MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE MIDLANDCITY PLANNING COMMISSION,
WHICH TOOK PLACE ON TUESDAY,
9, 2007, ,
COUNCIL CHAMBERS, CITY HALL, MIDLAND, MICHIGAN
Eyre, Gaynor, Hanna, Jocks, Kozakiewicz, Mead, Senesac and Svenson
OTHERS PRESENT:Daryl Poprave, Acting Director of Planning &
Community Development; Cheri Standfest, Community Development Specialist, Jim
Branson, City Attorney, Brad Maki, Assistant City Engineer and 8 others.
2.Approval of Minutes
Regular Meeting of December
On page 5, the next to the last full paragraph, the second line, “wimp”
should be “whim”.
It was moved by Eyre and supported by Senesac to approve the minutes of December 12, 2006.The minutes were unanimously
approved as corrected.
Petition No. 532 (tabled) – Consideration of a petition
initiated by Patrick and Shawn Pnacek to rezone .98 acres of land located at 110
Oakbrook Drive from RA-1 to OS.
This is still tabled and will not be dealt
b.Zoning Petition No. 534 (tabled) – Consideration
of a petition initiated by Patrick and Shawn Pnacek to rezone .96 acres of land
located at 104 Oakbrook Drive from RA-1
This is still tabled and will not be dealt
Petition No. 541 – Consideration of a petition initiated by Lapham Development, LLC to rezone 2.06 acres of land
located at 1314 West Wheeler Street from
Office Service zoning to Regional Commercial zoning including the voluntary
offer of conditions pursuant to Section 30.03(E) of the Zoning Ordinance.(POSTPONED)
Comments (not related to agenda items)
Public Property – Consideration of a petition initiated by the Dow
Chemical Company – Michigan Operations, to vacate the following public
Street, Bay City Road,
including sections of 18th Street, 19th
Street and Washington
Motion by Hanna,
seconded by Senesac to remove this petition from the table.Motion was unanimously approved.
The Chairman presented the format to
be followed for this petition.The
Interim Planning Director will make his
presentation, the Engineering Department will make their presentation, then Dow Chemical Company will make their presentation.Following this, they will open the floor for
Commissioners to speak and then the public will be allowed to speak.
Mr. Poprave reviewed the aerial
photo of the proposed street vacations.Dow Chemical Company has petitioned the city to vacate the above
mentioned streets.He also presented a
drawing provided by Dow Chemical Company indicating a new proposed gate and their
desire to have all their streets behind the Dow fence line.
Tonight is a follow-up to the
December 12th meeting including the process, history, requested
information, and public comments.
The process states the City Council
shall adopt a resolution referring the matter to the Planning Commission, the City Engineer, and
other City departments as appropriate, for their report and
recommendation.A public hearing is not
conducted by the Planning Commission but is rather reserved for City
The Planning Commission could consider the
Master Plan for guidance.Goals 7 and 8
of the existing Master Plan, which include providing land to support industrial
diversification of the Midland Economy and maintaining streets for efficient
movement throughout the City, without disruption of residential
neighborhoods.Dow Chemical stated they
have some Renaissance Zoned land, but this is not the major reason they are
asking for these street vacations.
City streets are designed by the
City Engineering Department.Because this vacation will likely require
alternate access via a new east to west road, City Council could require a
development agreement as a condition of approving the street vacation
request.Prior to the streets being
removed, this development agreement will be executed and a final road design
will be received, and the new public road made operational to the Midland
Soccer Club agreement project.
Thus, once the recommendations from
the Planning Commission, City Engineer and other
city departments have been received by City Council, the vacation request will
be subject to a public hearing.City
Council action on this vacation request will be based on all the public
There were several public comments
received at the December 12th meeting including representatives from
Rapanos Enterprises, Steve LaLonde and Consumers
The Planning Commission is assigned the
responsibility to offer a report and recommendation on vacation to City
Brad Maki, Assistant City Engineer,
showed an aerial photo.One of the big
issues is the timing of the traffic shift.By closing Austin Street, Bay City Road and Austin, traffic will be
directed to James Savage Road which will provide for a smoother
traffic flow.The intersection of James Savage Road and South Saginaw Road is already fairly loaded with
traffic and would cause less efficient traffic movements.
Mr. Maki showed another aerial photo
showing Washington Street., James Savage Road and Austin Street.Traffic will have basically a through movement on Washington Street.This would allow significantly smoother traffic flows on Washington Street and cause less traffic congestion
at the corner of Washington Street and James Savage Road.The level of service at that intersection will be improved by
eliminating the vehicle delay caused by increased traffic in this area.There will be less volume of traffic and less
left turning movement from James Savage Road onto Washington Street.By closing James Savage Road, the traffic on Washington will decrease.This will provide for a more efficient
intersection.There will also be less
conflict between vehicles and pedestrians, which also provides for a safer
intersection.These road closures will
not impact the pedestrian path that goes along James Savage Road, goes under the overpass and east,
along Patrick Road.
