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Meeting Minutes

February 11, 1999







A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Planning Commission on Thursday, February 11, 1999, commencing at approximately 7:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall, pursuant to notice.

Members present:

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

Members Absent: None

Also present were Jodi Stefforia, Planning and Zoning Department Director, Mary Lynn Bugge, Township Planner, Patricia R. Mason, Township Attorney, and no (0) other interested persons.


The Chairperson called the meeting to order at 7:03 p.m.


Ms. Stefforia suggested adding a discussion of the Village Focus Area subcommittee under "Other Business." Mr. Block moved to approve the agenda as amended, and Mr. Loy seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.


The Planning Commission considered the minutes of the meeting of January 28, 1999.

The Chairperson suggested changes to page 2 to correct the spelling of the name of Lara Meeuwse and Laura Raher. The Chairperson also suggested adding reference to Township Board members in the first paragraph. There were also grammatical corrections to pages 3 and 4.

Mr. Loy moved to approve the minutes as amended, and Mr. Corakis seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.


The next item was the continuation of a public hearing begun November 19, 1998, on proposed text amendments to the Zoning Ordinance regarding stormwater management and soil/sedimentation control. Ms. Stefforia reviewed the changes made to the text from the last meeting. It was noted that the changes were a result of the consultation of the Township’s Consultant, Ms. Harvey, with the Township Attorney. The definition of wetlands had been changed to coincide with that utilized by the MDEQ under state law. With regard to use of wetlands for stormwater management, it was noted that the burden would be on the applicant to show compliance with the standards of Section 78.530. It was also noted that this section would be applied in a way analogous to the Township’s Access Management Guidelines. For example, under the Access Management Guidelines, if an applicant is able to show compliance with certain standards, deviation from the guidelines is allowed. Similarly, under the stormwater text, an applicant could deviate from the generally recognized stormwater management system and utilize a wetlands if the applicant could show compliance with certain standards. On occasion, the Township may feel it necessary to retain an expert to review and make recommendations concerning an applicant’s submission.

The Chairperson questioned whether the Kalamazoo County Road Commission would be subject to the Ordinance standards. It was pointed out that the provisions of the stormwater text with regard to common systems had been specifically redrafted to exempt the County Road Commission and/or Drain Commissioner retention systems from compliance with standards. Further, the Township Attorney opined that the stormwater systems within the jurisdiction of the Road Commission or Drain Commissioner would be exempt under law from compliance.

Returning to discussion of wetlands, in response to a question by Ms. Heiny-Cogswell, it was noted that the Master Land Use Plan contains a map showing existing wetlands within the Township. It was felt that the MDEQ would have maps on file of recognized wetlands. The Chairperson suggested that the Township staff contact the MDEQ to obtain these maps for the Township so that the Master Land Use Plan map could be updated.

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

Mr. Loy moved to recommend approval of the proposed text as set forth in draft #5 as amended, and Mr. Block seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

It was the consensus of the Planning Commission that no changes to the Master Land Use Plan be recommended at this time. It was decided that possible inclusion of graphics and text change to the Master Land Use Plan to indicate that the Township encouraged use of natural systems, etc., would be considered at a later date.


The Planning Commission next considered possible amendments to the Master Land Use Plan regarding industrial land use policies. The report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

The Chairperson reminded the Planning Commission that the consideration of Industrial land use policies within the Master Land Use Plan had arisen from past pressure to allow office buildings and commercial retail uses within the Industrial zone. The Planning Commission had been resistant to allowing general office buildings and retail uses but expressed some willingness to consider including office/industrial park development. It was noted that the Township Board had returned a rezoning item to the Planning Commission for consideration regarding property in the Industrial zone located on Stadium Drive. In connection with this rezoning, the Planning Commission had been asked to consider whether the Industrial zoning in that area should be reduced or expanded.

Ms. Stefforia and the Township Attorney suggested that the Planning Commission also consider adding a statement to the Master Land Use Plan concerning encouragement of the reuse of existing/abandoned brownfield sites. Ms. Stefforia reported that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality had indicated that cleanup of certain brownfield sites in the Township had begun and it was anticipated that, with most of these sites, there may be an eventual tax sale. In view of these developments, it may be that a Brownfield Authority is not necessary in the Township. However, the Township may wish, through the Master Land Use Plan, to express that it encouraged reuse of existing properties rather than vacant land.

