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OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS

September 9, 2003

Agenda

DRURY - VARIANCE: ACCESSORY BUILDING AND HOME OCCUPATION - 1357 NORTH 5TH STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-16-105-041)

HOBBY LOBBY - SIGN DEVIATION: WALL SIGNS - 5030 WEST MAIN STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-13-280-051)

SLOCUM/WALKER - AREA VARIANCE - 2840 AND 2788 NORTH VAN KAL STREET - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-07-155-010 AND 3905-07-155-021)

WOOD - ACCESSORY BUILDING REVIEW - 10170 WEST L AVENUE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-19-480-017)

A special meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Zoning Board of Appeals on Tuesday, September 9, 2003, commencing at approximately 3:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Millard Loy, Chairperson
Dave Bushouse
Grace Borgfjord
James Turcott

MEMBER ABSENT: Duane McClung

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

CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order at 3:05 p.m.

MINUTES

The Board considered the minutes of the meeting of August 26, 2003. Ms. Borgfjord moved to approve the minutes as submitted, and Mr. Bushouse seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

DRURY - VARIANCE: ACCESSORY BUILDING AND HOME OCCUPATION - 1357 NORTH 5TH STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-16-105-041)

The Board considered the application of David Drury for a variance from the provisions of Section 78.920 D to allow for construction of an accessory building to be used, in part for a home occupation, on a parcel that does not now have a dwelling. The subject property is located in the "RR" Rural Residential District zoning classification and is Parcel No. 3905-16-105-041.

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

Ms. Bugge reported that the Planning Commission had approved the applicant's home occupation and related accessory building on August 7, 2003. As to home occupations, Section 78.920 D. (2) provides that use of an accessory building is limited to property containing a single or two-family dwelling. The applicant plans construction of the primary dwelling on the site in the spring of 2004; however, the property is currently vacant. He would like to complete construction of the accessory building this fall, prior to commencing construction of the dwelling.

The applicant stated that he was determining the final specifications for his log home and arranging financing. He planned to use the accessory building for storage of business equipment and personal possessions while the construction project was going on. The applicant did not want to pour footings for the dwelling until all materials for the dwelling and the exact measurements of the log home were determined.

The planned accessory building would be approximately 500 feet from the right-of-way and 100 feet from the side line of the property. Ms. Bugge suggested that the Zoning Board of Appeals consider a performance guarantee if a variance was appropriate.

Ms. Bugge described the criteria for a nonuse variance. As to whether conformance was unnecessarily burdensome, it was noted that the variance would be temporary and that the applicant would begin construction of the dwelling in the spring of 2004. The applicant was unable to commence the construction at this time since the manufacturer of the log dwelling kit recommended that footings not be poured until building materials were on site to insure the correct size.

There were no similar cases regarding the substantial justice criteria. Ms. Bugge saw nothing unique in the property except perhaps the size and the planned location of the accessory building. The hardship was self-created in that the commencement of construction was at the option of the applicant. As to the intent and spirit of the Ordinance, Ms. Bugge noted the size of the site and the invisibility of the planned accessory building from the street.

The applicant was present, stating that he would like to place the accessory building on site so as to allow for storage of his business equipment "out of the weather".

There was a discussion of why the foundation could not be poured, and the applicant indicated that the log home manufacturer had recommended against it, and that the bank was recommending that no foundation be poured until the loan was finalized.

There was a discussion of requiring a performance guarantee sufficient to remove the accessory building if the dwelling itself were never commenced. The applicant estimated a six to nine-month construction period for the log home once it is begun. He stated that there would be vinyl siding on the accessory building.

The Chairperson asked for public comment, and Terry Wood questioned whether an accessory building could be placed on a vacant property. Ms. Stefforia stated that it would require review, but not a variance if no home occupation were involved.

Nedra Collins stated that she owned property adjacent to the subject site and supported the variance.

Ms. Borgfjord moved to grant a variance to allow construction of the accessory building and use for home occupation purposes prior to the commencement of the building of the primary dwelling on the site with the following conditions:

(1) That the construction of the primary dwelling be commenced in the spring of 2004.

(2) That the primary dwelling be finished and occupancy granted for the primary dwelling by December 31, 2004.

(3) That the applicant provide a performance guarantee of 150% of the estimated cost of removing the accessory building if the construction were not completed as required.

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

HOBBY LOBBY - SIGN DEVIATION: WALL SIGNS - 5030 WEST MAIN STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-13-280-051)

The Board considered the application of Burkett Signs on behalf of Hobby Lobby for a deviation from the Sign Ordinance provisions to allow a sign package where the combined area and number of wall signs exceeds Zoning Ordinance limits. The subject property is located at 5030 West Main Street in the Maple Hill Mall and is within the "C-1" Local Business District zoning classification. The property is Parcel No. 3905-13-280-051.

