MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE MIDLAND CITY PLANNING COMMISSION

WHICH TOOK PLACE ON TUESDAY,

FEBRUARY 10, 2009, 7:00 P.M.,

COUNCIL CHAMBERS, CITY HALL, MIDLAND, MICHIGAN

 

1.   Roll Call

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

ABSENT:    Svenson

OTHERS PRESENT: Keith Baker, Planning Director; Cheri King, Community Development Specialist, and 12 others.

 

2.   Approval of Minutes

Moved by Hanna, seconded by Brown, to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of January 27, 2009 as written. Motion passed unanimously.

 

3.   Public Hearing

 

a.   Zoning Petition No. 557, initiated by the Planning Commission, to zone property at 6500 and 6501 Airport Road, located east of Stark Road and north of US-10, from Township zoning to Limited Commercial, Manufacturing and Research (LCMR) zoning.

 

      Mr. Baker showed an aerial photograph of the subject properties.  These parcels were annexed from Lincoln Township in 2006.  They are currently zoned R-2, Medium Density Residential.  The property is located both north and south of Airport Road, just east of Stark Road, north of US-10.  It is currently zoned R-2 in Lincoln Township.  The city’s future land use map shows this area identified for light industrial purposes with commercial zoning at the intersection of Stark and Airport Roads. 

 

      Zoning petitions 557 and 558 were originally considered for zoning in 2006 as ZP 537 and 538.  Industrial A was the proposed city zoning classification.  Ultimately, City Council did not act on this request as the petition was withdrawn at the request of the property owner.  Since the last request, two events have taken place.  First, the City adopted a new Master Plan.  The Planning Commission reviewed this specific area and the determination was made to keep the future land use designation as “light industrial”.  Secondly, Lincoln Township recently completed a review of their Master Plan and affirmed the light industrial classification for this property. 

 

      No one spoke in favor of this petition,

 

      Kathleen Kemp, 1800 N. Stark Road, Midland.  She lives on 10 acres of a 40 acre farm that her parents purchased in 1958.  Her property adjoins the Fisher property on the north side of the Fisher property.  She appreciates that the Planning Commission did not proceed with the Industrial A zoning proposed back in 2006.  This would have polluted Sturgeon Creek and the downstream areas from that area.  She still feels the LCMR zoning would pose pollution hazards to the river and the surrounding properties.  Carl Link and his wife own the property along the east side of the Fisher property.  Mr. and Mrs. Link were so distraught that the Airport Road extension ran through their property, they fell ill and Mr. Link passed away.  Ms. Kemp feels this zoning threatens the health of their farm animals.  There are probably about 70 homes in this area, up Letts Road and down Stark Road.  LCMR leaves the opportunity open to install industrial uses that would be harmful to the home owners and farm animals in this area.  Industrial uses could also cause contamination to the ground water and wells used by the surrounding properties.  She spoke with Jeff Moore from the Conservation District.  He told her the soil is very poor for engineering and not suitable for building.  There are also wetlands in this area.  There is a possibility that the DEQ would not allow industrial development in this area due to possible wetlands.  A letter was received from the Lincoln Township stating that they are in favor of the proposed zoning.  Ms. Kemp feels the Township does not reflect the interests of the surrounding residents.  Lincoln Township made a few changes to their Master Plan, however, she feels it is their intent to wait until the 2010 census data is released to revise their entire master plan.  She stated that light industrial uses in this area would put the entire City of Midland in harm’s way.

 

      Cathy Fogus, 1797 N. Hicks Road.  She is opposed to this request.  If this goes through, Hicks Road will end up being stranded between industrial uses.  They will be stuck between Lincoln Township and what has come into the City of Midland.  This portion of Hicks Road would not belong to Lincoln or Larkin Townships nor the City of Midland.  She feels this would impact the residents in emergency services as well as road maintenance.

 

      Mr. Kozakiewicz asked Mr. Baker what changes had been made to the Lincoln Township Master Plan.  Mr. Baker stated that they took the opportunity to review a series of questions, which mentions the Fisher property’s annexation into the city and stated the proposed future development of the property is consistent with their Master Plan. 

