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August 26, 1999







A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Planning Commission on Thursday, August 26, 1999, commencing at approximately 7:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall, pursuant to notice.

Wilfred Dennie, Chairperson
Marvin Block
Millard Loy
Ted Corakis
Ken Heisig
Elizabeth Heiny-Cogswell
Stanley Rakowski

Also present were Jodi Stefforia, Planning Director, Mary Lynn Bugge, Township Planner, and Patricia R. Mason, Township Attorney, and eight (8) other interested persons.


The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m.


The Planning Commission discussed the agenda for the meeting. The Attorney suggested adding an item concerning a procedural issue.

Ms. Bugge suggested adding a discussion of the outline of revisions to the Tower Ordinance provisions of the Ordinance concerning communication towers.

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


The Planning Commission considered the Minutes of August 12, 1999. Mr. Corakis moved to approve the Minutes as submitted. Mr. Rakowski seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.


The Planning Commission next discussed the application of Sprint, PCS for a special exception use approval to allow the placement of six (6) antennas on the existing tower and five (5) equipment cabinets on a platform at 5656 Beech Avenue. The property is located within the "R-2" Residential District zoning classification. The report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Bugge noted that two communication towers and related auxiliary equipment are presently located on the subject site. The facilities are enclosed by an eight-foot-high chain-link fence. The site is presently served by a stabilized gravel drive from Beech Avenue. The applicant proposed the location of the six antennas on the 450-foot tower and to place five (5) equipment cabinets on ground-mounted metal platforms. All equipment would be enclosed within the existing fenced area. No changes to the existing access arrangement would be made.

Ms. Bugge indicated that the sealed Engineer's Report, required under the Township’s ordinance provisions had indicated that certain structural modifications were necessary to the tower in order for it to accommodate the weight of the proposed co-location.

The applicant was present, Robert Starkman, representing Sprint, PCS. Mr. Starkman stated that the applicant had no objection to anything indicated in the Planning and Zoning Report. He said that Sprint attempted to be a good neighbor wherever they were located. Since Oshtemo seeks co-location wherever possible, Sprint had sought to co-locate on an existing tower. Mr. Starkman felt that co-location often requires modification to existing towers to make the co-location successful. The applicant is willing to make any necessary modifications prior to obtaining a building permit. Mr. Starkman stated that a "modification package" would be submitted to Township staff along with back-up information.

In response to questioning by the Chairperson, the applicant stated that the modifications necessary would not appreciably change the appearance of the tower. The modifications would principally be reinforcement of the steel in the tower and replacement of some of the guy wires.

Mr. Rakowski questioned the applicant as to whether the antennas proposed were first generation. Mr. Starkman stated that he believed that the antennas were "second generation" in that they were somewhat smaller than those at other sites, while handling equivalent or superior band width.

The Chairperson recalled that Sprint had come before the Planning Commission earlier in the year regarding a co-location. Ms. Bugge stated that Sprint had co-located on a tower near N Avenue. Nextell had co-located antennas on the subject tower. The Chairperson questioned whether there were a maximum number of antennas that could be placed on one tower. The applicant responded that this would depend upon the design and height of the tower, but he felt that this tower probably could not handle any more co-locations without substantial modifications or even rebuilding.

In response to questioning by Mr. Corakis, it was noted that an engineer's report is required for co-location by the Township Ordinance.

No public comment was offered, and the public hearing was closed. The Chairperson summarized the application and directed the Planning Commission's attention to Section 60.100 concerning special exception uses. The Planning Commission first considered whether the proposed use would be compatible with other uses permitted in the "R-2" District. It was noted that communication towers are special exception uses within the district. However, since the proposal was for a co-location of antennas on an established communication tower site, that the proposed use would be compatible. It was recognized that signed documentation regarding the legal right of Sprint to use the subject parcel would be provided to the Township.

The Planning Commission considered whether the proposal would negatively impact adjacent properties. Mr. Corakis stated that he felt there would be no negative impact since the antennas would be placed on an existing tower. Mr. Rakowski agreed. Access to the site was already existing, and it was expected that additional traffic would be minimal, one or two maintenance visits per month. Moreover, the natural buffer would remain undisturbed.

The Planning Commission next discussed whether the proposal would promote public health, safety and welfare. It was noted that the proposed ground-mounted structures comply with building setback standards and would be located within the eight-foot-high fence enclosure. No additional site lighting was proposed. Again, no changes to access or parking were proposed, and traffic generation would be minimal. It was felt that the site would not negatively impact the health, safety and welfare if the approval were subject to the requirement that the structural modifications required by the Engineer were completed.

