OCTOBER 11, 2011, 7:00 P.M.,



1.   Roll Call

PRESENT:  Hanna, Heying, McLaughlin, Mead, Pnacek, Senesac, Stewart, and Young

ABSENT:   Tanzini

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


2.   Approval of Minutes

Moved by Hanna, seconded by Young, to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of September 27, 2011 as written. Motion passed unanimously.

3.   Public Hearings


a.    Zoning Petition No. 576, initiated by MLR Engineering on behalf of Niche Properties to rezone property at 4671 South Saginaw Road from Residential A-1 zoning to Regional Commercial zoning. 


Ms. Winland showed an aerial photograph of the subject property.  The subject property is on South Saginaw Road, just east of Bailey Bridge Road.  It is located next to the Twilight Motel.  The zoning at the intersection is Regional Commercial.  The surrounding properties are all zoned Residential A-1.  The subject property is adjacent to the property zoned Regional Commercial. 


The proposed amendment is not consistent with the city’s Master Plan.  The Master Plan identifies this property as medium density.  Medium density is defined as residential densities not exceeding nine dwelling units per acre.  The parcel immediately to the northwest is zoned Regional Commercial but shown on the Master Plan as medium density.  This zoning for the entire area has been in place since 1996 and it appears that the inconsistency between the zoning and the master plan for that parcel was unintentional. 


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 not changed since the Zoning Ordinance was adopted that justifies the amendment.  The immediate area has been planned for commercial and medium density residential development since adoption of the city’s Master Plan in 2007.  The proposed use of the subject parcel is suitable for a regional commercial use with adjacent low or medium density housing in the future.


Is the proposed zoning consistent with the zoning classification of the surrounding land?  The adjacent land to the north is zoned Regional Commercial.  Approving this request will extend the Regional Commercial area one lot to the south.  All land surrounding the regional commercial zoning at the intersection is zoned single family residential.  The parcel could meet all of the Regional Commercial zoning requirements for new developments.  The proposed zoning is not consistent with the trends in land development in the general vicinity of the property in question.


Staff recommends approval of the rezoning petition to Regional Commercial.  While the request is inconsistent with the Master Plan on a lot by lot basis, there is a long standing commercial area in this location.  Some permitted Regional Commercial uses are more suitable in this location than others.  Mr. Baker stated the applicant in this petition actually owns the adjacent property and would like to combine this property to the adjacent properties that are zoned Regional Commercial. 


Mike Rybicki, MLR Engineering, spoke on behalf of the petitioner.  This property, along with the properties to the north and west, are all under the same ownership.  The property owner would like to join these parcels into one parcel. 


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


The public hearing was closed.


4.   Old Business




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




6.   New Business


a.    Updating the 2007 City of Midland Master Plan. 


Mr. Baker provided an introduction to the process of reviewing the Master Plan.  This will kick-start the Master Plan update process.  Every five years, according to the Michigan Planning Enabling Act, communities are now required to go through some formal process of the review of the Master Plan.  This was put into place in 2006, when the state planning legislation was adopted.  The City’s Master Plan was completed in October, 2007.  Upon the Planning Commission’s agreement, staff will send a Notice of Intent letting surrounding municipalities know that we will be reviewing our Master Plan.  No large outside consulting firm will be used, other than Cindy Winland’s expertise. 


The Planning Commission will want to look at the goals for the community and measure their performance over the past five years.  They will need to look at certain areas of the community that have had additional development and certain areas of the community that have had some controversy over the past few years.  The review should be completed by October, 2012 as that is the five-year anniversary of the plan.  We will look at the plan chapter by chapter so we can at least say that section is still current, or opt for some changes.  Mr. Baker does not feel the existing Master Plan is outdated so the entire Master Plan does not have to be re-done.  However, we have seen some changes in the community and those need to be reflected in the Master Plan update.


Motion by Hanna, seconded by Young to begin the process of updating the Master Plan.  Motion passed unanimously.  Staff will send out a Notice of Intent to see who would like to be a part of the process.


            Mr. Senesac asked about the long narrow piece of property behind the existing Regional Commercial properties fronting on Saginaw Road.  Is that long, narrow piece zoned residential?  If it is, perhaps the Planning Commission should initiate a petition to rezone that piece Regional Commercial also.


            Mrs. Hanna asked about an evaluation of bike routes around the city.  The NMT Committee is looking for some guidance regarding the success of currently existing bike lanes.  Mr. Baker stated the bike lanes on Swede Avenue will not be in place until next year as it is too late this year to get them in.  Mr. Senesac stated that he does not think everyone was comfortable with the decision about bike lanes on Swede Avenue at the last meeting.  The Commission would like some feedback on the use of bike lanes and traffic counts.  City Council is set to act on the Swede Avenue recommendation on November 14th.  They typically act upon requests at the same meeting as their public hearing. 


7.   Communications




8.   Report of the Chairperson




9.  Report of the Planning Director


     Mr. Baker stated the final plat of Countryside Estates, off of Dublin, now reaches from Dublin all the way around to Countryside Drive.  That subdivision continues to be built out.  They received approval for the fourth phase of this project.  The Planning Department received another petition regarding another plat off Dublin today so that will be forthcoming at an upcoming meeting.


10. Adjourn               


     Adjournment at 7:43 p.m. was unanimously approved.

Respectfully submitted,




Keith Baker, AICP, CFM

Director of Planning & Community Development