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June 25, 2002

The Oshtemo Township Board held its work session at the Township Hall. Supervisor VanDyke called the meeting to order at 5:00 p.m.

Supervisor John VanDyke
Clerk Deb Everett
Treasurer Nancy Culp
Trustee Lois Brown
Trustee Tom Brodasky
Trustee Dave Bushouse
Trustee Jim Worline

Also present was Bob Snell, and Marc Elliott, Township Engineers, Jodi Stefforia, Planning Director, and Mary Lynn Bugge, Planner.

Discussion was held regarding current water rates from the City of Kalamazoo, an update on the status of the Phase II Stormwater permit program and the twenty-year study done on water/sewer needs.

Supervisor VanDyke called the regular meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.

Supervisor John VanDyke
Clerk Deb Everett
Treasurer Nancy Culp
Trustee Tom Brodasky
Trustee Lois Brown
Trustee Dave Bushouse
Trustee Jim Worline

Also present was Patricia Mason, Township Attorney, Bob Snell and Marc Elliott, Township Engineers, Jodi Stefforia, Planning Director and approximately 5 interested people.

Motion by Brodasky, second by Brown to approve the minutes of the June 11th meeting. Carried.

Income to the General and Fire Funds of $59,461.88 and disbursements of $365,977.09 were reported. Motion by Brown, second by Brodasky to accept the receipts and disbursements report. Carried.


Ed Hilton, 1180 Cadet Lane, commented a low area with trees is being used for a retention basin for the West Pointe Condo project on North 10th Street, has had concrete dumped in it and is a mosquito breeding ground. He felt a basin should be on the east side of the project rather than in sight of homes to the west. Supervisor VanDyke advised he would look into the situation.


Supervisor VanDyke read a resolution honoring the Kalamazoo Public Library for being chosen Library of the Year by the Library Journal.

Motion by Bushouse, second by Brown to adopt the resolution. Roll call vote showed Brodasky-yes, Brown-yes, Bushouse-yes, Culp-yes, Everett-yes, VanDyke-yes, Worline-yes.


Fireworks permit applications were received from Donald Bierens, 10711 West KL Avenue and David Barnes, 3700 Wolf Drive. It was noted Mr. Bierens has received a permit for many years and although Mr. Barnes was a first time applicant, a permit had been issued for his property the past three years. Clerk Everett advised she had reviewed the applications with Fire Chief Ken Howe and he had no objections.

Motion by Everett, second by Brodasky to approve the fireworks permits for Don Bierens and David Barnes. Carried.


Trustee Worline advised the resignation of Jill Jensen from the Zoning Board of Appeals had been received and the Board Appointment Committee was recommending appointment Duane McClung, 1550 North 7th Street, to fill the remainder of the term.

Planning Director Jodi Stefforia advised she had requested to be included in the interview process for members of the boards she serves as staff for. Supervisor VanDyke apologized for the oversight.

Trustee Brown commented it is important for the make up of the boards to represent the entire Township.

Motion by Worline, second by Culp to appoint Duane McClung to fill the vacancy on the ZBA. Carried.


Trustee Worline advised the Technology Committee had further reviewed the proposal from B & D Scanning for document imaging, retention and retrieval of Township records. The committee visited the City of Portage and observed their use of this technology. Mr. Worline advised Portage was very satisfied with the level of service available and highly recommended B & D Scanning. It was noted the initial project would be scanning of Township Board, ZBA, and Planning Commission minutes. They would then be available for search in-house and also on the Township web site. It was noted the initial cost would be $7,400 for the software and $230.00 per box for imaging the minutes.

Mike Ritzer, 5166 Beech, advised the Board he has started a document imaging business and would like an opportunity to bid on the project. In response to Board member questions he advised he currently has no municipal clients but a great deal of expertise. Trustee Worline commented a great deal of time had already been spent on investigating this issue and felt the current project should go forward but that there will be more projects the technology committee will be considering and they would be glad to talk to Mr. Ritzer about those.

Motion by Worline, second by Brodasky to approve expenditure of up to $12,000 to begin the project of imaging Township minutes and review the status in three months. Carried.



The Sewer/Water Committee presented a recommendation to include benefit and connection charges in the mortgage agreements for sewer and water hook up.

Trustee Worline commented while he was in favor of the proposal, questioned if the sewer and water funds can afford to have all the fees put into a mortgage.

Trustee Bushouse commented he felt that if there were some form of financing on sewer and water projects, more people would hook up and another consideration should be that most banks traditionally will require properties when sold to be connected if sewer and/or water are available and paid in full. He further commented he felt the Township because of the aggressive bank policy is recovering the investments in infrastructure faster and the policy will encourage more connections.

Trustee Brown felt there was another side to the issue that being the Township is not in the financing business.

