Township Board Minutes

August 24, 1999

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 Deb Everett
Trustee Norman Anderson
Trustee Marvin Block
Trustee David Bushouse
Trustee Fred Johnson

Also present was Richard Reed, Township Attorney and Larry Stehouwer, Township Engineer along with 39 interested people.

Motion made by Block, seconded by Johnson to approve the minutes of the August 10, 1999 and August 17, 1999 meetings as prepared. Carried.

Income to the General Fund of $8,920.19 and disbursements of $88,473.01 were reported. Income to Fire Fund of $1,343.39 and disbursements of were $27,310.64 were reported. Motion made by Johnson, seconded by Anderson to acknowledge the receipts and pay the bills. Carried.

Kadir Mohmand, 6147 Old Log Trail read a statement to the Board asking who will benefit from the sewer system being built on North 10th Street, if any Board members have connections with WestPointe Development, and will any Board member, family, friends, township employees, present or past, benefit from any development past, present or proposed in the township or from doing business with the Township.

Brian Maloney, owner of Rollerworld along with mascot RollerRoo, made a presentation to the Board regarding the community service activities they participate in supporting such efforts as Loaves & Fishes, Catholic Family Services, and local schools.

A proposed text change amendment regarding Special Exception Use was presented for First Reading. It would allow no application that had been denied could be resubmitted for one year except on grounds of changed circumstances and also that no expansion, alteration or change of a Special Exception Use could be made without approval of the Planning Commission.

There were no comments and a motion was made by Block, seconded by Johnson to accept the text change amendment for First Reading and set Second Reading for September 14. Carried.

A proposed ordinance rezoning the parcels at the SW and SE corners of Stadium Drive and South 7th Street from I-1 to C, was presented for First Reading.

Trustee Anderson commented on statements made at the last meeting that the text change eliminating commercial and office use from the I-1 district was made after the purchase of the property, however, our records indicate the text change effective December, 1988 and the purchase made in June, 1989.

Motion made by Block, seconded by Anderson to accept the Planning Commission recommendation to deny the requested rezoning as the Master Land Use Plan (MLUP) does not support the rezoning, it would constitute a spot zone and set a precedent.

Clerk Everett commented that under further study of the MLUP and previous Planning Commission work, she would vote to deny the request. She further stated that her previous support of the request had been influenced by the Rollerworld property being non-conforming, however, the Planning Commission would be considering a text amendment on August 26th to allow indoor recreational uses as a Special Exception Use in the I-1 zone.

Trustee Bushouse referred to the area of the MLUP stating it is flexible and not zoning regulation, that it will need to change. He also referred to the topic of Land Uses Assumptions, which states in part that additional significant commercial development is unlikely to occur in the foreseeable future as is large scale industrial expansion and development. He further stated that the requested type of use, at one time, was supported by the zoning ordinance; a mixture of commercial and industrial. He felt the Board must look at how things change; the plan was done a number of years ago. He felt the old concept of office use or other uses in industrial zoning was good and will not support the motion to deny.

Brian Maloney stated he understood what the Planning Commission was doing with a text change for Special Exception Use but feels a precedent could be set if we start making Special Exception Uses. He felt his facility is a commercial use, when purchased it was in the proper zoning, he needs the opportunities that commercial zoning gives rather than Special Exception Use and has been turned down by banks because of non-conforming status.

Dick Schramm, 2001 South 4th Street, stated he would like to have fair treatment and found it questionable to have a vote without a chance to respond. He further stated to the best of his knowledge commercial and office was a permitted use before the property was purchased and. It was his intention to purchase the property with the availability of commercial as well as office use and had acquired setback/buildable site assurance before the purchase. He further stated that the piece at 7/10 of an acre will not diminish industrial use, current zoning dramatically effects his ability to use the property and he would like same the consideration given others.

Supervisor Fleckenstein advised that the Planning Department had been asked to review the file as it related to the dates of the text change and purchase. This information was shared with the Board.

Char Schramm, 2001 South 4th Street, stated she feels this is not a spot zone since Rollerworld and the John Deere dealer are commercial uses; this property is small and they should be allowed to develop it.

Wilfred Dennie, Planning Commission Chairman, read a prepared statement to the Board which included in part that the MLUP calls for this area to be Industrial. A recent review indicates that industrial land is properly located based on current land usage and trends within the Township and should not be expanded or reduced in size. Future concentration of industrial property should occur at Stadium Drive and 6th Street and KL Avenue and 8th Street. The MLUP suggests strip commercial development should be discouraged and the Village Focus Area calls for commercial to be concentrated at the Stadium Drive and 9th Street intersection. The conclusion of the Planning Commission was that given the location of the Schramm property, the MLUP policies noted, and recent changes in the area (Sky King Industrial Condo Development) the rezoning request should be denied. His statement further referred to the applicants motivation in purchasing several small parcels along Stadium Drive, the revision to the ordinance text in 1997 to accommodate some offices as special exception uses, and felt the Planning Commission had been very cooperative but is consistent in its deliberate steps to maintain the integrity of the ordinance and MLUP policies. He further stated the Township is under no obligation to advance the financial viability of any property owner. In addressing the non-conforming status of Rollerworld, he reiterated that the Planning Commission is reviewing the situation and feels some accommodation can be made without amending the MLUP or rezoning. In regards to Heslinga Lawn & Power Equipment, if the owner is in violation of the special exception use granted, it is an enforcement issue. Chairman Dennie also commented that when the motion was made to overrule the Planning Commission recommendation he asked the Board to articulate their basis for the motion and was ignored.

Char Schramm stated they had no desire to cause problems for the John Deere dealer nor is it the intention do so when mentioning they see the use as commercial. She further stated they have been purchasing property to develop and intend to do so now as she has retired from teaching. She felt Mr. Dennie=s comments were offensive and goes beyond reasonable conduct for the Planning Commission Chairman.

Brian Maloney stated he finds it difficult to come before the Planning Commission and Township Board to be able to conduct business here. He urged the Board to deny the motion and approve the rezoning instead of issuing Special Exception Uses, i.e. John Deere and now Rollerworld.

Dick Schramm stated he understood it is difficult for the Board to vote against the Planning Department, further that the situation can be resolved by the rezoning, everyone will benefit, and he feels this is a reasonable request.

Kadir Mohmand advised the Board to read the Constitution, remember they are the peoples servants and are obligated to follow the Constitution.

Trustee Bushouse responded to Mr. Dennie that he does not see a problem looking at the Sky King development as a commercial or industrial use. Referring to Mr. Dennie=s comments about the non-conforming use, Trustee Bushouse felt a building of this type would go in a commercial zone, if a building the size of a soccer complex were to be built and then closed, a use compatible with the neighborhood would be wanted, the result being a large building in commercial when industrial would be required down the street. In response to Mr. Dennie=s comment that he received no response to his request for explanation from the Board for supporting the motion to approve, Trustee Bushouse stated then a use like Rollerworld in this district is a commercial venture and commercial can be intermixed with industrial zoning.

Mr. Dennie responded with an apology to Mr. & Mrs. Schramm that it was not his intent to offend them. He advised that the Planning Commission cannot listen to what an applicant or land owner says they will do with their property. They must consider that any permitted use could occur and must judge a decision based on the MLUP which is the guiding force. The purpose is to administer growth in the best way possible and we do so with the MLUP. A potential purchaser of property should visit the Township and inquire as to what the future plan is for that area.

Nicole Wright, daughter of Brian Maloney, felt the rezoning should be considered for a long standing business that would like to improve itself and the community.

There was no further discussion. Motion carried with Bushouse voting no.

An ordinance amendment, rezoning approximately 12.5 acres of land on North Drake Road, from R-2 to R-3 was presented for First Reading.

There were no comments and a motion was made by Block, seconded by Johnson to accept the ordinance amendment for First Reading and set the Second Reading for September 14. Carried.

The matter of a proposed water main extension on West Main from the Township Hall to approximately 2 mile west of 4th Street was back before the Board. Engineer Stehouwer had been directed at the last meeting to prepare plans showing parcel depths at 500 feet for the purpose of determining petition validity. He presented to the Board the plans which as redrawn, reflected 47% of the land area supported by the petition. He also presented a drawing which eliminated those parcels in the original petition area west of 4th Street, which had not signed the petition. Presented in this form, 52% of the land area is supported by the petition. It was his recommendation that the water district be created from the Township Hall to 4th Street, the petition is valid with the revision to the district, and the estimated cost is $418,400 based on recent increases from the City of Kalamazoo.

Trustee Johnson inquired if Kalamazoo College, who owns property of the south side of West Main, had signed the petition. He was advised they had not.

Clerk Everett stated she is still not comfortable with the effect this has on property owners to the east of the proposed district. She further stated she could only support the proposal if there is an alternative for financing the portion of the district where the petition was not signed.