 

      The public hearing was closed.

 

b.   Zoning Petition No. 558, initiated by the Planning Commission to zone the Airport Road extension from Hicks Road to Stark Road from Township zoning to Limited Commercial, Manufacturing and Research (LCMR) zoning.

 

      This city-owned right of way was annexed from Lincoln Township in 2006 to facilitate roadway improvements from E. Hicks Rd. to Stark Rd.  The current zoning is R-2 Residential.  Right of way is not typically zoned unless it is the only connection to the city, as is the case with this property.  The road in question running north and west from Hicks Road to Stark Road is owned by the City of Midland.  The adjoining land uses are the R-2, one and two family residential.  The future land use map of the city shows this entire area projected for light industrial or LCMR zoning.

 

      No one spoke in support of this petition.

 

      Kathleen Kemp, 1800 N. Stark Road, spoke in opposition to the request.  She also does not understand the need to zone Airport Road between Hicks and Stark Roads.  If the Link property were sometime annexed into the city, Airport Road would be the only connection to the existing city limits.  This would encourage the future zoning of the surrounding property as light industrial.

 

      Elizabeth Jackson, 1695 Stark Road, also spoke in opposition to this zoning request.  She wondered why the city is requesting this zoning when some of the surrounding properties may never become a part of the city.

 

      Mr. Baker stated that the city’s ordinance allows two years once property is annexed into the city to have city zoning applied.  The city then becomes the petitioner and the Planning Commission and staff attempt to apply city zoning to the property, generally according to the city’s future land use map. 

 

      Ms. Jackson asked why the Planning Commission is going to all the bother now to zone this property.  Mr. Gaynor stated that since this property has been annexed into the city, the city has to apply a city zoning classification. 

 

      Kathy Fogus, 1797 N, Hicks Road, stated there are many different zoning districts in this area, going from commercial to industrial, back to commercial and back to industrial.  They have watched their neighbors be “grandfathered in” to other zoning districts and it appears that the surrounding property owners are in favor of these zonings.  This is not correct.  The surrounding property owners would like the property to remain as residential.  They have watched traffic increase out in the mall area and they have massive traffic congestion in their local streets every morning.  It you zone the property at the corner of Stark Road and Airport Road, you will have to install a traffic light and there will be more traffic congestion in this area.  There will be much more traffic and more safety problems and it only strands Hicks Road traffic to a greater extent.

 

      Bill Johnson, 3535 E. Ashman Street, thinks the only reason the city wants to rezone this road is so they have a “foot in the door” to zone the property surrounding this in the same category.

 

      David Meyer, representing Mrs. Joyce Link, spoke on her behalf.  Mr. Meyer feels that zoning petition 558 is “none of your business”.  He has never seen a road zoned anything in his 30 years of law practice.  He feels this is one more way to ensure that future annexations of land would be zoned in a similar zoning classification.  The Link property was divided when Airport Road was re-routed through several years ago.  The Links were going to build their retirement home on the southern portion of their property.  Mr. Link had been planting trees in this area for a number of years.  Then Airport Road came along.  By relocating Airport Road, the building site they had picked out was impacted.  That was going to be their back yard.  The Links purchased this property when it was all wooded and was way out into the township.  They had no intentions of developing this land into commercial or industrial uses.  Mr. Meyer stated that you do not have to have a zoning classification for a street.  You are basically telling the property owners on both sides of the street that you will zone their property in a similar zoning classification.  Once you give the road a zoning classification, the chance for controlling the development within the LCMR district is substantially adversely impacted.  You have a lot of property in the City of Midland that has that zoning designation and there is room to expand in this zoning district in other areas of the city.  If you leave the property in its current zone, which is residential, a developer will see that there is industrial property in the area and could make a case for the rezoning of adjoining properties in that classification.  If you just want to give it a label, there are other uses that are less intense than LCMR that would better serve the residents of this area.  Once you change the type of district that it is in, you give up the possibility of other options for the future. 

 

      Kathy Fogus, 1797 N, Hicks Road, stated she does not understand why this is such an issue with the surrounding properties and the townships.  She feels the residents on Hicks Road will be left in limbo and lack services from the city or the county.  Perhaps the city should purchase this property under the law of eminent domain.  No one can understand why this roadway has to be zoned, except to connect it from the city to Stark Road.

 

      Mr. Mead asked Mr. Baker if there was precedent in zoning this roadway.  Mr. Baker stated he would check and get back to the Planning Commission at their next meeting.  Mr. Baker stated that when property is brought into the city, a city zoning classification must be applied to the property. 

 

      The public hearing was closed.

 

c.   Zoning Petition No. 559, initiated by the Planning Commission, to zone property at 8506 Sturgeon Avenue from Township zoning to Residential A-1 zoning.

 

      This property was annexed to the city from Larkin Township in 2007.  The current zoning is Zone I – Residential A.  Permitted uses include single family dwellings, farms, churches, public parks, golf courses.  The City Forest is to the north and east.  The property is currently occupied with a single family residence.  The existing land use shows low density residential.  The city’s existing land use is also single family residential.  The area of the City Forest is zoned community.  The future land use map shows this area as low density residential.  The proposed zoning would be in compliance with the future land use map.

 

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

 

d.   Zoning Petition No. 560, initiated by the Planning Commission, to zone property at 4674 East Wheeler Street, from Township zoning to Agriculture zoning.

 

      This property was annexed from Midland Township in 2007.  The current zoning is R-1 Residential and permits single family dwellings, farms, churches, and other public uses.  This property is located on the south side of Wheeler Road.  It adjoins property owned by the City of Midland.  The city’s landfill is to the south of this parcel.  The home that actually existed on this site has already been demolished.  There are additional single family dwellings to the west on E. Wheeler Road.  The area surrounding this property is the city’s landfill.  The proposed zoning is Agricultural to go along with the landfill property.  The future land use map for this area shows light industrial, incorporating the landfill site.  This property will be a part of the buffer for the landfill from surrounding properties.

 

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

     

4.  Public Comments

     

            Kathleen Kemp, 1800 N. Stark Road, stated she was not really sure who to speak to.  On April 18, 2008, she was driving down Stark Road.  When she arrived at the corner of Stark and Wackerly Roads, she was hit by a man who ran the stop sign on Wackerly Road.  It totaled her car and she suffered injuries from that accident.  She was wondering what can be done at that intersection to make it safer.  She knows there was a man killed in another accident at that intersection last year.  She does not even drive down there any more.  She is afraid of traffic coming across Wackerly Road at high speeds.

 

            Mr. Baker stated we will refer this question to the city’s traffic engineer, who may do a traffic study of this intersection.  The traffic engineer will then write a report of his findings.  Ms. Kemp will write a letter to the city addressing this issue.

 

5.   New Business

 

      None

 

6.  Old Business

 

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.

 

      The aerial photograph shows the property is located on West Wackerly Street, on the north side.  Schade Drive is just to the east and US-10 to the north.  There are office facilities to the east and the south.  Single family residences are located to the west.  The existing land use map shows one residential unit to the west of the subject property.  The property in question is zoned Neighborhood Commercial.  It adjoins commercial to the east and west and OS Office Service to the south. The property has been designated for commercial on the future land use map. 

 

      A revised site plan has been submitted.  They did amend the driveway approach to make it a 150 foot separation between driveways, from the driveway to the south.  The building itself also moved a little to the west to align with the driveway approach.  The canopy height has been adjusted to 14 feet high to allow for County Connection and Dial-A-Ride transportation to pass beneath the canopy.  Elevation drawings were shown of the proposed structure.  One correspondence was received since the public hearing in support of this site plan.

 

      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.

 

            Conditions 7, 8, and 10 can be removed as these have already been addressed by the revised site plan.  Mr. Baker stated there is a chained off area that traffic from this site could spill over onto the adjacent site at certain times. 

