OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP
August 26, 2004
BETZLER FUNERAL HOME - SITE PLAN AMENDMENT - 6080 STADIUM DRIVE - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-26-440-026 AND 3905-26-440-033)
CITIZENS CREDIT UNION - SPECIAL EXCEPTION AND SITE PLAN REVIEW - 6170 WEST MAIN STREET - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-14-288-010 AND 3905-14-288-020)
A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Planning Commission on Thursday, August 26, 2004, commencing at approximately 7:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall.
MEMBERS PRESENT: Neil G. Sikora, Chairperson
Deborah L. Everett
MEMBERS ABSENT: None
Also present were Jodi Stefforia, Planning Director; Mary Lynn Bugge, Township Planner; James W. Porter, Township Attorney; and approximately ten other interested persons.
CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m.
The Chairperson asked if there were any additions and/or changes to the Agenda. Hearing none, he called for a motion on the Agenda. Mr. Larson made a motion to approve the Agenda as submitted, and the motion was seconded by Mr. Schley. The Chairperson called for a vote on the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.
The next item on the Agenda was the approval of the minutes of August 12, 2004. Mr. Schley asked that the last full paragraph on page 9, third sentence from the bottom be revised to read:
"Mr. Schley pointed out that such a proposal would be affected by the Building Code, including fire suppression or separation requirements which may be required and further complicates the matter."
Mr. Schley also asked that the first paragraph on page 10, the last sentence, be amended to read as follows:
"He said, under the Building Code, there is generally a 10% incidental rule which is applied to commercial accessory uses and could be similarly applied to residential accessory uses, i.e., if the nonresidential portion of the building did not exceed 10% of the square foot area, it would be considered incidental and the building would not have to be upgraded from residential building standards."
The Chairperson asked if there was a motion to approve the minutes as corrected. Ms. Everett made a motion to approve the minutes as corrected, and Mr. Larson seconded the motion. The Chairperson called for a vote on the motion, and the motion passed unanimously.
BETZLER FUNERAL HOME - SITE PLAN AMENDMENT - 6080 STADIUM DRIVE - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-26-440-026 AND 3905-26-440-033)
The Chairperson stated that the next item on the Agenda was the review of the revised site plan for Betzler Funeral Home at 6080 Stadium Drive, Parcel Nos. 3905-26-440-026 and 3905-26-440-033. The Chairperson called for a report from the Planning Department. Ms. Bugge submitted her report dated August 26, 2004, to the Planning Commission, and the same is incorporated herein by reference.
Ms. Bugge reminded the Commission that Betzler Funeral Home had received a renewal of its special exception use permit on February 24, 2004. She also noted that Betzler's site plan was reviewed at that time; however Betzler Funeral Home was now submitting a completely revised site plan. She noted that the perpetual cross-access and overflow parking agreement with the adjacent property owner had been executed and recorded, and that the purchase of the parcel to the east had been concluded.
Ms. Bugge said that the site plan approval was for a 7,235 square foot expansion to the existing 6,951 square foot funeral home. She said that the total building area when completed would be 14,186 square feet, which was approximately 6,500 square feet less than the previously-approved site plan.
Ms. Bugge reviewed the subject property which consists of two parcels totaling approximately 2.59 acres. She said that the parcels would have to be combined by a recorded document prior to obtaining a building permit.
Ms. Bugge then reviewed the subject property in relationship to the properties to the east and west, as well as those properties south across Stadium Drive. She noted that there would be no change in access location. She also indicated that parking for 116 vehicles was proposed, which was an increase of 40 spaces over the current number. She again noted that the property had overflow parking on the Wiser property per the cross-access and overflow parking agreement. Because of the existing building and the desire to continue the existing parking along the north line of the property, she said the Commission would be asked to review a deviation of the landscape requirements under Section 75 of the Zoning Ordinance.
Ms. Bugge then took the Commission through site plan review, pursuant to Section 82.800. Concerning access, Ms. Bugge noted that site access would be from Stadium Drive and Fairgrove Street, utilizing the existing entrances. She again noted that there would be 116 parking spaces, and while 127 spaces were needed for chapel occupancy, office and residential use, and that the cross-access and overflow parking agreement with Wiser would accommodate the increase. She asked that the Planning Commission members take note of the Township's need to obtain an official recorded copy of the cross-access and parking agreement, that a new driveway permit from the Kalamazoo County Road Commission would be required and that parking must conform to Section 68.000.
With regard to Section 82.800 B regarding site layout, Ms. Bugge noted that a lighting plan for freestanding fixtures had been submitted and found to be satisfactory. She asked that the Commission require that all lighting comply with Section 78.700, including outdoor building-mounted fixtures. She noted that, if there was any change to the sign, the Commission should require Township approval through the sign permitting process.
With regard to Section 82.800 C and D, Ms. Bugge reviewed the landscaping requirements and asked that the Commission require landscaping in accordance with Section 75 of the Ordinance on the east, on the south, east of the driveway, and in the parking lot. She recommended a deviation along the north and west sides and west of the Stadium Drive driveway as was previously granted. She also asked the Commission to require landscaping to be installed or a performance guarantee required prior to occupancy.
Under Section 82.800 E and F, Ms. Bugge noted that there were no variances requested. However, she noted that the site plan would require Township Fire Department approval.
