Meeting Minutes

November 20, 1997





A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Planning Commission on Thursday, December 18, 1997, commencing at approximately 7:05 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall, pursuant to notice.

Members present

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

Also present was Rebecca Harvey of the Planning and Zoning Department (entered meeting at 7:40 PM).


The Chairperson called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m.


Mr. Block moved to approve the agenda as submitted. Mr. Loy seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.


The Planning Commission considered the minutes of the meeting of December 11, 1997. Mr. Corakis moved to approve the minutes as submitted. Mr. Block seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.


The Chairperson stated he thought it would be a good idea for us to evaluate the operations of our Commission. We could list items that indicated what was operating well and what needed improvement. The Vice-Chairperson recorded the items on the easel paper. Below is a list of those items with a comment on their disposition:

Rotate Seating: we would do this quarterly, beginning January 1998, through random selection of numbers at the last meeting of the quarter. Seating for the 1st Quarter of 1998 was performed at the end of this portion of our meeting.

Seating Protocol: The Commission questioned Ms. Harvey as to whether there was a protocol to the seating order. Ms. Harvey stated no, just that it had been done that way since she had been with the Township. The Commission then decided to have the Attorney and the Planning Dept. representative at the north end of the dais, the Chairperson would remain in the seat he now occupies and the Commission would rotate around these positions.

Site Plan Reviews from ZBA to Planning Commission: The decision was no change in the existing process based on the effects it would have on our workload, it saves time especially if there is a variance involved, and the existing process seems to work well.

Planners/Advisers Seated Separate from the Commission: Based on the solution to the seating protocol, this item was removed.

Standard for Information Delivered to Commission Members: The decision was that members need their packets on the Friday before the meeting; therefore, if applicants did not have their information to the Planning and Zoning Dept. by this timeframe, their item would be postponed to our next meeting.

Information That Planning Commission Representative Needs at Township Board Meetings: The decision was that the Planning Commissioner Representative present at the Township Board meetings to discuss our recommendations, will have the same information on that item as the Township Board members.

Does the Applicant Receive the Same Information as the Planning Commission Members: Ms. Harvey stated that the applicant does receive a copy of the report that she prepares for the members along with a copy of their application and the publication notice.

Board "Chemistry": It was agreed that the "chemistry" among members was good in that we showed respect for each others comments and the explanations of viewpoint that members voiced helped to define or clarify issues.

Listen to the Public: Members felt that we did listen to the statements that citizens and business owners made at our meetings even though our actions did not always support their statements.

Actions: Members agreed that our actions reflected the best interests of the Township and not our individual interests.

Time Limits: It is agreed that the time limits we set for audience input when there was a large citizen/business representation was working. Mr. Loy and Mr. Corakis confirmed that other municipalities were using this tool also, from interaction with representatives at the last MSPO training session in Grand Rapids.

Sufficient Time to Issues: Members also agreed that sufficient time was spent on either ordinance or zoning changes or on requests that came before them.

Background Information Provided in Packets: The Commissioners requested that when the Planning and Zoning Dept. provided them with lots of background information on items that the applicable areas be highlighted for: planning principles or in support of previous decisions.

Discussion centered around the following issues:
Landscape Ordinance: focus on incorporating parking, fencing, etc., into such an ordinance.
Focus Areas - Next Steps: take the Focus Areas one step further by incorporating a landscape theme that may help developers

MLUP Vision: perform an overall Township-wide view of the MLUP so we don't develop "tunnel" vision

There were some presentation "tools" that the Commissioners felt would help the audience and themselves:
clip-on microphones
laser pointers
more use of overheads to project Section maps, etc.
11" X 17" maps of the current Zoning map that members could easily refer to

Members decided that this was a good exercise and worthwhile to do once a year.


The Planning Commission reviewed changes in Draft #1. Ms. Harvey will make these changes, research some issues, and bring Draft #2 back to the Board at some future date.


Ms. Harvey reviewed the various issues that the Planning Commission had worked on and although we may not have worked on many of the items on our plan, our accomplishments included 5 rezonings, 11 special exception uses, 1 subdivision review, 2 site condominium reviews and 10 text amendments.


Ms. Harvey reviewed the proposed 1998 work program and members felt that accomplishing this program was within reach, however, depending on the number of applications submitted, which take priority.


There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 10 p.m.