March 16, 1998





A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Zoning Board of Appeals on Monday, March 16, 1998, commencing at approximately 3:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall, pursuant to notice.


Thomas Brodasky, Acting Chairperson
William Saunders
Lara Meeuwse


Brian Dylhoff

David Bushouse (abstaining from participation)

Also present were Mike West on behalf of the Planning and Zoning Department, Patricia R. Mason, Township Attorney, Scott Paddock and two (2) other interested persons.


The Acting Chairperson called the meeting to order at 3:01 p.m.


The Board considered the minutes of the meeting of February 23, 1998.

Ms. Meeuwse moved to approve the minutes as submitted, and Mr. Saunders seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.


The next item was the application of Oshtemo United Methodist Church for site plan review of the proposed conversion of 3,000 sq. ft. of basement area currently used for "storage" to "classrooms, nursery and/or office uses." Variance approval was also requested from the 20' rearline setback requirement as it applies to accessory buildings established by Section 64.300 of the Zoning Ordinance. The subject site is located at the northeast corner of Stadium Drive and Mill Creek Drive (6574 Stadium Drive) and is within the "C" Local Business District Zoning classification.

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

It was noted that David Bushouse, a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Township Board, had made the application on behalf of the church. However, Paul Vlachos, attorney for the applicant, stated he was present to represent the applicant in view of concerns regarding "conflict of interest." He stated that Mr. Bushouse did not want to create the appearance of impropriety and therefore he, Mr. Vlachos, would represent the applicant. However, Mr. Bushouse was present and available to answer questions.

Ms. Meeuwse moved to recognize and approve Mr. Bushouse's abstention from participation in Board discussion or action. Mr. Saunders seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

Mr. West noted that a 3000-sq.-ft. addition to the church had been approved in 1990. The use of the basement in this addition area was approved as "storage." The applicant now suggested an accessory use customarily incidental to the church be approved for the basement area. Mr. West noted that conditions numbered 6 and 7 in the 1990 approval concerned screening of the site. Condition 6 required that a pine tree buffer remain intact at the north boundary of the site. Condition 7 required that the applicant provide the Township with a copy of the legal document showing that the existing pine trees on the north boundary were located on church property. Mr. West noted that condition 6 had been met in that the pine tree buffer remains intact. However, no legal document showing the pine tree line is located on the church property had been presented to the Township.

No change to the existing access arrangement was proposed. Mr. West noted that the access arrangement is in compliance with Access Management Guidelines except with regard to driveway spacing. However, compliance with spacing requisites is "impossible," given the building location on the site. Further, the Fire Department is satisfied with the access arrangement. Mr. West felt that the Board could utilize these facts in support of deviation from the spacing requirement.

Mr. Vlachos again stated that the applicant is seeking site plan approval for use of the basement area and that only interior modifications to the site would be made, no exterior modifications, i.e., exterior to the building. Mr. Vlachos felt that there would be no additional need for parking in that this basement area would not be used at the same time church was in session. As to the pine tree line, he stated that the property descriptions for the church and the neighboring Mill Creek property indicated that there is some dispute as to an area of 5'. Mr. West noted that, even if the Mill Creek legal description were used, some of the tree line would be located on church property. There was discussion of how to handle the issue of screening between the church and the Mill Creek residential property. It was felt that it would be satisfactory to condition approval upon the retention of the tree line or replacement on church property if the tree line were destroyed.

Mr. Brodasky questioned the applicant with regard to parking. It was noted that the Zoning Ordinance requires a total of 34 spaces for the site. The site plan approved in 1990 showed 52 spaces. Mr. Vlachos stated that at some point the parking lot was restriped after resealing an only 47 spaces were now provided. However, it was felt elimination of five spaces had improved site circulation. Mr. West agreed, indicating that, in his opinion, the elimination of the spaces improved maneuverability. The Board was satisfied with the parking, but felt that a revised plan should be submitted to accurately reflect the parking lot area.

There was discussion of the portable reader board sign, which was at the property in violation of the Ordinance. Mr. Saunders questioned the applicant on this point, and it was noted that this sign had been removed.

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

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

(1) That no change to the existing access arrangement is proposed. The access arrangement meets the Access Management Guidelines of the Township except with regard to driveway spacing, but it was felt that deviation was appropriate in that the driveway could not be relocated in compliance to spacing requirements due to the location of the existing building and because the driveway serves Fire Department needs.

(2) That, as to parking, it was noted that 47 spaces had been proposed, which were more than adequate to meet Zoning Ordinance requirements. A revised site plan showing the existing parking arrangement is to be supplied to Township staff for review and approval. It was required that all parking be dimensioned as required by the Ordinance at 10' x 20'.

(3) That all barrier-free parking is subject to ADA and Michigan Barrier-Free Guidelines and must be designated by signage and pavement logo.

(4) That a refuse enclosure containing two herby-curbys is proposed along the northeast side of the 3,000-sq.-ft. church addition, and its location is subject to Fire Department review and approval.

(5) That modifications to the existing exterior lighting arrangement had not been proposed for the subject site, but any future modifications must be provided in compliance with the lighting guidelines of Section 78.700. A lighting proposal as to any modifications must be detailed for review and approval pursuant to Section 78.720(G).

(6) That the pine tree line on the north boundary of the property must be retained intact. It was noted that the applicant claims that this tree line is on church property. If the tree line is removed, it must be replaced with comparable landscaping. It was felt that no revised landscaping or landscape plan was needed due to the fact that changes at the site were to the interior of the building only.

(7) That approval is subject to the review and approval of the Township Fire Department.

(8) That issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy for the proposed change in use is contingent on final inspections/approvals from the Building, Mechanical, Electrical, Fire, Planning and Zoning Departments to insure compliance with all applicable standards, regulations and conditions.

The motion was seconded by Mr. Saunders and carried unanimously.

The Board next considered the proposed variance with regard to the location of the 12' x 24' storage shed. It was noted that this shed had been constructed without a building permit. A variance of 4' in the setback requirement was requested so as to place the shed in the northeast corner of the property. Mr. Vlachos stated that the area is abutting an "irregular property line" in that a portion of the property abuts a landlocked parcel utilized by AT&T for a communication tower. Mr. Vlachos felt that substantial justice would require the variance in that there would be no disruption of the area in question. He cited the application which had been considered by the Board regarding Edward Wilbur.

Mr. Brodasky questioned whether the shed could be brought into compliance by moving it south by 4'. It was noted that this would be possible only if the shed were decreased in size; otherwise, the shed would be placed in the parking lot, on the paved area, and interfere with site circulation.

It was pointed out that the Wilbur application had been denied.

There was some discussion of whether the ZBA decisions with regard to Dunshee and the Chime Street School were similar enough to the proposed application. In those instances, setback variances had been granted where the subject property abutted a right-of-way (railroad and AT&T).

After further discussion, it was noted that the applicant could place a storage building of approximately 12' x 20' in size in compliance with Ordinance standards.

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

After discussion, Ms. Meeuwse stated that she could not see how the variance could be justified, and Mr. Saunders agreed, given the nonuse variance criteria.

Mr. Vlachos stated that the applicant would withdraw its variance request but suggested that perhaps the storage building could be relocated into the parking area by eliminating certain parking spaces.

Mr. Saunders moved to approve a parking arrangement at the site which would provide parking in a number which complies with Zoning Ordinance requirements and that the reconfiguration of the parking area be reviewed and approved by Township staff. Ms. Meeuwse seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.


There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 3:58 p.m.

Minutes Approved:
April 6, 1998