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February 10, 2000




A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Planning Commission on Thursday, February 10, 2000, commencing at approximately 7:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township.

Wilfred Dennie, Chairman
Neil Sikora
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 two other interested persons.


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


The Chairperson suggested adding, under "Other Business" a discussion of the joint meeting agenda and Commissioner training. Mr. Block moved to approve the Agenda as amended, and Mr. Rakowski seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.


The Planning Commission discussed the minutes of the meeting of January 27, 2000. Mr. Corakis pointed out that on page 10, there should be reference to the person who seconded the motion. The attorney reviewed her notes, and it was indicated that Mr. Block had seconded the motion. Mr. Corakis moved to approve the minutes of January 27, 2000, as amended. Mr. Sikora seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.


The Planning Commission conducted a public hearing on the proposed amendment to the Zoning Ordinance text, Section 76.000, et seq, regarding sign provisions. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

The Chairperson asked for public comment, and Sheri Mohmand, owner of property on 9th Street between KL Avenue and West Main Street, commented that she and her husband had placed signs on their property on 9th Street in May of 1999, which she believe constituted political speech. In her opinion, the Township began work on the sign ordinance in order to regulate the content of the Mohmand signs. She felt that the Township was attempting to make their lawful signs unlawful. Mrs. Mohmand stated that, since the signs are on private property, she felt that the Township could not regulate them. Mrs. Mohmand indicated that she and her husband would challenge the sign provisions if applied to their signs.

Mr. Corakis commented that the Planning Commission had not intended to draft the sign ordinance provisions which would address signs like those on the Mohmand property.

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell agreed, commenting that it came as a complete surprise to her that Mr. and Mrs. Mohmand felt that the Township was targeting these signs. Mrs. Heiny-Cogswell stated that the sign provisions were intended to address aesthetics and sign design and not their content.

The Township Attorney indicated that a number of issues, particularly through variance applications with the Zoning Board of Appeals, had led to the comprehensive review of the sign text provisions. These issues included temporary signage, signage for multi-tenant properties, and wall sign heights. The Township Attorney stated that existing signs would be "grandfathered" as lawful non-conforming signs, and would not be required to be removed. Additionally, it was not the Planning Commission's intent to regulate content of any signage but merely height, area, etc., in order to prevent distraction of motorists, reduce visual clutter, and thereby secure public health, safety and welfare.

Kadir Mohmand spoke, asking whether the Planning Commissioners knew the United States Constitution. He stated that he felt that Commission members were his servants. He was disturbed that the Chairperson had not met with him personally as he had requested. He questioned why there was not a "resume" for Planning Commission members on file with the Township. He felt that the sign provisions should not narrow his property rights. In his opinion, political signs should not be limited in size.

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

The Chairperson referred the Planning Commission to the proposed sign provisions. It was recognized that in Section 76.120, a change in wording should be made in that it was not intended that the provisions prevent maintenance of existing signs. It was suggested that the provision be amended to read:

"It shall be unlawful for any person to erect, place or establish a sign ...".

There was discussion of special event signs and whether such signs must always be banners. Mr. Corakis and Mr. Block felt that portable signs should be usable as special event signs due to their convenience and ability to change the face of the signs. It was unlikely, it was felt, that property owners would make a large investment in purchasing a non-portable, permanent type of sign for a special event. After further discussion, Planning Commission members felt that it was appropriate that special event signs be either banners or portable signs. Therefore, a change to the definition was suggested to read:

"Special Event Sign - A banner or portable sign depicting a special event ...".

Additionally, a change to Section 76.140 under sub-part H to read:

"H. Portable signs, except as expressly permitted."

There was a discussion as to whether special event signs should have a limited area, and it was felt that it would be appropriate to allow such signs to have up to 32 square feet, in that construction signs, another form of temporary signage, were allowed 32 square feet in area.

The Chairperson suggested a change to the tables so as to letter rather than number the sign types.

Mr. and Mrs. Mohmand exited the meeting at 8:15 p.m.

