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Meeting Minutes

February 25, 1999








A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Planning Commission on Thursday, February 25, 1999, commencing at approximately 7:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall, pursuant to notice.

Members present:

Ken Heisig, Acting Chairperson
Ted Corakis
Millard Loy
Elizabeth Heiny-Cogswell
Stanley Rakowski

Members Absent:

Wilfred Dennie
Marvin Block

Also present were Jodi Stefforia, Planning Director, Mary Lynn Bugge, Township Planner, Richard D. Reed, Township Attorney, and approximately thirty (30) other interested persons.


Ken Heisig, the Acting Chairperson, called the meeting to order at 7:02 p.m.


The Commission reviewed the agenda. There being nothing to add to the agenda, it was adopted.


The Planning Commission considered the minutes of the meeting of February 11, 1999, which were unanimously approved.


Ameritech Paging Services presented an application for special exception use/site plan amendment to allow placement of a paging satellite dish at its existing communications facility at 5656 Beech Road. Brian L. Monoghan, representative of Ameritech, addressed the Commission and briefly explained the request to allow the placement of a 1.2-meter receive-only antenna at 5656 Beech Road. The Acting Chairperson asked that Township Planner Mary Lynn Bugge present the staff report. It was reported that the applicant, a leasehold tenant, currently has two tower-mounted transmitting antennas and the use of space in the buildings at 5656 Beech Road for related equipment. The proposed antenna is a 1.2-meter-wide receive-only paging satellite dish. It is proposed that this equipment will be free-standing and will have an approximate height of 8 feet. The dish will be located within the existing fence enclosure approximately 6 feet from a building which is also enclosed.

Review of Section 60.100 entitled "Special Exception Uses" of the Oshtemo Charter Township Zoning Ordinance presented by Ms. Bugge reported that the proposed use will be compatible with other uses permitted in the "R-2" District; will not negatively impact adjacent properties; and will promote the public health, safety and welfare of the community in that the proposed satellite dish would comply with building setback standards and be located within the existing 8-foot-high security fencing. No additional outdoor lighting is proposed. There will be no changes in the existing access, parking or natural buffer. It was also reported that the proposal will encourage use of land in the area in accordance with its character and adaptability.

The staff review of Section 82.800 ("Site Plan Review - Criteria for Review") contained the following comments:

(A) Access - no changes proposed, existing access will be utilized.

(B) Proposed satellite dish will meet setback requirements and be enclosed by the existing 8’-high fence.

(C) Existing natural buffers surrounding the developed portion of the site will remain undisturbed.

(D) Existing fencing and natural buffers shall remain.

(E) No variances are being requested.

(F) Site is accessible to emergency vehicles.

(G) No additional runoff will result.

(H) The proposal is for a structure of minimum size, and it is consistent with the Zoning Ordinance.

Following this review, the Acting Chairperson asked for questions or comments from the Commission members. Mr. Corakis asked the applicant about the size of the antenna. Mr. Monoghan responded that it is 1.2 meters in diameter and is the approximate size of today’s roof-mounted television receiving dishes. The Acting Chairperson asked Mr. Monoghan what is meant by a "receive-only" antenna. Mr. Monoghan responded that the antenna receives signals and relays them by coaxial cable. The antenna itself does not broadcast signals.

The Acting Chairperson asked for public input, and there were no public comments offered.

The Acting Chairperson asked for the pleasure of the Commission, whereupon Mr. Corakis moved that the Commission grant approval of the special exception use/site plan amendment to allow the placement of a 1.2-meter receive-only antenna at 5656 Beech Road subject to the Planning Department’s receipt of a copy of Ameritech’s Lease Agreement containing provisions granting it the lawful right to erect antennas upon the subject property. Mr. Loy seconded the motion. The Acting Chairperson asked for further comments and, there being none, called for a vote. The motion carried unanimously.


The Acting Chairperson introduced item 5, being a request for step 1 plat approval for the tentative plat of Wendalyn Woods, an 11-lot subdivision proposed to be located on the east side of 4th Street east of ML Avenue. He asked if the applicant was present and ready to proceed. Attorney William Maybee addressed the Commission, stating that he was legal counsel for Mr. and Mrs. Dave Shon, proposed subdivision developers who are purchasing the land from its present owner, Mrs. Shon’s father. Mr. Maybee presented the Commission with a large artist’s rendition of the proposed entranceway intending to represent the proposed appearance of the plat entrance. Ms. Stefforia also put a drawing of the proposed plat on the easel so that the Commission and audience could work with it, and she explained the steps 1, 2 and 3 procedures for subdivision approval, reminding the Commission and the citizens in attendance that the Planning Commission is a recommending body and formal approval can only be granted under the Land Division Act by the Township Board.

The Acting Chairperson asked if there were comments from the audience. Mr. Alex Ellingsen rose and spoke, stating that he opposed the development, and also stated that he represented home owners in the area similarly opposed. Mr. Ellingsen presented a letter to the Planning Commission dated February 22, 1999, signed by adjoining home owners listing concerns which included density of homes, runoff of water, water quality and availability, the proposed 4th Street intersection and project financing. Mr. Ellingsen stated that he and his neighbors had moved to the location of the proposed subdivision in order to live in a setting with rural character, and the proposed subdivision would change the neighborhood significantly, negatively impacting its rural character. Mr. Ellingsen stated that the proposed plat with an average density of 0.85 acres per lot will vary greatly from the current lot size in the area, which averages 4.67 acres. Mr. Ellingsen said that surface water runoff is a great concern to the neighborhood in that the proposed site is undulating and there has been no apparent provision made to control construction site runoff even though some clearing of the roadway has already begun. Mr. Ellingsen stated that the addition of 11 new wells and septic systems in this hilly subdivision is of a concern to the neighborhood. Mr. Ellingsen pointed out that the new proposed road would create an intersection just 500’ north of the existing intersection of 4th Street and ML Avenue. This new intersection would be located on the hillside, and drivers exiting the plat will have poor visibility of 4th Street traffic. Finally, Mr. Ellingsen pointed out that, with the relatively small number of lots and the hilly terrain making construction difficult and expensive, the neighborhood fears that the developers may lack sufficient capital and financial backing to see the project through to its completion, resulting in a half-finished project detrimental to the neighborhood.

Marty Hodges addressed the Commission, saying that the drawing presented by Attorney Maybee is misleading. He said the drawing shows a subdivision entrance sign whereas, if the right-of-way is only 66’ in width, there will be no room for a sign, in Mr. Hodges’ opinion. Mr. Hodges complained that the developer has already begun to clear trees from the site, showing little or no concern for the impact of such clearing upon adjoining neighbors. He stated that cutting the trees was bad for the neighborhood. Mr. Hodges further stated that the proposed driveway entrance and additional vehicles would interfere with traffic in the area.

The Acting Chairperson asked for further comment and, there being none, asked the Commission to direct its attention to Section 2.1 of the Township Land Division Ordinance. Ms. Bugge reviewed the Ordinance provisions with the Planning Commission, noting that the proposed subdivision is in compliance with subsections A-H of Section 2.1 of the Ordinance. With regard to item I, it was noted that the plat does not indicate if the applicant or some other person is owner of the subject parcel. However, Attorney William Maybee had clarified this point. With regard to item J, it was reported that the proposed plat is in compliance. It was reported that, with regard to item K, a legal opinion with regard to ownership and use conditions and easements affecting the proposed subdivision has not yet been received but must be on file with the Township by the time of step 3 approval.

With regard to subsection L of Section 2.1 of the Township Land Division Ordinance, the Planning Commission members were presented with letters of approval of the preliminary plat from the Kalamazoo County Road Commission, in which letter the Commission Assistant Engineer asked that the construction plans, when submitted, show a required 100’-diameter temporary cul-de-sac. Mr. Rakowski asked the Township Attorney what was meant by the term "temporary." The Township Attorney indicated that a temporary cul-de-sac, as the term is used in this context, means that it is anticipated that the road will be extended to connect to other properties as future developments occur. The Township Attorney explained that the Township Subdivision Control Ordinance discourages streets exceeding 660’ in length having either a temporary or permanent cul-de-sac. The Ordinance further provides, however, that the Township Board may grant exceptions where it is apparent that future development is likely to occur and the street is connected to the property boundary line so that adjoining properties can readily connect thereto. It was noted that the proposed subdivision is not located within a floodplain and that there is a depression on the property which is proposed to be used as a stormwater drainage basin.

Next, the Commission considered Section 2.2 of the Township Zoning Ordinance.

A. Streets. It was noted that the proposed street, to be designated as Wendalyn Way, extends to the northern boundary of the site to make provision for future expansion into adjoining unplatted parcels, which are under separate ownership; and a temporary paved cul-de-sac is proposed on the northeast portion of lot 5. Wendalyn Way is a name which has been approved by the Kalamazoo County Planning Department.

Discussion focused upon the length of Wendalyn Way, which is proposed to be 1,450’, exceeding the 660’ Ordinance provision absent Township Board variance. Mr. Corakis stated that he had no problems with the length of this temporary street due to the fact it is only servicing 11 lots and future residential development of adjoining property is apparent. Mr. Loy asked if lot 5 was large enough to permit the construction of an average home, taking into account necessary setbacks from proposed Wendalyn Way and its northerly extension and 100’-diameter cul-de-sac. Ms. Stefforia indicated that the lot was large enough to accommodate a residential structure and that any structure would be required to meet appropriate Ordinance setbacks. Ms. Heiny-Cogswell stated she felt that the cul-de-sac as proposed on the drawing is awkward and, in her opinion, ought to be placed at the end of proposed Wendalyn Way.

