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December 7, 2000




A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Planning Commission on Thursday, December 7, 2000, commencing at approximately 7:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Wilfred Dennie, Chairperson
Ted Corakis
Stanley Rakowski
Neil Sikora
Ken Heisig

MEMBERS ABSENT: Elizabeth Heiny-Cogswell
Deborah Everett

Also present were Jodi Stefforia, Planning Director; Patricia R. Mason, Township Attorney, and nine other interested persons.


The meeting was called to order at 7:04 p.m.


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


The Planning Commission considered the minutes of the meeting of November 16, 2000. Mr. Sikora moved to approve the minutes as submitted. Mr. Corakis seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.


The Planning Commission conducted a conceptual review of the proposed mixed use planned unit development involving multi-family and commercial land uses on a 30-acre parcel south of Flesher Field on South 9th Street. The property is Parcel Nos. 3905-35-185-020, 35-305-010, 35-330-011. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference. It was planned that the multi-family component would encompass approximately 90% of the development. At less than three acres, the commercial area would be approximately 10% of the project. It was planned that the multi-family development would be to the back of the property with the commercial in front.

It was proposed that the project involve the establishment of a private boulevard to serve the multi-family use, commercial site, and the northern parcel, which is proposed for a new funeral home. The placement of the private boulevard would meet the Access Management Guidelines regarding spacing from Valley Industrial Drive. It was noted that the Road Commission had indicated that it would be willing to issue a permit for the location of the boulevard drive as proposed.

Mr. Corakis indicated that he was the owner of property abutting the subject site to the north across the AT&T right-of-way. The Township Attorney advised that Mr. Corakis should abstain.

Ms. Stefforia noted that the Planning Commission and Township had reclassified the area under the Master Land Use Plan to multi-family a few months ago.

Ms. Stefforia reported that the applicant was seeking a number of deviations with the proposed plan. First, as to density, she stated that the applicant was proposing a total of 204 units and eight buildings. The overall density of the project complies with the Ordinance. However, placement of the buildings on the site as proposed would require deviation. It was noted that the provisions of Section 24.407(a) allow six units per acre in that area within 200 feet of Flesher Field and the AT&T right-of-way because of the zoning thereof. The applicant was seeking to place three full buildings and a part of another building in that area. Therefore, the applicant was seeking a deviation from the six dwelling unit per acre limit along the north side of the development. The applicant desired to keep the internal area of the site as an amenity with a decorative pond.

Second, it was noted that the provisions of Section 24.200 (d) require a multi-family development to be served by two access points. However, the Access Management Guidelines would limit the development to one driveway since it involves less than 500 units. Ms. Stefforia reported that the Zoning Board of Appeals, in their site plan review process, has often allowed apartment projects to have one access pursuant to the AMG. The applicant was seeking a deviation from the Planning Commission to allow for only one driveway for this project.

Third, the applicant was seeking a deviation as to parking requirement. Five hundred ten spaces would be required and 486 were being suggested. The applicant indicated there was sufficient area on site on which additional parking could be constructed if needed.

Ms. Stefforia had a question with regard to open space in that no specific boundaries had been identified on the plan by the applicant.

David Rice was present on behalf of Edward Rose. He stated that Jim Hall, a landscape architect, was also present on behalf of the applicant, along with Jerry Speedy, the Vice President of the Kalamazoo office. Mr. Rice made reference to the "booklet" provided by the applicant concerning the project. He described Edward Rose Development Company. He indicated that some 30 years ago the applicant had developed the Concord, Mount Royal and Seville Apartments within Oshtemo Township. More recently, Foxwood and Heritage Town Homes were established in Portage. Mr. Rice provided a slide presentation regarding the appearance of recent projects constructed by the applicant. He stated that the apartments currently being constructed were predominantly two to three floors. The applicant tried to work with natural features of each site and retain as many trees as possible.

The applicant would be seeking to establish a PUD on approximately 30 acres. The applicant would itself be constructing the multi-family component on approximately 27.1 acres. As to the 2.9 acres of commercial development, two commercial lots would be established. The applicant would be building all infrastructure for the commercial lots. However, they would not be constructing the actual commercial development thereon. Consideration was being given to certain types of development of a commercial nature such as banks and restaurants for these lots. The applicant would provide deed restrictions for the commercial lots to control their architectural style and other aspects of development.