Steven Langeland, 6401 Old Log Trail, son of Nella Langeland, 7653 West Main, advised the Board that he was pleased with the action taken at the last meeting directing the Engineer to redraw the district fairly using equal criteria. He now questions why the Engineer would draw the district so it supports those in favor. The petition should pass or fail on its own merit, not use artificial means to obtain 50% in favor. He referred to the State Statute that requires a township not proceed with an improvement until a petition is filed by land owners with more than 50% in favor. He felt this petition is insufficient and should not go forward.

Glenn Husted, owner of Ayres Acres plat at the SW corner of West Main and 4th Street, addressed the Board stating vinyl chloride has been found in the water at Lot 19 of Ayres Acres. He further stated that the contamination has also been found across the street. He felt this project should be financed from the same fund as others with problems stemming from the landfill.

Supervisor Fleckenstein advised that the previous water extensions have been due to being positively identified as contamination from the landfill, to his knowledge there is no indication that would tie this to the landfill.

Kadir Mohmand addressed the Board that as a civil engineer he is concerned for citizens and their water. He felt the landfill has contaminated a ten mile radius and we should go to the people responsible.

Dick VanDam, 8132-8178 West Main, advised the Board that the petitioners are small business people who have to upgrade to compete but cannot obtain a building permit based on lack of fire protection. He further stated that he understands other residents situations; this has been a long process, the petitioners did not draw the district, their need is for no other reason than fire protection, however, the water extension would benefit all in the area with higher property values.

Grace Borgfjord, 9802 Sunnywood, felt that a look at the map shows a lot of people taking responsibility and feels certain the Board can work it out and go forward.

Steven Langeland stated that if this is a citizen petition there must be 50% in favor, if it is a Township proposal the question becomes who will pay. If project benefits the Township issue a bond or establish a revolving improvement fund.

David Handley, 8342 West Main, stated he agreed with Clerk Everett that a way must be found to finance the project. He compensates the need for fire protection by having several storage sites for equipment.

Engineer Stehouwer commented that the City of Kalamazoo constructs water main for a fixed rate regardless of size of the water main, through water rates users pay for improvements to systems. He felt this is a good system making water affordable. He further commented that he is not representing anyone and felt he has been misrepresented.

Attorney Reed advised the next step is to determine if the Board wishes to proceed with the project, if so, adopting a resolution to hold a first public hearing on the district. If deciding to proceed at that hearing, would set a second hearing on the proposed special assessment roll and determine how the district will be assessed.

Trustee Anderson stated he felt there should be a better way than what has been proposed due to the impact on property owners along the extension. The cost will be high compared to any benefit they receive, therefore, he will vote against the proposal.

Trustee Bushouse asked Attorney Reed for clarification regarding means of financing, i.e. bonding, using township funds. Attorney Reed advised there are four ways to fund, pay from the general fund, water fund, bonds or construction contract, however, all must be repaid within a specific time frame. He further advised that anyone receiving a benefit from the project must be assessed.

Clerk Everett was concerned with moving forward to the point of a second hearing and not being able to come to terms on how to finance the project.

Trustee Anderson inquired about the status of the properties across the street who would also benefit from lower insurance rates. Attorney Reed advised they could not be assessed as they are outside the district.

Trustee Bushouse restated his previous concerns about the Fire Department requirements, referring to the Uniform Fire Code which states, in part, fire flow requirements may be modified downward by the Fire Chief for isolated buildings in rural areas or where the development of a full fire flow requirement is impractical. Chief Ken Howe advised Trustee Bushouse that a letter from Deputy Chief Karnemaat had been sent to him following the last meeting addressing those concerns. Trustee Bushouse advised he had not received it.

Trustee Bushouse stated he is in favor of being pro-active in requiring what is practical in the Fire and Building Codes, which could be alarm systems or petitioning with fire walls. He also felt we should be pro-active with a long range plan for sewer and water throughout the Township to generate a revenue source. He would favor moving forward one more step with additional information, primarily a way of financing.

Supervisor Fleckenstein responded the Township is not in a position financially to fund this project other than the portion of the assessment roll the Township would be responsible for.

Clerk Everett felt would make sense to know first if the project can be financed before we move forward.

Supervisor Fleckenstein stated he would support moving forward, get public input and look at the options as prescribed by the process.

Motion made by Block, seconded by Johnson to cause the plans, description of the district and estimate of cost to be filed with the Clerk. Roll call vote showed Bushouse-yes, Johnson-yes, Anderson-no, Block-yes, Everett-no, Fleckenstein-yes.

