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December 16, 1999







A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Planning Commission on Thursday, December 16, 1999, commencing at approximately 7:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall.

Wilfred Dennie, Chairman
Millard Loy (after 7:42 p.m.)
Stanley Rakowski
Elizabeth Heiny-Cogswell
Ted Corakis
Ken Heisig
Marvin Block


Also present were Jodi Stefforia, Planning Director, Mary Lynn Bugge, Township Planner, and Patricia R. Mason, Township Attorney, and 13 other interested persons.


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


The Chairperson suggested adding, under "Other Business" the dias reshuffle for the first quarter of 2000. Mr. Corakis moved to approve the Agenda as amended, and Mr. Block seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.


The Planning Commission considered pre-conceptual plan review for a proposed multiple family planned unit development upon 30 acres on the east side of North 10th Street, north of West Main Street, in response to a request by The Granger Company. The subject property, which is Parcel No. 3905-13-105-010, is located on 30 acres north of the future West Pointe Office Centre, within the "R-3" Residential District zoning classification. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

The Chairperson explained that the pre-conceptual plan review would be a dialogue between the applicant and the Planning Commission with no public comment. Ms. Stefforia explained that the review would give the Planning Commission the chance to provide the developer with an indication of whether the general concepts behind the proposed development would be acceptable to the Commission.

Karl Freed, of Gove & Associates, was present on behalf of the applicant. He stated that the developer had put together a concept which they felt was marketable for the area. A drawing of the proposed site was presented. It was suggested that the site would be a gated PUD community. Amenities would be provided on site for use by the tenants. Existing screening along 10th Street would be retained. Dave Eyde, of The Granger Company, stated that the project would be somewhat similar to Drake's Pond or Summer Ridge Apartments.

Reference was made to the proposed density of the project at 12.2 dwellings per acre. The Ordinance limits density in the "R-3" Zoning District to four dwellings per acre. Ms. Stefforia asked the developer to discuss the density issue. The developer indicated that they believed that, in order to support the proposed amenities, a project of this size was needed. By comparison, the developer indicated that Drake's Pond is about 500 units.

The Chairperson commented that he would normally understand a PUD to have varying types of residential use or a mix of residential with commercial use. He noted that the PUD in question would be completely multi-family residential use. The developer responded that, for example, the amenities were a recreational use which, if utilized by the general public, could be considered commercial in nature. The Chairperson disagreed, stating that he felt that the provision of amenities was no different than other multi-family developments.

It was noted that the developer was also the developer of the office project to the south. The Chairperson recalled that the main concern with the office development was its density. Mr. Corakis concurred, stating that he recalled that the office development had been reduced from 11 to 9 buildings by the developer after receiving comments from the Planning Commission.

The Chairperson made reference to the criteria applicable to PUD development. He stated that his main concern was the proposal of 12 dwellings per acre when the Ordinance allowed for four dwellings per acre as a maximum. There was also concern that the proposed density exceeds the eight units per acre allowed in the multi-family zone, i.e., "R-4".

There was discussion of the proposed access to the project. The developer indicated that a connection between the Office Park and the project could be made. The developer indicated that the gating to the community would be open during the day and closed at night for electronic access.

Mr. Block expressed concern about the proposed density of the project. He felt that the project, as designed, was a typical apartment complex. In his opinion, the traffic which could be generated by the project would be a problem. He was concerned about the impact on the adjacent neighborhood.

Mr. Heisig had questions with regard to the proposed parking at the project. The developer responded that it was planned that there be a mix of carports and garages.

There was further discussion of the amount of traffic which might be generated at the project, and it was agreed that there might be as many as 2,000 trips per day.

Mr. Rakowski stated that he did not feel that the proposal would fit within the PUD concept. He felt that the density proposed was "too high" and that the design was not creative or imaginative which was the goal of the PUD District. He agreed with the Chairperson and Mr. Block that the traffic generated as a result from the density would be too great. Mr. Corakis concurred.

Mr. Loy entered the meeting.

It was the consensus of the Planning Commission that, in general, the proposed project density would not meet the special exception use criteria of the Ordinance. The Developer was urged to redesign the project in conformance with the Ordinance.


