MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE MIDLAND CITY PLANNING COMMISSION,

WHICH TOOK PLACE ON TUESDAY,

FEBRUARY 26, 2008, 7:00 P.M.,

COUNCIL CHAMBERS, CITY HALL, MIDLAND, MICHIGAN

 

1.   Roll Call

PRESENT:  Brown, Eyre, Hanna, King, Kozakiewicz, Mead, Senesac and Svenson

ABSENT:    Gaynor

OTHERS PRESENT: Keith Baker, Planning Director; Daryl Poprave, Deputy Planning Director; Cheri King, Community Development Specialist; and 14 others

 

2.    Approval of Minutes

Moved by Senesac, seconded by Brown, to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of February 12, 2008.  Ms. Svenson mentioned in her Chairperson’s Report that she attended a class to keep her Citizen Planner certification current.  This should be added to the minutes.  Motion passed unanimously.

 

3.   Public Hearing

 

      None

     

4.   Public Comments (not related to agenda items)

 

      None

                                                                     

5.   New Business

 

      None

 

6.    Old Business

 

      a.   Site Plan No. 273 from Rowe Incorporated on behalf of Midland Community Center, a request for site plan review and approval for a 14,940 square foot Curling Center at 2009 Jefferson Avenue.

 

            Mr. Poprave gave an overview of the site plan.  The subject property is west of Jefferson, south of the Eastlawn/Nelson intersection.  The property is zoned Community, which permits this use by right.  The land use map identifies this property as private recreation.  The existing land use map shows a public land use with a little bit of residential on the outskirts.  The residential will be demolished to make room for the proposed expansion.  This will be on 13.85 acres on Jefferson Avenue.  The Community Center received approval for its new parking lot and site configuration last October.  They received pre-approval for the parking that will be required for this building.  Landscaping was also previously approved.  Because this building takes up less room than was previously anticipated, storm water retention will be less intensive than originally planned.  There are 389 proposed parking spaces for this site.  Adequate utilities exist to service this site.  Lighting shall not be cast off site.  The public hearing was held two weeks ago.

 

            Chris Tointon, Executive Director of the Greater Midland Community Center, showed a color rendering of the proposed plan of the entire site.  The curling club on Gerald Court has been around for quite some time.  There are only four curling clubs in the entire state of Michigan.  They are excited to bring it to the center of the city where it will have a larger focus and more people can participate in this sport.  Ms. Hanna asked if ammonia was going to be used in their cooling system.  The architect stated there would be no ammonia used in this cooling system, it is a glycol based system.

 

            Mr. Mead stated he is a former curler.  It is a great sport and he is excited that it is coming more to the center of the city.  This will make it much more accessible to children who want to learn the sport.  Mr. Senesac stated he thinks this is a good site plan and he is in support of it.  He is also a former curler.  He is glad they will be moving from the former building.  Mr. Eyre stated he is also in favor of this site plan. 

 

            It was moved by Hanna and seconded by Brown to recommend City Council approval of Site Plan No. 273 with the following contingencies:

 

      1.               All of the contingencies for Site Plan No. 271 shall remain in effect and in force.

      2.               All exterior building lighting shall adhere to Section 3.12.

      3.               The east elevation of the curling club building (facing Jefferson Avenue) shall be constructed as presented on the attached elevation drawings, with the brick face, as it will be visible from the adjacent residential properties.

 

      YEA:          Brown, Eyre, Hanna, King, Kozakiewicz, Mead, Senesac and Svenson

      NAY:         None

      ABSENT:  Gaynor

 

      The motion was approved 8-0.  This will be on City Council’s agenda on March 10th.

 

      b.   Zoning Petition No. 546, initiated by Alexander Irigoyen on behalf of Rapanos Enterprises for property located at 4228 Bay City Road from Regional Commercial zoning to Community Commercial zoning.

 

            Mr. Poprave showed an aerial photograph of the site, south of Bay City Road and west of Fast Ice Drive.  Rapanos Enterprises has petitioned for a rezoning of 3.40 acres of property on Bay City Road from Regional Commercial to Community Commercial.  It is located next to Agricultural zoning on both sides.  Across the street is high density residential.  The existing land use map shows this property is vacant and there is a lot of other vacant property in the surrounding area.  The petition is consistent with the city’s master plan.  It is consistent with goals 2 and 5 of the master plan.  This change in use will bring a more limited number of uses for development of this property, which would be more in keeping with the surrounding developed properties. 

 

            Alexander Irigoyen, Woodlawn, represented the petitioner and offered to answer any questions from the Planning Commission.  There were no questions.  No one spoke either in favor of or in opposition to this petition.

 

            Mr. Eyre stated this is a good fit with the master plan and he is in favor of this rezoning.  Mr. Senesac is in support.  Mr. Mead also agrees.

 

            It was moved by Eyre and seconded by Hanna to recommend City Council approval on Zoning Petition No. 546.

 

            YEA:    Brown, Eyre, Hanna, King, Kozakiewicz, Mead, Senesac and Svenson

            NAY:   None

            ABSENT:  Gaynor

 

            The motion was approved 8-0. 

 

c.    Zoning Petition No. 547, initiated by Bennett Construction to rezone property at 221 West Wackerly Street from Office Service zoning to Community Commercial zoning.

 

Mr. Baker showed an aerial photograph of the area.  The property is on the south side of W. Wackerly, west of the corner of Jefferson and W. Wackerly Street, just south of US-10.  The property is currently vacant.  There is Office Service to the west, commercial to the east, vacant property to the south and has both commercial and office service uses to the north.  Current zoning to the east is zoned Community Commercial, Office Service to the south, Regional Commercial to the north and the subject property is currently zoned Office Service.  The rezoning request is for a conditional rezoning, being that it is a request to rezone to Community Commercial, minus the items the petitioner has crossed out on the table of permitted uses submitted with the petition.  This parcel has been before the Planning Commission at least three times for rezoning, all of which have been turned down by City Council.  This proposed zoning is not consistent with the city’s master plan.  Conditions have not changed in this area that would justify a rezoning of the property.  The amendment will grant special privileges to this property owner, however, the state enabling act provides for this in the law, as a conditional rezoning.  The amendment will not set an inappropriate precedent.  The proposed zoning is consistent with the surrounding land development.  There is an agreement with the property to the west to have shared parking between the two sites.  MCVI is the office to the west.

 

            Rich Fosgitt, Wilcox Professional Services, spoke on behalf of Bennett Construction.  All the property surrounding the property proposed for rezoning is also owned by Bennett Construction.  Mr. Fosgitt stated he made the list of items that would be removed from being built on Community Commercial and took those items from uses that were deemed to be objectionable in prior zoning request public hearings.

 

            Mr. Kozakiewicz stated he is in support of the petition.  In remembering discussions about previous rezoning petitions, he feels they have eliminated the uses that would be objectionable.  The uses they have left in would be compatible with the uses on the surrounding properties.  Mr. Senesac stated he feels the uses that have been eliminated would not be viable for this site anyway.  He does not see much that has been removed that would limit the use of this property.  He will vote against the rezoning petition.  Mr. Eyre stated there have been many people who spoke in the past about proposed uses for this property if it were rezoned.  This time, no one has come forth and spoke in opposition to this rezoning request.  He has no problem with this rezoning petition, as they have removed the objectionable uses.  Mr. Mead stated the triangular area to the south was included in the previous rezoning petitions and he was against the use of that property as a detention pond and it has been eliminated from this petition.  He will support this request.  Ms. Brown stated she supported this the last time and she will support it again.  There was much discussion by the neighbors at the last public hearing regarding this property and this time, there have been none.  Ms. Svenson sees this as a good transition between the Office Service and the Community Commercial zoning districts that are already there.  Mr. King stated he has been sitting on the fence.  The future of this property is not consistent with the master plan so he will vote against it.

 

            It was moved by Mead and seconded by Kozakiewicz to recommend City Council approval on Zoning Petition No. 547.

 

            YEA:    Brown, Eyre, Kozakiewicz, Mead, and Svenson

            NAY:   Hanna, King and Senesac

            ABSENT:  Gaynor

 

            The motion was approved 5-3. 

           

      d.   Zoning Petition No. 548, initiated by Wilcox Professional Services on behalf of Thomas and Lorna Fryer and David and Kathleen Jackson for property located at 102, 104, 110 and 114 West Buttles Street from Office Service zoning to Downtown zoning.

           

            Mr. Poprave showed the property north of Ashman, east of E. Buttles, directly across from the County Services Building parking lot.  The future land use shows this land use as compatible with the Downtown zoning classification.  The zoning map identifies this property as Office Service.  It is surrounded on all sides by Office Service, except there is Downtown zoning to the south.  In the surrounding area, there are offices and residences that are used for offices.  The present site is developed as two buildings that are used for office service purposes.  The petition is consistent with the city’s master plan, specifically goals #6 and #10 of the transportation plan.  We also have goals talking about improving the circle and downtown areas.  This is the US-10 business route and is also a goal to support this area in the master plan.  Zoning to the south is already Downtown.  This rezoning will increase the size of the Downtown district.  Although this rezoning may increase the size of the Downtown zoning district, it will not increase the size of the Downtown Development Authority taxing area.  This rezoning is compatible with the non-residential office service uses.  Those uses are permitted in the downtown.  It will expand the restaurant abilities of the downtown.  Council will set a public hearing on March 10th and it will be held on April 14th.  One letter was received from a neighbor who is in opposition to this rezoning.  That e-mail is in the packet. 

 

            Rich Fosgitt, Wilcox Professional Services, has no comments.  There were no questions for him from the Planning Commission.  No one spoke either in favor of or in opposition to this request.

 

            Mrs. Hanna stated she opposes this petition because Office Service is a transitional area and this makes a nice transition from the residential areas to the Downtown district.  She does not see that the property would be sufficient for a commercial building and their parking.  This area is residential yet and many of these homes are still single family residences.  They are mostly one or one and a half story.  This is affordable housing and we have a commitment in this city for affordable housing.  When we start taking affordable housing away and allowing commercial uses to come in, we do a disservice to the community to eliminate the affordable housing in this area.

 

            Mr. Mead stated he is in direct opposition to Mrs. Hanna.  This has been designated a downtown area and he feels the downtown should be allowed to expand and this is a move in the right direction.  Mr. Kozakiewicz agrees with Mr. Mead.  There has been expansion in the downtown and he feels this trend will continue.  This will be a first step in the growth of the downtown area.  Mr. King stated he is in support of this request.  This is something the community needs and will benefit the community as a whole.  Ms. Svenson stated she has a concern about building heights.  Will there be any height restrictions if commercial buildings were built in this area.  Mr. Baker stated that would be taken into consideration in a site plan review.  This is a rezoning petition.  Mr. Poprave stated they would have to maintain a 25 foot setback if they were to build a commercial building in this location.

 

            It was moved by Mead and seconded by Eyre to recommend City Council approval on Zoning Petition No. 548, in accordance with Section 30.03(d).

 

            YEA:    Brown, Eyre, King, Kozakiewicz, Mead, Senesac and Svenson

            NAY:   Hanna

            ABSENT:  Gaynor

 

            The motion was approved 7-1. 

 

      e.   Zoning Text Amendment No. 146A, initiated by Wilcox Professional Services, to consider the maximum height of the principal structure change from 28 feet to none in the Downtown zoning district in the City of Midland Zoning Ordinance.

           

            Mr. Baker stated we are looking at a zoning text amendment that would change the maximum height of buildings in the Downtown zoning district to unlimited height.  He showed a zoning map of the Downtown zoning district and the surrounding areas.  The previous edition of the zoning ordinance identified the building height limit as none so we would be going back to the language in the previous zoning ordinance.  Mr. Baker stated staff did some research to see what building heights are in the community.  The new Dow Diamond is 54 feet to the peak of the roof.  Campus Ridge is 38 feet.  The Doan Historical Center is 27 feet to the peak in the roof.  The new “H” hotel is 89 feet to the peak.  The Sloan Building at Northwood University is just over 41 feet.  Riverside Place is 47 feet on the street side.  Greenhill Apartments is in excess of 95 feet.  This is the tallest building in the City of Midland.  The Courthouse, downtown is in excess of 45 feet.  Correspondence from the Fire Department states they are able to fight fires in buildings up to 95 feet with their current equipment.  A staff memorandum does recommend the proposal to increase the height to 76 feet.  A typical scenario would be a 15-foot first floor and 12-foot subsequent floors.  A second scenario would be a 15-foot first floor and 10-foot subsequent floors.  Mr. Baker stated staff feels the master plan does support this request.  Staff did take this request and the previous request (Zoning Petition #548) to the Downtown Development Authority and they were in support of both requests, including the unlimited footage on buildings in the downtown.  The Fire Department is here tonight to answer any questions the Planning Commission may have. 

