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October 18, 2001






A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Planning Commission on Thursday, October 18, 2001, commencing at approximately 7:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Neil G. Sikora, Chairperson Ted Corakis Kathleen Garland-Rike Stanley Rakowski Deborah Everett Elizabeth Heiny-Cogswell James Turcott MEMBERS ABSENT: None

Also present were Jodi Stefforia, Planning Director; Mary Lynn Bugge, Township Planner; Robert C. Engels, Township Attorney; and approximately 14 other interested persons.


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


Ms. Stefforia stated that an item should be added to the Agenda under Any Other Business, that being a communication that had been received regarding a car wash in the Village Commercial District.

Mr. Corakis moved to approve the Agenda as amended, and Ms. Heiny-Cogswell seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.


The Planning Commission considered the minutes of the meeting of September 27, 2001, and the minutes of the meeting of October 4, 2001. Mr. Sikora stated that there were two typographical errors in the minutes of September 27, 2001. The first error is on page 6, the fourth line of the second complete paragraph; the word "others" should be "other". The second typographical error is found on page 7 in the fifth line of the third paragraph regarding Oshtemo Woods; the word "intension" should be "intention". There were no changes to the October 4, 2001 minutes. Mr. Corakis moved to the approve the minutes as amended by Mr. Sikora, and Mr. Rakowski seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.


The Planning Commission conducted a public hearing on the request by Quail Development, Inc. (American Village Builders) for a special exception use amendment/site plan approval and a setback deviation for Phase IV, which involves only the buildings east of Quail Run Drive, of the Quail Meadows development. The subject property is comprised of Parcel Nos. 3905-26-278-115 through 3905-26-278-118 and 3905-26-278-137 through 3905-26-278-166. The applicant also requested a slight modification of the condominium buildings of Phase III.

Before any consideration was given to the request, Planning Commission member James Turcott disqualified himself from deliberations and decisions because of a perceived conflict of interest. Mr. Turcott left his seat during the deliberations and decisions.

The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein and made a part hereof by reference.

Ms. Stefforia reported that the project had been taken over by the company that held the mortgage on the real estate. The project has been inactive for two years. The current request is for changes to Phase III and Phase IV of the project which will result in eight fewer units.

Phase IV involves condominiums, and the streets for the condominiums are all private streets. The Township Treasurer has stated that the parts of the project that have public streets are ready for street lights, and the developer must work with Consumers Energy to put in the street lighting. This is Phase III.

Ms. Stefforia also cautioned that approval should be subject to the applicant amending the condominium documents, with review and approval by the Township.

Ms. Stefforia also pointed out that density is now shown as being 4.3 dwelling units per acre, but the calculations were based on vacant land. Considering just that part of the development that is built upon results in an actual density of 5.72 dwelling units per acre. This is well below the allowable eight dwelling units per acre.

The storm water system is a major issue with this project. The applicant is working with the Township Engineer and Kalamazoo County Drain Commissioner with changes to the system. Planning Commission staff is comfortable with what is taking place with the storm water system and recommends approval of Phase IV.

Ms. Stefforia also stated that there is a deviation from the setback requirements as there are two buildings that are not in compliance with the supplemental setback requirements. These buildings are located by the Consumers' power lines, and Township Staff believes that, because of that land use, the deviations requested are acceptable. That is, supplemental building setbacks are not warranted there.

Mr. Sikora questioned whether Phase III changes were before the Commission for approval, and Ms. Stefforia indicated that they were not. Mr. Sikora stated that the Planning Commission was then looking at a deviation from the setback requirements and approval of the site plan for Phase IV.

John Woods was present on behalf of the applicant. He thanked the Planning Department for being very helpful in providing information to the applicant. He also introduced the Quail team.

Mr. Woods stated that the Phase IV project would be less dense and that there was a desire to re-orient the buildings to make them more consistent with the community plan and also to address the storm water retention problems. He believes that the project will now be more aesthetically pleasing.

Mr. Woods stated that the storm water system was the biggest obstacle to doing the project, but the problem was now under control. There is a parcel acquisition under way which is a 26-acre parcel to the north of the storm water retention pond. The storm water plan is to drain any overflow onto that property. The purchase documents have been drafted, and it is anticipated that signed documents will be available early next week for that parcel.

Mr. Rakowski questioned Mr. Woods about the storm water problem, and he was informed by Mr. Woods that the system had failed, and rather than fixing that system, a new solution has been put in place. The new system will accommodate the entire project, which includes presently undeveloped phases.

Mr. Sikora inquired about the street light issue, and Mr. Woods responded that the storm water was the biggest issue, and once that issue was dealt with, the construction issues would be addressed which includes the lighting. Mr. Woods stated that the project is now on schedule for that work to be done.

Ms. Everett inquired about the buildings on the west side of Quail Run. Mr. Woods stated that all of those buildings would be completed. He said that there were 35 dwelling units in progress, and they will be finished as soon as possible. He stated that the applicant is responsible for building out all phases of the project.

Mr. Corakis asked if any buildings had been demolished, and Mr. Woods indicated that one building has been razed.

The Chairperson asked for public comment, and there being none, the public hearing was closed.

The Chairperson summarized the application.

Ms. Stefforia stated that the closest building to the property line was building NN, which is 27.8 feet from the property line. Building OO is 31.7 feet from the property line.

Mr. Corakis stated that he was comfortable with the site plan, and Mr. Rakowski complimented the builder for taking on the project and trying to correct the past mistakes.

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell commented on the landscaping requirements.

