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September 11, 2003





A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Planning Commission on Thursday, September 11, 2003, commencing at approximately 6:30 p.m. at 6100 West "H" Avenue, and then continuing at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Neil G. Sikora, Chairperson
Deborah L. Everett
Lee Larson
Terry Schley
Kathleen Garland-Rike
James Turcott


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


The Chairperson called the meeting to order at 6100 West H Avenue, at 6:35 p.m.


The Planning Commission considered the request of Dennis Stacey place the previously-approved pole building in a different location and reduce its size. The subject site is located at 6100 West H Avenue in the "R-2" Residence District zoning classification, and is Parcel No. 3905-02-480-019.

The Planning Commissioners observed the location originally approved for the accessory building which the applicant had marked with stakes. Mr. Stacey stated that the location, as approved, was 60 feet from the back of his property line. The existing barn at the property would be removed once the new pole building was up. He had reduced the proposed size of the building from 40 feet to 30 feet wide and reduced its height to 19 feet. The building would have a hip roof, shingles and a one foot overhang with windows in the walls and doors. The building would be white steel siding with green trim.

Mr. Stacey pointed out the locations for proposed plantings on the west property line. He stated that he would also be placing spruce or pine trees at the corners of the hammerhead drive near the front of the building. He was also going to be establishing evergreens, holly, rhododendron, etc. in the front yard of the residence by the east edge of the existing wooded area. Mr. Stacey further pointed out the stakes, showing the proposed location of the building.

Ms. Bugge noted that a letter of support had been received from the neighbor to the west, Marjorie Lemmer. Cindy Kane was also present, stating that she was the owner of the property to the east and favored the relocation of the building. There were neighbors living across the street who stated they had "problems" with the relocation. They were identified as Wanda Chyla, Tom Forsch and Jim Fischer.

Robert Brink was also present and asked whether the garage door could be moved to the west side of the building. The applicant said that on occasion he would be washing equipment in the back of the building, and therefore, if the orientation of the building were changed, this activity would be visible from the road.

In response to questions from Mr. Schley, Mr. Stacey stated that the building could not be moved much further to the north because the applicant wanted to utilize the back of the building for turning his equipment and for washing the equipment.

Cheryl Stacey, co-owner of the property, stated that, if the proposed building were moved to the north, the view from the neighboring house would be blocked.

The Chairperson called for the Planning Commission to depart the site and reconvene at the Township Hall.

Planning Commissioners reconvened at the Township Hall at 7:00 p.m. At that time, nine other interested persons were present.


The Chairperson asked for consideration of the Agenda. Ms. Bugge noted that under "Other Business", the Planning Commission should consider election of a Vice Chairperson. Mr. Turcott moved to approve the Agenda as amended, and Mr. Larson seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.


The Planning Commission considered the minutes of the meeting of August 21, 2003. Ms. Everett moved to approve the minutes as submitted, and Ms. Garland-Rike seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.


The Planning Commission returned to the application of Dennis Stacey for relocation of the previously-approved pole building. Ms. Bugge noted that, in addition to the letter of Marjorie Lemmer, a letter had been received from Gregory Doublestein in favor of the application.

The Report of the Planning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Bugge reminded the Planning Commission that they had already granted approval for the location of the home occupation in an accessory building at the site. The Attorney stressed that the only issue was the proposed alteration of the location and the reduction in height and square footage. Ms. Bugge provided a depiction showing the originally-approved location and the proposed location. Ms. Bugge suggested, if the relocation were approved, that the other conditions of the August 7, 2003, approval be incorporated by reference.

The Chairperson expressed concern that one requirement from the August 7, 2003 meeting was that the building be located 100 feet from the north property line, and this was not physically possible on the site. It was determined that, as amended, the motion required a setback from the north property line of approximately 60 feet.

Dennis Stacey was present, stating he was available to answer questions.

Ms. Everett had questions as to how large the trees, i.e., evergreens, that would be planted on the side of the pole building. The applicant indicated that they would be four to six feet in height. The door of the pole building would be 12 feet high. Mr. Schley noted that conventional garage doors are seven to eight feet in height.

In response to questions from Ms. Garland-Rike, the applicant stated that the pitch of the roof and its slope would be the same due to the smaller size of the building.

The Chairperson asked for public comment, and Wanda Chyla, a resident of Ramblewood Drive, stated she felt that the building would be an eyesore to the neighbors and persons driving by. She was concerned that the "commercial nature" of the building would impair her property values.

Tom Forsch provided a copy of a written statement to the Planning Commission members, which is incorporated herein. He was concerned about the construction of the building and its "very large" size. He felt that the area should retain its residential character. He was concerned that the new location of the building was still unacceptable since it was closer to the west property line and closer to the road.

Keann Fischer stated that, from her drive, she could see the Stacey property. She was concerned about a decrease in her property values and wanted to keep the area residential. She stated that her own home occupation did not harm the neighbors.

Robert Brink, County Commissioner, stated that he was present because he had received letters signed from neighboring property owners opposed to the use in question. He wondered about reorienting the building and moving it to the east. Mr. Stacey said that this would not be possible because he needed to go "straight in" from the drive and wash his equipment at the back of the building.

Mr. Brink stated that he was concerned about stormwater run-off from the site, noting that there was already a ponding problem in the area. He was concerned that Mr. Stacey would be power-washing his equipment and that this water would run off across the street. He felt there should be some controlled flow from the power-wash area.

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

It was noted that Mr. Stacey would have a gravel driveway and crushed stone in the washing area. The washing area would not be paved, and therefore, the water would not run off into the road. Mr. Stacey also emphasized that he would only be power-washing once or twice per month.

The Chairperson asked for comments from the Commission, and Ms. Garland-Rike noted that the Planning Commission had spent a lot of time considering this application in August. She was concerned that there was a lot of consideration given to the location of the building and making it "unobtrusive". She felt that the further back the building was, the less intrusive it would be. She still felt that the original placement was appropriate. The Chairperson was concerned that it was physically impossible to place the building as originally approved. Mr. Schley stated that, given the character of the area which had changed over the years, there would be a continued mix of classic rural and residential uses. He suggested that the building be as proposed at 35 feet from the west line, but that the leading edge of the pole building be moved back to commence at approximately the half-way point from the leading edge of the house. Mr. Larson agreed.

The Chairperson observed that the new proposal involved a smaller, shorter, and more residentially-appearing building. The Chairperson stated that he could agree with moving the building further north. He noted that, if the applicant were not using the accessory building for a home occupation, he could put up an accessory building with no Township review.

After further discussion, the applicant stated that he would be willing to move the pole building location to a point 17 feet to the north from the location proposed.

There was discussion of the height of the garage door, and Mr. Schley noted that some larger homes have similar heights on their garage doors for access to RV's and boats.

There was a discussion of the depiction of the pole building contained in the application. Mr. Stacey stated that the door with windows on either side would be located on the north and south sides of the building. The west and east sides of the building would have four windows and a sliding door. Each window was 3'x3'. It was noted that the building area had been reduced to 1,800 square feet from the 2,400 square feet previously approved.

Mr. Schley observed that the changes to the building made it more residential in appearance and less detrimental to the area.

As to the issue of side setback, Ms. Bugge stated that, under the Ordinance, the placement of an accessory building would only be required to be 19 feet from the west line because of its height. She stated that Ms. Lemmer's letter noted that her home was 115 feet from the proposed building setback line.

In response to questions from Ms. Everett, the applicant stated that there would be a double row of white pines on his neighbor's property and that he would be planting spruce and fir on his west line. Spruce or fir would also be planted on either side of the driveway about ten feet from the front corners of the door.

Mr. Schley stated that he was comfortable with the application, since the applicant could build a much larger building.

Mr. Schley moved to approve the relocation of the accessory building to a point 35 feet from the west property line and 192 feet from the center of the road. The approval was based upon the square footage, height and appearance of the building as proposed by the applicant. However, it was required that Township Staff have the final approval of the design and materials used in the building to determine that the building had a sufficiently residential appearance. Further, Mr. Schley moved that the landscaping as proposed by the applicant be approved, and that a plan for the exact placement of the landscaping be provided to Staff at the time of submission of the building plans for a building permit. The plan was subject to Staff review and approval. Ms. Garland-Rike seconded the motion. There was no public comment on the motion, and upon a vote, the motion carried unanimously.


The Planning Commission considered the renewal of special exception use and site plan approval for the Savannah Open Space Community as well as site plan amendment to address changes to the proposed residential site condominium layout and number of dwelling units. The property is comprised of 59 acres on the north side of West "H" Avenue between 6th Street and 9th Street, and is Parcel Nos. 3905-03-480-026, 3905-03-450-001 through 3905-03-450-037. The subject property is located in the "R-2" Residence District zoning classification.

The Report of the Planning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Bugge provided a revised site plan to Planning Commission members. She noted that Mike Schwartz from Prein & Newhof was present on behalf of the applicant. She reminded the Planning Commission that approval was initially granted on May 11, 2000. Subsequently, the plan was modified to include public sewer and portions of the infrastructure for Phase 1 were constructed. The project had stalled, and the current applicant purchased the development with the intention of completing the outstanding issues in Phase 1, including construction of stormwater retention areas. Ms. Bugge noted that the applicant was requesting an amendment of the plan to increase the number of single-family sites by four units, which would result in the renumbering of the units. He was also suggesting the alteration of phase lines.

It was noted that the initial parallel plan indicated 115 single-family lots would be permitted in a standard plat at the site. She stressed that the proposal was not for multi-family buildings, but for single-family and duplex buildings. The applicant was adding four proposed lots and reducing the number of duplexes by two. Therefore, there would be a total of 107 dwelling units at the site. As to the duplex buildings, Ms. Bugge reported that each side of the duplex building would be condominiumized, and the area around the building would be a common element of that building. Ms. Bugge stated that one item the Planning Commission should review was the fact that some lots had limited building envelopes, i.e., those lots which were on corners. Ms. Bugge suggested inquiry into the time line for the phasing of the project.

She reviewed the special exception use and site plan review criteria.

Mr. Schley had questions as to the "buffer zone" in the area of the duplexes. Ms. Bugge stated that there was approximately 30 feet between the duplex site and the property line on the east side.

Ms. Everett questioned the applicant with regard to the use of the open space, and it was noted that there would be walking paths.

There were questions concerning the gravel driveway, and Mr. Schwartz stated that this would be used to access the sewer pump station as required by the City of Kalamazoo.

Greg Hunt was also present on behalf of the applicant, stating that the walking paths were proposed for open space.

Mr. Hunt stated that there would be one association for the project, and that the homeowners association would be responsible for maintaining private roads, including snow plowing. There was no plan for a pool or community building.

Mr. Turcott had questions concerning the stormwater retention ponds, and Mr. Schwartz stated that, for the most part, there have been no changes to the proposed retention areas with the exception of Area No. 3 which had been altered to maintain the natural contours of the land.

There was discussion of the lots with limited building envelopes, and they were noted to be Nos. 19, 20, 30, 35, 40, and 38.

The Chairperson asked for public comment, and Marvin Darling had questions concerning drive sharing. It was noted that the original approval had indicated that the developer would provide curb-cuts to Savannah Drive if the neighboring property owners requested access and agreed to close their drives to "H" Avenue. Mr. Darling had concern about school buses accessing the site since the Road Commission had made no changes in the hill to the east of the site. In response to other questions of Mr. Darling, the applicant's representative stated that there would be a berm located on the east line to prevent stormwater run-off.

The public hearing was closed.

In response to questions about phasing, Mr. Hunt stated that Phase 1 had been built, and it was anticipated that Phase 2 would be commenced by April 1, 2004.

The Chairperson made reference to Section 60.100. After some further discussion, Ms. Everett moved to renew approval, with the phasing as proposed, and the amendments requested by the applicant. Ms. Everett incorporated the reasoning of the Planning Commission in its approval of May 11, 2000, and incorporated the conditions for approval therein, with the exception of item A and portions of item C pertaining to the sand filter system, as well as items 4, 5, 9, and 14, which had either been addressed or were no longer applicable. Mr. Turcott seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.


The Planning Commission reviewed the map indicating where non-motorized facilities were desired within the Township. Ms. Bugge stated that she had revised the map pursuant to the Planning Commission instructions.

The Report of the Planning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Everett moved to request that the Township Board allow the distribution of the proposed Non-Motorized Facilities Map as a planning document to neighboring jurisdictions and utilities. Mr. Turcott seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.


Ms. Everett nominated Mr. Turcott for election as Vice Chairperson. Mr. Larson seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.


The Chairperson welcomed Mr. Schley to the Planning Commission. Ms. Garland-Rike also welcomed Mr. Schley and his contribution to the meeting.

Ms. Garland-Rike also expressed appreciation for Elizabeth Heiny-Cogswell who was departing the Planning Commission and applauded her contributions over the years.

Mr. Turcott noted that KVCC was conducting a series of environmental programs and provided information.


There being no further business to come before the Planning Commission, the meeting was adjourned at 8:55 p.m.


Kathleen Garland-Rike, Secretary

Minutes prepared:
September 15, 2003
Minutes approved:
, 2003