February 12, 2004





A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Planning Commission on Thursday, February 12, 2004, commencing at approximately 7:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Neil G. Sikora, Chairperson
Deborah L. Everett
Terry Schley
Lee Larson
Mike Ahrens
James Turcott

MEMBER ABSENT: Kathleen Garland-Rike

Also present were Jodi Stefforia, Planning Director; Mary Lynn Bugge, Township Planner; James W. Porter, Township Attorney; and no other interested persons.


The meeting was called to order at 7:01 p.m.


The Chairperson called for approval of the Agenda. Mr. Larson moved to approve the Agenda as submitted. Mr. Ahrens seconded the motion. The Chairperson called for a vote on the motion, and the motion passed unanimously.


The Planning Commission considered the minutes of the meeting of January 22, 2004. Mr. Schley moved to approve the minutes as submitted, and Mr. Larson seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.


The Chairperson asked Ms. Bugge to review with the Planning Commission the various text amendments and housekeeping items as set forth in her Memo of February 12, 2004. Ms. Bugge's Memo to the Planning Commission dated February 12, 2004, is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Bugge began her presentation to the Commission. The Chairperson suggested that the members of the Planning Commission comment on the proposed items as they were raised in Ms. Bugge's Report.

Ms. Bugge stated that, in Section 11, being the definition section of the Zoning Ordinance, the Planning Commission should consider addressing short-term rentals by defining motel, hotel and short-term occupancy to insure such uses are directed to the "C" and "C-1" zoning districts as intended. Ms. Everett asked why the Planning Commission might need such a definition. Ms. Bugge explained that without it, individuals within a particular residential zone might begin leasing their property out for short-term rentals which might be incompatible with a normal residential use. She explained that at the planning conference, it was reported that this problem had arisen elsewhere in the State and that the Township might want to define the use to make sure that it did not happen in a residential neighborhood.

Ms. Bugge next explained the Planning Commission may want to consider an amendment to Section 11.514 to acknowledge the applicability of the Condominium Act as well as the Subdivision Control Act. There was no comment from the Planning Commission.

Ms. Bugge said clarifying the definition of rear yard provided for in Section 11.580 would be helpful. She also noted that the Commission should consider adding the definition of front yard for clarity. The Commission concurred.

Ms. Bugge next directed the Commission to Sections 19 - 25 Residence Districts, and she encouraged the Commission to consider adding licensed family day care (up to six children) as a permitted use and licensed group day care homes as a special exception use as is provided under state law. Ms. Bugge said that, while this use is currently allowed because it is provided for in state statute, she thought it would be appropriate to list it as a permitted and special use in the residential zones. Attorney Porter concurred; he thought it would add clarity and a better understanding for the public as it reviewed and interpreted the Township's Ordinance. There was no comment from the Planning Commissioners.

Ms. Bugge directed the Commission's attention to Section 23 of the "R-3" Residence District and the criteria of Section 23.404 which apply to some but not all of the special exception uses in the District. She raised a concern regarding the minimum side and rear setbacks currently provided under the criteria, and asked the Commission to consider changes to better protect the abutting residential property. Mr. Schley raised a question with regard to building height. Ms. Bugge said that, even though there was a 25-foot limitation on building height, the setback was currently only 10 feet, whereas in a commercial setting, there would be a more extensive setback. She thought that perhaps the special uses in the "R-3" zone should have greater setback requirements. There were no additional comments from the Commissioners.

Ms. Bugge said that an amendment to Section 33 - Village Commercial District should be considered to permit two wall signs on a freestanding building. She explained that currently two wall signs per tenant space are allowed in multi-tenant buildings, but a single tenant building is restricted to one wall sign. She thought that it should be corrected. There was no comment from the Planning Commission.

Ms. Bugge next said that she wanted the Commission to consider changes to Section 64.200, referencing Section 64.300 for buildings greater than two stories in the "R-4" Residence District to make this Section more user-friendly. She thought this was necessary for the sake of clarity. The Planning Commission concurred.

Next, Ms. Bugge referenced Section 68.300 regarding parking requirements. She explained to the Commission that they might consider making reference to pervious surfaces provided that further study finds the use of such surfaces appropriate for the area and subject to concurrence by the Township Fire Department. There was no comment by the Planning Commission.

Ms. Bugge next turned to Section 78.000 regarding lighting. She asked that the Planning Commission consider amendments to reduce glare including recessed canopy lights for gas stations, "dark sky" wall-mounted fixtures, shields on decorative pole lights and addressing interior lighting that causes outdoor glare. Mr. Schley said that it could be difficult to provide recessed lighting in gas station canopies. He said that many of those structures were pre-engineered and would not have the ability to accommodate recessed lighting. However, he said that he did understand the concern raised. He then asked whether or not the Township required photometric data on site plans. Ms. Bugge indicated that they did, but that the photometric readouts alone did not address all of the issues with regard to glare.

Ms. Bugge next addressed concerns raised by the Planning Commission regarding "protected" residential areas. Ms. Bugge reviewed the various criteria in the Ordinance that provided for protection of residential zones. The Chairperson said that the question was whether or not they needed more controls or additional language to protect residential development in the Township. It was the consensus of the Board that there were a number of provisions in the Ordinance which would provide protection for residential areas. Mr. Schley and Mr. Larson, however, noted that there is always room for refinement and improved definitions to add clarity to the Ordinance, and if the Township Planner felt that was necessary, they would consider the same.

The Chairperson asked if the next step would be for the Planning Department to present proposed text for review by the Planning Commission. Ms. Bugge and Ms. Stefforia both agreed that it would, and Ms. Bugge said that she would prepare the appropriate language for consideration by the Commission in the near future.


The Chairperson indicated that the next item was consideration of the "C-R", Local Business Zoning District and the Century-Highfield Focus Area Plan. The Report of the Planning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Stefforia explained to the Planning Commission that the Century-Highfield Focus Area had been developed in 1996 and that simultaneously the "C-R" Local Business District, Restricted had been drafted as an implementation tool. She explained that, while there was not a lot of activity on the property north of Stadium Drive, there was some interest in property on the southwest corner of Stadium Drive. She was inquiring of the Commissioners as to whether or not they wanted to consider changes to the Land Use Plan and/or possible changes to the "C-R" Local Business District, Restricted to allow limited retail activity.

There was a general discussion among the Commissioners as to how the area was currently developing and what limitations, if any, were being placed on the area because of the current zoning. Ms. Everett said that she thought perhaps the mobile home community in the area, which is currently for sale, was having some difficulty in selling the property, not only because of its topography, but possibly because of its zoning. Ms. Bugge concurred and said that there had been some inquiries regarding general commercial in that area, and that while she did not believe they were appropriate, perhaps it was appropriate for the Commission to consider some changes to the text to allow greater flexibility for development in the area. Mr. Schley stated that, although architectural controls were not of great concern, he thought the Commission should proceed carefully because this area was a gateway to the community and a very critical area of the Township. Ms. Everett asked what other uses might be compatible within the "C-R" zone. Ms. Stefforia said perhaps high-end users such as research facilities presently allowed in the "I-R" District . Mr. Larson pointed out that whatever changes were made in the zoning, that they would want to be very careful to deal with the potential traffic problems which could result.

Mr. Schley asked if the BTR development needed housing, and whether or not that would be appropriate for this area. Ms. Stefforia said that perhaps the Century-Highfield area could be considered for multi-family in the future. Mr. Schley asked if anybody had inquired of Western Michigan University and what its opinion might be on the matter.

The Chairperson stated that there were really two issues before the Commission, whether or not the "C-R" zoning classification needed to be looked at, and also whether the Century-Highfield Focus Area needed to be studied for possible revision. Mr. Ahrens said that he believed that the "C-R" District provided quite a number of permitted uses, as well as variation of special uses. Ms. Everett said that, while there were a number of uses, including special uses which were available, because of the acreage limitations, many of them were not applicable to the area on the southwest corner of Stadium Drive and Drake Road. Mr. Larson said, if the question was to open this matter up and look at it further, he certainly thought that the Planning Commission should do so.

A brief discussion ensued with regard to possible compatible uses in the "C-R" District and/or what adjustments could be made to the special uses or their required size to create greater flexibility. Ms. Stefforia commented that perhaps, if a PUD were developed, they could better control and plan the development within the particular area. Mr. Larson again suggested that the Commissioners review this matter further. Ms. Stefforia suggested possible retail developments which could be worked into the "C-R" District. Mr. Ahrens said that he agreed and thought they should open this matter up for review. Mr. Schley said he thought the matter should be looked at, and to the extent it needed some additional revisions, it should be considered. Ms. Everett said that, if the Commission could improve and facilitate development in the area, she thought it was appropriate to take a look at changing the Ordinance.

Ms. Stefforia said that she would provide a list of suggested changes and present her proposal to the Commission at its next meeting.


The Chairperson indicated that the next item for consideration by the Planning Commission was the Report from Ms. Stefforia regarding planned unit development language. The Report of the Planning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Stefforia said, in reviewing the matter further, she discovered that they did have commercial planned unit development language, but only in the "C-R" District. She said that there were certainly no areas she was aware of that the Commission would want to consider rezoning from "C" to "C-R", nor did she think it would be well accepted by the owners of the property. She said that perhaps the Commission should consider some changes in Oshtemo's Industrial Districts to allow for planned unit developments without the same restrictions provided for in the "C-R" District, and/or with regard to the high percentage of residential development required under the Ordinance in Section 60.400. As Ms. Stefforia reviewed each of the bullet points in her Report, the Commission considered whether or not proposed text changes were necessary.

The Chairperson asked the Commissioners if they should pursue changes to the Commercial Districts. Ms. Stefforia said, given the comments of the Planning Commission, she thought, with regard to commercial PUD development, that it should be set aside for the present time.

The Chairperson then asked if there should be changes to provide for planned unit developments within the industrial zones. After a brief discussion of what types of commercial activity would be allowed in an industrial district, Ms. Everett said that she could not imagine why there would be residential development in an industrial area. Mr. Schley said that he did not think they had enough industrial property in the Township to worry about dealing with the issue at the present time. Mr. Larson concurred.


The Chairperson indicated that the next item was the review of the proposed Master Land Use Plan amendment from Cooper Charter Township. Mr. Schley made a motion to issue the standard letter of no comment to Cooper Township. The motion was seconded by Mr. Larson. The Chairperson called for a vote on the motion, and the motion passed unanimously.

With regard to the Almena Township Master Land Use Plan amendment, Township Planner, Jodi Stefforia, asked that the Commission convey to them that the proposal lacks sufficient information upon which to form an opinion, and therefore, Oshtemo has no comment. Mr. Schley made a motion as requested by Ms. Stefforia, and the motion was seconded by Mr. Larson. Upon vote, the motion passed unanimously.


Ms. Bugge provided an overview of the safety procedures of the Township including a tour of the facilities and outlines of evacuation and tornado protection procedures for Township personnel.


There were no further Planning Commissioner comments offered at the meeting.


There being no further business to come before the Planning Commission, the meeting was adjourned at 8:32 p.m.

Kathleen Garland-Rike, Secretary
Minutes prepared:
February 18, 2004
Minutes approved:
, 2004