JUNE 14, 2011, 7:00 P.M.,



1.   Roll Call

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

ABSENT:  Stewart          

OTHERS PRESENT: Keith Baker, Planning Director, Cheri King, Community Development Specialist, Cindy Winland, Contract Planner, Lori Morgan, Planning Intern, and 22 others.


2.   Approval of Minutes

Moved by Hanna, seconded by Pnacek, to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of May 24, 2011 as written. Motion passed unanimously.

3.   Public Hearings


     a.       Zoning Petition No. 575, initiated by F/A Pnacek, Ltd., to rezone property at 405 Joseph Drive, Clayhill Court and Fieldstone Court from Residential A-3 zoning to Residential B zoning.


               Shawn Pnacek disclosed that this is a family business and asked to be allowed to abstain.  Motion by Senesac, seconded by Hanna to allow Mr. Pnacek to abstain.  Motion passed 7-0.


               Mr. Baker summarized the project.  It is located at 405 Joseph Drive, on approximately 11.3 acres.  The existing zoning is RA-3.  The proposed zoning is Residential B, which allows multiple family residential.  The property is located on the north side of Joseph Drive, which runs east and west from Jefferson to Diamond Drive and Waldo Avenue.  It is across the street from Village of Joseph’s Run apartment complex.  There is property to the south also owned by the petitioner.  There is Oakbrook Estates to the north, parts of which are still in Larkin Township and parts of which have been annexed into the City of Midland.


               The zoning map shows this area being zoned RA-3, with RA-4 zoning to the south.  The Village at Joseph’s Run was developed as a multi-family project.  There is industrial zoning to the east, owned by The Dow Chemical Company.  There is Community/Public zoning to the south, for the soccer fields.  To the north and west is the Midland Evangelical Free Church, which is also zoned RB.


               The city’s Zoning Ordinance has ten criteria that need to be considered for zoning petitions.  Is the proposed amendment consistent with the city’s Master Plan?  Possibly.  The city’s Master Plan does identify this area as appropriate for medium density.  Will the proposed amendment be in accordance with the intent and purpose of the Zoning Ordinance?  Yes.  Staff incorporated the paragraph from the Zoning Ordinance that talks about the intent of this zoning district.  Have conditions changed since the Zoning Ordinance was adopted that justifies the amendment?  Yes.  There have been quite a few changes in this particular part of the community.  Conditions that impact this parcel are new commercial development at the intersection of Joseph Drive and Jefferson.  There has also been expansion of the Midland Soccer Club Complex.  There has also been the development of the Village at Joseph’s Run.  This is yet another high density development south of this property.


               Will the amendment grant special privileges?  No.  Will the amendment result in unlawful exclusionary zoning?  No, staff does not believe it would.  This zoning would be consistent with the Master Plan and other developments in this area.  This would not be excluding other parcels of property.  Will the amendment set an inappropriate precedent?  Possibly, depending upon the nature of the Planning Commission’s deliberations.  This area would be supported for medium density residential, but not high density residential.  The petitioner has the right to offer conditions to limit the density of the development in the RB zoning.


               Is the proposed zoning consistent with the zoning classification of surrounding land?  Yes, in comparison with the properties in all directions, there is office service on two sides, RA-4 to the south, which then transitions to RA-3, Industrial. further to the east, LCMR and Commercial in the general vicinity.  Is the proposed zoning consistent with the future land use designation of the surrounding land in the City’s Master Plan?  Possibly.  If the density exceeds a moderate increase. Could all requirements in the proposed zoning classification be complied with on the subject parcel?  Yes.  The size and configuration of the lot could accommodate any use designated to this parcel.  Is the proposed zoning consistent with the trends in land development in the general vicinity of the property in question?  Yes.  There is the apartment complex to the south, and would meet the trends in development in that area.


               Staff recommendation:  Upon careful review of the requested zoning change, staff recommends approval of the rezoning petition to Residential B zoning district classification if conditioned upon not exceeding nine (9) units per acre or assigned an RA-4 One and Two Family District classification as an alternative.  Based upon what has been built in that area, Mr. Baker feels there should be some consideration given in the development density in this area.


               One public comment was received today, from the petitioner’s family, in support of this zoning petition. 


               Mr. Senesac asked about the two cul-de-sacs on the end.  Mr. Baker stated that in 2000, this property was zoned RA-3 when it was annexed to the city.  The locations of Bickford Cottages and the credit union were zoned office service, and the property to the south, which is developed as an apartment complex, was zoned and developed as a Planned Unit Development. 


               Mike Pnacek, 2661 Blackhurst, Larkin Township, spoke on behalf of the petitioner.  They did not want RA-3 zoning when it was initially annexed into the city.  They built two houses there.  They had them for sale for three years and could not sell them.  They are now being used as rentals.  They have a developer interested in the property on the north side but he wants RB zoning.  They are more than willing to limit the number of units per acre to nine (9) and a maximum of two story buildings.  Mr. Pnacek stated the proposed developer is not interested in RA-4 zoning.  He does not want to be pinned down to single family or duplexes.  They have had no luck with these in the past.


               Scott Zimmerman, 3664 Oakbrook Drive, stated they are on the south side of Oakbrook.  They are not interested in three or four story buildings behind them.  This is his back yard.  With Joseph’s Run as a reference point, they have seen a lot of light intrusion since this was constructed.  He would like some conditions on intrusive lighting.  He would like to see a good berm or fence that would prevent intrusive lighting. 


               Todd Blackhurst, 730 Oakbrook Drive.  Back in 2000, when this was originally proposed, the Pnacek’s were trying to develop a PUD.  They were trying to put those setbacks at a 7-foot side yard setback.  It is a big concern.  His lot is the third one over coming from the east, on the south end of Oakbrook.  Fieldstone Court comes right up to his back yard.  There are constantly people driving in there.  There are small children that live there.  He has no interest in having another apartment complex in his back yard.  He is also asking tonight about the setbacks for RB. 


               Susan Blackhurst, 730 Oakbrook Drive.  Fieldstone is their back yard.  In 1993, they attended public meetings and Mr. Pnacek promised to put up eight foot opaque screening.  They have called the police many times.  People come to the end of the court to walk their dogs.  They have called in domestic disputes that have developed in this area.  They are also having a lot of light traffic.  She does not see this improving if the density is increased in this area.  They have a one-acre lot in the city.  Their SEV has gone down $12,000, which is significant, compared to the homes on the north side of Oakbrook Drive.  The opaque screening is not opaque.  The shrubbery is about as tall as their 12 year old. 


               There were no more public comments.


               Mike Pnacek, the petitioner, stated it would be nice to have back yard to back yard, but it isn’t possible.  It calls for a back yard of seven feet.  The screening was also required by the city.  They had the option of a few spruce trees or a fence.  He did not like the idea of a fence so they planted spruce trees.  They have been trying to keep the brush cut down.  They have owned this property for 84 years.  They are attempting to sell the property now and let someone else develop it.


               There being no further public input, the public hearing was closed.


      b.      Tentative and Final Preliminary Plat of Pinehaven Estates, a residential subdivision of 14 lots on 12.4 acres east of Foster Road and north of East Wheeler Street.


               Cindy Winland showed a location map with Foster Road running to the west.  The surrounding zoning is very consistently RA-1 on the north, west and south, and RB zoning to the east.  This parcel is approximately 12 acres, previously owned by Midland Public Schools.  This is a proposed 14 lot subdivision.  There are varied lot sizes in it, however, they are similar lot sizes until you get to the end of the court.  There are two much larger lots there but they contain wetlands.  The surrounding property is almost entirely developed.  There is one area of the plat that is to be held on common – the stormwater detention area.  The site also features regulated wetlands which are required to be preserved.  The remainder of the plat is intended to be consistent with the surrounding properties.  The plat meets all setbacks, lot sizes and other dimensional requirements of the city’s Zoning Ordinance.  The cul-de-sac is 525 feet long, which is well below the 1200 sq. ft. maximum. 


               The ADA sidewalk ramps will be installed at the corner of Foster Rd. and Pine Circle.  Parking will be permitted as it is on any street in the city, with the same restrictions.  A storm water management plan has been submitted.  There is some concern about the detention area but it will be held in common with all property owners of the subdivision.  A soil and sedimentation plan has been submitted.  Exterior lighting will be provided by regular street lights.  Public services are all available on Foster Road and will be extended from there for public water, sanitary and storm sewer.  Staff has not identified any health or safety issues associated with the property.  The developer has stated this will be developed in a single phase.  There is only one way in and out of this subdivision as it is a cul-de-sac.  There are no signs proposed for this subdivision.


               Mrs. Hanna asked if it is possible to access the regulated wetland from Foster Road if she wanted to look at it.  Ms. Winland stated she would have to contact the owner to obtain access to the property.  Mr. Mead wondered how the ownership of the detention area would be handled.  Ms. Winland suggested he ask the petitioner.


               David Rapanos, 5903 Wildflower Circle, stated there would probably be a minimal fee for the detention area for mowing.  The wetlands will be private wetlands regulated by the DEQ.  They actually run through the property there.  It is a very unique piece of property.  It is all sand and there are beautiful old trees there.  It is on the east side of Swede Avenue.  It is a 14 lot cul-de-sac.  Any residents would have access to both Northeast Middle School and Midland High.


               Aaron Hebert, 5007 Butterfield, asked what is going to happen with the two properties at the end of the street?  It is a wooded area and there are wetlands.  Will they lose the privacy in their back yard?


               Carol McClintock, 5103 Richard Court.  They live to the north of Lot #4.  Are they going to cut the trees in that area?  She is confused about the detention area.  What are they going to do with it?


               Rich Fosgitt, 5004 Bristlecone, Midland.  The regulated wetlands are very typical of wetlands in the Midland area.  All of those wetlands will be protected by conservation easements.  These easements are delineated on the final plat.  That is the way all the other conservation easements are in this area.  They are deeded to the DEQ forever into the future.  Most people don’t go in and cut all the trees on their lots so he expects many of the trees will stay.  With the most recent storm water detention regulations, they have to have a detention basin, which will be a dry basin with a very gradual slope.  Obviously they would have to clear all the trees in that area and the laws state they must keep a 10 foot clearance around the basin.


               Public hearing was closed.


      c.      Site Plan No. 302 from Three Rivers Corporation, on behalf of Airgas Great Lakes, for site plan review and approval for a new 12,936 square foot facility located at 2300 South Saginaw Road.


               Mrs. Winland showed a location map.  The subject property is to the west of Saginaw Road, south of James Savage Road, and north of Discovery Way.  There is the foundation of the old Paul Bunyan Motel on this site.  The site is approximately 2.6 acres, and is zoned Industrial A.  It is also surrounded by Industrial A zoning, with a little bit of Industrial B off Discovery Way.  To the north is some commercial.  To the south is office and heavy industrial.  To the west is office service.  All the required information has been provided.  The property just south of Discovery Way is now being developed as the Dow Kokam facility.  The appearance of this site shows some landscaping.  There are adequate trees and shrubs shown on the site plan.  The project meets all the setback, lot area and height requirements for the project.  The highest point of the building is 25.5 feet.  There will be two exterior storage tanks that will be 33.5 feet tall to the north of the site.  The Fire Department has reviewed the site plan for emergency access and they are satisfied with it.  There is a proposed joint drive on Discovery Way for future development to the west.  Pedestrian circulation is a little bit different.  There is an existing public sidewalk on Discovery Way.  There will be barrier free ramps on the west end of the property.  The sidewalk on James Savage Road, staff is suggesting that it be waived.  There is no curb and gutter.  The property is zoned Industrial A.  Staff does not see a need for sidewalk in this area.  Parking is based on the same system used in the zoning ordinance.  It requires 23 spaces plus two barrier free spaces.  This is what is shown on the site plan.  The soil erosion and sedimentation plan will be submitted.  A photometric plan has been submitted and is satisfactory to city staff.  The city can provide public facilities to the site.  The site is not adjacent to any residential properties.  The dumpster must be screened in accordance with the requirements of the Zoning Ordinance.  No health and safety issues have been identified with this site plan.  There is no new signage proposed, but staff believes there will be signage on the building.  No public comments have been received regarding this site plan.


