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Meeting Minutes

MAY 28, 1998








A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Planning Commission on Thursday, May 28, 1998, commencing at approximately 7:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall, pursuant to notice.

Members present:

Wilfred Dennie, Chairperson
Elizabeth Heiny-Cogswell
Ken Heisig
Ted Corakis
Marvin Block
Lara Meeuwse

Member Absent: Millard Loy

Also present were Rebecca Harvey and Mike West of the Planning and Zoning Department, Patricia R. Mason, Township Attorney, and five (5) other interested persons.


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


Mr. Block moved to approve the agenda as submitted. Mr. Heisig seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.


The Planning Commission considered the minutes of the meeting of May 14, 1998. Ms. Meeuwse suggested a change to the second paragraph on page 12 to read, "Ms. Harvey noted that the impact of the service portion being a primary rather than secondary use was a Zoning Board of Appeals matter, and it would consider the site plan review as a permitted use."

A revision to page 12 would also be made to reference the discussion of the preceding joint meeting with the Township Board.

Ms. Meeuwse moved to approve the minutes as amended, and Mr. Corakis seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.



The next item was consideration of the application of Dale and Ethel Resh and Larry Harris regarding Leaders Marine for special exception use/site plan amendment to allow for the construction of a building for boat showroom sales and service and revisions concerning outdoor boat display areas. The subject property is located at 8158 West Main, in the north Ż of Land Section 16, see Map and situated in the "C" Local Business District zoning classification.

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

Ms. Harvey noted that information regarding previous approvals for the site were attached to the report. The most recent approval had dealt with site improvements east of the building, extended boat display area, etc. At the time of the last consideration in March of 1997, the applicant had proposed a building addition but, before approval, had removed this item from consideration. The applicant was now returning with the proposed second building. Ms. Harvey felt the Commission should review the application to determine whether the conditions imposed previously could be satisfied, as well as reviewing the special exception use criteria and site plan review issues. No expansion of the outdoor display area was proposed.

The Chairperson expressed concern that the site is made up of three separate parcels. Ms. Harvey confirmed that, since, for example, setback is measured from the property line, any approval of the application should be subject to the combination of the parcels into a single parcel by recorded legal instrument.

It was noted that the proposed amendments to the site would result in a reduction of existing boat parking.

Ms. Harvey said that generally the Planning Commission subjects approval to the review and approval of the Fire Department since fire access and safety is a concern with both special exception use and site plan approvals. She felt that this was particularly pertinent in this case in that the Fire Department had expressed particular concerns with the project and had been proceeding with the applicant to address these concerns. The applicant was aware of its options.

Larry Harris was present on behalf of the applicant. He noted that the proposed new building would occupy some of the outdoor display area previously approved. The separate building was proposed rather than a building addition due to concerns expressed code limitations noted by the Township Fire Department and Building Inspector in the previous application. The building was larger than originally proposed in order to accommodate showroom and service. It was felt that the second building would make it easier to service boats at the site. The new building would be approximately 30,000 sq. ft. In addition, the applicant was proposing a second "testing tank." This second tank would provide additional water for firefighting.

Mr. Harris discussed modifications to the site which would, in his opinion, improve interior site circulation. He stated that the hours of operation would not change. As to traffic, the same volume was expected. Mr. Harris felt that the modifications to the site were merely "cleaning up" the present operation and making it more concise. As to lighting, at present the only new exterior lighting proposed would be building mounted between the proposed and existing buildings. Mr. Harris stated that all lighting would comply with Ordinance requirements. At some point the applicant might wish to establish new pole lighting, but this would be proposed in compliance with Ordinance standards.

Mr. Harris felt that the proposal would reduce noise at the site in that it would reduce the outdoor activity at the site. As to accessibility, the applicant would accommodate Fire Department concerns with regard to access. There would be no change in the basic nature of the activity at the site. Mr. Harris stated that the applicant did not believe that the proposal would generate any additional debris. There was only a slight reduction in open space/ greenspace at the site in that a 20'-wide strip previously greenspace would be paved to allow for added ease in site circulation. It was noted that, even though this area was greenspace, it had previously been designated as a loading area.

On-site circulation, as it related to signage, would not change. Mr. Harris noted that there were mechanically controlled gates at the eastern and center portions of the site. The west gate was manually operated. Mr. Harris stated that sufficient parking was proposed in that the applicant had 54 parking spaces and 47 were required. Four barrier-free spaces would be included. As to boat parking, the applicant stated that it was possible to revise the site to accommodate an additional two spaces. However, the applicant felt that the two proposed were sufficient.

Brent Resh, manager of the store, stated, as to employee parking, that there were 18 employees, approximately one-fourth of whom were part time. He felt that allotting 20 spaces to employee parking was sufficient in that the applicant did not anticipate adding any employees with this proposed new building. Employee parking would be accommodated at the southwest end of the parking lot.

In response to questioning by the Chairperson, the applicant stated that the existing building at the site would be used for storage.

Ms. Meeuwse questioned the applicant with regard to the location of barrier-free spaces, and he stated that two would be located in front of the existing building and two would be added in front of the new building.

There was discussion of the "flow" of boats onto the site for servicing. It was noted that boats would enter through the west drive, pull in and be unhooked from the towing vehicle. The boat would then be brought inside the fenced area at the site. Ultimately, the boat would be taken inside the service area on the north side of the building through the service bay doors. New boats would enter the showroom area through the "overhead doors."

As to the existing testing tank, the applicant stated that it would remain.

Ms. Harvey had a question as to where boats would be located after service. Mr. Resh stated that they would be taken to the center grass area. However, this area would remain primarily outdoor display. Loading would take place in the area designated "truck unloading area" on the plan.

Ms. Meeuwse questioned the applicant as to the hours of operation, and he stated that they would remain 9:00-6:00 p.m. on weekdays except for Wednesday, which would be to 8:00 p.m. On Saturdays the store was open from 9:00-4:00 p.m.

Ron Whitemire, owner of property adjacent to the location, expressed concerns with the noise and growth at the site. He stated that the P.A. system used by the applicant is "very loud." He felt that the noise level had increased over the last year. At times, the P.A. system could be heard in his living room. He could also hear machinery noise from the service area. He stated that the P.A. system goes into the evenings on "Wednesdays."

There was no other public comment offered, and the public hearing was closed.

The Planning Commission considered the criteria of Section 60.100. The Planning Commission first considered whether the proposed use was compatible with other uses expressly permitted within the "C" District. Reference was made to Section 30.100, which provided the Statement of Purpose for the "C" District. Planning Commission members discussed the proposed amendments to the site in light of the Statement of Purpose.

Mr. Corakis stated that he saw no problem with the proposed new building and felt it would be as compatible with the uses permitted in the "C" District as the site is at present.

Mr. Block felt that the site had been "unsightly" during the winter months of last year due to the numerous snowmobiles displayed outside. He felt that the building which would be added to the site would have a "favorable" impact in that it would eliminate some outdoor display area. The Chairperson agreed, stating he felt, in addition, that the architecturally constructed building might be more aesthetically pleasing and better retain noise inside the building than the present pole building at the site.

Ms. Meeuwse expressed concern that the applicant, in the future, might seek additional outdoor display area. She felt that the use was becoming "too large" to be in character with the area. However, after further discussion, Planning Commission members concurred that the use would be compatible.

The Planning Commission next discussed whether the proposed use would be detrimental or injurious to the use or development of adjacent properties or to the general public. It was felt that the proposed changes would improve site circulation, but there was concern that directional signage remain at the site (and be reflected on the plan) to implement the site circulation pattern.


As to the P.A. system, in response to questions from Planning Commission members, Ms. Harvey stated that the Township does have a Noise Ordinance and that the Township "has a mechanism" for measuring decibel readings. Planning Commission members discussed whether they felt that the issue of noise at the site could be dealt with by enforcing the Noise Ordinance. Ms. Harvey noted that, as a special exception use, the Planning Commission might feel that the applicant could not satisfy this criterion due to the noise generated by the P.A. system.

The Chairperson stated that, given the use, he could see the need to reach employees who were outside in outdoor display areas.

Mr. Corakis pointed out that some businesses now use cellular phones rather than P.A. systems. He felt that there were other alternatives that the applicant could use in contacting employees when outside. Ms. Meeuwse expressed her concern regarding the impact of the P.A. system on adjoining properties.

The Chairperson stated he felt that perhaps the reduction in outdoor display might lessen the outdoor noise generated by the P.A. system.

Mr. Resh stated that he had not been contacted about any noise problem and therefore did not have much response to the concern. He stated that the business had added use of two-way radios to contact some employees. However, he noted that they had had the same P.A. system for 12 years and that there was only one outside "horn" on the west side of the existing building. This would be moved to the west side of the proposed building. The applicant said it would work with the Township to reduce the volume of the P.A. system.

Ms. Meeuwse expressed she felt that, if the noise from the P.A. system were not adequately taken care of, the amendment to the special exception use permit should be denied. She felt this was especially important given the fact that there were residential uses and agricultural zoning around the site.

The Chairperson disagreed, stating that the changes to the site would require on-site communication. Mr. Corakis stated that his concerns would be addressed if the applicant were required to comply with the Noise Ordinance. The Chairperson agreed, stating he felt that the noise alone did not make the use detrimental or injurious to adjacent properties.

Mr. Heisig stated that, in his opinion, the proposal of the additional building did not enhance the "noise" at the site. However, he would expect the applicant to take reasonable measures to address the problem. He also felt it was significant that there was no "history" of complaints.

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell stated that, given the size of the proposed building, the fact that service would be "in the back," and the fact that display would be "oriented toward the back of the site," there was a potential for more noise impact on the residential/agricultural uses adjacent to the property. Therefore, she felt it was important to address reduction of noise with the existing system or an alternative system.

It was noted that the Noise Ordinance establishes a different decibel level standard for commercial and residential districts. Planning Commission members concurred that the concern with noise would be addressed if the applicant were required to comply with Noise Ordinance standards for the residential district as measured at the boundary of the special exception use permit site.

The Planning Commission next considered whether the proposed use would promote the public health, safety and welfare. It was noted that the changes/alterations to the previously approved site access arrangement off West Main are not proposed. Further, there would be compliance with Groundwater Protection Standards. Planning Commission members were satisfied that, if a detailed outdoor lighting proposal was submitted in compliance with Section 78.700, lighting would not negatively impact public health, safety and welfare. The Planning Commission's consensus was that there would be no changes which would negatively impact health, safety and welfare so long as the Fire Department concerns with regard to the site were addressed.

The Planning Commission discussed whether the proposed use would encourage use of the land in accord with its character and adaptability. It was felt that, since there was no expansion in the boundaries of the special exception use permit and a reduction in the outdoor display area, this would be significant. The Planning Commission reviewed the open space which would remain at the site, noting that there would be 18.3 acres, approximately 80.89% of the total site, remaining as greenspace/open space.

The standards of Section 31.403 were reviewed, and Planning Commission members concurred that they had been satisfied. The Planning Commission reviewed the criteria of site plan review set forth in Section 82.800. Planning Commission members were satisfied with parking as proposed, both boat parking and employee parking. Again it was reiterated by the applicant that the existing building would be used for storage only. No additional dumpsters would be located at the site.

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell commented that, since the proposed building is so large in scale, she felt there was a need for additional landscaping at the site along West Main/M-43. Perhaps groupings of trees or other plantings at the east and west ends would be appropriate, in her opinion.

Ms. Meeuwse moved to approve the special exception use permit, finding that the criteria of Sections 60.100 and 31.403 had been met, with the following conditions, limitations and notations:

(1) That it was recognized there would be a reduction in the outdoor display area and orientation at the site.

(2) That it was recognized the alterations would improve site circulation.

(3) That no changes had been made to access or signage.

(4) That it was required all lighting comply with the outdoor lighting standards of Section 78.700.

(5) That there would be no expansion of the special exception use boundaries.

(6) That open space at the site would remain satisfactory.

(7) That, as a condition of approval, the noise at the site was not to exceed the decibel limits for residential zones set forth in the Township's Noise Ordinance as measured at the special exception use permit boundaries.

(8) That approval was also conditioned upon Fire Department review and approval, particularly in view of the concerns of the Fire Department.

(9) That approval was conditioned upon a combination of all parcels into one by a written recorded instrument on file with the Township.

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

Ms. Meeuwse moved to approve the site plan with the following conditions, limitations and notations:

(1) That there were no modifications to the previously approved access arrangement off West Main proposed.

(2) That changes suggested for the parking area were satisfactory: 54 spaces, including four barrier-free spaces, would be provided. Two boats parking spaces as proposed were approved. The addition of a third boat parking space was authorized if requested by the applicant and with submission of revised plan to the Township staff for review and approval. All parking was subject to compliance with the dimensional standards of 10' x 20'.

(3) That all barrier-free parking is subject to ADA and Michigan Barrier-Free Guidelines and must be designated by signage and pavement logo.

(4) That proposed building setbacks and separations comply with Ordinance standards.

(5) That no additional refuse dumpsters are proposed in conjunction with the amendment.

(6) That all outdoor lighting must be provided in compliance with the lighting guidelines of Section 78.700. A lighting proposal must be detailed and submitted to Township staff for review and approval pursuant to Section 78.700(g).

(7) That retention of the previously required evergreen screening arrangement along the easterly property line is approved.

(8) That landscaping, such as trees and plantings, along West Main, in character with the general area, should be established. A landscape plan detailing additional site landscaping must be submitted to Township staff for review and approval.

(9) That no variance had been requested.

(10) That approval was subject to the Township Fire Department review and approval; it was recognized that this requirement would address fire access/safety concerns with regard to the site.

(11) That issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy for the proposed expansion is contingent on final inspections/approvals from the Building, Mechanical, Electrical, Fire, Planning and Zoning Departments to insure compliance with all applicable standards, conditions and regulations.

(12) That environmental permits checklist and hazardous substance reporting form had been completed and submitted for the subject site and was subject to review and approval pursuant to Section 69.000.

(13) That all parcels making up the site must be combined into one parcel through a written and recorded legal instrument on file with the Township.

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



The Chairperson reviewed the proposed text amendments. The Planning Commission first discussed the proposed setback definition in Section 11.550. It was noted that this definition would encompass the current Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals interpretation that setback is measured to the leading edge of the building or structure.

With regard to Section 64.400, Service Station Equipment, the Chairperson stated that Township Board member Bushouse had wondered at the joint meeting whether a canopy over a gas pump would be subject to setback. Ms. Harvey stated that the Zoning Board of Appeals had previously interpreted that, if a canopy is attached to a building, it is a leading edge from which setback is measured. If a canopy is standing alone, it is considered a structure as determined by the Zoning Board of Appeals. Structures are not subject to setbacks.

Mr. Corakis stated he felt that a "canopy" over gas pumps is akin to a building although not fully enclosed. Planning Commission members felt that the setbacks in Section 64.400 should refer to canopies over gas pumps and therefore it was felt that this text provision should be amended to state "not withstanding the foregoing, the minimum setback for gasoline pumps, detached gas pump canopies, display racks, air pumps, or other service station equipment shall be 20'. . ."

The report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference. Ms. Harvey directed the Planning Commission's attention to the road classification map which she had attached to the Planning and Zoning report. She stated that the proposed amendments to Section 64.100 would address certain name changes and would also address changes to functional classification of certain roads made since the Ordinance was adopted. The proposed amendments would result in "three additions" to the designated highways in Section 64.100. These areas had been noted in orange on the map and included Almena Drive from West Main to Van Kal, 10th Street, and the new portion of 9th Street. These additions were recommended in that these roads had had a change in their functional classification for Kalamazoo County Road Commission purposes. It was recognized that this change would impact residentially zoned property along these roads so as to require a 70' setback rather than 40'. The Chairperson suggested including a map with the information provided to the Township Board for clarity.

The Chairperson asked for public comment on the item, and the memorandum received from the Township Building Department was referenced. Robert Horton, Building Inspector, was present to discuss the item. He suggested that it be tabled in order to discuss the merits of the proposed setback changes as set forth in his memorandum. His basic proposal was that the setbacks be measured, not from the leading edge, but from the foundation of the building. An additional 5' could be added to current setback standards to accommodate any projections. Mr. Horton felt that this would allow for the "maintenance" of the 10' sideline setback in that typical overhangs are approximately 18 inches.

After some discussion, the Chairperson stated he recognized that the Planning Commission had discussed this concept when drafting the current text. However, the Planning Commission had been concerned that measuring to the foundation would result in some property owners establishing overhangs, porches or other projections in excess of the 5'. There was some discussion of requiring, for example, 15' from the sideline to the foundation unless a developer could show with plans that the leading edge would be at least 10' from the property line. It was felt that this might cause confusion, however. Ms. Heiny-Cogswell felt that the standards should be clear and believed that the measurement to the leading edge was appropriate. She felt that the Township could target builders in the area and educate them as to Oshtemo's requirements. Mr. Corakis expressed that he was satisfied with the current proposal and agreed that confusion could be cured by education.

The public hearing was closed after no other public comment was offered.

Mr. Corakis moved to recommend the text changes as noticed with the exception of the previously outlined amendment to Section 64.400 to add reference to detached gas pump canopies. Mr. Heisig seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.



Planning Commission review: Draft outline. Ms. Harvey suggested rescheduling this item to the next meeting.


Ms. Harvey submitted a report concerning the item, which is incorporated herein by reference. It was noted that this project would include an update of the Industrial Land Use datae contained within the Land Use Plan and attempt to establish a confirm or re-establish the direction for industrial use in the Township. A subcommittee would be created, and it was suggested that the subcommittee would conduct its work meeting in mid-to-late June with a follow-up meeting if necessary and present its findings at the meeting of the Planning Commission on July 23, 1998. This project would be a precursor to considering a Brownfield Redevelopment Authority. The Chairperson also felt it would be an important first step in work on an Industrial Business Park text. Ms. Harvey agreed that a text might ultimately flow out of this planning process.

Mr. Heisig moved to endorse the process as outlined in the Planning and Zoning Department report and to charge Township staff with creation of the subcommittee. Mr. Block seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

It was noted that Mr. Loy had previously expressed interest in this project. Ms. Heiny-Cogswell stated that she was also interested and would let Township staff know about her availability.



The joint meeting conducted on May 19, 1998, was discussed.


There being no further business to come before the Commission, the meeting was adjourned at 10:30 p.m.

Minutes approved:
June 11, 1998