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May 9, 2002


REDSTONE FARMS - SITE PLAN AMENDMENT - 49A SITE AT END OF GREEN MEADOW DRIVE - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-24-205-021, 3905-24-205-012, 3905-24-205-005, 3905-24-255-022 AND 3905-24-255-030)



SKETCH PLAN REVIEW - EDUCATIONAL COMMUNITY CREDIT UNION, 1551 SOUTH 9TH STREET (Parcel Nos. 3905-23-455-025, 3905-23-455-026, & 3905-23-455-032)

A special and regular meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Planning Commission on Thursday, May 9, 2002, commencing at approximately 6:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Neil G. Sikora, Chairperson
Stanley Rakowski
Deborah L. Everett
Elizabeth Heiny-Cogswell
James Turcott
Kathleen Garland-Rike
Mike Ahrens


Also present were Jodi Stefforia, Planning Director; Mary Lynn Bugge, Township Planner; Patricia R. Mason, Township Attorney; and 17 other interested persons.


The meeting was called to order at 6:02 p.m.


Ms. Heiny-Cogswell moved to approve the Agenda as submitted, and Ms. Everett seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.


The Planning Commission considered the minutes of the meeting of April 25, 2002. Ms. Garland-Rike referenced a typographical error on page 4. Ms. Bugge identified errors on page 9. Mr. Rakowski moved to approve the minutes as amended, and Mr. Ahrens seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

REDSTONE FARMS - SITE PLAN AMENDMENT - 49A SITE AT END OF GREEN MEADOW DRIVE - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-24-205-021, 3905-24-205-012, 3905-24-205-005, 3905-24-255-022 AND 3905-24-255-030)

The Planning Commission considered modifications to a previously-approved site plan for Redstone Farms development as a result of Kalamazoo County Road Commisison requirements. The subject property is located in the "R-4" Residence District zoning classification and is a 49-acre site at the end of Green Meadow Drive. The property is Parcel Nos. 3905-24-205-021, 3905-24-205-012, 3905-24-205-005, 3905-24-255-022 and 3905-24-255-030.

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

Ms. Stefforia reminded the Planning Commission that it had approved a proposed site plan for the residential development in January. The development was to contain 192 one and two bedroom apartments and 101 condominiums. The extension of Green Meadow Drive to the developer's west property line was discussed during the review and approval process. This extension became a requirement of approval. The access arrangement was subjected to the review and approval of the Kalamazoo County Road Commission consistent with the Township's Access Management Guidelines.

Ms. Stefforia reported that the County Road Commission, in reviewing the extension of Green Meadow Drive and the proposed condominium driveway off Skyridge Avenue, determined that one of the streets within the Burgundy Manor Plat and Skyridge Plat must be connected to the extension of Green Meadow Drive. As a result of meetings between the Township Planning Department, the County Road Commission and the developer, it was agreed that a connection to Driftwood would have the least impact on the proposed development and the existing residential neighborhoods. The modified design of the two street extensions causes a loss of four condominium units.

The requirement of a connection to Green Meadow was the result of the Road Commission's policy on "interconnectivity" of public roads. Ms. Stefforia stated that Ron Reid was present from the Kalamazoo County Road Commission to explain the reasoning of the Road Commission. Ms. Stefforia also referenced the traffic impact study performed by a Kalamazoo County Road Commission engineer.

Ron Reid, Director of the Kalamazoo County Road Commission, discussed the interconnectivity policy of the Road Commission. He noted that it was desirable to have a logical connection between the public road system which would allow the residents of the plats to utilize Green Meadow. Moreover, when there was a connection to Maple Hill Drive South, the plats could access that connection.

The traffic impact study had revealed that the connection to Driftwood would not remove vehicles from Skyridge, but would take 13 cars exiting the development from Green Meadow onto Driftwood during the morning peak hour. The KCRC made no changes to the KATS study conducted in January as a result of the study.

The Chairperson noted that the hearing would only address amendment of the site plan concerning the access arrangement and asked for public comment on the amendment.

Joan Young had a question regarding connection to Driftwood, and it was clarified that this connection was the only change proposed to the site plan.

Guy Gizzi felt it was significant that there were three connections for this project to Drake Road. He was concerned that the Township was "making it easier" for the residents of the developer's project to "get out". Ms. Stefforia stressed that the amendment was not about access as much as it was about interconnection of public roads. Mr. Reid stressed that the Road Commission was seeking an immediate connection of an existing public road to Green Meadow which would serve not only the new project but would allow residents of the plats to use Driftwood to get to Green Meadow. It was envisioned that there would eventually be a light at the intersection of Green Meadow with Drake Road and that therefore this connection for residents of the plats would be desirable from a traffic safety viewpoint.

