1.   Roll Call.

PRESENT:    Commission members – Baker, Garner, Geisler, Kozakiewicz, Lind, Senesac, Rapanos, Slicker, Wieland

ABSENT:    None

OTHERS PRESENT:   Jon Lynch, Director of Planning and Community Development; Mark Ostgarden, City Planner; Cheri Standfest, Administrative Assistant; and approximately 30 others

2.   Approval of the minutes of the meeting of November 14, 2000.

It was moved by Senesac, seconded by Baker, to approve the minutes of the meeting of November 14, 2000.  It was noted by Chairman Wieland that the third paragraph of item #3 should reflect that only he abstained from deliberating over the request.  Motion carried.


3.      Public hearings:

Site Plan No. 197 – the request of A.J. Damman Company, for the redevelopment of an existing shopping center, Eastlawn Center L.C., located at 825 – 985 South Saginaw Road.  It is located on a 6-acre site with approximately 80,000 square feet of commercial area.  The proposed redevelopment will eliminate 15,000 square feet of existing space and construct 14,490 square feet of space in the form of a freestanding Walgreen Pharmacy.  There will be no increase in floor area [see transcript].

4.  Public Comments.

There were no public comments.


5.  Old Business.

Consideration of Zoning Petition No. 470 – the request of Lola Cole, Don Hall, Lavina Hunt, Stan Ostahowski, Mark Thornton, Michael Skinner, John Fisher, Roger Klemkosky, Tom McCann, Todd Bennett, and Mary Jane Miner to rezone property on the north side of West Wackelry Street east of Sturgeon Avenue from Residential A-1 to Business B-2.  Mr. Ostgarden noted that the request would produce a zoning district partially incompatible with surrounding zoning districts and land uses.  Staff recommended that the east portion of the subject area, that being north of an Office-Service 2 district south of West Wackerly Street, be zoned Business B-2.  The west portion of the subject site should then be zoned Business A, a district permitting land uses of lower intensity than those permitted in the Business B-2 Zone.

Chairman Wieland asked if there were any public comments regarding this request that would provide the Planning Commission with new information.

Howard Hennis of 2603 Schade West noted that there are 44 units in the condo development and that senior citizens occupy 90% of them.  Any zoning change that will increase traffic on West Wackerly Street will present safety problems to the residents of the


condominiums.  In addition, businesses would produce negative impacts such as noise, light pollution, and litter.

Charlotte Allen of 6213 Alyse Lane stated that the Business A zoning would be inappropriate, but that if any zoning change were made, an Office-Service district would be less intrusive.  She noted that residential dwellings are permitted in the Office-Service zones but not in the Business A Zone.  Finally, Ms. Allen indicated her belief that West Wackerly Street is not sufficiently designed to support additional traffic.

Don Beckwith of 2609 Schade West Drive explained that there are nine zoning district designations between the existing Residential A-1 zoning and proposed Business B-2.  There is also plenty of vacant land available for business development elsewhere in the community.

Orrin Barrett of 2717 Schade West Drive noted that in addition to noise and traffic, other residents of the neighborhood would have direct views of businesses built on the north side of West Wackerly.  Increased traffic in this area would not constitute good planning given current plans to extend Sandow Road.  Significant residential growth is likely to occur west and south of US-10.

Tim Skelcey of 2807 Schade West Drive noted that he lives on a private street, and significant increases in traffic on West Wackerly may force residents to incur expenses to solve resulting neighborhood traffic problems.

Pam Streeter of 2828 West Wackerly Street asked why a division between proposed zoning districts would be placed west of her property.

Tom McCann of 3310 Jefferson noted that at the A.J. Damman site, a zoning pattern similar to that proposed here has existed for some time.  The Business A district may not be beneficial, since many smaller structures with independent driveways would be provided.

At the conclusion of public input, the Planning Commission entered into deliberation.  Commission members noted that the Business B-2 Zone would allow a wide range of land uses that could potentially be detrimental to the area.  Additionally, the Business A Zone may not adequately protect residences across for the district, south of West Wackerly Street.

