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August 20, 2001


FAIRGROVE DRIVE - QUAIL RUN ESTATES - LOT WIDTH VARIANCE - LOTS 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 & 23 - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-26-287-142, -132, -122, -112, -102, -082, -072, -062, -232, -222, -212, -202, -192, -182, -173)

A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Zoning Board of Appeals on Monday, August 20, 2001, commencing at approximately 3:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Millard Loy, Chairperson
Sharon Kuntzman
Ted Corakis
David Bushouse
Jill Jensen


Also present were Jodi Stefforia, Planning Director; Mary Lynn Bugge, Township Planner; Robert C. Engels, Township Attorney, and one other interested person.


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


The Board considered the minutes of the meeting of July 23, 2001. Following discussion, Mr. Corakis moved to approve the minutes as submitted. Ms. Jensen seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

FAIRGROVE DRIVE - QUAIL RUN ESTATES - LOT WIDTH VARIANCE - LOTS 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 & 23 - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-26-287-142, -132, -122, -112, -102, -082, -072, -062, -232, -222, -212, -202, -192, -182, -173)

The Board considered the application of the Planning and Zoning Department for a variance from the provisions of Section 66.200 to allow 15 platted lots within Quail Run Estates to be buildable for two-family buildings where the minimum width required for a duplex is 120 feet, and the subject lots are less than 120 feet wide at the building setback line. The subject lots are 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 & 23 of Quail Run Estates. The Parcel Nos. are 3905-26-287-142, -132, -122, -112, -102, -082, -072, -062, -232, -222, -212, -202, -192, -182, -173. Additionally, a variance is requested for Lot 6 for area, as Lot 6 lacks the 13,200 square feet required for a duplex.

Nineteen duplexes were issued building permits and constructed, but of those, 16 were nonconforming due to insufficient lot width. The Township Board granted variances to the nonconforming duplexes on Lots 2, 3, 4 and 5 on April 11, 2000, to allow the formation of a condominium development for those duplexes and lots. Most construction took place in 1996 and 1997.

Four vacant lots remain, with one having sufficient width to meet the dimensional requirements for a duplex. Lots 6, 8, and 10 do not meet the width requirement, and Lot 6 also has less than the 13,200 square feet required for a duplex, as its area is only 12,646 square feet.

The nonconforming status came to the Planning and Zoning Department Staff's attention when Lot 10 was marketed as a duplex lot, and questions arose as to whether or not it qualified as a duplex lot. The lot had been purchased as a lot suitable for the construction of a duplex dwelling. There are no single-family homes in the plat, which makes it unlikely that anyone would want to construct a single-family home on the remaining vacant lots.

Staff recognized the extent of the nonconformance and is requesting that the Zoning Board of Appeals grant variances for width at building setback to the 12 constructed nonconforming duplexes and the three vacant lots lacking sufficient width, and additionally, grant an area variance to Lot 6.

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

Ms. Bugge stated that four lots are still vacant. Only one is a conforming lot for duplexes. She also pointed out that one lot has insufficient area for the construction of a duplex, Lot 6.

Mr. Corakis asked if there were buildings on the sites, and Ms. Bugge stated that 19 duplexes have been built, and 16 of them are nonconforming. Of the four lots left in the Plat, only one is conforming for the construction of duplexes.

It appears that the Township granted buildings permits on nonconforming lots in error. If the nonconforming duplexes are destroyed by more than 50 percent, any rebuild on those lots would have to be as single-family dwellings.

Ms. Kuntzman asked why a variance was being requested on the unbuilt lots. Ms. Bugge stated that all of the other lots in the Plat contained duplexes, which would leave three single-family units in the Plat, and it is questionable if the lots would be marketable as single-family lots.

Mr. Bushouse stated that when the issue of Lots 2, 3, 4, and 5 was before the Township Board, it was for condominium development. He asked if the Planning Commission reviewed the request as indicated in the minutes of the April 11, 2000 Township Board meeting. Ms. Bugge stated that the Planning Commission did review the proposal on June 28, 2001, and said that the existing duplexes on those lots could become part of a condominium.

Mr. Bushouse asked what took so long. Ms. Stefforia stated that the applicant took almost a year to return to ask the Planning Commission for approval. Mr. Corakis stated that it was hoped that the neighborhood would be improved if the condominium development was allowed. Mr. Bushouse asked if it was all one condominium association, and Ms. Stefforia stated that it was and would cover Lots 2, 3, 4 and 5.