The Planning Commission next considered the application of Balkema Excavating, Inc., for special exception use approval to allow earth removal activities on a parcel located on the north side of KL Avenue, between U.S. 131 and 9th Street. The subject site is Parcel Nos. 3905-24-330-020 and 3905-24-155-012, and is located within the "R-4" Residential District. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Stefforia noted that the property in question is approximately 100 acres in size, however, the excavation activities are taking place on a small portion of the acreage. The activities have taken place on the property for an unknown amount of time, but had recently come to the attention of the Township. The applicant would like to continue the use of the property for sand removal to provide fill for various construction projects in the area.

Jeff Balkema was present on behalf of the applicant, and he indicated that the applicant was unaware that they would need a permit for the activity. There had been earth removal activity at the site since mid-summer according to Mr. Balkema.

In response to questioning by the Chairperson, the applicant indicated that sand was being removed from the site for use in other projects in the area. The applicant again indicated that sand was not being removed from the entire site, but only in the southeast corner.

The Chairperson asked about the length of the activity, and Mr. Balkema stated that there would not be activity at the site every day, but it was anticipated that sand would be removed from the site for approximately two years, perhaps a little more.

There would be no processing on the site. The applicant indicated that there is a sloping topography on the property and that the applicant was "taking off high spots" and not digging in such a way as to create huge pits.

Mr. Corakis had questions regarding the equipment in use, and the applicant indicated there was a front-end loader on site, along with three trucks; probably no more than two items on site at any one time. There would be approximately 30 trips per day generated by the use.

Mr. Rakowski asked whether gravel would be removed from the site, and the applicant responded that only sand for fill was being excavated. There was no gravel of any worth at the property.

As to whether there would be tracking of dirt onto KL Avenue, the applicant indicated that if there was some mud tracking, they would "sweep the road".

The applicant indicated that the removal activities would not create a flow of storm water off site or create a soil erosion problem.

It was anticipated that the property would be reclaimed with a maximum slope of 3-to-1, and that the applicant would spread top soil and reseed the area.

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell asked whether trees were being removed, and the applicant responded that small brush was being removed from the area, but that the established trees were not removed. The reseeding would be with Class A highway mix seed, a lawn grass mix.

There was discussion of whether the activities could be seen from the road, and Ms. Stefforia stated that, in her opinion, they could not be observed from the road.

The operation could be conducted year round depending upon the demand, according to the applicant.

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

The Chairperson summarized the application and noted that the property to the north was improved with the Country Club Plat, to the east was the Chateau Mobile Home Park, to the south was a mix of industrial and residential use in an industrial zoning district, and west of the property was vacant. A portion of the property was located in the 9th Street Focus Area zone.

The Chairperson noted that the Planning Commission could consider approving the use for only a portion of the parcel, and limiting the period of the operation. The applicant would have the option of re-applying to extend the period if it chose to do so.

Reference was made to Sections 60.300 and Section 60.100 of the Ordinance. The Planning Commission considered whether the proposed use was compatible with other uses expressly permitted within the "R-4" Residential District and/or the 9th Street Focus Area overlay zone. The Planning Commission noted that the use was temporary in nature and was likely to have only a minimal impact due to its limited size and scope. After further comment, it was felt that, since the applicant would restore the site and since the applicant was taking out "peaks" and not digging pits, the impact on the area would be minimal.

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell stated that she felt reseeding was important to prevent erosion. Further, preservation of existing trees was critical; however, in the case of this application, since it was "not large in scale", she did not necessarily feel that a final grading plan would be needed.

The Planning Commission considered whether the proposed use would be detrimental or injurious to the use or development or adjacent properties. Again, the short term and temporary nature of the proposed operation was discussed. Further, the operation was not be large in scale, and no deep holes would be created. It was noted that, although the activities had taken place since mid-summer, no complaints had been received from neighboring property owners.

The Planning Commission considered whether the proposed use would promote the public health, safety and welfare. The Planning Commissioners agreed that, once property restored, there would be no impact on public health, safety and welfare. Since there would be no processing on site, the equipment on site would be limited, and no large pits or depressions would be created, it was felt that the proposal would be consistent with public health, safety and welfare.