Project Manager with Dow Chemical, spoke on behalf
of Dow Chemical Company.Rollie Shook, leader of Emergency Services and Security for
the Dow Chemical Company, and David VanHine, Traffic
Consultant from Wilcox Engineering.
Security initiatives have greatly
increased in the chemical industry since 9/11.The vacation of these streets plays a great part in establishing the
security and allowing the enclosure by gates of the Dow Plant.This will enable them to bring the
Renaissance Zone property into the gated area. Dow is proposing to build a new 4-lane
connector road from Washington Street to Saginaw Road.It will be designed to meet the city’s engineering standards and will be
open to the public and maintained by the city of Midland.The new public road will need to be opened and available to the public
prior to the actual vacation of these proposed roads.There will be a new entranceway into the Dow
Plant through the new security gate.It
will be the only 24/7 security gate into the Dow Plant.The City of Midland and Consumers Energy will be
granted easements to take care of the utilities that go along these vacated
Rollie Shook spoke about the need for
security for the Dow Chemical Company, as well as safety and security of the
surrounding populations.They have been
working with both federal and local security agencies to enhance the security
for the chemical plant.Perimeter
characteristics, physical barriers, monitoring along with emergency services,
make up the perimeter security program.A perimeter security system is made up of many layers as possible in as
many locations as possible.Safety
issues such as increased greenbelt space aids in security coverage of the plant
areas.It reduces public access adjacent
to the site perimeter.It removes the
public access that is directly adjacent to operations north of Austin Street and South of James Savage
Road.Dow’s plan reduces the number of
gates and insures appropriate security systems are in place (as outlined by the
Department of Homeland Security).Washington Street gate will have dedicated Dow
traffic corridor road (Washington Street) for all traffic that intends to
enter the Dow facility.No public
traffic traveling directly adjacent to their 24-hour gate and intermingled with
the Dow traffic.It allows for
monitoring of all traffic and early detection of all vehicles traveling down
this corridor.It eliminates the public
access corridor (Washington, Bay City Road and Austin Street) that separates their perimeter
security systems. It allows one
perimeter security system and provides potential future expansion area within
the gated area.
Security is the primary driver
behind their request to vacate Bay City Road and Austin Street, as well as their plan to develop a
new, 24-hour gate on Washington Street.
spoke on behalf of Wilcox Engineering.They
performed traffic counts in this area and worked with Dow to see what their
security needs included.Because of the
number of traffic signals on Bay City Road and the congestion on James Savage Road, they have tried not to send a lot
of new traffic to the interchange roads at the end of US-10.Mrs. Hanna asked about the reason for the
bend in the road.Mr. VanHine stated that the best way to bring a new road in is
at a 90-degree angle.If this bend were
not in the road, it would not intersect Saginaw Road at a 90-degree angle.The new road will be four lanes wide.At the intersections of Washington Street and Saginaw Road, there will be traffic signals
installed.They have suggested the speed
limit, although set by the city, could be 45 mph because there are no driveways
or intersections on this street.Therefore, the speed limit could be faster.
At the Planning Commission meeting on December 12th,
an alternate design was presented on behalf of LaLonde’s
Markets.Wilcox has examined that
proposal in detail and makes the following comments on why that proposal will
not be the best alternative:
·Building a separate roadway parallel to the existing Saginaw Road but only a short distance west
involves needless construction costs.
·Building a second roadway increases maintenance costs for the
City of Midland.
new road provides excess capacity which is not required.
proposed roadway encroaches on Dow property that was to be made secure as the
initial purpose of the entire proposal.
proposed roadway encroaches on existing wetland areas with resultant
ramifications with the State DEQ.
proposed roadway encroaches on the renaissance zoned area for future Dow expansion
which may mean increased Dow employment and monetary investment in the
proposed Saginaw Road intersections with the new
boulevard cannot accommodate Saginaw Road left turning vehicles because of
insufficient storage.This means, that
from a traffic engineering standpoint, the alternative will not work.
proposed design does not take into consideration the eastbound Railroad Grade
Road desire to turn left and go north on Saginaw Road – it is a very circuitous
In conclusion, Todd stated they are
trying to provide the best possible scenario for the community, making the
traffic patterns able to accommodate the existing traffic and allowing them to
access South Saginaw Road and Washington Street pretty much the way they do today.
Mr. Mead asked if there was a
contingency plan in case there was an extreme increase in traffic in this
stated the majority of the land surrounding these areas is all owned by the Dow
Chemical Company.The new road is going
to be a 4-lane road and that can handle quite a load of traffic.There is a lot of capacity over and above the
traffic capacity that exists today.
Dan Kline, 143 McDonald, Midland, Attorney for LaLonde’s
Market and Steve LaLonde, owner of LaLonde’s Market spoke.This petition involves the request by a private business for the
large-scale vacation of a valuable public right of way.It is the job of the Planning Commission to make a recommendation
on this proposal.The Planning Commission should make a deliberate
informed recommendation.Under the
City’s ordinance, there is no deadline by which this Planning Commission must make its
recommendation.The Department of
Homeland Security is not involved in this.The petitioner is merely responding to the suggestions of a chemical
trade association.Nothing in the
proposal submitted by the petitioner addresses the issues along South Saginaw Road.
Mr. Kline stated there has been no
independent consideration of the public impact of these road closures.Wilcox was retained by Dow.They were constrained by the many conditions
set by Dow in advance, including acquisition of non-Dow property.Stan Cool, the city’s traffic consultant, is
given brief mention but the city has refused to supply any documents in which
his opinions are expressed.No
consideration has yet been given to the impact of this change on Midland’s southeast section including
future development, ease of travel from Bay City Road to downtown Midland.
stated they have met both with the city and with Dow Chemical Company.He is concerned with the process that has
evolved.He is concerned that the only
information made available to the Planning Commission is from Dow Chemical
Company and they have made only one traffic
option.Were there any other options
presented or reviewed from the city’s traffic consultant?They have requested documents under the
Freedom of Information Act and were denied access to these documents.He understands there is a report from Stan
Cool forthcoming, however, they have not been made
available to the public as of this time.The numbers used in the Wilcox report were taken at three different
times in one day.Right now, if you come
from downtown, you have only two traffic lights to get to Bay City Road.Under this proposal, you will have to go through five traffic lights to
get from downtown to Bay City Road.They are fully aware of the concerns of Dow.However, he would like to see other options
considered before a final decision is made.He stated he has been told this is the only option under review.Why is this the only
alternative being considered?Does the Planning Commission believe it has enough
background information to make a reasonable recommendation on this
unprecedented street vacation?He is a
small businessman and he has done business at the Bay City Road location for nearly 50 years.His small business does well based upon the high traffic volumes on Saginaw Road and Bay City Road at this time.
Mr. Cline requested the Planning Commission obtain an independent
report and analysis prior to making a final decision.
stated there was a draft report that was created in August that was not
published, that focused on another alternative.This was to upgrade the James Savage Road and funnel all traffic through James Savage Road.The City requested another option as this was not an acceptable
alternative.This report was never made
public.Much of the traffic coming down Austin Street, Bay City Road, and James Savage Road come into the Dow Plant.They do not pass through the area.Rollie stated that
the Department of Homeland Security has been engaged with the formulation of
this plan and does endorse this plan.Some of the other alternatives had the fence line within 20 to 30 feet
of their buildings.This is not
acceptable to their security plan.
stated they have met with Stan Cool and city staff on a number of occasions and
they have all reviewed this plan and found it acceptable.They would be adding two traffic signals, but
they will be modifying some of the others.
Jim Branson, City Attorney
spoke.He stated when the city received
FOIA requests from Mr. LaLonde, there are certain
limitations to what documents will be provided under a FOIA request.The documents which were denied were “draft”
documents and notes.These documents are
not required to be provided under a FOIA request.Mr. Branson stated he did not want the Planning Commission to lose sight of what
they are being asked to do.They are being
asked to consider the street vacations, not the advantages or disadvantages to
the Dow Chemical Company and how they conduct their business.He stated he is not advocating either for or
against.He is just stating that the Planning Commission needs to consider the
ramifications of the street vacation based upon the information they have and
the implications of these street closures.The city often adopts reports that have been prepared by outside
companies for other entities, if they believe that the report fits with the
goals of the city.
Mr. Poprave stated the city has been
talking with Dow Chemical Company for nearly two years about this project.This is the alternative that has seemed to be
the best option.
Mr. Branson stated there is a significant
difference between closure and vacation.Closure indicates there is still ownership of the surface rights by the
city.If the street is vacated, the city
gives up the surface rights and does not have to maintain the surface of these
roads.If the street is vacated, the
property goes to the adjacent property owners.There are critical utility lines that run there, thereby necessitating
the need to maintain the sub-surface rights by the city.
Mr. Senesac stated that he sees a
problem securing this area with these streets in this area.Dow has a definite need to have these streets
vacated if they are to have the security they need.The less security for Dow presents a greater
risk for the city.Vacating these
streets has value to Dow as well as to the city, as greater security for Dow is
greater security for the residents of the City of Midland.He looks at it as if those streets are vacated, do we have a good
alternative?He answers this in the
affirmative.The City Engineers have
done a lot of work on this plan and he is willing to support the plan based
upon the recommendation of the city engineers.