Concerning Section 82.800 G, Ms. Bugge asked the Commission to take note of the fact that stormwater management had to be reviewed and approved by the Township Engineer.
Regarding Section 82.800 I, Ms. Bugge said that a Hazardous Substance Reporting Form and Environmental Permits Checklist had been submitted, and she asked the Commission to condition the site plan approval upon receipt of an Earth Change Permit from the County Drain Commissioner's office.
The Chairperson asked if there were any questions of the Township Planner.
Mr. Schley asked about the landscaping on the north side of the property. He said the landscape plan indicated plantings of two feet in height and questioned whether that would satisfy the Ordinance. Ms. Bugge said that those had to be a misunderstanding, because two-foot plantings would not meet the requirements of the Ordinance. Mr. Schley asked if the Planning Department would make sure than adequate screening was provided. Ms. Bugge indicated that it would.
The Chairperson asked why the applicant had to obtain a new driveway permit. Ms. Bugge explained that, with all commercial developments, when there is a change in the use for commercial development, the County Road Commission must approve the change in use and issue a new driveway permit.
The Chairperson asked to hear from the applicant. Mr. Greg Dobson introduced himself to the Planning Commission and introduced Bruce Betzler and Craig Johnson to the Commission. Mr. Dobson said that the screening along the north property line would be corrected to make it the appropriate size and dimensions to comply with the Township Zoning Ordinance. He explained that the goal of the redesign of the Betzler Funeral Home was to create an aesthetically-pleasing building and increase the green space on the property. He said they thought they had achieved a beautiful oasis in the center of the site.
Mr. Dobson said that water run-off would be handled through an underground filtration system. He said that Prein & Newhof had requested additional site borings which had been done, and that the underground filtration system would be beyond the clay barrier.
Mr. Dobson said that the Kalamazoo County Road Commission had indicated to them that there would be no changes needed to the existing drives. He also said that they had previously obtained a soil erosion permit, which would simply have to be extended.
Mr. Dobson concluded by showing an architectural drawing of the proposed building addition. Mr. Larson asked Mr. Dobson if the two separate buildings and their separate activities would create any problems with regard to traffic or parking. Mr. Betzler introduced himself to the Commission. He explained to Mr. Larson that the addition would be the primary area for visitation and gatherings. He said the existing facility would be used primarily for funeral services. Therefore, Mr. Betzler concluded the two different uses would not conflict in any way.
Ms. Everett asked if the issue over the drive to the east abutting the adjoining landowner's property had been addressed. Mr. Dobson said that he had spoken to Greg Taylor, the owner of the property to the east, and that they had presented their site plan to the property owner. He said based upon the existing cross-easement and the fact that the site plan which had been submitted to the adjoining property owner, with no objection, that there was no longer any dispute to their proposed development.
The Chairperson asked if there was any public comment, and hearing none, called for Commission deliberations.
The Chairperson called for comments or concerns from the various Commissioners. The Chair began by asking whether or not the Commission had to do anything to further review the special use application. Attorney Porter indicated that there was no need to address that issue since the site had been approved for the special use at the February 24, 2004 meeting.
Mr. Schley made a motion to approve the revised site plan as submitted, subject to the following:
(1) That an official recorded copy of the cross-access and parking agreement should be submitted to the Township when received.
(2) That a new driveway permit must be obtained from the Kalamazoo County Road Commission.
(3) That all parking must conform to Section 68.000.
(4) That all lighting shall comply with Section 78.700. Outside building-mounted fixtures, if any, including fixture details, shall be submitted to the Township for review and approval.
(5) That any change to the existing sign will be subject to Township approval through the sign permitting process.
(6) That landscaping in accordance with Section 75 shall be provided except for deviations to permit an appropriate evergreen "hedge" to the north and omitting trees and shrubs on the west side and on the south side, west of the Stadium driveway.
(7) That landscaping shall be installed before a Certificate of Occupancy will be granted or a performance guarantee, consistent with the provisions of Section 82.950, must be provided.
(8) That both parcels must be combined by a recorded document prior to issuance of a building permit.
(9) That site plan approval shall be subject to the applicant satisfying Township Fire Department requirements pursuant to the adopted codes.
(10) That site engineering and stormwater management are subject to review and approval by the Township Engineer.
(11) That an Earth Change Permit from the Kalamazoo County Drain Commissioner's office is required before any earth change activities commence.
Mr. Ahrens asked if there would be a problem using the existing facilities while the addition is being built. Ms. Bugge indicated that was an issue which the Building Department would address.
The Chairperson asked if there was support for the motion. The motion was supported by Ms. Everett. The Chairperson called for public comment, and hearing none, called for further Commission deliberations. Hearing none, the Chairperson called for a vote on the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
CITIZENS CREDIT UNION - SPECIAL EXCEPTION AND SITE PLAN REVIEW - 6170 WEST MAIN STREET - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-14-288-010 AND 3905-14-288-020)
The Chairperson indicated that the next item for the Commissioners' consideration was the special exception use and site plan review for Citizens Credit Union for the property located at 6170 West Main Street, Parcel Nos. 3905-14-288-010 and 3905-14-288-020. The Chairperson called for a report from the Planning Department. Ms. Bugge submitted her report to the Commission dated August 26, 2004, and the same is incorporated herein by reference.