 

            Dave Smith, 3696 Jane Drive, stated they have a reciprocal agreement with the business next door to use their parking upon occasional need by the funeral home.  The business next door would also be allowed to spill over onto their parking when it is needed. 

 

            Motion by Hanna, seconded by Brown, to recommend to City Council approval of Site Plan No. 287 from Smith-Miner Funeral Home for site plan approval of a 9,216 square foot funeral home located at 2700 West Wackerly Street with the contingency items numbered 1 through 6 and number 9. 

 

            Mr. Mead stated he feels this will be a great addition to this area.  Ms. Brown stated she supports this also.  Ms. Hanna supports this and she wishes the petitioner well in their business.  Mr. Gaynor stated he thinks this is a big step forward for this business and he has no objections to it.

 

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

            NAYS:   None

            ABSENT:  Svenson

 

            Motion approved 8-0.


 

b.   2009 “LCMR” Zoning District – Zoning Ordinance Text Amendments.

 

      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.

     

            Mr. Baker stated he is bringing this issue back to the Commission for discussion as, at their last meeting, they chose to remove this article from their revisions to the Zoning Text Amendments for further discussion.

 

            Mr. Senesac stated this was discussed in the 2005 zoning text amendments and he wondered if anything has changed this 2005.  Mr. Baker stated that nothing has changed to his knowledge. 

 

            Mrs. Hanna stated that the business uses in the LCMR district are designed to complement industrial uses, as a convenience to people who work in the industrial areas of the community.  Mr. Senesac stated he does not see people building those types of businesses at Eagle Ridge.  He does not think there would be enough business to support the commercial uses in this area. 

 

            Mr. Kozakiewicz stated there are several office complexes in the area including on the corner of Patrick and Waldo, just to the east of Waldo Avenue, and the Dow Corporate Center is very close by.  He thinks the Industrial Park was intended to develop as much research as possible.  However, this development has not taken place and other businesses have decided to locate here.  Mr. Kozakiewicz stated he does not think we are changing the zoning, just the uses allowed within the zoning district.  If the businesses feel it is safe and they can do business with an LCMR district, why not let them do it. 

 

            Mr. Mead stated that it should be left up to the individual property owners how they choose to develop their property or where they locate their business.  Mr. Baker stated that by requiring a use by Conditional Use Permit allows for the public hearing process and review by the Planning Commission and City Council prior to allowing a use into a particular zoning district. 

 

            Mr. Eyre stated he did not see a difference between #3 and #11.  They both refer to financial uses.  Motion by Mead to accept the 2.09 LCMR Zoning District as presented, including 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11.  Motion was seconded by Hanna. 

 

            YEAS:   Eyre, Hanna, King, Kozakiewicz and Mead

            NAYS:   Brown, Gaynor and Senesac

            ABSENT:  Svenson

 

            Motion approved 5-3.


 

7.   Communications

 

      None

 

    8.  Report of the Chairperson  

 

      None

 

9.    Report of the Planning Director

 

CITY COUNCIL                                                                                                                

 

February 16, 2009 

 

ACTION ITEMS

 

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.

 

PLANNING COMMISSION

 

February 24, 2009

 

PUBLIC HEARING

 

None

 

ACTION ITEM

 

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

 

ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS

 

February 17, 2009 Meeting has been cancelled

 

PENDING ADMINISTRATIVE SITE PLAN REVIEWS

 

None

 

DIRECTOR’S NOTES

 

February 24, 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.  

 

Professional planning services contract up for City Council approval at its meeting on Monday February 16, 2009. 

 

The Non Motorized Transportation Advisory Committee is nearing completion of its draft plan and will be scheduled for a Planning Commission presentation at some point in the near future.


 

10.  Adjourn   Adjournment at 8:57 p.m. was unanimously approved.

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

 

Keith Baker, AICP

Director of Planning & Community Development

 

MINUTES ARE NOT FINAL UNTIL APPROVED BY THE PLANNING COMMISSION