Mr. Corakis moved to approve the special exception use and site plan amendment with setback deviation for buildings NN and OO, with the following conditions:

(1) The applicant must comply with the provisions of the Condominium Act, and approval is subject to Township review and approval of the Master Deed and Bylaws Amendments. They must be approved by the Township and recorded by the applicant prior to a building permit being issued for any building within the Phase IV boundaries.

(2) Coordination with Consumers Energy regarding street lights, and the installation of the street lights along the public streets.

(3) The Township Engineer must approve the proposed storm water management system design and the storm water system must be constructed before any Phase IV building or related earth-change activities may get under way.

Buildings NN and OO shall be allowed to deviate from the supplemental setback requirements as shown on the site plan.

Ms. Everett seconded the motion.

The Chairperson asked for public comment on the motion, and there was none.

Upon a vote on the motion, the motion carried unanimously, with James Turcott abstaining.


The Planning Commission reviewed Draft 3 of proposed regulations regarding placement and height of fences. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Bugge stated that the only change from Draft 2 was the elimination of any references to "wall". In all other respects, Draft 3 is identical to Draft 2.

Mr. Sikora asked for Planning Commissioner comments, and there were none.

Mr. Sikora then opened the floor to public comments.

Oshtemo Charter Township resident, Terry Schley, stated that he lives adjacent to a golf course, and when he first moved to his home, there was a barbed-wire fence between his home and the golf course, which he removed. He stated that golfers were coming into his yard, and he put in a six-foot stockade fence in order to keep them out. That did not solve his problem, as the golfers merely went around the edges of the fence to get on his property. He purchased the lot next door and extended the fence. He put in a short section of fence off the corners of his property, and placed a split-rail fence along the side property line. It was apparent there was some misunderstanding regarding the language about the height of fences within 20 feet of a corner, and it was explained by Ms. Bugge that it related only to corners where roads intersected. It did not pertain to lots that were not located on intersecting roads.

Mr. Schley was also concerned about the height of the fence and being able to effectively mow under a split-rail fence. He thought if the height requirement was too low, the bottom rail might be too low to allow effective mowing. He asked that the Planning Commission take that into consideration.

Mr. Schley also stated that the Planning Commission might consider the use of fences as an acoustic device, and he related the information that there is a 20-foot high fence at the Post Office which was designed to eliminate noise in the neighborhood caused by activity on the Post Office loading dock.

There was discussion amongst the Commissioners regarding general language that would encourage maintenance around the split-rail fences, but no consensus was reached, and the idea was abandoned.

Mr. Sikora questioned if a building permit was required, and Ms. Bugge stated that, in the past, a building permit was required if the fence was over six feet tall and 50% solid. Under the new code, there are different requirements.

There was a discussion amongst the Commissioners regarding the wording in Section 78.815 B which now reads:

"No fence over thirty (30) inches in height shall be placed within a twenty (20) foot radius of the corner property line so as to interfere with traffic visibility across the corner."

Ms. Bugge stated that she would draft new language to clarify its intended purpose.

Mr. Rakowski moved to table consideration of the fence regulations until November 1, 2001, to allow Ms. Bugge sufficient time to redraft Section 78.815 B. Mr. Corakis seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.


Ms. Stefforia presented the Commissioners with a Discussion Outline, entitled, "Density Bonuses for Development Amenities". The Commissioners discussed the Outline, item by item. Issues raised in examining the items included the following: (1) who would be liable for any injuries; (2) who would be responsible for the payment of taxes; (3) who would be responsible for maintenance; and (4) whether the areas would be open to the public.

The Commissioners were asked to contribute additional amenities ideas, and Ms. Heiny-Cogswell suggested additions to the Outline of tot lots or small parks, sidewalks, benches along sidewalks, landscape restoration areas and bus shelters.

Ms. Stefforia solicited other ideas from the Planning Commissioners, and she asked that ideas be e-mailed or telephoned to her. She will generate more information from Staff research, and it will be presented at a future date.


The Planning Commission next considered the Agenda item added by Ms. Stefforia concerning the car wash in the Village Commercial District. Ms. Stefforia received a letter regarding the car wash that is now located in the Village Commercial District. It is possible that the car wash will be sold, but the prospective purchaser is concerned that, if he tears down and reconstructs another car wash in its place, he will not be allowed to rebuild it because the Ordinance does not specifically allow car washes in the Village Commercial District.

The Commissioners were favorable to the granting of a special exception use under Section 33.308, but would need to see a site plan for the proposed rebuilt car wash.

It was suggested that the potential purchaser make the sale conditioned upon obtaining a special exception use and site plan approval for the property as a car wash. Ms. Stefforia will make contact with the prospective purchaser and convey the sentiments of the Planning Commissioners.


Mr. Sikora asked for Commissioner comments.

Mr. Turcott expressed his pleasure at the Quail Meadows project finally moving along.

Mr. Rakowski was concerned about the water retention problem in Quail Meadows and questioned whether the Township Engineer had checked the project. Ms. Stefforia stated that the Township Engineer checks the sealed plans, but does not necessarily go to the site.

Mr. Rakowski also asked Ms. Stefforia about a problem with the boarding of horses on 9th Street. Ms. Stefforia stated that a meeting on the subject was scheduled for next Tuesday.

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell reminded the Commissioners that on November 11, 2001, there will be a dedication of the Armed Services Memorial in the City of Kalamazoo.

There were no further Commissioner comments.


There being no further business to come before the Commission, the meeting was adjourned at approximately 9:20 p.m.



Minutes prepared:
October 1, 2001

Minutes approved:
, 2001