Ms. Bugge said that the proposed property consists of a portion of the above-listed two parcels located in the "R-3" Residence District. She said that the applicant is proposing a 2,500 square foot Credit Union with drive-through service and an ATM. She said that credit unions are special exception uses within the "R-3" District and are subject to conditions and limitations set forth in Section 23.404. She noted that the "R-3" District was a transitional zone, and she had attached the Statement of Purpose to her report for the Commission's review.
Ms. Bugge presented an overhead, showing the location of the subject property on the north side of West Main. She indicated that the applicant was proposing to use approximately 1.22 acres, which would require redescription of the property lines and a subsequent recording of documents, establishing it as a separate parcel. She then reviewed the "R-3" zoning located on the north, east and west along West Main Street and the "R-2" zoning farther to the west, as well as to the north, including West Port subdivision, which she noted was the nearest residential development. She said that on the south side of West Main Street there was a furniture store and a used car lot and approximately six dwellings, only one of which is owner occupied. She stated that, with the exception of the furniture store, the properties to the south were all within the 9th Street Overlay District, which permits office development as a special use.
Ms. Bugge then presented the applicant's proposed site plan. She said the building elevations included in the plan were preliminary and might change, depending upon necessary building modifications. She reviewed the proposed layout of the building and noted that it would face west along a proposed access drive to be shared by the property north of the subject parcel. She said that the access drive might remain a private drive or be developed into a public road, depending upon proposed future development.
Ms. Bugge reviewed the proposed setbacks and noted that, under Section 64, the applicant was allowed a reduced front setback since it was located within 300 feet of a building constructed prior to 1998, located close to the road, to-wit: the Bertolissi office building. She said this would result in a setback of 126 feet, instead of 170 feet.
Ms. Bugge then took the Commission through the special exception use criteria in Section 60 of the Ordinance. With respect to whether the proposed use was compatible with the other uses expressly permitted within the zoning district, she asked the Commission to consider whether the 2,500 square foot credit union, with the drive-through and ATM was compatible with the other uses on West Main Street and other uses permitted within the District. She asked that the Planning Commission address the proposed hours of operation with the applicant.
With regard to whether the proposed use was detrimental or injurious to the use or development of adjacent properties, Ms. Bugge said that the surrounding "R-3" property would likely develop as office use and use the single-point entry from West Main Street. She also noted that the Bertolissi office building was located immediately to the east, and she did not believe that the proposed use would be detrimental to the general public.
Regarding whether the proposed use would promote the public health, safety and welfare of the community, she said that development was contingent upon the extension of public sewer, and that while the applicant had proposed a well, she thought the Fire Department would likely require the extension of public water for fire suppression purposes.
With regard to whether the proposed use would encourage the use of land in accordance with its character and adaptability, Ms. Bugge asked the Commission to consider the fact that the property is located along West Main Street, and to look to the intent of the "R-3" District and other uses in the area.
Ms. Bugge reviewed the provisions of Section 23.404, being the conditions and limitations section that applied to this special exception use in the "R-3" District.
Ms. Bugge then took the Commission through site plan review, pursuant to Section 82 of the Ordinance. Regarding access, she said the applicant was proposing one drive for shared use with adjacent properties. She noted that a sidewalk was indicated on the plan. She asked that the Commission condition approval of the site plan on obtaining a driveway permit from MDOT. She also asked that the Commission require the applicant to prepare an access easement and maintenance agreement with adjacent property owners, as well as providing a five-foot sidewalk in conformance with MDOT standards. In addition, she asked that all parking conform to Section 68 and Section 23.404 of the Township's Zoning Ordinance.
With regard to site layout, she said that the applicant was basically in compliance, but asked the Commission to subject approval to submitting final building elevations for Staff review for compliance with the setbacks provisions in Sections 64.000 and 23.404 are met.
With regard to lighting, Ms. Bugge said that the lighting submitted appeared to be satisfactory, and that outside building-mounted fixtures, if any, would be subject to review and approval of the Planning Department. She asked that the Commission require all lighting to be in compliance with Section 78.700 of the Township Zoning Ordinance. In addition, she asked that signage be subject to review and approval, pursuant to Section 76.000 of the Ordinance.
Pursuant to Sections 82.800 C and D, she asked that the Commission consider a deviation along the north boundary line in order to permit the substitution of understory trees for canopy trees in recognition of the fact that this area is going to be used for a sewer easement. She asked that the Commission require landscaping meeting the provisions of Section 75 of the Ordinance, be installed prior to the issuance of the Certificate of Occupancy or be secured, pursuant to a performance guarantee under Section 82.950. In addition, she asked that the Commission require the developer to execute a hold harmless agreement regarding the north green space through which the Township would have a sewer easement.
With regard to the provisions in Section 82.800 E and F, Ms. Bugge said that no variances were required and noted that the site plan should be made subject to review and approval by the Township Fire Department. She did indicate that a redescription of the property lines had to occur and be evidenced by a recorded document prior to the issuance of the building permit, and asked that the Commission condition any site plan approval upon compliance with this requirement.