Mr. Gaynor does not have a problem
with vacating Bay City Road, Austin Street and part of Washington Street.He sees a lack of creativity in the development of the new Railroad Grade Road, but he agrees with Mr. Senesac in
his rationale.It may not be the best
option, but it is a good option.He is
inclined to approve it, but he would like to see some more thought about the
new proposed roadway.
Mr. Mead stated we have vacated
several roads over the years, but they had very low traffic counts.These roads have significantly more
traffic.He feels they have been rushed into
making a decision on this issue.When
you are vacating roads that have very few cars traveling on them,
that is not a big deal.However,
when you are vacating roads that have high traffic counts, that affects peoples
lives every day.He feels he would like
a little more information on some of these issues.
Carol Svenson agrees with Mr.
Mead.When she first looked at this
area, she saw it was surrounded by Dow property and basically only affected
Dow.She now sees there are other small
businesses in the area and there is always the ball stadium traffic that will
be going east after the ball games.She
does not feel she has enough information on the Bay City Road and Austin Street closures.
Mr. Jocks stated he agrees with this
proposal.He used to live out Bay City
Road and he feels people will use the new Railroad Grade Road rather than James
Savage Road as James Savage Road is a narrow road and hard to see under the
overpass if you want to turn right onto South Saginaw Road.
Mr. Eyre stated that the city has
reviewed a number of proposals and obviously brought the best proposal to the Planning Commission for consideration.He was glad the city did not bring all the
plans to the Planning Commission for review of which plan was the best.
Ms. Hanna stated Dow has a moral
obligation to allow the city to maintain the sub-surface utilities within the
Ms. Brown stated she is concerned
about the number and location of traffic lights that may change traffic
Dan Kozakiewicz stated he can
certainly relate to the security issues and the desire for the closure of the
streets.Just based on his past
experience on the Planning Commission, when there are sensitive subjects before
the Commission, there are a lot of people in attendance.He feels that if there were a lot of concern
from the public, more people would have been here tonight.There are a couple of businesses in
attendance and he feels they certainly need to be sensitive to these
concerns.However, he is in favor of
It was moved by Senesac and
supported by Hanna to recommend approval to vacate the following public
streets:Austin Street, Bay City Road
between Saginaw and Washington, including sections of 18th Street,
19th Street, 21st Street and Washington Street, as
defined in the staff report, with the contingency that the new Railroad Grade
Road is in place and operational prior to the vacation of these streets.
YEA:Brown, Eyre, Gaynor, Hanna, Jocks,
Kozakiewicz, Mead, and
The motion was approved 8-1.
Commissioners received the current issue of Planning and Zoning News.
8.Report of the Chairman
The public hearing on
the street vacation will be on a Monday night at a City Council Meeting.This will be advertised as a public hearing
and notices will appear in the local newspaper per ordinance.
of the Planning Director
Set public hearings
for two street vacations – January 22,
540 (221 W. Wackerly) – postponed by petitioner
February 1st & 2nd
MASTER PLAN MEETING
Public information session on entire draft
- Meeting starts at and
public info starts at
– Meeting starts at
541 (postponed due to notification error)
presentation on comments heard at the public information meetings
ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS
– 205 S. Saginaw – dimensional variance for increased
– 2706 Jefferson – dimensional variance for a setback encroachment
of new 49 unit senior apartment
– 1610 Sayre – dimensional variance for a setback encroachment for a garage addition at a single family residence
PENDING ADMINISTRATIVE SITE PLAN REVIEWS
203 W. Wackerly – 3,600 square foot addition
to WackerlySquareBuilding (Bennett
Development) – two new retail tenant spaces
5019 Eastman – Parking lot addition for 9
paved spaces and Stormwater detention pond for a new
The next special
meeting on the Master Plan is scheduled for Thursday,
February 1, 2007 at in City Council
Chambers.Following this meeting the
next Master Plan meeting will be:Friday, February 2, 2007 at in City Council Chambers
February 13, 2007 is next regular Planning Commission
meeting.January 23, 2007 meeting has been cancelled due to
notification error for ZP 541 and lack of other agenda items.
The public can
view the Master Plan Update by accessing the City’s website at www.midland-mi.org and going to the
Master Plan Update link on the homepage.
The City’s website
has been update through the January 4th Master Plan meeting
including all of LSL’s meeting presentations.
was unanimously approved.
Acting Director of Planning and Community Development
MINUTES ARE NOT FINAL UNTIL APPROVED BY THE PLANNING COMMISSION