NOVEMBER 8, 2011, 7:00 P.M.,



1.   Roll Call

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

ABSENT:    Stewart  

OTHERS PRESENT: Cheri King, Community Development Specialist, Cindy Winland, Contract Planner, and two others.


2.   Approval of Minutes

Moved by Hanna, seconded by Heying, to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of October 25, 2011 as corrected. Motion passed unanimously.

3.   Public Hearings




4.   Old Business


a.    Zoning Petition No. 576, initiated by MLR Engineering on behalf of Niche Property to rezone property at 4671 South Saginaw Road from Residential A-1 zoning to Regional Commercial zoning.  (Postponed by the petitioner until the 11-22-11 Planning Commission meeting.) 


b.    Zoning Text Amendment No. 154, initiated by Dow Kokam, LLC, to amend Section 8.05, Table 8.2 of the Zoning Ordinance to add a footnote for larger signage in the IA and IB districts. 


Cindy Winland presented a rendering to explain the footnotes for larger signage in the IA and IB Districts.  A parcel is qualified to have additional wall signage if there is at least 200 feet of road frontage and the wall on which the sign will be placed is greater than 200 feet from the public road right of way.  Structures closer than 200 feet or with less than 200 feet of frontage must comply with the requirements in Table 8.2.  


The proposed footnote “h” states, paraphrased, that in the IA and IB districts, the size of all wall signs on each wall where signage is permitted, may be increased if any point of the principle structure on the wall on which the sign will be placed is more than 200 feet from the property line abutting a public road, measured from a 90 degree angle at the road right-of-way.  The structure must be located on the property abutting the public road from which the measurement is being taken.  You have to have at least 200 feet of road frontage and be 200 feet back from the road in order to qualify for this option.  If these two criteria are met, the total signage on a wall facing a public road may be increased by one square foot for each foot greater than 200 lineal feet, not to exceed 600 square feet on any one wall.


Multiple signs may be placed on one wall provided the total square footage on any one wall does not exceed 600 square feet.  If the property owner chooses not to place any signage on a wall facing a public right-of-way on a qualifying structure, wall signage, at the size it would have been had it faced the road, may be used on another wall without public road frontage.  Total wall signage on all walls on any qualifying structure may not exceed 1,200 square feet.  The purpose for this is to give the industrial use as much latitude to sign their structure according to their needs, but not in a location that it is obtrusive to the public.  This regulation only pertains to wall signs.


            Mark Slater, Dow Kokam, stated they went through the Zoning Board of Appeals process with a request for much more square footage and were denied.  Now they are trying a zoning text amendment to address their needs.  Mr. Slater showed an artist’s rendering of the south wall of the building.  The sign on the building would meet the proposed requirements in this zoning text amendment.  


            By the existing ordinance, you can take a parallelogram around the sign and calculate the square footage.  They have actually changed their corporate logo to meet the lower signage requirements. 


            Motion by Hanna, seconded by Pnacek, to recommend to City Council the approval to amend Section 8.05, Table 8.2 of the Zoning Ordinance to add a footnote for larger signage in the IA and IB districts.


            Mr. McLaughlin stated this is probably the largest building you will find in this area.  Even with what was shown tonight, they will still be able to add additional signage.  City staff did a virtual tour around town to see what other buildings might qualify for this additional signage.  Few would have three road frontages.


            Mr. Pnacek stated he was on the Zoning Board of Appeals when this petition came through.  It seemed like the amount of wall space covered was just too much with 300 square feet of wall signage. 


            Mrs. Hanna stated the signs are not movable.  What about if they wanted to have a flashing sign or a variable text sign?  Ms. Winland stated there are limitations on the timing of the movement.  These signs would be allowed to be illuminated.


            Mr. Mead stated that this can always be changed in the future.  Mr. Senesac stated that it makes sense to have a larger sign on this building.  However, it may not apply to all buildings.  We may have to come back and modify things later on.  It not only matches this building, but it matches other buildings in the area also.   




            YEAS:             Hanna, Heying, McLaughlin, Mead, Pnacek, Senesac, Tanzini

                                    and Young

            NAYS:             None

            ABSENT:        Stewart


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




6.   New Business


      Winland stated there are six text amendments to introduce tonight as the 2012 Proposed Zoning Ordinance Text Changes:


1.    Transitional Housing:  Modify the definition to recognize the unique nature of Emergency Shelters.  The additional text would state, “Transitional Housing also includes Emergency Shelter housing which is safe housing provided for those who are homeless or those who are fleeing situations of domestic or sexual violence.  In these situations, the housing is treated as the individuals’ home with staffing and services available but participation in programs is not mandated.” 


2.    Permit existing uncovered porches to be covered provided they meet setback requirements.  Open paved terraces, open porches, patios, decks, and steps above grade may project into a yard subject to the following conditions: “Open porches existing at the time of adoption of this ordinance, meeting Items a-d of this section, and not exceeding 6’ in depth may be covered but not enclosed.”  The purpose of this is to address the multiple requests at the ZBA to cover existing porches. 


3.    Delete regulations for obsolete terms in the parking table.  Last year we eliminated “Homes for the Aged and Children’s Homes” and did not remove them from this table.


4.    Fences – Change the way the height of a fence is measured.  “The height of the wall or fence shall be measured from the average of the natural grade (instead of lowest ground level) at a distance from five feet from each side of the wall or fence.”  This provision also sends people to the ZBA on a regular basis and will be more realistic and logical is measured from the average grade.


5.    Currently, fences in a residential district may not exceed 3’6” in any front yard.  The front yard extends from the front property line to the front face of the principal structure.  This amendment would change the maximum height to 4’.  The standard manufactured fences are four feet high.  We would still keep the 20 feet back for a corner clearance so they would not block visibility and it would not be a safety issue.  The increased four feet in height for fences would apply to all residential districts and will not decrease the intent of the fence regulations.  It will also make it easier for people to buy standard fencing. 


6.    The final change would give the Planning Director the discretion to permit fences over 8 feet to serve institutional or recreational uses or meet safety considerations for recreational uses and to permit non opaque fences up to six feet in the required street side yard.


      The process would include:

·         Planning Commission reviews text changes on November 8, 2011.

·         Planning Commission holds a public hearing on December 12, 2011.

·         Planning Commission makes a recommendation to City Council on January 10, 2012.

·         City Council schedules a public hearing on January 30, 2012.

·         City Council holds a public hearing and will act on amendments on February 20, 2012.


7.   Communications




8.   Report of the Chairperson




9.  Report of the Planning Director


     The Swede Avenue bike lane will go to City Council on Monday, November 14th.


10. Adjourn               


     Adjourned at 7:43 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,




Cynthia E. Winland, AICP, PCP

Consultant Planner