Meeting Minutes

October 9, 1997









A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Planning Commission on Thursday, October 9, 1997, commencing at approximately 7:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall, pursuant to notice.


Members present:

Wilfred Dennie, Chairperson
Marvin Block
Ted Corakis
Ken Heisig
Lara Meeuwse
Elizabeth Heiny-Cogswell

Members Absent: Millard Loy

Also present were Rebecca Harvey (after 7:40 p.m.) and Mike West of the Planning and Zoning Department, Patricia R. Mason, Township Attorney, and six (6) other interested persons.


The Chairperson called the meeting to order at 7:02 p.m.


Mr. Block moved to approve the agenda as submitted, and Ms. Meeuwse seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.



The Planning Commission considered the minutes of the meeting of September 25, 1997. Mr. Heisig moved to approve the minutes as submitted. Ms. Meeuwse seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.



The Planning Commission next considered an item tabled from the meeting of September 25, 1997, which was the request of the Oshtemo Township Board for Planning Commission review of a proposed 18-lot residential subdivision (Phase I) occupying approximately 29Ż acres. The subject property is situated within the 9th Street Focus area, located on the east side of South 9th Street, approximately 2,600' south of West Main and is within the "R-2" Residence District Zoning classification.

The report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference. Mr. West indicated that the Planning and Zoning Department had met with representatives of the applicant who had submitted the plat. He noted that the infiltration basin would be located to the southwest of the plat. The Township had received a letter from the Kalamazoo County Road Commission preliminarily approving use of the Kalamazoo County Road Commission basin with certain conditions.

Mr. West noted certain deficiencies in the plan as it related to the 9th Street Focus Area Development Plan. The internal street layout was not consistent with the plan, the stormwater retention was not consistent with the plan, and it was felt that the plan did not sufficiently preserve natural features. Additionally, the dashed lines on the plan regarding setbacks as to lots 1, 10, 16 and 17 were inaccurate. Actual setbacks may severely limit the buildability of those lots.

Mr. West stated that there was some confusion as to the ownership of the area on which the Kalamazoo County Road Commission drainage pond was located. Township records showed that the parcel was owned by the Township. This issue should be clarified.

Reg Shave, president of Four Seasons Builders, was present, stating that the owners of the property were also present. They had submitted the proposed plat, and Mr. Shave stated he sought to have an "informational discussion" with the Planning Commission in that there were such numerous problems with the plan that, as fashioned, the project could not go forward. Mr. Shave stated that he had been a long-time resident and builder within the Township and felt that there was a demand for "duplex lots." He noted that he had met with the Kalamazoo County Road Commission about stormwater retention in that the Road Commission stated that it owned the land on which the pond is located. Further, the Road Commission had approved the retention proposal.

He felt that the location was "good" for its natural features and amenities, as well as the nearby road network. However, the negatives with regard to the property were that it was located in the Kalamazoo School District, there would be noise and car lights from 9th Street, and the sewer line in the area could not be used without a sewer lift or pumping station. Mr. Shave also felt that, because of the 120'-width requirement for lots, sufficient density could not be attained. He stated that he would like to gain "compromises" from the Planning Commission. He felt that the construction of single-family development in this area was not practical. He felt that offices, as well as apartments, should be allowed, in addition to two-family development.

The applicant submitted a handout regarding the cost of the project.

Ms. Harvey entered the meeting.

The Chairperson noted that the 9th Street Focus Area Development Plan and the Zoning Ordinance allow for the development of a PUD in this area. A PUD would permit multi-family, as well as two-family and office, development. In addition, development of an open-space community was allowed in this area. The Chairperson noted that the Planning Commission could not grant variances from Zoning Ordinances provisions. The Zoning Board of Appeals is the appropriate Board to approach with the variance request. The Chairperson stated that the tradition of plats, such as that offered by the applicant, was just one of the options allowed by the Zoning Ordinance.

The applicant requested that the item be tabled so that the applicant could pursue other plans with regard to development in this area. Ms. Harvey noted that PUD development is a separate process and involves a different application fee. Mr. Block said that there had been discussion of office development along KL Avenue.

Mr. Corakis moved to table the item indefinitely pursuant to the applicant's request. Mr. Block seconded the motion.

There was no public comment offered and, upon a vote on the motion, it carried unanimously.


The Planning Commission next discussed draft #1 of the definition of "Commercial Center" and the related parking and site plan review text language.

The report of the Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference. It was noted that the Zoning Board of Appeals had requested a review of the Zoning Ordinance provisions for purposes of defining the concept of a retail center. In response, the Planning Commission had discussed the item on September 25, 1997, and determined that it would define "Commercial Center" (the word "commercial" used in preference to "retail") and would create a parking standard. A streamlining of the site plan review process for the change in occupancy of an individual suite within the center was also intended.

The Planning Commission began reviewing the definition of "Commercial Center." It was noted that the addition of this definition would require renumbering of certain other definitions within the Ordinance. It was felt that the word "building" should be used in preference to establishment or facility since there was a definition of building within the Ordinance.

After much discussion, it was determined that the following definition of Commercial Center would be proposed for public hearing:

A commercial building designed for multiple occupancy within which any use permitted in the "C" Local Business District Zoning classification may be located. A change in occupancy of an individual suite within a Commercial Center does not constitute a "change in use."

The Planning Commission next discussed the proposed parking standard. Ms. Harvey noted that the most restrictive standard within the Ordinance was that applied to restaurants, i.e., one parking space for each 75' of gross floor area. Retail parking requirements are one space per 100 sq. ft. of retail use. Ms. Harvey noted that retail parking generally ends up being about one-half of that required of restaurants. The Planning Commission had previously discussed applying the worst-case scenario to Commercial Centers.

Ms. Heiny-Cogswell felt that the parking requirement for Commercial Center as proposed would be excessive. Mr. Heisig agreed. After further discussion, the Planning Commission's consensus was that the proposed requirement would be that parking for Commercial Center be calculated by assuming that one-half of the square footage of the center would be used for retail sales and one-half for restaurant use unless a more definitive breakdown of use within the center was provided by the applicant. Also, they would provide that up to 25% of the required parking may be proposed and reserved as future parking.

As to Section 82.201, it was decided that this provision should read that there shall be no change in occupancy of an individual suite within a Commercial Center until a site plan submitted in accordance with the Township Zoning Ordinance has received administrative review and approval by the Township.

In addition, Commercial Center should be listed as a permitted use under Section 30.219.

Ms. Meeuwse moved to schedule public hearing on the proposed text amendments for November 20, 1997. Mr. Corakis seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.


The Planning Commission discussed the establishment of a "study approach" to review of the Industrial classification. Ms. Harvey suggested a process similar to that used for the Focus Area Development Plans. She further suggested creation of a subcommittee to review and recommend to the Planning Commission. The time frame involved would be approximately three months for the subcommittee process and three months for the Planning Commission process. It was the consensus of the Planning Commission that the Planning and Zoning Department would proceed and would present a status report to the Planning Commission at the meeting of October 23, 1997.



There was discussion of the work program schedule. In addition, Ms. Harvey noted that a request for special meeting had been received from an applicant, who requested that a special meeting on October 30, 1997, be conducted for purposes of special exception use permit/site plan review/sketch plan review for Quail Meadows. Mr. Corakis moved to schedule the special meeting for October 30, 1997, for the item. Ms. Meeuwse seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

The receipt of a letter from Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton regarding the 9th Street Focus Area Overlay Zone was discussed. It was agreed that the Township Engineer should be requested to address the "sewer issues" raised by the letter.


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