 

            Fire Chief, Lee Garcia and Chris Coughlin, Fire Marshall, discussed their equipment.  They have a 95 foot aerial truck at the Haley Street Fire Station.  They can agree with the 12-foot per floor.  They use 12-feet per floor as a rule.  They can reach the top of a 7-story building with the angle used to fight the fire.  This is assuming a truck distance of 30 feet from the building.  If the building is taller than what can be reached with the aerial truck, they are relying totally on the safety features that are built into the building, such as sprinkling systems, safety corridors and building plan. 

 

            Rich Fosgitt, Wilcox Professional Services, stated there are about five buildings downtown that do not comply with the 28 foot height, including the Gerstacker Commerce Building, Riverside Place, and the County Services Building.

 

            Mr. Senesac stated he feels the staff did a good job coming back with a recommendation.  Mr. Mead agreed.  The 76 feet is probably not etched in stone and may be changed someday, however, it would make a lot of sense in today’s environment.  Ms. Brown agreed, as did Mr. Eyre and Mr. King.  Ms. Svenson stated she has no problem with height in some areas, but if it backs up to residential, her concern is that there be greater setbacks required if the property is next to residential. 

 

            It was moved by Mead and seconded by Brown to recommend City Council approval on Zoning Text Amendment No. 146A to increase the allowable height in the Downtown zoning district from 28 feet to 76 feet.

 

            YEA:    Brown, Eyre, Hanna, King, Kozakiewicz, Mead, and Senesac

            NAY:   Svenson

            ABSENT:  Gaynor

 

            The motion was approved 7-1. 

 

7.    Communications

 

      The Commission received the approved changes to the zoning ordinance, a copy of the Planning and Zoning News and a notebook containing the site plan for the proposed power plant.

           

8.  Report of the Chairperson  

 

    None

    

9.    Report of the Planning Director

 

CITY COUNCIL                                                                                                                 

 

February 25th                                      

            ACTION ITEMS        

 

1.    Revisions to Ordinance 1585 of the Midland Zoning Ordinance.

(Approved)

                       

PLANNING COMMISSION

 

March 11th     

            PUBLIC HEARINGS 

 

1.    Site Plan No. 274 from Wilcox Professional Services, LLC on behalf of Mid-Michigan Energy, LLC, a request for site plan review and approval for an electrical generating station located at 4201 South Saginaw Road on 132.27 acres.

 

            ACTION ITEMS         None.

 

ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS

 

        February Zoning Board of Appeals meeting has been canceled. 

 

PENDING ADMINISTRATIVE SITE PLAN REVIEWS

 

None  

 

DIRECTOR’S NOTES

 

March 11, 2008 is the next regularly scheduled Planning Commission meeting. 

 

The 2008 PC/ZBA Training Retreat has been scheduled for Saturday April 12, 2008 at Dow Diamond.  The session will run from 8:30 a.m. to approximately 1:00 p.m.  Topics will include a State of the City from City Manager Jon Lynch, meeting etiquette and information from the City Attorney & MCTV and keynote session on Access Management from LSL Planning.  

 

Planning Commission packets are available on-line at the City of Midland’s web site.  Meeting agenda items are highlighted and residents can “click” on the link to view all of the supporting documentation.  The city’s web site address is www.midland-mi.org.

 

10.  Adjourn

Adjournment at 8:38 p.m. was unanimously approved.

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

 

Keith Baker, AICP

Planning Director

 

MINUTES ARE NOT FINAL UNTIL APPROVED BY THE PLANNING COMMISSION