It was moved by Rapanos and seconded by Senesac to recommend that the subject site be divided between lots 11-32-50-042 and 11-32-50-044.  An Office-Service 2 zoning designation should be applied to the west portion of the site, while Business A zoning should be applied to the east portion of the site. 

Vote on the motion:

YEAS:  Baker, Garner, Geisler, Kozakiewicz, Lind, Senesac, Rapanos, Slicker, Wieland

NAYS:  None


An amendment to Planned Unit Development No. 2, Harcrest Woods Condominiums – the request of Robert VanSickle, on behalf of Harcrest Woods Condominium Association, to install traffic control gates at the east entrance to the complex (Harcrest Drive just west of Thornberry Drive). Chairman Rod Wieland continued to abstain from participating in consideration of this request.  Vice Chairman Geisler conducted the meeting from this point forward.

Mark Ostgarden explained that concerns pertaining to this request could be separated into planning issues and public safety issues.

With respect to planning issues, a gate at this location would be contrary to local street arrangement requirements for the original Planned Unit Development approval, and other traffic calming options may be available to remedy described problems.  Regarding public safety matters, comments in opposition to a gate, due to its impact on emergency response time, have been received from the Police Department, Fire Department, Midland County Emergency Medical Services, and Consumers Energy.

Given these facts, staff recommended denial of the request.

Vice Chairman Geisler asked if there were any public comments regarding this request that would provide the Planning Commission with new information.

James Ramseyer of 2021 Oakfield explained that he had driven from the hospital emergency entrance to both the west and east entrances of Harcrest Woods.  In both cases the trip was 4 minutes and 30 seconds in duration.  None of the residents wants to endanger their own safety and it is difficult to accept public safety reasons to deny this request.

Arron McMann of 2209 Maple Leaf noted that most condominium developments have a single point of access, whereas Harcrest Woods has two.  Any other group seeking to close a private street within a PUD would need to go though this process of consideration as well.

Bob VanSickle of 2309 Oakfield Drive also indicated that a gate could not be located at the west end of Harcrest Woods due to a municipal requirement for a service turnaround.  There are also legal issues affecting the public status of this road.  Access must periodically be interrupted so as to preserve the private ownership of the street.

The Planning Commission discussed design standards for private streets, PUD street design requirements, and the City’s role in policing private streets.  Several Commission members expressed reluctance to act in a manner contrary to reservations expressed by public safety personnel.  Other Commission members felt that owners of a private street should be entitled to make their own access decisions.

It was moved by Slicker and seconded by Geisler to recommend approval of the requested gate installation, requiring that the gate be equipped with emergency access equipment approved by the Midland public safety departments.  A vote proceeded as follows:

YEA:  Geisler, Kozakiewicz, Lind, Rapanos, Slicker

NAY:  Baker, Garner, Senesac


ABSTAIN:  Wieland

Chairman Wieland reclaimed the gavel.

6.  New Business.

Zoning of Annexed Property.  Mr. Ostgarden informed the Planning Commission that several parcels of land west of Jefferson Avenue and north of the US-10 expressway currently hold Larkin Township zoning designations.  The Commission or the Planning Department can either initiate a petition to apply municipal zoning designations to the parcels and first solicit comments regarding zoning and land use from the property owners.  Planning Commission members opted for the latter.

Review Report from the City Engineer regarding Patrick Road.  An advisory report was included in the November 14th Planning Commission packets.  No questions or comments were forthcoming.

Planning Commission meeting with City Attorney.  The City Attorney is available to meet with the Planning Commission on December 12th at 6:00 p.m.  His presentation on the Freedom of Information Act, Open Meetings Act, and Ethics Ordinance will last approximately 45 minutes.

Adjournment at approximately 9:35 p.m. was moved by Lind, seconded by Slicker, and unanimously approved.

Respectfully submitted,


Jon Lynch

Planning Commission Secretary