Township Board Minutes

APRIL 28, 1998


The Oshtemo Township Board held its regular meeting at the Township Hall. The meeting was called to order by Supervisor Fleckenstein, at 7:00 p.m.


Supervisor Ron Fleckenstein
Clerk Elaine Branch
Treasurer Lois Brown
Trustee Norman Anderson
Trustee Marvin Block
Trustee David Bushouse
Trustee Fred Johnson

 Also present was Richard Reed, Township Attorney and Robert Snell, Township Engineer,
along with 29 interested people. Deputy Clerk Deb Everett was present to take minutes.

Motion made by Block, seconded by Anderson to approve the minutes of our last meeting, April 14, as prepared. Carried.

Income to the General Fund of $2,318.56 and disbursements of $75,434.19 were reported. Fire Fund income was $282.47 with disbursements of $26,222.40. Clerk Branch pointed out that the first item under General Fund receipts should read Oshtemo Methodist Church. Motion made by Johnson, seconded by Block, to approve the report and pay the bills with the clarification noted. Carried.




An ordinance rezoning approximately 19 acres of land located in Section 13, along US 131 and north of T.G.I. Fridays, from "R-4" Residence District to "C" Local Business District was presented for First Reading. Motion made by Block, seconded by Brown to set Second Reading for May 12. Carried.


Planning Commission Chairman Wilfred Dennie presented to the Board their recommendations for changes in the Open Space Community Ordinance. He advised the Board that some of these proposed changes came from knowledge gained at the Rural By Design: Conservation Design for Subdivisions program co-sponsored by the Township last October. The Planning Commission reviewed the Township standards against the design guidelines presented in the program, as well as issues/questions previously raised in open space applications. Their proposed changes include:

Eliminate the term "predominantly single-family" from the definition.

Allow Open Space development as a Special Exception Use in "R-4" and "R-5" zoning classifications.

Eliminate 20 acre minimum requirement for development.

Change wording "generally restricted to single-family residential dwelling units" to read "limited to single-family and/or two-family residential dwelling units".

Change wording "dwelling units" to "residential sites".

Add language to encourage the use of single loaded streets (houses on one side of street only).

Add requirement of extending streets to boundary of open space community when adjoining undeveloped property.

Add language to encourage street design to minimize dead-ends and produce ‘terminal vistas’ of open space elements.


Treasurer Brown questioned use of public and private roads within a development with regards to maintenance. She also expressed concerns about allowing for open space development in "R-4" and "R-5" zones, in that you could potentially have a dense development, i.e. multiple family housing and/or mobile homes on a parcel with an open space development. Mr. Dennie advised that the road required to meet adjoining undeveloped property would be required to be built to Road Commission standards. He also felt the Master Land Use Plan would protect the potential development she referred to.

Trustee Bushouse expressed concerns about private roads and making sure they are maintained.

Engineer Snell asked for clarification on the matter of requiring on site sewage disposal. Mr. Dennie advised that off site disposal would be allowed if approved by the Health Department and sometimes the configuration of the building lots could require such.

Trustee Johnson expressed concerns about the economics of a single load street; if you only allow houses to be built on one side of the street the cost per lot would be higher.

Clerk Branch asked for clarification that the single load street concept is a guideline and not a requirement. Mr. Dennie concurred that this was correct. He advised the Board that these proposed changes actually liberalize the open space concept, not make it more restrictive.

Motion was made by Branch, seconded by Block to set the proposed Open Space Text Amendment for first reading on May 12. Treasurer Brown expressed that she had reservations about "R-4" and "R-5" zones being included, but because of the other proposed changes she would vote yes. Carried.



The Planning Commission recommended the rezoning of approximately 3.5 acres of land, situated north of and adjoining Park Village Pines on Crystal Lane, from "R-2" Residence District to "R-4" Residence District.

The Planning Commission considered that the property was landlocked, owned by the same owner as adjoining parcel to the south, (Park Village Pines), would comply with Master Land Use Plan and noted that public utilities are available. Access would be gained from Crystal Lane. A representative from the owner indicated their intent is to build a 20 bed Alzheimer/Dementia unit.

Motion made by Brown, seconded by Johnson to set First Reading for May 12. Carried.



Mr. Dennie returned to the Board the 9th Street Focus Area Overlay Zone which had been referred back to the Planning Commission. They had been asked to look again at rezoning to "R-3" and the requirement for sewer. He explained the concept and reasons the Planning Commission recommended the overlay zone. The recommendation remains the same as presented at the January 13 meeting; reasons being that rezoning to "R-3" would not achieve the goals of the 9th Street Focus Area Plan and the requirement for sewer was reasonable in that there is a need to look to the future in terms of developing a plan for infrastructure.

Trustee Bushouse asked if the overlay zone would be for this area only or throughout the township. Mr. Dennie advised him the overlay zone pertains to the 9th Street Focus Area only.

Supervisor Fleckenstein inquired what development would be allowed. Mr. Dennie responded that the current "R-2" zoning allows single and two family homes and under the Special Exception Uses, a Planned Unit Development (PUD), as well as an Open Space Community Development. The Overlay Zone would be a another option.