There was a discussion of area uses. It was noted that the property in question was rezoned from the "R-3" Residence District in September of 1995.

Jim Hall, regarding the site plan, indicated that, prior to creating the plan, he had conducted an inventory of the natural features of the site. The provisions of the Zoning Ordinance were considered in drafting the site plan. He stated that the boulevard entrance had been designed after discussions with the Township Fire Department. The pond(s) to be located on the site were located in low areas.

Mr. Hall stated that there would be approximately 7- 1/2% building coverage on the site. Parking and drives would encompass approximately 20% of the site, including the areas set aside for possible future parking. There would be over 72% open space at the site.

There was a discussion of the proposed storm water system. He stated that it was not planned that the multi-family storm water areas would be used for retention from the commercial sites.

As to parking, he stated that the applicant felt deviation from the number of spaces required was appropriate because of the significant amount of one bedroom apartments proposed for the project. Further, one access point was considered more efficient to serve the site in that it would result in only one curb cut to serve the two commercial lots, the multi-family development, and the proposed funeral home to the north.

In response to questions from the Chairperson, the applicant indicated that open space areas would be used for hiking trails, benches and possibly a gazebo. It was suggested that the applicant give clear indication on the plan about the natural vegetation/woodlands which would be retained.

As to the parking, the applicant indicated that the additional spaces which would be set aside for possible future construction were not grouped in one area, but provided on a per-building basis. There was space for an additional 60-70 parking spaces.

There was discussion of the placement of proposed garages with the applicant indicating that there would be garages to service approximately 30% of the units. A maintenance garage and cable TV building would be established near Building 1.

As to access, the applicant indicated that part of the purchase agreement includes an easement with the property to the north to allow that property to utilize the proposed boulevard drive to be built by Edward Rose.

Mr. Sikora questioned why the applicant had not presented photographs of commercial development during the slide show. The applicant indicated that it was a residential builder and developer, and would only establish infrastructure for the commercial lots.

In response to a question from the Chairperson, the applicant indicated they were seeking a deviation from the density limitation so as to allow the design to accommodate preservation of natural features. Further, most density was being located near Flesher Field and the AT&T right-of-way, which are both heavily wooded, thus providing a buffer from other residential development to the south.

In response to a question from Mr. Sikora, the applicant stated that the proposed funeral home would have no separate access. Access to 9th Street would be via the boulevard drive. Mr. Rakowski confirmed with the applicant that there would be no direct access for the commercial lots to 9th Street. Their access would also be via the boulevard drive. It was planned that as each segment of the apartment buildings was established, it would be occupied. The first building constructed would be the one to the east, and then construction would proceed in approximately a clockwise manner. Additionally, roads would be established as buildings were constructed, with temporary turnarounds.

The applicant described the time table at 150 units per year so that the project would take approximately 2 to 2 years to build.

Mr. Rakowski questioned why the access point was not established across from Valley Industrial Drive. The applicant responded that to move the access point to the south, would "bisect" the commercial area and limit its usability. The applicant stressed that the Kalamazoo County Road Commission was comfortable with the proposal based upon the uses as suggested.

Mr. Sikora had questions with regard to the depth of the of the retention ponds. The applicant responded that they would be more than six feet at center. It was planned that the ponds would have a 1-to-4 slope at their edge, and gradually change to a 1-to-3 slope at the center. No fencing, other than a split-rail fence, was suggested. There would be "no trespassing" signs.

The pool at the site would be for resident use only.

There was no public comment offered.

The Chairperson stated that, in his opinion, the density as proposed was acceptable in that the proposed density was abutting the AT&T right-of-way and Flesher Field. Further, it was noted that the design concept of the applicant was to concentrate most buildings inside the ring.

Reference was made to Section 60.400, and the Chairperson summarized the application. He noted that the applicant satisfied the acreage requirement and that the uses proposed were allowed. Overall, the density of the project met the standards of the Ordinance. Mr. Heisig stated that he felt that the surrounding land uses were critical to consideration of the density deviation. Based on the abutting land use to the north, he had no strong feeling that the applicant should change the layout. Ms. Stefforia noted that the Planning Commission may wish to consider the fact that the applicant's design did not attempt to "get more density" out of the overall project by the building placement. Building placement was driven by the desire to protect natural features, including topography at the site. The applicants stressed that they would be moving less earth with the buildings as designed in that they were attempting to follow existing property contours.

Planning Commission members agreed that the density deviation was satisfactory. This conclusion was based upon the fact that the applicant was working with natural features at the site and in consideration of the abutting land uses.

Ms. Stefforia noted that an additional deviation involved the supplemental setback applicable to the placement of garages and the maintenance building. There was discussion of whether these areas could be moved into compliance with Ordinance standards. The Planning Commissioners concurred that the applicant should attempt to re-design the site to eliminate the need for a deviation from the supplemental setback.

Jerry Speedy noted that the site is "hard to design" because it is not square; rather, it is long, narrow and offset. He stated that the applicant would re-design or come back with a justification for this further deviation.

It was the Planning Commission's consensus, after further discussion, that a deviation to allow for one drive, consistent with the Access Management Plan and Guidelines was appropriate so long as the Fire Department was satisfied that emergency access was acceptable. The Chairperson felt that this was particularly appropriate, given that the project included less than half the units which would call for two drives under the Access Management Guidelines. Further, it was felt that the location of the drive was appropriate since it would be used by the funeral home site, the two commercial lots and the multi-family portion of the PUD. However, an easement would be required as a condition of approval.

As to parking, Planning Commissioners felt that the possible future spaces should be more clearly identified on the site plan. Open space areas, at least 5%, should be specifically identified as to their location and uses designated.

There was discussion of the ownership and the requirement of common ownership or control during construction. Planning Commissioners were satisfied that restrictive covenants placed on the commercial lots by the applicant would provide for sufficient "common ownership or control".

The design standards were referenced, and the applicant was urged to avoid the need for fencing of the storm water areas if possible. Further, it was felt that there may be no additional screening necessary. However, the applicant should provide detail as to the natural features and vegetation which would be saved, particularly along the north line.


The Planning Commission considered Draft 4 of the proposed parking provision update to the Zoning Ordinance. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Stefforia stated that there had been minor changes to the draft from Draft 3. She provided a handout regarding area high school parking. It was noted that there was really no consistency between existing high schools. She suggested that the high school provision indicate one space for each staff member and one space for every four students. Additionally, reference could be made to additional parking requirements for stadiums and auditoriums.

The Planning Commission reviewed the changes to Draft 4.

Mr. Corakis moved to schedule a public hearing on the parking provisions for January 11, 2001. Mr. Sikora seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.


Mr. Rakowski moved to adopt the meeting dates as submitted. Mr. Sikora seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.


Ms. Stefforia noted that she had updated the proposed Work Plan to add reference to Maple Hill Drive South Focus Area.

The Chairperson suggested that, at the joint meeting with the Township Board, there had been discussion of the "R-4" zoning district and the 40-foot building separation. He felt that a discussion of this issue should be added to the Work Plan and consideration given to creating variable building separation based on building height. Further, he suggested adding a discussion of senior housing and their densities to the Work Plan. Moreover, consideration should be given to adding a definition of family to the Ordinance so as to control student use of single-family homes.

Ms. Stefforia indicated that she would submit a revised Work Plan at the next meeting.


Mr. Corakis had questions with regard to the cutting of trees along 9th Street, and Ms. Stefforia reported that the school was cutting the trees to increase their visibility along 9th Street.

Mr. Sikora expressed concern about the confusion surrounding the joint meeting with the Township Board. Since the Township Office was closed that day due to weather problems, he had assumed the meeting would be cancelled. He suggested that there be more clarification as to the policies of the Township concerning scheduled meetings when the Township Office was closed.

Mr. Heisig had questions with regard to 7th Street resurfacing, expressing concern that there would be more traffic on 7th Street due to the work project on 9th Street.

Mr. Rakowski expressed concern that Planning Commission items had been tabled at the preceding Township Board meeting. He expressed disappointment in that the new Township Board members had been invited to attend Planning Commission meetings and had not done so.

The Chairperson noted that, at the joint meeting, it had been suggested that the Planning Department contact MDOT concerning the Menards' access point. There was concern that the access as built was not consistent with the approval of the Planning Commission.

There was a discussion of the Agenda for the next Planning Commission meeting.


There being no further business to come before the Planning Commission, the meeting was adjourned at approximately 9:45 p.m.



Minutes prepared:
December 11, 2000

Minutes approved: