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May 7, 2001




A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Zoning Board of Appeals on Monday, May 7, 2001, commencing at approximately 3:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Millard Loy, Chairperson
Sharon Kuntzman
David Bushouse
Jill Jensen
Ted Corakis


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


The meeting was called to order at 3:01 p.m.


The Board considered the minutes of the meeting of April 16, 2001. Ms. Kuntzman moved to approve the minutes as submitted, and Mr. Corakis seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.


The Board considered the application of Bruce Williams on behalf of Ridgeview, Inc. for a parking deviation from Section 68.300 to allow parking lot aisle width of 20 feet where 24 feet is required. The subject property is located at 10360 West Main Street within the "AG" Agricultural-Rural District zoning classification, and is Parcel No. 3905-18-255-010. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Bugge noted that Section 68.600 allows the reviewing body to grant a deviation to an existing, developed, property where there are practical difficulties or unnecessary hardship, and where the deviation is in keeping with the spirit and intent of the parking section. The Zoning Board of Appeals will be considering the first such deviation since revision of the parking requirements.

The subject property is the location of Ridgeview Golf Course, which is a long-established 18-hole golf course on approximately 125 acres on the north side of West Main Street. The property also has a clubhouse and accessory storage facilities. New management had taken over the facility in February, 2001, under a lease with option to purchase and was seeking to upgrade the facility. One of the upgrades consisted of paving and striping the former gravel parking lot. A transparency of the proposed lot layout was displayed for consideration of the Board and the public. The parking lot as paved and striped would meet the requirement that parking spacing be 10 X 20 in size, and the lot would meet the barrier-free requirements. However, some aisle widths were less than 24 feet. Both the Fire Department and the Township Staff had reviewed the proposed layout, and the Fire Department was satisfied with emergency access. The Township Staff felt that the proposed upgrade was an improvement on the existing, unstriped gravel lot on which parking was haphazard.

In response to questions from Ms. Kuntzman, it was indicated that 125 spaces were being provided in the lot. This number met or exceeded the number of spaces required under the Ordinance.

Bruce Williams was present on behalf of the application. He noted that golf course tees were located on the west and east sides, bounding the parking lot. Therefore, the applicant was working within limited land in upgrading the parking lot area. He stated that some parking spaces had been eliminated to accommodate Fire Department requests for changes to allow for emergency access. However, the applicant did not wish to lose further spaces in order to meet the parking needs of patrons, and was reluctant to eliminate the "landscaped island" in the parking area which contained many trees.

In response to questions from Mr. Bushouse, the applicant indicated that the parking was outside of the road right-of-way.

Ms. Bugge explained that the 24-foot aisle width standard was based upon research conducted at the time of the proposed text change. It was felt that 24 feet would allow for two-way driving with some extra space for maneuverability. However, given the constraints of the site, the Township Staff and Fire Department were satisfied with the proposed lot layout.

Ms. Stefforia questioned the applicant about the cross hatch area indicated on the lot layout. Mr. Williams stated that this area would be striped with cross-hatching in yellow on the pavement. Further, fire lanes would be designated with signage. Ms. Stefforia also suggested signage to notify users of the lot that they were required to park in designated parking spaces.

Mr. Bushouse expressed concern that two drives were serving the subject property. He felt the Township should be consistent with other approvals. The Township Attorney indicated that, since the site was existing and the applicant was not changing the use or driveways, i.e., the applicant was merely upgrading the existing parking lot, it would be unreasonable to require the applicant to close a drive.

In response to questions, the applicant indicated that the inside of the clubhouse was being refurbished, and some exterior damage was being repaired.

The Chairperson asked for public comment, and Mr. Tom Brodasky spoke, indicating that he played the golf course at Ridgeview many times. He felt the suggested changes would be a vast improvement over the existing lot. In his opinion, the deviation should be approved if the Fire Department was comfortable with the emergency access.

The Chairperson observed that the new provisions of the Ordinance as to parking do allow for deviation in the case of an existing site. In his opinion, deviation would be appropriate as long as the Fire Department was satisfied with emergency access. Mr. Corakis agreed, stating that he felt this proposal was a big improvement over the existing site.

Mr. Bushouse concurred, but expressed concern that the applicant not increase the clubhouse so as to "push" the restaurant/bar element of the site. The applicant indicated that the use of the site would remain primarily as a golf course, and they did not intend to make any changes of substance to the clubhouse/bar. Mr. Bushouse felt that it was appropriate to condition a deviation on use of the property as primarily golf course.

After further discussion, Ms. Kuntzman moved to approve deviation from the 24-foot parking aisle width requirement with the following conditions:

(1) That the applicant meet the requirements of the Township Fire Department concerning emergency access including requirements as to signage and pavement markings.

(2) That the use of the site continue as primarily golf course with the existing clubhouse. The deviation would be void if the clubhouse/restaurant and bar were expanded.

