MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION,

WHICH TOOK PLACE ON TUESDAY, MARCH 26, 2002, 7:00 P.M.,

COUNCIL CHAMBERS, CITY HALL, MIDLAND, MICHIGAN

 

1.   Roll Call

PRESENT:  Baker, Dowling, Geisler, Kozakiewicz, Senesac, Slicker, Svenson, and Wieland

ABSENT:     None

OTHERS PRESENT:  Jon Lynch, Director of Planning & Community Development; Mark Ostgarden, City Planner; Cheri Standfest, Administrative Assistant; Jim Branson, City Attorney; and 13 others

2.   Approval of the minutes of the meeting of March 12, 2002

Senesac, seconded by Slicker, moved approval of the minutes of the meeting of March 12, 2002 with corrections of the voting records to reflect the absence of Commissioner Kozakiewicz.  The minutes, as amended, were unanimously approved.

 

3.   Public Hearings

  1. Preliminary Plat of Harsh Estates – a residential subdivision of 23 lots on 6.74 acres north of Betsy Drive, south of Alta Court being developed by Randy Harsh [see transcript].

 

4.   Public Comments (not related to agenda items)

Mr. James Reigler of 1905 Airfield Lane commended the staff for its professionalism.

 

5.      Old Business

 

a.      Preliminary Plat of Tri City Commerce Park – a commercial / industrial subdivision of 35 lots on 46.19 acres between Bay City Road and Fisher Road, west of the US-10 Expressway being developed by Nicolaos Rapanos.  Mr. Lynch provided a brief summary of the request and the public hearing conducted on March 12th and reminded Commissioners that tentative and final approval of the preliminary plat is being requested. He provided the Commission with requested supplementary information and informed Commissioners that; 1) the distance between the proposed Bay City Road entrance and the US-10 on ramp is 375 linear feet; 2) property at the northeast corner of the subject site is owned by the Michigan Department of Transportation; and 3) a memorandum from the City Attorney has been provided to the Commission indicating that the proposed plat fully complies with Section 23-50 of the Subdivision Ordinance.

At the request of Commissioner Senesac, Mr. Lynch outlined the circumstances under which development of the remaining 8.5-acre parcel would be subject to formal review.

Mr. Jerry Schafer of 2750 E. Mier Road, representing Nicolaos Rapanos, indicated that the petitioner had no new information to present.  Commissioner Senesac inquired as to why the 8.5-acre parcel had been removed from the plat.  Mr. Schaefer stated that the petitioner did not wish to address development of that parcel at this time.

Mr. Stephon Bagne of 25800 Northwestern Highway, Southfield, Michigan and representing Mr. Thomas Webb, stated that he had provided a letter outlining objections to the proposed plat to Mr. Branson and to Mr. Lynch.  The proposed plat is simply designed in a manner to subvert the intent of Section 23-50 of the Subdivision Ordinance as well as the will of the Planning Commission as evidenced by two previous approvals for plats of this property that included provisions for a stub street to the Webb parcel.

Mr. Bagne further stated that the proposed plat did not represent good planning in that it would not provide for efficient use of streets or provision of utilities.  Given these points the plat violates Section 23-45 of the Subdivision Ordinance, which requires consideration of the convenience and safety of the public.  He also pointed out that the proposed plat will require consideration of dimensional variances by the City Council and that Section 23-80 of the Subdivision Ordinance provides for such variances when the general intent of the ordinance is upheld.  The proposed plat does not meet the general intent of the ordinance as 8.5 acres of land was removed from the proposal with the intent of subverting the ordinance.

Mr. Bagne requested that the Planning Commission either deny approval of the proposed plat or provide approval contingent upon providing for a stub street to the Webb property.

Commissioner Wieland stated that he felt the requirements of the Subdivision Ordinance have been met.  Given the memo from the City Attorney he would support the proposed plat with a curb cut being made to the adjoining 8.5-acre parcel.

Commissioner Svenson stated that she doesn’t like the revision to the proposed plat because it appears to be an attempt to subvert the ordinance requirements.  She doesn’t know how she’ll vote but would like to hear more discussion.