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

Ms. Stefforia stated that Hobby Lobby is currently renovating the west half of the former Montgomery Wards store at the Maple Hill Mall. The east half of the former Montgomery Wards would house another tenant in the future. Ms. Stefforia stated that the owner of the balance of the Mall owns this portion also, but it is on a separate tax number. Hobby Lobby is requesting a sign deviation to allow four wall signs on the front facade of the space with combined wall sign area of 394.37 square feet. The sign package contains one main sign and three departmental signs. The Ordinance would permit only one wall sign on the front, not to exceed 193 square feet in area. Ms. Stefforia noted, however, that there have been recent changes in the Ordinance which would allow one square foot of wall sign area for each foot in length or height of the tenant premises, whichever is greater; and up to two wall signs are allowed, one per exterior tenant wall. Ms. Stefforia noted that the other signs in the area comply with Ordinance standards except Marshall's, which complies with the standards as they existed at the time the signs were established.

As to the sign area of the wall signs for Target, Office Max and Marshall's, these ranged from 154 square feet to 204 square feet. Target, Office Max and Marshall's used 6-foot channel letters. Hobby Lobby was proposing the use of 5.5-foot channel letters on the main sign.

Ms. Stefforia reviewed the criteria for granting deviation. She did not see any factors which would indicate that granting the deviation would be materially detrimental to other property owners in the vicinity. However, allowing four wall signs where one is permitted by the Ordinance could be perceived as unfair by other businesses. Ms. Stefforia felt that the hardship created by a literal interpretation of the Ordinance was not due to conditions unique to Hobby Lobby. She felt that it was important to note that the proposal exceeded current and past Sign Ordinance provisions.

As to whether granting deviation would be contrary to the general purposes of the section and set an adverse precedent, Ms. Stefforia felt that granting the application would lead to additional requests.

In response to questions from Mr. Bushouse, Ms. Stefforia acknowledged that the Mall was redeveloping, and therefore, it was likely that there would be more requests for sign deviations at this site as to wall signage as the redevelopment occurred.

Robb Perrin was present on behalf of Burkett Sign Company. He stated that, in the opinion of the applicant, the sign package was necessary for its corporate identification. The applicant felt that the package should be viewed as one sign which includes four separate elements, not four separate signs.

In response to questions from Mr. Bushouse, Ms. Stefforia stated that the Hobby Lobby use would have a freestanding sign located near Walgreen's along West Main Street.

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

The Chairperson questioned the Walgreen's wall signage. Ms. Bugge stated that Walgreen's had been allowed to "break up their signage", however, the total wall sign conformed to area limitations.

The Chairperson commented that, in the past, the Township had required new construction to come into compliance. He stated that he was glad that the applicant was coming to the area, but felt that the signage being proposed was excessive and inconsistent with the area. It was noted that Wal-Mart, Menards, etc. comply with Ordinance standards. Mr. Bushouse also felt that the sign package proposed was "too large". He was concerned that it would not be consistent with the area and that further applications would be received from other owners/tenants if this relief were granted. Ms. Borgfjord agreed. Mr. Turcott commented that he felt that the applicant should be consistent with other signage in the area.

Mr. Turcott moved to deny a deviation with the following reasoning:

(1) That granting the deviation would not be consistent with the Maple Hill Mall site and the extent that other tenant wall signs complied.

(2) That the hardship being suffered was not unique to this property.

(3) That granting the signage to the degree requested would be contrary to the purposes and intent of the Ordinance.

(4) That the applicant had access to freestanding signage.

Ms. Borgfjord seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

SLOCUM/WALKER - AREA VARIANCE - 2840 AND 2788 NORTH VAN KAL STREET - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-07-155-010 AND 3905-07-155-021)

The Board considered the application of Vonda Slocum and William Walker for a variance from the provisions of Section 66.201 to allow the reconfiguration of two abutting properties resulting in one parcel having less than the minimum area requirements under the Zoning Ordinance, while the other parcel comes more into compliance with the minimum frontage requirements. The subject parcels are located at 2840 and 2788 North Van Kal Street within the "RR" Rural Residential District zoning classification and are Parcel Nos. 3905-07-155-010 and 3905-07-155-021.

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

Ms. Bugge reported that the owner, William Walker, agreed to sell to the applicant, Vonda Slocum, 40 feet of frontage on Van Kal Street the full length of his parcel in 1998. This change to the applicant's parcel removed the "grandfathered" status since there was a change in property lines. At that time, the balance of the owner's (Walker) parcel continued to comply with Ordinance standards. In order to reconfigure the parcel by adding 40 feet of frontage and still retain the buildable status, Ms. Slocum sought and obtained a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals on June 15, 1998. However, there was no recording of the deed reflecting the new parcel configurations.

