Township Board Minutes

JANUARY 13, 1998

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

ABSENT: Trustee Fred Johnson

Also present was Richard Reed, Township Attorney and Larry Stehouwer, Township Engineer, along with 17 interested people.

The Pledge of Allegiance was recited.

Motion made by Anderson, seconded by Block to approve the minutes of our last meeting, December 16th, as prepared. Carried.

Income to the General Fund of $21,911.54 and disbursements of $145,758.88 were reported. Fire Fund income was$12,541.80 with disbursements of $43,199.79. Motion made by Block, seconded by Anderson, to approve the report and pay the bills. Carried.


Ed Sharp, W. Ridge Cir, commented on the good article in the Kalamazoo Gazette regarding Oshtemo Township.


An amendment to our Uniform Traffic Code Ordinance, section 5.97 was presented for First Reading. This change would make our ordinance consistent with the Motor Vehicle Code so that passing a stopped school bus would be a civil infraction rather than a misdemeanor.

Motion made by Brown, seconded by Branch to accept it for First Reading and set the Second Reading for January 27, 1998. Carried.


Wilfred Dennie, Chair of the Planning Commission, reviewed the history of the area, including development of the 9th Street Focus Area Plan, rezoning requests that were denied and the creation of the proposed Overlay Zone.

It was explained that an overlay zone would not replace the existing zone, which is "R-2", but would allow for office uses as Special Exception Uses. This option would not require a rezoning and would allow a developer opportunity to build offices in a residential zone, provided certain design standards were met.

Two of the requirements were, No building shall be more than 25 feet in height. And, a single-story building shall not exceed 10,000 sq ft of gross floor area; a multi-story building shall not exceed 15,000 sq ft of gross floor area. In addition, the building"s exterior design would have to be compatible with the character of the surrounding land use.

Mr. Dennie continued by saying that the Overlay Zone would extend to a depth of 880 feet from the right-of-way line of West Main and of KL Avenue. They had considered depths of 660 feet and 1,320 feet but due to the desire for a "buffer"and in order a allow design flexibility due to the rolling topography, they compromised with a depth of 880 feet.

Trustee Anderson was concerned about the requirement of both water and sewer, when sewer is not "reasonably" available. Supervisor Fleckenstein also voiced his concern, stating he was not sure it was fair to require it.

Treasurer Brown referring to the percentage of area allowed for the building, which is to be not more than 30% and the required area for open space, not less than 5%, she questioned what the balance of the parcel would be used for. Mr. Dennie responded that it would be for parking areas, drives and open space, pointing out that it is the same requirement as in the "R-3" zone.

He went on to say that when the requests to rezone to the office zone ("R-3") were studied, they found that the "R-3" did not meet the goals of the 9th Street Focus Area Plan and could not be used to implement it. As a result of "Planning", the 9th Street Focus Area Plan was designed to meet the desires of the residents of the township, not the developers, who may not even live in the township.

Mrs. Brown stated that if we make too many restrictions, it will be too expensive for developers to develop the land. And she felt we need all kinds of development.

Supervisor Fleckenstein made reference to a page in the packet entitled "OVERLAY ZONES". He felt it implied there would be more restriction in the review process than there is in the "R-3" zone.

There was also questions about the basements being included in the gross floor area and about access drives.

In Clerk Branch's view, the Overlay Zone was not a restriction to development but rather an aid to the developers. It appeared to be a compromise, that would allow the construction of offices in a residential zone, without the need for rezoning, but at the same time it would provide protection for the existing residential areas. In addition, it would comply with the 9th Street Focus Area Plan.

A motion was then made by Brown, seconded by Bushouse to refer the item back to the Planning Commission to look at the "R-3" as an alternative to the Overlay Zone. Mrs. Brown stated she sees the Overlay as restrictive and very regulatory.

Supervisor Fleckenstein added he would like to see them look at the sewer issue again, if it goes back to them.

Trustee Bushouse felt there were too many restrictions and that the average person can not tell what the township wants. He was also concerned that as Boards change, there can be different interpretations.

Jeff Bertolissi, whose real estate office in located on W. Main, questioned many things Mr. Dennie said and disagreed with many requirements of the Overlay Zone.

Ed Sharp, 379 W. Ridge Circle, suggested that the depth of the zone be 660 feet, measured from the centerline of the road. He also referred to their previous request for impact studies on a number issues and again requested that the studies be undertaken.

When the voted was taken, the motion carried 4 to 2, with Block and Branch voting "no".


The Planning Commission's recommendation regarding Commercial Centers was reviewed by Wilfred Dennie. He explained that this would add a definition of a Commercial Center and regulations for parking requirements.

If the proposed use was not defined, than the parking requirements would be calculated based on the assumption of 50% retail and 50% restaurant.

Motion made by Anderson, seconded by Block to set the issue for First Reading on January 27th. Carried.


A letter had been received from John and Cynthia Brennan, 4702 Tropicana Street, requesting that the township prohibit the burning of leaves. Mr. and Mrs. Brennan were present and explained the problems they have experienced with smoldering leaf piles in the area.

Supervisor Fleckenstein informed the Board that he has had other complaints about the burning of leaves and he has also received requests for leaf pickup.

It was his suggestion that a committee be formed to study the problem. Motion made by Block, seconded by Anderson to establish a committee to study the issue, looking at such things as cost and other means of disposal. Carried.



Resolution to Purchase Real Estate - A. T.&T. Right-of-way

A resolution had been prepared that would authorize the Supervisor or Clerk to sign a sales agreement with Ameritech for the purchase of a section of the old A.T. &.T right-of-way along Atlantic. The property would enlarge the property owner by the township that fronts on Parkview Avenue and would provide an access on to Atlantic Avenue.

Motion made by Block, seconded by Anderson to authorize the Supervisor and Clerk to sign for the purchase. Roll call showed: Block - yes Anderson - yes Brown - yes Branch - yes
Bushouse - yes Fleckenstein - yes


Senator Dale Shugars, arrived near the end of the meeting and was introduced by Supervisor Fleckenstein.

There was no further business and the meeting adjourned at 9:05 p.m.