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Meeting Minutes

May 13, 1999









The Oshtemo Charter Township Planning Commission on Thursday, May 13, 1999 conducted a meeting, commencing at approximately 7:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall.

Members present:

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

Also present were Jodi Stefforia, Planning Director and Mary Lynn Bugge, Township Planner.


The Chairperson called the meeting to order at 7:03 p.m.


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


The Planning Commission next considered the minutes of the meeting of April 29, 1999. Mr. Block moved to approve the minutes with minor revision, and Mr. Rakowski seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.


Mr. Jack Decker, a representative of Consumers Energy (CE) from Jackson, MI presented verbal and graphic information concerning co-location of carrier telecommunication antenna equipment on Consumer Energy electrical transmission towers. The information was presented as an option that has worked successfully elsewhere in the state. According to Ms. Stefforia several inquiries have been made to the Township concerning co-location and therefore the planning commission may soon be in a position to review application for this form of co-location.

CE has a grid of 6000 towers providing service throughout much of Michigan. They currently have general lease agreements (of landlord/tenant nature) with 14-15 carriers for co-location on 70 tower installations. Antenna installations occur on the two types of tower structures, the monopole and the steel frame lattice.

Details of several towers illustrated the equipment panel cabinets and shelter structures. In these examples, the cabinets (approximately 3 feet square) were not fenced, and the shelter building (approximately 10 feet square) was fenced. CE permits no fencing around the perimeter of the tower due to tower maintenance and access concerns; shelters must be outside of the tower base in order to be fenced. Another example illustrated the cabinets surrounded by protective bollards and upright shrubbery.

Mr. Dennie inquired whether CE co-locates antennae from more than one carrier on a tower. Mr. Decker responded that usually the situation is one tenant per tower. In addition, the tower can be extended vertically for the carrier, usually 10-12 feet. In Mr. Decker"s experience around the state, equipment panel cabinets typically do not fall under fencing ordinance requirements.

Mr. Dennie asked whether CE is involved in interactions with the FCC concerning these co-locations. Mr. Decker stated that it is the carrier"s responsibility to receive FCC approval. If the antennae are to be at a height over 200 feet, then there is FAA involvement.

Further, Mr. Dennie raised the issue of whether or not this type of co-location was limited to certain land use districts. Mr. Decker stated that in his experience co-location is preferable to carriers because of the greater speed in erecting antennae, and because it is not necessary to construct new towers. Ms. Stefforia clarified that in Oshtemo Township towers are a special exception use in all but industrial districts.

CE maintains towers. Monopole installations require power outage during installation and rerouting of power by CE.

Ms. Bugge stated that CE has been asked to provide the Township with tower mapping information.

Mr. Decker stated that CE has no objections to landscaping. Accessibility must be maintained and mature tree height must not interfere with power lines. In closing, other examples of tower camouflage possibilities were shown (within signs, as giant trees, in church steeples).


After the Planning Commission public hearing on the storm water text amendment, the proposed text revisions were sent to the Township Board. The Township attorney expressed some concerns with the language, particularly with regard to lack of information addressing the problem of soil erosion. The present draft reflects changes which the Township planning staff, Township engineer, and attorney have developed using state guidelines for construction erosion control. These changes were presented for Planning Commission review.


Mr. Dennie reviewed the proposed text changes. Pertaining to section 78.510, Mr. Heisig specified that review comments from the Township engineer should be submitted in writing. In order to reflect the Commission intention to strongly encourage the use of a surface system of filtered storm water percolation, Ms. Heiny-Cogswell suggested the use of whenever possible in lieu of where possible in section 78.520 d).

Several board members questioned the need of providing detailed erosion control methods in section 78.530 d), given the evolutionary nature of state guidelines. After discussion it was suggested that the section make reference to the state guidelines and methods for erosion control, and create a separate handout of specific erosion control methods for distribution.