               Wes Kohn, on behalf of Three Rivers Construction.  The north drive will be “exit only”.  They have deliberately set it up that way.  The building is a long rectangle and there is a detention pond proposed to the south.  Mr. Senesac asked what is around the two tanks.  Mr. Kohn stated the tanks are on a raised concrete pad and they will be screened.  Mr. Baker stated that it has been more than two years since the last site plan was approved and there was a change in the square footage, this is what necessitated it coming back to the Planning Commission.


               Public hearing was closed.


      d.      Site Plan No. 303 from Wolgast Design Group, LLC on behalf of CPI Engineering Services, Inc. for site plan review and approval for a 17,778 square foot addition located at 2300 James Savage Road.


Ms. Winland showed a location map.  We have moved east on James Savage Road, just south of US-10.  The surrounding zoning is LCMR to the north, Industrial A to the east and the west, and Community zoning to the south.  This is a proposed addition of 17,778 square feet.  The objective is to connect these two buildings.  These two structures have operated independently and each one has two drives.  All required application materials have been provided.  The appearance and landscaping requirements have been met, in fact, they have been well exceeded.  There are approximately 62 trees where 41 are required.  This site plan meets all requirements for setbacks.  The site is flat and mostly developed with two existing buildings.  The retention basin will be moved to the south.  Staff does not anticipate that the combination of the two buildings will have any effect on surrounding properties.  The pedestrian circulation is similar to James Savage Road to the west.  Staff recommends a waiver of sidewalks to the north.  There is no obvious place to put a sidewalk.  They do not expect much pedestrian circulation except people coming and going to work.  The completed storm water management plan will be submitted to the city.  A photometric plan has been provided and is being reviewed.  There will be some new entrances to the building.  The city can provide adequate public services.  The site is not adjacent to any residential zones so no screening is required.  Staff has not identified any health or safety concerns.  They think this will improve traffic circulation on the site as the area will be consolidated and there should be less activity on the site. 


The applicant has requested an expedited review asking that the Planning Commission deliberate and act on the petition tonight to expedite construction of this project.


Rick Keith, 1494 N. Graham Road, Freeland, spoke on behalf of the petitioner.  The company manufactures high quality lubricants.  It also has a location in Houston, Texas.  This expansion will probably result in five to seven new positions in the next few years.  The addition will facilitate a connector between the two buildings.  It will allow for deliveries and office area for the two buildings.  They will work with staff in meeting all the requirements for the site plan.  They have already met with the Fire Department and have met their concerns.  They will put in a bicycle rack if the Planning Commission so desires. 


               Public hearing was closed.


              Motion by Mead, seconded by Hanna, to deliberate on Site Plan No. 303, Wolgast

           Design Group, LLC on behalf of CPI Engineering Services, Inc. at tonight’s meeting to

           enable them to expedite construction.  Motion passed 8-0.


4.   Old Business




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




6.   New Business


      Site Plan No. 303 from Wolgast Design Group, LLC on behalf of CPI Engineering

      Services, Inc. for site plan review and approval for a 17,778 square foot addition

      located at 2300 James Savage Road.


      Motion by Ballard, seconded by Hanna, to approve Site Plan No. 303 as presented.  Mr.

      Senesac, Mr. Pnacek and Mr. Mead concurred.


      Motion passed 8-0.


7.   Communications


      May/June edition of Michigan Planner was disseminated in the packets.


8.   Report of the Chairperson


      Ms. Brown asked for volunteers for a nominating committee for the next chair and vice

      chair of the commission.  Mr. Pnacek, Mr. Mead, and Mr. Senesac will make up the

      committee.  Mr. Baker stated the current chairperson is not eligible. 


      This is Commissioner Ballard’s last meeting.  He will be leaving the area.  Ms. Brown

      thanked him for his service.


9.  Report of the Planning Director


     City Council actions on June 13, 2011 were setting a public hearing for Zoning Petition No. 574 initiated by John and Sandy Bartos.  The City Council approved Site Plan No. 301 for Superior Metal Recycling.  They also approved the final plan of Broadhead Estates No. 4.


     New item for July – the Non-motorized subcommittee is bringing forward a plan for a bicycle lane on Swede Avenue.  They will present a report at the July 12th meeting.  It will be handled similar to a zoning petition. 


10. Adjourn               


      Adjournment at 8:30 p.m. was unanimously approved.


Respectfully submitted,




Keith Baker, AICP, CFM

Director of Planning & Community Development