Under Section 82.800 G, Ms. Bugge noted that stormwater would be managed on site, in chambers, underneath the parking lot. She asked that the Commission condition site plan approval upon review and approval of the same by the Township Engineers and that there be an easement for extension of the public sewer over the property.
Under Section 82.800 H, Ms. Bugge again reminded the Commission that they had to review the site plan pursuant to the special exception use criteria to ensure and protect public health, welfare and safety. In that regard, she asked the Commission to condition site plan approval upon the extension of public sewer to the site and that the Commission encourage the extension of public water and/or require the same if it was determined to be necessary by the Fire Department. She also asked that all utilities be placed underground.
In addition, Ms. Bugge noted, under Section 82.800 I, that a Hazardous Substance Reporting form and Environmental Permits Checklist have been submitted, and that an Earth Change Permit must be obtained from the Drain Commissioner's office.
The Chairperson asked if there were any questions of the Township Planner.
The Chairperson asked if the sewer easement would be along the north line of the proposed property and if water would be brought into the subject site along West Main Street. Ms. Bugge indicated that was correct.
The Chairperson asked about the location of the proposed building in relationship to the residents in the area. Ms. Bugge, using an overhead projector and map, located the nearby residential property. She did note that the future development north of the proposed development would provide supplemental setbacks and additional screening to the residences to the north.
Ms. Garland-Rike asked whether the proposed drive or street coming off of West Main would be extended to the property to the northwest. Ms. Bugge said the applicant was currently proposing a dead-end service drive, but if it became a public road, it could be extended further to the west. However, she noted that it was not a necessity since there were additional access points to abutting property off West Main and/or from the platted subdivision to the north.
The Chairperson asked if the proposed site plan abutted the "R-2" Zoning District. Ms. Bugge indicated that it did not; she noted that the proposed development was only as deep as the parking area located on the Bertolissi property.
Mr. Turcott asked what the terrain was like. Ms. Bugge said it was basically flat.
The Chairperson asked to hear from the applicant. Mr. Paul Warnick introduced himself to the Planning Commission. He also introduced Steve Hassevoort and Ron Bigelow to the Commission. Mr. Warnick said that the hours of operation would likely be from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., with the exception of the ATM, which would operate 24 hours a day. He said that there would be security lighting needed for the ATM, and therefore, Citizens would maintain the recessed canopy lighting through the drive-through, as well as one pole light south of the drive and one pole light at the entrance. He said the other two light poles in the parking area would be shut off at the close of business. He explained that all of the building would have recessed lighting with 50-watt fixtures. He said there would be no building-mounted lights at all.
Mr. Warnick said they had contacted MDOT, and their driveway location had been approved. He said he had spoken to the Fire Department, and they had asked for a 15-foot bypass area on the east side of the building, which would require that the building be shifted and that the lane to the east be widened by four feet. He said the Fire Department was also requesting a hydrant, and they would be bringing water from 10th Street to the site to satisfy those requirements.
Mr. Warnick asked if there were any questions. Ms. Stefforia asked why MDOT had not required Citizens to align its driveway up with the driveway across West Main. Mr. Warnick said that he was not certain, but it could have had something to do with the location of other drives in the area.
Mr. Turcott asked how many members the Citizens Credit Union had and whether they anticipated growth which would impact traffic at the site. Mr. Hassevoort said that they had 9,000 members, but based on a zip code study, they only expected approximately 1,700 of their members to use this location. He said they did anticipate and wanted to see growth at this location. Mr. Turcott asked who was eligible to become a member. Mr. Hassevoort said they had a Kalamazoo, Van Buren and Allegan County charter.
Mr. Turcott asked if nonmembers would be allowed to use the ATM. Mr. Hassevoort said they would, and they wanted to see nonmembers because such use would generate income. He said he could not predict numbers, but said that the nearest location of an ATM was currently on Drake Road, and he anticipated that this site would attract new users to the ATM.
The Chairperson asked about the traffic flow and the parking. He asked if the applicant anticipated that those using the facility would park in front of the building. Mr. Hassevoort said yes.
The Chairperson asked if there would be landscaping around the ATM, as well as West Main and at the side of the ATM area. Mr. Warnick said that there would, and it would be a Type C landscaping.
Ms. Everett asked where the ATM would be located in relationship to the drive-through facilities. Mr. Warnick said it would be in the far east lane, just west of the bypass lane. Again, he noted that the Fire Department had asked that the bypass lane be widened to 15 feet to serve as a fire lane.
The Chairperson asked if there was any comment from the public.
Mr. Gary Gerds introduced himself to the Commission. He said he lived at 6137 Old Post Road and identified his parcel as Lot 29 in the plat to the north. He said he had been quite troubled by the empty truck trailers which had been parked on the property since June of 2004. Ms. Bugge indicated that noncompliant letters had been sent, asking that the trailers be removed, and that the owner of the property was present and perhaps would take note of his concerns.
Mr. Gerds said he had concerns about the lighting. He said he was also concerned about the applicant obtaining a variance to the landscaping requirements because of the potential impact it could have on the residents to the north.
Mr. Turcott asked why there had to be a variance to the landscaping along the north boundary line. Ms. Bugge explained that the engineers had to insure access to the property, as well as minimize negative impact of the roots which large canopy trees would cause to the sewer system. She said they would carefully select shallow-rooted trees and understory trees to meet the landscape requirements and yet not interfere with the sewer development.
Ms. Everett asked if the sewer easement would be 30 feet in width. Ms. Bugge indicated that it would, 15 feet along the north boundary line of the subject parcel and 15 feet along the property to be developed to the north. Mr. Turcott asked where the landscaping would be located. Ms. Bugge indicated that it would be within the easement, but it would be of a selective nature so as not to have a negative impact on the sewer. Ms. Everett asked if the Planning Department thought that was better than tall trees since it would increase screening. Ms. Bugge indicated that she thought it would be better because the shrubs and understory trees tend to fill out faster and provide a better buffer than the large canopy trees. Mr. Turcott asked whether, even with the landscape deviation, the same density and screening would be obtained. Ms. Bugge assured him that it would. Ms. Stefforia asked why the sewer main could not be brought through the driveway area. Mr. Larson said it could not be done without relocating the underground stormwater proposed in that area.
Ms. Stefforia asked why the applicant needed to have the additional pavement along the north portion of the property. Mr. Warnick said they needed it for three additional parking spaces, as well as for an area to locate the trash receptacle. In addition, he said they wanted a traffic lane which would move traffic away from the drive-through area without passing through the parking located just north of the subject building.
Mr. Ahrens said, if there was 30 feet of greenspace for proposed development, he did not think the landscape deviation should be a problem.
Mr. Schley asked the Planning Department for their comments regarding access management. Ms. Bugge said she thought perhaps MDOT was taking into account the other two drives across the street and were locating the proposed drive in between the two in an attempt to avoid traffic conflicts. Ms. Stefforia said she would be curious as to why MDOT was not requiring that this driveway be lined up with the one across the street to the west. She said perhaps they were trying to move a proposed drive as far to the east to avoid the potential conflict with the Heritage Realty property. When developed, it would likely generate more traffic than the Main Street Auto across the street.
Mr. Ahrens complimented the developer on not trying to put in a 10,000 square foot facility and thought that the proposed size was more compatible with development in the area.
The Chairperson asked how high the building structure was going to be. Ms. Bugge said it would be 25 feet at the mid-point.
The Chairperson asked that the Commission review the special exception use criteria. He asked if there were any concerns regarding the compatibility of the use within the zoning district.
Mr. Larson said he did not believe that it fit into, nor was it compatible with the category of uses permitted in the area. He said he thought the Statement of Purpose for the "R-3" District required that the facilities not generate large volumes of traffic, congestion or parking problems and that seemed inconsistent with what the applicant was proposing. He said a drive-through banking facility with 24-hour a day ATM would likely generate a great deal of traffic. Ms. Garland-Rike said she thought it certainly would generate more traffic than a normal office building.
The Chairperson asked about the hours of operations at the site. Mr. Hassevoort said it would likely operate from 8:30 a.m. or 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Ms. Everett asked if the drive-through would be open later than the main building itself. Mr. Hassevoort said the drive-through would likely be open until 6:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m. and the main building open until approximately 5:30 p.m.
Mr. Turcott said he had some concern about the traffic generated by the Credit Union but thought its proximity to West Main Street mitigated many of those concerns. Ms. Everett said that the traffic in the area was already quite heavy and that the location of the Credit Union did not seem inconsistent with the traffic flows along West Main.
Mr. Schley asked about the proposed development and the relationship to the surrounding property, particularly the "R-2" property to the west. Ms. Bugge said, if the "R-2" property was developed, it would likely be developed as a PUD or rezoned "R-3" since it is located in the 9th Street Focus Area. Ms. Everett said perhaps the "R-2" property could be developed as residential by accessing it through the existing plat. Mr. Schley said it was more likely that it would be developed for commercial use due to the cost of development and the value of property along West Main.
Ms. Garland-Rike said she thought the intent was to not develop West Main similar to Westnedge Avenue and that was part of the reason for maintaining some of the residential zoning along West Main Street at or near 10th Street.
Mr. Schley said that the proposed structure was residential in character, and therefore, the structure itself seemed to be compatible with the "R-3" zone. He said he was not thrilled with the drive-through lanes, but thought that its location near West Main made it a fair transitional use. Ms. Everett agreed, and said that the front portion of the property developed in this fashion was likely compatible given its proximity to West Main. She said she would not be comfortable with the Credit Union being developed on the northern portion of the property.
Ms. Garland-Rike said she agreed with Ms. Stefforia and said she would like to see less pavement and concrete along the north property line of the site. Mr. Larson said he would like to reduce the pavement and would not like to see the dumpster located along the north property line. He said he would like to see the dumpster moved away from the residential area as much as possible to avoid objectionable problems with noise associated with trash and its removal.
Ms. Bugge asked, if the applicant moved the dumpster to the west, whether the Commission would still want to see the traffic aisle. Mr. Larson said he did not want to see a traffic aisle. He said he would like to see the northern traffic aisle taken out to create a better buffer to the residential area to the north. Ms. Everett asked how they would access the dumpster. Mr. Larson said they could put it in the northwest corner and access it immediately off the entrance drive. Mr. Schley said he thought the noise from the dumpster and the impact it had on the neighbors was significant, and he would like to see what the Commission could do to mitigate that impact. Mr. Larson said he also would like to mitigate the headlights and the noise of the traffic coming to the site 24 hours a day to access the ATM.
