MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE MIDLAND CITY PLANNING COMMISSION

WHICH TOOK PLACE ON TUESDAY,

JULY 12, 2011, 7:00 P.M.,

COUNCIL CHAMBERS, CITY HALL, MIDLAND, MICHIGAN

 

1.   Roll Call

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

ABSENT:   Young

OTHERS PRESENT: Keith Baker, Planning Director, Cheri King, Community Development Specialist, Lori Morgan, Planning Intern, and 55 others.

 

Mr. Baker introduced Lowell McLaughlin, the new member on the Planning Commission.

 

2.   Approval of Minutes

Moved by Hanna, seconded by Brown, to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of June 28, 2011 as written. Motion passed unanimously.

3.   Public Hearings

     

     a.       Site Plan No. 305 from Three Rivers Corporation on behalf of Grounds for a Better World, LLC for site plan review and approval for a 44,198 square foot 5 story multi-use building located at 114 East Main Street.

 

               Mr. Baker showed an aerial photograph of the subject property.  This is an assembly of a number of different parcels.  It is for a five story multi-use building.  The property itself is approximately ¼ acre.  It is located in the Downtown District, near the intersection of Main Street and Ashman Street.  It has been a vacant lot for the past three years.  It also encompasses a 20’ x 80’ lot that has since been transferred by the City to the petitioner.  Another portion was acquired that was previously owned by the Midland Daily News.  It is in the same block as the Midland Daily News, Lil’ Pear Tree, and the Larkin Building on Main Street.

 

               The property is zoned Downtown and is also in the Downtown Overlay District, that applies some additional regulations regarding setbacks and signage.  The site itself has undergone some demolition with asphalt or gravel being removed.  The Downtown zoning district has zero lot line setback requirements.  Therefore there is no change to the footprint to the structures.  There is no change to Main Street.  The buildings begin at the property line. 

 

               Behind the project is a new entrance drive coming off of Ashman, with a stairwell to the rear of the building, a retaining wall, utilities, enclosure for the dumpster, covered parking, and curb. 

 

               All the information has been submitted that is necessary for this petition.  There will be two trees and eleven shrubs on Ashman and adjoining the rear of this property.  Zero setbacks and a maximum height of 76 feet are met.  There are no real natural features to this site.  There is no screening required with the exception of the dumpster enclosure.  Emergency vehicle access is met by the ability of the Midland Fire Department to reach the building by Main Street, Ashman Street, and Ann Street.  Pedestrian circulation is met by the sidewalk on Main Street and Ashman Street.  The Downtown zoning district does not require any on-site parking.  There are approximately 3,000 parking stalls in the downtown area.  They propose eight stalls for the residential units on the fourth floor.  There is some existing erosion on the site into the city’s storm drain.  This project will clean up this area.  All public services exist on the property.  There are no health or safety concerns.  The project will be done in a single phase of construction. 

 

               Signage will be addressed at a future date.  There are restrictions in the Downtown zoning classification.  This will be addressed at a later date.  Staff recommendation is for approval of this project.  Mr. Baker showed a proposed drawing of what it will look like when the project is completed.  This will encompass two previous store fronts as it is about 40 feet wide. 

              

               Contingencies:

 

               1.   The storm water management system is 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.

               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.

        

               The petitioners are requesting an expedited review.  If the Planning Commission decides to do this, it will be discussed under New Business on the Agenda.

 

               Mrs. Hanna asked about the sidewalk and stairs on the Ashman Street side.  Mr. Baker deferred that question to the architect.  She also asked about the impact of the additional traffic on Ashman Street.  Mr. Baker stated there will only be 8 additional automobiles coming and going from this site.  Mrs. Hanna also asked that, since they have trouble with storm water drainage, could they not ask the petitioner to install a pervious surface rather than an impervious surface.  Mr. Baker stated that the ordinance does not require this but the Planning Commission could request this. 

 

               Mr. Senesac stated he received one telephone call this evening regarding this petition.  She asked that the Planning Commission not take action on this tonight as she felt this was pushing it through too quickly.

 

               Mr. Baker also stated that they will have bike racks at this site.