Mr. Loy asked if the condominium had yet been set up, and Ms. Stefforia said that it had not yet been submitted for review. Mr. Bushouse asked if the condominium bylaws could state that there would only be single-family use. He stated that college students were living in the units. He stated that issue was different than the setback issue that was before the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Mr. Loy was concerned that the mistakes had not been caught by Township workers at the time, and that people in the Quail development have come before the Board for variances several times. He said that Staff was not checking building carefully enough, and there are now complaints about college students. He is concerned about the mistakes that started the problem and cause the problem to continue.

Ms. Bugge stated that current Staff is very conscientious about reviewing building permits, and she does not know why these happened. This situation occurred several years ago and should not happen again.

Mr. Loy expressed frustration that the Board must continue to deal with this problem in this subdivision.

Mr. Corakis stated that the Board really has no choice. Mr. Loy said that this is the third or fourth time that the Board has been confronted with this type of request.

Mr. Bushouse inquired about a deck, and if a deck would have to meet the setback requirements. Ms. Bugge said that a freestanding deck would be allowed, but if it was not freestanding, it must meet the setback requirements.

Mr. Rob Baird was present on behalf of his parents, who are the owners of Lot 10. His parents bought the lot in order to build a duplex, and although they were going to sell at one time, they now will build, and want to build a duplex.

There being no further comments, the public hearing was closed, and the Board began deliberation.

Mr. Loy stated that the Board had little choice and must grant the request to make the duplex use conforming. Ms. Kuntzman stated that she was not willing to grant the vacant lots variances, but would grant the variances for the duplexes that have already been built.

Mr. Bushouse asked if the variances were not allowed for the remaining lots, if there would be potential legal problems. Township Attorney Engels stated that there was the potential for legal action.

Mr. Corakis moved to approve the variance for Lots 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23 of Quail Run Estates and a lot area of less than 13,200 square for Lot 6. This would allow the construction of a duplex on the remaining nonconforming vacant lots, Lots 6, 8 and 10.

Mr. Corakis noted that 12 nonconforming duplexes exist, and it is unlikely that anyone will want to construct a single-family home on the three vacant nonconforming lots, which are Lots 6, 8 and 10. Additional property is not available for purchase to bring the lots into conformance with duplex dimensional criteria, and of the 19 duplexes which were issued building permits and constructed, 16 are nonconforming due to insufficient lot width.

Mr. Bushouse seconded the motion, and further discussion took place.

Mr. Corakis stated that an investigation should be done to find out why the error by Township Staff occurred to allow the nonconforming duplexes to be built. Mr. Bushouse questioned whether laser measurements may have caused the problem. Mr. Loy stated that was an issue that should be handled by the Township Board.

Mr. Loy stated that the lots should meet all code requirements for side, rear and front setbacks, and that it is only because of the 15 nonconforming lots that the Board is considering the request, and it should be clear that this situation only pertains to this particular Plat.

Ms. Kuntzman inquired as to why Lots 8, 9 and 10 cannot be combined to produce conforming lots. Ms. Bugge indicated that those lots were under separate ownership.

Ms. Jensen asked why no one noticed this problem, and said that it should be investigated.

Upon vote, the motion carried 3 to 2, with Mr. Corakis, Mr. Loy and Mr. Bushouse voting in favor, and Ms. Kuntzman and Ms. Jensen opposing the motion.

Those who voted in support of the motion indicated that they did so from concern about legal challenges.

Mr. Bushouse is waiting for the Planning Commission report as designated in the April 11, 2000 minutes. He believes that the number of non-family members in units could be limited in the condominium rules. He would like direct conversation going back to the condominium association to limit the number of people who can occupy the units.

Ms. Stefforia reminded the Zoning Board of Appeals Members that there is going to be a joint meeting with the Planning Commission tomorrow night. She also stated that the definition of "family" is on the agenda for the Planning Commission for the fall.


There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 3:40 p.m.


Millard Loy, Chairperson

Sharon Kuntzman

Ted Corakis

David Bushouse

Jill Jensen

Minutes Prepared:
August 21, 2001
Minutes Approved:
, 2001