JANUARY 27, 2009, 7:00 P.M.,



1.   Roll Call

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

ABSENT:    Eyre

OTHERS PRESENT: Keith Baker, Planning Director; Cheri King, Community Development Specialist, and ten others.


2.   Approval of Minutes

Moved by Senesac, seconded by Brown, to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of January 13, 2009 as written. Motion passed unanimously.


3.   Public Hearing


a.  Site Plan No. 287 from Smith-Miner Funeral Home for site plan review and approval of a 9,216 square foot funeral home located at 2700 West Wackerly Street.


      Mr. Baker showed an aerial photograph of the subject property.  It is located on the north side of West Wackerly Street.  To the north of the site is US-10, to the south are medical offices, and there are single family residences to the west of the site.  Existing land use is residential to the west, office service to the east and south, and the US-10 freeway to the north.  The future land use map shows the entire north side of Wackerly as commercial use and the south side being used for office service.  On the north side of US-10, we have the armory and Barstow Airport.  The three parcels tonight are zoned Neighborhood Commercial, there is Regional Commercial to the east and Office Service to the south.


      Site Plan No. 287 is for a funeral home of approximately 9,216 square feet in size.  Mr. Baker reviewed the required criteria for site plan review.  This development does not impede the use of surrounding properties.  Relative to appearance and landscaping, this site plan required three review criteria.  Twenty-eight trees and one hundred twenty-four shrubs are required.  The petitioner has shown 29 trees and 121 shrubs.  They will need three additional shrubs.  The project meets all setbacks, whether they are front, side or rear for the Neighborhood Commercial zoning district.  A 14-foot under clearance for the canopy is required to accommodate the County Connection and the city’s Dial-A-Ride buses.  The petitioner will have elevation drawings available at the next meeting.


      The building and site development are planned in such a way as to not interfere with the adjacent properties.  This facility will not have a centralized dumpster location so there is no dumpster enclosure or screening required.  The original site plan had a driveway immediately across from the driveway to the south.  City staff asked them to move their driveway to the west.  There are three lanes in the driveway, with one lane in and two lanes out.  The drive approach is approximately 118 feet from the center line of the driveway to the south.  The ordinance has a 150 foot rule so staff is asking them to move their driveway further to the west.  Sidewalks are shown on the site plan on three sides of the building.  Vehicular and pedestrian circulation are adequately separated on the site.  Funeral homes tend to utilize a lot of parking at certain periods of time.  There is a requirement for 129 parking stalls.  Applicants can exceed the minimum requirement by 20 percent which would set the maximum at 155 stalls.  They are requesting 150 stalls so there is no additional action required regarding the number of parking spaces.  On-site storm water detention is being handled by an above ground detention basin on the west side of the property.  There will also be additional capacity in the underground pipes under the parking lot.  Soil erosion and sedimentation control are reviewed by the Building Department prior to the issuance of a building permit.  A photometric plan has been received by the city.  The proposed illumination plan meets the requirements of Section 3 of the Zoning Ordinance.  The city can provide adequate public services to this site.  There are no additional requirements for screening on this site.  Staff has not identified any health or safety issues regarding this site plan.  They do desire to connect to the adjacent medical office parking lot on the east side of the site.


      Staff recommends approval of the site plan with the following ten contingencies:


            1.   The stormwater detention system is designed and constructed in accordance with the

                  City of Midland’s 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 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.   The location, access and flow of the proposed fire hydrants and water service shall be in

                  accordance with the City of Midland’s Fire Department and City of Midland Utility

                  Department’s specifications.

            7.   The drive approach throat width shall be reduced from 40 feet to 39 feet.

            8.   The drive approach shall be relocated to the west an additional 32 feet for a total of 150

                  feet offset from the opposing drive approach to the south.

            9.   All exterior (roof or ground mounted) mechanical equipment shall be screened as required

                  by Section 6.02 (E) (2) of the Zoning Ordinance.