Mr. Gizzi stated that he was worried about "straight access" to Drake because the apartments were likely to be used by students. He was worried about the speed of traffic, stating he was concerned about protecting the children of the neighborhood. There was discussion of whether a stop sign ought to be located at the intersection with Westview, and Mr. Reid stated that in his opinion it was not a logical location for a stop sign. However, it was noted that the Road Commission could be petitioned for a stop sign for this location. There was no other public comment, and the public hearing was closed.

The Chairperson summarized the application.

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell expressed concern regarding the design of the Green Meadow extension, specifically the sharpness of the radius of the curve. There was an intersection which was not quite 90 degrees but no stop sign. Further, the entrance to the apartment complex was not quite at 90 degrees. Ms. Steforia commented that an engineer from the Road Commission had indicated they preferred this location of the apartment complex drive better than on previous drawings. Mr. Reid stated that the entrance could be moved about 30 feet from the curve.

Ms. Garland-Rike wondered whether a sign could be located along Green Meadow warning about the sharp right curve. After some discussion, Mr. Reid suggested that the Planning Commission send a letter to the Road Commission itemizing its concerns.

Mr. Rakowski moved to approve the site plan amendment regarding an extension of Driftwood Avenue. He moved to incorporate all conditions of the previous approval and further moved to authorize Ms. Stefforia to write a letter to the County Road Commission requesting their review of three issues: (1) a possible stop sign on Westview at Driftwood, (2) the entrance/curve radius on Green Meadow, and (3) a sign indicating sharp right curve. The motion was seconded by Ms. Heiny-Cogswell.

There were questions from unidentified members of the public regarding whether speed bumps or rumble strips could be added to Driftwood. Mr. Reid stated that no speed bumps would be established in the public road and that rumble strips were not used for speed control but to bring drivers to an alert status. He stated that the remedy for speeding on the street would be signage and enforcement of the speed limit.

Bob Mosley had questions concerning the street system, and it was clarified that all streets within these plats, i.e., Mandalay and Skyridge, are public.

Mr. Gizzi had questions regarding what street the construction equipment would utilize, and the developer indicated that Green Meadow would be used. A resident of the Leisure Time project was concerned that construction equipment would only use Green Meadow. Mr. Reid commented that, if vehicles are properly loaded and not overweight, a vehicle can use any public road.

Upon a vote on the motion, the motion carried unanimously.


Given available time, Ms. Everett moved to amend the agenda to discuss the "Schram" rezoning. Mr. Rakowski seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.


Ms. Bugge reminded the Planning Commission that Mr. Schramm had indicated he desired rezoning of his property in the Frie and Gibbs plat along Yucca Point to the R-2 zoning district during the public hearing concerning rezoning related to the creation of the Agricultural and Rural Residential districts and expansion of the R-2 district. In addition to the Schramm property, Ms. Bugge suggested possible expansion of the rezoning east along Stadium Drive past the intersection with O'Park to the property zoned in the R-3 district. The area to be considered for rezoning would not include the frontage on Stadium Drive currently zoned commercial, but would only involve the agricultural property. Ms. Bugge reasoned that these other properties (to the east) might be considered for rezoning due to the availability of some utilities. It was indicated that a Master Land Use Plan amendment would be needed, given that this property is located in the Rural Residential classification and would need to be classed Residential.

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell moved to schedule public hearing for July 25, 2002, on the Schramm property and the expansion property. She further moved to schedule Master Land Use Plan amendment to reclassify the property for public hearing on the same date. Mr. Ahrens seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

The Planning Commission discussed its policy concerning the new noticing requirements for Master Plan amendments included in recent changes to Michigan statute. It was recognized that the noticing requirements were not strictly applicable until January 2003. However, it was felt that the noticing should be phased in. After some discussion, Ms. Everett moved to set a policy that any Master Land Use Plan amendments, or rezoning which required Master Land Use Plan amendment, received after July 31, 2002, be subject to the new noticing requirements of Michigan statute. Mr. Rakowski seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.


The Planning Commission met with the Planning Commission for the City of Kalamazoo and staff for a round table discussion of land use issues common to both communities.

There was a discussion of the work plan of the Oshtemo Township Planning Commission. It was noted that the Township is working on the definition of family. Jeff Chamberlain, of the City's Planning Department, discussed the City's experiences in the adoption of a definition of family. Currently, in the single family zoning district, a single family home may be used by a traditional family, a functional family, or two unrelated people. The City also allows one "roomer". The biggest challenge for the City was in "grandfathered" uses. Mr. Chamberlain indicated that the City had used a process of sending out a letter to all single family homeowners offering to grandfather their property if used by a non-family of more than two unrelated people. There was a deadline for response in order to obtain grandfathered status. The City does not apply this "occupancy limit" in multi-family zoning districts. Currently, the City is looking at open space and parking requirements to address the difficulties attendant to improper use of a single family home. Mr. Chamberlain said that the key to the City's application of the family definition has been the rental property registry program.

It was noted that the City had found that there were several problems attendant to improper use of a single family home, those being the quality of maintenance, disruption of the neighborhood with noise, parking, etc., and other disruptions or interference with family use of the neighborhood. It was recommended that the Township adopt its definition of family as soon as possible in order to avoid "grandfathering" problems.

Mr. Chamberlain provided a handout of the City's planning projects. It was noted that the West Side Plan involves an area between the campus and Drake Road near Michigan Avenue. Due to the proximity to the Township's boundary, this would have an impact, and the City would like input from the Township on this plan.

After further discussion of the City work plan and agreement by those present that the meeting between the two Planning Commissions had been valuable, the Chairperson called for a recess. The meeting was reconvened at 8:48 p.m.

SKETCH PLAN REVIEW - EDUCATIONAL COMMUNITY CREDIT UNION, 1551 SOUTH 9TH STREET (Parcel Nos. 3905-23-455-025, 3905-23-455-026, & 3905-23-455-032).

The Planning Commission considered the request of the applicant for sketch plan review of a proposed expansion of an existing facility at 1551 South 9th Street. The property is located in the "R-3" Residence district and is parcel numbers 3905-23-455-025, 3905-23-455-026 and 3905-23-455-032.

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

Ms. Stefforia noted that the existing credit union buildings are located on two of four parcels owned by the applicant. Three of the properties are within the R-3 Residence district. The applicant was seeking Planning Commissioner comments on two different scenarios for expansion of the existing credit union and administration building facility.

Ms. Stefforia noted that the first alternative plan provided for buildings in excess of 10,000 square feet. Further, the teller lanes would be abutting property used residentially. Some portion of the parking would violate the setback provisions. With the alternative 2 plan, square footage was also an issue, since the building would exceed 10,000 square feet. The ATM had been suggested in an area which is now wooded; many trees would have to be removed. However, the teller lanes were located to a more interior position on the property. The number of drives proposed would exceed that which was allowed under the access management guidelines.

The applicant's representatives were present.

Arlene Horton gave an overview of the project. She noted that Bob Hunt, president and CEO of the credit union, along with Jim Resnick, the architect who designed the plans, were also present. She provided a history of the credit union.

Mr. Resnick stated that he had been working on preliminary plans and wanted Planning Commissioner reaction to several "ideas". He stated that it was the projection of the credit union that they would need 36,000 square feet to accommodate ten-year growth. He questioned whether the 10,000 square foot and 25-foot height limitation were strictly applicable to credit union buildings.

Ms. Garland-Rike questioned the applicant concerning the parking proposed and whether the amount suggested by the applicant was really necessary. Mr. Resnick stated that it was felt the project, which would ultimately have 90 to 95 employees over a ten-year period, would need the parking proposed. However, Mr. Resnick believed that the parking could be phased in.

Mr. Resnick stated that the credit union prefers the "alternative 2" plan. This would propose a two-story building which it was felt would be more efficient. Further, the drive-up traffic would be kept off Quail Run and to the back of the site. The ATM would probably be moved to the back with the teller lanes or remain in the lobby.

Ms. Garland-Rike expressed concern that the parking in front of the building would take away from the "beauty of the site". She wondered whether the applicant could redesign the parking area so that not so much of the wooded portion of the site would need to be eliminated. The applicant indicated that they would work to reduce the scale of the parking in this area.

There was discussion of Section 23.406, with the Township Attorney stating that she felt the limitations for general office buildings were not strictly applicable to the credit union building. However, the scale of the building and its height could be taken into account in determining whether the proposed use would meet the criteria for special exception use approval.

In response to questions from Ms. Garland-Rike, the applicant indicated that the average roof height would be 30 to 31 feet on the building. Ms. Garland-Rike wondered whether the height could be reduced perhaps by utilizing a walk-out design and placing parking in the back. Mr. Resnick stated a half-story in front with full back might be workable.

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell echoed the comments concerning preservation of the trees at the site and suggested some projects the applicant's architect might review to obtain suggested ways of "nestling" the parking lot into the existing topography and natural features of the site.

Mr. Ahrens commented that he might not have a problem with the size or height of the building if some redesign were done to soften the site.

Mr. Turcott expressed concern about the amount of traffic which would be generated, and Mr. Hunt responded that all members of the credit union would not be utilizing this site; the credit union has other branches and also provides remote access.

It was the consensus of the Planning Commission that there was a preference for alternative 2, but that the applicant might seek to redesign the site concerning ATM location, preservation of trees, parking, and possible building height.


Ms. Stefforia reminded the Planning Commission about the joint meeting with the Zoning Board of Appeals and Township Board. There was discussion of a possible group visit to Asylum Lake.


The Planning Commissioners agreed that the meeting with the City Planning Commission had been valuable and that the Township needed to move forward with its definition of family.


There being no further business to come before the Commission, the meeting was adjourned at 10:05 p.m.


Stanley Rakowski, Secretary

Minutes prepared:
May 13, 2002
Minutes approved:
, 2002