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October 12, 2000





A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Planning Commission on Thursday, October 12, 2000, commencing at approximately 7:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Wilfred Dennie, Chairperson
Ken Heisig
Ted Corakis
Stanley Rakowski
Neil Sikora
Elizabeth Heiny-Cogswell (after 7:05 p.m.)
Marvin Block


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


The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m.


The Chairperson suggested deleting the Lowe's outdoor display discussion item. The Chairperson stated that he felt an application should be received prior to dealing with a specific issue regarding a particular property. Mr. Block moved to approve the Agenda as amended, and Mr. Heisig seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.


The Planning Commission considered the minutes of September 28, 2000.

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell entered the meeting.

The Chairperson suggested, with regard to page 8, that a change be made to indicate 110% of the total bedrooms was used by the applicant in calculating parking.

Mr. Corakis moved to approve the minutes as amended, and Mr. Sikora seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.


The Planning Commission considered the application of Kenneth Bobo on behalf of Message Express for a special exception use/site plan amendment regarding a previous approval of a communication tower at 624 North 4th Street. The subject property is located within the "AG" Agricultural-Rural Zoning District, and is Parcel No. 3905-16-305-050. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Bugge distributed Sheet G showing the subject property along with the applicant's narrative. It was noted that the Planning Commission had first reviewed this request on July 27, 2000, and granted approval for the construction of a 250-foot monopole tower with an accessory building. The applicant was requesting amendment for approval of a 190-foot lattice tower and to increase the size of the accessory building to 30' x 45'.

It was indicated that the F.A.A. had limited the height of the tower to a maximum of 200 feet. The change in construction type, to a lattice style, was due to the concerns expressed by ham operators that the monopole tower would cause "shadows".

The applicant was present, noting that the increased size of the accessory building had been requested shortly after the approval because the construction manager had indicated that the equipment could be squeezed into the original building, but that it would be preferable to have some additional square footage. The building style would remain the same with a residential appearance.

The Chairperson had questions with regard to the objections of the ham operators to the monopole style. The applicant stated that the monopole would cause a shadow in the radio signals, whereas the lattice design, because of its perforated style, would not cause such a shadow.

The applicant, in response to other questions by the Chairperson, stated that the height limitation imposed by the F.A.A. would not reduce the number of carriers who could be accommodated on the tower. The tower had been designed to accommodate the load necessary to allow for the presence of six carriers at the tower.

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell noted that the elevations provided by the applicant of the existing and proposed tower had been extremely helpful.

Mr. Block had questions with regard to the style or design of antennas, and the applicant responded that the designs would be different depending on the carriers and their needs.

Mr. Sikora asked about the height of the tower, and the applicant responded that it would be below 200 feet and approximately a 190-foot tower with lightning rod.

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell expressed concern about the perimeter fencing and the fact that it appeared that much of the natural vegetation at the site would be removed to accommodate the fencing. The applicant indicated that the fence would have a gated access point.

Ms. Bugge had questions about co-locations at the tower, and the applicant responded that the spacing which could be accommodated at the tower would be acceptable to co-locators.

No public comment was offered, and the Chairperson summarized the application.

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell commented that she felt it would be important for the applicant to establish some additional screening on the north side of the site. Additionally, she wondered whether the applicant could move the south line of the fence so as to avoid the removal of the mature tree in that area.

After further discussion, Ms. Heiny-Cogswell moved to approve amendment to the special exception use permit and site plan to allow for a tower at a maximum height of 200 feet, lattice style, and expansion of the equipment building as proposed by the applicant. It was found that the modifications proposed by the applicant did not alter the conclusion reached at the meeting of July 27, 2000, that the application met the criteria of Sections 60.600 and 60.100. Approval of the amendment was conditioned upon the requirement that the applicant retain as much existing vegetation as possible. Further, additional screening, such as shrubs, should be added on the north side. Any hardwood trees removed on the south side should be replaced. In addition, the requirements set forth in the approval of July 27, 2000, were incorporated by reference. The motion was seconded by Mr. Corakis.

Mr. Heisig noted that he would be supporting the motion, but was disturbed that the applicant was proposing so many changes to the plan shortly following its approval. Mr. Sikora echoed Mr. Heisig's comments, noting that, in his opinion, the applicant had not done its homework.

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


The Planning Commission reviewed Draft 2 of the proposed text amendment regarding the update of the parking provisions. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference. Ms. Bugge noted the changes made from Draft 1.

The Chairperson reviewed Draft 2, section by section. With regard to Section 68.200, the Chairperson asked why it was proposed that there be no overnight parking of semi-trucks or semi-trailers in the Village Commercial District, but such vehicles were allowed in other Commercial and Industrial Districts. Ms. Bugge noted that it was proposed that no such parking be allowed in the Village Commercial District because of the small size of the sites permitted in that District.

There was a discussion of the aisle width requirement suggested for Section 68.300. It was noted that the provisions regarding multi-family development should be altered so that the aisle width therein was consistent. Mr. Corakis wondered whether the 25-foot width was too wide. He expressed concern that non-conforming lots would lose too many parking spaces when they were resealed and re-striped in order to come into conformance with this provision.

There was a discussion of adding deviation language to substitute for the variance language in Section 68.600. The deviation language would be similar to that used elsewhere in the Ordinance. The language could also reference giving special consideration to existing non-conforming sites which were unable to comply with the new Ordinance provisions.

There was discussion of the parking space tables. As to retirement communities and elderly housing, it was the consensus of the Planning Commission that at least 1.5 spaces per unit and one space per employee should be required. It was felt that there should be a definition of retirement community or elderly housing. It was felt that assisted living centers would be categorized as nursing homes.

With regard to office parking, it was suggested that the calculations be made based on net usable floor area.

There was concern that the proposed parking for houses of worship would not be sufficient. It was the consensus of the Planning Commission that there should be at least one space for every three seats, or six feet of pew.

Mr. Corakis suggested, with regard to restaurants and commercial areas, that parking be related to seating capacity and number of employees.

There was discussion of Section 68.420 and its reference to pedestrian access consideration. Ms. Stefforia stated that she would like to see reference to encouragement of bike racks. This language might include a statement that such racks may be required by the reviewing body.

It was agreed that Draft 3 would be considered at the meeting of November 9, 2000.


The Planning Commission discussed the 9th Street Focus Area Overlay Zone provisions. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Stefforia reminded the Planning Commission that it had reviewed a request for a new building within this Overlay Zone, i.e., the Kalamazoo Center for Healing Arts. There had been discussion at that time regarding the Overlay Zone provisions which were not satisfied by the subject plan. Ms. Stefforia suggested that the Planning Commission discuss a number of the provisions of the plan and text.

It was noted that the Master Plan calls for two intersections with South 9th Street and that two exist at the present time and were established subsequent to Plan adoption. The Plan calls for one intersection with KL Avenue. Kalamazoo Center for Healing Arts had been granted a driveway onto KL Avenue along with shared access. No intersection with West Main Street was called for.

The Planning Commission members agreed that it made sense to allow one intersection with West Main Street for the interior road. Possibly this access point would line up with the driveway for Meijer.

There was discussion of the building size limitations, and it was noted that these limitations had been derived from the "R-3" District. At the time of development, it was felt that it was important to provide building sizes which were compatible and transitional from residential areas. Planning Commission members concurred that some revision to these provisions could be made. The Planning Commission could allow deviation to permit 15,000 square foot single-story buildings if the intent and spirit of the Ordinance were met.

As to access, it was felt that whoever developed property should build their own case for the access they desire.

Concerning height, it was agreed that a 35-foot height would be appropriate. Further, a change in the method of measurement of height consistent with the Building Code would be appropriate.

As to commercial PUD's, it was felt that existing provisions of the Ordinance were sufficient. The "R-2" zone allowed for development of PUD's in this area. Further, the 9th Street Overlay District allowed for development of non-residential, i.e., office uses. It was a concern that a commercial PUD would lead to commercial strip development and would negatively impact the Country Club Plat.


Mr. Rakowski asked whether consideration would now be given to a traffic light on M-43 near the Shell Station intersection, given the fact that Lowe's was about to open. Ms. Stefforia stated that she would discuss this with MDOT.

Mr. Rakowski was complimentary of the office development on the corner of 10th Street and West Main. Mr. Heisig stated that he had also heard compliments from citizens regarding this development.

The Chairperson noted a report of the Road Commission which had been received at the previous Township Board meeting. He reported that the "VC" District Ordinance was set for first reading and the sign text was adopted. Mr. Block complimented Mr. Dennie on his presentation at the Township Board meeting.

Mr. Sikora referenced an article which he had recently read concerning the need for a regional convention center in the Kalamazoo area.


There being no further business to come before the Planning Commission, the meeting was adjourned at 9:10 p.m.



Minutes prepared:
October 13, 2000

Minutes approved: