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June 1, 2000






A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Planning Commission on Thursday, June 1, 2000, commencing at 
approximately 7:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township.

Wilfred Dennie, Chairman
Ken Heisig
Elizabeth Heiny-Cogswell (after 7:08 p.m.)
Ted Corakis (after 7:07 p.m.)
Neil Sikora
Stanley Rakowski
Marvin Block


Also present were Jodi Stefforia, Planning Director, Mary Lynn Bugge, Township Planner, and Patricia R. Mason, 
Township Attorney, and 6 other interested persons.


The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m.


Ms. Stefforia suggested adding a discussion of the special meeting of June 15, 2000.  Ms. Bugge suggested 
discussion involving a safety review.  Mr. Block moved to approve the Agenda as amended, and Mr. Rakowski 
seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.


The Planning Commission commenced a discussion regarding the existing open space community provisions of 
the Zoning Ordinance.  The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference. 
Ms. Bugge reviewed the Reportís highlights concerning the purpose of the open space development provisions.  
The Planning Commission discussed the fact that the provisions were intended to preserve open space and 
natural features and allow for flexibility in design.  The provisions offered incentives to developers so 
as to make open space communities feasible financially by allowing for compact design and less expensive 
infra-structure.  It was felt that an open space community could offer features attractive to residential 
buyers and amenities not available in traditional developments.

Mr. Corakis and Ms. Heiny-Cogswell entered the meeting.  

The Chairperson noted that some complications with implementation of the open space community had arisen due 
to Health Department requirements which prevented tighter clustering of open space community lots.  He noted 
that a recent development had attempted to address this restriction by suggesting an innovative community 
septic system.  Open space community development was further complicated by the Road Commissionís unwillingness 
to accept permanent cul-de-sacs.  It was noted that the open space community is the only development within the 
Township to allow for private roads.  

Ms. Bugge noted that with past reviews, the Planning Commission members seemed most concerned about dimensional 
deviations and approval of private roads.  It was noted that there are currently no front setbacks from private 
roads.  There is an automatic deviation from Ordinance provisions regarding minimum area, frontage and width 
requirements.  Ms. Bugge wondered whether the Planning Commission would desire an automatic deviation from front 
setbacks regarding public roads.

The Chairperson and the Township Attorney both expressed that the current Ordinance provisions allowing for deviation 
from front setbacks, which is not automatic but available, was appropriate.  Further, the Township Attorney and 
Planning Commission members felt it would be appropriate to amend the Ordinance to include a front setback from 
private roads so as to provide some uniformity in front setbacks throughout any open space development.  Such a 
private road setback would allow for the accommodation of the placement of a right-of-way and improvement of the 
private roads to a public road status if it ultimately became necessary.

There was discussion of the dimensional deviations with the recognition that the Ordinance currently gives the 
Planning Commission authority to grant deviations from dimensional standards. Mr. Block noted that front setback 
was necessary to allow for driveways which would accommodate parking of at least two vehicles.  He agreed that 
there should be some provision for front setbacks along private roads.  Mr. Rakowski would also be in favor of 
such a provision.

Further as to dimensional standards, the Chairperson wondered whether the site size would largely be determined by 
Health Department requirements.  The Chairperson expressed a desire to have an in-person discussion with Health 
Department representatives concerning this fact.  Ms. Bugge noted that there might be more flexibility  on the part 
of the Health Department with regard to site size than previously believed.

The Planning Commission returned to a discussion of private roads, and it was noted that such roads are normally 
22 to 24 feet in width with two-foot wedge curves.  Thirty feet in width, including curbing, is required for a public road.

Planning Commissioners felt it was important to provide access to adjoining properties, and "inter-connectivity".  
It was felt that at least the connecting streets should be "public".  Ms. Stefforia stated that she felt the Ordinance 
should be more definitive about the connectivity requirement.  Planning Commissioners and the Township Attorney agreed. 
Mr. Sikora expressed concern about private roads and the lack of room for parking along such roads.  He felt that the 
private road standards should require a width sufficient to allow for some on-street parking.  He was also concerned 
about future road maintenance and repair.
There was discussion of the provisions of the Ordinance which indicated that the Planning Commission desired minimization 
of cul-de-sacs.  It was felt that this provision was at odds with the idea of "clustering" of lots.  Planning Commissioners 
agreed. There was a consensus that the Planning Department draft a text amendment concerning "connectivity" to adjoining 
properties and the road standards for such connections.  Further, the text would provide for a setback along private roads.  
There would be elimination of the reference to minimizing cul-de-sacs.


The Planning Commission conducted a second conceptual plan review concerning a proposed 80-unit site condominium open space 
community to be located on the north side of KL Avenue, west of 8th Street (Parcel No. 3905-22-155-010).  The Report of the 
Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference. Ms. Stefforia presented an aerial photograph depicting 
the property and the proposed site condominium project superimposed thereover.  She noted that the property to the west of 
the subject site is being farmed.  There exists a private road on a 33-foot-wide strip of land between this property and the 
property to the west. 
The applicant was requesting the second review in response to the comments made at the meeting of April 27, 2000.  The Planning 
Commission comments included a recommendation that the street system be public and that two southern cul-de-sacs be connected.  
The applicant preferred to develop the open space community as proposed with private streets and five cul-de-sacs.  Paul Warnick 
of Larry Harris & Associates was present on behalf of the applicant.  He stated that the applicant had looked at the effects of 
making the main road public and the elimination of two cul-de-sacs.  Such revisions to the site plan would require a reduction to 
77 lots from the 80 lots proposed.  This reduction is required in order to preserve 40 percent open space.  Such a change would 
reduce the amount of open space at the project in terms of total acreage.  Further, it would be necessary to have deviations from 
the front setback requirements along the public road in order to preserve the same building envelopes on each lot.  The average 
lot size would be reduced.  Flexibility in design would be lost.  It was felt that the quality of the development would be reduced 
because of the smaller lots. George Granger, Engineer for the project, stated that he felt that if the road were made public, 
there would be a loss in efficiency.  

He cited the bureaucracy involved an approval of the public road system by the Road Commissioner and Drain Commissioner.  There would 
be an added cost to the project of about 15 percent.  

Ms. Stefforia inquired whether the Health Department had commented on the size of the lots.  Mr. Granger stated that there had been 
discussions with Deb Werner and that he felt that the septic systems could be accommodated by 1,200 square feet rather than 5,000 
square feet as asserted by the Health Department.

With regard to "connectivity", i.e., interconnecting the property to the adjoining parcel to the east, Mr. Granger stated that the parcel 
is owned by Mr. Corning.  The Township Attorney stated that the main/connecting road would either be required to be public or on a right-of-way 
deeded to the Township in order to assure inter-connectivity even though the parcels were under common ownership.

In response to questioning by the Chairperson, the applicant indicated the plan had not changed since it was last reviewed.  Mr. Rakowski 
commented that he would still like to see the main road public, but would feel that the off-shoots could be private.  Mr. Sikora agreed.  
Planning Commissioners concurred that there needed to be a connection to adjoining properties. Ms. Stefforia suggested that possibility the 
main road could be private but on a public right-of-way deeded to the Township.  Ms. Heiny-Cogswell stated that she would be in favor of this 
proposal.  She felt that in many situations of road built to public standards was a "white elephant".  Mr. Sikora, however, felt that the 
main road should be public even though the applicant would "lose lots".  He did not feel that this was a determinative factor.  Mr. Heisig 
commented that he could support private roads on a public right-of-way.  Mr. Block commented that he was concerned about the amount of 
deviation which would be necessary for this project. 
Greg Pendowski, on behalf of the applicant, stated that it would be better, marketability-wise, if the project were allowed to have entirely 
private roads. Mr. Sikora questioned what was the use of the property to the north side of the site.  Ms. Stefforia stated that it was owned 
by Kalamazoo College and used for an arboretum and potentially dormitories in the future as part of a retreat facility.  It was noted that 
Kalamazoo College allows public access to the property by foot.
It was the general consensus that the applicant return with a proposed project which addressed the connectivity issues with the proposal, at minimum, 
that the connecting road be on a public right-of-way.


The Planning Commission discussed the recommended sign provisions as returned by the Township Board.  The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department 
is incorporated herein by reference. It was noted that the Township Board had received comments at their meeting of April 25, 2000, primarily against 
the prohibition on balloon signs, banners and festoons.  It was the suggestion of some members of the public that certain types of businesses, such 
as car dealerships, need to use balloons, etc. to attract customers.  It was recognized that the Planning Commission had not meant to prohibit "tags" 
or "banners" within cars and car  windows.  Further, small scale balloons on vehicle antennas were not intended to be prohibited. Ms. Stefforia suggested 
that the definition of balloon sign be modified to qualify that 12-inch or smaller latex balloons not be considered a sign.  Further, she suggested that 
Section 76.140, sub-section B could be expanded to allow balloon signs as special event signs.

Additionally, Ms. Stefforia noted that an issue had arisen at a recent Zoning Board of Appeals meeting concerning the size permitted for a supporting structure.  
Staff recommended that the combined square footage of the structure surrounding the sign be limited to 30 percent of the permitted sign area. The Chairperson noted 
that any changes to the text should apply to all uses within the District rather than merely car dealerships.  The Chairperson stated that he had reviewed the use 
of balloons and signage at area dealerships and felt that the large balloons were primarily used at an "emerging dealership".  Mr. Heisig stated that he had never 
bought a car or driven into a dealership because of a balloon, festoon or banner.  However, he would agree with the Planning Departmentís proposals and felt that 
they would provide reasonable opportunity for special event signage to all commercial users.  However, he felt that there should be a size limit on special event 
balloon size consistent with other sign square footage limitations.  Mr. Block also supported the Planning Departmentís proposals.  Mr. Sikora made reference to the 
Master Land Use Plan, referring to the character of the Township.  In his opinion, large balloon signs were out of character and were a visual distraction to traffic.  
He would agree to the use of balloon signs as special event signs for  a "limited time during the year".  Mr. Rakowski and Mr. Corakis agreed.  Ms. Stefforia stated 
that she had met representatives of car dealers who indicated that 14 days for special event signs would not be sufficient.  They indicated that they had eight events 
per year at three weeks in duration each.  It was the consensus of Planning Commissioners that this was too much special event signage.  It was agreed that 14 days per 
calendar year was sufficient.  It was noted that use of wall signage could be an alternative to special event signage. It was further the consensus of Planning Commissioners 
that there was no basis to deviate from the 32 square feet allowed for special event signs in the case of balloons.  

The Chairperson asked for public comment, and Jeff DeNooyer questioned whether windshield signs would be considered "signs" which were prohibited.  Ms. Stefforia stated 
that tags on the inside of a vehicle would not be considered signage.  If lettering on or inside the windshield was not directed to a public street, they would be considered 
incidental signage and not prohibited.  However, windshield signs directed to public roads, if intended to be read by passing traffic, would be considered prohibited signs.
Mr. DeNooyer expressed that he felt the proposals of the Planning Department and the Planning Commission with regard to the text were reasonable.  Bill DeNooyer was also present, 
stating that he agreed.  It had been their concern that they be allowed to showcase certain sale vehicles. It was agreed that the Planning Department would provide a draft of 
the proposed revisions to the text for consideration by the Planning Commission at a future meeting for re-recommendation to the Township Board.


The Planning Commission reviewed Draft 3 of the proposed Zoning District text for the "VC" Village Commercial District.  The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is 
incorporated herein by reference. Ms. Stefforia expressed that the major changes regarding the text were with regard to density.  She presented a drawing of the sewer system 
within the area.  It was agreed that connection to public sewer be excepted for single-family dwellings where sewer was not available. The Chairperson reviewed the proposed text 
regarding the changes made from Draft 2.  There was discussion of the site development standards, and it was felt that the intent to provide for small scale development would be 
at odds with the requirement of a minimal parcel area of 87,120 square feet.  It was suggested that perhaps the text require a minimum of 80 feet of frontage when a drive could be 
established in compliance with the spacing requirements of the Access Management Guidelines, or where a shared access was utilized.  In all other cases, frontage of 230 feet would 
be required.  It was felt that these provisions would promote use of shared access and access in compliance with Access Management Standards.  

As to setback requirements, the Planning Commission members agreed that they would like to see a zero setback requirement on side lines.  There was discussion of the maximum 
floor area for single buildings and the net floor area ratio. It was agreed that the revisions would be presented in Draft 4.


Ms. Stefforia presented a depiction of the Village Commercial District boundaries.  It was the consensus of the Planning Commission that the boundaries as depicted were satisfactory.  
The Village Commercial District could not include the five parcels under consideration along Stadium Drive for rezoning to the "C" District.


There was a discussion of a special meeting scheduled for June 15, 2000, at 5:30 p.m.  Ms. Stefforia stated that she had received a request for a special meeting by Maple Hill Chrysler 
which would be added to the Agenda of the June 15th meeting unless space were available on the June 22nd meeting due to the failure of an applicant to provide timely information as required.


There being no further business to come before the Planning Commission, the meeting was adjourned at 10:18 p.m.

Minutes approved:  June 22, 2000