Treasurer Culp commented she felt more connections would be made if the benefit and connection charges could be made part of the mortgage agreements.

Attorney Mason clarified the amendment to the policy would state any connection and/or benefit fees, as outlined in the current water/sewer resolutions, may be added to the mortgage balance and paid over the length thereof.

Motion by Culp, second by Worline to amend the current policy to add connection and/or benefit fees to the five and ten year mortgage agreements. Roll call vote showed Brown-no, Bushouse-yes, Culp-yes, Everett-yes, VanDyke-yes, Worline-yes, Brodasky-yes.


Planning Director Jodi Stefforia presented a recommendation from the Planning Commission regarding text changes and rezonings called for by the Master Land Use Plan that culminates more than a year of study. She commented that nearly 70% of the Township is now zoned AG-Rural and the Master Land Use Plan calls for a Rural Residential district and distinction of density for the eastern one third of the Township. A new Agricultural zoning would be created consisting of 44 parcels currently 40 acres in size or more or tracts under common ownership totaling 40 acres, and a new Rural Residential zone consisting of approximately 2,000 parcels currently zoned AG-Rural. The recommendation also includes rezoning 562 parcels to R-2 where utilities have become available or where we anticipate future residential development. Ms. Stefforia further commented current standards do not distinguish for density between zoning districts and changes were proposed in that area as well. Density requirements for the new Agricultural zone would be 40 acres and a minimum of 200 feet of road frontage, noting that for more than one dwelling on the parcel a minimum of three acres and 200 feet of frontage is required per dwelling unit, in the proposed Rural Residential for an unplatted parcel 1.5 acres with 200 feet of road frontage would be required, a lot or building site area would require a density of 1 dwelling unit per acre if water is available and 1 unit per 1.5 acres if water is not available. Minimum width would be 110 feet with water and 130 feet without water. In an open space community a parcel, lot or building site area would allow density of 2 units per acre with water and 1.25 units without water; there would be no minimum lot width. She also stated the changes are not part of any development request, but rather are part of implementing the Master Land Use Plan adopted in 1993. These changes are further supported by two community surveys conducted in 1991 and 2001. She also reviewed various text changes that would be needed to accommodate the new language.

Trustee Bushouse commented Ms. Stefforia's presentation was very well done. He further commented the Board has worked very hard over the past few months to hold work sessions to better prepare for good sound decisions. He further stated he feels this is a very major decision and he did not feel comfortable receiving a packet on Friday, having a short presentation and endorsing the issue. He commented he would like to see the same presentation either at joint meeting or a Board work session, for more in depth review and discussion.

Trustee Worline inquired what the input from the Kalamazoo County Health Department and Road Commission were regarding this issue, how would the current water project in the western portion of the Township effect the recommendation and what changed the recommendation of the task force. Mrs. Stefforia advised the Health Department provided input regarding lot sizes for septic concerns and the Road Commission was asked about street width requirements, and the Planning Commission felt more incentive should be given for using the open space development. Attorney Mason noted there was sentiment among the Planning Commission that distinction should be made between Rural Residential and other residential zonings in order to implement the Master Land Use Plan goal of retaining rural character.

Dave Roberts, representing the Home Builders advised the task force met in good faith and are asking for a return to what was discussed. He commented that as a builder he is very aware of land use and if a builder decided to use planned development where open space was a good marketing tool he felt the plan from the task force would be good to work with. He further commented the other point is that when lot sizes are created, what can be built is also created because of the cost of the lot, a particular size of home has to be built and what happens quite often is this process is taking away the first time homebuyer and eliminating them from the market; they no longer can afford to buy so they have to live either in a condo or rent an apartment, they cannot have home of their own. He further commented that a $40,000 lot would probably require at least at 2,000 square foot home for a builder to make the numbers work and that another consideration as well is that what is being put out of the market place completely is minorities, they don't have chance and nothing is being created in the Township for them except to live in an apartment or condo. He stated he realized it was not the Board's point to do that but it should be considered because there are many people who would like to have a home of their own and they move further out of the area such as PawPaw and Mattawan where there are affordable homes. He also stated that sometimes the wife is forced to go out and find a job, not that there is anything wrong with a woman working but it is very good when the children are small to be able to have somebody in the home and that's what also happens when regulations create larger lots and the requirements. These issues are what he is trying to put forth as builder and something they could live with and try to work with was what we had proposed the first time.

Martin Svihra, 1648 South 4th Street, commented he would advocate the changes to make lots larger as he moved to the Township 1990 with an appreciation that it was an actual rural area and would like to see it remain so; he has already observed increases in population and traffic and larger lots will help ensure the rural aspect. He commented the longer current standards are maintained, more houses will slowly erode rural aspects. He further stated that as to Mr. Roberts comment concerning the larger to plot the larger the house, he has a small house and would like a larger lot, smaller houses would be more affordable and felt the proposed density gives flexibility.

Neil Sikora, Planning Commission Chairman, commented the Planning Commission worked long and hard on this issue many times, had many meetings, drafts, comments, and public hearings all of which were taken into account. He further commented that he was sure one of the earlier speakers did not realize it, but some people choose to live in condominiums because they like it and some choose apartments, not everyone lives in a condominium because they cannot afford a house, some choose to live there and enjoy it very much and it does bring a perspective in coming up with dimensional requirements by having people with different perspectives, some who live in condominiums, some in rural areas, some in R-2 and everyone involved in that discussion of what would be the best vision for the Township. He commented the Planning Commission followed the Master Land Use Plan, which is their charge. He further commented not everyone wants a huge house on huge lot so there is flexibility and the commission is trying to accomplish what the residents of the Township want to see in their community; it is not the responsibility of the commission to make sure every builder has a job in the Township and although that may sound rather snide that really is the truth; the commission is to represent the citizens of Oshtemo who developed the Master Land Use Plan and come forward such as Mr. Svirha to say this is why I moved here, this is what I want in my community.

Bill Dykhuis, 2036 North 10th Street, commented he agrees with Mr. Roberts. He further commented he is a resident of the Township and looks at the issue differently because his livelihood is building homes and he wants to keep busy and live here. He further stated this is a critical issue and not to be taken lightly and to encourage any one specific type of growth would be dangerous and should be looked at carefully and if by encouraging this type of growth is something else being squelched.

Earnie Best, 951 Oshtemo Trace, commented he was speaking as President elect of the Home Builders Association and represented the Realtors Association on the task force. He stated he would like to correct previous Planning Commission minutes that had quoted him as making a comment regarding open space development that there is too many elbow to elbow type situations; he commented that what he said was that everybody doesn't like to live elbow to elbow and there is a big difference in how somebody who lives in Quail Run or lives in the eastern side of the Township might look at something as compared to somebody on the western side. He stated he said that because three of the seven members of the commission either live in Quail Run or in a condominium off Drake Road to the best of his knowledge, and he just wanted them to be aware of the fact they may look at something as being very nice but somebody else may not look at it quite like that as Mr. Sikora just eluded to. He also stated he would like to go on record first of all saying that the Home Builders support the concept of open space preservation plats and also support the planning that has gone into this issue; there has been a lot of work these people put in, they should be commended for it although his association does not agree with all the things they came up with. Mr. Best further commented he understands the issue is because the Township has an open space preservation ordinance for quite a while, and in fact were leaders in the state, yet not many people have used it, only a half dozen or so, the issue is why and one of the reasons might be that maybe they were afraid they would not sell, it costs less money to put in an open space preservation plat, they are a new concept and the public has to buy it but it is hard to mandate in a free society economics and how people are going to live; you can mandate a developer or builder because they have to follow the rules the public does not and that is why the builders keep talking about the market impact has to be considered. He also commented he feels the Township wants to encourage people to use open space development, they support the concept and normally there are incentives to do that and after the task force met, the Planning Director came up with a really unique plan the Home Builders liked, which is the creative idea of density. He commented the plan called for was 1 unit per acre with no water and 1.5 units per acre with water, whereby there could be 50 units on 40 acres and the 10 extra lots are a huge incentive to a developer. He also commented the market has not yet been established for the open space development and banks oversee the developers and builders and the developments do not sell, the banks will not lend the money. He reiterated he felt the first proposal was extremely creative Rural Residential without water 1 unit per acre with 100 foot width but the commission wanted 1.5 units per acre so instead of having 40 lots on 40 acres there could be 26 and there will not be affordable houses, roads are a huge expense and while the commission may not be concerned about people wanting to live in Oshtemo, anyone who buys a new home shares in the cost of the infrastructure. He further commented it was smart growth but dumb planning by the commission; open space should not be mandated but given incentives. He further commented some townships do not want open space development and in fact Texas Township would be changing their ordinance so they would not have to comply with the new state law. He also commented people want quality of life, aesthetics, and affordability, which might not be achieved with open space in a Rural Residential zone with all the houses in the front and the open space in the back. He requested the Board look at the original proposal, which came from the Planning Director and task force not the Planning Commission.

Mr. Svihra reiterated the 1991 and 2001 survey results, which supported the vision of the Master Land Use Plan for distinction of density between the eastern and western sides of the Township.

Motion by Bushouse, second by Worline to hold a Township Board/Planning Commission work session meeting on July 30th at 6:00 p.m. to discuss the proposed recommendations. Carried.


Trustee Worline commented he was pleased with the attendance at the public information meeting on June 24th regarding the police district expansion.

There was no further business and the meeting was adjourned at approximately 8:35 p.m.

Township Clerk Supervisor
Attested: John VanDyke