Mr. Turcott asked how often the dumpster was emptied. Mr. Hassevoort said it was emptied on a weekly basis. Mr. Hassevoort said that they had proposed 24 parking spaces in order to provide adequate parking, even during the peak hours. He said they would have six to nine employees, and if they had ten to twelve members on site, he thought it would be somewhat congested, and he asked that the parking not be reduced.
The Chairperson said he did not want to see the Planning Commission redoing a site plan, but he would also like to see less pavement and more greenspace. He suggested, if they needed additional parking, that it be added in the future. He asked whether or not they could grant approval with the condition that a certain amount of parking could be added, if necessary. Ms. Bugge said that they had done that in the past, and perhaps they could have approval for three additional parking spaces to be installed in the future, if necessary.
Ms. Everett asked if the area between the building and the parking to the north could accommodate two-way traffic. Mr. Hassevoort said that it could. Mr. Ahrens asked, however, if it was really a matter of traffic flow. Mr. Hassevoort said it was, and they were trying to maintain a north traffic lane to avoid people driving through the parking area north of the building. He said without the north traffic lane, the parking north of the building would be bisected by traffic leaving the drive-through facility. Mr. Schley asked if the applicant's concerns did not support Mr. Larson's statements about the amount of traffic coming to the site, and questioned whether such concerns actually weighed against the granting of the special use.
Mr. Ahrens said he was concerned about people walking to and from their cars through ongoing traffic. Mr. Larson said, while he appreciated the Commission's concern, Citizens could have their staff park in the north parking area, and there would not be any real problem with flow-through traffic. Mr. Ahrens said he was uncomfortable with redesigning the site plan of the applicant. He said there was going to be a 30-foot greenspace, and he thought that was more than adequate. Mr. Larson said it was not a matter of redesigning the site, but it was a matter of minimizing impact on the area, and it was an issue he felt should be addressed.
Ms. Everett asked if the traffic lane to the north needed to be 24 feet in width. Ms. Bugge said that it did not have to be 24 feet if it was one-way, but it would have to be 24 feet to allow two-way traffic.
Mr. Larson said that he did not want to create an impasse, but he felt compelled to raise his concerns. Mr. Schley said he did not think it would create an impasse, and he thought Mr. Larson's concerns were legitimate with regard to traffic, noise, etc., and that perhaps by tweaking the site, they could reach an agreement with regard to the proposed use. The Chairperson said he did not think people would use the north traffic lane anyway, but would take the most immediate route to exit the facility, and suggested that they eliminate the north traffic lane, leave the three parking spaces and provide a site for the location of the dumpster.
The Chairperson asked what the pleasure of the Commission was.
Ms. Garland-Rike said she did not want to see a deviation with regard to the landscaping, nor did she want to see the additional drive aisle along the north boundary line.
Mr. Schley asked if the Commission would be comfortable with allowing the applicant to modify the northern drive-through aisle in conjunction with the Staff to reduce its width. Mr. Ahrens said he would be willing to go along with that proposal.
Mr. Larson said that he did not necessarily object to the proposed use, but he objected to the site plan as it currently existed.
Ms. Bugge pointed out that the Bertolissi property already provided a buffer for the residential areas to the north, and when the northern portion of the property developed, there would be supplemental setbacks imposed and additional screening to protect the adjoining residential properties. Ms. Garland-Rike said she was concerned about trying to maintain uniformity, and if they did not have to provide a deviation from the landscaping standard, she would like to avoid that. Ms. Bugge pointed out, even if they reduced the north drive aisle, the drive would still likely need to be 20 feet in width, and therefore, they would only gain a four-foot reduction in the pavement area.
Ms. Everett asked how far the proposed development went to the north. She asked for a comparison between the proposed building and Bertolissi building immediately to the east. A brief discussion was held, and the location of the proposed building in relationship to the Bertolissi building was determined.
Mr. Schley said he appreciated the comments regarding future development and how that would be constructed in relationship to the residential properties, but said that there was no way for the Planning Commission to know exactly what would be developed, and therefore, the Commission had to evaluate the specific proposal before them in relationship to the surrounding properties as currently developed.
Mr. Larson said perhaps they could approve the special exception use permit and then move on to the site plan. Mr. Larson made a motion to approve the special exception use permit. The motion was seconded by Mr. Turcott. The Chairperson called for public comment on the motion, and hearing none, called for a vote on the motion. The motion passed unanimously. The Chairperson asked that the Commission next review the site plan.
Mr. Ahrens said he wanted to point out that the deviation to the landscaping requirements was not the applicant's fault but was being done at the request of the Township Engineers for purposes of maintaining the integrity of the sewer. The Chairperson asked the Planning Department if the sewer main could be moved so there would not have to be a deviation from the landscaping requirements. Ms. Stefforia said the Planning Department could try. Mr. Turcott asked that the Planning Department confirm that a change in the location of the sewer easement would not allow the applicant to dispense with the required screening. Ms. Stefforia said that it would not. However, Mr. Larson said they would not have to create a deviation from the landscaping requirements. Ms. Everett pointed out that, if the traffic lights shining to the north were the issue, then the proposed modification in the landscaping would likely be an improvement, not a detriment, since canopy trees were of little or no help for screening for traffic lights. Ms. Stefforia pointed out that the landscaping requirements were not screening. The Chairperson asked if the deviation to the landscaping requirement was to avoid the installation of canopy trees. Ms. Bugge said that it was, but they would still have the appropriate quantities consisting of understory trees and evergreens, as well as shrubs, located along the north property line.