Ms. Bugge noted that the Township Engineer is not a structural engineer, and normally, therefore, the Township would not subject the tower modifications to review by the Township Engineer. The Township relied upon the sealed Engineer's Report submitted by the applicant.

The Planning Commission considered whether the proposal would encourage use of land in the area and accord with its character and adaptability. It was felt that the proposal was consistent with the current uses at the location and the intent of the Ordinance to utilize existing communication tower locations to accommodate additional communication equipment.

The Planning Commission next discussed the criteria of Section 82.800. Again, it was noted that the access would be from the existing gravel drive, the established screening would be maintained, the existing fencing would be utilized, and there would be no additional storm water run-off.

Mr. Loy moved to approve the special exception use permit finding that the criteria of Section 60.100 had been satisfied. Approval was conditioned upon: (1) receipt by the Township of signed documentation regarding the legal right of Sprint to use the subject parcel (lease) prior to the issuance of building permit; and (2) the satisfactory completion of all tower modifications suggested in the Semaan Engineering Report prior to the issuance of a building permit. Mr. Rakowski seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Loy moved to approve the site plan with the following conditions, limitations and notations: (1) that the existing access would be utilized; (2) that the proposed co-location would meet setback requirements and be enclosed by an eight-foot-high fence; (3) that the existing natural buffer area remains undisturbed; (4) that all tower modifications suggested in the Semaan Engineering Report be established prior to mounting of any antennas, or the ice bridge on the structure; (5) that the existing fencing would be utilized; (6) that approval was subject to the review and approval of the Township Fire Department and any conditions imposed thereby; (7) that no additional storm water run-off would result; and (8) that the environmental permit checklist and hazardous substance reporting form had been completed and submitted to the Township. Mr. Corakis seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously. Mr. Block questioned the applicant as to the possible time frame for the beginning of construction, and the applicant indicated that it was their plan to begin prior to snowfall.


The next agenda item was the application of the Hope Woods for Seniors for rezoning of parcels 3905-25-330-021, -030 and -040. The applicant was requesting rezoning from the "R-3" Residential to the "R-4" Residential Zoning District classification to allow for the development of an assisted living facility. The parcels are located at 5713, 5701, and 5749 Stadium Drive. The Chairperson noted that a letter had been received from the applicant requesting the item be tabled to the last meeting in September, i.e., September 30, 1999. The Chairperson stated that the Township Planning Commission normally honors the first request for an adjournment by the applicant.

Mr. Block moved to table the public hearing to September 30, 1999, and Mr. Rakowski seconded the motion.

Henry Bonnes, a property owner in the area, stated that he was notified of the hearing. He was frustrated that after coming to the meeting there would be no hearing on the item. He felt that these applicants had "done this before" with regard to other matters. He felt the Township should notify property owners in the event of a proposed adjournment. Ms. Stefforia stated that the letter from the applicant had been received only today, and that there had been no opportunity for notice to the area property owners.

Jean Havercamp had questions with regard to the stage of the request. It was pointed out that the Planning Commission would conduct a hearing and make a recommendation to the Township Board which would also conduct meetings regarding the item. Final decision on rezoning would be made by the Township Board.

Terry Schley, an architect, stated that he felt the Planning Commission should have moved the item up on its Agenda so that the public who are interested therein could leave.

Upon a vote on the motion, the motion carried unanimously.


The next item was the application for site plan review of a 27-unit residential site condominium development on 62 acres on the west side of 6th Street, south of the railroad. The property is located within the "AG" Agricultural-Rural Zoning District classification. The report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Bugge reviewed the application noting that the development would encompass three (3) parcels and be located directly north of the Stratford Hills site condominium development. Twenty-seven (27) building sites were proposed with an average of 1.2 acres each. The general common elements would include about 29 acres of open space, private roads and easements. Ms. Bugge noted the applicant was not requesting review under the Open Space provisions. However, access would be provided by a private street off of 6th Street. The building sites would have access to the private street.

The Chairperson questioned whether there had been any discussion with the applicant concerning development under the Open Space provisions. Ms. Bugge indicated that this had been discussed with the applicant, but there was concern that the layout as proposed would not qualify as "clustering".

