FEBRUARY 22, 2011, 7:00 P.M.,



1. Roll Call

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

ABSENT: Ballard


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


2. Approval of Minutes

Moved by Hanna, seconded by Senesac, to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of February 8, 2011 as written. Motion passed unanimously.

3. Public Hearings


a.    Site Plan No. 298 from Three Rivers Corporation on behalf of Northwood University for site plan review and approval for a 64,132 square foot auditorium and turf/track building located at 4000 Whiting Drive.


Mr. Young declared a conflict of interest as the petitioner is his employer. Moved by Senesac, seconded by Hanna, to allow Mr. Young to abstain from participation in this public hearing process. Motion passed unanimously.


The property is zoned Community. The Pere Marquette Rail Trail is to the north. The existing Bennett Student Center is located at the southeast corner of the campus site. There are eight tennis courts that will be relocated to accommodate the construction of the proposed building. The addition will be coming off the east end of the existing building.


The site in question encompasses what was previously tennis courts. The addition of the 64,000 sq. ft. building is what necessitated this site plan coming before the Planning Commission for review. There will be no new curb cuts. The petitioner provided adequate information for site plan review. The project is located on the campus of Northwood University. The building will be for student use. Landscaping requirements were reviewed. Based on the nature of the development, staff identified that they have 37 existing trees, all of which will be preserved. They have identified 17 new trees that will be planted and the addition of these will meet the requirements of the Zoning Ordinance. The site meets all setbacks and height requirements of the zoning code. The proposed structure would occupy the same footprint as the tennis courts. There are no changes to the structure that would come off the Bennett Sports Center. There are no privacy issues with the addition of the 17 trees identified for screening. There has been additional access provided for emergency vehicles at the request of the Fire Department. Water availability meets the requirements of the Midland Fire Department. Since distribution of the Planning Commission packets, there has been some discussion about the addition of a storage area. This area is shown on a revised drawing.


The only item up for determination between the petitioner and the staff is the necessity of a maintenance courtyard area between the two buildings. This is currently a gravel area. The question is whether or not it would require pavement. Northwood University would like to add some additional storage to the area in the future.


Pedestrian circulation has several accesses to the building. Vehicle circulation is separated from the pedestrian access. There is sidewalk access coming from the west and from the north. The service entrance would be from the rear, on the south side of the building. There are approximately 800 parking stalls in the two parking lots to the west. A drainage/storm water management plan has been submitted for City Engineering Department review. A photometric plan showing exterior lighting has been submitted. This will not be an issue on any property line. Water and sewer will be provided by existing privately owned facilities on site. A hydrant is located sufficiently close to this building. There will be a single phase of construction except perhaps for the storage area. No coordination with adjacent sites is deemed necessary. Staff recommends approval for this site plan with the standard list of contingencies. The property is in the floodplain. This is a permitted activity within the floodplain but they will need to obtain a floodplain permit from the state.


On March 8, 2011, the Planning Commission will review the site plan and make a decision. Following their recommendation it will be forwarded on to City Council. Mr. Pnacek asked about the staff recommendation for paving. Mr. Baker stated there is a section in the Zoning Ordinance that requires paving for loading zones and drop-off areas. It becomes somewhat of a grey area as to whether or not it should be required here. It is currently a rear access to the existing building. It does have storm water control with catch basin and drainage. It is out of sight. It would only be accessible to their maintenance staff.


Commissioner Stewart asked how would a fire truck get to this area. Mr. Baker showed that they would have access from the south and all around the building. They would also have access from the north to the other side of the building. There will be a gravel drive around the facility that would be able to support a 70,000 pound vehicle for fire truck access.