            10. The canopy shall have a minimum of 14 feet in height for under clearance.


      Mrs. Hanna asked Mr. Baker about the south driveway.  To the west of this plot, is there another driveway and how close is this driveway to that?  Mr. Baker stated there is greater than 150 feet between the proposed location of this driveway and the residential driveway to the west. 


      Mr. Mead asked about the trash disposal for the site.  The property owner has the option to either place trash cans at the curb for pick-up or use a dumpster.


      Jerry Shaffer, 837 Whitetail Drive, Midland – They are in agreement with the modifications requested by the city.  This is a two-story structure with the upstairs being used as offices for the funeral home.  The owners have been in contact with the surrounding property owners. 


      Mrs. Svenson requested they be able to see an elevation drawing.  Mr. Baker stated the city has a rather large elevation drawing that he will make available at the next meeting.


      No one spoke either in favor of or in opposition to this site plan.  The public hearing was closed.


4.  Public Comments




5.   New Business




6.  Old Business


      a.   Northside Overlay Presentation by LSL Planning.


            Staff conducted meetings this afternoon with members of the Planning Commission and LSL Planning representatives.  Jeffrey Purdy and Robert Cramer from LSL Planning presented tonight.  Mr. Purdy stated the goal of the project is to transform the “Near Neighborhood” or Northside Downtown area based on a common vision.  They would create a new Overlay District to address new development and help stimulate desired development.  There is an advisory committee made up of Planning Commissioners, business owners, and other members of the community.  They provided input on recommendations on building height, orientation of the buildings, and types of buildings desired in this area.  They tried to assess the district and determine the desired building form.  Then they will develop a draft of the overlay district standards.  The draft ordinance will be reviewed by both the Planning Commission and the committee.


            Mr. Cramer showed a map of the subject area.  It is adjacent to downtown as a transition district, located within the one-way pairs between Indian and Buttles Streets.  There will be a key pedestrian link between the downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods.  The foundation for the types of regulations included in this overlay district include the existing land use, zoning, the master plan, future land use map, design guidelines and the Downtown Redevelopment Plan.  The existing land use map shows a mix of residential, office service, some multi-family and some retail destinations are all a part of this area.  The current zoning is predominantly Office Service, with a couple of properties recently added to the Downtown zoning district.  The future land use is Downtown.  Previous master plans had this area in more of an office service category.  This whole area is projected to become a part of the Downtown that will feed the commercial and entertainment uses of the downtown.  Each block is proposed to be developed in a unique form, including one block being developed as a public park.  This will contribute to the urban aspect of the area. 


            The Northside Neighborhood needs redevelopment to achieve this vision.  An increase in density is needed to support the downtown.  This development will provide diverse options for young professionals and families, as well as improving and encouraging downtown pedestrians to have access to the surrounding neighborhoods.  Traditional design principles include mixed-use, complete streets and urban architecture.


            Mixed-use design principles include residential and commercial, complete streets, urban spaces and pedestrian orientation.  Most of the blocks in this area are approximately the same size.  Mr. Cramer showed several conceptual plans for the area.  They have met with the city’s horticulturist and will work with her in ensuring the types of trees used along the streets will be conducive to this area.


            Mr. Purdy stated that existing uses would not be required to be changed, but any new development in this area would be required to comply with the overlay district.  The overlay district will focus on built form.  It can be used to implement a specific vision, shift focus from zoning compliance to development quality and include the public realm.  It will facilitate infill development, can speed development review and may result in better quality urban environments.


            The types of things included in the Form-Based Overlay District include a Regulating Plan that will designate areas where different standards apply.  There will be building, public space and street standards included in the overlay district.  Building types allowed would be live-work units, mixed-use, single-family and townhouses.  Building placement in relationship to the street includes the height and street enclosure, parking location and screening, storefront relative to the pedestrians and setbacks.  Discussions today included requiring a minimum of two stories and allowing some buildings to go up to three stories.  The streetscape includes the street width relative to the buildings, the interface of autos and pedestrians, engaging street characteristics and pedestrian amenities.  The Regulating Plan would have street-based standards including building form and standards guided by street frontage. 


