June 21, 1999







A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Zoning Board of Appeals on Monday, June 21, 1999, commencing at approximately 3:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall, pursuant to notice.

Thomas Brodasky, Chairperson
David Bushouse
Millard Loy
William Saunders
Sharon Kuntzman


Also present were Jodi Stefforia, Township Planning Director, Mary Lynn Bugge, Township Planner, Patricia R. Mason, Township Attorney, and seven (7) other interested persons.


The Chairperson called the meeting to order at 3:00 p.m.


The Board considered the minutes of the meeting of June 7, 1999. Ms. Bugge suggested changes for page 6 of the minutes to correct typographical errors.

Mr. Loy moved to approve the minutes as amended, and Ms. Kuntzman seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.


The Board considered the application of Progressive Lodging, Inc., for site plan amendment of a modified site plan proposing one hotel where previously two hotels had been approved by the Zoning Board of Appeals for the property at 2575 S. 11th Street. The subject property is located in the "C" Local Business District zoning classification.

The report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference. The applicant now proposed a four-story hotel building with 64 units. The design included more open space than that which was previously approved. There were 78 parking spaces proposed, and 64 were required under the Zoning Ordinance. The applicant had presented a preliminary lighting plan and was willing to provide a final lighting plan in accord with Section 78.700. A final landscaping plan would also be offered by the applicant. No variances were needed for the project.

In response to questioning by the Chairperson, it was indicated that the prior proposal approved by the Board had included two three-story hotel buildings.

Ken Patel was present on behalf of the applicant. He felt the changes to the proposed plan made the site "friendlier" for the guests. In his opinion, one building would be more in character with the market that the applicant is seeking to reach in the Kalamazoo area. He felt that the hotel building would be the "nicest" built in the last 15 years. The applicant indicated that they were willing to provide final lighting and landscaping plans to the Township staff for review and approval. The applicant indicated that he had been working with the Planning and Zoning Department staff, who had been very helpful and cooperative.

The Chairperson questioned the applicant with regard to the food service. Mr. Patel stated that the hotel would offer service of a nice breakfast and it was possible, but not probable, that the food service would be expanded beyond breakfast in the future. Ms. Bugge noted that the applicant was aware that, if he wished to expand food service beyond breakfast, the applicant would need to return to the ZBA for approval with regard to parking and other issues.

The Chairperson sought public comment, and none was offered. The public hearing was closed.

ZBA members expressed a preference for the proposed site plan over that which had been previously approved since the site was less congested and included more open space.

Mr. Loy moved to approve the site plan amendment with the following conditions, limitations and notations:

(1) That one access point off 11th Street would serve the proposed development. The drive is consistent with the Access Management Plan and Guidelines of the Township. It was required that the applicant obtain the review and approval of the driveway from the Kalamazoo County Road Commission.

(2) That all site lighting must comply with Section 78.700 of the Zoning Ordinance, and a complete lighting plan must be submitted to Township staff for review and approval prior to application for building permit.

(3) That signage must comply with Section 76.000, and a permit is required before any signs may be placed upon the property.

(4) That parking is satisfactory for the proposed use, and any change in use, including expansion of the food service beyond breakfast, would require review and approval.

(5) That a detailed landscaping plan, including screening and buffering of the development from 11th Street and the southern property line, as well as landscaping around the building, must be provided by the applicant for staff review and approval prior to application for building permit.

(6) That no variance had been requested or approved.

(7) That approval is subject to the review and approval of, and any conditions imposed by, the Township Fire Department.

(8) That approval was subject to review of the Township Engineer and a finding that site engineering is adequate.

(9) That an Environmental Permits Checklist and Hazardous Substance Reporting Form has been completed and are on file with the Township.

Ms. Kuntzman seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

The Chairperson indicated that item #4 would be considered as item #5 based upon the request of the applicant in that his representative was not yet present.


The next item was the application of Oshtemo United Methodist Church by John Haworth for variance from Section 64.300 to allow reduced rear and side yard setbacks for an accessory building at 6574 Stadium Drive.

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

Mr. Bushouse indicated that he would be abstaining from a discussion on the item and a vote due to the fact that he is a member of the church.

Ms. Stefforia stated that the applicant had requested a side and rear yard setback to allow the accessory building to be placed within the 20’ setback in 1998. Although the ZBA had deliberated on the request, the applicant withdrew it. The applicant was returning to the ZBA because it felt that the proposed location was the best one given the subject site and the improvements thereon.

