Township Board Minutes

January 12, 1999

The Oshtemo Township Board held its regular meeting at the Township Hall. The meeting was called to order by Supervisor Fleckenstein, at 7:00 p.m.


Supervisor Ron Fleckenstein
Clerk Elaine Branch
Treasurer Lois Brown
Trustee Norman Anderson
Trustee Marvin Block
Trustee David Bushouse
Trustee Fred Johnson

Also present was Patricia Mason, Township Attorney and Larry Stehouwer, Township Engineer along with 12 interested people.

Motion made by Block, seconded by Johnson to approve the minutes of our last meeting, December 22, as prepared. Carried.

Income to the General Fund of $15,827.63 and disbursements of $34,520.12 were reported. Fire Fund income was $18,812.21 with disbursements of $3,669.12. Motion made by Anderson, seconded by Block, to acknowledge the receipts and pay the bills. Carried.



Lara Meeuwse, newly appointed member of the Kalamazoo County Road Commission, announced two meetings that would be held in our township meeting room. They would be holding a public information meeting, on Wednesday, January 13, regarding the reconstruction of North 10th Street. On Monday, Feburary 1, they will hold a public hearing for the Special Assessment District for the resurfacing of Saybrook and a portion of Signal Hill. Both meetings would begin at 7:30 p.m.

In addition, she informed the Board that they are in the process of completing the paper work to accept the roads in Oak Park (off N. 6th) into their system. They are not able to plow the snow until then.

Contaminated Wells

Dr. Gerald Markle addressed the Board about his concern over contaminated wells found in Springwood Hills. He felt the property owners should have been notified about the problem, rather then reading about it in the newspaper.

When the County Health Department denied his request to have his well tested, he had it done privately. The cost was $140.00 and he feels the County, or some unit of government should pay the bill. The County refused and Supervisor Fleckenstein had explained that the Township would not be able to pay for the testing.

In order to bring attention to the issue, he deducted the $140.00 when he paid his property taxes. He was advised that the Township policy does not allow for a partial payment, unless it equals the total amount due to any one the taxing units on the statement.

Dr. Markle explained his concerns about the health risks related to contaminated water and requested that his well be tested yearly. Attorney Mason informed him that this is not a lawful expense for the Township, as it is the responsibility of County Health.

Dr. Markle stated he feels the Township is the closest branch of government to the people and they would have more clout with the County than he would. He requested that the Township adopt a resolution requesting the County to test the wells every year.

Trustee Block, a resident of that plat, suggested that we wait until after the February 17 public meeting that was planned by the Health Department, regarding the problem. Dr. Markle was not interested in waiting because he feels any use of the water could add to his risk of cancer.

Trustee Bushouse suggested we review the KL Avenue Landfill agreements related to well testing and have the Supervisor contact the County to take a closer look.

Supervisor Fleckenstein agreed to have further discussion with County Health and to keep Dr. Markle informed.

REZONING - 6070 AND 6024 W. MAIN

Wilfred Dennie, Chair of the Planning Commission, reviewed their recommendation for rezoning 2.75 acres located at the northwest corner of W. Main and N.10th Street. The two parcels would be rezoned from R-2 to R-3, allowing offices.

With the use of an overhead projector, he pointed out the area zoning and reviewed their reasons for recommending the rezoning.

Motion made by Block, seconded by Anderson to accept the Planning Commission=s recommendation and set the First Reading for January 26. Carried.


Wilfred Dennie reported that they received a request in 1996 for a text amendment to allow historic structures to be used for any use permitted by the Zoning Ordinance, subject to Special Exception Use approval. The item had been tabled to allow for a preliminary historic survey to be completed. Early in 1998, Board had authorized a detailed historic inventory be undertaken, which has not been completed yet.

The Planning Commission felt the request should be acted on because it had been pending for approximately two year. On November 19, 1998, the item was again considered.

At that meeting, the Township Attorney provided the Members with a Michigan Court of Appeals decision that was related to this request. Basically, the ruling stated that it is inappropriate that ordinance provisions isolate individual buildings for preferential treatment.

The Planning Commission discussed the fact that until the historic inventory study was completed it would be difficult to determine if this building was receiving preferential treatment. They felt the item should be denied and cleared off the table at this time.

Motion made by Brown, seconded by Block to concur with the Planning Commission and deny the text amendment. Carried.


Over the years the Zoning Board of Appeals has received a number of variance requests to obtain occupancy to a building before all requirements of the site plan approval were met. Usually they are landscape or parking lot issues that are delayed due to weather.

In order to simplify the process and to expedite occupancy, it was recommended that an amendment be adopted that would allow for administrative approval of minor deviations from the site plan, at the discretion of the Planning Director.

They further recommended an amendment related to performance bonds. Due to reported high legal fees and problems cashing these bonds, they recommended accepting a confirmed irrevocable letter of credit or cash escrow, in place of bonds. The amount needed would be 11/2 times the cost to complete the project.

Motion made by Block, seconded by Bushouse to accept the recommendation and set the First Reading for January 26. Carried.


Plans were received for Wendlyn Woods, an eleven lot plat, to be located off S. 4th north of ML Avenue. Motion made by Bushouse, seconded by Johnson to accept the plans and refer them on to our Engineer for review. Carried.


An addendum to our agreement with the Kalamazoo County Sheriff for police protection in 1999 was presented for approval. The amount would be $282,162 and would provide the township with six (6) Deputies. This amount represents one half of the cost to provide the Deputies. The balance would be paid by the County.

Motion made by Johnson, seconded by Block to approve the 1999 Addendum to the Police Contract. Carried.


Each year the township is required update the guidelines for the Poverty Exemption Threshold. The information is used by the Board of Review when they receive a request for an exemption from property taxes due to low income.

A resolution with the revised income levels was presented for action. Motion made by Brown, seconded by Anderson to adopt the resolution, approving the new Poverty Exemption Threshold. Roll call showed: Brown - yes Anderson - yes Block - yes Johnson - yes Branch - yes Bushouse - yes Fleckenstein - yes.


Trustee Block reported on the Board Appointment Committee=s recommendations for an appointment to the Planning Commission to replace Lara Meeuwse, who resigned to become a County Road Commissioner. They recommended Stan Rakowski to finish Lara's term, which runs to January 2000.

Stan Rakowski, wanting to be on a more active Board, resigned from the Township's EDC Board. The Committee recommended George Fiala to fill that vacancy. His term would run until January 2003.

Motion made by Block, seconded by Anderson to approve these appointments. Carried.


Trustee Bushouse was concerned about the number of streetlights that are not working.


Trustee Block was concerned about the semi-trucks that have been parking at the WestMain Mall overnight.


Trustee Anderson will be attending the conference on Economic Development at WMU.


Trustee Bushouse commended the Building Dept and Fire Dept for the professional way they carried out their recent inspections at his church.

There was no further business and the meeting adjourned at 8:25 p.m.

Township Clerk



Date Approved: January 26,1999