The applicant, Greg Smith of Wickford Corporation, was present along with Harrison Nelson and James Boven. The applicant stated that Wickford Corporation was seeking to establish a development with "larger lots". The developer did like the open space concept, and the proposed development accommodated a lot of open space.

The Chairperson questioned the applicant as to whether the Stratford Hills open space community had been well received. The developer stated that the people loved the open space concept and liked the amount of common area available to them.

Mr. Loy questioned the applicant with regard to the proposed private road. The applicant indicated that the residents favored a private road system which would allow them more privacy. The walking trail to 4th Street would not be utilizable by Stratford Hills.

The Chairperson questioned whether a topographical map had been provided by the applicant. It was noted that the topographical elements had been reflected on the plan, but it was difficult to read when reduced. The applicant indicated that the property was rolling and heavily wooded. It was hilly along 6th Street. The applicant felt that the lots were large enough so as not to require setback variances. There was discussion of the fact that there would be no setback variances and that the setbacks, at least as far as front setbacks, would not be applicable due to the fact that they would be on a private road system.

The applicant indicated that much of the extreme topography at the site was left as open space. The Chairperson felt that the applicant should provide a more legible topographical map. There was discussion of the four (4) leaching areas. The applicant stated that these are naturally low points on the property.

Mr. Loy was concerned with the Fire Department approval of the turnarounds proposed. The applicant stated that the same types of turnarounds had been approved by the Fire Department for Stratford Hills.

The Chairperson was somewhat concerned about the ability of the lots to accommodate a 100-foot width at a building setback point.

No public comment was offered, and the public hearing was closed. The Planning Commission commenced review pursuant to Section 82.800. It was again noted that access would be by private road on a 66-foot wide easement. Mr. Loy expressed concern about the length of the dead-end street. It was recognized that the provisions of the Land Division Ordinance, which limited street length to 660 feet, were not strictly applicable. There was discussion about whether there might be cross access with Stratford Hills. The Township Attorney advised that since Stratford Hills' streets were also private, there would be no way to require cross access between the developments.

The Township Attorney expressed concern that the applicant, if establishing building sites on private streets, would require a variance from Section 66.201. It was noted that the private streets approved previously by the Planning Commission were within open space communities which specifically are allowed private streets as an incentive to develop under the concept. Section 66.201, however, required that all building sites have public road frontage. After some discussion of whether a variance by the ZBA would be appropriate, it was felt that it might be more appropriate for the application to be considered as an open space community.

Mr. Smith stated that the layout had been originally designed as an open space community. He had consulted with the Township's prior Planner, Ms. Harvey, who indicated that as long as more than eight (8) lots were not contiguous, they would be considered a cluster. The applicant expressed he would feel comfortable with the open space concept since it was a big part of their goal to have private roads in the development.

Ms. Stefforia reminded the Planning Commission that open space development requires a conceptual review, and that this meeting could be considered as that review. The Planning could then set a public hearing, at which time the special exception use permit would be considered.

The applicant responded to a concern about the length of the private road. After some discussion, it was agreed that, given the number of lots proposed, the length of the road and the fact that there was only one entrance was not a concern.

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell stated that she supported viewing this project as an open space community versus granting a variance from the public road requirement. She felt this development was very close to complying with the clustering requirement of the open space community provisions. She was pleased with the open space that this development seemed to align with that in the Stratford Hills' project. There was discussion of possibly shifting Lot 22 to one side or another. There was also discussion of the possibility of making the road a boulevard.

Ms. Stefforia felt concern that the Planning Commission seemed to be getting "hung up" on clusters. She felt it would be inappropriate to shift Lot 22 in that the applicant was preserving the natural low area between Lots 19 and 20 by the present design. There was discussion about the possibility of putting a narrow band of open space between lots to create a cluster. The applicant indicated that something could be established between Lots 22 and 23.

After further discussion, Mr. Block moved to approve the White Horse Woods' conceptual concept and set public hearing on the special exception use permit for September 30, 1999. Mr. Corakis seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.


The Planning Commission next considered a proposed text amendment which would amend the Ordinance to allow indoor recreational uses as special exception uses as in "C", "C-1", "I-R" and "I-1" Zoning District classifications. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

The Chairperson reminded the Planning Commission that this item had surfaced due to concern for the Roller World business; the owner had appeared at several meetings indicating he wished his property to be made conforming to the Ordinance in order that he be allowed to expand his use. Moreover, the Planning Commission had considered for some time the fact that the appearance of these types of uses was more in keeping, sometimes, with industrial uses.