 

               Wes Kohn, from Three Rivers Corporation, and David Helgerson, 2105 Springwood Drive, Midland.  Wes stated they are pricing materials for both pervious and impervious surfaces.  Mr. Helgerson stated that many people have worked with them in collaboration including neighbors, local governments and local people with interest in this area.  Mr. Helgerson stated that the fourth level is intended to be apartments or condos.  There will be a rooftop terrace.  Hopefully there will be some offices on the third floor and some retail on the lower floors.  Market research would substantiate the multi-use aspects of such a building. 

 

               Mr. Pnacek asked about the purpose of the expedited review.  Is it based upon a structural review of surrounding buildings?  The building next door has been exposed for the past three years and they would like to be able to enclose this space as quickly as possible. 

 

               Nancy Janoch, 1806 Wyllys Street, Midland.  She is not opposed to this, but this will be one of the largest buildings we will have in the downtown.  She is wondering why the plan needs to be expedited.  The building has been this way for a long time.  It is important for the community to share ideas.  She feels like it would be helpful to allow input from the community for another two weeks. 

 

               Public hearing was closed.

 

               Mr. Stewart stated he is leaning towards not expediting this petition.  Waiting two more weeks is not going to hurt the existing building.  Mr. McLaughlin, Mrs. Hanna, and Ms. Brown all stated they would like to let this petition take its course.  Motion by Seneac, seconded by Brown to expedite action on the petition tonight.  Motion fails 8-0.  This petition will come back to the Planning Commission for a decision on July 26th.

 

      b.      Recommendation by the City of Midland Non-Motorized Transportation Advisory Committee to install a dedicated bike lane with limited parking restrictions on Swede Avenue between Wackerly Street and E. Patrick Road.

 

               In 2009, following the endorsement of the Planning Commission and its Non-Motorized Transportation Advisory Committee, completed and adopted a Non-Motorized Transportation Plan.  As part of this Plan, a system of bike routes, lands and paths have been designated and mapped on the city streets to assist in creating safe bicycling in the community.

 

               Non-motorized improvements include sidewalks, bike lanes, paths, street crossings, and accommodations for electric mobility devices (Amigos/wheelchairs).  Mr. Baker showed the Non-Motorized Transportation Plan Map. 

 

               Accomplishments to Date:

·               League of American Bicyclists workshop

·               “Bicycle Friendly Community” designation

·               Bike rack survey and ordinance amendment

·               “Complete Streets” policy resolution

·               Bike/Pedestrian surveys

·               Ashman & Rodd

 

      How has this initiative been funded? 

·               Friends of the Pere Marquette Rail Trail grant

·               Michigan Baseball Foundation grant

·               Tri-City Cyclists grant

·               City of Midland street funds

·               Midland Area Community Foundation grant

·               $25,000 challenge grant

·               Funds raised would expedite and fully implement . . .

 

      Why a Bike Lane on Swede?

·               Not just random colored lines on a map

·               Designed based on mapping all high and medium use recreational and transportation destinations, motor vehicle traffic measurements, current and projected bike traffic, and national and LAB standards for bike safety. 

 

      Swede Avenue traffic characteristics:

·               36 ft. in width

·               Two lanes

·               Parking is currently allowed on both sides

·               Speeds are greater than 25 mph but less than 35 mph

·               Approximately 8,000 vehicle trips per day

·               Limited or no design or natural obstructions

·               Direct route between Wackerly and E. Patrick Road

·               Limited parking use based on recent surveys

·               Part of an integrated bike network

·               A key north-south commuter route for both recreation and transportation

·               Connects east-west feeder bike routes and bike lanes (Eastlawn, Sugnet, Patrick, etc.)

·               Bike lanes are safer than bike routes on busier streets or cycling on sidewalks

 

Input Received on Proposal

·               300+ Swede residents received letter and invitation to June open house and July public hearing

·               Open house conducted on June 2, 2011

o   16 Swede Avenue residents attended

·               212 signatures on petition supporting bike lanes

·               36 e-mails in support of the proposal

·               11 e-mails in opposition to the proposal

·               4 e-mails with alternatives (restrict all parking, use only “sharrows”, bike lane without parking restrictions, or expand the “green route” system).