Mr. Dennie noted that the proposed soil control changes strengthen the ordinance. Mr. Corakis moved that the text be sent back to the Township Board. Mr. Rakowski seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.



A video from the American Planning Association on sign regulation was viewed in light of the upcoming June work session on sign ordinance text revisions. The major focus of the video was on visual pollution (information not wanted or asked for) with a focus on appearance issues. Currently four states, which have a large tourism industry, have strong billboard controls. The affect of strict sign ordinance policies in Holland, MI and Raleigh, NC was shown. It was stated that by controlling the size and number of permitted signs that less cost is involved and individual drivers, etc. can see what they are looking for. The point was made that businesses want to be involved in the discussion about community appearance.

The planning staff will obtain examples of sign ordinances from the two noted cities, as well as information on Michigan law pertaining to amortization of non-conforming signs subsequent to any sign Ordinance revision.


Discussion pertaining to various Township open space community development success commenced with Mr. Dennie questioning recent procedures regarding Sky View Estates. As presented the development does not meet the goals of the open space ordinance for some stated criteria, such as for required clustering, but did meet other minimum open space requirements. The issue was again raised to the board as to whether the development could have used another means to achieve Township approval. Mr. Dennie stressed that the crux of the issue falls to design failure in achieving the clustering affect. Approval of projects that do not meet criteria for open space plans could make the job of open space community review more difficult for the Planning Commission in the future.

Mr. Block stated that Stratford Hills and Buckham Highlands open space community looks like many other plats; the open space is not readily visible. Mr. Dennie stated his opinion that the Township needs to be assertive in requesting design revisions if a developer wants an open space community. Ms. Heiny-Cogswell pointed out the successful preservation of the existing mature pine woods at the H Avenue open space project, but that other projects were not as meaningful in what the open space achieved. Mr. Loy disagreed and felt that much had been accomplished through the new ordinance, with much depending on the type and location of property. Mr. Loy noted that revisions to the Stratford Hills layout were made subsequent to Planning Commission approval.

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell expressed the view that it would be appropriate to seek professional site design consultation and comment pertaining to open space criteria, such as is sought from an engineer for storm water issues. Ms. Stefforia stated that the Township planning staff is qualified to evaluate site design for meeting open space criteria. Mr. Dennie pointed out that the appropriate timing for this specific criteria evaluation is during the sketch plan review.


Mr. Heisig noted the recent GM industrial plant sale to the Hackman real estate development group. From his work with the company, he has found them to be very professional, creative, and ethical and he feels that innovative use will be made of the facility. Mr. Dennie noted that the joint meeting has been rescheduled. He also felt that the recently received County planning policy statement booklet was well-written and that the policy statements were nicely done, and if followed by all concerned governing entities, would have a tremendously positive impact on the area.

Mr. Loy regrettably noted a recent ZBA Quail Meadows setback variance issue and asked the Planning Commission to maintain its previous decision to not vary from setback requirements in the future for the development. Ms. Stefforia stated that the applicant would not be applying to the Planning Commission, but instead had decided to move the structure.

Mr. Rakowski mentioned that a gas line was to be extended along 2nd Street, south from H to J Ave and he questioned whether the extension could be extended further south. It was mentioned that it would be up to property owners to petition for such an extension. He noted the siting of semi-trailers along Hwy. 131 in Alamo Township and questioned whether our ordinances prevented such unsightly siting. Ms. Stefforia stated that our ordinance does prevent such siting.

Mr. Corakis said that the Oshtemo Business Association has purchased 100 flags for streetscape display. Marvin Block informed the commission that the sewer extension from KL Ave north is underway, and that a new Township Clerk will be appointed June 1st at a special meeting. Ms. Stefforia said the H Ave road reconstruction project has been funded.





There being no further business to come before the Commission, the meeting was adjourned at 9: 20 p.m.


Minutes prepared:
May 14, 1999

Minutes approved:
May 27, 1999