MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE MIDLAND CITY PLANNING COMMISSION,

WHICH TOOK PLACE ON TUESDAY,

MAY 27, 2008, 7:00 P.M.,

COUNCIL CHAMBERS, CITY HALL, MIDLAND, MICHIGAN

 

1.   Roll Call

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

ABSENT:    Svenson

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 Kozakiewicz, to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of May 13, 2008. Motion passed unanimously.

 

3.   Public Hearing

 

a.    Site Plan 280 from Mark Sirrine, North-Point Construction, Inc. for site plan review and approval for a 27,524 square foot mixed commercial shopping center called Bell Plaza located at 211 East Wackerly Street.

 

Mr. Poprave showed an aerial photograph of the subject property.  This site is on East Wackery, just east of Jefferson and north of Wackerly, across from to Elliott Drive, just east of an office building occupied by MidMichigan Medical Center.  The property is zoned Regional Commercial.  It is bounded by Community and Residential RB.  The site plan shows this is a three-phase project to be constructed over a 3-year time frame.  There is a proposed restaurant on the east side and up to four retail units.  The second phase will be six retail units and the third phase will be four retail units and a convenience store.  The landscaping plan shows a berm on the south side of the property.  The berm is a necessary screening requirement as this property directly abuts Residential B.  They are being requested to install the berm and the emergency vehicle access as a part of the first phase of development.  Compliance with Regional Commercial (RC) standards includes a 25’ front yard setback.  There are no additional setbacks required in the RC district.  There is currently a berm on the north side of the property, however, it is not shown on the site plan.  They have chosen to limit themselves to one driveway and it is directly across from Elliott Drive, which is something the planning department likes to see.  The restaurant will have room for 212 occupants so they require 81 spaces.  They require another 57 spaces for retail and the convenience store will require 15 spaces.  They are required to have 151 spaces and they have shown 154 spaces on their site plan.  There are adequate utilities to service this site.  There is no detail to show the location and design of the dumpster area. 

 

Contingencies include:

 

1.         The stormwater detention system is designed and constructed in accordance with the City of Midland Engineering Department specifications.

2.         All landscaping shall comply with Article 6 of the Zoning Ordinance.

3.         All exterior lighting shall comply with Section 3.12 of the Zoning Ordinance and the lighting shall be adjusted at the north and west property lines to meet the Zoning Ordinance requirements.

4.         All signage shall comply with Article 8 of the Zoning Ordinance.

5.         All parking spaces shall comply with Section 5.01D3 of the Zoning Ordinance and shall be delineated by the “box” style striping pattern.

6.         All exterior mechanical equipment shall be screened in accordance with Section 6.02(E)2 of the Zoning Ordinance.

7.         The dumpster construction details shall be provided on an amended site plan and all dumpster enclosures shall be constructed and screened in accordance with Section 3.15 of the Zoning Ordinance.

8.         All required landscape screening and berming shall be constructed prior to building construction commencing per Section 6.02(E)2 of the Zoning Ordinance.

9.         The driveway, loading/emergency vehicle access areas, sidewalks, landscaping, and stormwater facilities are constructed as part of phone one of this project.

10.       That a detailed landscaping plan be provided prior to the issuance of a building permit which adheres to Article 6 of the Zoning Ordinance.  This plan should show all berm construct details and number and types of plants being provided.

11.       That a maintenance easement is provided to the city to maintain the public water main on site.

 

Mr. Senesac stated that, as site plans are approved by the Planning Commission for a period of two years, how does this affect their estimated three year development plan?  Mr. Poprave stated either they would have to reapply for the third phase of the plan or they could apply to City Council for an additional year.  However, the appeal to City Council would have to occur prior to the two year time frame expiring.

 

Mark Sirrine, 2510 Ashman Street, Midland.  Ms. Hanna asked what the hours will be for the restaurant and convenience store.  Mr. Sirrine stated he is the developer.  He assumes the restaurant will be rather “up-scale” like a Bennigans or something like that. 

 

            No one spoke in favor of or in opposition to this site plan..

 

            The public hearing was closed.

 

b.    Site Plan No. 281 from Evergreen Solar for site plan review and approval for a 31,400 square foot building located at 2820 Schuette Road on 4.76 acres.

 

Mr. Baker showed an aerial photograph showing this property is on the south side of Schuette Drive, west of Waldo Avenue, near the Central Warehouse site that has recently been before the Planning Commission.  There are a number of industrial properties in this area.  The property is currently zoned Industrial A.  It is bounded by Industrial A on the north, east and west, and by Industrial B on the south.  It is identified for light industrial uses, as is the property to the north, east and west, and heavy industrial to the south on the future land use map of the Master Plan. 

 

The parcel is relatively flat.  The proposed project would occupy the majority of the parcel.  The majority of the parcel will be cleared.  The site is currently heavily wooded.  The project has been designed so it can expand to the east in the future.  The petitioner has provided 35 trees and 41 shrubs and there is a requirement for another 45 shrubs.  The development meets all the height requirements for Industrial A development.  A decorative masonry wall is planned to screen the truck dock, the equipment storage and the dumpster area in the rear of the building, at the southeast corner.  Currently, there are two driveway approaches being proposed.  There is paved access all around the site.  The Fire Department has required both an east and west fire lane for emergency vehicles to access the building.  A fire connection has been identified on the east side of the building.  City staff recommends the elimination of the west driveway.  The east driveway does meet the requirements of the ordinance.  No sidewalks are required in Industrial zoning.  They have made accommodation for a sidewalk between the parking lot and the front entrance to the building.  They have identified that drainage will be accommodated on site and above ground on both the south and west sides of the property.  A photometric plan has been provided.  Adjustments or additional shielding will be required on the east side to assure the lighting does not exceed one foot candle at the property line.  The dumpster is proposed to be located at the rear of the building.  The dumpster and truck dock are screened by the building on the west and north and the wall will screen this area from the east. 

 

The applicant has identified the necessary additional permits that are required for them to operate this facility at this location.  They are making provisions to allow space for a 9,600 sq. ft. addition to the east.  The development is designed so as not to interfere with the surrounding properties.  There is no interaction among the three properties.  A sign is currently not proposed, however, they can apply for a sign through the building department. 

 

Contingencies include:

 

1.         The stormwater detention system is designed and constructed in accordance with the City of Midland Engineering Department specifications.

2.         All landscaping shall comply with Article 6 of the Zoning Ordinance including the addition of forty-five (45) shrubs.

3.         All exterior lighting shall comply with Section 3.12 of the Zoning Ordinance.

4.         All exterior signage shall comply with Article 8 of the Zoning Ordinance.

5.         All parking spaces shall comply with Section 5.01D of the Zoning Ordinance and be delineated by the “box” style striping.

6.         Elimination of the west drive approach or commission authorization and concurrence for the justification of the second (west) drive approach.

7.         Inclusion of an additional fire lane on the east side of the building.

 

Ms. Brown asked if the air quality permits and the homeland security plans must be in place before they complete construction.  Mr. Baker stated these would have to be in place prior to a Certificate of Occupancy being issued. 

 

Mr. Senesac asked if an 18-wheeler would have sufficient space to turn around on the site if one of the driveways was closed.  Mr. Baker stated there are sufficient areas for them to turn around if necessary.

 

Carl Stegerweald, from Evergreen Solar.  They manufacture solar panels.  They sell the panels to construction personnel for installation on roof tops.  Their expertise is in their “string wafer” technology.  They are talking about a manufacturing plant that will actually produce the string wafers.  They currently buy the string from a vendor in Massachusetts but this vendor cannot keep up with their demand.  They are bringing this technology in-house and adding their own technology as the next phase.  The prime ingredient of their process is a chemical they purchase from Dow Corning.  That is why they are looking to locate here in Midland, so they don’t have to ship these raw materials a great distance.  They plan to go from a very small R&D shop to one of the “greats” in the energy market.  They plan to eventually have between 100 and 105 employees.  They run a 24/7 operation in several shifts.

 

Mr. Senesac asked what risk will occur from the chemicals used on site.  Carl Bouchard stated there are a variety of chemicals.  They will have fire suppression equipment and a sprinkling system in case of emergency.  All these chemicals will be fully contained.  Two tanks are 12,000 gallons, five tanks are 6,000 gallon tanks, and five 4,500 gallon tanks.  They were of the impression that they were allowed to have two driveways.  They would like to maintain both driveways for emergency response and for truck traffic to circulate through the site.  Circulation is adequate for trucks if they did close the west proposed entrance.  They anticipate having only one or two trucks per day.  The product from this plant fits on one pallet per day.  The employee traffic will be much more significant than the truck traffic.

 

They require the air permit to start construction.  They are allowed to do site clearing work prior to this.  The homeland security plan is due to the fact that one of the chemicals they use is on the list of controlled substances.  They have to show how they will keep this chemical secure and register the fact that they have this chemical on site.

 

Wastewater pre-treatment is required before it can be discharged into the city’s wastewater treatment facility.  There is some mercury in part of their process and this has to be removed prior to the discharge of their waste water. 

 

Scott Walker, Midland Tomorrow, spoke in favor of this petition.  They represent the economic development corporation that owns this site.  Mr. Walker stated this is an industry that we want to attract to Mid-Michigan.  They have a very aggressive time frame for construction of this facility.  There are non-regulated wetlands on this site.  The MDEQ has signed off on any wetland mitigation requirements. 

 

No one spoke in opposition to this request.

 

            Mr. Senesac asked Mr. Baker about the closing of the west access to the site.  Mr. Baker stated the Fire Marshall has been out for the past week.  The Planning Department will provide any comments at the next meeting.

     

            The public hearing was closed.

 

4.   Public Comments (not related to agenda items)

 

      None

                                                                     

5.   New Business

 

      None

 

6.    Old Business

 

      a.   Zoning Petition No. 552 initiated by Three Rivers Corporation on behalf of Dublin Enterprises for property located at 4916 N. Saginaw Road, 4920 N. Saginaw Road and 5000 N. Saginaw Road from Regional Commercial to Office Service zoning. 

 

            Mr. Kozakiewicz asked to be able to abstain from this petition as his employer is the designer and contractor for this project.  Mr. Eyre made a motion to allow Mr. Kozakiewicz to abstain.  The Planning Commission unanimously agreed.

 

            The property is located at the northeast corner of Dublin Avenue and N. Saginaw Road.  Colonial Villa is located just to the north of the proposed site.  The Trailside Senior Center is directly across the street to the south.  The property is currently zoned Regional Commercial.  It is currently vacant, commercial uses to the east and a number of community uses to the south and southeast and is vacant to the west.  The property is identified for future commercial uses, with Office Service to the north and community to the south.  The petition is to rezone the property from Regional Commercial to Office Service zoning.  Staff did recommend a favorable response to the petition. 

 

            No one spoke either in favor of or in opposition to this rezoning request.

 

            Mr. Senesac stated that, although this rezoning is not consistent with the future land use map the use is compatible with the surrounding land uses.  He is in favor of this rezoning.  Mr. Mead stated he will also support this request.  Mr. Eyre stated that, if the Office Service were not present to the north, he would not be in favor of this petition.  However, since it is, it would fit nicely.  Mrs. Hanna, Mr. King, and Ms. Brown agreed.

           

            It was moved by Eyre and seconded by Hanna to recommend to City Council approval of Zoning Petition No. 552. 

 

      Vote on the motion:

 

      YEAS:       Brown, Eyre, Gaynor, Hanna, King, Mead and Senesac

      ABSTAIN: Kozakiewicz

      NAYS:       None

      ABSENT:  Svenson

 

      The motion was approved 7-0.

 

      b.   Zoning Text Amendment No. 147A, initiated by Midland Circle Business Association, Inc., to consider the maximum wall and roof signs to change from 40 square feet to 100 square feet in the Circle zoning district in the City of Midland Zoning Ordinance. 

 

            Mr. Poprave reviewed the proposed zoning text amendment.  He displayed Table 8.2 of the Zoning Ordinance.  This text amendment would allow wall signs to change from 40 sq. ft. to 100 sq. ft. in the Circle zoning district.  Over 20 communications from members of the Circle Business Association were received in favor of this change.  The Circle Zoning District was a new district that was created with the new Zoning Ordinance.  It was originally thought that this district would be very similar to the downtown.  However, time has shown that it is not.  Downtown is very pedestrian oriented.  The Circle district has much more traffic and they operate at higher speeds in this area.  Barring a major change in the roadway network, the Circle district is convinced that they need additional signage to make people aware of their business locations.  There has been one variance granted in this area by the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA).  That business has been allowed to have additional signage by the ZBA.  Other businesses in this area would also like to have the additional signage without each of them having to go before the ZBA.  This area used to be seven different zoning districts.  They have been consolidated into one district.  Many of the businesses already exceed the 40 square feet allowed under the new ordinance for this district. 

 

            Mark Smith, 2909 Ashman Street (Smith’s Flowers) offered to answer any questions from the Planning Commission.  There were none.

 

            Mrs. Hanna stated she is very much in favor of this.  She feels this is a very unique area and she would like to preserve the businesses that are located there.

 

            Mr. Mead states he agrees with the additional square footage.  They have done a good job of presenting their case.

 

            Mr. Senesac stated that, originally, using the Downtown district as a model was the right thing to do.  As of this point in time, we have found out there are different features of this area.

 

            Mr. Kozakiewicz feels this is a very unique area and they deserve some special consideration.  Mr. Eyre stated the speed limit in the circle area is considerably faster than in the downtown.  Mr. King stated that they have a need to display signage both on the front and the rear of their buildings and he is in favor of this petition.

 

            It was moved by Senesac and seconded by Hanna to recommend to City Council approval of Zoning Text Amendment No. 147A.

 

      Vote on the motion:

 

      YEAS:       Brown, Eyre, Gaynor, Hanna, King, Kozakiewicz, Mead and Senesac

      NAYS:       None

      ABSENT:  Svenson

 

      The motion was approved 8-0.

 

      c.   Site Plan No. 279 from Wilcox Professional Services on behalf of Bennett Construction, Inc. for site plan review and approval for a 10,620 square foot retail and restaurant located at 221 West Wackerly Street. 

 

            Mr. Poprave showed an aerial photograph of the site.  It is located south of West Wackerly, east of Northgate Drive and west of Jefferson.  It is located in Community Commercial, adjacent to the west to Office Service.  There is also Office Service to the south.  Wilcox Professional Services petitioned for approval of a 10,620 sq. ft. retail and restaurant located at 221 W. Wackerly Street.  The buildings meet the proper setbacks.  The south maneuvering lane needs to be ten feet from the property line.  Because Bennett Construction also owns the property to the south, they were able to adjust the property line to accommodate this request.  At the last meeting, Ms. Svenson asked for pedestrian access from the building to the west to the building to the east.  The petitioner has added a pedestrian access between the two buildings.  They have maintained an adequate number of parking spaces and have added landscaping on the Jefferson side of the site.  Staff still has yet to receive a photometric plan for this site plan.  This should be a contingency to the approval of this site plan.  There is still shared parking with the office building.

                       

            Rich Fosgitt, Wilcox Professional Services, stated there is only one dumpster enclosure, although there is space in it for two dumpsters.  There is a second set of dumpsters behind Blockbuster Video so this will not be a burden to the tenants of these buildings. 

 

            No one spoke either in favor of or in opposition to this request.

 

            Mr. Mead stated he intends to support this site plan.  Mr. Eyre agrees.  He feels that, since they have had few responses from surrounding property owners, he will support this also.  Mr. Senesac, Mr. King, Mr. Kozakiewicz, Ms. Brown and Mrs. Hanna all stated they were in support.

 

            It was moved by Eyre, and seconded by Brown to recommend to City Council approval of Site Plan No. 279 with the following contingencies:

 

            1.         The stormwater detention system is designed and

            constructed in accordance with the City of Midland Engineering Department specifications.

2.         All landscaping shall comply with Article 6 of the Zoning Ordinance.

3.         All exterior lighting shall comply with Section 3.12 of the Zoning Ordinance.

4.         All signage shall comply with Article 8 of the Zoning Ordinance.

5.         All parking spaces shall comply with Section 5.01D3 of the Zoning Ordinance and shall be delineated by the “box” style striping pattern.

6.         All exterior mechanical equipment shall be screened in accordance with Section 6.02(E)2 of the Zoning Ordinance.

7.         The dumpster shall be set back at least 10 feet from the property line and shall be constructed and screened in accordance with Section 3.15 of the Zoning Ordinance.

8.         The southwest maneuvering lane shall be setback 10 feet from the property line.

9.         A photometric grid shall be provided to show that the exterior lighting complies with the Zoning Ordinance.

10.       Driveway access easements and shared parking agreements shall be provided.

11.       A “Statement of Conditions” contract shall be executed prior to the issuance of a building permit.

 

      Vote on the motion:

 

      YEAS:       Brown, Eyre, Gaynor, Hanna, King, Kozakiewicz, Mead and Senesac

      NAYS:       None

      ABSENT:  Svenson

 

      The motion was approved 8-0.

           

7.    Communications

 

      None

 

8.  Report of the Chairperson  

 

     None

    

9.    Report of the Planning Director

 

City Council approved Site Plan No. 278 at their last meeting and on June 9th they will take up a number of petitions.  There are two new items on the next agenda for the Planning Commission. 

 

10.  Adjourn

Adjournment at 8:34 p.m. was unanimously approved.

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

 

Keith Baker, AICP

Planning Director

 

MINUTES ARE NOT FINAL UNTIL APPROVED BY THE PLANNING COMMISSION