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June 26, 2003


GOLF SERVICES - SPECIAL EXCEPTION USE REVIEW - 6958 WEST MAIN STREET - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-14-155-013, 3905-14-105-051 AND 3905-14-105-012)


A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Planning Commission on Thursday, June 26, 2003, commencing at approximately 7:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Neil G. Sikora, Chairperson
Kathleen Garland-Rike
Elizabeth Heiny-Cogswell
James Turcott
Lee Larson

MEMBERS ABSENT: Deborah L. Everett
Mike Ahrens

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


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


Mr. Larson moved to approve the Agenda as submitted. Mr. Turcott seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.


The Planning Commission considered the minutes of the meeting of June 12, 2003. Mr. Turcott moved to approve the minutes as submitted, and Ms. Garland-Rike seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

GOLF SERVICES - SPECIAL EXCEPTION USE REVIEW - 6958 WEST MAIN STREET - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-14-155-013, 3905-14-105-051 AND 3905-14-105-012)

The Planning Commission considered the application of Services Realty LLC (Paul DeHaan and Joel Pinkham) for a special exception use and site plan review of a proposed relocation of an existing golf driving range and pro shop, as well as relocation of the hockey retail/pro shop. The facility would also include the addition of a hockey training center on the property. The proposed project involves the existing site and the purchase and lease of land to the north. The property is located at 6958 West Main Street within the "R-2" Residence District and "C" Local Business District classifications. The property consists of Parcel Nos. 3905-14-155-013, 3905-14-105-051 and 3905-14-105-012.

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

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell stated that she would be recusing herself due to conflict of interest in that she had worked on the plan through her employment. Ms. Garland-Rike moved to allow Ms. Heiny-Cogswell abstention, and Mr. Larson seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

Ms. Stefforia presented a description of the property and the area. She noted that the driving range would be relocated to property within the "R-2" Residence District. Therefore, special exception use approval was needed. Further, the hockey training facility would constitute an indoor recreational use that required special exception use review and approval. The entire redevelopment of the site requires site plan review. Ms. Stefforia noted that the existing buildings would remain on the property.

With regard to the relocation of the driving range to the north, the back three acres of 1907 North 9th Street would be purchased by the applicant, and the abutting northern 17 acres would be leased for the driving range. The tees would be located on the land owned by the applicants, and the balls would fall on the leased property.

Ms. Stefforia made reference to the criteria of Section 60.100 concerning special exception review and approval. She also referred to Section 20.401, which is applicable to outdoor recreational use. However, due to the nature of the driving range, she did not feel that the provisions of Section 20.401 were necessarily applicable other than those that would be addressed under site plan review.

Ms. Stefforia discussed the cross-access which was planned for establishment to the Menards and On Target parcels.

As to the driveway along the easterly side of the property, Ms. Stefforia suggested that this drive be moved to a point at least ten feet from the property line so that Type A greenspace could be established between the two commercial properties.

She suggested that the Planning Commission discuss parking with the applicant. She noted that the applicant had been in the business for a long time and felt that the proposed parking arrangement was adequate. Ms. Stefforia was suggesting a deviation be granted to the applicant with the provision of additional areas for establishment of parking in the future, if necessary.

As to landscaping, Ms. Stefforia felt that the existing tree line along the west line was adequate. However, she felt that the issue of landscaping along this line should be revisited if the applicant sought further development in this area.

She stated that no Township Fire Department comments had yet been received. Ms. Stefforia stated that public sewer and water would serve the site. It was noted that the Township Engineer was suggesting that an easement be granted by the applicant to the north property line for possible future extension of public water and sewer through the applicant's property.

The Chairperson had questions concerning what would trigger the requirement of plantings along the west line. Ms. Stefforia felt that a parking lot expansion or an additional building would trigger consideration of additional screening along the west line.

With regard to the recreational activities at the site, it was recognized that the Ordinance does not have any specific criteria for indoor recreational use. However, the facilities would need to meet the Building Code.

Paul Warnick was present along with Joel Pinkham and Paul DeHaan on behalf of the applicants. Mr. Warnick noted some small changes from the site plan since the conceptual plan review. He noted the gravel drive near the golf services building. Further, the Menards' connection had been shifted. The proposed parking for On Target had been slightly reconfigured to add four additional spaces. He stressed that there would be no lighting of the tees and range. There would be no grandstand in the hockey training facility.

As to the Menards' connection, Paul DeHaan reported that Menards had given its verbal "O.K." to the connection as shown. The easements and other agreements were "in the works". Mr. Warnick described the proposed parking stating that, in his opinion, the golf range parking was adequate given the additional parking on-site for retail services. He noted that parking could be added to the south parking lot by extending the parking lot to the west. Concerning the hockey facility, additional spaces could be added if necessary.

There was a discussion of the island in the parking lot of the On Target site. There was concern by the applicant that, if this island were made too large, it would interfere with the ability of semi's to access the site. He suggested a curbed landscape island not to exceed eight feet in width.

Mr. Warnick stated that the applicant had met with the Township Engineer and agreed to an easement to the north line for water and sewer extension. He described the timing of the proposed construction at the site.

