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July 18, 2002





A special meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Planning Commission on Thursday, July 18, 2002, commencing at approximately 7:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Neil G. Sikora, Chairperson
Stanley Rakowski
Deborah L. Everett
James Turcott
Mike Ahrens
Kathleen Garland-Rike
MEMBER ABSENT: Elizabeth Heiny-Cogswell

Also present were Jodi Stefforia, Planning Director; Mary Lynn Bugge, Township Planner; Patricia R. Mason, Township Attorney; and approximately ten other interested persons.


The meeting was called to order at 7:05 p.m.


Ms. Everett moved to approve the Agenda as submitted, and Mr. Ahrens seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.


The Planning Commission considered site plan review of a proposed showroom to be constructed in an area currently used for outdoor display. The applicant, Leader's Marine, sought to alter the area of the property previously approved for outdoor display as a special exception use at 8518 West Main Street, The subject property is located in the "C" Local Business District and "AG" Agricultural Rural zoning classifications, and is Parcel No. 3905-16-180-047.

The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Stefforia stated that the 38,850 square foot building would house showroom space and office area on the west side of the subject property. The area would encompass areas previous approved for outdoor display and would require the removal of an existing building. The access arrangement would remain the same. The applicant was proposing deferral of parking because it was felt that the parking required by the Ordinance was not necessary. The applicant reasoned that the showroom would display large items, i.e., boats, which would take up more room than the typical product. The applicant was requesting deferral of 35 parking spaces. The site could accommodate additional parking if needed. Ms. Stefforia cautioned the applicant that the proposed building was close to the setback line on the western portion of the property.

As to landscaping, Ms. Stefforia suggested Type C greenspace along West Main Street. She suggested a Type A greenspace be required only along the first 230 feet of the eastern property line. On the west property line, the fire lane would be paved to the property line the length of the building. The applicant was seeking a deviation from the landscaping requirement in this area. Ms. Stefforia suggested Type A greenspace plantings should still be required and should be placed at either end of the fire lane. On the north property line, no additional landscaping would be required since the property continues beyond the point of site improvements. Ms. Stefforia suggested that adequate greenspace exists within the internal parking lot or in the vicinity of the parking area to accommodate the 1,550 square feet of internal greenspace. A minimum of eight canopy trees and 16 low-growing shrubs were required for internal landscaping. She suggested that a landscaping plan be provided to Township Staff for review and approval.

The applicant was working with the Fire Department on the site, and as to storm water retention, the Township Engineer would be reviewing the proposal of the applicant.

Craig Johnson with L. L. Harris & Associates was present on behalf of the applicant. He stated that the parking area would include a total of 78 spaces, i.e., 33 additional spaces. He indicated that there may be some overflow parking on the lawn area to the north. It was stressed that no parking in lawn area would be allowed. The applicant agreed, stating that additional parking could be established at the site if necessary.

Mr. Johnson stated that, although some outdoor display was being removed, site circulation/traffic patterns would remain the same in the front of the site (i.e., the access arrangement). The applicant would comply with Township requirements as to landscaping. The applicant felt that lighting was not necessary at this time. The applicant stated that they would need to grade onto the adjacent property and had informal permission from their neighbor to do so. They were working with the neighbor for formalized permission. They were also working at formalizing the agreement of MDOT concerning work in the right-of-way.

Mr. Turcott questioned the applicant whether the showroom would house additional inventory or inventory existing on the site. The owner of Leader's Marine was present and stated that the site would have approximately the same amount of product, and the showroom represented moving some of the product indoors.

No public comment was offered, and the public hearing was closed.

The Chairperson reviewed the site plan criteria of Section 82.800.

As to landscaping, the Planning Commissioners saw no problem with the proposed deviation along the west property line as long as the plantings which should have been placed in that area are placed elsewhere on the property. The Chairperson agreed, stating that the total number of plantings on the site should comply with Ordinance requirements.

Mr. Rakowski asked whether an outdoor P.A. system would be established. The applicant indicated that there would be none on the new building.

Ms. Garland-Rike moved to approve the site plan with the following conditions, limitations and notations:

(1) That the site would be served by the existing access arrangement.

(2) That parking as proposed by the applicant was approved, along with the deferral of 35 parking spaces. Additional parking must be constructed by the owner in the future if determined to be needed by the Township.

(3) That the proposed building location must be staked, and a setback inspection requested of the Building Inspector of the Township before footings are established for the building to insure that the minimum setback requirements are satisfied.

(4) That a sign permit in compliance with Section 76 of the Ordinance shall be applied for and granted by the Township prior to placement of any new wall signage.

(5) That a permit from the Michigan Department of Transportation must be obtained before changes are made within the highway right-of-way.

(6) That the owner or applicant must secure an easement from the abutting property owner to the west to allow for the proposed grading along the property line.

(7) That landscaping must be established in compliance with the Ordinance except on the west property line where deviation is allowed along the paved fire lane with a condition that the plantings eliminated from this west property line be added elsewhere along the west property line and except along the east line where only a Type A for the first 230 feet is required.

(8) That a landscaping plan in compliance with the site plan approval must be provided to Township Staff for review and approval. All landscaping must be installed prior to a certificate of occupancy being granted, or a performance guarantee consistent with Section 82.950 must be provided to the Township.

(9) That the approval is subject to the review and approval of the Township Fire Department.

(10) That the approval is subject to Township Engineer review and acceptance that site engineering is adequate.

(11) That an Environmental Permits Checklist and Hazardous Substance Reporting form must be completed and submitted to the Township for the new building.

(12) That an Earth Change Permit be obtained from the Kalamazoo County Drain Commissioner's Office before earth change activities begin on the site.

(13) That no PA system be established on the site unless an amendment is granted to the special exception use permit.

Mr. Rakowski seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.


The Planning Commission considered special exception use and site plan approval for a proposed 1,800 square foot office building to be located on a 4.7 acre property in the "R-3" Residence District zoning classification. The subject property is located at 2010 S. Drake Road, and is Parcel No. 3905-25-240-081.

The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Stefforia noted that office buildings are a special exception use in the "R-3" District, subject to the criteria of Section 23.404. The applicant was requesting approval for the proposed 1,800 square foot office building to be occupied by Cole Automotive Management, LLC. The property is within the Century-Highfield Focus Area pursuant to the Township's Master Land Use Plan. Office use is an envisioned land use in this area.

Ms. Stefforia reviewed the criteria of Section 23.404. She suggested that the applicant should speak to the hours of operation for the facility and the frequency of the tenant's regional meetings which dictated the number of parking spaces on site. She noted that 12 spaces are required and 40 are proposed.

As to the criteria of Section 82.800, Ms. Stefforia stated that a drive would be established opposite the northern entrance to the strip mall (K-Mart) across Drake Road. This area was subject to the jurisdiction of the City of Kalamazoo, and therefore, a driveway permit from the City would be necessary.

Landscaping was discussed. The applicant was requesting a deviation, suggesting that the existing trees are adequate to satisfy landscaping objectives.

Ms. Stefforia reviewed the criteria for special exception use approval. As to whether the proposed use was compatible with other uses expressly permitted within the "R-3" District, she noted that the 1,800 square foot office building at a height of 15 feet was smaller than most new homes built in Oshtemo. Further, Ms. Stefforia felt that the applicant's plan was not inconsistent with the Century-Highfield Focus Area plan.

As to whether the proposed use would be detrimental or injurious to the use or development of adjacent properties or the general public, Ms. Stefforia noted that opposite on Drake Road there were several commercial properties and an apartment complex. Adjacent to the site on the west side of Drake Road, it's a mix of vacant properties and residences. A small dental office was recently approved by the Planning Commission three properties to the north of the site.

As to whether the use would promote public health, safety and welfare, the location of the drive was noted, and Ms. Stefforia stated that alignment of the driveway was desirable. Ms. Stefforia repeated that she felt that the office use would encourage the use of land in accord with its character and adaptability.

Tim Stewart, a civil engineer, was present on behalf of the applicant, along with Mr. Joseph Gesmundo, the owner. Mr. Stewart stated that the site is heavily wooded, and that only a minimal amount would be cleared.

The 1,800 square foot office building would have a "walk-out portion" that would not be finished. Mr. Stewart stated that 40 parking spaces would be provided, which spaces would be necessary once per month when a management meeting took place. He stated that Cole owns five to six dealerships in the area, and the management teams meet once a month at the office location.

There was a question as to whether the house on the site plan was on the same property or on an adjacent property, and the applicant indicated that it was on the subject site. As to parking lot island, it was intended that existing trees would be preserved in this area. The applicant felt that this met the Ordinance requirements for landscaping.

Mr. Ahrens expressed concern regarding the storm water retention system in that water was taken to the north low area. The applicant indicated that he believed that most water would be contained on the property. The owner of this site also owned the property to the north as a separate parcel.

Ms. Garland-Rike questioned the owner concerning his plans for the property owned in the area. Joseph Gesmundo responded that he had been assembling properties in the area for seven to eight years. He agreed that the property would eventually be developed consistent with the Century-Highfield Focus Area plan. However, he believes this development was 15 to 20 years down the road.

As to whether the applicant would need approval to finish out the walk-out portion of the building, the Township Attorney indicated that it would be her opinion that this would require only administrative review because there would be no change to the building footprint, and the total square footage of the office would be within that allowed in the District.

No public comment was offered, and the public hearing was closed.

The Chairperson reviewed the application. Planning Commissioners agreed that landscaping could be left to Township Staff review and approval. Ms. Bugge suggested that the applicant be required to retain enough vegetation to meet Type C requirements or that additional landscaping be added to bring the site into compliance with the Type C landscaping as had been required of other office buildings in the "R-3" Residence District.

After further discussion, Mr. Rakowski moved to approve the special exception use permit and site plan approval, finding that the requirements of Section 60.100 were met. The following conditions, limitations and notations were imposed:

(1) That the driveway is subject to the approval of the City of Kalamazoo Public Services Division.

(2) That Type C landscaping be required along Drake Road. The applicant was allowed to utilize existing trees to meet these landscaping requirements. The Township Staff is to review whether Type C landscaping remains after the driveway is established. Further, the applicant was to retain existing trees in the parking lot island or supplement to conform to the Ordinance.

(3) That parking as proposed was approved.

(4) That approval was subject to the review and approval of the Township Fire Department.

(5) That site approval is subject to the review and a finding of the Township Engineer that engineering on the site is adequate. If the Township Engineer determines that storm water will not be completely retained on site, an easement or change in site boundaries would be necessary to accommodate the additional storm water retention area.

(6) That an Earth Change Permit from the Kalamazoo County Drain Commissioner is necessary if more than one acre of land will be disturbed.

(7) That a Soil Erosion/Sedimentation Pollution Control Permit from Oshtemo Charter Township would be necessary if less than one acre of the land would be disturbed.

Mr. Ahrens seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.


Mr. Rakowski noted that Lowe's was in violation of its approval by storing pallets outside.

Mr. Ahrens had questions concerning Paul Brown's site, and Ms. Stefforia stated that the Township was working with the owner regarding violations on the site.

Ms. Everett reported that a resident had urged that the Planning Commission continue to diligently pursue the family definition text amendment.


There being no further business to come before the Planning Commission, the meeting was adjourned at 8:15 p.m.


Stanley Rakowski, Secretary
Minutes prepared:
July 23, 2002
Minutes approved:
, 2002