MAY 10, 2011, 7:00 P.M.,



1.   Roll Call

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

ABSENT:    Young

OTHERS PRESENT: Keith Baker, Planning Director, Cheri King, Community Development Specialist, Cindy Winland, Consultant Planner and 11 others.


2.   Approval of Minutes

Moved by Hanna, seconded by Pnacek, to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of April 26, 2011 as written. Motion passed unanimously.

3.   Public Hearings


Ms. Brown reviewed the process used by the Planning Commission for conducting public hearings.


      a.   Zoning Petition No. 574, initiated by John and Sandy Bartos, to rezone property at 204 Commerce Drive from Larkin Township zoning to Residential A-2 and Residential A-4 zoning. 


             Ms. Winland showed an aerial photograph of the subject property.  The 36 acres are divided approximately in half, with 18 acres being requested to be rezoned to Residential A-2 and approximately 18 acres being requested to be rezoned to Residential A-4.  This parcel has been before the Planning Commission previously with different zoning requested.  The Larkin Township zoning currently is Residential A, which permits residential development.  There are a variety of uses surrounding this property.  Ms. Winland reviewed the criteria for consideration of zoning petitions.  First is the rezoning consistent with the Master Plan?  Yes, this area is planned for medium density in the future.  Medium density is considered to be between four and nine dwelling units per acre.  On the east side, the proposed RA-2 zoning, there could be 79 single family lots on 18 acres, or 4.4 dwelling units per acre.  On the west side, the RA-4 zoning request, if the entire 18 acres were to be developed as 2-family dwellings, you could get 94 dwelling units in this area which is 5.4 dwelling units per acre. 


            The goals of the Master Plan support this rezoning, which is to support development for all types and income groups of households.  In staff’s opinion, the proposed rezoning would promote the intent of the zoning code through reclassification of the parcel as stated in the city’s Zoning Ordinance.  Conditions have changed since the Zoning Ordinance was adopted.  Commerce Drive has been extended through this area and significant development has occurred in this area.  The amendment will not grant special privileges to a particular individual.  The immediate area has been planned for residential development both by Larkin Township and the City of Midland.  The rezoning would not result in unlawful exclusionary zoning. The rezoning would continue a pattern of zoning designation that is consistent with the city’s Master Plan.  It will not set an inappropriate precedent. 


            In comparison to the properties in all directions around the parcel, with the exception of the abutting Regional Commercial zoning of the mall, the proposed zoning is very consistent.  These will be smaller lots and will be consistent with those lots developed in Larkin Township.  The current Master Plan, adopted in 2007 and the previous Master Plan, adopted in 1997, support this parcel and the area in general as being appropriate for residential uses.


            The parcel could meet all of the Residential A-2 and Residential A-4 zoning requirements for new developments.  The zoning classifications, as proposed, will be consistent with the existing and anticipated land uses in the area.  Commercial and office service development is expected to continue.


            One letter in favor of this zoning petition was received by the Planning Department. 


            Mr. Senesac asked about the potential for many driveways to be taking access off Commerce Drive.  This is a concern.  Ms. Winland stated that, if this area were platted for a subdivision, the Planning Commission would review the preliminary plat and could review the number of access points at that time.  Mr. Baker stated he believed that, when Commerce Drive was extended, there were some restrictions placed on the number of access points that could be realized off Commerce Drive.


            John Bartos, 204 Commerce Drive, stated he really didn’t have a presentation.  The Planning Commission has looked at this property before.  He has since purchased the property and desires to eventually develop the property for residential use. 


            Mike Pnacek, 2661 Blackhurst Road, stated his family owns the property to the south.  There is an irregular piece of property to the north of their farm and this was given a Community Commercial zoning classification.  This is the triangular-shaped piece of property just north of Commerce Drive, south of Letts Road.  Mr. Pnacek stated they will only have three curb cuts on Commerce Drive.  He stated his family is in support of Mr. and Mrs. Bartos on this petition. 


            There were no more comments either in favor of or in opposition to this petition.  The public hearing was closed.



      b.   Site Plan No. 301 from Wilcox Professional Services, on behalf of Superior Metal Recycling, Inc. for site plan review and approval for a 4,800 square foot recycling center located at 4203 East Ashman Street.