Motion made by Block, seconded by Johnson to set the first public hearing for September 14th. Roll call vote showed Block-yes, Anderson-no, Bushouse-yes, Johnson-yes, Everett-no, Fleckenstein-yes.

Supervisor Fleckenstein presented a request from Centurytel Communications for a permit agreement for installation of fiber optic telephone cable on West Main. They will pay an annual right-of-way fee. Attorney Reed felt it is a reasonable and fair agreement.

Motion made by Anderson, supported by Johnson to adopt the resolution for the proposed agreement. Roll call vote showed Johnson-yes, Bushouse-yes, Everett-yes, Block-yes, Anderson-yes, Fleckenstein-yes.

Supervisor Fleckenstein reminded the Board of a presentation by Peter Battani of the W.E. Upjohn Institute at a previous meeting inviting the Township to become a partner with the Kalamazoo Community in Schools program, which promotes the connection of community needs and resources with schools to help young people stay in school. After meeting with Mr. Battani they felt our participation at this time could be representation on their Board of Directors. There would be no financial obligation to the Township. Clerk Everett expressed she would be willing to serve as a representative.

Trustee Bushouse asked if we would also participate in such a program for Mattawan or Otsego Schools. He was advised that only Kalamazoo Public Schools are involved at this time but we would give the same consideration to the other school districts if requested.

Motion made by Block, seconded by Anderson to adopt the resolution supporting the program with Clerk Everett serving as Township representative. Roll call vote showed Bushouse-yes, Johnson-yes, Anderson-yes, Block-yes, Everett-yes, Fleckenstein-yes.

Supervisor Fleckenstein presented a request from Chief Howe for approval to purchase six air packs at a cost of $16,500. The request indicated the purchase includes six free spare cylinders.

Motion made by Anderson, seconded by Everett to approve the purchase of six air packs at a cost of $16,500. Carried.

Supervisor Fleckenstein presented to the Board information on bids received for the construction of a new fire station on South 6th Street. A total of seven bids were received.

Engineer Bruce VanderWeele advised the Board he had, at the Supervisor=s request, analyzed and compared the bids.

Delta Design                         887,049   
Maverick Const.                   889,135
Whitaker Const.                    903,430
Ahrens Const.                       904,279
Maxwell & Assoc.                924,530
Kalamazoo Contractors       933,630
D.L. Doscsa                         981,000

His recommendation was to accept the low bid and award the contract to Delta Design at a cost of $887,049.

Trustee Bushouse advised he would be voting no on the project due to reasons stated previously; the location is inappropriate and the plans make it appear that this will be a central station in a matter of time.

Supervisor Fleckenstein responded that is not the intention to move the central station from the current West Main location.

Motion made by Anderson, seconded by Johnson to award the bid for construction of a new Fire Station #2 to Delta Design. Carried with Bushouse voting no.

Motion made by Block, seconded by Anderson to authorize the Supervisor to sign change orders if necessary to a maximum of $10,000. Supervisor Fleckenstein advised any major changes would be brought to the Board. Carried.

Motion made by Everett, seconded by Block to authorize the Supervisor to enter into a loan arrangement to fund a portion of the project with National City Bank at a rate of 5.14%. Carried.

Trustee Bushouse commented that Oshtemo Day had a good turn out and the Township Office was able to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis.


Clerk Everett also commented that Oshtemo Day was a success and thanked Deputy Clerk DeAnna Janssen, Clerk=s Assistant Barb McMann, Trustee Bushouse and resident Jay Brown for their assistance with the pancake breakfast.

She also advised the Board that she had attended the Michigan Association of Clerks conference and found it very beneficial.


Trustee Block commented that the Springwood Hills water project is progressing.


Supervisor Fleckenstein advised that letters had been mailed to property owners in the Springwood Hills area inquiring if they wish to connect to municipal water. The project is 2-3 weeks behind.

He also advised work continues with the KLA Group and the EPA. The EPA will hold information sessions for property owners at the Township Office on September 8th. They will be notifying the residents of the sessions. They also have information they would like posted on our web site.

He further advised that is has been difficult to keep our web page updated as we are having problems with the internet server we use, but are seeking a solution.

There was no further business and the meeting was adjourned at 9:25 p.m.

DEBORAH L. EVERETT                              Attested: RON FLECKENSTEIN
Township Clerk                                                                 Supervisor