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Meeting Minutes

JUNE 11, 1998








A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Planning Commission on Thursday, June 11, 1998, commencing at approximately 7:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall, pursuant to notice.

Members present:

Wilfred Dennie, Chairperson
Elizabeth Heiny-Cogswell
Millard Loy
Ted Corakis
Marvin Block
Lara Meeuwse

Member Absent: Ken Heisig

Also present were Rebecca Harvey and Mike West of the Planning and Zoning Department, Patricia R. Mason, Township Attorney, and two (2) other interested persons.



The Chairperson called the meeting to order at 7:02 p.m.



The Chairperson suggested adding a discussion of the commercial rezoning application for property along Stadium Drive; the Planning Commission's recommendation would be going to the Township Board at its next meeting. He also suggested adding a discussion of Planning Department staffing. Mr. Loy moved to approve the agenda as amended. Mr. Corakis seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.



The Planning Commission considered the minutes of the meeting of May 28, 1998. The changes suggested by Ms. Harvey were noted. Ms. Meeuwse further suggested a change to eliminate a typographical error on page 8.

Mr. Corakis moved to approve the minutes as amended, and Mr. Block seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.



The next item was consideration of the proposed 23-lot residential subdivision occupying approximately 26 acres. The subject property is located on the south side of H Avenue, approximately 1,700' west of North 9th Street, see Map and is within the "AG"-Rural Residence District zoning classification.

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

The Planning Commission had previously considered and recommended approval of Phase I of the Breckenridge plat. At that time, the Planning Commission had also looked at the overall plan for the project, which included Phases II and III. Ms. Harvey felt the Planning Commission should make reference to its previous comments and recommendations with regard to Phase II.

The applicant, Jerry Kreuze, was present, stating that he was available to answer questions. There was discussion of the fact that the entrance road off H Avenue is proposed to be designated "Promenade Drive" and that the County system of designation requires that north-south directional roads end in "Street." The applicant indicated that this road should be called "Promenade Street."

There was no public comment offered, and the public hearing was closed.

The Chairperson made reference to Section 2.1 of the Land Division Ordinance. It was noted that the plat complied with subparts A-J. As to legal opinion on the ownership and use conditions/easements on the subject property and the letter of recommendation from the Kalamazoo County Road Commission, it was noted that these had not yet been received. However, any approval could be conditioned upon receipt of these letters.

As to Section 2.2, it was recognized that the street arrangement did include a westerly extension of Northstar Avenue and the addition of Promenade Street to the north with a connection to H Avenue. Northstar Avenue would extend to the western boundary of the site to make provision for future extension into the adjoining unplatted area. There would be a temporary easement for turnaround in the northern portion of Lot 17 at the westerly extension (cul-de-sac) portion of Northstar Avenue. The Chairperson wondered whether the setbacks for the surrounding lots would be measured from the line of the temporary easement, and Ms. Harvey responded that the setback is measured from the right-of-way; the easement around the temporary cul-de-sac would therefore dictate setback. The Chairperson felt this was significant in determining the buildability of Lot 17.

Planning Commission members agreed that Lots 24 and 25 should not be allowed direct access to H Avenue.

There was a discussion of block length, and it was recognized that the Planning Commission's preliminary plat review in August of 1994 included a recommendation that a variance from the residential block-length requirement be granted for Phases II and III based on the small number of lots and on the limitations created by prior development to the north and south, which prevented a break in the block length.

Planning Commission returned to a discussion of the buildability of lots. The Chairperson was concerned about the feasibility of building on Lot 24. It was felt that placing a building on the lot would be difficult given setback requirements and the proposed location of the stormwater retention area.

The Chairperson also expressed concern with regard to Lot 28. He recognized that it was logical to place the retention area at the low point on the lot but that this would likely lead to the establishment of a retention pond in the "front yard near the street."

Mr. Corakis discussed the buildability of Lots 29 and 30, expressing his concern. He wondered whether the shape would limit their buildability. The Chairperson stated he felt that the size would make the buildable area on these lots sufficient despite the unusual shape.

Returning to the issue of retention on Lot 28, Ms. Meeuwse opined that such a retention area would be unattractive and would limit placement of the house on the property. Ms. Heiny-Cogswell agreed that it was awkward and wondered whether the applicant could shift the retention area to the low area on Lot 29 and eliminate one lot.

There was discussion of the potential buildability of Lots 19, 20, 21 and 22 due to the existing topographical relief. It was noted that there was approximately a 40' incline on each lot. The applicant responded that he felt the lots would be buildable.

Ms. Meeuwse commented she felt that it was important to retain existing natural features and trees at the site. The Chairperson agreed.

Ms. Meeuwse questioned whether the access point on H Avenue would be reviewed by the Kalamazoo County Road Commission. Ms. Harvey stated that the Road Commission would review the drive for "site distance issues." Township standards would deal with the issue of "driveway/intersection spacing."

Mr. Loy commented that the plans seemed to indicate that overhead electrical wires would cross Lot 25. He was concerned in that they came down "the center of the lot." He felt that this might be a problem for construction of a home on the lot. He advised the applicant to work with Consumers Energy on relocating this line.

Mr. Corakis stated he was in favor of including sidewalks in the project. He encouraged the applicant to revise his plan to include such sidewalks. Ms. Heiny-Cogswell commented that the County Planning recommendation also encourages sidewalks. She also stated that she would also like to see other pedestrian walkways within the project and extending to its boundaries connecting the plat to future developments.

The Chairperson called upon the applicant for comment. The applicant stated that he was not opposed to combining Lots 23 and 24, recognizing that an area on the west side of the lot would have to be bermed in order to retain surface water runoff. He also noted that he would attempt to avoid a retention area on Lots 28 and 29 and was working with the Township Engineer on a way to move the stormwater runoff to Lot 25. He stated that plat restrictions, like those in Phase I, would be included which would prohibit the removal of trees unless necessary for the building of a home. He said that street lighting would be included in the plat consistent with the character of the street lighting in Phase I. As to the access to H Avenue, he stated that Promenade Street "veered" to the left because of the need to intersect with H Avenue at the top of the hill. This was done for visibility purposes. He stated that the applicant would address the issue of the power line across Lot 25. As to pedestrian walkways, no sidewalks were included in Phase I, and he did not anticipate any sidewalks in Phase II. However, he stated he was open to exploring the issue of a walkway or paths to future development.

Mr. Loy moved to recommend approval of Phase II of the Breckenridge plat with the following conditions, limitations and notations:

(1) That Lots 23 and 24 be combined as proposed by the applicant.

(2) That, as to the remaining lots, the issue of buildability was considered and the Planning Commission relied upon the applicant's representation that the lots were buildable without need for variance.

(3) That the elimination of stormwater retention on Lots 28 and 29 be encouraged.

(4) That the applicant be encouraged to address elimination of the overhead power lines across Lot 25.

(5) That the requirements of Section 2.1.K with regard to legal opinion be met as a condition of approval.

(6) That the requirements of Section 2.1.L with regard to letter of recommendation from the Kalamazoo County Road Commission be met as a condition of approval.

(7) That it was recognized that a temporary easement for turnaround is proposed on the northern portion of Lot 17 at the westerly extension of Northstar Avenue.

(8) That a variance from the residential block-length limitation be granted based upon the small number of lots and the limitations created by prior development to the north and south, which prevented a break in the block length. Reference was made to the discussion and findings of the Planning Commission at the meeting of August 25, 1994.

(9) That public street lighting be designed to comply with Section 78.700 and be in character with the recommended lighting objectives and standards. It was required that a street lighting plan and specifications be provided to Township staff for review and approval.

(10) That the entrance road off H Avenue be designated Promenade Street consistent with the Kalamazoo County Planning Department review of May 8, 1998, in regard to conformance with County street-naming convention.

(11) That Lots 24 and 25 not be permitted direct access to H Avenue.

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

(13) That it was recognized that all lots in Phase II comply with minimum width and area requirements for single-family residential lots and two-family residential lots.

Sidewalks/pedestrian walkways within the project are encouraged.

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


The Planning Commission next considered a draft outline of proposed revisions to the Stormwater Runoff sections of the Zoning Ordinance.

The report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference. Ms. Harvey noted that the Township had been experiencing certain administrative problems and/or struggling with certain stormwater issues over the last few years. The Township Attorney had drafted certain proposed revisions to the existing Sections 78.600 and 78.610. Township staff felt that, in that these revisions were proposed, the Planning Commission might wish to deal with the comprehensive consideration of, and revision to, the stormwater management provisions of the Ordinance. Reference was made to the Master Land Use Plan's provisions with regard to stormwater management. Ms. Harvey was suggesting combining the existing Sections 78.500 and 78.600 in a comprehensive revision.

The Chairperson reviewed the outline of Section 78.500 with regard to Statement of Purpose. With regard to the draft outline of Section 78.510, there was discussion of the fact that currently the Township Engineer recommends fencing of a retention area where it is anticipated that there will be at least 18" of standing water. It was suggested that the Township Engineer be invited to the next meeting to answer questions and give his input with regard to the revisions of the stormwater management standards. This would include a discussion of the fencing requirements and his opinions regarding same.

After further discussion, the Planning Commission was in consensus that Ms. Harvey should proceed with drafting text consistent with the draft outline. The text draft would be considered at the work meeting on July 23, 1998.



Ms. Harvey reminded the Planning Commission that the issue of Historic Building District or other text had been raised through application. The Planning Commission had decided that before considering a text it was in favor of the completion of a historical resources survey. The consultant on this survey, Pam O'Connor, had made a presentation with regard to that survey and its results at a recent joint meeting between the Township Board and the Planning Commission.

Ms. Meeuwse commented that she was in favor of pursuing text amendment to protect historical buildings. Mr. Block stated that he was also in favor of such a text amendment as long as an appropriate mechanism could be found. He felt that there were a lot of nice historical sites in the Township which needed preservation. Mr. Loy agreed but stated that he would not be in favor of so much regulation that the owner of a property was told what he/she could or could not do with the home. The Chairperson stated that, in his opinion, there was no "certain area" in the Township in which most historical buildings were located. Therefore, he did not think that a district approach would be suitable.

After further discussion, it was suggested that Ms. Harvey draft Master Land Use Plan text concerning historic building preservation. Further, Planning Commission members agreed that Pam O'Connor should be invited to a Planning Commission meeting to discuss the issue and possible methods of text amendment, such as in "incentive approach" to preservation.



The Chairperson reminded the Planning Commission that the application for commercial rezoning along Stadium Drive, in the area of 7th Street, would be coming before the Township Board. The applicant, Mr. Schramm, had been meeting with Township Board members individually to discuss the application. Mr. Schramm had indicated that rezoning would allow for a resolution of a flooding problem in the area. He felt that the flooding problem could be addressed through certain revisions to the RollerWorld site, such as relocation of the driveway, and the provision of a easement by the RollerWorld property to the Road Commission for use in the redesigned retention/discharge area. Mr. Schramm had indicated that the RollerWorld owner was agreeable to granting such an easement and making the revisions to his property if the Township granted rezoning of the property to the Commercial District and rendered his use conforming.

Ms. Harvey pointed out that the RollerWorld owner was allowed to repair and maintain the property under the Zoning Ordinance's provisions with regard to nonconforming use. Therefore, the maintenance and repair the owner indicated he wished to pursue would be allowed as currently zoned. Additionally, redesign, easement to the Road Commission, etc., as a method of addressing the flooding problems would not require rezoning.

The Township Attorney expressed concern that conditioning or linking rezoning of the property to the provision of an easement to the Road Commission was clearly contract zoning. The Township Attorney felt that zoning of the property under those circumstances would be invalid and possibly constitute a taking in violation of constitutional provisions.

It was recognized that the issue would be on the agenda at the June 23, 1998, meeting of the Township Board. However, it appeared that there might not be a Planning Commission representative in that Mr. Dennie and others would be out of town.

The Chairperson updated Planning Commission members with regard to his understanding of Planning Department staffing. He understood that Mr. West would be the Acting Director of the Planning & Zoning Department and that Ms. Harvey had been approached about remaining as a consultant to the Township regarding pending work projects.



There being no further business to come before the Commission, the meeting was adjourned at 9:35 p.m.

Minutes prepared:
June 12, 1998

Minutes approved:
June 25, 1998