            Mr. Baker provided an aerial photograph of the subject property for the proposed metal recycling facility.  The property is zoned Industrial A.  It is surrounded on three sides by the city’s landfill property.  The inactive cells to the north and west and the active cells to the northeast and east.  There is LCMR zoning to the south, Ashman Street running east and west, US-10 to the west and recreational properties on the other side of US-10.  The property is currently vacant and undeveloped.  There are of utilities and a small structure proposed but the majority of the property will remain undeveloped.  Staff did receive sufficient site plan review information.  The landscape plan has not yet been submitted.  There is an existing open ditch adjacent to US-10.  There is a significant landscaping requirement tied to the nature and size of the site.  The property is in excess of nine acres.  This equates to 154 trees and 35 shrubs.  The petitioner has promised that will be available for the next meeting. 


            There are no natural features to preserve.  The site design shall provide reasonable visual and sound privacy.  Fences, walls, barriers, and landscaping shall be used, as appropriate if permitted, for the protection and enhancement of property and the safety and privacy of occupants and uses.  A metal recycling facility is required to have a minimum of an 8 foot fence to screen the entire storage area of the facility.   The Fire Department has reviewed the proposed site plan for adequate emergency vehicle access and is satisfied with the parking lot design and layout. 


            The single point of ingress and egress will be on Ashman Street.  The Engineering Department requested this be a “right-in/right-out” turn only to alleviate the possibility of congestion and vehicle conflicts with the short sight distance caused by the Ashman Street overpass over US-10.  No public sidewalk exists on or adjacent to this parcel.  As an industrially zoned property, the city has not required sidewalks unless otherwise planned for or available.  In addition, the topography of the site adjacent to the roadway and close proximity to the US-10 overpass do not lend itself to pedestrian access or traffic in this area. 


            The requirement for parking is tied to the small building on site.  Staff has identified the need for four parking stalls plus one handicap accessible space.  Much of the property will be gravel.  A bike rack is not recommended for this project.  The only exterior lighting anticipated at this time will be security lighting on the building.  Adequate services and utilities, including water, sewage disposal, sanitary sewer, and storm water control services shall be available or provided and shall be designed with sufficient capacity and durability to properly serve the development.  Off-street parking, loading and unloading areas, outside refuse storage areas, and other storage areas shall be screened by walls or landscaping of adequate height and shall comply with Articles 6.00 and 7.00 of the Zoning Ordinance.


            The proposed development will be required to meet all applicable public health, pollution and safety laws.  All development phases shall be designed in logical sequence to ensure that each phase will independently function in a safe, convenient and efficient manner, without being dependent upon subsequent improvements in a alter phase or on other sites.  All proposed signs shall be in compliance with the regulations in Article 8.00 of the Zoning Ordinance.  This is a permitted use in the Industrial A zoning classification. 


      Contingency items:


            1.   The storm water management methods are designed and constructed in accordance with the City of Midland Engineering Department specifications.

            2.   A landscape plan is required and all landscaping shall comply with Article 6 of the Zoning Ordinance include the installation of 154 trees and 35 scrubs.

            3.   All exterior lighting shall comply with Section 3.12 of the Zoning Ordinance with a photometric plan required for submittal at the time of applying for a building permit.

            4.   All exterior signage shall comply with Article 8 of the Zoning Ordinance.

            5.   A soil & sedimentation control plan is required as the project is in excess of one acre in size and shall be reviewed and approved by the City of Midland Building Department.

            6.   No occupancy or business operations shall commence until the completion of all site improvements.


            Mrs. Hanna asked if this land was previously owned by the city.  Mr. Baker stated it was not.  Mrs. Hanna asked about the noise of this operation.  Mr. Baker stated that neither the City of Midland nor Midland County have a noise ordinance.  If it were to be considered a nuisance by exceeding a decibel level, it would be under “disturbing the peace”.  Mrs. Hanna also asked about the depth of the retaining pond.  Mr. Baker stated there is a fence around the perimeter of the site.  This pond is not anticipated to have standing water.  This should not pose a problem.  Mr. Baker stated the city’s Utilities Director has been involved with this project from the beginning and he has no problems with this development. 


            Mr. Young arrived at 7:45 p.m.


            Sean Nagy, 147 Frisco Drive, Houghton Lake, Michigan, spoke on behalf of the petitioner.  He stated Mr. Baker covered most of the points he would discuss.  Perhaps a traffic study would be in order for this area if there are concerns about traffic headed toward Waldo Avenue.  He anticipates four to five heavy trucks would be accessing the site per day.  If they end up having additional large truck traffic, there is still the option of sharing a driveway with the city landfill.  The city drive is backed up at times so this could pose a traffic problem at peak times.  They would prefer to start with their proposed driveway and see how that progresses.  Their business plan would be to accept all types of metals for recycling.  They would process steel on site, oversized machines, and as of now, they do not have an auto shredder.  They would truck these off site.  Mr. Pnacek asked about lighting for the site.  Mr. Nagy stated they were told they could submit that with their electrical permit application.  They will have shielded wall packs on the outside of the building for security purposes. 


            Thomas Sova, 6315 W. Wackerly Street, stated they have not had such a facility in the community for metal recycling.  They have to truck these items out of the city for disposal at this time.  He feels this business would greatly benefit their business and save the cost of trucking scrap metals to other communities.  We are also burying some of these items in the landfill, where they could accept this type of recycling next door and make a few dollars in the process.


            There were no other public comments either in favor of or in opposition to this petition.


            The public hearing was closed.


4.   Old Business


      a.   Midland Square, LLC for site plan review and approval for an 8,700 square foot commercial/retail building located at 7300 Eastman Avenue.


            Mr. Baker showed an aerial photograph of the entire Meijer parcel.  This property is bordered by Eastman Avenue to the west, Joe Mann Boulevard to the south and the county fairgrounds across Eastman Avenue.  The property is zoned Regional Commercial, as is all the property surrounding it.  Staff has not had any additional correspondence on this site plan.  This site plan meets all the criteria of the city and staff is recommending approval of the site plan, with the standard contingency items including:


            1.   The storm water management methods are 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 including an additional 13 shrubs.

            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.   A soil & sedimentation control plan is required as the project is in excess of one acre in size.


            It is an 8,700 square foot commercial/retail building and it meets the circulation, access and landscaping requirements of the city’s zoning code.  Meijers does have intentions to market a second parcel on the northwest corner of their parking lot at some future date. 


            Ryan Schultz, Ryan Engineering, stated they expect this project to be completed in a timely fashion.  They are excited to be in this community.  He was willing to answer any questions of the Planning Commission.  Mr. Schultz stated they do quite a bit of work for Meijers in developing outlots such as this. 


            No one spoke either in favor of or in opposition to this petition.


            Motion by Hanna, seconded by Pnacek, to recommend to City Council the approval of Site Plan No. 300 from Midland Square, LLC for site plan review and approval of an 8,700 square foot commercial/retail building located at 7300 Eastman Avenue contingent on the following:


            Mr. Pnacek stated it is a clean site plan and it meets all the criteria for site plan review. 

            Mr. Mead agreed, as did Ms. Brown






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

      NAYS:                   None

      ABSENT:              None


      Motion was approved 9-0.  This will go to the May 23, 2011 City Council meeting.


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


      Mike Pnacek, 2661 Blackhurst, stated some of the requirements for screening are met by blue spruce trees.  These trees are dying off due to unknown reasons.  He suggested that new developments use other methods of screening so they do not have to replace the dead trees ten years into the future.


6.   New Business




7.   Communications




8.   Report of the Chairperson


      Ms. Brown stated she wanted to thank the Planning Director and City Manager for

      rerouting the MS Walk a couple weeks ago.


9.  Report of the Planning Director


     The City Council adopted Site Plan No. 299 for Dr. Skiba at their May 9, 2011 meeting.


10. Adjourn               


      Adjournment at 8:17 p.m. was unanimously approved.

Respectfully submitted,




Keith Baker, AICP, CFM

Director of Planning & Community Development