May 4, 1998







A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Zoning Board of Appeals on Monday, May 4, 1998, commencing at approximately 3:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall, pursuant to notice.


Brian Dylhoff, Chairperson
Lara Meeuwse
Thomas Brodasky
David Bushouse (After 3:10 p.m.)

MEMBERS ABSENT: William Saunders

Also present were Rebecca Harvey and Mike West on behalf of the Planning and Zoning Department, Scott Paddock, Ordinance Enforcement Officer, Patricia R. Mason, Township Attorney, and approximately twenty-two (22) other interested persons.


The Chairperson called the meeting to order at 3:03 p.m.


The Board considered the minutes of the meeting of April 20, 1998. The changes suggested by Ms. Harvey were noted.

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



The next item was the application of Paul DeHaan, president of Golf Services, for Board interpretation of Section 20.401 of the Zoning Ordinance and its application to a golf driving range (including a golf pro shop and golf club repair facility).

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

Receipt of a letter dated March 26, 1998, from the applicant was acknowledged. Ms. Harvey noted that the applicant was asking the Board to interpret Section 20.401 to determine whether this provision permitted the activities outlined in the letter or whether they were covered by some other provision of the Ordinance.

The applicant was present, stating he felt that his use qualified as an "outdoor recreational facility." He felt that the use was not a "typical commercial business." He said that Golf Services has an existing facility in the Township and that they might wish to move this facility to another location within the Township. Therefore, the applicant was seeking guidance as to what provisions of the Ordinance would allow his use.

Mr. Bushouse entered the meeting.

In response to questioning by Mr. Brodasky, the applicant indicated that the present operation does not include a miniature golf course component. However, the applicant might consider establishing a miniature golf course in a different location. Mr. Brodasky felt that, if the pro shop or golf equipment repair components were the primary use, this would not be an outdoor recreational use. The applicant said that the pro shop and golf equipment repair components of his present use are only ancillary. Ms. Meeuwse followed up with a question regarding the same issue, and the applicant indicated that the main purpose for customers to visit the site was the use of the driving range. Ms. Meeuwse noted that Section 20.401(b) refers to pro shops as an element which is allowed if this element is only accessory.

Ms. Harvey and the Township Attorney both commented that a determination by the Board that a golf driving range would fall within the scope of the use permitted by Section 20.401 would not necessarily grant approval for a particular proposal. An application as to a particular proposal would have to comply with the conditions set forth in Section 20.401 in order to be approved.

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

Mr. Brodasky moved to interpret Section 20.401 to include golf driving range and/or miniature golf courses provided that these (or either of them) are the principal use. A golf pro shop or equipment repair facility may be allowed as an ancillary or accessory use.

Ms. Meeuwse seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.



The next item was the application of Patricia Burk of Supportive Housing Services (SHS) for site plan review of a proposed 27,000 sq. ft. (39-unit) assisted living facility. The subject 3-acre site is located on the north side of the proposed westerly extension of Green Meadow Drive and is within the "R-4" Residence District Zoning classification.

The report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference. Ms. Harvey noted that the application involves the extension of Green Meadow Drive and that the extension of this drive would be a public road requiring Kalamazoo County Road Commission approval. Ms. Harvey felt it was important that the Board make reference to, and implement, the Maple Hill Drive South Focus Area Development Plan contained within the Township's Master Land Use Plan.

The applicant was present and stated that the assisted living facility would be a residence for the "frail elderly." Staff would be available 24 hours a day, and three meals per day would be provided. The project would be utilizing a part of a larger parcel, which would be divided. The applicant indicated that it was planned that Green Meadow Drive would be extended 200' to provide the subject site the required road frontage. With regard to parking, the applicant indicated that the facility would have residents, less than 1% of whom would drive. Five to nine employees would be employed by the facility. Up to five would be at the facility at any one time. The applicant noted, with regard to the over 200 other facilities across the country with which Supportive Housing Services was associated, that 20 spaces "generally worked well."

