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Meeting Minutes

March 25, 1999







A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Planning Commission on Thursday, March 25, 1999, commencing at approximately 7:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall, pursuant to notice.

Members present:

Wilfred Dennie, Chairperson
Ken Heisig
Ted Corakis
Millard Loy
Elizabeth Heiny-Cogswell
Stanley Rakowski
Marvin Block

Members Absent: None

Also present were Jodi Stefforia, Planning Director, Mary Lynn Bugge, Township Planner, Patricia R. Mason, Township Attorney, and nine (9) other interested persons.


The Chairperson called the meeting to order at 7:02 p.m.


The Chairperson suggested adding under "Other Business" the reshuffle of dias seating.

Mr. Loy moved to approve the agenda as amended, and Ms. Heiny-Cogswell seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.


The Planning Commission next considered the minutes of the meeting of March 11, 1999. Mr. Heisig pointed out a typographical error on page 3.

Mr. Block moved to approve the minutes as amended, and Mr. Heisig seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.


The next item was the application of Dan Wilkinson for conceptual and site plan review, as well as special exception use approval, for a proposed site condominium open space community creating 15 residential building sites. The subject property is located north off Almena Drive, between 1st and 2nd Streets, and is within the "AG" Agricultural-Rural District zoning classification. The item had been tabled from the meeting of February 25, 1999.

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

The Chairperson called upon Mr. Heisig to discuss the major issues raised by the Planning Commission at the preceding meeting. Mr. Heisig reminded the Planning Commission that one of the main issues was access to the site. Mr. Heisig noted that the Planning Commission’s concern that there to be two points was addressed in the revised plan. Access would be provided from both Almena Drive and 1st Street, and vehicle circulation on the property would consist of a 24’-wide privately owned and maintained interior street. Additionally, the Planning Commission had been concerned at the previous meeting with whether the project was truly an "open-space type" of development. He noted that some citizens had expressed concern regarding noise. Further, concern about refueling at the site was expressed. However, the applicant indicated that the runway would not be a refueling stop. The main focus of the project was an interior open space area consisting of a grass runway. There had been some discussion at the previous meeting concerning helicopters, and it was Mr. Heisig’s understanding that, pursuant to the licensing of the runway, helicopters would be allowed.

The Chairperson asked whether other development options had been considered. It was recognized that the condominium development method most comfortably fit the proposal of the applicant due to the desire that the runway be common space in which the condominium subdivision owners would have an interest. However, the runway would be a "licensed airport," and all airplanes could access the site, not just those owned by residents of the subdivision. Nevertheless, it was pointed out that the runway currently exists and is licensed.

The applicant, Dan Wilkinson, was present and addressed changes made regarding ingress and egress to the site as a result of the previous meeting of the Planning Commission. The applicant acknowledged that there were no restrictions on the number of planes which could utilize the airport since it is a "public-use airport." The airport is licensed by the FAA and Michigan Department of Transportation. He stated that it is "mainly a daylight operation." Further, he felt that the length of the runway and its nature as a "grass runway" would limit the size of planes which would land. The planes would be mostly those of "recreational fliers." No utility buildings would be established in the runway open space. There would be no maintenance of the runway with the exception of mowing and snow removal. He noted that one existing building at the site might be saved for storage of mowing and snow removal equipment.

Mr. Block questioned the applicant as to whether the runway was in use in winter. The applicant stated that it is plowed and is used except in very bad weather.

Mr. Rakowski asked about the maintenance requirements of the FAA and MDOT. The applicant stated that the runway consisted of "uncontrolled air space, a class C license." There were no maintenance requirements, and airplanes were to use the runway at their own discretion.

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

The Chairperson acknowledged a letter from a Township resident received by the Township the preceding day, expressing concerns regarding safety. The Chairperson noted that, while safety was a concern with regard to special exception use criteria, most concerns expressed in the letter were beyond the purview of the Planning Commission. The Chairperson asked the applicant about emergency access, and the applicant illustrated the access points on the drawing of the site.

There was discussion of whether the interior road should be private or public in nature. Ms. Stefforia pointed out that public road standards were "more stringent" and would result in a road of more width, etc., than was needed. Further, public road standards applied at the site might be contrary to the open space community concept in this instance in that they would not be in keeping with maintaining a "rural character."

Planning Commission members discussed whether an airstrip or runway would qualify as "open space." The Chairperson pointed out that the intent of the open space community was to maintain the rural character of the area. He asked the Planning Commission to consider how the airstrip would meet this intent. The Chairperson recognized that the runway would be open, unpaved and "grass." The only "improvement" on the airstrip would be maintenance in regard to mowing and snow removal.

Mr. Block stated that he felt this was a good use of land and felt that the stacking of the houses on one side of the runway (single loading) would constitute clustering. Mr. Loy felt it was significant that there would be no change to the present use of the property as a runway. Mr. Rakowski stated he felt that the open space community intent was served in that the runway preserved an open space recreational area. He felt it was significant that other development/building sites could have been established in the runway area. Ms. Heiny-Cogswell agreed, stating that she felt it was important that the runway was the focal recreational area for the development.