Mr. David Nieuwenhuis addressed the Commission, stating that he is the general contractor for Mr. and Mrs. Shon and that the cul-de-sac was originally proposed at the end of Wendalyn Way but this configuration was objected to by the Kalamazoo County Road Commission, who requested that the street be extended northerly so that the cul-de-sac could serve adjoining landlocked parcels. Following up on this discussion, the Planning Commission noted that, with the exception of the lots bordering the proposed drainage basin, lots within the proposed subdivision exceed the Township’s area and frontage requirements for single-family homes; and all lots except 5, 6 and 7 exceed the requirements for two-family homes.

Section C, "General Provisions," of Section 2.2 of the Township Land Division Ordinance was reviewed by the Commission members. It was noted that the existing natural features of this site should be preserved insofar as possible and that existing low areas have been identified for the stormwater retention basin. Ms. Heiny-Cogswell asked that adequate provision be made for surface and stormwater runoff in the final development of the plat and inquired about the Township’s sedimentation and surface water runoff Ordinance provisions. Ms. Stefforia stated that the recent proposed amendments strengthening the stormwater and sedimentation control requirements are in the process of adoption and that she would share these requirements with the developer at this time so they could be taken into account in the design and construction phases of the project.

The Acting Chairperson asked if there were further comments and, receiving none, asked the pleasure of the Commission. Mr. Loy moved that the Commission recommend to that the Township Board grant step 1 approval of the proposed plat of Wendalyn Woods, including a recommendation that a variance be granted by the Township Board pursuant to the Land Division Ordinance to allow the construction of proposed Wendalyn Way with the length of 1,450’ and with a 100’-diameter cul-de-sac turnaround as noted on the proposed plans. Mr. Corakis seconded the motion. The Acting Chairperson asked for further comments and, there being none, called for a vote. The motion carried unanimously.



The Acting Chairperson introduced item 6, being conceptual plan review for special exception use - Skyview Estates Open Space Community. Ms. Stefforia presented a staff report prefaced by noting that this matter was posted, published and noticed for public hearing whereas the matter before the Commission is only a conceptual plan review. Ms. Stefforia recommended that the Planning Commission hear the public and adjourn the meeting to a date when the applicant will be ready for formal site plan review.

The Acting Chairperson called upon the applicant, and Mr. Dan Wilkinson, owner of the proposed 56-acre development, addressed the Commission. Mr. Wilkinson utilized a layout drawing of the proposed Skyview Estates Open Space Community. Mr. Wilkinson stated that it would combine the existing airstrip located on the north side of Almena Drive between 1st and 2nd Streets with 15 large residential building lots. Mr. Wilkinson explained the concept whereby owners of the residential building lots would have access to the landing strip and would probably also have small hangars for their personal aircraft. Mr. Wilkinson said that there would be, in his judgment, great interest among aviation enthusiasts to live and fly from the same space. He explained that there would be no expansion of the airstrip and the residential development would be limited to 15 building sites.

Mr. Loy asked if the present sod runway is lighted. Mr. Wilkinson said yes.

Mr. Del Foster addressed the Commission, stating that the airport is licensed by the State of Michigan as a Class C airport. Someone asked if there were restrictions on the number of aircraft that could land at the site. Mr. Foster responded no, that a number of aircraft used the site presently as an alternative to the Kalamazoo County Airport when the Kalamazoo County Airport is crowded. Mr. Wilkinson stated he anticipated owners would build large homes and that the homes and hangars would have the same residential motif. The Acting Chairperson asked if there would be a requirement that all airplanes be stored indoors. Mr. Wilkinson responded no, that most would probably be stored indoors but there would be also, as there is currently, some tie-down of airplanes outdoors. The Acting Chairperson asked if the owners intended to sell aviation fuel. Mr. Wilkinson responded no, there would be no sale of fuel nor would there be a repair facility. Mr. Rakowski asked where repairs are currently made on airplanes that fly from the present airstrip. Mr. Wilkinson stated that repairs are required by law to be made by technically competent, fully certified airplane mechanics and this could only be done at facilities such as the Kalamazoo County Airport. Mr. Loy noted that, if the runway is intended to be part of the open space for this open space community, the runway would probably need to remain sod. Mr. Wilkinson answered that he understood and it was the intent that the runway remain a grass strip as it is at present.

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell asked whether there would be more than one entrance to the proposed street serving the residential lots. The owner stated that they would prefer to have two entrances by extending the proposed street to 1st Street. However, in reading the Township’s Ordinance, it appeared to them that they would be prohibited from extending the right-of-way to 1st Street, and that is the reason they had indicated a cul-de-sac on the plans at the end of the new proposed roadway.

Mr. Wilkinson called upon the engineer who had designed the layout to address the Commission with regard to the entrance issue. It was indicated that the engineer strongly believed that there should be at least an emergency connection between 1st Street and the end of the proposed new road and he would, in fact, prefer a direct connection. Mr. Fred Streeter of 31 South 1st Street asked if the new roadway would be paved and guttered. Mr. Wilkinson answered yes.

Mr. Ron Austin of 55 N. 2nd Street addressed the Commission, stating he believed that there was a buried fuel tank somewhere on the property and he wanted to be sure there were no more buried fuel tanks. He further stated that helicopters which currently use the landing strip are annoying. Mr. Austin stated he had no problem with 15 lots and families but he would like to prohibit helicopters from landing at the airstrip.

Mr. Del Foster of 239 N. 2nd Street addressed the Commission, stating that the airport was established in 1955 and has served the community well without problems or incident for more than 40 years.

Mr. Paul Karnemaat addressed the Commission, stating that, when he purchased his home near the airstrip, he thought that he was buying land in a quiet community. He stated that he would like restrictions placed on the airport so that there is no further expansion. He said that he is bothered by the noise and traffic. The noise is caused by the fact that airplanes take off and land into the wind, and the majority of the time this causes planes to bank and fly right over his house and his pole barn, and he believes it is dangerous.

Mr. Wilkinson addressed the Commission, stating that the residential subdivision of 15 lots would probably not increase the number of users of the airstrip and that the use of the airstrip is regulated by the state license.

The Acting Chairperson asked Mr. Wilkinson if some of the persons who use the strip own helicopters. Mr. Wilkinson answered yes.

Mr. Bill Nagel addressed the Commission, stating that, while airplanes can on occasion cause noise, the activity at the airport does not really trouble adjoining property owners. The greatest difficulty that adjoining property owners experience is caused by the noise from the nearby gun range.

Mr. Norman McDaniel addressed the Commission, stating that he has lived on 1st Street close to the airport for years and that, as far as he is concerned, there is no problem with the airport nor is there excessive noise.

Mr. Loy inquired about the 88’ x 800’ strip of mowed area extending easterly toward 2nd Street and inquired as to its purpose. Mr. Wilkinson responded that it is a short runway and will continue to be used as a short runway when conditions permit.

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell inquired about the safety record of the airport. Mr. Foster responded that there have been no plane accidents; there was one minor helicopter accident a few years ago, but it was nothing serious. The airport has an excellent safety record.

A general discussion of the roadway entrance issue and a possible connection between Skyline Drive and 1st Street followed. It was the consensus of the Planning Commission that, when the site plan is submitted for formal review, the Commission would like to see a direct connection of Skyline and 1st Street.

The Acting Chairperson asked if there were further comments from persons in attendance and, there being none, deferred to the Planning Director for recommendation. Ms. Stefforia suggested that the Commission adjourn the public hearing to March 25, 1999, at 7:00 p.m. for a complete site plan review.

Mr. Loy moved to adjourn the public hearing to March 25, 1999, at 7:00 p.m. Ms. Heiny-Cogswell seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.



The Commission members reviewed the second draft of the proposed Adult Regulated Use Ordinance, and a general discussion followed. Ms. Stefforia noted that she had distributed to the Commission selected studies from the national studies submitted by the group advocating the Adult Regulated Use Ordinance. The Township Attorney suggested to the Commission that they ask staff to also consult with the City of Kalamazoo and Kalamazoo Township regarding land use and planning issues which they have addressed or feel need to be addressed as a result of adult regulated uses being located within their jurisdictions.

The Acting Chairperson deferred the Commission’s attention to Section 60.740, subsection (a), concerning the distance between adult regulated establishments. A general discussion followed, during which opinions were expressed about the fact that it might be better to group these uses rather than separate them so as to minimize adverse effects upon adjoining property owners. In order to create qualifying parcels, a reduced separation requirement of 500 feet is necessary. Following the discussion there was a consensus of Commission members to change subparagraph (a) to read as follows: "No such use shall be located, operated or maintained within 500’ of:" * * *"

A general discussion concerning the appropriate zoning classification in which to put this use ensued. It was noted that, if a 500’ spacing requirement between uses was in force, there would be more than one possible site within the Industrial zoning Districts of Oshtemo Township.

The Acting Chairperson noted the lateness of the hour, and it was suggested that the third draft of the Ordinance be placed on the agenda for the March 11, 1999, meeting of the Planning Commission for further discussion.



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

Minutes prepared:

March 3, 1999

Minutes approved: