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April 12, 2001





A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Planning Commission on Thursday, April 12, 2001, commencing at approximately 7:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township.

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

MEMBER ABSENT: James Turcott

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


The meeting was called to order at 7:06 p.m.


Ms. Stefforia suggested elimination of Item 5, the work item concerning dimensional requirements for the "AG" and Rural Residential Zoning Districts. This item would be discussed after further research by staff.

The Chairperson suggested adding as Item No. 5 a discussion of the Kalamazoo City Planning Commission meeting regarding rezoning of the cemetery property.

Ms. Stefforia indicated she would be discussing two rezoning requests under Other Business.

Mr. Corakis moved to approve the Agenda as amended, and Mr. Rakowski seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.


The Planning Commission considered the minutes of the meeting of March 22, 2001. Mr. Rakowski moved to approve the minutes as submitted. Ms. Garland-Rike seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.


The Planning Commission reviewed Draft #1 of the new Agricultural District zoning text and Draft #3 of a district to be called "Rural Residential". Further, the Planning Commission reviewed Draft #1 of changes to related existing zoning provisions.

The Chairperson commenced the review with the Statement of Purpose for the proposed Agricultural District in Section 19.100. Ms. Garland-Rike suggested that the Statement of Purpose should recognize that the Township wishes to retain traditional or historical farming operations. After discussion, it was agreed that the Statement of Purpose would read as follows:

"This district classification is designed for areas where the principal use of land is for farming operations as defined in the Michigan Right to Farm Act. The district is intended to preserve the farming operations historically present in the Township and allow additional operations in keeping with the Township character. Activities within the district are to be carefully managed so as to achieve conservation of soil, water and nutrients.

There was discussion of the proposed setback for farm labor housing. It was recognized that other communities utilize 100 feet typically. Mr. Rakowski felt that the number was reasonable and easy to administer. Planning Commissioners agreed that 100 feet would be appropriate.

There was discussion of Section 19.204 concerning the requirement that 70% of product at truck gardens, greenhouses and nurseries be produced on the premises.

Unidentified members of the audience indicated concern that some farm operations were scattered and among a number of properties. The Board made reference to the current provisions of the Ordinance concerning farm market and recognized that it referred to items produced by the owner. Therefore, it was suggested that Section 19.204 be amended to refer to no less than 70% of product which is produced by the owner.

There was discussion of whether kennels, riding stables and the like should be added to the Agricultural District. Ms. Stefforia suggested that the District be small and limited in the number of uses permitted to allow for the preservation of agricultural land for agricultural purposes. The Chairperson agreed, stating that he believes the Township should not allow agricultural land to be eaten up by golf courses. Therefore, it was suggested that Section 19.402 concerning golf courses as a special use be moved to the Rural Residential District. As to veterinarian clinics, they would be moved from special use to permitted use. Shooting ranges and private clubs would be removed. The only special use would be essential services.

The Planning Commission reviewed Draft #3 concerning the Rural Residential District. Ms. Stefforia had suggested removing kennels from the "C-1" District. In her opinion, kennels would be more appropriately located in the Rural Residential District where acreage was available. Essential services would be made a special use.

Ms. Bugge suggested that, because riding stables traditionally included boarding, and the boarding of animals was a special use, riding stables should be moved to the special use category under Rural Residential District.

The Planning Commission reviewed the Statement of Purpose in Section 20.100. There was discussion of the sentence which noted the incompatibility of subdivisions with the Rural Residential District. It was recognized that this Statement referred to traditional development options in that "cookie cutter" subdivisions would not have a rural residential character. It was suggested that the Statement of Purpose be revised to state that the district was "intended to satisfy a desire for a semi-rural lifestyle within areas which are not considered suitable for agricultural uses due to soil limitations or land fragmentation, but which are also not suitable for traditional residential subdivisions as a result of topography, street capacity or utility system limitations. Use of non-traditional development options, such as the open space community provisions of Section 60.500, where open space, fallow land, wooded areas and wetlands are conserved, would be encouraged."

Section 20.402 concerning truck gardens would be amended to read as the provision would read in the Agricultural District.

There was discussion of the other possible amendments to various Zoning Ordinance sections which would be necessitated by the revision to the Agricultural and Rural Residential Districts. The wording of Section 78.400 concerning the keeping of poultry, swine, horses or livestock was discussed. It was recognized that this provision would not refer to licensed dogs and cats. The provision would be amended to read:

"The keeping of poultry, swine, livestock or horses and other similar animals as pets or for educational purposes is permitted under the following conditions: . . ."

There was discussion of the setback of shelters for animals, and it was agreed that the provision requiring 50 feet from the property line and 150 feet from a pre-existing dwelling on adjacent property was reasonable. With regard to subpart d, it was suggested that the draft which indicated animals should be controlled to prevent their approaching closer than 100 feet to any pre-existing dwelling on adjacent premises under different ownership was consistent with subpart c. Planning Commissioners agreed that subpart e should be deleted, and the provisions of the current Section 78.410 retained. Section 78.415, the current provision, would be deleted.

There was discussion of the proposed amendment to Section 66.150 which would in essence limit the number of dwellings on a Rural Residential District parcel to only one. In other residential districts, more than one dwelling could be placed on the property if it had at least 400 feet of frontage and twice the area required by Section 66.201. The words "single" and "two family" would be eliminated from Section 66.150. There would be modification of Section 60.520 to eliminate reference to "AG" and "R-1" for the open space community and adding reference to Rural Residential ("RR"). Section 50.540(B) would allow single and two-family residential dwelling units in the open space community. Section 31.206 allowing for kennels in the "C-1" District would be eliminated. Kennels would be permitted in the Rural Residential District.

There was discussion of the Master Land Use Plan provisions which discussed the Rural Residential land use classification. It was agreed that there should be no insertion of an Agricultural land use classification but that amendment to page 80 to make reference to preservation of historical farming operations would be made.

It was agreed that Township Staff would revise the text and that the Planning Commission would return to consideration at a future meeting.


The Chairperson reported that the Township Supervisor, the Planning Commission Chairperson and the Planning Director of the Township had appeared at the preceding Planning Commission meeting of the City of Kalamazoo to speak regarding the Planning Commission's consideration of rezoning the cemetery property which had previously been annexed to the City from the Township; the City was considering rezoning to a high density residential zoning classification. The Chairperson indicated that, after much consideration, the City Planning Commission had voted 8-0 to recommend against the rezoning. The Chairperson was pleased that the City Planning Commission had voted consistent with the Township's position on the rezoning. The Chairperson noted that he had talked with the City Planner, Vice Mayor and Chairperson of the Planning Commission. He felt that future discussions with the City could avert a crisis on similar issues in the future. He recommended increased cooperation with the City and with other bordering municipalities. He indicated that there was discussion of proposed ways in which the neighboring communities could increase their rapport.


Ms. Bugge reported that she had had discussions regarding the topic of tree preservation with the MSU Extension Office. She suggested that a representative come to the Planning Commission at the meeting of May 10, 2001, to discuss tree preservation issues.


Ms. Stefforia indicated that a rezoning request had been received concerning 4826 Ravine Road. She stated that this property is on the border with Kalamazoo Charter Township. The applicant was requesting rezoning from the "R-4" to the "C" Local Business District zoning classification for one-half of the parcel. The Master Land Use Plan currently classifies this area as Rural Residential. Ms. Stefforia wondered if the Planning Commission would like to consider revisiting the issue of neighborhood commercial in that the steep topography of this property and its small size might make neighborhood commercial zoning appropriate.

It was indicated that the neighboring property in Kalamazoo Charter Township was industrially and commercially zoned. Planning Commissioners expressed concern that the rezoning would result in a "spot zone" and otherwise be inappropriate. However, since the applicant had requested consideration of rezoning, a public hearing needed to be set.

Ms. Stefforia indicated that she would provide additional information on the uses located on the Kalamazoo Charter Township portion of the area, as well as the Kalamazoo Charter Township Zoning and Master Land Use Plan regarding the area. She would also contact the Kalamazoo Township Supervisor to inform him of the request.

Mr. Rakowski moved to schedule a public hearing on the rezoning and Master Land Use Plan change for May 24, 2001. Mr. Corakis seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

Ms. Stefforia indicated that she had also received a rezoning request concerning 5787 Stadium Drive. The property was classified as "Protected Residential" under the Master Land Use Plan. The applicant was requesting a change from the "R-2" to the "R-3" District zoning classification. It was noted that there was "R-3" zoning to the east, "R-2" zoning to the south and west and commercial zoning to north. The Planning Commissioners agreed that it would be inappropriate to expand the area under consideration.

Mr. Corakis moved to schedule public hearing on the item for May 24, 2001. At that time, the Planning Commission would consider whether to rezone the property to the "R-3" District and a change to the Transitional Master Land Use Plan classification. Mr. Rakowski seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

There was a reshuffle of the dias.


Mr. Rakowski complimented the Chairperson on his handling of the City Planning Commission meeting. Mr. Rakowski also noted the article in the Michigan Planner concerning the Coordinated Planning Act. He noted that he had distributed an article concerning Bruce Township and its lighting issues.

Ms. Everett indicated that she had been on vacation in Kissimmee, Florida the preceding week and had observed why it was important to have a good sign ordinance. She experienced a sea of signs and lights in Kissimmee which made it hard to find her lodging.

The Chairperson noted that he had observed a number of outdoor storage problems in the Township, and Ms. Stefforia stated that the Township is pursing enforcement.


There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 9:35 p.m.



Minutes prepared:
April 16, 2001

Minutes approved:
, 2001