in the past, that in addition to screening, certain structures had been requested to be sided with vinyl siding, not steel, in order to be more compatible with the neighborhood. Mr. Turcott said that he was concerned about the extent of the square footage being requested. He said that the applicant currently had 850 square feet of storage in an accessory building and now wanted another 1,560 square feet when the ground floor of the house is only 525 square feet. He said this seems excessive. The Chairperson responded by saying that he could understand if it was a smaller parcel, but that the property at issue was quite sizeable.

The Chairperson noted that the applicant was not going to side the building in steel, but was going to do it in vinyl. In response, the applicant said that he would either be siding it in vinyl or wood or brick, depending upon the final design for their home. Mr. Bushouse said he would like to see it blend into the neighborhood. Ms. Bugge asked if it was going to be wood clapboard siding. Mr. Brookfield said that he had sheets of wood siding which looked like clapboard siding.

Ms. Borgfjord said she understood Mr. Turcott's concerns. However, she thought the Board should take into account the applicant did not have an attached garage. She said if there was an attached garage, then the size of the request would not seem excessive, and she thought, given it was an older home, they were trying to provide the property with the same type of amenities that other properties had, but could not do so because they did not have an attached garage.

Ms. Tufts said that she opposed having three outbuildings on the property in addition to being opposed to the size of the requested structure. The Chairperson thanked Ms. Tufts for her comments, but noted that the public portion of the meeting had closed.

The Chairperson concurred with Ms. Borgfjord's comments and said that fact had to be taken into account, when considering the applicant's request. He also said the applicant was willing to install wood or vinyl siding and windows to make the accessory building more compatible with the residential neighborhood.

The Chairperson asked if there was any further discussion, and hearing none, said he would entertain a motion.

Mr. Turcott had a question as to when the addition to the residential structure would be made. Mr. Brookfield said that they would likely begin construction in the summer of 2005, and that was part of the reason for needing the accessory structure. He said he wanted to use it for storage during the remodeling of the home.

Ms. Borgfjord asked if the property was going to be screened from the road. The applicant indicated that the building could not be seen from the road.

The Chairperson again asked the Board members for a motion. Mr. McClung made a motion to approve the applicant's request, provided the accessory building was screened to the east with six-foot evergreens planted along the length of the building with 15-foot separation. He also added that the siding had to be vinyl or wood and match the color of the residential structure in order to make it compatible with the residential area.

Ms. Borgfjord asked if there would be screening toward the road. Mr. Turcott noted, with the speed of the traffic, it probably would not be much help. The applicant indicated that he would provide landscaping along the front of the building.

The Chairperson asked if there were any other comments, and hearing none, he asked for a second on the motion. Ms. Borgfjord seconded the motion. The Chairperson called for a vote on the motion, and the motion passed unanimously.

THE LOOKING GLASS CHILD CARE - DEVIATION - WALL SIGN - 5527 PARKVIEW AVENUE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-36-130-090)

The Chairperson said that the next item on the Agenda was an application of Julie Fish on behalf of The Looking Glass Child Care for a deviation to allow a wall sign in addition to a ground sign at 5527 Parkview Avenue, Parcel No. 3905-36-130-090, when only one sign is permitted under Section 70.160 of the Township Zoning Ordinance. The Chairperson asked to hear from the Planning Department. Ms. Bugge presented her report dated September 28, 2004, to the Zoning Board of Appeals, and the same is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Bugge explained that the owners of The Looking Glass Child Care purchased the old Masonic Temple on the south side of Parkview and would be relocating their business to that site. She said they had a permit for a freestanding sign, but wanted to use a 15 square foot wall sign which currently exists on the building in addition to their already approved sign. She reviewed the standards for approval for a sign variance with the Board. In focusing on whether the requested deviation would be detrimental to other property owners, she noted that the proposed facility would abut residential property to the west and south, and the Genessee Prairie Cemetery to the east across 11th Street. She said that the property to the north side of Parkview Avenue was zoned "R-2" and was currently being utilized for single-family dwellings and churches. She noted that the property was within the Genessee Prairie Focus Area, which indicated that the land use should preserve and promote the residential character of the area, but recognized that transitional uses were appropriate along Parkview. However, she did note that the north side of Parkview is currently identified for multi-family use on the Future Land Use Map and that the Planning Commission was considering a recommendation for transitional use instead. If approved, rezonings to "R-3" were expected. This would allow office buildings, and the Sign Ordinance provisions allow for both wall and ground signs for office uses.