Commissioner Dowling agrees and feels that there are issues with the plat that need to be addressed and as a result is generally opposed to the plat.

Commissioner Kozakiewicz supports the proposal, as the 8.5-acre parcel separated from the plat is completely developable.

Chairman Geisler agrees.

Commissioner Slicker is in support of the plat as long as the curb cut is put in.

Commissioner Senesac asked about circumstances under which the Planning Commission could recommend denial of the proposed plat.  Mr. Lynch advised that while the Subdivision Ordinance is not similar to a site plan review in that a site plan must be approved when the design requirements are met, it would be difficult to deny approval of a plat that meets the design standards adopted by the City.  Reasons for doing so would need to be significant.

Mr. Jim Branson, City Attorney, also addressed the Commission regarding this matter.  He noted first that the Commission needs to act in accord with the established design standards.  He further noted that the Planning Commission does not have the authority to require inclusion of additional property in the proposed plat.  The Commission needs to act on the proposal as it is presented, without consideration of previously submitted plans.  The parcel of property excluded from this plat is not a typical “spite strip” in that it is of adequate size to be developed.  There is also no guarantee that provisions for streets would result in stubs being aligned if the Webb property were developed before the 8.5-acre parcel.  Finally, he noted that the preliminary plat seems to meet all requirements for development if a curb cut is provided to the adjoining 8.5-acre parcel.

Commissioner Slicker noted that consideration of how utilities would serve this area is important, we can’t force conditions on adjacent property that is not included in the plat. 

Mr. Branson explained that the 8.5-acre parcel could be viewed as a separate parcel that could even be under separate ownership.  Utilities to adjacent property would need to be provided via easements or across public right-of-ways.

Commissioner Svenson inquired if Webb would need to provide access to adjacent properties if his parcel were developed.  Mr. Lynch indicated that such access would be required.

Mr. Branson further noted that curb cuts could exist without being used for very long periods of time.

 

It was moved by Wieland and seconded by Slicker to recommend requested approvals of the Tri City Commerce Park preliminary plat with the following conditions:

1.      Applicable design variances are granted for intersection spacing and continuation of streets are granted by the City Council in accord with Section 23-80 of the Subdivision Ordinance.

2.      Fire safety requirements, as set forth by Chief Hargarten in his memorandum of August 7, 2002 shall be complied with.

3.      Storm water retention, drainage, and easement requirements will be met to the satisfaction of the Midland Engineering Department.

4.      A curb cut will be provided to the adjoining unplatted property.

Mr. Lynch clarified that condition 4 applies to the adjacent 8.5-acre parcel.

 

YEA:                Baker, Dowling, Geisler, Kozakiewicz, Senesac, Slicker, and Wieland

NAY:                Svenson

ABSENT:         None

 

6.  New Business

None

7.  Communications

None

8.  Report of the Chairman

      Chairman Geisler noted that Commissioners Baker, Svenson, and Wieland have all been reappointed to terms expiring in June of 2005.

9.   Report of the Planning Director

The Director reported on the following matters:

During its regular meeting of March 18th the City Council scheduled public hearing on Zoning Petitions No. 487 and 488 for April 22nd.  They also rescheduled hearings on Zoning Petitions No. 482, 483, and 484 for April 8th.

On April 2nd the first issues forum pertaining to the Community Development Toolbox will take place at 7:00 PM in City Hall.

During the April 9th Planning Commission meeting the Commission will conduct a public hearing on Zoning Petition No. 490 and will deliberate on the Harsh Estates preliminary plat.

On April 23rd the Commission will consider a request to vacate a public walkway between Virginia and Carolina Streets.

 

 

 

Commissioner Baker noted that the meetings calendar lists an 8:30 PM start time for the second meeting of each month.  Mr. Lynch indicated that all regular meetings of the Planning Commission would begin at 7:00 PM.

 

10.  Adjourn.

Adjournment at approximately 8:15 PM was moved by Svenson, seconded by Slicker, and unanimously approved.

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

Jon Lynch, AICP

Planning Commission Secretary