Kristin Riddle, with Three Rivers Construction, 3069 Vantage Point Drive, Midland, spoke on behalf of the petitioner. The new facility would have an indoor field with a 3-lane track going around the field. There will be an auditorium/classroom that will connect the new structure to the existing Bennett Center. The structure will be masonry block on the lower part of the building. There will be siding above that. The exterior will match the existing structure. The existing site has eight tennis courts on it. These have been relocated to the north part of the campus this past summer. Northwood is looking at adding on a storage building, which would then come out into the courtyard area. Staff mentioned that this area may need to be paved as it is used as a loading zone. There are not a lot of deliveries in this area. There are some overhead doors on the south and the east of the building if they do need to bring something in but that is not a common occurrence. Mr. Baker also mentioned additional storage off the existing Bennett building. The idea of paving this area right now is not the right time for this to occur. They are requesting that this be postponed until the next phase of development occurs. Currently there is a gravel driveway that goes along the south side of the Bennett Building. It goes from the west parking lot up to the building. According to the City Fire Department, they are required to have a 28 foot wide access for fire suppression apparatus on the south side of the building. The building will have a sprinkling system for fire suppression. They are just hitting the corners of the floodplain. They do not anticipate any issues in obtaining this permit. They have a swale on the east side of the building that will assist with the fill needed to obtain this permit. Eighty percent of this building will be artificial turf. There will be three lanes of rubber track around the artificial turf. There will also be a long-jump pit and a pole-vault pit.


There were no public comments either in favor of or in opposition to the site plan.


The public hearing was closed.

4. Old Business


a. 2011 Zoning Text Amendments


Ms. Winland presented the 2011 proposed Zoning Ordinance text changes.


Places of Worship

         Increase districts where Places of Worship are permitted by right versus conditional use permit. These are:

o   Community

o   Office Service

o   Neighborhood, Regional and Community Commercial

o   Circle


Clubs and Fraternal Organizations

         Increase the districts where Clubs and Fraternal Organizations are permitted.

o   By right Community and Regional Commercial, LCMR

o   With special standards Circle, Downtown, Neighborhood Commercial

o   With conditional use permit in Residential two family


Homeless Shelters

         Define and clarify

o   Residential Treatment Center

o   Transitional Housing

o   Day Shelter

o   Soup Kitchen

o   Social Service Agency

         Correct inconsistencies and omissions.

         Specify siting requirements

o   Location and number

o   Height

o   Screening

o   Outdoor Activity

o   Security

o   Transportation

         There is a chart that shows the impacts that will be occurring in the various districts.


Consistency changes

         General Regulations 3.02 J.

o   Remove the suggestion that site plans require bicycle storage. This is now required.

         Residential D, Multiple Family 15.02 D.

o   Permit Group Day Care homes operating between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. to be approved by administrative review. Those that operate outside those hours would still require review by the Planning Commission.

         Signs 8.04 A. 5.

o   Add home occupation signs to the list of signs permitted



         Definitions 2.02

Add a definition for Kiosk

         Site Development Standards 9.02 G. Drive-up establishments

o   Add placement . . . .


         Enable the Planning Director to permit fences over 8 in height to serve recreational and institutional uses, as well as airports.

Patios and Decks

         Delete setback regulations for at grade decks, patios, open porches and terraces.

         Delete maximum height regulation for above grade decks, patios, open porches and terraces.

         Add above ground pool decks must comply with setbacks for accessory structures.


         Clarify that driveways and access to a lot is part of a use of land and therefore may be a nonconforming aspect of a use of land.

         Impact: Uses of land that lose their nonconforming status may be required to close or relocate nonconforming drives.



         Planning Commission reviewed text changes on January 11, 2011

         Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on February 8, 2011

         Planning Commission will make a recommendation to City Council at the February 22, 2011 meeting

         City Council will schedule a public hearing on February 28, 2011

         City Council will hold and public hearing on March 21, 2011 and act on the amendments.

Mr. Senesac stated he is in support of these changes. Mr. Mead agreed. Mr. Pnacek concurs. Mrs. Hanna is also in agreement.


Motion by Pnacek, seconded by Young, to recommend to City Council the 2011 Zoning Text Amendments.




YEAS: Brown, Hanna, Mead, Pnacek, Senesac, Stewart, and Young

NAYS: None

ABSENT: Ballard



Motion was approved 7-0. The public hearing with City Council will be set at the February 28, 2011 meeting and will be held at the March 21, 2011.


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




6. New Business




7. Communications




8. Report of the Chairperson



9. Report of the Planning Director


There was another article in the newspaper about the vacancy on the Planning Commission. City Council is expected to hold interviews in March to fill that vacancy. Mrs. Hanna asked about census data. Mr. Baker stated that the state demographer expects release of population and household data within the next few weeks.

10. Adjourn


Adjournment at 7:56 p.m. was unanimously approved.

Respectfully submitted,




Keith Baker, AICP, CFM

Director of Planning & Community Development