Treasurer Brown inquired if the Planning Commission had looked at statistics on occupied/unoccupied available office space currently existing and projected and would this be a factor. Mr. Dennie responded that they did not, however, if there is interest, developers would consider economic feasibility.

Trustee Bushouse questioned what happens to the balance of a parcel on which only a portion is included in the overlay zone and was developed; the developer would be restricted as to what could be done with the balance. Mr. Dennie advised that they had focused on the area in general not individual parcels. A developer could request that the overlay zone boundary be moved. Mr. Bushouse felt that if the desired use is office, then rezone to "R-3" for office use. Mr. Dennie responded they felt office would only be appropriate if certain design standards are met which would be a requirement of the overlay zone.

Trustee Johnson asked if there would be any "C" involved. Mr. Dennie responded no and that commercial development could be attained under a PUD.

Supervisor Fleckenstein asked if a more relaxed PUD had been considered or more "R-3" zoning.

Mr. Dennie responded that opportunity exists under PUD and the overlay zone would allow features of "R-3" with design standards from the Focus Area plan.

Motion made by Block, seconded by Branch to set the 9th Street Focus Area Overlay Zone for First Reading on May 12.

Treasurer Brown stated she has not changed her view and feels the proposal is very restrictive and discourages development in that area.

The following people spoke regarding the overlay zone:

Ken Bertolissi - West Main property owner
Ed Sharpe - 379 West Ridge Circle
Gerry Paul - 5817 Manorwood
Gordon Stocking - owner - 6240 West KL Avenue
Lou Zacharisa - 559 Sunrise Circle
Dan Thompson - 105 Echo Hills

Their comments included:

Focus Area Plan would require sewer only if available, requirement of sewer too restrictive.

How can sewer be required if it is not available.

The township has grown without an overlay plan.

Why weren’t impact studies done.

Would have same problem as Greystone water problem.

Crime would increase.

Depth should be 660'.

Ordinances are already in place to allow development at same level as overlay plan.

Overlay plans will develop all over the township if this one is allowed.

Country Club Village has "homes" not just houses and were purchased with the idea of being surrounded by same.

Developers should develop property as zoned, they are aware of zoning when purchasing.

Overlay zone was developed to protect land not protected by zoning - this doesn’t - it contradicts basic zoning.

"R-3" would help implement 9th Street Focus Area Plan.

Commercial is not being requested with the overlay zone.

Crime in commercial areas not same as in offices.

Times change - best and highest use of land is not residential.

Don’t want offices.

Why 880' foot depth instead of 660'?

Original rezoning request was from two people - 200 people objected.

51 petitions presented in opposition.

In response to some of these questions, Mr. Dennie responded that regarding the 880' depth, the Planning Commission felt this would allow flexibility considering the topography of the land, however, certain standards would be required to meet the contour of the land.

At this time the motion was voted on. Carried with Brown and Bushouse voting "no".

 Clerk Branch excused herself from the meeting at this point.



Mr. Rolf Peterson representing Nordic Electric was present to request that the Board grant a franchise allowing their company to provide electric power to customers in Oshtemo Township. Mr. Peterson gave a brief history of the company and explained that although they currently service commercial customers, their plans are to expand their market.

Motion made by Brown, seconded by Johnson to set the franchise ordinance for First Reading May 12. Carried.



Plans for a new plat, Breckenridge Estates, Phase II were presented to the Board. The 23 lot plat will be an extension of Breckenridge Estates, Phase I on Northstar Avenue with an additional access on West H Avenue.

In response to a question by Trustee Anderson regarding the access point on West H Avenue, Engineer Snell advised that this would be reviewed by the Road Commission for final approval.

Motion made by Brown, seconded by Block to receive the plans and refer them to our Engineer for review. Carried.



Treasurer Brown advised the Board of behalf of the Board Appointment Committee that Thomas Crooks had resigned from the Building Board of Appeals due to work time conflicts, effective April 1, 1998. They recommended appointment of Edward Hilton to complete the term which expires January 1, 2000. Mr. Hilton is a plumbing contractor and a 30 year township resident.

Motion made by Anderson, seconded by Block to appoint Edward Hilton to the Building Board of Appeals. Carried.



Trustee Block made a motion to approve US flags be flown as last year in the Stadium Drive/9th Street area. They would be put up for the period of Memorial Day through Flag Day and then again a week before and through July 4th. Seconded by Anderson. Carried.

Supervisor Fleckenstein invited the Board to attend a meeting at Portage City Hall, Saturday, May 1 at 7:30 a.m. The topic will be the Fresh Start initiative which is looking at the economic future of the county.

Trustee Bushouse advised the Board that the Oshtemo Rotary will be hosting "Oshtemo Days" at Flesher Field on June 20 from 11:00 a.m - 2:00 p.m. There will be tickets available for balloon rides with proceeds being used for community projects.

There was no further business and the meeting adjourned at 9:35 p.m.

Deputy Township Clerk Supervisor
Date approved - May 12, 1998