Mr. Turcott had questions concerning the driving range area. He wondered what would prevent the balls from rolling further than 300 yards. The applicant stated that an additional 40 or 50 yards on the parcel would not be mowed. Therefore, the balls would be caught in this area. It was felt that there would be no ability for any golfer to hit past the property line.

Concerning moving the drive ten feet from the east line, the applicant indicated that this, and the addition of landscaping in that area, would not be a problem. The applicant indicated that the area west of the buildings would be left natural with the planting of wild flowers.

Mr. Turcott had questions concerning the hours of operation, and the applicant stated that the hockey rink would be open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

In response to questions from Ms. Garland-Rike, the applicant stated that the house to the west was approximately 600 feet away, and the house to the north/northeast was approximately 550 feet from the site.

The Chairperson sought public comment, and Mike Pattison, a North 9th Street resident had questions concerning the proposed use. It was explained that the area in which the golf balls would be landing was already graded, and that the north "weeds" would remain.

The public hearing was closed, and the Planning Commission commenced a discussion of Section 60.100. As to whether the proposed use would be compatible with other uses expressly permitted within the zoning district, it was the consensus that the use would be compatible. It was recognized that the redevelopment was essentially a relocation of uses historically present at the site. The use in question would provide a transition between the busy 9th Street/West Main commercial corner and abutting residential uses.

As to whether the proposed use would be detrimental or injurious to the use or development of adjacent properties, it was noted that, other than the addition of the indoor hockey training center, the proposed project does not introduce any new uses of the property. It was noted that the current use of the property had not so far been detrimental.

Planning Commissioners felt that public health, safety and welfare would be served by the proposed use in that it would include a cross-access with Menards and On Target. Further, it was recognized that there would be no outdoor lights proposed at the driving range.

Planning Commissioners felt that the proposed use would encourage use of the land in accordance with its character and adaptability. There would be grading at the site no matter what use was made of the property. Ms. Garland-Rike felt that the applicant was making good use of the topography in that the driving range would be hidden by the hill in front.

Planning Commissioners concluded that the applicant satisfied Section 20.401 as to the driving range.

The applicant confirmed that public rest rooms would be offered in the golf pro shop for patrons of the driving range.

The Planning Commission reviewed Section 82.800 concerning site plan review.

Mr. Turcott moved to approve the special exception use, finding that the proposed uses met the criteria of Section 60.100, and Mr. Larson seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

Ms. Garland-Rike moved to approve the site plan with the following conditions, limitations and notations:

(1) That the existing West Main Street curb cut would continue to serve the site. A cross-access would be established with the Menards' parcel. A copy of the executed and recorded cross-access easement and cross-access arrangement was required to be on file with the Township.

(2) That the drive on the east be relocated at least ten feet from the east line, and Type A landscaping established in the 10-foot-wide strip.

(3) That the paved area on the north side of On Target include an 8-foot-wide landscaped island to help delineate the driving area subject to approval of Township Staff.

(4) That, with regard to the cross-access with Menards, the design is subject to Township approval. The reconfiguration of the cross-access with On Target is subject to Township approval of the design.

(5) That deviation from the parking requirements were granted with the requirement that the general areas for establishment of additional parking, if deemed necessary by the Township in the future, be shown on the site plan.

(6) That it was determined that the landscaping along the west line, as existing, was adequate. However, the Township reserved the right to re-evaluate and require additional landscaping if further development, including parking, occurred on the site.

(7) That landscaping be installed consistent with the approved landscaping plan prior to issuance of a certificate of occupancy or a performance guarantee must be provided to the Township pursuant to the Zoning Ordinance.

(8) That site lighting shall comply with Section 78.700 of the Zoning Ordinance.

(9) That a sign permit consistent with Section 76.000 must be secured before any wall signs may be placed on the property or changes made to existing freestanding signage.

(10) That the approval is subject to the review and approval of the Township Fire Department and the conditions imposed thereby.

(11) That the site plan approval is subject to the review and acceptance of the Township Engineer of site engineering.

(12) That an Earth Change Permit from the Kalamazoo County Drain Commissioner must be secured before a building permit may be released.

(13) That a copy of the executed and recorded easement allowing extension of water and sewer to the north property line of the applicant be on file with the Township.

(14) It was noted that the applicant would provide public rest rooms indoors on-site for patrons of the driving range.

(15) That no outdoor P.A. system or speakers would be utilized on-site.

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


The Planning Commission considered a conceptual plan of a proposed PUD development containing 152 dwelling units on 38.5 acres. The subject property is located in the "R-2" Residence District on the south side of "H" Avenue, east of U.S. 131, and is Parcel No. 3905-12-205-011.

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

Ms. Bugge reported that the PUD would not contain a commercial component and would be entirely residential, consisting of two, three, and four-family dwellings. Ms. Bugge reviewed the criteria of Section 60.400, noting that, if the property were developed to the maximum allowed for plats with single-family dwellings and public sewer, 158 dwellings could be established; 152 dwellings were proposed by the applicant for the PUD. There would be 73 units in Phase 1 and 79 units in Phase 2.

