MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE MIDLAND CITY PLANNING COMMISSION

WHICH TOOK PLACE ON TUESDAY,

JULY 14, 2009, 7:00 P.M.,

COUNCIL CHAMBERS, CITY HALL, MIDLAND, MICHIGAN

 

1.   Roll Call

PRESENT:  Brown, Eyre, Gaynor, Hanna, King, Mead, and Pnacek

ABSENT:   Senesac

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

 

2.   Election of Officers

 

      Motion by Hanna, seconded by Eyre to nominate Diane Brown as Chairman and Roger Mead as Vice Chairman, as recommended by the nominating committee at the last meeting.  Motion passed unanimously.

 

3.   Approval of Minutes

Moved by King, seconded by Hanna, to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of June 23, 2009 as written. Motion passed unanimously.

 

4.   Public Hearing

 

      a)   Zoning Petition No. 562 initiated by The Dow Chemical Company for property

            located at 1605 Austin Street from Regional Commercial zoning to Industrial B.

 

            Mr. Gaynor stated he is working on a project that involves batteries at Dow, but that he is not directly involved with this facility.  The Planning Commission found that this would not be a conflict of interest.

 

            Mr. Baker reported the property is currently zoned RC Regional Commercial.  The proposed zoning is Industrial “B”.  The site was previously considered for the relocation for the Dow Employee Credit Union.  The site is currently part of a “Renaissance Zone” and being considered for development.  The Planning Commission will review the ten criteria per the Zoning Ordinance.  The property is located at the intersection of S. Saginaw Road and Austin Street, and Bay City Road just to the south.  In the winter of 2007-2008, there was a street vacation that resulted in the vacation of some of this property. 

 

            The city’s Future Land Use Map shows this area as being suitable for heavy industrial.  There is light industrial further to the north and the city’s storm water retention pond is to the east. 

 

 

            Rezoning Evaluation criteria include:

            Is the proposed amendment consistent with the City’s Master Plan?  Staff proposes that it is.  Will the proposed amendment be in accordance with the intent and purpose of the Zoning Ordinance?  Yes, it will be in accordance with the intent of the Zoning Ordinance.  Have conditions changed since the Zoning Ordinance was adopted that justifies the amendment?  Conditions have not changed, but the Zoning Ordinance changed in 2005.

 

            Will the amendment result in unlawful exclusionary zoning?  Industrial B is the highest zoning classification in the zoning code and it will be appropriate for this property.  The amendment will not set an inappropriate precedent.  There is property zoned Industrial A or Industrial B on three sides of this property.  The proposed zoning is consistent with the zoning classification of the surrounding land and it is consistent with the Master Plan.

 

            All the requirements in the Industrial B can be complied with on the subject parcel.  Staff recommends the rezoning request be approved as presented.  There is a public hearing with the Planning Commission tonight.  A recommendation will be made by the Planning Commission on July 28, 2009.  The petitioner has requested an expedited review for tonight to conduct both the hearing and make a recommendation.  No communications have been received by the Planning Department regarding this petition.

 

            Rob Connors, with The Dow Chemical Company, stated the purpose of this zoning request is to be able to develop this property by making the zoning of this parcel consistent with the surrounding land.  This parcel, along with the surrounding properties has been chosen by Dow for a new battery plant and they desire to rezone this property to expedite the development of this property as a future site.

 

            Mr. King asked Mr. Connors what effect it would have on the project if the Planning Commission were to take an additional two weeks to make a recommendation.  Would there be a negative effect to this project?  Mr. Connors stated they are seeking federal funding for this project and that funding could come at any time.  Dow would like to be ready to begin development as soon as the funding might become available.  Ms. Brown asked Mr. Baker if there would be any future opportunity for public input if the Planning Commission were to approve this zoning petition tonight.  Mr. Baker stated there will also be a public hearing held at the City Council level so there would be additional opportunities for public input.  If the Planning Commission were to move on this petition tonight, it would shave off three weeks of time due to the scheduling of City Council meetings.

 

            No one spoke in favor or opposition to the zoning petition.

 

            The public hearing was closed. 

 

            Motion by Mead, seconded by Hanna to take action on this petition this evening.  Motion passed unanimously.

 

      b)   Site Plan No. 292 from Three Rivers Corporation on behalf of Ieuter Insurance

            Group for site plan review and approval of a 16,006 square foot office building located

            at 414 Townsend Street.

 

            Mr. Pnacek revealed that he is directly employed by the petitioner. Motion by Gaynor, seconded by Hanna to allow Mr. Pnacek to abstain from participation on this petition.  Motion passed unanimously.

 

            Mr. Baker showed an aerial photograph of the subject property.  This will be a 16,006 square foot two-story office facility.  It is located between Indian and Buttles Streets and encompasses four parcels.  It contains approximately .83 acres.  The properties in this area are zoned Downtown and Office Service.  The Office Service zoned parcel will be used for a parking lot, which is a permitted use in the Office Service District.  This area is very much a mixture of commercial, office and residential.  The Future Land Use map identifies this entire area as Downtown. 

 

            A map of the site shows this development will take half of the city block.  It will border on Buttles, Townsend and Indian Streets.  The petitioner has shown seven new trees and has credits for 21 additional trees.  The number of shrubs on the site plan exceeds the minimum required.  No additional landscaping is required.  The project meets all the setback requirements of the Downtown zoning district.  The closest point of the building to the front property line is seven feet, that on the east side.  The highest point of the building will be just less than 35 feet.  The building and site development have been designed so as to not interfere with the other site development.  Emergency vehicle access has been found to be adequate.  There is a single drive approach planned on Townsend Street.  The parking lot meets all the turning radius requirements of the Fire Department and Public Services.  The petitioner will be replacing curb on at least five places where driveways existed in the past.  There will be a five-foot sidewalk along the perimeter of the property.

 

            Sidewalk is provided from the parking lot to the building and from the street to the building.  There is no minimum requirement for parking in the Downtown Zoning District.  However, they have provided their own on-site parking area.  The petitioner has proposed 43 parking spaces for both their use and any potential tenant in the future.  A storm water detention plan has been submitted to the City’s Engineering Department.  It will be underground, under the parking lot.  A photometric plan has been submitted for city review and it meets all the required criteria.  There are adequate public services to service the site.  The site is not adjacent to residentially zoned property so no additional screening from residential uses is required.  They are proposing to use trash receptacles and not a dumpster.  However, screening will be provided for the trash receptacles.  The property will be developed in a single construction phase.  The size and height of a free-standing sign will require a permit.  A proposed sign plan has been submitted to the Building Department.

 

            The following eight contingencies have been identified:

 

            1.   The storm water 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 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 any proposed fire hydrants and water service shall be in accordance with the City of Midland Fire Department and City of Midland Utility Department specifications.

            7.   All irrigation systems will comply with the City of Midland Water Department specifications.

            8.   The sidewalks shall be 5” wide around the perimeter of the site.

 

            Staff believes the site plan meets the requirements of the zoning ordinance and recommends approval.  A site plan does not require a further public hearing by City Council.

 

            Kristin Riddle, 3069 Vantage Point Drive, Midland, Michigan, architect for Three Rivers Corporation stated that she represents the developer.  The building will have a brick façade.  Ieuter Insurance Group would occupy the first floor of this development with a future tenant on the second floor.  On the site plan, they have shown some bike racks on the front of the building.  The owners are going for LEED certification on this building and integrating showers and changing rooms for bicyclists inside the building as well.  The main entrance will have a canopy above it.

 

            Mr. Gaynor asked the petitioner if they had taken into consideration the Downtown Overlay District, so, if there is development in the future, it will fit in with the future development.  Ms. Riddle stated that they do not meet all the setbacks, but they have several mature trees on the Townsend side of the building.  It will be a 2-story building which would comply with the Downtown Overlay District Plan.  The building will have a single ingress/egress for the site.  Mr. Gaynor asked of they thought this would be adequate for their site.  Ms. Riddle stated they thought this would suffice at this time. 

 

            Mr. Mead stated the one-way in and one-way out driveway is great for this plan.  They will be closing off a number of old driveways, which is commendable. Junior Achievement is looking to move the existing building to another location. 

 

            No one spoke in favor or opposition to the petition. 

 

            The public hearing was closed.

 

5.  Public Comments (unrelated to items on the agenda)

     

      None

 

6.   New Business

                                                                     

     Zoning Petition No. 562 initiated by the Dow Chemical Company for property located at 1605 Austin Street from Regional Commercial zoning to Industrial B.

 

      Motion by Mead, seconded by Eyre, to recommend to City Council the rezoning petition.  Mr. King stated he is in support of the petition.  Ms. Hanna stated that she would like to see this project move forward.  Mr. Eyre is in agreement.  Mr. Mead stated that he would be in support of anything they can do to support the efforts of Dow in this area.

 

      Vote:

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

      NAYS:             None

      ABSENT:        Senesac

      VACANCY:     One

     

      Motion passes 8-0

 

7.  Old Business

 

      None

 

8.   Communications

 

      Planning and Zoning News and information about the Michigan Planning Conference.

 

9.  Report of the Chairperson  

 

      None

 

10. Report of the Planning Director

 

Mr. Baker welcomed Mr. Shawn Pnacek to the Planning Commission.  He has some experience with the zoning ordinance, having been an alternate for the Zoning Board of Appeals. 

 

     If any Planning Commissioners would like to attend the annual Planning Conference in Mt. Pleasant in September/October, please let the Planning Department know.

 

11. Adjourn   

 

      Adjournment at 7:55 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