·               Four e-mails have come in the last day or two.

·               One resident has special needs parking (potential restricted parking issue)

·               Open house and other inputs:  opinions divided between for and against

·               Majority of Swede residents expressed no opposition

·               Opinions ranged from strong opposition to strong support for bike lanes

·               City traffic engineering consultant observed relatively low parking demand

 

 

Non-Motorized Committee Recommendation:

·               The overall response does not justify changing the plan for a Swede bike lane.  The bike lane design standard practice is “No Parking”.  They feel restricted parking is adequate for the anticipated bike traffic.  Dedicated bike lanes are proven to be the safest design for a street like Swede to encourage maximum use. 

·               The proposal would not negatively affect such activities as fall leaf collection, snow removal, heavy item pick-up, UPS/Fed Ex deliveries, lawn services or temporary contractor parking. 

·               This decision (bike lane plus restricted parking) establishes the precedent for future streets.

 

In summary, the NMT Committee recognizes that engineering best practices are to not allow parking in bike lanes at any time. 

 

Mr. Senesac stated he finds public input very valuable.  There was a very aggressive effort to get signatures on a petition supporting this petition.  However, he only found one person who lived on Swede Avenue who supported the petition.  He stated that there is only one study that is being used to make decisions on this issue.  Mr. Baker is deferring that question to Kerry Irons, member of the NMT Committee.  Mr. Senesac also asked about snow removal on sidewalks throughout the city.  Mr. Baker stated snow removal from sidewalks is not required by city ordinance. 

 

Mr. Pnacek asked about the current parking restrictions on Swede Avenue.  Mr. Baker stated there are none, except for the hours that are prohibited by overnight parking.  Mr. Pnacek stated the request is to limit parking to certain hours.  Is that during the week or seven days a week?  Mr. Baker stated that would be Monday through Friday. 

 

Ms. Brown asked if the Planning Commission could make some minor changes to the recommendation throughout the process.  Mr. Baker stated that this is a subcommittee reporting to the Planning Commission.  They the Planning Commission could forward it in whatever form they chose to recommend. 

 

Mr. McLaughlin asked about the design of the bike path, and having two bike lanes, one on each side of the street.  Was there any study done to create one wider bike lane on one side of the street?  Mr. Baker said “no”, it is the intention of the bikes to go with the flow of traffic.

 

Mr. Stewart asked about the traffic study done showing 8,000 trips per day.  He feels there are more trips per day than that.  Mr. Baker stated the Engineering Department takes traffic counts annually and this data is from the most current study.

 

Mr. McLaughlin asked about the turn lanes where the bicycles and vehicles would both use the center turn lanes.  Mr. Baker stated that both types of vehicles would use the center turn lane.  Mr. Stewart asked for the hourly counts of traffic on Swede Avenue so he could see what the traffic counts were at peak times.

 

Mr. Mead explained the public hearing process.  Those in favor of the petition may speak first and then those in opposition may speak in turn. 

 

Kerry Irons, 4501 Cruz Drive, Vice Chairman of the NMT Committee, stated the bike safety study is quite old and it does not account for the rate of bicycle usage.  There are huge numbers of studies that show that bike lanes are safer.  The traffic calming effect of the bike lanes has reduced accidents 20 to 45 percent.  If you were going to do a one-sided bike lane with bicycles going both ways, the only way engineers would allow this is with a physical divider.  Otherwise you have bicycles driving against the street traffic.  Mr. Irons stated that no one went door-to-door obtaining signatures on Swede Avenue.  The petitions were in bike shops, and other places that bicyclists congregate.  Mr. Irons stated that the majority of Swede Avenue residents did not express any opinion. 

 

Robert Burke, 3206 Swede Avenue, stated he was the one person from Swede Avenue that signed the petition.  He has lived on Swede Avenue since 1988.  There are a whole lot more people riding their bikes on the sidewalk than on the road.  There are a lot of statistics that show that sidewalks are not safer than the bike lanes.  The safer action for the bicyclists would be to have bike lanes on the streets.  Michigan is one of the 16 states that has had an increase in obesity.  This is one way to encourage physical activity that reduces health problems.  If there were less parking on the street, that would help with the general flow of traffic.  Parking is restricted in front of his house 24/7.  He lives on Swede, near the intersection of Ashman Street.  He thinks people will find that it is not that big a deal once the restrictions are enforced.  He supports the bike lane as proposed, he would be just as happy if there was no parking at any time on Swede Avenue.  Would it be illegal for any bikers or joggers to use the bike lane during the winter if it were cleared of snow?

 

Doug Greminger, 205 Helen Street, states he commutes to work by bicycle all year long.  As a winter rider, trying to ride anywhere except the road is very difficult. 

 

Jim Schmidt, 312 W. Carpenter Street, stated he is a life-long bicyclist.  He has lived in Midland, Saginaw and Bay City.  Bay City put in bicycle infrastructure but it was done very poorly.  Saginaw has no NMT infrastructure.

 

Mark McCarty, 878 Francis Shores Avenue, Sanford, stated the Pere Marquette Rail Trail is the most utilized trail in Midland.  He is in favor of the bike lanes.

 

Jim Heymeyer, 2305 Plymouth Street, is a bicyclist.  He bikes to work and around the town.  He is in favor of the Swede Avenue bike route as well as the other proposed routes around the city.  He stated it is very difficult to get around parked cars on a bicycle in a safe manner.

 

Gail Kantak, 4618 Wild Pine Court, stated she supports the bike lane.  Americans would benefit by more exercise.  She has read the reports about obesity in the United States.  Midland has many opportunities for exercise.  One of those opportunities is the Pere Marquette Rail Trail.  Unfortunately, where she lives, there is very poor access to the Rail Trail.  She will have two children attending Midland High School next year.  She definitely would not let them ride their bikes to Midland High as it is too dangerous.  With a bike lane, as described, she would encourage them to take their bikes to school.  She is glad that Midland is an exercise friendly city.

 

Tammy Johnson, 2210 Laurel Lane, stated she considers biking a family-friendly activity.  Midland is a family-friendly town.  She went from a 2-car family to a 5-car family when her kids came home from college.  However, she is in favor of the bike lanes on Swede Avenue and limited parking some of the time.

 

Elizabeth , 3903 Gettysburg Street, stated she works at Larkin Labs.  Biking in Midland is a little scary at first as people in this community do not know how to share the road with bikers.

 

Susan Dusseau, Swede Avenue, stated she signed the petition in favor of the bike lanes and she also lives on Swede Avenue.  She grew up in Midland and she rode her bike to school every day.  She went to a conference recently called “No Child Left Inside”.  It is dangerous for kids to be out in traffic today.  She thinks this will help calm traffic and help kids be able to cross the street on their way to school.  Kids who do not get outside are much more prone to depression.  She thinks we will see a tremendous increase in the number of kids who will be outside if the bike lanes are installed. 

 

Bruce Thill, 2103 Burlington Drive, stated he wants to support, in general, the NMT Plan, and specifically the Swede Road Plan.  He commuted to work for many years at Dow Chemical Company.  Even though he was on a through street, he would have to stop quickly to avoid a collision with another car.  People see what they expect to see.  If you don’t expect to see a bicycle, you are less likely to see one if they are there.  With the bike routes, you will increase the consciousness of the drivers who will be looking for bikes in the bike lanes.  It is a whole lot safer with the bike lanes and the consciousness raised for the road-sharing between the automobiles and the bikes. 

 

Keena Williams, 6204 Woodview Pass, stated from 1991-1995, she lived in  California and she biked her children to school each day.  From 1996-1999 they could not bike to Jefferson because it was not safe.  The increased education of the people will help. 

 

John Vandenbossche, 5712 Swede Avenue, he bought his house with the ability to park in front of it eight years ago.  He has family and friends who want to visit and need a place to park.  Several of his neighbors had no idea that this was happening.  His major issue is parking.  He wants to be able to park on the street if he has a garage sale or if he has company.  One of the reasons for restricting parking is that there is a low volume of parking on Swede Avenue already.  This is just a potential for injury if you restrict parking to a limited period of time.

 

Bill LeBoeuf, 4221 Swede Avenue, stated he is not opposed to bike lanes.  He biked as a youngster.  As he recalls, over the period of a week, there were approximately six cars parked in the street during these hours on Swede Avenue.  It isn’t just parked things that are problems.  It is anything in the street that you have to maneuver around.  He drives that road every day.  You go around very few parked vehicles.  However, you do go around city vehicles, mail vehicles, Dial-A-Ride buses, and UPS trucks.  These other, significantly greater items, would be a greater hazard than parked cars.  It would cost about $80,000 to install these bike lanes.  This is a significant amount of money.  As taxpayers, this money is paid to repair roads.  You hear a lot of discussion at the state and federal level.  As a taxpayer, he is in favor of reducing the higher level deficits and this should be supported on a local level, perhaps by a millage.  If it is supported at the local level, there is a commitment that people actually want what is being proposed.  There should be a plan over a long period of time for maintenance of the bike lanes.  The people in Holland really do biking safely.  You have to separate the bicycles from the vehicles.  He would like to know what percentage of the taxpayers are actually using the bike lanes.  To him, it is about personal commitment.  Based on the fact that there really is no need to restrict parking on Swede Avenue, due to the vehicles that are not concerned with off-street parking.

 

Larry Hert, 3400 Swede Avenue, stated he opposes the bike lanes not because they are against exercise.  They are opposed because of the traffic speed on Swede Avenue.  It is not unusual for someone to pass traffic on Swede Avenue or to push them along.  He thinks the issue of speed on Swede Avenue, especially with the traffic on their way to the Tennis Center and the Soccer Fields, needs to be addressed.  They live four houses away from the intersection of Sugnet and Swede Avenue.  There is a lot of heavy middle-school auto traffic in the morning and traffic going to Midland High School.  There is no traffic light at the corner of Sugnet and Swede.  They think there is more traffic along Swede than there is along Washington in the morning, but no traffic light to slow traffic.  The north turning lane backs up to their house in the morning.  It is more than a half a block of back-up.  The size of Swede Avenue is restricted with snow removal, which does narrow the street in the winter.  Of greater concern is leaf removal on the street.  They have a lot of maple leaves.  They go out more than five feet.  The speed of traffic blows them back, but it is almost impossible to get a foot between the curb and the leaves so they don’t block the sewers.  Aside from the leaf pick-up, Swede has various flood basins from Sugnet down.  There is no regular city clean-up of the debris after the flood basins have lessened and the water goes down.  There is quite a bit of debris pick-up, which is left up to the residents.  The city cleans the street once a month.  The business traffic, the public vehicle traffic, and on-street parking are valid reasons to reconsider this issue.

 

John Moyer, 2704 Swede Avenue, stated his concern is not with the inconvenience of the parking.  He is concerned that if he has a carpet layer come to his house in the morning and someone else had a dentist appointment later on in the day, he would like to be able to leave his car in the street so they could get out.  Or should he make the carpet layer park in the street – would he be ticketed?  Mr. Baker stated that certain service vehicles would not be ticketed.  Mr. Baker stated that if it were for a very short period of time and that it didn’t occur on a regular basis, they would not be ticketed.

 

Dan Dickerson, 5209 Swede Avenue, stated he has always enjoyed getting out for walks and getting exercise.  He can see the value of the bike lanes.  His greatest concern is for the restricted parking.  It is a beautiful residential area.  He likes the freedom of having friends over to his house.  It is either O.K. or not O.K. to park on the street during those hours.  He does not like the consideration for service vehicles to not being ticketed for parking in the street.  The lady down the street has a “special needs” son and she regularly has people parking in the street in front of her house and she needs that freedom.  He thinks the bike lanes would only be used by most people during certain times of the year.  The restrictions would be in place all year long.  He would like to do the bike lanes but not to remove the parking restrictions.  He looked at #8 on the handout, regarding balancing the needs of the bikers and the residents.  Currently, the cars that are parked in the street are being passed by bikers.  He would like to have the bike lanes without any parking restrictions.  He would like to see “no” parking restrictions on Swede Avenue.

 

Mike Stein, 5600 Swede Avenue, does not think anyone objects to a bike lane on Swede Avenue.  However, the hours of closing the street to parking are ridiculous.  People aren’t going to the businesses listed during the times specified.  They are going at all different times of the day.  He thinks as younger people move into the city you will see more and more people bicycling.  However, he is not in favor of the parking restrictions.  He is also concerned that bicyclists do not understand the rules of the road.  Bicyclists must obey the same rules of the road as vehicle drivers.  He does not want the parking restrictions.

 

Karen Newberg, 3111 Birchfield Drive, is concerned about the safety and visibility of bicycles on the street.  It is difficult to see bicyclists at certain times of the day, especially at dusk.  Will the bicycles have to have reflectors or lights on them?  Will they have to wear helmets?  Bicycles go through red lights and they do not obey the same rules as vehicle drivers.  There is lots of ways to get exercise in Midland without riding a bike on a street.  There is a path by the Mall that is never used.  There are lots of options for bicycles in Midland without having them on the streets.  Orchard Drive goes by the hospital and you have emergency vehicles in this area trying to get to the hospital.  She is not sure that they really need a bike path.

 

Jeannie Conley, 5201 Swede Avenue, stated she built a barrier-free home there.  She has a son who is totally physically impaired.  She has therapists who come in several times a week and nursing care two shifts per day.  Sometimes her staff has to park on the road.  She likes biking but she drives her bike out to the bike trail.  She does not think Swede Road is wide enough for a bike lane.  She is concerned about the safety.  She was in an accident when she was pregnant and that is why her son is impaired.  Bikes are great.  She likes the 3-year plan to go around the city for bikers who want to bike.  She would like to see the city wait until they can afford to implement the trails around the city.  She does not see how you can have a bike trail with the leaves out there.  She is opposed to both the bike trail and the parking restrictions.  There is a lot of traffic on Swede Road.

 

Valiant Jones, 3313 Swede Avenue, stated he is in favor of the bike lanes but not the parking restrictions.  He will feel safer with the bike lanes on Swede Avenue.  However, he is not in favor of the parking restrictions.  People on Swede avoid parking on the street at all costs.  However, there are occasions that they need to.  He does not want to violate the law.  He also wants to be able to accommodate guests.  He had the choice of driving around the block, parking behind the guest, or parking in the road.  He chose to park in the road.  It is the little things that come up.  There are occasionally parties in the summer.  They are after 6:00 p.m.  They have a Christmas party every year.  What bikes are driving down the road at 5:30 p.m. the week before Christmas?  Let the residents govern themselves and let them use their own good judgment.  It becomes a daily inconvenience for residents for an occasional benefit to a biker of driving around one car.  When two lanes become three, it is the same thing that happens when a bike has to go around a car.  He rides a bike and he often turns down Ashman Street.  There is almost always one car parked there.  He does not find it unsafe to go around an occasional car.  Sometimes he has had to wait, but it is very brief.  He is more careful going around an occasional car and he does not find it difficult to do.  Those who signed the petition had a lengthy time to know that this subject was coming up.  The residents have had very little time to organize themselves.  They ask for more time to organize their plan.

 

Andy Dickerson, 4320 Swede Avenue, stated the leaves restrict access to the road.  He has many trees.  If he places them in the outlawn, they do not pick them up.  He does not want to restrict the leaves in the road.  He has many trees and he would need 40 bins to put all his leaves out for pick up. 

 

Kent Southworth, 3409 Swede Avenue, lives approximately 35 feet from the intersection of Swede and Sugnet.  Traffic lines up to go down to Northeast and Plymouth.  There is no parking permitted in front of his house.  Cars are backed up in front of his house in the morning.  Right now, the school traffic is not there.  The residents know it is not a good idea to park on Swede Avenue.  But the occasional time that you need to use that, it is nice to have it.  You might have a serviceman at your house and you need to get your vehicle out.

 

Kerry Irons returned to clarify any questions or concerns.  Someone quoted a price of $80,000 to do this project.  The actual cost is only $24,000. 

 

Mr. Senesac had several concerns.  There was a lot of support for bike lanes.  There was a fair amount of opposition to restricted parking, and several comments about speed.  There were just a few people who were just in opposition to the bike lanes.  This road is 36 feet wide.  If you take 8 feet from each side with two cars parked opposite each other, this only leaves 10 feet for each lane for cars to maneuver in 10 foot lanes.  He is concerned about safety.  What would happen if parking was restricted on only one side?  If someone comes out around a car, the lanes are broader.  Would it make sense to have one side during the day with the 6-hour restriction, and the other side not.  He is concerned that the majority of the bike traffic is heading south toward Dow and to the north after work.  Is this a seasonal thing?  Do we really need “no parking” year around?  They heard several people offer that there really is not that much parking on Swede Avenue.  Are we at the point today where they really need to restrict parking?  He would like to have Keith answer these questions by the next meeting.  This information should be provided in the next packet so the Commissioners can review the information prior to the meeting.   

 

The public hearing was closed.

 

      c.      Conditional Use Permit No. 39 – Withdrawn by petitioner

 

4.   Old Business

 

      a.      Site Plan No. 304 from MSARI Holdings, LLC for site plan review and approval for a 3,920 square foot addition located at 1905 Mark Putnam Road. 

 

               Mr. Baker showed an aerial photograph of the site.  It is on the north side of Mark Putnam Drive, just east of Saginaw Road, adjacent to the Dow Corning Michigan Operations to the south, and the Dow Chemical Michigan Operations to the west.  The zoning of the property is Industrial B, heavy industrial.  It is adjoining heavy industrial on the west, east and south, and light industrial to the north and regional commercial further north. 

 

               There is a 3900 sq. ft. addition adjacent to the east side of the existing building.  The building was built in 2007 and it necessitated coming to the Planning Commission because the cumulative sq. footage of the building exceeds 7500 sq. ft. and it has two drive approaches.  All the criteria for site plan review have been met and were reviewed at the last meeting.  All the contingency items are standard with the inclusion of the second drive and waiver of sidewalks.  Since this is a heavy industrial area, we have traditionally made provisions for waiving sidewalks in these areas. 

 

               Matt Ziegler, 4409 Congress Drive, stated the reason for the second drive is multi-purpose.  The reason for the addition is for storage.  The second access allows a second access for semi trucks to back to the loading doors of the existing building.  With their close proximity to Dow Chemical and Dow Corning, it allows easy egress from the site in case of a chemical release. 

 

               Motion by Hanna, seconded by Brown, to recommend to City Council the approval of Site Plan No. 304 from MSARI Holdings, LLC for site plan review and approval for  a 3,920 square foot addition located at 1905 Mark Putnam Road contingent on the following.

 

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

               2.   A soil erosion and sedimentation control plan is submitted for review prior to permitting, in compliance with Section 3.11.

               3.   All landscaping shall comply with Article 6 of the Zoning Ordinance.

               4.   All exterior lighting shall comply with Section 3.12 of the Zoning Ordinance.

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

               6.   The additional driveway will comply with Section 3.10D of the Zoning Ordinance.

               7.   The barrier free parking stall dimensions shall be corrected and striped appropriately.

               8.  Waiving of the sidewalk requirements for this site.        

 

               Ms. Brown thinks it is a very good plan and she is in support of it.  The driveway to the south is a Dow Corning driveway which does not get much traffic.  The Engineering Department did review that and approved this layout due to the fact that the south driveway does not get much traffic.  Mr. Senesac stated that he wondered why the second driveway was necessary but looking further, he feels it is warranted.  It is a good plan and he will support it.


 

               Vote:

 

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

                                    Tanzini

               NAYS:          None

               ABSENT:     Young

 

      Motion was approved 8-0. 

 

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

 

      None

 

6.   New Business

 

      None

     

7.   Communications

 

      None

 

8.   Report of the Chairperson

 

      None

 

9.  Report of the Planning Director

 

     Special meeting prior to the next meeting on June 26, 2011, at 6:00 p.m. in the adjoining conference room.  Planning & Zoning News was received in packets.

 

10. Adjourn               

 

     Adjournment at 9:54 p.m. was unanimously approved.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

 

Keith Baker, AICP, CFM

Director of Planning & Community Development

 

MINUTES ARE NOT FINAL UNTIL APPROVED BY THE PLANNING COMMISSION