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 five others.

2.   Approval of the minutes of the meeting of November 28, 2000.

It was moved by Garner, seconded by Senesac, to approve the minutes of the meeting of November 28, 2000.  The minutes were approved as presented.


1.      Public hearings:

Site Plan No. 198 – the request of Mark Rapanos for site plan review and approval of Whisper Ridge East, a residential site condominium development of 16 building sites on 4.9 acres north of North Saginaw Road and east of Russell Street.  Noting that the petitioner is his brother, Mr. Steve Rapanos requested permission to abstain from consideration of this request.  The Board unanimously affirmed his request.  Noting that she is a resident of an apartment building owned by the petitioner, Ms. Cowenda Garner requested permission to abstain from consideration of this request given her financial relationship with the petitioner.  The Board unanimously affirmed her request.   [See transcript]

4.  Public Comments.

There were no public comments.


5.  Old Business.

a.   Consideration of Site Plan No. 197 – the request of A.J. Damman Company for 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.

Jon Lynch, Director of Planning and Community Development, directed the Board to the revised site plans that had been distributed prior to the beginning of the meeting.  Mr. Lynch also noted that the applicant had communicated with him earlier in the day, explaining that poor weather conditions would prevent his attendance at the meeting.  The applicant requested that the site plan be given consideration without representation. 

After orienting members to the geographic location of the site, Mr. Lynch discussed specific changes that had been made to the site plan including:  reconfiguration of traffic islands in accordance with recommendations of the City’s consulting traffic engineer, provision of concrete screening walls around refuse containers, provisions for pedestrian circulation, and plans for landscape screening.

Members engaged in a discussion of how vehicles would circulate through proposed drive-up window lanes.  The Board entertained an idea of utilizing traffic islands to direct and separate vehicles queued up for window access from other vehicular traffic.  In addition, members discussed the possibility of relocating the south curb cut on South Saginaw Road further to the north.  The Board expressed an interest in having the consulting traffic engineer review these suggestions in further detail.

It was moved by Geisler and seconded by Lind to table action on this matter pending presentation of additional information on January 9th. 

Vote on the motion:

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

NAYS:  None


b.   Discussion of Zoning Board of Appeals Action – action on the request of Jerome Schafer, on behalf of Lepta Associates, for variances for private street requirements in Forestridge Condominiums, located on the west side of Dublin Avenue north of North Saginaw Road.  Mark Ostgarden, City Planner, explained that on December 4th the Zoning Board of Appeals considered three separate dimensional variance requests within the Forestridge plan.

The first variance dealt with separation of local streets connecting to access streets.  The Forestridge design could not provide an entry from Dublin Avenue and maintain 800 feet separation from other local streets along Dublin.  This variance was granted.

Secondly, the Board took up the issue of how long cul-de-sac streets within the development could be.  During its deliberation, the ZBA determined that Forestridge Court began at Westridge Drive; therefore, the street is less than 700 feet long and no variance is necessary.  In other action, the ZBA approved the design of Westridge Drive with the condition that a turnaround be placed at its terminus.

Finally, the petitioner sought a variance to exceed the required 1,380-foot maximum distance between connectors to adjacent unplatted property.  The variance would have allowed the petitioner to close the west end of Forestridge Court.  The ZBA determined that Forestridge Court should be designed to accommodate through traffic, and the request was denied.

c.   Consideration of Site Plan No. 194 – the request of Jerome Schafer, on behalf of Lepta Associates, for site plan review and approval of Forestridge Condominiums, a 68-unit residential development of 34 buildings on 20.4 acres on the west side of Dublin Avenue north of North Saginaw Road.  Mr. Ostgarden introduced the Planning Commission to the site plan and oriented members to the specific geographic location of the site.  During his explanation of the development, Mr. Ostgarden noted the following:  that Dublin Avenue was adequately designed to handle traffic from this development, that no interior pedestrian circulation system is proposed, that the petitioner intends to construct a five- foot tall concrete screening wall over a portion of the north property line, and that approximately 40% of the site will remain open space.  He also touched on nine conditions outlined in the staff recommendation.

Board members raised questions about lack of sidewalks, a chain gate at the Westridge Drive emergency access, and the likelihood of Forestridge Court being extended.

Mr. Dick Miller of 5107 Foxcroft presented himself as the developer of Forestridge Condominiums.  He stated that this is a condominium project because the site presents numerous development challenges and a traditional public street, with its required right-of-way width and associated lot setbacks, would have rendered the property undevelopable.  He showed the Board an elevation drawing of a typical unit and noted that they would be three-bedroom units with between 1,500 and 1,900 square feet. 

Mr. Miller went on to note that Bracken Woods would be happy to have an additional emergency connection to Westridge Drive but that such a connection cannot support daily traffic flow.  Since the streets will be private dead-end streets, they should be acceptable for pedestrians, and a connection to Forestridge Court will probably never be made.  Condominium projects in the City do not generally have interior sidewalks.

Finally Mr. Miller noted that he had no objections to the nine conditions presented by staff and would be willing to install an emergency access gate made of an appealing material.

Mick Thomas of 5207 Stoneridge Drive questioned if the proposed screen along the north property line would be required versus encouraged.  Mr. Lynch stated that if the fence were illustrated on the approved site plan it would become a required element of the project.

It was moved by Lind and supported by Senesac to approve Site Plan No. 194 contingent upon:

1.      The petitioner deeding seven feet of property along Dublin Avenue.

2.      Construction of sidewalk along the Dublin Avenue prior to November 1, 2001.  A financial guarantee will be required to ensure the installation.

3.      A letter of understanding from Bracken Woods regarding the emergency access connection.

4.      The property owner will be responsible for maintaining the cross connection and ensuring it is passable all year long.

5.      The property owner will be responsible for costs associated with extending the street to the west property line a the time the extension is required.

6.      An easement fore the westerly extension of utilities.

7.      Utility easements for sanitary sewer and water lines.

8.      Storm water detention shall be designed and easements provided in accord with City of Midland specifications.

9.      Recording of a master deed for the development.

10.     The emergency access gate shall be of a design acceptable to the City of Midland emergency services.

A vote proceeded as follows:

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

NAY:  None


d.  Zoning Update – Properties recently annexed to the City (the west side of Jefferson Avenue north of the US-10 Expressway, and the east side of Perrine Road between Airport Road and Letts Road) are subject to application of municipal zoning.  Mr. Ostgarden presented the Planning Commission with a map illustrating the subject parcels and noted that the Department of Planning and Community Development has solicited comments from affected property owners.

6.   New Business.

a.  February Training Session.  Mr. Lynch expressed a desire to conduct a training session involving both the Planning Commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals.  Such a session would take place off-site and could potentially occur on a Saturday in February.  It was agreed that such a session would be beneficial and staff would contact Board members to determine the best Saturday during February to conduct the session.

b.   Cul-de-sac Regulations.  Member Senesac requested that dimensional standards pertaining to cul-de-sac lengths be revisited.  Staff will conduct research and present the Planning Commission with a report as soon as practical.

c.   Traffic Control Gates.  Member Rapanos inquired about developing design guidelines for traffic control gates.  It was agreed that this matter should be grounded in a greater context of subdivision design and utilization of private streets.

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

Respectfully submitted,


Jon Lynch

Planning Commission Secretary