Recently, the applicant inquired into recording the deed to make the transfer official. However, due to the change in the requirements for minimum area in the "RR" Rural Residential District since 1998, the Walker parcel would now become nonconforming. Had the transaction been recorded in 1998, prior to the Ordinance amendment, the variance would not be necessary since the Walker parcel would be grandfathered.

Ms. Stefforia reviewed the nonuse variance criteria. It was emphasized that the 1998 variance on the property was consistent with others granted throughout the Township where the variance had been found to be appropriate because the subject properties were brought more into compliance with minimum requirements, and no new building sites were being established by the variance. It was also emphasized that the requested variance would not result in the creation of any additional parcel for development, but rather a re-description of parcel boundaries for two existing sites.

No public comment was offered. Richard Slocum was present on behalf of the applicant, stating that he was available for questions. The public hearing was closed.

Mr. Bushouse moved to grant a variance based upon the reasoning of the ZBA in its decision of June 15, 1998, and upon the fact that the failure to record the deed was the only reason a variance was needed at this time. Mr. Turcott seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

WOOD - ACCESSORY BUILDING REVIEW - 10170 WEST L AVENUE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-19-480-017)

The Board considered the application of Terry Wood for a site plan review of a proposed accessory building to be placed between the dwelling and the street. The subject property is located at 10170 West L Avenue within the "RR" Rural Residential District and is Parcel No. 3905-19-480-017.

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

It was noted that the applicant wishes to place a 30' x 40', 15' to 18' high, accessory building between the existing dwelling and the front property line of the site. The applicant indicated that the intended use was for storage of his vehicle and trailer. It was noted that the property in question slopes to the west, and there is a wellhead to the east of the house. It was proposed that the setback of the accessory building would be 40 feet from the right-of-way, the minimum permitted, and 20 feet from the west property line.

The standards of Section 78.820 for approval of an accessory building were examined. It was noted as to the characteristics of the proposed accessory building its size and height. Asphalt shingles were proposed for the roof. It was suggested that the applicant discuss the material and color of the building and the pitch of the roof. Both a conventional garage door and a sliding door were proposed for the west side of the building, and a service door would be located on the north side. No windows were proposed. A 10-foot-wide roof overhang was suggested for the north side as a location for storage of wood and other open items. Again, it was noted that the proposed use was for storage for vehicle and trailer. The size of the property, one acre, was considered, the size of the dwelling was considered at 1,400 square feet. It was suggested that placement of the building on the property should be examined, as well as the existing land uses in the area. The properties in the area were used for residential purpose, farming or vacant. The area was indicated as Rural Residential on the Master Land Use Plan.

The applicant was present, and he passed out a "to-scale" drawing. Mr. Wood emphasized that the placement of the building would allow for access to the wellhead by a well driller. If the building were moved back to the side of the house, the wellhead would be blocked. Further, locating the accessory building to the side of the house would interfere with the view from the house. He stated that the accessory building could be moved back approximately five feet. Mr. Wood said that the building would be a standard pole barn (metal) matching the color of the house. He would be storing vehicles and/or a boat. No windows would be placed in the building for security reasons.

Mr. Bushouse noted that the neighbor to the west has a house and barn which are both set back 40 feet from the street. He felt that the applicant was proposing an accessory building closer to the road than the house which was not in character with the neighboring property. Ms. Borgfjord stated that the placement of the accessory building in front of the house was somewhat preferable because the applicant was able to place the doors on the west, and therefore, not face the street. Additionally, she felt that the accessory building would be hidden by trees when traveling from the west. However, when coming to the site from the east, the accessory building would be visible. Therefore, she would like to see some additional screening added.

The applicant stated that he would be leaving as much of the existing tree line as possible, i.e., those trees not in the construction area. He said that he would not be opposed to adding some hardwood trees to the site.

The Chairperson stated that he felt that the accessory building should be pushed back an additional five feet from the road, and additional landscaping added.

There was discussion by the Board of the possibility of requiring vinyl siding as had been required in a past similar application. Board members agreed that vinyl siding would give the accessory building a more residential look. The applicant indicated that he would be willing to place vinyl siding on the west side above the doors and on the south side.

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

Mr. Bushouse commented that, since the neighbor to the west has vinyl siding on his pole building, that type of look would be more consistent with the neighborhood.

Ms. Borgfjord moved to grant the application as to location of the proposed accessory building with the following conditions, limitations and notations:

(1) That the sides of the building visible to the road (west and south) should be vinyl-sided.

(2) That evergreen tree screening be placed on the southwest side of the building and on the west subject to Staff review and approval of placement.

(3) That asphalt shingle roofing material be utilized.

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

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 4:16 p.m.

OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP
ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS

By:
Millard Loy, Chairperson

By:
Grace Borgfjord

By:
Dave Bushouse
By:
James Turcott
Minutes Prepared:
September 12, 2003
Minutes Approved:
, 2003