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Meeting Minutes

SEPTEMBER 10, 1998







A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Planning Commission on Thursday, September 10, 1998, commencing at approximately 7:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall, pursuant to notice.

Members present:

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

Members Absent: None

Also present were Jodi Stefforia, Planning and Zoning Department, Rebecca Harvey, Township Consultant, Patricia R. Mason, Township Attorney, and one (1) other interested person.


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


The Chairperson reported that there had been a problem with the notices which were mailed to nearby residences of the proposed Oshtemo Business Park. The notice indicated the wrong Planning Commission meeting date, i.e., September 14, 1998. The Applicant was present stating that he was in favor of tabling the item so that residents could be present to comment, if they chose, but urged that the delay not be too long.

Ms. Meeuwse moved to approve the Agenda, and Mr. Heisig seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.



The Planning Commission considered the minutes of the meeting of August 27, 1998. The change suggested by the Planning and Zoning Department was noted. Mr. Loy moved to approve the Minutes as amended, and Mr. Block seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.



Again the Planning Commission discussed the Application of Hollenbeck Construction for site plan review of a proposed Industrial Site Condominium Development consisting of fourteen condominium units. The property is located in the I-R Industrial Residential District zoning classification at the northeast corner of N Avenue and 9th Street. See  Map

Due to the problem with noticing, Mr. Block moved to table the item until the meeting of September 24, 1998, to allow for renoticing. Mr. Loy seconded the motion.

There was a brief discussion as to the fact that approximately fifteen inaccurate notices had been sent out. However, none of the recipients had telephoned concerning the proposed meeting. Planning Commission members agreed that the safest procedure would be to table the item so that there would be no confusion as to the actual date and time of the meeting.

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



The Planning Commission revised draft #3 of the proposed Stormwater Runoff Provisions. It was recognized that no changes had been made to the proposed Section 11.545 from draft #2. A definition of "Wetland" had been added under Section 11.575. Ms. Harvey noted that she had proposed three alternative definitions. All three were generic Wetland definitions, i.e., not necessarily the definition utilized by the MDEQ for their regulatory purposes. It was noted that the Planning Commission would return to discuss these definitions in further depth after review of the remainder of the provisions.

Ms. Harvey stated that she had redrafted the provisions to refer to "Stormwater Management" rather than "Retention" or "Detention". Under Section 78.510, a new subpart C had been added to respond to Ms. Heiny-Cogswell’s suggestion that reference be made to the Township’s desire that new stormwater management systems be designed to be "natural" in function and appearance. There was discussion of the possibility of inserting graphics of possible designs. It was the consensus of the Planning Commission that these graphics or possible designs could be adopted as part of the Master Land Use Plan.

Subpart E of Section 78.510 had been revised from draft #2. It was noted that draft #2 offered an alternative of language with regard to what was known as the "fencing" issue. Draft #3 included the language which offered the Planning Commission broader discretion with regard to fencing. The alternative language which had been eliminated concerned fencing where slope was greater than 4:1 and/or the stormwater management system was expected to retain at least 18 inches on a regular basis. The Township Attorney reported that she had consulted with legal counsel for the Township Board, and that she and Mr. Reed agreed that the language offering broader discretion was appropriate. The Township Attorneys concurred that it is appropriate to allow the Board discretion so as to encourage developers to make use of natural topography and features at the site as well as to allow the creation of stormwater management systems which would also function as decorative elements to a project. At the same time, the Planning Commission or Zoning Board of Appeals (depending upon which body was conducting site plan review) should have the discretion to require fencing in those instances when public health and safety would require same. An arbitrary slope standard or standard with regard to number of inches of water retained would unduly limit this discretion. The Township Attorney suggested, however, that the Planning Commission would need to "build its record" in each case as to its reasoning with regard to whether or not fencing would be required. Further, it was suggested that the Planning Commission or ZBA, in site plan review, not provide a blanket "charge" to the Township Engineer. For example, in the past, approvals have typically been subjected to Township Engineer review and approval. It was suggested that perhaps in future the site plan reviewing body merely subject site plan approval to the review of the Township Engineer for a finding whether the capacity and functionability of the stormwater management system was sufficient.

Mr. Loy agreed with other Planning Commission members that this proposed language would be appropriate. He noted that he had observed certain fenced retention areas within the Township which did not in fact retain over 18 inches of water and were unsightly. The Chairperson suggested that the staff review of the site plan would need to note the factors which the Planning Commission or the ZBA would need to review concerning this fencing issue.

As to the proposed Section 78.520, no changes had been suggested from draft #2. In Section 78.530 there was discussion as to the provision that Wetlands may be used for stormwater management if certain conditions were met "as determined by a knowledgeable wetland expert". Ms. Harvey stated that in the past the Township has retained Access Management and/or Lighting Consultants with regard to lighting and access arrangements from time to time. She felt that, similarly, in those cases where existing wetlands were to be used for a stormwater management system, the Township would need to retain an expert to render an opinion as to whether the conditions recited in the proposed 78.530 had been met. The Township Attorney suggested that this option would still exist even if this provision were somewhat altered and further suggested that the first portion of the Section not mention the "determination" by the knowledgeable wetland expert. Instead, the Township Attorney suggested a provision under Section 78.550 which would indicate that stormwater runoff to wetlands be subject to review and approval by the Township Wetlands Consultant. Further, it was suggested that the Section 78.550 be amended to provide that the stormwater management and/or soil erosion control plan must show compliance with the provisions of Section 78.500.

Section 78.540, Ms. Harvey suggested, would be revised to refer to retention as well as conveyance, infiltration and/or detention.

There was a discussion of subpart B of Section 78.540 with regard to maintenance of a common system with questions from the Chairperson with regard to its applicability to systems serving residential plats. Ms. Harvey responded that such systems were not considered "off site" systems and were approved through a different process.

The Planning Commission returned to a discussion of the definition of wetlands. Ms. Harvey suggested that the Planning Commission choose that definition which they felt was most easy to understand. She felt that all three essentially "said the same thing". After some discussion, the Planning Commission indicated a consensus that the "Canadian Wetland Registry" definition was the most clear-cut and easy to understand.

Again, the issue of graphics was discussed, and Ms. Harvey indicated that she would work on creation of graphics for inclusion into the Master Land Use Plan.

Ms. Meeuwse moved to schedule a public hearing on the text amendment and Master Land Use Plan amendment for November 12, 1998. Mr. Corakis seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.



There was a discussion of the Planning Commission work plan. As to the Access Management Plan update, Ms. Harvey noted that she was working on this update along with another consultant retained by the Township. It was anticipated that the proposed update would come before the Planning Commission in January 1999. Ms. Harvey stated that she was slated to begin work on the Village Commercial District and the West Main Quarter corridor Plan. It was noted that an additional item might be added to the work plan. The Township Board had been urged by certain citizens to consider a nudity/adult business provisions for the zoning ordinance. It was likely that the Township Board would refer this matter to the Planning Commission in October.

Ms. Stefforia reminded the Planning Commission that inquiry had been made as to buildability of the Schramm parcel for which rezoning was under discussion. She presented a drawing of the parcel noting that a variance granted in 1989 had created a buildable parcel where "buildability" of a building approximately 24,500 2,406 square feet could be established at this on the site.



There being no further business to come before the Commission, the meeting was adjourned at 8:50 p.m.


Minutes approved: September 24, 1998