JULY 27, 2010, 7:00 P.M.,



1.   Roll Call

PRESENT:  Ballard, Brown, Hanna, Mead, Pnacek, Senesac, Stewart and Young

ABSENT:   King

OTHERS PRESENT: Keith Baker, Planning Director, Cheri King, Community Development Specialist, Cindy Winland, Consultant Planner, and 3 others.


2.  Election of Officers


It was moved by Senesac seconded by Young, to elect Diane Brown as Chairman.  Motion passed unanimously.


It was moved by Senesac, seconded by Young, to elect Roger Mead as Vice Chairman.  Motion passed unanimously.



3.   Approval of Minutes

Moved by Hanna, seconded by Ballard, to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of July 13, 2010 as written. Motion passed unanimously.

4.   Public Hearings




5.   Old Business


      Chairman Brown reviewed the process for presenting the petition and the deliberations

      by the Planning Commission.


      a.   Zoning Text Amendment No. 151, initiated by Jason D. White, to amend Section 14.02 D of the Zoning Ordinance to permit mini-pigs as a conditional land use in the single family residential zoning districts.


            Mrs. Winland presented the Zoning Text Amendment to add mini-pigs as a conditional use in residential zoning districts.  There are potentially three places that the ordinance will need to be amended if the Planning Commission approves this tonight.  The first place is in the definitions.  Article 14 would need to be amended to include mini-pigs as a permitted use in residential districts, under item #16. 


            Commissioner Mead asked that, if they recommend this petition, the zoning text would be changed as presented in the staff report in italics.  If this petition is not approved, the words in italics would be deleted.  Mr. Senesac asked that, procedurally, how would they handle this recommendation?  He is uncomfortable voting on a text change when he has not seen the text.  Ms. Winland stated that, if approved, staff could write the language and bring it to the Planning Commission at a later date.  The Planning Commission should set boundaries that would be incorporated into the amended text, including size and weight of the mini-pigs. 


            Mr. Senesac stated that, if they recommend denial, would staff forward it to City Council with no text changes?  What would City Council approve?  Mr. Baker stated City Council would still have to have something to act upon.  What they would act upon would be the insertion of #16, the allowance of mini-pigs as a conditional use in a residential district.  Mr. Senesac suggested that the Planning Commission insert a few words so the City Council has something concrete to act upon.  Mrs. Hanna stated they could add the wording “to be developed”.  Mr. Senesac stated he is uncomfortable voting on a text change when he does not know what the text is going to be.  Ms. Brown stated that once a motion is made, they add a contingency to the motion to describe the proposed wording.  Mr. Mead stated that, if this does not pass, there is nothing to change.  Mr. Baker suggested that they were getting into deliberations so that should wait until they get to that point.


            Mrs. Winland stated there was one person who called and provided public input.  A lady who owned a pig in the city, who now lives in Larkin Township, stated that the pig grew to be 150 pounds and was not appropriate to have in the city.


            Jason White, 1313 W. Hines Street, stated he does not have a presentation for tonight.  He really does not have anything else to say.  He feels they have done everything the city advised them to do and have gone through the proper channels.  They have expressed their position and paid all the fees required of them.  He feels that a conditional use is just that – conditional.  They have taken the time to express how much they would like to own one of these animals.  Perhaps not everyone would feel as strongly.  However, he does not think they should be disallowed just because some people would not be responsible owners.  There was an individual in Kalamazoo who owned three mini-pigs and was not aware that they were not allowed in the city.  The residential swine permit was actually put on the books in 1995.  To date, they have only had four applications for mini-pigs and that includes the one individual who had three mini-pigs.  What does this mean for surrounding neighborhoods?  These are not the most common pets to have.  Mr. White thanked the Planning Commission for their deliberations and their advice thus far.


            Bill Johnson, 3535 E. Ashman Street.  Since this has come up, he has run a straw poll on customers who have come into his business.  He has only found one customer in opposition to having a pig in the city.


            Lisa White, 1313 W. Hines Street.  She became very excited when they heard from the City Clerk in Kalamazoo.  She was amazed that they only had four requests for mini-pig permits in that city.  When she hears the word “conditional”, she also hears “situational”.  She feels that, in their situation, they would like to have “Roger” as an addition to their family.


            There were no public comments in opposition to the petition.


            Mr. Mead suggested that they vote either in favor of or in opposition to this request.  Mr. Stewart stated he agrees with Mr. Senesac.  It is hard to know what they are voting on unless they have some language in front of them.  Mr. Senesac stated he is struggling with the procedural issue.  If the vote is consistent with the vote they took the first time, which was a unanimous vote for denial, there is no issue.  However, not having any language in front of them, it is hard to know what they are referring on to the City Council.


            Mr. Mead suggested they table this issue tonight and appoint a subcommittee to create some language that would be appropriate to move forward with at the next meeting.  Mr. Pnacek agreed with Mr. Mead.  He will have a hard time moving forward with a decision based upon what has been presented to them tonight.  Mrs. Hanna asked if staff could do this.  Mr. Baker stated that, based upon the presentation at the public hearing and the issues brought up by the petitioners at the public hearing, staff could come up with some language that might be appropriate to define the parameters of the conditional use.  Mr. Senesac, stated the issues he sees include vaccinations, number of pounds, fences, rat walls, etc. need to be addressed in the conditional use process. 


            Mr. Baker stated the conditional use process would require notification of surrounding property owners and a public hearing to determine if they were appropriate in that neighborhood.  Mr. Senesac stated he cannot say they are not appropriate in this location but they are acceptable in another location.  With day cares, they have looked at things like parking, hours of operation, and various situations.  He does not see the “conditional” part come into this at all.  What criteria would he use to make that determination?


            Mr. Mead stated he would hate for someone to come in January and ask for a conditional use permit for a “mini-goat” or “mini-something else”.  Perhaps they should add all mini-non-domesticated animals.  Mr. Young asked how they can look at recycling centers and wireless communications, and wind turbines, and then you get to farm animals.  They do not seem to fit into the “conditional use permit” category.  Mr. Ballard stated that he does not think it fits in the “conditional use permit” category either.  Ms. Brown stated that, although they are sympathetic to the Whites, this is not where this topic fits.  Mr. Senesac stated they have to take the Whites out of the picture and see where this fits overall in the Zoning Ordinance.  Mr. Young and Mr. Stewart also both agree that this does not fit in the “conditional use” category.  Mr. Young stated that, because this goes with the property, this is definitely not the place for it.


            Mrs. Hanna stated that, since the conditional use goes with the property, if the Whites move out and someone else moves in, the new people could also have a mini-pig.  Is that what we want?  Mr. Senesac stated that is one reason he is in opposition to this, among others.  He is in strong opposition to allowing these kinds of animals by conditional use.

            Motion by Senesac, seconded by Mead, to recommend to City Council the approval of Zoning Text Amendment No. 151, to amend section 14.02 D of the Zoning Ordinance.


            Mr. Mead stated that he found this very interesting and he appreciated all the work the Whites had done in their research of this subject.  Mr. Senesac stated he thinks it is inappropriate to allow this by conditional use permit.  This would open the door to every mini-farm animal and that is not where he wants to go.  Ms. Brown stated she appreciated all their research but she is not in favor of opening the door to everything that might come before the Planning Commission.



            YEAS:             None

            NAYS:             Ballard, Brown, Hanna, Mead, Pnacek, Senesac, Stewart and


            ABSENT:        King


            Motion was denied 0-8.


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




7.      New Business


Planning Commission Review of Draft Rules of Procedure


            Mr. Baker stated staff is bringing forward a set of Commission Rules of Procedure, due to the recent Planning Enabling Act that was enacted in 2009.  Staff has updated the Rules and Procedures to comply with this act.  It talks about membership, attendance, conflict of interest, duties of various officers, tenure of the Chair, Vice Chair, or Secretary, how the Planning Commission would fill vacancies, meeting times, special meetings, public meetings, what constitutes a quorum, voting, motions, parliamentary procedure (all Boards and Commissions of the city have adopted “Roberts Rules of Order, 10th edition”) and proceedings. 


            Discussion was held by the Planning Commission regarding the reasons for an “excused” absence.  This document states a commissioner could be excused for (1) illness; (2) business; or (3) vacation.  These would not count toward the four consecutive regular meetings or twenty-five percent of the meetings in a fiscal year.  The attendance policy by City Council does not include excused or unexcused absences.  If someone is consistently absent, staff may speak with them or the chairperson may speak with them about resigning the position if they are unable to make the meetings.


            Mr. Senesac stated he would like to see the Planning Director or his/her staff continue as the Secretary of the Planning Commission, and the Vice Chair has always been a Planning Commissioner.  The Vice Chair would act in case of the absence of the Chair.  He would like to see that continue.  However, the Secretary should remain the Planning Director.  There would need to be some changes if we separate the duties of the Vice Chair and the Secretary. 


8.      Communications




9.        Report of the Chairperson


           We will cancel the Planning Commission meeting on August 10th due to lack of business.


10.      Report of the Planning Director


           Keith – the State Planning conference is coming up October 20th to the 22nd, in Detroit.


           Nearly two years ago, the Planning Commission approved a site plan for the Marriott Residence Inn on the east side of Walmart.  Last night, the City Council granted them one additional year to begin construction on this site plan.  They still have the intent to develop this project.  There has been an increase in new home starts this year compared to prior years over 2008 and 2009.  We are getting closer to what we saw in 2004 and 2005.  A & W is getting close to opening within the next week or so.  The surgical center out on Fast Ice Drive is nearing completion. 


11.      Adjourn                      


Adjournment at 8:22 p.m. was unanimously approved.

Respectfully submitted,



Keith Baker, AICP, CFM

Director of Planning & Community Development