There was discussion with regard to the dimensions of the proposed parcel which would be split from the larger parcel indicated in the vicinity map in the Planning and Zoning report. Ms. Meeuwse queried how the remainder of the property (after the split) would gain access to Green Meadow Drive. Ms. Harvey noted that the Kalamazoo County Road Commission typically requires road extension to a "property boundary." The applicant illustrated the proposed location of the 200' extension, noting that the remainder of the parcel would have frontage on the south side of the road extension and on the west side of the cul-de-sac. Ms. Harvey stated that the Township would make the Road Commission aware of the Zoning Board of Appeals' action on this item.

Barbara Byrd Burr, a resident of the Leisure Time Condominium development, stated that she was concerned that the Board not establish a precedent which would make other development of the larger parcel "easier." She was concerned that traffic would be generated and "pushed" through Green Meadow. In response to her question, it was clarified that the building proposed by the applicant would have a single story.

Joan Young asked whether the greenery on the west boundary of Leisure Time would remain. The applicant responded that they planned to keep the treeline on their east side of the property and had no objection to the Zoning Board of Appeals making this a condition of approval.

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

There was a discussion of parking, and it was noted that parking had been determined for other similar facilities based on two formulas, either 1Ż parking spaces per employee or 1 parking space per bed/unit. It was recognized in this case that the proposed parking met the first of the formulas. It was noted that the dumpster which was being located on the east side of the site would need to be enclosed. As to landscaping, there was discussion of retaining the existing vegetation on the north and east side, out of the development areas. Further, the landscape plan suggested by the applicant seemed to be satisfactory except that the Board agreed that further landscaping consistent with the Focus Area Development Plan should be established on the south.

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

(1) That an extension of Green Meadow Drive to the west to provide frontage and access to the subject site and remaining parcel was required. The proposed extension of Green Meadow Drive is subject to review and approval and acceptance by the Kalamazoo County Road Commission. Further, the extension was to be in keeping with the transportation/street system goals and objectives identified in the Maple Hill Drive-South Focus Area Development Plan. Either by physical extension or by other means, the extension was to be made to the west property line of the subject site.

(2) That the proposed access drive was found to meet the requirements of the Access Management Guidelines.

(3) That the 20 spaces proposed were sufficient and that all parking spaces be dimensioned according to Ordinance standards at 10' x 20'.

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

(5) That the proposed building setbacks comply with Ordinance standards.

(6) That outdoor storage had not been proposed or approved.

(7) That the dumpster location was acceptable, but a dumpster enclosure proposal must be detailed and submitted to Township staff for review and approval.

(8) That all outdoor lighting be provided in compliance with the lighting guidelines of Section 78.700 and that a lighting proposal be detailed and submitted to Township staff for review and approval pursuant to Section 78.700(g).

(9) That all signage comply with Section 76.120 and be reviewed and approved through the permit process.

(10) That the natural vegetation along the northeast, northwest and east portions of the subject site be retained. Landscaping consistent with the Maple Hill Drive-South Focus Area Development Plan and with the character of the area along the southern portion of the building must also be established. A landscaping plan must be submitted to, and reviewed and approved by, the Township staff.

(11) That no variance had been requested.

(12) That site plan approval was subject to land division approval of the proposed property split.

(13) That approval was subject to the review and approval of the Township Fire Department and Engineer.

(14) That the proposed development would include extension of municipal water and sewer to the subject site, as well as on-site stormwater retention.

(15) That issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy was contingent on final inspection/ approvals from the Building, Mechanical, Electrical, Fire, Planning and Zoning Departments to insure compliance with all applicable standards and conditions.

Ms. Meeuwse seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.



The next item was the application of Larry Harris, representing Phoenix Properties, for variance approval from the commercial sign setback requirements established by Section 76.125 of the Zoning Ordinance. The subject site is 1.5 acres situated on the northwest corner of Stadium Drive and Fairgrove and is within the "C" Local Business District Zoning classification.