In response to questioning by Ms. Heiny-Cogswell, Ms. Stefforia stated that, if there were a change in use of the runway, the applicant would need to return to the Planning Commission for approval.

Ms. Stefforia recommended placing a stipulation on the project that each building site be limited to one hangar and one additional accessory building, such as a pole barn or shed. Further, she suggested restricting the placement of the accessory buildings on a site before the principal building (the house) was at least 50% complete. This stipulation would prevent the site from being developed with only hangar buildings and no houses.

She noted that the Fire Department had approved the layout at the site and had been advised by the applicant that no fueling of planes would take place on the property.

The Chairperson asked whether the hangar buildings were accessory buildings under the Ordinance. The Township Attorney responded that, since the recreational feature of the development was the grass runway, she felt that the hangar buildings would be accessory to the primary residential use. Further, size of accessory buildings was not controlled in the Ordinance but could be addressed as they would relate to the criteria for special exception use.

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell expressed the opinion that the layout of the proposed site did not meet the "clustering" requirement for open space communities. She felt there could be changes to the layout which would result in clustering. She illustrated her suggestions, using the color layout representation. Ms. Heiny-Cogswell stated that she felt the clustering requirement was a fundamental standard for the open space community concept.

Mr. Loy said that, in his opinion, the project did meet the clustering requirement, noting that the project was single loaded; and he felt that the design "clustered" the residences to one side of the property.

Mr. Loy moved to approve the special exception use permit and grant site plan approval with the finding that the criteria for special use permit stated under Section 60.100 had been met. The following conditions, limitations and notations were stated:

(1) That the analysis of significant natural, cultural and geographical features on and near the site as required in Section 60.580 was waived in that there were no such features at the site.

(2) That staff would prepare a narrative describing how the open space community was supported by the Master Land Use Plan.

(3) That the Master Deed and Bylaws be reviewed and approved by the Township Attorney and staff and that all changes thereto be consistent with the approval of the Township Planning Commission.

(4) That use of the open space was limited to grass runway, and any changes to that use must be approved by the Planning Commission.

(5) That each building site would be limited to one hangar and one additional accessory building, such as a pole barn or shed.

(6) That the placement of any accessory building at the site before the principal building (house) is at least 50% complete is prohibited.

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

(8) That the stormwater management system is subject to acceptance by the Township Engineer based upon finding that the plans are adequate. The stormwater retention area is not required to be fenced.

(9) That no street lighting has been proposed or approved for the project.

(10) That the private interior street system with access to public streets at two locations (Almena Drive and 1st Street) is approved and must be built to design standards approved by Township staff.

(11) That no fueling of planes would occur on site, and therefore the development would be consistent with the Groundwater Protection Standards.

Mr. Rakowski seconded the motion. The motion carried 6:1 with Ms. Heiny-Cogswell voting in opposition.



The next item was the application for site plan review of a proposed six-unit site condominium industrial development. The subject property is located at 7333 Stadium Drive on the south side of Stadium Drive between 7th and 8th Streets and is within the "I-1" Industrial District zoning classification.

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

Jim McCarty of Delta Design and Jamie Dyer of Wightman-Ward were present on behalf of the applicant. Mr. McCarty stated that the project would be served by city water and municipal sewer. He noted that they were going to put as much stormwater as possible in the "natural area." This natural area would serve as a common retention basin for the entire site. Individual site plans might also include stormwater retention plans. For example, the site plan approval had already been received for lot #2, which included its own retention system.

The Chairperson pointed out that there had been complaints in this area regarding runoff onto the street and other properties. The Chairperson was concerned that there might be runoff from lots #2, #6, etc., to lot #5 and then from lot #5 to other properties. The applicant again stated that lot #2 would have its own retention site. He expected that other individual lots would have their own system for dealing with stormwater runoff. A berm had been placed temporarily along Stadium Drive frontage to limit the problem. The permanent solution would be the common retention system and the systems on individual sites.

Ms. Stefforia reported that the Township Engineer had approved the common retention system for the project’s road and had found that the pond would have sufficient capacity to take some runoff from individual sites.

Street lighting is proposed for the project. A private interior street would serve the condominium project but would be built to public road standards.

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

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

(1) That all building sites be served by access to a private street, built to public road-industrial standards. The private street would have only one access to Stadium Drive. The location of the access to Stadium Drive would be approved by the Kalamazoo County Road Commission.


(2) That approval was subject to the review and approval by the Township Attorney and Township staff of the Master Deed and Bylaws. These documents must be provided and accepted prior to issuance of a building permit for the second building in the development. Any changes to the Master Deed or Bylaws must be consistent with the Planning Commission approval.

(3) That all building sites would be served by public water and sewer.

(4) That all lighting must meet the standards of Section 78.700.

(5) That approval was subject to the review and approval and conditions imposed by the Township Engineer. It was recognized that each individual building site would handle its own stormwater.

(6) That development of individual building sites would be subject to site plan review by the Zoning Board of Appeals.

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



The next item was the application of Kimberly Woodard for Maple Hill Mall and Tim Jenkins for W.G. Wade Shows, Inc., for special exception use approval and site plan review for a ten-day outdoor carnival event involving outdoor sales and activities. The subject property is located at 5050 West Main Street within the "C-1" Local Business District zoning classification.

The report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference. It was noted that the applicants were proposing a ten-day outdoor carnival event similar to that which had been conducted by Wade Shows, Inc., at the mall in 1998. The location would be approximately 20’ further to the east and south than last year in order to avoid any conflict with Office Max parking.

Kimberly Woodard was present, stating that the carnival in 1998 was very successful in the amount of money raised and the number of people in attendance. The carnival would be conducted between April 29 and May 9, 1999. She felt that any concerns expressed by the Township during the carnival the preceding year had been quickly addressed. She noted that the mall was presently at approximately 49% occupancy. Based on that occupancy, approximately 805 parking spaces were needed. The number of spaces provided at the mall were 1,561, leaving in excess of 756 spaces. After the reduction of spaces utilized by the event and its patrons, there would remain in excess of 266 parking spaces. She stated that the storage and living quarters for carnival workers would be located to the back (north side) of the mall property in approximately 100 parking spaces.

John Marquette of Wade Shows, Inc., was also present and indicated on a drawing where the carnival would take place.

The Chairperson had questions on security, and Ms. Woodard stated that Maple Hill Mall would continue with its current security, i.e., two security guards, one of which will continue to patrol the parking areas. Additionally, Wade Shows, Inc., would hire two more security guards to work during the carnival’s busiest hours, i.e., on the weekends. The dumpster would be located to the back by the theatre so as not to be visible to the public. There would be daily clean-up of the site, and they would notify BFI when the 30-yard dumpster needed to be emptied. The port-a-johns would be located facing west on the east side of the carnival setup.

Mr. Corakis had questions with regard to the living quarters, and Mr. Marquette stated that there would be 12 individual trailers and living quarters located at the property. Their plumbing would be served on an as-needed basis at the same time as the port-a-johns were emptied. Approximately 38-55 persons would be employed at the site. There would be temporary fencing at entrances and around the rides.

The Chairperson asked for public comment, and Marty Spires, Target manager, stated that Target’s legal counsel had suggested to her that she attend the meeting and indicate that Target’s position was that the use should be denied. Target claimed that there was a recorded restriction or agreement between Target and the mall owners prohibiting this type of event. The Township Attorney responded that the Township could not apply or enforce private agreements. However, the Township could look at whether there would be a negative impact from the event to Target or its business.

Don Brady, General Manager for the mall, was present, stating that last year no opposition had been expressed by Target or any other major user at the mall site. He stated he felt that the event would not have a negative impact on Target but would bring customers to the area.

The Chairperson noted that the application was very similar to that that had been approved last year. There was a slight shifting of the location, but otherwise the size was similar. The Chairperson made reference to the minutes of the meeting of April 2, 1998.

As to the electrical service, it would be self-contained. In the response to questioning by the Chairperson, the applicant indicated some water would be pulled from the mall.

Ms. Stefforia noted that the Township Fire Department had been consulted and that they had indicated that there were no major problems with the event last year.

Mr. Loy observed it seemed that it would be beneficial to the area to bring customers to the "west side." He felt that this would be a benefit to Target and the other businesses. The Chairperson agreed.

Mr. Corakis moved to grant special exception use permit to the temporary use pursuant to the preceding discussion and upon a finding that the proposed application met the criteria of Sections 60.100 and 31.403. Approval was conditioned upon:

(1) Compliance with Building, Electrical and Fire Code Ordinances, as well as the Township Noise Ordinance;

(2) Finalization of adequate security arrangements and provision of documentation regarding same on file with the Township;

(3) Compliance with Health Department requirements.

He further moved to approve the site plan for temporary use with the following conditions, limitations and notations:

(1) That the adequacy of parking, considering the spaces which would be utilized by the event, was found to be sufficient based upon the current vacancy rate of the mall and the fact it was a temporary event.

(2) That, with regard to on-site security for the event, the documentation regarding an adequate arrangement must be submitted and on file with the Township.

(3) That the use shall meet the requirements/limitations of the Township’s Noise Ordinance.

(4) That the approval was subject to the review and approval of the Township Fire Department, as well as Building and Electrical Inspector.

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



Ms. Heiny-Cogswell made mention of the proposed sewer project in the vicinity of 10th Street. Mr. Block stated that there were ongoing discussions between the Township and the Road Commission concerning extension of the sewer past West Main along 10th Street.


There was a drawing of lots for the seating reassignments.


There being no further business to come before the Commission, the meeting was adjourned at 9:10 p.m.

Minutes prepared:
March 26, 1999

Minutes approved:
April 8, 1999