There was discussion of political signs. It was recognized that non-commercial signs and political signs are not required to obtain a permit under Section 76.310. There was discussion of the sign size limitations. After further discussion, it was agreed by Planning Commission members that political signs should be allowed to be as large as the largest signs allowed in a particular zoning district. Therefore, there was a suggestion that a new sub-part E be added to Section 76.150 to refer to political signs, and state that the size of such signs shall be dictated by the size limitations contained within the zoning district in which the sign is located. Signs particularly relating to an election or referendum would be removed within five days of such an election or referendum. Sub-part E, with regard to banners and seasonal or decorative signs would be made Sub-part F. It was suggested that the definition of political signs be amended to read:

"Political Sign - A sign relating to a candidate for public office or a position on an issue (compare with non-commercial)."

There would also be a comparison with political sign reference made under the definition of non-commercial signs.

Mr. Block moved to recommend the text amendments to the Township Board with the revisions as noted. Mr. Rakowski seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously. Mr. Block suggested that the proposed sign text be addressed at the Township Board/Planning Commission joint meeting.


The Planning Commission considered Draft #2 of the proposed text amendment regarding office development within the "I-R" Industrial District, Restricted and the "I-1" Industrial Zoning District classification. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Stefforia discussed the changes which had been made from Draft #1. Large scale industrial/office developments would be allowed in the "I-R" District by special exception use approval, and were proposed not to be allowed in the "I-1" District. However, sub-standard "I-1" and "I-R" parcels would be allowed, if they were considered buildable, to establish an office.

There was also revision to allow office development outside of a formal park setting. Ms. Stefforia was also recommending that Section 41.404 be added to allow storage buildings in the "I-1" Industrial District and that such storage buildings not be allowed in the Commercial District as they were currently.

The Chairperson made reference to Draft #2, and Mr. Corakis commented that he felt, with regard to allowing retail or service establishments as a secondary use, that such uses should not necessarily be required to be established in a two-story building. It was agreed that reference to the requirement of a building in excess of one story in height be removed. It was also suggested that it be clarified that no drive-through would be allowed on such restaurants.

There was discussion of the number of sub-standard parcels within the "I-1" and "I-R" Districts. Ms. Stefforia presented a handout illustrating the location of these sub-standard parcels. Ms. Heiny-Cogswell expressed concern about allowing office development on sub-standard parcels, and the probability that this would lead to unlimited access. Ms. Heiny-Cogswell was concerned that this concept was not supported by the Master Land Use Plan. After further discussion, Planning Commissioners agreed that if the Township were to allow office development on sub-standard parcels, such a text would be more appropriate in the "I-1" District and not the "I-R" District. It was felt that allowing such offices in the "I-R" District would lead to preservation of sub-standard parcels, which fell drastically short of the ten acre size requirement of the District. It was agreed that Draft #3 would be discussed at the March 9, 2000 meeting.


The Planning Commission next discussed Draft #2 of the proposed text amendment to the Zoning Ordinance concerning landscaping requirements within the Township. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Bugge made comments with regard to the revisions which had been made from Draft #1. Ms. Bugge stated that the tables which would be included within the text were available, however, she would like to discuss them in depth at the meeting. Due to the lateness of the hour, it was agreed that the provisions of Draft #2 would be tabled to the meeting of March 9, 2000, at which time there would be in-depth discussion.


Mr. Block made reference to information concerning the possible development of a parcel on KL Avenue in the 9th Street Focus Area Overlay zone. Ms. Stefforia stated that this was the Kalamazoo Center for the Healing Arts property, and it was anticipated that application for the development would be forthcoming.

Mr. Corakis commented concerning Zoning Board of Appeals' action on the Jim Buford property north of Oak Park.

Ms. Stefforia noted that Country Club Apartments was in favor of a pedestrian access point connecting it to the proposed theater development on the West Main Mall 2000 property. She also noted that Marshalls was planning to locate within Maple Hill Mall.


There was a discussion of the agenda for the joint meeting of February 29, 2000. It was agreed that the sign ordinance provisions would be discussed. In addition, the historic resources issue would be revived. It was agreed that the Industrial District text, which is still in draft form, would be discussed.

There was a discussion of upcoming Commissioner training class availability.


There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 10:05 p.m.

 Minutes prepared:

February 14, 2000

Minutes approved:

February 24, 2000