The Planning Commission considered whether the proposed use would encourage use of the land in accord with its character and adaptability. It was felt that the proposed use was in character with the area since the proposal would not leave the land "flat".

Mr. Heisig moved to grant a special exception use permit, concluding that the proposal met the criteria of Sections 60.100 and 60.300, with the following conditions, limitations and notations:

(1) That the excavation activities were limited to an area on the property south of the north line of the southwest quarter of Section 24.

(2) That the duration of the operation was limited to three years.

(3) That restoration of the property as proposed by the applicant with grass seed was required with a grade of slope not to exceed 3-to-1.

(4) That approval was limited to the activity level described by the applicant, and if intensified, an amendment to the special exception use permit would be required.

(5) That the applicant was required to take such steps as were necessary to insure that no mud or dirt would be tracked off site, and the applicant was required to sweep KL Avenue if any dirt was tracked thereon.

(6) That no more than two pieces of equipment were allowed on site at any one time.

(7) That the hours of operation, 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., as proposed by the applicant with similar hours for Saturday were approved.

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


The Planning Commission conducted a public hearing on Draft 3 of Section 60.600 regarding communication towers. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference. Ms. Bugge noted the changes which had been made to the proposed text since the October 14 meeting. She also suggested a revision to add certain language to Section 60.650 regarding co-location on approved towers. Ms. Bugge suggested that reference be made to approved towers and electric transmission towers. It was noted further that it was suggested that certain definitions be renumbered, but otherwise unaltered.

The Chairperson noted that the purpose of the changes was to clarify and further distinguish co-locations. In addition, co-locations would be allowed to be administratively reviewed and approved. There had been discussion of the proposed changes with the Township Board at the joint meeting.

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell expressed concern regarding a hamm radio antenna which was recently located in a residential plat. Based upon the character of this antenna, her opinion with regard to whether hamm radio antennas should be regulated by the Township had been altered. She felt that, given the height of this hamm radio tower and its structural make-up, that a special exception use permit should be required under the Ordinance.

Ms. Bugge pointed out that, when the tower provisions were originally discussed, the Township Board had indicated a strong feeling that the use of ham towers should not be restricted. The Township Attorney stated that restriction on ham and/or other residential types of equipment would require further noticing for public hearing in that such restrictions were not suggested in the noticing for this public hearing. The Chairperson suggested going forward with the proposed text and considering the question of ham radio towers in the year 2000. Mr. Loy expressed that he would like to hear from an expert on the subject. Ms. Bugge indicated that, in her opinion, restrictions on ham radio antenna and/or other types of residential equipment should not be in this section of the Ordinance, since this section principally deals with commercial equipment.

No public comment was offered, and the public hearing was closed.

Mr. Block moved to recommend the text amendments as proposed, and Mr. Rakowski seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.


The Planning Commission reviewed Draft 7 of the proposed changes to the Zoning Ordinance regulating sign provisions. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Stefforia reviewed the changes from Draft 6, which were included in Draft 7 of the Ordinance.

There was a discussion of wall sign height, with Planning Commissioners indicating that they were satisfied that, at a height of 25 feet from the base of the building rather than from the road grade, greater flexibility would be allowed for the design of wall signage locations and design.

It was further the consensus of the Board that the charts replacing Sections 76.160 through 76.180, rather than the text, would be utilized.

Mr. Corakis moved to schedule a public hearing on the text for February 10, 2000, and Mr. Loy seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.


The Chairperson reviewed the proposed procedural and other changes that had been discussed by the Planning Commissioners in 1998 for implementation in 1999. Mr. Loy indicated that he had heard expressions of appreciation from members of the public regarding the cooperativeness of the Planning and Zoning Department.


After minor changes to the proposed meeting schedule, Mr. Loy moved to approve the schedule as amended, and Mr. Block seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.


There was a reshuffle of dias for Year 2000 seating.

It was recognized that this would be the last meeting for Planning Commissioner Loy, and appreciation for his years of service was expressed.


There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 10:00 p.m.