1.   Roll Call

PRESENT:  Eyre, Gaynor, Jocks, Kozakiewicz, Mead, Rapanos, and Svenson

ABSENT:     Senesac

OTHERS PRESENT:  Jon Lynch, Assistant City Manager; Daryl Poprave, City Planner; Cheri Standfest, Community Development Specialist and 13 others.


2.   Approval of Minutes

Regular Meeting of November 8, 2005

It was moved by Eyre and supported by Mead to approve the minutes of November 8th. The minutes were unanimously approved. 


3.      Public Hearings


      A.   Zoning Petition No. 525 – Consideration of a petition initiated by Ron Lapham to rezone

            property at 1314 West Wheeler Street from Office Service zoning to Regional Commercial



Mr. Poprave presented an aerial photo with a zoning overlay on it.  It is north of Wheeler Street and west of Tucker Street.  To the west is Fast Eddie’s Car Wash.  There is a large amount of residential development to the north, which includes Sylvan Pines Condominium Association.  The zoning map identifies this property in between office service and regional commercial.  The future land use map identifies this area as being utilized for office service purposes, with the adjacent parcels being used for regional commercial.  The request was initiated by Ron Lapham.  In 1981, this property was originally zoned Residential B.  It was petitioned at that time to rezone it to OS-2.  Since that time, there has never been an office use developed on this lot.  Today, it is a largely wooded lot.  There have been no site plans filed by anyone for an office use since 1991.  The proposed rezoning is not consistent with the city’s master plan.  However, the proposed amendment is in accordance with the zoning ordinance. 


This lot is of a sufficient size that would allow adequate setbacks if a business were to be built on this lot.  They did not have a site plan before them, so it was difficult to determine where ingress and egress will take place.  This is an issue that will have to be addressed when a site plan is presented for this parcel.  However, they need to consider the differences in the amounts of traffic that will be generated by the range of uses in the zoning classification that is being requested.


Staff recommends denial of this request because the request is not consistent with the city‘s master plan nor the city’s land use plan.


Mike Lapham2816 Scott Street – Stated that they have had Lapham’s Flowers in this vicinity for over 50 years.  The Zoning Board of Appeals has given them a period of three years to sell flowers at this location.  They are looking at property to establish their business and this is close to the area where they have been for many years.  Their intentions for this property are long-term.   This particular piece of property is ideally suited for their business as it is heavily wooded and is close to where they used to conduct their business.  He had letters from Fast Eddie’s and Hidden Pines Condominium Association in support of the rezoning. 


Mr. Kozakiewicz asked what was meant by seasonal.  Mr. Lapham stated they are busy beginning around Mother’s Day, for about the following 90 days. 


Mr. Eyre stated he believed they had a business out M-20.  Do you plan to continue your business out there?   Mr. Lapham stated that they grow a lot of their plants locally.  It is nice to be able to purchase locally grown plants and they have a faster turn-around time for their customers.


Mr. Mead asked if they plan to have a permanent structure that would be heated.  Mr. Lapham stated that they were.  They would like to build a permanent structure where people could come in and shop.  The rezoning request is their first step down this road.


Ron Lapham stated he is the third generation in the family business.  He wants to see his kids run the business as a fourth generation of the family business.  They all have other jobs so they do this to bond as a family. 


Richard Fosgitt, with Bartow & King Engineers of Midland spoke that one of the things that he is aware of is the transitional nature of the zoning from regional commercial to the higher density residential zoning, to the lower density residential zoning.  This particular rezoning would not materially alter that transition at all.  It would not abut any residential zoning.  There are residential uses on Tucker Street, but they are located in an office service zone.  There are two issues regarding this site.  #1 is that it is hard to get to due to the local street layout.  #2 is that it has been vacant for the past 15 years.  Most commercial uses like an easy-in and easy-out type of traffic access.  Traffic access is difficult to this site.  The proposed use intends to maintain the integrity of this property as much as possible.


Gerald Tucker said that he owns the 2 parcels of property to the east of the proposed rezoning.  The property to be rezoned is 240 feet deep.  They have owned that property for 70+ years.  He was there 40 years ago when they tried to put a K-Mart in his back yard.  He is for the rezoning.  The field has been there 70+ years and there has never been anything else in there.  He would also like his property considered for rezoning to regional commercial.


Fred Warner, 4937 Grandview Circle, stated that he lives in the condominium association.  The board of directors would like to go on record as being opposed to this rezoning. They are opposed for reasons of increased traffic, the appearance of the proposed structure, lighting, noise, the tent, and now a “plastic” building.  They feel this will affect their property values and their ability to sell their property.  They are also concerned about future uses, should Laphams end their business.  They do not want the property to become a Seven-Eleven, a gas station or a bank. 


Ruth Kilmaster, from Sylvan Pines, she lives in a building that backs up to this property.  She asked Mr. Lapham how the access would be to the property.  Mr. Lapham stated it would be a right turn in and a right turn out.  She has to travel that piece every time she wants to go anywhere.  Everyone in town travels through that traffic light.  Except for Ware Smith, which is a very quiet business, this area is all residential.  She is objecting to this more intensive use.


Pauline Huffman, 4908 Grandview Circle, stated she is opposed.  She would hate to see any kind of a business go in there.  She spoke against the car wash.  She was told that this would also be a very quite business and she feels it is definitely not.


Ron Lapham stated that they have two different ideas for the building.  One would be a country type of sales center.  The other idea would be a greenhouse structure.  Currently their location in Oil City has plastic along one side of the building, but it is to add another modular structure over time.  When the expansion is done, it will be all polycarbonate walls.


Mr. Lynch addressed the appearance of the structure for this location.  When the Planning Commission considers a rezoning for a parcel of property, by law, they are not allowed to consider what the ultimate site plan would look like for this site.  When a property is considered for rezoning, they must examine the entire range of uses allowed in that particular zoning district.  


Mr. Rapanos asked if there were precedents in the city where there have been rezonings of regional commercial next to residential districts.  Mr. Lynch could not recall any specific examples.  The closest thing would be the new Wolverine Bank that was developed out Eastman Avenue, in the midst of the residential district.  This was an office service use.


Pauline Huffman stated that Mrs. Lapham owned that property where their business formerly existed, but Wheeler Road did not go through there at that time. 


      B.  Zoning Petition No. 526 – Consideration of a petition initiated by the Dow Chemical

            Company – Michigan Operations to rezone property at East Ellsworth Street and East

            Buttles Street east of State Street from Regional Commercial zoning to Community



Mr. Lynch showed a site location map, indicating the property is along State Street and East Ellsworth Street.  The property currently falls within the regional commercial zoning classification.  There is a structure shown in the photograph.  This structure has been removed since.  There is a commercial printing operation to the north of this area, as well as an automobile dealership.  Within the public right-of-way between Patrick and Lyon Roads, there is a pedestrian trail that has been developed for public recreational purposes.  The subject property is vacant at the moment.  The Dow 47-Buidling, associated with Michigan Operations, is located adjacent to this property. 


The proposal tonight is to rezone this property to the Community zoning district.  Presently, it is adjacent to heavy industrial, light industrial, community, office service district, and just down the street from the downtown district.  The petitioner has indicated that the proposed use is permitted by right in this zoning classification.  Assuming this, the use will comply with the intent of the zoning ordinance.  The property owner has indicated that the property will not be used for industrial purposes.  He does not envision industrial or commercial activity at the subject site.  The petition does not comply with the future land use map.  The cross hatched pattern indicates this property is highlighted for future industrial activities.  The subject site is of such a size that applicable setbacks could be met for the development of this site. 


Carol Svenson asked if there was a building in this area.  Mr. Lynch stated that the building shown on the aerial map has been removed. 


Mike Ribiki – Professional Services – Representing Dow Chemical Company.  He does confer with what they presented.  Mr. Gaynor asked what they are planning to do with this property.  Mr. Ribiki stated Dow has no specific plans for this property at this time. 


No one spoke in favor of or in opposition to this petition.


      C.  Zoning Text Amendments – Consideration of revisions of Zoning Ordinance 1585

            initiated by the City of Midland.


Mr. Poprave stated the new zoning ordinance became effective on January 1, 2005.  Staff has utilized this ordinance throughout the entire 2005 construction season.  Changes have been proposed to correct errors, strengthen regulations and make the ordinance more readable. 


Major Revisions include the following:

            Section 3.01(f) – Division and Consolidation of Land:

                        Text added to permit the division of a duplex (2-unit) dwelling and it’s lot

                        Table 8.1 – garage sale signs – 6 sq. ft.

                        Table 8.1(i) – election signs size limited to 32 sq. ft. in residential districts

                        Table 8.2 – Wall and ground signs in AG and RA zones limited to 12 sq. ft.

                        Table 8.2 – More than one wall sign permitted in non-residential districts

                        Footnotes to Table 8.2 – Reorganized according to type of signage (i.e. ground, wall,

                                                roof, etc.)

                        Section 8.07(1)

                                    Murals – permitted in all non-residential districts

                                    Murals – maximum area determined by wall sign requirements

                                    Examples of murals to combat blight

                        Section 8.07(H)

                                    Sandwich board signs permitted in the Circle and Downtown Districts, up to

                                                16 sq. ft. in size.

                        Section 27.02(A) – Site Plan Required

                                    Minimum size trigger reduced from 10,000 sq. ft. to 7,500 sq. ft. building

                                                addition gross area.

                                    Additional or new curb cuts requires site plan review

                                    Commercial, office or industrial construction or additions of 1,000 sq. ft. or

                                                more directly adjacent to a single family residential district (RA1-RA-3)

                                                will require site plan review.


      Minor Revisions include the following:

                        Section 2.03 – New freestanding canopy sign definition

                        Section 5.01(E) – Commercial vehicle parking limited to 48 “consecutive” hours in

                                                residential districts

                        Section 5.01(F) – Recreational vehicle parking for multiple family developments

                                                permitted on “improved surfaces” only.

                        Section 7.03(B) – Walls in residential districts

                                                Obscuring walls and fences may be located in the required front

                                                            yard setback if they do not exceed 3-1/2 feet in height.

                        Section 9.03(4) – Cul-de-sac length for residential developments can be lengthened

                                                from 700 ft. to 1,000 feet if:

                                    Engineering, Fire, Planning and Public Services sign off and City Council approves.

                                    No parking permitted within cul-de-sac turn around


                        Several sections of the Zoning Ordinance incorrectly list BB-1, BB-2, and BA

                                    as Commercial Districts


                        These District names will be changed to CC (formerly BB-1), RC (formerly BC), etc.


            Offer a recommendation to City Council on January 10, 2006.


            Richard Fosgitt spoke in general about the issues regarding site plan review.  Many developers come to him regarding how quickly they can get their project underway.  Regardless of where you set the site plan for review, please try to act on the site plan the night of the public hearing when it is a straight forward site plan.  This would help immensely.  He is in favor of having new developments adjacent to residential properties come up for public hearing as this allows public input.



4.   Public Comments (not related to agenda items)




5.   Old Business




6.  New Business

A.    Vacation of Public Property – Consideration of a petition initiated by the

Dow Chemical Company – Michigan Operations to vacate the following public streets: 

East Ellsworth Street from State Street to Haley Street; Haley Street and Mill Street from East Ellsworth Street to Buttles Street.


This includes roughly a two block section of downtown.  This is related to Zoning petition No. 526.  It falls within the regional commercial zoning classification.  The automobile dealership and printing establishment are located to the north.  Dow Chemical has an interest to make an investment in this section of the city.  There currently is minimal use of the streets.  The operating departments of the city have found no reason that these streets need to be preserved.  However, there need to be utility easements granted if these streets are to be vacated.


Mr. Mead cannot see any reason why not to vacate the property.  Ms. Svenson agrees, as do Mr. Rapanos, Mr. Eyre, and Mr. Jocks.


Motion by Mead to recommend vacation of the property from East Ellsworth Street from State Street to Haley Street, Haley Street and Mill Street from East Ellsworth Street to Buttles Street, with the maintenance of the utility easements.  Motion seconded by Gaynor.  Motion passed unanimously.



B.   Comprehensive Plan Update – Review of a work program developed by LSL Planning, Inc. for preparation of an updated community-wide comprehensive plan.


Mr. Brad Strader, representing LSL Planning, Inc, prepared an update for the community-wide comprehensive plan.  Kezziah Watkins will have more of an oversight role so they will have the same level of public involvement, but it will be facilitated by the LSL team.  The transportation element has been expanded and three corridors have been identified for special consideration.  There will be an overall assessment of the motorized transportation system as well as the non-motorized opportunities.  They think they can concentrate the public input and expedite their time frame to about 19 months. 


Motion by Svenson to recommend approval of LSL to update the master plan.  Seconded by Eyre.  Motion passed unanimously. 


7.  Communications




8.  Report of the Chairman




9.  Report of the Planning Director


            CITY COUNCIL                                                                                                                 


December 19th

                                PUBLIC HEARINGS



                                ACTION ITEMS

                                LSL Contract Approval (tentative)


January 9th

                                PUBLIC HEARINGS



                                ACTION ITEMS

§         Street Vacation – Set public hearing for consideration of a petition initiated by Dow Chemical Co; Michigan Operations, to vacate East Ellsworth Street between State Street and Haley Street; vacation of Mill Street between East Ellsworth Street and Buttles Street; vacation of Haley Street between East Ellsworth Street and Buttles Street (February 13)


January 23rd

                                PUBLIC HEARINGS



                                ACTION ITEMS

§         Zoning Text Amendment – Set public hearing for consideration of a petition initiated by the City of Midland to amend various articles of the Zoning Ordinance as outlined in a memorandum to the Planning Commission dated December 6, 2005. (hearing 2/13)




January 10th

                                PUBLIC HEARINGS

§         Rezoning, Zoning Petition No. 527 – Consideration of a petition initiated by Midland County to rezone approximately 30 acres located at 4600 Bay City Road  from Agriculture to Community zoning.


                                ACTION ITEMS

§         Rezoning, Zoning Petition No. 525 – Consideration of a petition initiated by Ron Lapham to rezone approximately 1.9 acres located at 1314 West Wheeler Street  from Office Service to Regional Commercial zoning.

§         Rezoning, Zoning Petition No. 526 – Consideration of a petition initiated by Dow Chemical Company; Michigan Operations to rezone approximately 20.44 acres located at 1214 East Buttles Street  from Regional Commercial to Community zoning.

§         Zoning Text Amendment – Consideration of a petition initiated by the City of Midland to amend various articles of the Zoning Ordinance as outlined in a memorandum to the Planning Commission dated December 6, 2005.


January 24th

                                PUBLIC HEARINGS



                                ACTION ITEMS

§         Review projected socio-economic data related to transportation demand model being developed by the Michigan Department of Transportation.

§         Rezoning, Zoning Petition No. 527 – Consideration of a petition initiated by Midland County to rezone approximately 30 acres located at 4600 Bay City Road  from Agriculture to Community zoning.




December 20th


§         No. 05-21 – Ieuter Insurance Group for an area/dimension variance to permit multiple sign replacement and increase the amount of sign area at 233 East Larkin Street.


§         No. 05-22 – Sprint PCS for an area/dimension variance to permit multiple wall signs at 7229 Eastman Avenue.


§         No. 05-23 – Logan’s Roadhouse for an area/dimension variance to permit multiple wall signs and to permit an increase in total wall sign area at 7135 Eastman Avenue.


§         No. 05-24 – Joe Vanderkellen on behalf of Snow Machines, Inc. for an area/dimension variance to permit multiple wall signs at 1512 Rockwell Drive.




ASP No. 20 – Mid-Michigan Medical Center4005 Orchard Drive, 6,500 s.f. MRI addition.




The Planning Commission conducts only one regular meeting during the month of December.


10.  Adjourn

Adjournment at approximately 9:25 PM and unanimously approved.

Respectfully submitted,




Jon Lynch

Assistant City Manager