Ms. Bugge reviewed the design standards noting, as to access, that the applicant was suggesting a gated entry onto "H" Avenue. The access point met the Access Management Guidelines for driveway spacing. The applicant was proposing all interior streets be private with a driving surface of 24 feet. The private streets would have a 66-foot-wide easement. Ms. Bugge asked the Planning Commission to consider whether the interior streets should be public streets extended to the property lines to allow for connection with future development on adjacent properties.

Ms. Bugge also expressed concern with four driveways adjacent to the entrance. In addition, she felt that the orientation on some driveways on dead-end courts would be problematic because cars would be backing out of the driveway and could not turn around to use a forward movement while exiting the court.

Concerning landscaping, Ms. Bugge suggested, since the PUD is a special exception use in the "R-2" District, that a "C" 20-foot-wide greenspace around perimeter of the property be established. Credit would be given for existing tree lines that are on the property of the applicant.

Ms. Bugge expressed concern with the use of the "Westport" name for one of the drives. She felt that, given the notoriety of the WestPort Plats, this would cause confusion for residents and for emergency responders.

Dan Lewis, Engineer for the applicant, was present to answer questions. He stated that the Westport name had been approved by the County. It was noted that this meant that the County had determined that the Westport name was not used on any other Township street in the County.

As to the public street issue, Mr. Lewis stated that the adjacent properties and interior lands had other access to public streets. The parcel to the north had an access and frontage on Drake Road, and the parcel to the west had frontage on "H" Avenue. He stated that the applicant wanted the flexibility of private streets so as to provide a gated community and a boulevard. He emphasized that the Kalamazoo County Road Commission would not allow a boulevard or gated situation.

Mr. Lewis stated that, as to the four units on the northwest corner, the applicant could decrease this to two units. There was a discussion of use of a "eyebrow" so that the four units did not directly exit onto the boulevard. Mr. Lewis stated that the applicant was working on the design of some of the dead-end courts where backing was a problem.

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell asked for information concerning the proposed walking path, and the applicant indicated no materials had yet been determined.

Mr. Larson had questions concerning the storm water retention areas. Mr. Lewis stated that the main area would be in the "current low spot" at the front of the property. This would be a "flatter" area and would not be an obvious pond. It was planning to be "dry", and there would be no fencing. Mr. Larson suggested use of the "rain garden" concept.

Dan Visser was present, stating that berming would be considered along "H" Avenue wherever grading allowed it. Mr. Visser stated that he had talked with people concerning the proposed development as a kind of market analysis. The development is intended for "empty nesters". They felt that gated communities and private roads would be a selling point for the development. Mr. Visser stressed that the roads would be constructed to public road standards with the exception of the paved width being narrower. Mr. Visser was concerned about the timing of the establishment of sewer and water since this project could not be completed prior to the availability of these utilities.

Steve Visser was also present, stressing that the Westport name for the road was important to the "identity" of the development. He did not feel that confusion would be serious in using this name. However, the applicant was willing to alter the name to Westport Village Road. Mr. Visser, however, stated that it was unlikely the applicant would go forward with the project if the roads were public.

As to landscaping, Ms. Stefforia suggested that the Planning Commission consider whether Type C was necessary around the entire perimeter, given that the PUD would be entirely residential. Ms. Bugge felt that the type of building warranted Type C landscaping, particularly along "H" Avenue. The applicant stated that the buildings would be one story. Mr. Visser agreed that additional landscaping would be added along the perimeter of the site and to the interior of the project. Landscaping plans, however, had not reached the preliminary stage yet. Ms. Stefforia suggested that the applicant provide a landscaping proposal in the next application phase, and that the Planning Commission "react to it". It was noted that the applicant would be leaving the perimeter largely natural and supplementing it. However, the greatest amount of landscaping would be added along "H" Avenue. It was suggested that a landscape architect could be an invaluable resource for landscaping and the PUD layout.

Concerning whether the interior road system would be private or public, Ms. Heiny-Cogswell expressed concern about connectivity. In her opinion, allowing for an all private interior road system would inhibit the ability to meet the goal of connecting properties in this area. Mr. Larson felt that, given the concept of the development, it was necessary for the interior roads to be private. He felt it was the gated community aspect and private boulevards which would make the project "go". Ms. Garland-Rike stated that she could see both points of view, but was somewhat concerned about connectivity. Ms. Stefforia stated that, in her opinion, there was some opportunity for connectivity in this area, given the property which was under common ownership and control in the vicinity of this parcel. The Chairperson stated that he did not have a problem with the community being gated or the streets being private. Mr. Larson agreed with Ms. Stefforia that there were other opportunities for connectivity if the need arose. It was the consensus of the Planning Commission that they were generally favorable toward the gated and private road concept, but would like to see a revised plan showing an interior private road system that did not have the "problems" of the current proposal.


There was a reshuffle of the dias.


There being no further business to come before the Planning Commission, the meeting was adjourned at 9:14 p.m.


Kathleen Garland-Rike, Secretary
Minutes prepared:
July 1, 2003

Minutes approved:
, 2003