            Based upon today’s feedback, LSL Planning will begin designing language for the overlay district.  It will contain the purpose and intent, applicability, specific use regulations, dimensional requirements by frontage type, building types, parking, landscaping and screening, streetscape (which may include ornamental street lights if the city should so desire) and approval procedures. 


            They anticipate that they will be ready to bring back to the Planning Commission a draft of the initial recommendations in approximately two months.


            Mrs. Hanna asked about Rodd and Ashman Streets, handicap accessibility and the displaced affordable housing residents.  Has there been a survey done among people who might be candidates for this type of housing?  What will be the cost of the housing in this district? 


            Mr. Purdy stated that they would have some areas that are specified for higher density residential housing and providing more affordable housing.  They have not conducted any additional surveys since the downtown master plan process.  There was a survey of downtown residents and a market analysis done of the downtown area, which showed that the proposed types of downtown housing including condos and townhouses, were a desirable form of housing for this area.  In some cases these types of dwelling units are more affordable than single family homes, in that a larger number of units share the cost of the common areas. 


            Mr. Gaynor asked why this should be an overlay district versus a separate zoning district.  Mr. Purdy stated that any existing building would be subject to existing regulations.  If someone wanted to come in and redevelop an area, they would be subject to the overlay zoning district.  Without the overlay district, anything existing that does not conform to this district would be non-conforming. 


            Mr. Baker pointed out that the Housing Commission has also pursued a community-wide needs assessment relative to housing.  These issues will be reviewed at a Housing Commission meeting at the end of March.  Mr. Baker stated that they will look at the need for a certain number of units in a certain price range, based upon the demographics of the community.  The overlay district will just dictate the form of the properties that will be developed in this area – not the price or use of those designs.


            Mr. Purdy stated there are several areas throughout the state of Michigan including Grand Rapids, Genowa Township, Macomb Township, the City of Birmingham, City of Fremont and the Village of Grass Lake that have adopted form based codes.


      b.   2009 Zoning Ordinance Text Amendments Recommendation


            Mr. Baker presented the 2009 Proposed Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment recommendations.  The current Zoning Ordinance became effective on January 1, 2005.  Annual revisions have been made since that time.


Article 2 – Definitions – New definitions have been created for the following:  domestic animal, farm animal, body piercing, body piercing establishment, check-cashing establishments, fortune telling establishments, gambling establishments, kennels, outdoor sales lots, outdoor storage lots, pawn shops and tattoo parlors.


            Section 3.01J recommends bicycle racks for all new developments, except one and two family homes.


            Table 3.2, “Projections into Yards”, would amend footnote number 3 to permit open porches to be located within five (5) feet of the side yard lot line.


            Section 3.10 – Amendments have been proposed that strengthen existing commercial access standards as they apply to site plan review to act as an “interim improvement”.  It would limit commercial driveways to one per parcel.  More tables would be added to clearly explain driveway spacing.  It would allow for increased utilization of traffic impact studies by petitioners to provide the Planning Commission with the necessary data to make informed decisions on appropriate roadway access.


            Section 3.16 talks about communication facilities (cell towers).  There has been an entirely new section written for the ordinance.  It will create more practical and defensible language.  It will create standards that are compliant with current case law, allow for administrative and site plan review options and create topic specific definitions.  A new table was created to explain the review process by zoning district.  Attempts will be made to encourage more “co-location” of antenna by allowing taller structures in certain commercial districts.


            Section 5 – The handicap parking space diagram has been re-drawn to show correct dimensions.


            Section 8.05 has been revised to require new Light Emitting Diode (L.E.D.) signs to be dimmed at night.  It will require that L.E.D. signs in residential districts or adjacent to residential districts to be turned off when the business they are advertising is not in operation.

Table 21.1 of Article 21 contains the table of permitted uses in Business Districts.  It defines the following uses and lists the districts they will be permitted in: 

·      Body piercing in RC District

·      Check cashing in CC and RC

·      Fortune telling in CC and RC

·      Gambling in CC and RC

·      Kennels in RC without outdoor kennels (outdoor kennels are already permitted in Agricultural zoning)

·      Pawn shops in RC

·      Tattoo parlors in RC


      Article 22, Section 22.02 of the LCMR District – Revisions add permitted uses by right including:  medical and dental offices/clinics, health spas, physical fitness clubs, child care/day care centers, and banks, savings & loans, and brokerage companies.


      Article 27 – Site Plan Review – The new language would further clarify the Administrative Site Plan Review process, and create additional requirements for off-site improvements related to an approved site plan.


            Article 31 – Administrative Organization – This revision would amend several Public Act references throughout the Zoning Ordinance:

·         The City and Village Zoning Act PA 207 of 1921 is now called the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act, PA 110 of 2006

·         The Municipal Planning Act, PA 285 of 1931 is now called the Municipal Planning Enabling Act, PA 33 of 2008


      Mr. Senesac asked about page 2.25, under outdoor sales lot, we need to add the word “outdoor” for the sales lot.  On page 2.19, the first definition under “kennel” he questioned the need to specify “male and female” dogs.  They will leave the language as it is proposed.


            No one from the public spoke either in favor of or in opposition to these changes. 


      Mr. Senesac wanted to discuss the changes to the LCMR District.  He has always looked at the LCMR district as an attempt to be a less intensive use than industrial facilities.  These areas are to be separate from the heavy industrial areas.  He does not feel the proposed uses need to be in there.  There are several other uses that could be added if we add these other uses in this district.  If you have these types of uses, what about barber shops and other convenience facilities close to research facilities.  Ms. Brown stated the proposed uses are more commercial in nature and, therefore, should be allowed in commercial districts, not to open up the LCMR district to more commercial uses.  Mr. Kozakiewicz stated this is more market driven for the land uses in these areas. 


            Motion by Kozakiewicz, seconded by Hanna, to recommend to City Council approval of the 2009 Zoning Ordinance Text Amendments recommendations as outlined with the omission of the changes to Article 22, the LCMR District.


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

            NAYS:   None

            ABSENT:  Eyre


            Motion approval 8-0.


      Mr. Senesac asked to have dates placed on the bottom of pages that have had changes to them and a sheet of changes in the front that list the changes that have been made over time. 


7.   Communications


      Commissioners received the Michigan Planner.  There is going to be a workshop in Lansing on February 10th on Form Based Codes.  If anyone has an interest, there are opportunities for additional training.


8.  Report of the Chairperson  




9.    Report of the Planning Director


CITY COUNCIL                                                                                                                


February 16, 2009 




a)     Site Plan No. 287 from Smith-Miner Funeral Home for site plan review and approval for a 9,216 square foot funeral home located at 2700 West Wackerly Street.




February 10, 2009




a)     Zoning Petitions No. 557, 558, 559 & 560 – Application of city zoning to annexed parcels. 



a)     Site Plan No. 287 from Smith-Miner Funeral Home for site plan review and approval for a 9,216 square foot funeral home located at 2700 West Wackerly Street.




February 17, 2009 Meeting has been cancelled








February 10, 2009 is the next regularly scheduled Planning Commission meeting.


Annual Training Workshop – The commission’s annual training workshop will be held at the “H” Hotel.  The date has been tentatively rescheduled to Saturday March 28, 2009 from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.  


10.  Adjourn   Adjournment at 9:10 p.m. was unanimously approved.

Respectfully submitted,




Keith Baker, AICP

Director of Planning & Community Development