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October 9, 2003




A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Planning Commission on Thursday, October 9, 2003, commencing at approximately 7:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall.


Neil G. Sikora, Chairperson
Deborah L. Everett
Kathleen Garland-Rike
Terry Schley
James Turcott


Lee Larson
Mike Ahrens

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


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


Mr. Turcott 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 September 25, 2003. Ms. Everett moved to approve the minutes as submitted, and Mr. Schley seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.


The Planning Commission conducted a public hearing on a series of proposed amendments to the Zoning Ordinance. The Report of the Planning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Stefforia referred the Planning Commission to proposed changes to Section 66.203 which would allow the Planning Commission to grant a deviation from the dimensional requirements of the Ordinance under certain circumstances. Ms. Stefforia noted that Trustee David Bushouse had expressed concern about this provision, believing that the authority for such a deviation should be with the Zoning Board of Appeals. The Township Attorney noted that the authority of the Zoning Board of Appeals to grant a variance from the dimensional requirements had not been removed, but merely relocated to Section 66.206. The proposed language of Section 66.203 allowed the Planning Commission to grant a deviation with the reasoning that the "deviation language" was intended to act as a substitute for requiring developers to utilize a one-lot plat or two-unit site condominium project because a variance request could not meet the criteria for non-use variance. Since the Planning Commission would review site plans and proposals for one-lot plats and two-unit condominium projects, it was reasoned that the Planning Commission should review deviations for their substitute. Again, the Attorney stressed that the Zoning Board of Appeals would continue to be authorized to grant a variance from the dimensional requirements under the Ordinance.

The Chairperson asked for public comment on the item, and Greg Taylor, had questions concerning the proposed changes to the Village Commercial District. It was clarified that no change was proposed to the Ordinance provisions currently allowing thirty percent of parking to be located in the side setback area. It was also clarified that the changes would allow for a maximum front setback in the District of 70 feet. There was no change to the maximum building size.

No other public comment was offered, and the public hearing was closed.

Mr. Schley moved to recommend approval of the proposed text changes, and Ms. Everett seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.


The Planning Commission reviewed a draft of a proposed Zoning Ordinance amendment regarding sidewalks. The Report of the Planning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Bugge noted that the language of proposed Section 78.650 had been revised to take into account the Planning Commission's direction that deviation should only be granted in very narrow circumstances. Further, she had added reference to requiring sidewalks along local roads. It was proposed that deviation would be considered if the street was a cul-de-sac or if the street had severe topographic or natural resource constraints. Ms. Bugge had derived the proposed deviation language from an article in the Planning & Zoning News referencing the USDOT website regarding Portland.

Further, Ms. Bugge noted that there had been a reference added to the fact that sidewalks would include non-motorized, multi-purpose paths. She stated that these had been successfully implemented in the Holland area.

There was consideration of placing a street length provision with regard to cul-de-sacs in considering deviation, but the Planning Commission determined that it was preferable to deal with cul-de-sacs on a case-by-case basis.

As to the circumstances for deviation, Planning Commission members were in agreement that there should be limited exceptions to the sidewalk requirement for limited possibility for deviation. Mr. Schley expressed concern that, if there were too many provisions for deviation, the implementation of sidewalks could be arbitrary or ununiform.

There was clarification that sidewalks or the internal sidewalk network would be required within the public right-of-way of any public street or the easement of private streets. Therefore, it was noted that sidewalks would be required on both sides of a street.

There was a discussion of whether deviation should be allowed if there were other walking paths on the site, such as in open space communities. Planning Commissioners agreed that this should not be a basis for deviation.
g Mr. Schley commented that he felt there was a great need for sidewalks within multi-family housing. Ms. Bugge indicated she would draft a section requiring sidewalks within multi-family developments. It was agreed that another draft would be considered at the meeting of October 23, 2003.


The Planning Commission received an update and review of proposed planning concepts generated by the committee. The Report of the Planning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

The Chairperson noted that, at the Township's initiation, a committee made up of Planning Commissioners and staff members from Kalamazoo City, Kalamazoo Charter Township, Kalamazoo County and Oshtemo Charter Township had met three times over the last several months to discuss existing and future land uses in the North Drake Road area. The Planning Commissioners reviewed the concepts created by the committee. Ms. Stefforia stated that she had spoken to Joe Gesmundo, who owned or controlled much of the vacant property in the area, and he stated that he did not encourage changes to the Township's or the City's Master Plan provisions for the area. He was not in favor of changing the Plan which called for high density residential.

There was discussion among the Planning Commissioners of allowing a higher density in the Township's "R-4" District. Ms. Everett expressed concern that Drake Road could not accommodate much more traffic.

After further discussion, it was the Planning Commissioners' consensus that they agreed with the concepts as expressed, but felt that there were no major amendments to the Master Land Use Plan or Future Land Use Map of the Township which were necessary. However, the Planning Commission might consider an amendment to add a strip of transitional zoning to the south of the Beech Street neighborhood.


There being no further business to come before the Planning Commission, the meeting was adjourned at 8:18 p.m.


By: Kathleen Garland-Rike, Secretary
Minutes prepared: October 13, 2003
Minutes approved: xxxxxx , 2003