Ms. Everett asked whether or not they could, as suggested before, shift the sewer through the parking area. Ms. Stefforia said that it could be done, but as Mr. Larson pointed out, that would require movement of the underground stormwater infiltration tanks. Ms. Stefforia said that the Staff could try to move the proposed easement or substitute evergreens in the landscape area, if that would assist the Planning Commission in resolving the dispute over the landscaping requirements.
The Chairperson said that the issue is not the deviation from the landscaping requirements, it was the desire of certain Planning Commission members to reduce the pavement. Mr. Schley said the intent here is try to screen or protect the properties to the north. Ms. Everett suggested moving the dumpster to the northwest corner of the property.
Mr. Ahrens asked if the deviation from the landscaping requirements was the only thing not in compliance with the site plan of the applicant. Ms. Bugge indicated that it was.
Ms. Garland-Rike said that, for her, it was not just a matter of moving the dumpster. She believed that the site should be redesigned to move the development away from the residences.
Mr. Ahrens expressed concern over the authority of the Commission to modify the site plan if it was in compliance with the requirements of the Zoning Ordinance. Attorney Porter concurred with Mr. Ahrens and apologized he had not had the Commission focus on modification to the site plan, which the Commission believed was necessary to protect the public health, safety and welfare during the special exception use approval process. He explained that he thought the Commission was primarily concerned about the deviation from the landscaping requirements, but now understood that there was a concern regarding the north drive-through lane on site. He said if the Commission was inclined to make such a modification, it should have been done during the special exception use permit procedures, since it was in the special exception use process that the Commission had the authority to impose conditions upon the approval of the special use. He said it was not proper for the Commission to make such significant changes during the site plan review, since that was simply the time during which the Commission was to determine whether the site plan was in compliance with the Zoning Ordinance. He said, if the Commission wanted to consider deleting a portion of the pavement or the north drive aisle, it should rescind their motion to approve the special exception use and reconsider it at that time.
Ms. Everett said she thought reducing the amount of pavement would not affect the neighbors to the north, but it was the screening which was the most important in protecting the northern properties. Mr. Ahrens said he agreed.
Ms. Garland-Rike made a motion to rescind the previous motion to grant the special exception use permit. The motion was seconded by Mr. Larson. The Chairperson called for public comment.
Mr. David Keyte said he represented the Credit Union and introduced himself to the Commission. He said he appreciated the feedback from the Planning Commission, but thought there was plenty of greenspace to protect the properties to the north, and did not want to see a change in the proposed parking. The Chairperson asked if there was further public comment, and hearing none, he called for a discussion by the Commission. Hearing none, he called for a vote on the motion. The motion passed 4-to-3, with Mr. Sikora, Mr. Schley, Ms. Garland-Rike, and Mr. Larson in support, and with Mr. Turcott, Mr. Ahrens and Ms. Everett opposing the motion.
Attorney Porter told the Commission if it was going to impose a change in the site plan, as a condition to approving the special exception use, that it needed to articulate the basis upon which that change would be based in relationship to the standards under which they had the authority to grant or deny the special exception use permit.
After a brief discussion, Mr. Larson made a motion to approve the special exception use, conditioned upon the north boundary of the landscaping greenspace area being moved 50 feet. He said his purpose in doing so was to protect the health, safety and welfare of the residential property to the northeast, and that the reduction in the pavement to the north would increase the distance of the proposed development from the residential property, reduce the noise and odor and impact of traffic and light on the properties to the north. Ms. Stefforia reminded the Commission that the largest greenspace requirement permitted under the Zoning Ordinance was 40 feet, and that involved industrial property abutting residential property. Ms. Bugge pointed out that the supplemental building setbacks for a building in "R-3" adjacent to "R-2" only required a 50-foot setback for the building.
Mr. Warnick said a 50-foot setback would encroach into the north parking space.
The Attorney asked if Mr. Larson would amend his motion to provide that the landscape greenspace be brought south to abut the parking spaces immediately north of the proposed Credit Union building. Mr. Larson said he would agree to that amendment. Ms. Garland-Rike seconded the motion, and the Chairperson called for a discussion.
Mr. Ahrens asked if they would be reducing the depth of the landscaping. Ms. Bugge indicated that they would not be narrowing the landscaping area, but simply altering the type of trees to go within the landscaped area.
Mr. Schley pointed out that this issue came up when the Commission began to talk about the amount of pavement and whether or not it was excessive. He said he thought there was enough separation to obtain satisfactory screening. However, the Commission needed to focus on whether or not the concern was excess pavement or whether there were other issues of concern.
Ms. Garland-Rike said she was concerned about maintaining the landscape standards and that she understood the proposed sewer line would interfere with that; however, she had additional concerns as expressed by Mr. Larson.
