DECEMBER 1, 1997




12.4-ACRE SITE - N. 10


A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Zoning Board of Appeals on Monday, December 1, 1997, commencing at approximately 3:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall, pursuant to notice.


Brian Dylhoff, Chairperson
David Bushouse
Lara Meeuwse
Thomas Brodasky
William Saunders


Also present were Rebecca Harvey and Mike West on behalf of the Planning and Zoning Department, Patricia R. Mason, Township Attorney, and six (6) other interested persons.


The Chairperson called the meeting to order at 3:05 p.m.


The Board considered the minutes of the meeting of November 17, 1997. Mr. Brodasky moved to approve the minutes as submitted. Ms. Meeuwse seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.


The Board considered the application of Charles Hill, representing LaSalle Home Builders, for site plan amendment for the proposed conversion of interior building space (office/storage) for retail use and a proposed 1,600-sq.-ft. parking lot expansion. The subject property, currently occupied by LaSalle Home Builders is located at 6305 Stadium Drive and is within the "C" Local Business District Zoning classification.

The report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference. Ms. Harvey noted that the site was currently approved for use as office space by LaSalle Home Builders. The applicant now seeks approval for the occupancy of additional space (including the lower level) for retail use and therefore requires site plan amendment. The parking lot expansion involved the rear of the property.

In response to questioning by Ms. Meeuwse, Ms. Harvey noted that the building is existing with no additions thereto proposed, and therefore the building setback was not an issue. With regard to accessibility of the basement area, Building Code, etc., would be handled by the appropriate Township department. Ms. Harvey noted that the ZBA would look at compliance with the Zoning Ordinance. It was further noted that the use proposed is permitted. Parking and drainage at the site were also issues.

There was discussion of the parking standard applicable to the proposed use. The Ordinance requires one space per 100 sq. ft. of usable retail area. Unless the applicant suggests a floor plan showing usable area, the Township applies 70% of the total area as the "usable" space. Ms. Harvey stated that the numbers utilized in the report in calculating parking were taken from information received directly from the applicant as to the "usable" space.

The applicant was present, stating that the proposed use is as an internet user provider. He stated that computer equipment is stored within the basement. He further stated that most business is "off site." Customers may never come to the site, and most services are offered off site. He felt that the space was not retail but office use. Mr. Hill stated that computers and software were not available at the site; however, customers could present an order and his business would supply computers and software.

Ms. Meeuwse commented she felt that the use was similar to a catalog sales operation, which is considered retail. Other Board members concurred that they felt the use proposed was retail sales or service rather than an office use.

In response to questioning by Mr. Brodasky, the applicant indicated that there are six paved parking spaces on site at present. The applicant proposed additional paving at the rear of the property on which additional parking could be established. However, a detailed parking layout had not been provided. Ms. Harvey suggested that the Board make approval subject to the provision of a parking lot layout.

There was a discussion of the gravel area to the back of the property. It was noted that this could be an area in which parking was established in the future. The applicant stated that he was not interested in paving that area at this time.

Ms. Meeuwse expressed concern as to the narrowness of the drive to the rear of the property and the inaccessibility of the parking to the rear. The applicant stated that generally his employees and the subcontractors of LaSalle use the spaces to the back and leave the front spaces for the general public.

The Board returned to discussion of the "gravel" area to the back of the property. The Chairperson expressed that, if the area was not to be used for parking at this time, it should be returned to greenspace consistent with the previous approval of the Board. It was noted that the gravel had been placed in this area without any prior approval or amendment to the site plan, which required retention of greenspace. Mr. Hill stated that he could easily convert this area back to greenspace by covering it with topsoil. He felt that, if the area were to be used in the future for parking, the topsoil could be removed and the area paved. Mr. Hill noted that the Village Focus Area Plan suggests parking to the rear of a site and noted that perhaps this area would eventually be a shared parking lot.

Mr. Bushouse suggested allowing the gravel area to remain as future parking, which could be established if needed. Mr. Bushouse felt that it might be necessary to establish additional parking, for example, if the applicant increased the retail area in use. Mr. Bushouse felt it was appropriate to allow the applicant to cover the gravel area with soil. Board members agreed.

There was no public comment offered on the item, and the public hearing was closed.

Mr. Brodasky moved to approve the site plan amendment with the following conditions, limitations and notations:

(1) That it was found that three spaces were required for the 400 sq. ft. of usable office area, three spaces were required for the 300 sq. ft. of usable retail area on the main floor, and two spaces were required for the 250 sq. ft. of usable retail area in the basement, for a total of eight parking spaces.

(2) That a proposed parking lot layout must be detailed and submitted to Township staff for review and approval with sufficient information to allow the Township Engineer to review the proposal. It was further noted that the asphalting of the parking area should be sufficient to allow maneuverability from the southernmost parking space.

(3) That all spaces were subject to compliance with dimensional standards of 10' x 20'.

(4) That barrier-free parking was subject to ADA and Michigan Barrier-Free Guidelines and must be designated with signage and pavement logo.

(5) That no outdoor storage was proposed or approved.

(6) That all site lighting must be in compliance with Section 78.700 and any modification to the exterior lighting arrangement must be detailed for review and approval of the Township staff pursuant to Section 78.720(g).

(7) That all signage must comply with Sections 76.125 and 76.135 and be reviewed and approved through the permit process.

(8) That approval was subject to the review and approval of the Township Fire Department.

(9) That approval was subject to the review and approval of the Township Engineer.

(10) That issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy shall be subject to and contingent on the inspections of the building, mechanical, electrical, fire, as well as Planning and Zoning Department, to insure compliance with applicable regulations.

(11) That no variance was requested or approved.

(12) That, with regard to the gravel area, the area must be converted to greenspace by covering over with soil and reseeding.

The motion was seconded by Ms. Meeuwse and carried unanimously.

12.4-ACRE SITE - N. 10

The next item was the application of the Joe Branch, representing Dovetail Development, for variance approval from the 200' road frontage requirement established by Section 66.201 of the Zoning Ordinance. The subject site is 12.4 acres located on the east side of North 10th Street, opposite the intersection of Litchfield with North 10th Street, and is within the "R-2" Residential District Zoning classification. It was noted that the applicant suggests dividing the property into two parcels along 10th Street. A third parcel will be created to the rear of these two parcels, which would have no frontage. Thirty-three feet of the parcels with frontage on 10th Street (for a total of 66') would be created as an easement to the third parcel. This 66' easement would accommodate a future public road extension of Litchfield.

The applicant was present, stating it was his intent to create two salable lots and that he planned to site condominiumize the third parcel at a future date. Therefore, it was proposed that the third parcel would not be built upon until the public road, i.e., Litchfield, was extended across the 66' easement. The two 10th Street parcels would share a private drive, which would be located on the 66'-wide easement until the public road was established. The 66' easement would be "in line," across the street from Litchfield.

Ms. Meeuwse suggested that the setback for each of the 10th Street parcels should be measured from the 66' easement since it would be a public road in the future.

Mr. Bushouse inquired as to the City of Kalamazoo waterline. Ms. Harvey stated that the Township had agreed to move this waterline when the property was developed. It was recognized that other options were available to the applicant, such as platting.

The Chairperson sought public comment, and Doris Trowbridge inquired about the type of development which would be established on the parcels. It was noted that the development would be residential.

Marilyn and Richard Powell also had questions with regard to the proposal, and it was again clarified that the easement which would eventually be a road right-of-way was in line with the public road "Litchfield." There was discussion of the layout of the parcels in relationship to the Powell property.

There was no other public comment offered, and the public hearing was closed.

Board members discussed the item, stating that they felt it was appropriate to create a policy of approving this type of proposal as long as conditions could be placed on the variance approval which would render the proposed layout in keeping with the intent and spirit of the Ordinance. This was true since the rear parcel was not intended to be a building site until public road frontage was established. Mr. Bushouse agreed, stating he felt that, although the applicant had the option of platting, the intent and spirit of the Ordinance provisions could be met without platting through conditional variance.

After further discussion, Mr. Saunders moved to grant variance with the following reasoning:

(1) That conformance was not unnecessarily burdensome in that the applicant had other options for development.

(2) However, substantial justice would weigh in favor of granting the variance in that, previous to the amendments to the Land Division Act and Land Division Ordinance, this type of division would have been allowed. It was recognized that no other previous similar variance requests had been received or acted upon.

(3) That there were no unique physical circumstances preventing compliance and the hardship was self-created.

(4) That the spirit and intent of the Ordinance, however, would be served by the variance in that the proposed land division would have complied with Township Ordinance(s) in effect prior to the adoption of the Land Division Act and Ordinance, and based upon the conditions which would be imposed.

The variance was conditioned as follows:

(1) That a 66'-wide easement be established through written document(s) executed, recorded and on file with the Township for purposes of a future public road extension of Litchfield.

(2) That the two parcels created along 10th Street share a drive onto 10th Street located on the 66'-wide easement until such time as the public road is established, at which time those parcels' drives would be located on the Litchfield extension into the 66' easement.

(3) That the front setback standard of 40' be measured from easement line to any building(s) established on the two parcels along 10th Street.

(4) That no building permit issue for building upon the back parcel, i.e., parcel without road frontage, until that parcel is in compliance with Ordinance frontage requirements through extension of public road or otherwise.

Mr. Brodasky seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.


There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 4:35 p.m.