PLANNING COMMISSION WORK SESSION

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2010

COUNCIL CHAMBERS OVERFLOW CONFERENCE ROOM

CITY HALL; 333 W. ELLSWORTH STREET;

MIDLAND, MICHIGAN

 

Present:  Brown, Eyre, Hanna, King, Mead, Pnacek, Senesac, and Stewart

Absent:   None  (1 vacancy)

Staff:      Keith Baker, Planning Director, Cheri King, Community Development Specialist, and Cindy Winland, Contract Planner

 

1.      Ordinance review of the procedures for vacation of walkways.  Do we need to put in place the requirement for notification of all plat/subdivision owners and public hearing prior to recommendation to City Council?

 

Hanna:       How many walkways do we have in town?

Baker:        We have not counted them.  The non-motorized group wants to look at this information also.  The existing process does not require notification of anyone except the adjacent properties.

Eyre:          Thinks everyone in the subdivision should be notified.

Mead:        Agrees with Eyre

Pnacek:      Agrees with Eyre and Mead.  The whole subdivision should be notified.

Mead:        Recommended the “city” look at the walkways that exist and determine if they still need them.  If we have them, we need to maintain them.

Eyre:          The walkways should all have sidewalks so they will be easier to maintain.

Winland:   Who is responsible for maintaining it?  What about shoveling it?  What about upkeep of the sidewalks?

Mead:        Recommends:

a)      We will notify everyone in the subdivision of a potential walkway vacation.

b)      We will identify these rights-of-way.

Pnacek:      We need to make sure the vacation of a walkway does not conflict with deed restrictions.

 

2.      300 foot notification – Do we want to increase the distance for notification of the public?

 

Baker:        300 feet is the minimum established by State law.

Mead:        What do other towns do?

Winland:   Most do 300 feet due to the density of population.  Some rural areas notify 500 feet.

Eyre:          If it is important enough, neighbors will contact each other and talk about the issue.  Where do we stop?  This year it’s 500 feet.  What about the people at 600 feet?

Baker:              PROs                                                         CONs

                  More persons notified                                     Cost

                                                                                          Time

                                                                                          Others still left out

                  People have to be notified of every zoning petition and every site plan by both the Planning Commission and City Council.

Senesac:    So we’re looking at an additional $8,000 to $12,000 per year.

Baker:        People who do not receive notices are notified by the following public venues:

·         MGTV

·         Midland Daily News

·         Letters

·         City’s website

·         Agendas

·         3 public meetings (for site plans)

·         4 public meetings (for rezoning)

Winland:   There is documentation in every file regarding who received the mailings.

Baker:        We know that we mail the notifications.  We cannot guarantee that someone received a mailing or that they actually read the mailing.  The notices are sent by first class mail.

Senesac:    How many times does staff hear that someone did not receive notification?

Baker:        It is not a burning issue.  It is not a monthly or bi-monthly issue.

Brown:      Let’s monitor it for a year and see what happens.

Winland:   The increased cost would probably be passed along to the applicant.

Concensus:            Let’s leave it as it is for now.

 

3.      List of permitted uses in the zoning ordinance for:

a)      Men’s/Women’s shelters (homeless shelters)

b)     Soup kitchens

 

Mead:        Would like to kick this back to staff for a recommendation of appropriate zoning districts.

Brown:      We need to make sure they are so many feet away from any schools.

Senesac:    They need to have a place in the community.

Brown:      There needs to be buffering of sight and sound. 

Senesac:    They need to have sufficient distance from any specified facilities.

King:         The appearance of these shelters is of some concern.

Concensus:   This will be sent back to staff to formulate a recommendation of zoning   districts that may accommodate these facilities.  We need to act on this quickly as the Planning Commission may be seeing this issue again yet this year.

 

4.      Stormwater detention basin regulations

 

Baker:        *    The ordinance requires storm water to be regulated on site

·         This can be done through storm water detention “ponds” or underground storage basins.

·         There is a point where fencing is required, based upon the slope and depth of the pond.

·         This varies from site to site.

 

 

5.      Bike Racks

 

Hanna:       We have encouraged new buildings to have bike racks.  What about if we required them to have at least one bike rack?

Eyre:          So you want to see a bike rack in front of every building?

Senesac:    Gail has asked for bike racks on the last several site plans and the developers have voluntarily put them in.

Hanna:       Do you think this is working?  Shouldn’t we have something with more teeth in it?  Why couldn’t staff recommend this when they first see a site plan rather than waiting until it gets to the Planning Commission?

Pnacek & Senesac:            Think it is working like it is.

Concensus:                        Yes, it seems to be working as it is.

 

6.      Zoning with Conditions

 

Eyre:          The Bennett deal – It comes before the Planning Commission.

                  The Planning Commission puts on conditions.  The petitioner can change the conditions any time up to the time it goes to City Council.

                  This has to be their voluntary action.

Baker:        If it becomes more restrictive, the process can still move forward.  If the conditions are less restrictive, it has to come back to the Planning Commission.

Baker:        Conditional zoning is allowed by State law, but it is not required.  If there is something in the process the Planning Commission wants to tweak, staff could bring a recommendation back to the Commission.

 

There was no further discussion and the work session adjourned at 6:45 p.m.