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June 18, 2001





A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Zoning Board of Appeals on Monday, June 18, 2001, commencing at approximately 3:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Millard Loy, Chairperson
David Bushouse
Jill Jensen
Ted Corakis

MEMBER ABSENT: Sharon Kuntzman

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


The meeting was called to order at 3:01 p.m.


The Board considered the minutes of the meeting of May 21, 2001. Mr. Corakis moved to approve the minutes as submitted, and Ms. Jensen seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.


The Board considered the application of Bob and Deb Withee for variance from the provisions of Section 64.200 to allow a reduced front setback of 31.5 feet for an addition of a third stall to a garage on a corner lot where a 40-foot setback is required. The subject property is located at 1441 Breezy Point Lane, within the "R-2" Residence District zoning classification, and is Parcel No. 3905-11-451-110. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Bugge noted that the property has a required 40-foot setback from both Sugarbush Trail and Breezy Point Lane. The variance requested for the third stall to an existing garage would be for 8.5, i.e., the garage would be 31.5 feet from Sugarbush Trail right-of-way.

Ms. Bugge noted that the house is situated in the southeast corner of the lot which is the most level portion of the property. The topography to the north and west appeared extreme and might impair the ability to place a garage on another part of the lot. In response to questions from Mr. Corakis, Ms. Bugge confirmed that the front of the home faces Breezy Point Lane and that Sugarbush Trail was to the side of the building.

The applicant was present and confirmed that the topography has a significant drop-off to the north and west of the existing structure. He felt this was the only place, topographically, that the expanding garage could be located. Further, he felt that expanding the existing garage, rather than constructing a separate structure, would be more architecturally-consistent with surrounding homes. Further, he believed there was a plat restriction which would not allow for a stand-alone garage.

Ms. Bugge noted that the Township does not enforce plat restrictions. However, it was agreed that concerning the character of the other homes and garages in the area, it was significant.

The applicant indicated that, in his opinion, neighboring property owners would not have their view impeded by the placement of the garage.

There was no public comment on the item, and the public hearing was closed.

The Board considered whether conformance with the Ordinance was unnecessarily burdensome. It was agreed that, while there was currently a two-car garage attached to the residence and reasonable use of the property existed, the placement of the third stall in conformance with the Ordinance might be unnecessarily burdensome due to the existing home location and due to the severe topography on the remainder of the property.

As to substantial justice, it was recognized that two applications concerning new construction had been granted in 1999 for residential corner lots. Moreover, the character of the area, with attached garages rather than stand-alone garages, was considered.

The Board felt that there were unique physical circumstances due to the topographical limitations. However, it was recognized that the hardship was self-created in that the building addition was at the discretion of the applicant.

Mr. Bushouse reminded the Board that the Township used to allow a two-thirds proration in the setback requirement on the secondary street of a residential corner lot. He felt that the Planning Commission should consider corner-lot setback issues in that he felt the current provisions were too restricting. In his opinion, a variance for the subject property would be in keeping with the types of homes in the area.

The Chairperson expressed concern about setting a precedent, but felt that in this situation the application might be justified and distinguishable because of the topographical limitations on placement of the building addition. Mr. Bushouse agreed.

Mr. Corakis moved to grant the variance as requested based upon the analysis of the Board, particularly emphasizing the topographical features of the site that presented unique physical circumstances. Mr. Bushouse seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.


The Board considered the application of Ty Beckering of Pioneer, Inc. (general contractor) on behalf of Vision West, LLC, for a site plan review of a proposed 18,800 square foot warehouse/office building at 552 South 8th Street. The subject site is located in the "I-1" Industrial District and "R-4" Residence District zoning classifications and is Parcel No. 3905-22-285-051. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Bugge stated that the proposed building would be the third building on the subject property which included an existing older building fronting on 8th Street and a 21,619 square foot building approved by the Zoning Board of Appeals on January 22, 2001, which was now under construction. The property consists of three parcels containing approximately 8.8 acres. The owners have requested that the three parcels be combined, creating one conforming parcel pursuant to the site plan approval of January 22, 2001.

The proposed improvement, with the exception of part of the septic system, would be located on the "I-1" portion of the southern parcel.

It was proposed that the building would be served by a septic system and public water.

Ms. Bugge reported that, as a condition of the prior approval, the applicant had been required to submit a landscaping plan in conformance with the Ordinance for the entire site. No such plan had yet been submitted. Because the property was adjacent to "R-4" zoning, enhanced landscaping would be required as a buffer.

It was noted that the applicant was requesting that the portion of its property zoned "R-4" be rezoned to the "I-1" District, which was consistent with the Master Land Use Plan. The Planning Commission had expanded the parcels considered for rezoning to the remaining "R-4" property in the area. A public hearing on the rezonings was scheduled for June 28, 2001.

Ms. Bugge also reported that the Developer had indicated, just prior to the meeting, that it was changing the grade on the proposed site and would be submitting a new plan. This would cause the loss of approximately three parking spaces. However, the plan would continue to meet Ordinance parking requirements. Nevertheless, the change to the plan would require a new Fire Department and Township Engineer review and approval.

