MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION,
WHICH TOOK PLACE ON TUESDAY, APRIL 23, 2002, 7:00 P.M.,
COUNCIL CHAMBERS, CITY HALL, MIDLAND, MICHIGAN
1. Roll Call
PRESENT: Baker, Dowling, Geisler, Kozakiewicz, Max, Senesac, Slicker, Svenson, and Wieland
OTHERS PRESENT: Jon Lynch, Director of Planning & Community Development; Cheri Standfest, Administrative Assistant; and 8 others
2. Approval of the minutes of the meeting of March 26, 2002
Wieland, seconded by Baker, moved approval of the minutes of the meeting of March 26, 2002. The minutes were unanimously approved.
Chairman Geisler introduced the newest member of the Planning Commission, Mr. Pat Max.
3. Public Hearings
It was moved by Senesac and seconded by Wieland to grant Mr. Bakers request. A vote on the motion proceeded as follows:
YEA: Dowling, Geisler, Kozakiewicz, Max, Senesac, and Wieland
NAY: Slicker, Svenson
4. Public Comments (not related to agenda items)
5. Old Business
a. Zoning Petition No. 490 initiated by Alexander Irigoyen, to zone property at 2101 Bay City Road and 2107 Bay City Road from Business-C to Industrial-A. Mr. Lynch provided a brief review of the public hearing conducted regarding this matter on April 9th. Mr. Irigoyen then indicated that he was prepared to respond to any new questions from the Commission.
Commissioner Senesac expressed support for the petition and noted some concern regarding the L shaped Business C zoning district that will remain around the subject site.
Commissioner Wieland noted that staff had contacted adjacent property owners to measure interest in potentially rezoning their parcels as well. The adjacent owners did not wish to be involved in the petition but did not object to this request.
A vote on the motion proceeded as follows:
It was moved by Baker and seconded by Slicker to recommend to City Council approval of Zoning Petition No. 490. Mr. Lynch pointed out that it would be appropriate for Commissioner Max to abstain from this vote since he was not a member of the Commission when the public hearing was conducted.
YEA: Baker, Dowling, Geisler, Kozakiewicz, Senesac, Slicker, Svenson, and Wieland
6. New Business
a. Public Property Vacation Consideration of a request to vacate a public walkway between Virginia and Carolina Streets. Mr. Lynch provided a review of this petition, noting that the Planning Commission does not conduct a public hearing for consideration of public property vacations. Petitioners cite vandalism, poor sidewalk conditions, litter, noise, and loitering as reasons for requesting vacation of this walkway.
Mr. David Emmeott of 2218 Virginia Street explained to the Commission that the high school is very near the walkway and that the school administration has no control over what transpires there. The walkway was platted in 1942. In the 1960s a similar walkway between Maryland and Carolina Street was blocked off. Neighbors would like the opportunity to remove the sidewalk and convert the walkway to grass and private lawns, similar to other undeveloped and vacated walkways in the neighborhood. This walkway has outlived its usefulness.
Mr. Jim Weslowski of 2305 Virginia Street noted that behavior of walkway users has gotten worse over the past 10 years. Several weeks ago he witnessed the arrest of three individuals who were on the walkway. The area is used for underage smoking. Most users of the walkway are students but Eastlawn is only 300 feet away.
Mr. Tyler Stenka of 2221 Carolina Street explained to the Commission that he has had water balloons and fast food condiment packages thrown against the side of his house facing the walkway. Litter also gets deposited over the fence and onto his lawn. Before the fence was built, people would trespass onto his patio.
Ms. Sally Ann Sutton of 1306 Ohio Street noted that residents rarely use the walkway when students are present due to intimidation and verbal abuse. The school has an open campus, which leads to students congregating in this area. School administrators have indicated that they have no jurisdiction in this area.
Ms. Karen Emmeott of 2218 Virginia Street stated that students are congregating on the walkway between 11:00 AM and 12:20 PM. They use the area for smoking. On once occasion students dragged furniture placed out for disposal into the walkway for their use.
Mr. Scott Belson of 2209 Virginia Street told Commissioners that he had forbidden his 6-year-old son from using this area unless accompanied by an adult. He does not consider the walkway to be a safe place for a young child.
Commissioner Senesac noted that the existing walkway is clearly used by students for a wide range of purposes. While closure of the walkway may relocate rather than solve some of the behavior related problems, it is difficult to identify value in the existing walkway.
Commissioner Svenson pointed out that even if no students were using the walkway, the condition of the existing sidewalk is a problem.
It was moved by Wieland and seconded by Slicker to recommend to the City Council that the 10 wide public walkway between Virginia and Carolina Streets be vacated and that an easement for installation of public utilities be retained.
A vote on the motion proceeded as follows:
YEA: Baker, Dowling, Geisler, Kozakiewicz, Max, Senesac, Slicker, Svenson, and Wieland
8. Report of the Chairman
9. Report of the Planning Director
The Director reported on the following matters:
During its regular meeting of April 22nd the City Council approved Zoning Petitions No. 485, 486, 487 and 488. The preliminary plat of Harsh Estates was rejected.
On May 6th the Council will conduct a public hearing on Zoning Petitions No. 490. The public walkway vacation will also be considered.
During the May 14th Planning Commission meeting the Commission will conduct public hearings on Zoning Petition No. 492 and a PUD for Sterling Park Subdivision. The Commission will deliberate on Zoning Petition No. 491 and Site Plan No. 212.
McKenna Associates will be meeting with the Commission on May 22nd to conduct the first issues forum.
On May 28th the Planning Commission will act on Zoning Petition No. 492.
Adjournment at approximately 8:43 PM was moved by Slicker, seconded by Baker, and unanimously approved.
Jon Lynch, AICP
Planning Commission Secretary