Ms. Stefforia noted that the ZBA had previously not discussed the fact that the property is within the Village Focus Area. She reminded the Board that it had recently granted setback variance applications within the Village Area based upon the expressed intent in the Master Land Use Plan that setbacks be reduced in the Village Area. Additionally, the ZBA had not previously discussed the presence of certain mature trees, which limited the placement of the accessory building. Ms. Stefforia also noted that, if the accessory building were located in a Residential District, the setback required would only be 10’ rather than the 20’ allowed due to the fact that it was located in the Commercial District. The building is adjacent to a communications tower property and a car wash.

Mr. Haworth was present and stated that the church was in the middle of a remodeling project. The basement had been converted from storage to use by outside groups as well as for church purposes. The church therefore needed some storage area for such items as snow removal equipment, etc. The applicant indicated they wished to keep the accessory building somewhat removed from the main building due to the storage of combustible items. He stated that the church had been on this location in the Village for approximately 150 years. In his opinion, the accessory building would be designed in character with the area. Further, he felt that placing the accessory building in an alternative location would interfere with parking and/or site circulation, as well as require removal of mature trees. He noted that there were a number of buildings in the area which are located within the setback. The car wash to the east was approximately 8" from the property line. The gas station property building was approximately 3’ from the property line. The applicant was requesting a variance of 4’ from the rear property line and 5’ from the side line.

In response to questioning by the Chairperson, Mr. Haworth stated that the building would be located on a stone pad.

The Chairperson inquired concerning the Village District text, and Ms. Stefforia stated she was fairly confident that the text would ultimately include some decrease in the setbacks within the Village.

Ms. Kuntzman noted that the mature trees on the site blocked the view of the accessory building from adjacent properties and from the street. She therefore felt it would be detrimental to move the accessory building at the expense of cutting the trees.

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

Mr. Loy indicated that he felt the variance was appropriate given the setbacks of other buildings in the area. Further, he did not want to see the mature trees removed. The Chairperson felt it was significant that the building was somewhat "temporary" in nature and that its use would be storage, i.e., that it would not need to be accessed daily. Mr. Saunders agreed.

Ms. Kuntzman moved to approve the variance as requested with the following reasoning:

(1) That conformance was unnecessarily burdensome due to the fact that an alternate location for the accessory building would require the removal of mature trees. Additionally, the proposed setbacks were in keeping with the Master Land Use Plan vision for the Village Focus Area and the anticipated Village District text.

(2) That substantial justice would weigh in favor of granting the variance in that other buildings had been granted setback variances in the Village Area. Additionally, a variance would be in keeping with the character of the area.

(3) That there were no unique physical circumstances, and the hardship was self-created. However, the variance was in keeping with the intent and spirit of the Ordinance and the public health, safety and welfare would be secured. Variance was in keeping with the Village Focus Area Development Plan within the Master Land Use Plan, which called for reduced setbacks within the Village Focus Area. Additionally, the setbacks were in character with other existing buildings in the area. The preservation of mature trees was also in keeping with the intent of the Ordinance and the Master Land Use Plan.

Mr. Saunders seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously except that Mr. Bushouse abstained.


The Board next considered an item tabled from the meeting of June 7, 1999, which was a variance from Section 78.720 to allow illumination levels to exceed maximum allowed by the Zoning Ordinance along the property perimeter at 8739 West Main Street.

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

Ms. Stefforia noted that the site lighting plan had been received by the Township on the afternoon of Wednesday, June 16, 1999, and delivered to Matt Moulds, the lighting consultant. Mr. Moulds was present to provide his comments on the proposed plan.

Mr. Moulds indicated he could not find certain information on the plan and sought to clarify the lighting proposal. In response to his questions to the applicant’s representative, Steve Bryant, it was indicated that there would be four poles at a height of 30’. The base would be 2Ż-3’. It was intended that the poles be "double headed." The applicant was proposing 1,000-watt lamps for each pole.

Ms. Stefforia expressed concern that it was unknown prior to the meeting that the applicant was seeking to exceed the wattage limitation of 400. She felt the applicant would also need a variance from that section, which would require renoticing.

Mr. Moulds stated that his biggest concern was the lighting at the canopy. He stated that the Meijer gas station canopy was a good example of lighting; the lighting was diffuse with not a lot of glare. Mr. Moulds was concerned that many gas stations use fixtures which include more glare, for example, those where the lamp or light source is not completely flush. Flush mounting the lights would insure that there was not a lot of glare from the canopy. Mr. Moulds stated that generally national standards would call for a minimum of 20 footcandles under a canopy area. Here 40 footcandles were proposed.

Mr. Moulds was also concerned that 1,000-watt fixtures were a "very bright light source." He felt that lighting levels, given the use, could reasonably be expected to be

4-5 footcandles in activity areas so as to accommodate those activities and for security reasons. He felt that the pole height and base as proposed were acceptable. Additionally, he noted that the applicant could use fixtures with shielding to eliminate back lighting or backwash.

It was clarified that 18 fixtures were proposed under the canopy. After further discussion, Mr. Moulds noted that, if the lamps were 400 watts rather than 1,000 watts, it was likely that no variance would be needed along the property lines with the exception of the front property line along the right-of-way. The applicant’s representative stated that the front property line required variance due to the "contribution" of lighting from the canopy area. Mr. Moulds felt that variance along the right-of-way line would be acceptable in that this "line is not quite as sensitive" because of its presence along the right-of-way, which has its own lighting.

After further discussion, Mr. Moulds noted that 2-4 footcandles along the driveway and the right-of-way perimeter line would be appropriate given the use.

Mrs. Uppal expressed concern about obtaining sufficient lighting for security purposes; she was concerned about the potential for robbery and drive-aways. There was discussion about what lighting was satisfactory for purposes of attempting to provide security against drive-aways.

Mr. Moulds stated that his opinions were based upon minimum standards which were used on a national level.

It was agreed that the applicant should submit a revised lighting plan with fixture details for staff review and approval as a condition of any variance.

The applicant’s representative stated that the applicant already has a plan which reflects 400-watt lamps which are forward directed. The representative stated that this plan meets the Ordinance standards for perimeter lighting along all lines except the right-of-way line.

There was a discussion of the meaning of "flush mounted," which Mr. Moulds stated was a mounting in which the lens of the light was recessed or flush with the fixture so that, when looked at from the side, the light or lamp could not be seen directly.

Mr. Moulds, after further discussion, recommended an average of 2 footcandles along the property line of the right-of-way.

The Chairperson called for public comment, and Kadir Mohmand spoke, stating that he was concerned that the Board had expressed some bias or favoritism toward some applicants. The Chairperson stated that the Zoning Board of Appeals has certain standards which it applies by law, and the Chairperson expressed that the ZBA applies those standards fairly to all people.

Mr. Mohmand inquired into the qualifications of Mr. Moulds. Mr. Mohmand was concerned that the applicant was trying to open his business by July 4 and that the Township was causing delay. The Chairperson stated that the original approval for the applicant granted in January of 1999 had required a lighting plan. The applicant had not submitted a lighting plan complying with Ordinance requirements until the previous Wednesday. The Chairperson felt that any delay was as a result of the applicant not providing sufficient information to the Township.

Mr. Moulds described his qualifications, including a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and 17 years of engineering and lighting design experience. Mr. Moulds stated that he had been a consultant for the Township for 6-7 years regarding lighting issues. He had designed lighting within the Township and elsewhere throughout the midwest.

The public hearing was closed.

Mr. Bushouse moved to approve variance based upon the type of use proposed and its location with the following conditions and notations:

(1) That the east, west and south perimeters of the property must comply with Ordinance lighting requirements.

(2) That the maximum wattage of all lamps and fixtures at the site was 400 watts.

(3) That all lighting under the canopy be flush mounted/flush lens.

(4) That a variance was granted to allow the front right-of-way line and drive to exceed ordinance standards to an average of 2 footcandles along that perimeter.

(5) That it was required that all backwash of lighting be eliminated by fixture type and/or shielding.

(6) That a revised lighting plan including cut sheets for all canopy fixtures, and which reflected the variance approval, must be submitted to the Township for review and approval by the Township’s lighting consultant before the installation of any lighting fixtures.

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


There was a brief discussion of the Township Attorney’s memorandum concerning ZBA alternates.


There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 4:40 p.m.

Minutes Prepared:

June 23, 1999
Minutes Approved: