Township Board Minutes

October 12, 1999

The Oshtemo Township Board held its regular meeting at the Township Hall. The meeting was called to order by Supervisor Fleckenstein, at 7:00 p.m.

Supervisor Ron Fleckenstein
Clerk Deb Everett
Treasurer Lois Brown

Trustee Norm Anderson
Trustee Marvin Block
Trustee David Bushouse

Also present was Richard Reed, Township Attorney, Bob Snell, Township Engineers along with approximately 14 interested people.

Motion made by Block, seconded by Brown to approve the minutes of the September 28, 1999 meeting as prepared. Carried.

Income to the General Fund of $55,427.90 and disbursements of $183,496.23 were reported. Income to the Fire Fund of $12,084.77 and disbursements of $176,825.66 were reported. Motion made by Anderson, seconded by Block to acknowledge the receipts and pay the bills. Carried.


Brian Maloney, owner of Rollerworld, stated that he was aware of an amendment for text change that will be coming to the Board that would allow adult book stores and massage parlors in the Industrial zoned areas. His concern was that these would be permitted uses and recreational uses such as his roller rink would have to be special exception uses. He stated that when he purchased his business, it was a permitted use. He further advised the Board that he had submitted a rezoning request approximately a month ago and would like it to move forward in a timely manner.


Wilfred Dennie, Planning Commission Chairman, presented a recommendation from the Planning Commission regarding a text amendment that would cover indoor recreational uses. He advised the Board that over the last year the Planning Commission had discussed the changing nature and character of commercial/industrial uses relative to specific uses. Because of the variety and type of uses being built, they felt a need to alter the ordinance to coincide with changes being reflected in indoor recreational facilities. Several types of facilities were reviewed, one most recently being Soccerzone which had been proposed within the Village Focus Area, and they had also seen that many indoor recreational facilities are taking the form of a Aballoon type@ facility. Other examples are West Hills Tennis Club and Holiday Lanes, both on South11th Street.

Currently the ordinance allows for these type of facilities, regardless of architecture and size, as a permitted use in C and C-1 zoning. Mr. Dennie stated that in the opinion of the Planning Commission, indoor recreational facilities may not be an appropriate use in only commercial zones given the type of construction now being seen in these facilities, in appearance as well as size. He further stated that they felt the placement of such uses should be dictated by what is being proposed as opposed to a specific use, thus recommending that we alter the ordinance by eliminating these as permitted uses in the commercial zone and make them special exception uses in both commercial and industrial zones.

Trustee Bushouse questioned the matter of consistency with policy considering that the proposed Soccerzone would have been in a C zoning and if the building changes use is a very large building with very limited use, other than industrial, yet approval was given to an indoor pool in the middle of a residential zone. He felt the pool is commercial in nature since the proposal indicated it would be run by a plat association, but would go outside for membership if needed.

Mr. Dennie advised that the pool referred to, the Westport Swim Club, will be an outdoor facility, its size did not suggest commercial use and did not fall within those guidelines. The scale, size and appearance seemed to fit the special exception use criteria it was reviewed under. Since it will not cater to the general public and will be restricted to membership, it did not fall within the guidelines of a commercial entity.

Mr. Dennie further explained the criteria used for reviewing a special exception use; that the proposed use is compatible with the other uses permitted within the zoning district, that it would not be detrimental or injurious to the use or development of adjacent properties and neighborhood, promotes the public health, safety, morals and general welfare of the community and examines if the use encourages land uses that are similar in character and adaptability to occur around it. He felt the Planning Commission is not saying recreational uses are inappropriate in commercial zoning, rather, considering what is being proposed, it could fit in a commercial or industrial zone.

Trustee Bushouse questioned if the criteria is exact enough that when members of the Planning Commission change, uniform decisions can be made. Mr. Dennie felt this has been the case and noted he has not seen a deviation in the interpretation.

Trustee Anderson questioned why indoor recreational uses are being proposed as special exception uses. Mr. Dennie responded that due to trends in the way indoor recreational facilities are being built, limiting them only to a commercial zone may not be appropriate. Since we do not have ordinances that govern architecture and scale, the way to determine the appropriateness is to look at a specific proposal as it is presented in relationship to the parcel a facility will be located on in proximity to what is allowed in the general area as well as what has occurred or could occur in the broad neighborhood. The special exception use criteria will accomplish this.

Treasurer Brown wished to clarify which zones the proposal would include. Mr. Dennie responded that the proposal would effect C, C-1, I-R and I-1. Treasurer Brown asked the attorney to clarify the point that as a special exception use, a building can be rebuilt if destroyed, unlike a non-conforming use. Attorney Reed responded that is correct, a special exception use is a permitted use.

Brian Maloney asked Mr. Dennie to address the disadvantages of having a special exception use and referred to Section 60.205 of the zoning ordinance which states in part, that any property which is the subject of a special exception permit which has not been used for a period of one year for the purpose for which the permit was granted shall thereafter be required to be used for only permitted uses for that particular zoning. His concern was that if his roller rink should be destroyed, he felt he could not rebuild in one year, therefore his special exception use would be revoked. He felt the Planning Commission is trying to micro manage the Township. He reiterated that when he purchased the property it was a permitted use and that he would like his rezoning request acted upon.

Mr. Dennie responded the attempt is to provide flexibility to the ordinance to expand the application of recreational uses and where they might occur in the Township. It allows the Township to work closely with an applicant in terms of placement. Referring to Section 60.205, he advised that this clause has been applied in cases where an applicant has been granted special exception use and no action takes place. The Planning Commission stance has been to extend the time frame when needed, for a project to be completed. He further stated that when the Planning Commission looks at making any change to the ordinance they cannot look at any particular use or property, rather, it is looked at in the broad prospective of how it would it apply were it to occur anywhere in the Township.

Mr. Maloney responded that he feels the Planning Commission is focusing on the size of facility, and specifics, wanting to put it where the Township feels at that point in time it should be, whether or not it fits into the proper zoning. He further reiterated that his roller rink has been in existence since 1957, and feels that recreational facilities should be a permitted use as it was previously.

Motion made by Brown, seconded by Block to accept the Planning Commission recommendation and set the text amendment for First Reading on October 26th. Carried 5-1 with Bushouse voting no.


The Planning Commission recommendation for the rezoning of two parcels located at the southwest corner of Stadium Drive and South 6th Street, from AG to R-3, was before the Board for First Reading.

Richard Schramm, 2001 South 4th Street, advised the Board that he owns property across the street from the subject property. He stated he does not have any objection to the zoning change, however, is asking for fair treatment concerning his property, which permitted office and commercial uses when purchased. He further stated he had submitted a site plan for office usage which was denied; one reason given that he could not identify exactly what would be in each office and property he also owned further east on Stadium Drive couldn=t be used for office either after a text change. He feels office is a good use for his property and the Board needs to address offices as a permitted use in the I-R zone.

Motion made by Anderson, seconded by Everett, to set the rezoning request for Second Reading on October 26th. Carried 4-2 with Block and Bushouse voting no.

Treasurer Brown asked Mr. Dennie to address Mr. Schramm=s concern, given that we are in the process of making special exception uses for some other uses, would there be a particular circumstance, given size and location, the same type of criteria used for recreational facilities could be used to allow offices.

Mr. Dennie responded the Planning Commission has been discussing this particular issue, and in their industrial review process, had a citizens committee examine if the township has enough land zoned commercial and if we do, is it in the right location and where should we be focusing industrial. The report came back suggesting that we maintain our industrial centers in the current areas, one area in particular being the Stadium Drive area. One other thing being discussed is the idea of commercial centers, an example being the Portage Commerce Center. These resemble a strip mall type facility on a large scale, compartmentalized with a lot of different businesses. The Planning Commission is looking at how this might work within the industrial zone.


Supervisor Fleckenstein advised that the assessment roll for the West Main Water District, which is the subject of the second public hearing, has not been completed.

Motion made by Everett, seconded by Brown to table the second public hearing on the West Main Water District to the October 26th meeting


Supervisor Fleckenstein presented proclamations commemorating the week of October 17-23 as Teen Read Week and November 1st as Family Literacy Day.

Mary Doud, representing the Kalamazoo Public Library advised the Board the library participates in many programs of incentive encouraging children of all ages to read.

Motion made by Block, seconded by Anderson to approve the proclamation to recognize the week of October 17-23 as Teen Read Week. Carried.

Motion made by Anderson, seconded by Block to approve the proclamation to recognize November 1st as Family Literacy Day. Carried.


Supervisor Fleckenstein presented a proposed Household Hazardous Waste Agreement with the County, in the amount of $6,000. This would be at the current level.

Treasurer Brown noted that in 1999, 10% of the contract was designated for operational costs; in 2000, 20% is designated for operational costs; wondering if the increase could be due in part to a better educational program. Supervisor Fleckenstein responded that it could be, along with the operation of a new facility in place within the last couple of years.

Motion made by Block , seconded by Anderson to approve the Household Hazardous Waste Agreement in the amount of $6,000 for 2000. Carried.


Chairman Brown presented the following recommendations to fill terms expiring January 1, 2000.

Building/Fire Board of Appeals
Edward Hilton - has served partial term - this would be his first full term
Deborah Everett - has served partial term - this would be her first full term
Louis Coleman III - first term
Todd Modderman - first term
All terms would expire January 1, 2003.

Motion made by Block, seconded by Anderson to accept the recommendation of the Board Appointment Committee and approve the appointments. Carried.

Economic Development Corporation Board
Carl Benson - first term - would expire January 1, 2007

Motion made by Anderson, seconded by Block to accept the recommendation of the Board Appointment Committee and approve the appointment. Carried.

Planning Commission
Stanley Rakowski - second term
Marvin Block - second term
Neil Sikora - first term
All terms would expire January 1, 2003.

Motion made by Block, seconded by Anderson to accept the recommendation of the Board Appointment Committee and approve the appointments. Carried.

Zoning Board of Appeals
David Bushouse - second term
Millard Loy - first term
All terms would expire January 1, 2003.

Motion made by Anderson, seconded by Block to accept the recommendation of the Board Appointment Committee and approve the appointments. Carried.

Treasurer Brown further advised that the Board of Review has no expiring terms for 2000, therefore no recommendation will be made concerning this Board.


Malea Stenzel, a student at Kalamazoo College advised the Board that she is working on a project with Convening the Community; her assignment being Oshtemo Township. She will be forming focus groups to examine the Avision@ of where the citizens of Oshtemo would like to see the township heading on such issues as public schools, zoning issues, etc. She is seeking input for forming the focus groups. Supervisor Fleckenstein advised he would meet with her.


Trustee Bushouse advised that former Zoning Board member Howard Henderson is ill.

He also advised that he has made several attempts to have the loud intercom at Seelye West addressed, with no success.


Clerk Everett advised the Park Committee had met with Dr. David Lemberg of WMU concerning a project for his class to review the current park plan and perhaps formulate a long range plan. A presentation will be made to the Board in April.


Treasurer Brown advised that an adjustment in the size of the driveway had been made and the parking lot addition for the Township Park is scheduled to be completed October 26th.

She further advised that the Park Committee had met with Jay Brown, the Rotary liaison with the Township regarding projects for Flesher Field. A list of short term goals include trim and clear brush at the north end of the park along Erie Street and trim and clear brush on the west side of the park around the established trails. Long term goals would include more trails at the south end of the park, more restrooms, more parking, a driveway to Erie Street, a defined baseball or softball field, and another picnic pavilion. It was also agreed that the Park Committee will meet with the Rotary representative at least twice a year.

In response to a question from Trustee Anderson, Treasurer Brown advised the additional 9 hole disc golf course for the Township Park would not be completed this year. There is still interest in the project and the Park Committee will be discussing the matter.


Trustee Block advised that in his opinion Mr. Schramm did receive a fair hearing from the ZBA on the project referred to earlier, and the record will reflect this.

He further advised that the water project in Springwood Hills is progressing, homes are being hooked up. Supervisor Fleckenstein responded that the project is about three weeks behind; City Utilities plan to bring in another crew within the next few days.


Trustee Anderson advised that the new fire truck -521- is now in service. The truck it replaced is now at Station 3 and will be sold.

There was no further business and the meeting was adjourned at 8:30 p.m.


DEBORAH L. EVERETT                                  Attested: RON FLECKENSTEIN
Township Clerk                                                                    Supervisor