Ms. Bugge suggested that the Board explore with the applicant whether the dumpster could be moved to the north side of the building, away from the "R-4" zoning so as prevent the intrusion of noise into the residential area.

The applicant, Ty Beckering was present. He stated that the applicant has completed a landscaping plan which reflected the 40-foot buffer area. In response to questions, the applicant indicated that a portion of the drain field would be located on the area currently zoned "R-4". The Township Attorney felt that the Board should interpret whether the improvements supporting the development must all be located on the "I-1" property.

Dan Schoonmaker, on behalf of the applicant, stated that unlike parking or driveways, the drain field was passive and would not be visible. Therefore, he felt that "I-1" zoning was not strictly necessary. Ms. Bugge suggested that perhaps the drain field area could be reconfigured so that all of it was located on the "I-1" property. Further, Ms. Stefforia suggested perhaps an approval could be conditioned upon receiving a variance if no rezoning or reconfiguration so as to locate the drain field on "I-1" was accomplished. There was some indication that the area located in the "R-4" zoning would not be the current location of a drain field but set aside for possible future development.

There was discussion of whether the dumpster location could be changed, with the applicant indicating that he felt it was unlikely that the dumpster could be placed in a different area, given the accessability issues. Ms. Bugge expressed concern that the Fire Department had suggested a turnaround in this area for fire trucks and that the applicant was indicating that no such turnaround could possibly be constructed in this location of the site. Mr. Bushouse stated concern that the Fire Department be consistent in its requirements. He was concerned that a turnaround had not been required by the Fire Department for the building approved in January but was now being suggested for this building.

There was discussion of tabling the item so as to resolve Fire Department issues and base the approval on the plan as revised by the applicant.

The Chairperson asked for public comment, and Ms. Bugge presented a letter from Anne Platte dated June 15, 2001. In the letter, she urged that the applicant establish a protective landscaping buffer, including preservation of remaining trees.

Gordon Daam was present, stating that he owned the multi-family property located to the south and east. In his opinion, he felt that the development would not be objectionable and that he could have a "more burdensome neighbor" than Vision West. However, he did have concern about landscaping in that as many trees be kept as was practical so that the residential property did not have to "look at parking and metal buildings".

Mr. Daam expressed concern about rezoning, indicating that he did not want to have the property rezoned in that the "R-4" zoning would act as a buffer for his property. In addition, he would object to any rezoning of his own property.

Jennie Payton stated that she is a resident of Countryside Apartments and agreed that there could be worse neighbors. However, as manager for both apartment buildings, she expressed that there were 12 families who were very concerned about establishing a site and sound barrier for their residences. She suggested fast-growing vegetation such as poplars planted along the property line.

Ms. Jensen moved to table the item to the meeting of July 9, 2001, at 3 p.m., and Mr. Corakis seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.


The Board considered the application of Joseph and Dawn Kornetti for a variance from the provisions of Section 62.151 to allow an addition to a house that is legally nonconforming as to front setback from KL Avenue. The subject property is located at 10236 West KL Avenue in the "AG" Agricultural-Rural District zoning classification and is Parcel No. 3905-19-274-030.

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

Ms. Stefforia noted that the subject home had been built in 1973, and at that time, was in compliance with the setback requirement. In 1984, the setback requirement from KL Avenue was increased to 70 feet from the right-of-way line for all buildings. This represented an increase of 20 feet. The applicants' house is 50 feet from the right-of-way of KL Avenue. The home is currently considered legal nonconforming. The applicant proposed an addition on the front and side of the home which would bring the building four feet closer to the street.

Ms. Stefforia suggested that the Board explore with the applicant whether the addition could be placed in line with the existing building setback or in compliance with the Ordinance requirements. Ms. Stefforia described the character of the area.

The applicant, Joe Kornetti, was present along with his architect, Mark Harsha. The architect stated that there was a structural problem with aligning the proposed building addition with the existing structure. He explained that the existing building was not built on trusses. Instead, the rafters were attached to the floor joists. Because of this unusual configuration, the architect believes that the building addition could not be established to impose more load on the existing structure. Therefore, they had decided to create two large footings. The four-foot offset was to allow for the clearance of the footings so that no more pressure was placed on the existing structure.

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

The Chairperson observed that there were many other houses in the area which were closer to the right-of-way than the subject house. Further, he felt that the explanation of the architect as to the reason for the four-foot offset was reasonable.

Ms. Jensen moved to grant the variance on the basis that compliance was unnecessarily burdensome and due to the structural limitations of the existing building as described by the architect and because substantial justice (and the character of the area) would weigh in favor of the variance. Mr. Corakis seconded the motion.

Mr. Bushouse stated for the record that the architect was a distant cousin of his wife. The Township Attorney, after further inquiry, concluded that the relationship was not such that Mr. Bushouse would be required to abstain.

Upon a vote on the motion, the motion carried unanimously.


There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 4:25 p.m.


Millard Loy, Chairperson
Jill Jensen
Ted Corakis
David Bushouse

Minutes Prepared:
June 21, 2001
Minutes Approved:
, 2001