Addressing the hardship issue, she said there did not appear to be any physical limitations which were unique to the lot, and the current wall sign did not have to be removed, but could be covered with an opaque material or painted. With regard to whether the granting of the deviation would be contrary to the general purpose of the Ordinance, she directed the Board's attention to the stated purpose of the Sign Ordinance.

The Chairperson asked if there were questions of Ms. Bugge. Hearing none, he asked to hear from the applicant. Ms. Jennie Sluys said that Ms. Fish could not be present, but as a co-owner, she would be addressing the Board. She explained that The Looking Glass Child Care did not want to remove the metal frame from the building due to the cost and the aesthetic impact it would have on the existing structure. She said, given the location of the property and the distance to surrounding buildings, she did not think it would have a negative impact on any of the surrounding property owners.

The Chairperson inquired about the existing ground sign which had been permitted. Ms. Bugge said it would be a V-shaped sign facing both abutting roads with 15 square feet on each side of the sign.

The Chairperson asked if the Board had any questions of the applicant. Mr. Turcott asked what the wall sign looked like. Ms. Sluys said it was a metal frame with a plastic insert and was welded to the building. Ms. Bugge pointed out that they could place another insert into the frame.

The Chairperson asked if there were any questions from the audience, and hearing none, closed the public portion of the meeting.

The Chairperson said that he lived across the street and while he did not necessarily see a problem with two signs, he also did not see a need for two signs, since it appeared that their signage was adequate.

Ms. Borgfjord inquired about the size of the sign currently used by the applicant and whether or not it was smaller than what was currently allowed under the Ordinance. Ms. Bugge indicated that it was what was permitted, but that the arrangement of the sign had been determined by the applicant.

Mr. Bushouse said that the owners had the option of painting over the insert or putting their address on the insert if they chose. Mr. Turcott said that he felt that one sign was adequate for the facility. The Chairperson said he agreed, and noted that the Township had been quite strict with the sign requirements and had required others who had sought variances to remain in compliance with the Ordinance. He said he thought two 15 square foot signs were more than adequate for the property. Ms. Sluys inquired as to whether or not she could put her address on the insert. Mr. Bushouse said he thought they could put the address of the property on the insert. Ms. Stefforia said it was not a commercial message and therefore would not constitute a sign under the Township Sign Ordinance.

The Chairperson called for a motion on the matter. Mr. Turcott made a motion to deny the sign deviation for the reasons set forth in the record, and the motion was seconded by Ms. Borgfjord. The Chairperson called for further discussion, and hearing none, called for a vote on the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

KRAFT - ACCESSORY BUILDING REVIEW - 1709 SOUTH VAN KAL AVENUE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-30-101-043)

The Chairperson said the next item up for consideration was the site plan review of a proposed accessory building that exceeds the ground floor area of the dwelling. He said the subject property is located at 1709 South Van Kal Avenue. The Chairperson called for a report from the Planning Department. Ms. Stefforia presented her report to the Board dated September 28, 2004, and the same is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Stefforia told the Board that the applicant and owner, Kyle Kraft, wanted to construct a 1,728 square foot accessory building on a two-acre parcel. She said that there was a two-story dwelling with 1,732 square feet, but because the accessory building exceeding the ground floor area of the dwelling, a review of the Zoning Board of Appeals was necessary under Section 78.820 of the Zoning Ordinance.