The motion was seconded by Mr. Bushouse, and it carried unanimously.


The Board considered the application of Paul DeHaan on behalf of Golf Services, Inc. for deviation from Section 76.170 to allow a 170-square-foot wall sign where 85 square feet is allowed by the Zoning Ordinance. The subject property is located at 6958 West Main Street within the "C" Local Business District zoning classification and is Parcel No. 3905-14-155-013.

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

Ms. Stefforia indicated that the current provisions of the Ordinance permit signs by use rather than by zoning district. The owner of Golf Services is seeking a deviation from the provision to allow a wall sign of 170 square feet. Current provisions allow for wall signage up to 85 square feet; 170 square feet would have been permitted on the previous sign provisions of the Ordinance. Ms. Stefforia indicated that the Ordinance allows for up to four wall signs for this building. The Board considered whether granting the requested deviation would not be materially detrimental to the property owners in the vicinity. Ms. Stefforia noted that, in her opinion, a deviation would not be detrimental to other property owners because existing signs on other properties in the area were established under the former provisions.

As to whether there was a hardship created by the literal application of the Section due to conditions unique to the building site which did not apply generally to other properties, it was felt that the subject building had limited visibility from West Main Street due to the topography of the site and placement of other buildings in front. The east side of the building as the only one visible from the street.

As to whether granting the deviation would be contrary to the general purpose of the Section or set an adverse precedent, Ms. Stefforia cautioned that, in her opinion, if the deviation were granted, the Board should condition such action on the requirement that there be no additional wall signage be permitted to the building. Therefore, the Board would be allowing the applicant one 170-square-foot wall sign instead of four 85-square-foot signs.

Ms. Kuntzman had questions with regard to the sign currently located on the warehouse building. It was clarified that the proposed signage would be established on the pole building, not the warehouse. The new sign would be approximately five feet tall.

The Chairperson had questions as to freestanding signage. It was noted that Golf Services shares its free-standing signage with Hockey Services. It was estimated that each had about 30 square feet of the total 60-square-foot sign.

Mr. Bushouse questioned whether the new sign would be illuminated, and the applicant indicated that it would not be.

Paul DeHaan was present, and he stated that his building had a large setback from the road. He felt that the deviation was necessary to give his building some visibility. In his opinion, the proposed location was the only one which would allow the sign to be visible. He did not have an objection to a limitation on the time that the sign could be located on the site. He was agreeable to the sign being taken down in two years.

The Chairperson was concerned that the building in question and the signage that would be placed on it would only be visible for a short time when traveling by the site. Given the size of the building, he felt that the signage proposed would be "gaudy". In his opinion, the negative impact of such signage would not be offset in that it would visible for such a brief time to passing traffic. He was concerned that it would cover most of the side of the building and would be only visible for a few seconds.

There was discussion of the sign in question, and the applicant indicated that it would be a vinyl banner material affixed to the building. Ms. Stefforia noted that the current Ordinance provisions do not allow for banner signs.

Mr. Bushouse felt that the applicant had other options, such as painting "Golf Services, Inc." on the side of the building with letters so as not to exceed 85 square feet.

No public comment was offered, and the public hearing was closed.

Ms. Jensen stated that, in her opinion, the applicant should work within the Ordinance to establish wall signage on the building. Since the sign would be visible for such a small amount of time, she felt the applicant could work within the Ordinance and achieve the same effect. Mr. Bushouse agreed that in this situation there was no need to set a precedent. He felt that the signage allowed by the Ordinance would work just as well as that proposed by the applicant.

Ms. Kuntzman stated that she was uncomfortable with the 50 percent deviation and felt the applicant had other options. Mr. Corakis agreed. He, too, felt that the applicant could place some lettering on the side of his building and establish signage without deviation.

The Chairperson was concerned about the large size of the deviation proposed and the fact that the applicant had other reasonable signage options. Further, he was concerned that the type of sign being proposed by the applicant was not allowed under the Ordinance.

Ms. Kuntzman moved to deny the deviation requested pursuant to the discussion of the Zoning Board of Appeals. She reasoned that the deviation requested, approximately 50 percent increase, was excessive. Further, the applicant had other options which would conform to the Ordinance. Mr. Bushouse seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.


Because of the reduction in the number of applications received for consideration, the Chairperson suggested that the Board reduce the number of meetings from two to one per month.

Ms. Kuntzman moved to conduct Zoning Board of Appeals meetings on the third Monday of the month and cancel the first Monday meeting of each month unless the volume of applications justify conducting such a meeting. Ms. Jensen seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.


There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 4:10 p.m.


Millard Loy, Chairperson
Sharon Kuntzman
Ted Corakis
Jill Jensen
David Bushouse
Minutes Prepared:
May 10, 2001
Minutes Approved:
, 2001