Ms. Everett said that she did not think that the sewer was going to interfere with the landscaping, but it would just require a different type of landscaping, which would likely be better for screening purposes than what was originally required under the Ordinance. Ms. Garland-Rike said she disagreed because the large canopy trees tend to offer a softening feature to large buildings, which the lower shrubs and smaller trees could not provide.
Ms. Everett said, assuming there was no sewer located along the north property line, would the adjoining neighbors be better off with the alterative landscaping or the landscaping as currently provided in the Ordinance? Mr. Ahrens said he thought that the deviation would actually provide better protection for the residents to the north. Ms. Garland-Rike said it depended upon the height of the structure. Ms. Bugge said that the understory trees would still have to reach a height of 25 feet, which would match the height of the proposed structure.
Even if there was no sewer, the Chairperson wondered why the applicant would want to have the additional paving. Ms. Bugge suggested, if the Commission wanted to address the amount of paving allowed for "R-3" special exception uses, that the Commission provide for a text change in the Zoning Ordinance.
Mr. Larson said he moved to reduce the amount of paving in order to move the proposed activity as far away from the residential area as possible. He said that was the basis for his motion, and thought what he was proposing was entirely consistent with the provisions of Section 23.404(j) in protecting the health, safety and welfare of the surrounding residential properties. The Chairperson said he agreed with Mr. Larson's statement, and suggested that perhaps the Commission could move on. Mr. Ahrens said he did not agree with that assumption. Mr. Schley said he thought that the residential property would benefit by moving the commercial activity further away from the residences, but perhaps, the Commission should be more concerned about what is likely to develop to the north of the Credit Union. He added that the separation distance between the proposed facility and the residences would likely be mooted in the future based upon the development of the property north of the proposed Credit Union.
Mr. Larson said, in light of the Commission's discussions, he would like to call the question. The Chairperson called for a vote on the motion, and the motion passed 4-to-3, with Mr. Sikora, Mr. Schley, Ms. Garland-Rike, and Mr. Larson in support, and with Ms. Everett, Mr. Turcott and Mr. Ahrens opposed.
The Chairperson asked that they move on to the review of the site plan.
Ms. Everett asked the applicant whether they wanted the Commission to proceed, given the fact that the applicant would be required to amend its site plan in order to develop the site. The applicant said they would have to discuss the matter with their experts and redesign it, but believed they could amend their site plan to bring it into conformance with conditions of the special use permit.
The applicant's representative again referenced the need to handle flow-through traffic. Mr. Schley pointed out again that the argument about large traffic volumes ran contrary to the whole purpose of special exception uses allowed within the "R-3" zone, and thought that the applicants could not have it both ways.
Mr. Ahrens made a motion to approve the site plan, conditioned upon it being brought into compliance with the special exception use permit granted and conditioned upon compliance of the following:
(1) That approval is subject to obtaining a driveway permit from MDOT.
(2) That a shared access easement and maintenance agreement with the adjacent property owner, William Engel, must be submitted to the Township for approval and subsequently recorded.
(3) That a provision of a five-foot-wide sidewalk in conformance with MDOT standards in the West Main Street right-of-way is required.
(4) That all parking must conform to Section 68.000 and Section 23.404.
(5) That approval shall be contingent upon submitting final building elevations for Staff review and finding them compatible with the site plan.
(6) That setbacks shall comply with Sections 64.000 and 23.404.
(7) That all lighting shall comply with Section 78.700. Outside building-mounted fixture locations and details, if any, shall be submitted to the Township for review and approval.
(8) That approval shall be subject to the submission of sign details for review and approval through the sign-permitting process. All signs shall comply with Section 76.000.
(9) That landscaping shall be in accordance with Section 75, and shall be installed before a Certificate of Occupancy will be granted or a performance guarantee, consistent with the provisions of Section 82.950, must be provided.
(10) That a redescription of the property lines must occur and be evidenced by recorded documents prior to the issuance of a building permit.
(11) That site plan approval shall be subject to the applicant satisfying Fire Department requirements, pursuant to the adopted codes.
(12) That site engineering and stormwater management are subject to review and a finding by the Township Engineer that they are adequate.
(13) That an easement for the extension of public sewer over the subject property shall be executed.
(14) That approval is subject to extension of the public sewer to the site.
(15) That a well permit must be obtained from the County Environmental Health Department or public water installed.
(16) That all utilities shall be underground.
(17) That an Earth Change Permit must be obtained from the Kalamazoo County Drain Commissioner.
Mr. Larson seconded the motion. The Chairperson called for public comment, and hearing none, called for the vote. The motion passed unanimously.
Ms. Stefforia informed the Planning Commissioners that the MSU Extension Office was looking for a couple of members of the Oshtemo Township Planning Commission to serve as part of a focus group for review of the Citizen Planner On Line Program. She said it would take place on August 31, 2004. Mr. Larson and Ms. Garland-Rike expressed interest in the same.
Planning Commissioner Comments
Mr. Schley said he had prepared an e-mail addressing the use of accessory buildings for home occupation purposes and would be forwarding it to the Planning Department so it could be sent to the other Commission members for consideration.
The Commission agreed to cancel its meeting scheduled for September 9, 2004, due to the lack of Agenda items.
The Chairperson asked if there were further comments, and hearing none, he adjourned the meeting at 9:35 p.m.
OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP
Kathleen Garland-Rike, Secretary
September 2, 2004