The report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference. Ms. Harvey emphasized that it was important that the Board review past actions and be consistent with the reasoning of those actions. Further, the Board should consider the character of the area. She indicated that information regarding signage in the area (along with map) was contained in the Planning and Zoning report. The applicant proposed compliance with the setback from Stadium Drive but sought variance from the required setback from Fairgrove. Ms. Harvey noted that there are a number of intersecting streets in this area and, therefore, there was a potential for setting a precedent which would be utilized in other future decisions. Ms. Harvey further noted that there were four signs in the area which did not comply with Ordinance standards. Two of the signs were nonconforming (lawfully), and two had been granted variance.

The applicant was present and stated that the property in question is narrow and that placement of the sign was important to allow it visibility given the speed of the traffic along Stadium Drive and given that there were a lot of pumps, columns and other structures on the property to the west, i.e., the Speedway property. The applicant felt that the location proposed would "associate the sign" with the building. He felt it was important that a connection with the building be established so as to provide traffic with sufficient notice of its location to allow them to make a turn into Fairgrove. Mr. Harris felt that traffic going west would already be close to or past Fairgrove before they could see a sign which was located in compliance with Ordinance standards. Mr. Harris also stated that he had reviewed the Wiser sign across the street on Fairgrove and that it was set back, in his opinion, approximately 32'. It was noted that this Wiser sign is lawfully nonconforming.

In response to questioning by Mr. Brodasky, the applicant indicated that the building would be "general office use" and would have a Stadium Drive address.

In response to questioning by the Chairperson, Mr. Harris stated that there were not any features of the site which prevent visibility, but it was the off-site improvements on the Speedway property which limited visibility.

The Chairperson observed that he had driven up and down this road a number of times and felt that the building could be easily seen coming from both directions. However, he agreed that there would be some visibility problems for free-standing signage due to the improvements on the Speedway property. Mr. Brodasky observed that possibly wall signage could be established, and the applicant indicated that this was not proposed and would be out of character with the use, in their opinion.

The Chairperson felt that, although there were reasonable options for compliance in that two free-standing signs could be placed at the site and wall signage could be utilized, there might be some visibility problems for the traffic coming from the west due to the Speedway improvements. The Chairperson felt it was more important that the sign be set back from Stadium Drive consistent with the other signage in the area. Mr. Bushouse agreed. There was a review of the report regarding the area signage, and it was noted that most signage was approximately 60' from Stadium Drive. The Chairperson stated that he felt a setback of 60' from Stadium Drive would allow signage at the site consistent with the character of the area and which would be more visible. Given the configuration of the parcel, it was impossible to place the sign 60' from the Stadium Drive right-of-way and also in compliance with the Fairgrove setback. It was determined that, in order to set the sign back 60', it would have to be placed approximately 95' from the right-of-way of Fairgrove.

After some discussion with the applicant, he indicated that he would accept this proposed location.

Ms. Meeuwse moved to grant a variance of approximately 10' from the required setback of a free-standing sign at this site from Fairgrove on the condition that the free-standing sign was placed approximately 60' from the center of Stadium Drive with the following reasoning:

(1) That conformance was unnecessarily burdensome in that placement of the sign in compliance with the Fairgrove setback would cause some visibility problems due to off-site improvements on the Speedway property.

(2) That substantial justice would weigh in favor of granting the variance in that compliance with the Fairgrove setbacks would require a setback from Stadium Drive of substantially more than 60' and render the free-standing sign out of character and out of alignment with other Stadium Drive signage; this was due to the configuration of the parcel. It was recognized that the character of the area included signage most of which was approximately 60' from the Stadium Drive's center.

(3) That there were some unique circumstances in the shape of the subject parcel and due to the presence of existing improvements on the adjacent Speedway gas station property, creating locational limitations for free-standing signage along Stadium Drive.

(4) That, although the hardship was self-created, it was felt that the spirit and intent of the Ordinance would be observed and the public health, safety and welfare secured if variance were granted in that the placement would provide a free-standing sign away from the corner of the intersection, which was the purpose of the commercial sign standards regarding free-standing signage where a property abuts two public streets. Further, the placement would allow signage consistent with the Stadium Drive setback of other signage in the area. The placement would also allow for visibility in view of the site improvements on the adjacent property.

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



There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 5:15 p.m.

Minutes Approved:
May 14, 1998