Mr. Block expressed that when the Soccer Zone application was considered for the Commercial District he had not been entirely comfortable with the "fit". Additionally, he mentioned large tent-like or balloon-like golf uses which had a more industrial in appearance. Mr. Corakis agreed, noting that the West Hills' facility seemed to appear like a big warehouse.

The proposal was to eliminate indoor recreational uses as a permitted use in the Commercial District and to allow them as a special use in the "C" and "C-1" Districts. The Planning Commission members felt that these uses would be appropriate for some commercial properties but not all, and therefore, a special use would be more appropriate. The Planning Commission also felt that approval as a special use in the "I-R" and "I-1" Districts would be appropriate. It was felt that such uses should not be permitted in the Industrial Districts in that they would not be appropriate for all locations.

There was discussion of whether outdoor elements would be allowed to accompany indoor recreational uses. It was noted that outdoor recreational uses are allowed within the "AG" District. Further, it was felt that such uses might be accessory to indoor uses if the indoor facility was the principal use of the property.

The Chairperson opened the public hearing for comment.

Amy Wright stated that she is the owner of Roller World along with her husband, Brian Malony. Ms. Wright stated that her husband had been dealing with the Township in attempting to obtain a rezoning for a number of years. The Chairperson noted that Mr. Malony had appeared at a prior Township Board meeting, stating that he wanted the same privileges as commercial zoning. Ms. Wright did not know what was meant by this comment. The Chairperson pointed out that the proposed text change would allow the Roller World facility to become conforming to the Ordinance.

Nicole Wright spoke asking questions about special exception use, and it was pointed out that such approvals would not expire in one (1) year or six (6) months, but would be good for the life of the use. An owner would only need to return for approval if the use were to be changed or expanded.

Terry Schley spoke stating that he had been an architect for 17 years and had experience with indoor recreational facilities. He stated that he is involved with writing language for an indoor tennis facility with Texas Township. He felt that the Township's Ordinance should be designed to make clearly applicable design standards if these design standards were going to be applied to uses. He was concerned that some facilities require a degree of outdoor space for financial success. Therefore, he felt that outdoor recreational uses should be allowed within these zones. Further, he felt that the Township should provide a better definition of recreational use in its Ordinance. He wondered whether a physical therapy facility would be considered "recreational".

The Chairperson made reference to a letter received from Mr. Malony of Roller World again reiterating that such special exception use permits did not need to be renewed. He also noted the paragraph in the letter indicating that the Township should prevent other uses from establishing. The Chairperson stated that this refusal to allow other uses would not be permissible.

After further discussion, Mr. Corakis moved to recommend the text as proposed eliminating indoor recreational uses as a permitted use in the "C" District and amending the text to allow indoor recreational uses as a special exception use in the "C" , "C-1", "I-R", and "I-1" Districts. The motion was seconded by Mr. Rakowski and carried unanimously.


The Public Hearing was continued with regard to the proposed Industrial Land Use Policies. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Stefforia stated that no reference was made to adult uses other than in the General Land Use Policies. No public comment was offered, and the public hearing was closed.

Mr. Loy moved to approve the amendment of the Master Land Use Plan regarding industrial land use policies as proposed. Mr. Block seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.


The Chairperson thanked Mr. Loy and Mr. Rakowski for their support of the preceding Tuesday's Township Board meeting. There was discussion of depictions of available commercial and industrial lands for the Chairperson's use at the Township Board meeting regarding adult regulated uses.

Mr. Block commented that on the prior Tuesday, Mr. Malony had noted how easy it was to get along with Gun Plains Township. Mr. Block had had occasion to pass the Roller World facility in Gun Plains and noted that it was unpaved, overgrown, and generally dilapidated in need of upkeep.

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell discussed the issue of Township sewers and the extent of current and planned sewer lines.

Mr. Heisig mentioned his need for assistance with updating his Zoning Book.

The Township Attorney raised a procedural issue, and it was agreed that the Township would provide the Attorney with a copy of the Affidavit of Mailing and Affidavit of Publication for special exception uses.

Ms. Bugge stated that she would defer the discussion of the tower text to the September meeting.


There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 10:15 p.m.


Elizabeth Heiny-Cogswell, Secretary

Minutes prepared:

August 31, 1999