She said that the building setback will be approximately 228 feet from the road and 18 feet from the north property line.

Ms. Stefforia took the Board through the standards for approval of accessory buildings, first outlining the characteristics of the proposed structure, to-wit: a 1,728 square foot building, 48 feet long and 36 feet wide, with a peak of 18 feet. She said the building would have the same roof pitch and exterior materials as the home, including siding, trim, shutters, etc. She told the Board they might ask whether the north facade would have windows as shown on the south facade of the building. She also said the applicant indicated there would be decorative shrubs and plantings and that the site sketch indicates the few existing trees that are on site. She said that the property must have been part of farm land in the past because there were virtually no trees in this area.

In reviewing the proposed use of the structure, she said the applicant had indicated that it was for the storing of recreational vehicles, lawn and garden equipment and a recreational workshop. She again noted that the property was two acres in size and that the dwelling was approximately 1,732 square feet.

She discussed the proposed location of the building, using an overhead. In discussing the location of the building on the parcel, she also reviewed the existing land uses in the area, noting that the neighboring property to the north, which would be the most impacted, also had an accessory building in its rear yard. She noted that the future use of the area was Rural Residential in the Master Land Use Plan.

The Chairperson asked if there were any questions of Ms. Stefforia. Hearing none, he asked to hear from the applicant.

Mr. Kraft told the Board that the accessory building proposed would be constructed to look much like his house. He said the building would match the siding, shingles, and windows in all respects. The Chairperson asked if there would be any plantings around the building. Mr. Kraft said he planned on landscaping the area facing the road with some shrubs, and he pointed to the existing pine trees, both on his property and the neighboring property.

Mr. McClung asked how far back it would be from the north property line. He said approximately 18 feet from the overhang of the building.

Ms. Borgfjord asked if there would be a drive leading to the building. Mr. Kraft said he did not want to go to the expense of putting in a drive, and thought there would be very few times that vehicles would be accessing the site, and thought it would be unnecessary. Ms. Borgfjord then asked whether the recreational workshop would be for cars. Mr. Kraft said it would not be used for working on cars, but rather woodworking.

Ms. Borgfjord asked why there were not any windows on the north side of the building. Mr. Kraft said that it was mainly for security, and his proposed building was similar to the one north of him, which did not have windows on the side of the building not facing the residence.

Mr. Turcott asked about lighting. Mr. Kraft said he would have a front service door wall sconce and wall sconces on either side of the overhead door on the west side of the building to match the house.

The Chairperson said he did not have a problem with what the applicant was requesting and thought it would be compatible and fit in well with the rest of the community. Ms. Borgfjord asked if they wanted to require more screening. It was the consensus of the other Board members that adding large trees for screening purposes would actually make the building stick out more than it would without such screening. Ms. Stefforia agreed that because the area was so open that excessive landscaping would make the accessory building stick out more than it would if it was simply allowed to be constructed as proposed.

Mr. Turcott made a motion to approve the applicant's request as submitted, including the landscaping proposed, provided the construction materials comply with the statements set forth in the application, to-wit: compatible with the residential appearance of the home. Ms. Borgfjord asked for the motion to be amended to refer to appropriate landscaping. Mr. Turcott agreed to the amendment, and the Attorney said it would be so noted in the minutes. Mr. McClung seconded the motion, and the Chairperson called for further discussion. Hearing none, he called for a vote on the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Other Business

Ms. Bugge noted that there was an additional correction needed to the July 27, 2004, on page 4, top paragraph. Reference in the minutes should be west of 9th Street. The Board concurred.

Adjournment

The Chairperson asked if there was anything further, and hearing nothing further, said he would entertain a motion to adjourn. The meeting was adjourned at approximately 5:05 p.m.

OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP
ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS

By:
Millard Loy, Chairperson

By:
Dave Bushouse

By:
Grace Borgfjord
By:
Duane McClung
By:
James Turcott

Minutes Prepared:
October 7, 2004

Minutes Approved:
, 2004