Additionally, the Township Attorney and Ms. Stefforia noted that there had been some discussion of placing adult regulated uses within the Industrial zoning classification. In that this would be a fundamental change in philosophy concerning the policies of the Industrial classification and might conflict with some of the policies under discussion at this meeting, it was recommended that the Planning Commission consider whether it wished to pursue placement of these uses within the Industrial class prior to finalization of the Master Land Use Plan policies.

The Chairperson suggested a review of the proposed amendments and tabling of the amendments to the next meeting so that they could be considered contemporaneously with the text of the adult regulated uses.

As to bullet #2 proposed for pages 62-63, it was noted that this paragraph might be somewhat inconsistent with adding adult regulated uses to the Industrial zone. There was discussion of the possibility of adding language indicating that the Industrial classification was appropriate for commercial land uses inappropriate for the Commercial classification, such as adult regulated uses.

As to bullet #5, there was some discussion of adding a reference to the reuse of existing brownfield sites. There was discussion of the use of the word "reduction," and it was noted that this word had replaced the word "consolidation" utilized previously. Ms. Stefforia said that the Township Supervisor had indicated he could not support reference to a reduction. Ms. Stefforia stated that, in her opinion, the 6th Street and 8th Street Industrial nodes are the only areas which could accommodate industrial growth if additional industrial lands were needed. The Chairperson noted that he felt the statistics should be reviewed in that they indicate only 30% of industrially zoned property is in use.

After some discussion, the Chairperson summarized the consensus of the Planning Commission as follows:

(1) That all four existing Industrial nodes were appropriately located. There is no need to create additional Industrial nodes.

(2) That, with only 30% of the industrially zoned property in use, there was no need to expand Industrial zoning at this time.

(3) That the reuse of existing Industrially zoned and used property would be encouraged.

(4) That, if there is to be a reduction in the Industrial zoning, it should occur within the 6th Street/Stadium and KL Avenue/8th Street nodes. It was recognized that the Planning Commission was not necessarily calling for a reduction in zoning but only indicating that those areas would be appropriate for rezoning if necessary. Ms. Heiny-Cogswell stated that she would like further information on Ms. Stefforia’s comments regarding these areas. Mr. Loy and Mr. Block stated that they felt there should be no change to existing Industrial zoning. Mr. Heisig expressed that he also was not in favor of a statement that would call for rezoning in these areas. It was the consensus of the Planning Commission that all four nodes should be "left alone," i.e., that no reduction in zoning take place. However, use of interior lands for development and use of existing areas would be encouraged.

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell noted that, on pages 62-63 of the Master Land Use Plan there were maps showing future land use which seemed to indicate a reduction in Industrial zoning from the existing land use maps. It might be appropriate to amend the future land use maps to be consistent with the concept of the redrafted policy that no reduction in existing zoning be made.

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

Mr. Loy moved to table the Master Land Use Plan amendments to the meeting of February 25, 1999. Mr. Corakis seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.



The Planning Commission next considered proposed text amendments to the Zoning Ordinance regarding public and private schools, making them special exception uses in Districts where they are currently permitted by right.

There was a review of the proposed text, along with the discussion at previous meetings concerning the reasoning supporting the text amendments.

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

Mr. Corakis moved to recommend the text amendments, and Mr. Rakowski seconded the motion.

The Chairperson again suggested considering other governmental uses, as well as churches, cemeteries, etc., as to their locations.

Upon a vote on the motion, the motion carried unanimously.


Mr. Corakis indicated that he had received information from a member of the public complimentary to Ms. Stefforia and her action in rectifying an Ordinance violation. Mr. Corakis also made comments with regard to the Buford plat and the fact that its streets had not yet been accepted by the Kalamazoo County Road Commission. The Zoning Ordinance provisions as to mining were discussed. Mr. Corakis also provided a handout concerning the historic preservation issue.

The Chairperson noted that the joint meeting with the Township Board would be canceled in that there were no agenda items for discussion.

Ms. Heiny-Cogwell noted that she had created a presentation regarding Oshtemo Township on a GIS system. There was discussion of the possibility of this presentation being made to Planning Commission members. Ms. Stefforia noted that she and Ms. Bugge had talked with the Township’s GIS consultant about what was needed for Planning Commission purposes.

Ms. Stefforia discussed the Village Focus Area subcommittee, noting that she would create a draft outline of text for consideration by the subcommittee. Ms. Stefforia described the makeup of the subcommittee and indicated that she was seeking Planning Commission representatives. Mr. Corakis, Mr. Loy and Mr. Rakowski indicated that they would be willing to act as representatives on the subcommittee.


There being no further business to come before the Commission, the meeting was adjourned at 9:28 p.m.

Minutes prepared:
February 15, 1999

Minutes approved: