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September 17, 2001



A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Zoning Board of Appeals on Monday, September 17, 2001, commencing at approximately 3:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Sharon Kuntzman, Acting Chairperson
Ted Corakis
David Bushouse
Jill Jensen


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


The meeting was called to order at 3:06 p.m.


The Board considered the minutes of the meeting of August 20, 2001. Mr. Corakis moved to approve the minutes as submitted, and Ms. Jensen seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.


The Board considered the application of North American Signs for ACCOR Economy Lodging concerning the Red Roof Inn at 5425 West Michigan Avenue. The applicant requested a deviation from the provisions of Section 76.170 of the Zoning Ordinance so as to allow an increase in the square footage of the existing freestanding sign at the site. The property is located in the "C" Local Business District zoning classification and is Parcel No. 3905-25-255-010.

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

Ms. Bugge noted that the Red Roof Inn had been approved as a special exception use on January 5, 1976. On August 2, 1976, approval was granted for a sign of 187 square feet in area. However, the subject property currently has a sign of 216 square feet with a height of 65 feet. The parcel also contains an additional freestanding sign facing West Michigan Avenue, which is 18.5 feet high and has an area of 50 square feet. The applicant was requesting an increase of the sign area to 264 square feet for the sign facing and adjacent to highway U.S. 131. The applicant was seeking the addition of a "LED" pricer unit underneath the existing freestanding sign cabinet.

Ms. Bugge also reported that Red Roof Inn enjoys identification on the highway directory signs located on U.S. 131.

She stated that Hawthorn Suites, which was recently constructed in the area, has a 60 square foot sign in compliance with current Ordinance provisions. Baymont Inn has a pre-existing sign of 198 square feet. Holiday Inn, adjacent to the highway, has a "grandfathered" sign approximately 400 square feet in area.

Ms. Kuntzman observed that the applicant was seeking a sign approximately 41% greater than the original deviation granted to them in 1976. Further, they were seeking to increase 22% over the current signage.

Charlie Schalliol of North American Signs was present on behalf of the applicant. He stated that his company had evaluated the site, and he submitted a handout reflecting the current and the proposed signage. He stated that the applicant was seeking to go from the existing 216 square foot sign at a height of 67 feet above grade to a 190.5 square foot sign at 67 feet in height. He stated that the applicant was trying to adopt a new identity and would try to be an upscale "value-oriented" Inn. Therefore, the applicant was proposing a sign which would be smaller in square footage but remain at the same height.

In response to questions by Ms. Jensen, it was clarified that the applicant was seeking a sign within three feet of the size originally approved for the site. The applicant felt that the Red Roof Inn differed from Hawthorn Suites in that its business was 78% "drive-by" and would not receive as many phone reservations.

It was also noted that, as a prior lawful non-conforming sign, the existing sign could continue indefinitely. Ms. Stefforia felt that this was an important factor to take into account.

The Township Attorney reminded the Board that the Baymont Inn, when it was Budgetel, had received a variance allowing it greater signage due to its location on the highway and other factors.

Mr. Bushouse questioned the Planning and Zoning Department as to whether the Planning Commission had considered whether a use would require greater square footage due to speed limits on U. S. 131. Ms. Bugge stated that the Planning Commission had not wished to make a distinction for "traveling services" signs. However, she was unsure whether they had specifically considered differences in speed limits.

As public comment, Ms. Bugge reported that she had received a phone call from Bill Jamieson, who indicated that he did not feel that the size of the Holiday Day Inn sign should be considered as a factor to grant the pending application because it was "grandfathered".

There was no other public comment, and the public hearing was closed.

Mr. Corakis felt it was significant that the current signage is "grandfathered" and that the proposed sign would constitute a reduction of about 25 square feet. He felt that the applicant was coming into closer conformity with Ordinance requirements.

Mr. Bushouse also felt that the application was reasonable, but he was concerned about the Hawthorn Suites' signage which was just approved. Ms. Bugge indicated that Hawthorn had not sought a variance and was new construction without existing signage. Mr. Bushouse felt that it was important to recognize that the applicant was coming into closer conformance and also had a need for greater recognition from U. S. 131. Ms. Jensen agreed.

It was also felt that it was significant that the proposed signage was in keeping with the signage of the Baymont Inn, a direct competitor of the applicant, which was located immediately to the north.

Ms. Jensen moved to grant a deviation to the applicant to allow for a sign of 190.5 square feet at a height of 67 feet with the following reasoning:

(1) Granting the request for a deviation would not be materially detrimental to property owners in the vicinity in that the applicant was coming into closer compliance with Ordinance requirements. It was reasoned that the existing sign could be maintained indefinitely, and therefore, the proposed signage was more consistent with the intent and spirit of the Ordinance .

(2) That granting the deviation would not be contrary to the general purposes of the section or set an adverse precedent in that the signage was existing and would be in keeping with the signage of a direct competitor located to the north.

Mr. Corakis seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.


The Board indicated that it wished to express its condolences to the victims of the recent terrorists attacks.


There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 3:35 p.m.


Sharon Kuntzman, Acting Chairperson

Ted Corakis

David Bushouse

Jill Jensen

Minutes Prepared:
September 19, 2001
Minutes Approved:
, 2001