MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE MIDLAND CITY PLANNING COMMISSION
WHICH TOOK PLACE ON TUESDAY,
FEBRUARY 28, 2012, 7:00 P.M.,
COUNCIL CHAMBERS, CITY HALL, MIDLAND, MICHIGAN
1. Roll Call
PRESENT: Hanna, McLaughlin, Mead, Senesac, Tanzini and Young
ABSENT: Heying, Pnacek and Stewart
OTHERS PRESENT: Brad Kaye, Director of Planning and Community Development, Cindy Winland, Consulting Planner, Cheri King, Community Development Specialist, and 6 others.
Introduction of Brad Kaye, new Planning Director
2. Approval of Minutes
Moved by Hanna, seconded by McLaughlin, to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of February 14, 2012 as corrected. Motion passed unanimously. Correction on page 3, item #4, old business, should say “to act on Site Plan 311”.
3. Public Hearings
4. Old Business
a. Zoning Petition No. 578 – initiated by Midland Downtown Partners, LLC to rezone property at 215 State Street, 614 and 709 East Larkin Street and 608 East Ellsworth Street from Regional Commercial zoning to Downtown zoning.
Ms. Winland stated that the applicant is Midland Downtown Partners, LLC. Properties are located at 215 State Street, 614 and 709 East Larkin Street and 608 East Ellsworth Street. The current zoning is Regional Commercial. The proposed zoning is for Downtown zoning. The entire area is shown on the Master Plan as Downtown zoning. The proposed amendment is consistent with the City’s Master Plan. The amendment will be in accordance with the intent and purpose of the Zoning Ordinance. It will not set an inappropriate precedent. Conditions have changed since the Zoning Ordinance was adopted that justifies the amendment. It used to be an industrial use with the former McKay Press in this area. It is now a baseball stadium. The amendment will not grant special privileges.
The proposed zoning is consistent with the zoning classification of the surrounding land. The proposed zoning is consistent with the future land use designation of the surrounding land in the City Master Plan. All the requirements in the proposed zoning classification can be complied with on the subject parcel. The proposed zoning is consistent with the trends in land development in the general vicinity of the property in question. The Planning Commission conducted a public hearing on February 14, 2012. City Council will set a public hearing on March 12, 2012 and City Council will hold a public hearing on April 9, 2012. No public comments have been received either in favor of or in opposition to this petition. This rezoning will be subject to the Downtown Overlay District.
Pat Gillespie, representing Midland Downtown Partners. This development is the final portion of the development which includes the Dow Diamond. The new facility will contain some entertainment uses, offices, medical offices and businesses. They did something very similar to this in downtown Lansing and they are looking to do something similar here. This is a contaminated site. They have been to the State of Michigan and gotten brownfield development permits. They have an environmental team there and have identified all the contaminants. This is phase I. These are presented to the State and they oversee the phase II environmental clean-up. That is where they are now in the process.
Motion by Hanna, seconded by Young, to recommend to City Council the approval of Zoning Petition No. 578 initiated by Midland Downtown Partners, LLC to rezone property at 215 State Street, 614 and 709 East Larkin Street and 608 East Ellsworth Street from Regional Commercial zoning to Downtown zoning.
Mr. Senesac stated it meets all the criteria and he thinks it will fit in well in the Downtown. Mr. Young stated it will be a nice addition to the Downtown. Mrs. Hanna stated she would just like to see the property used properly. Mr. Mead stated that if it has the same effect as the Loons stadium, he is all for it.
YEAS: Hanna, McLaughlin, Mead, Tanzini, Senesac, and Young
ABSENT: Heying, Pnacek and Stewart
c. Master Plan Update
To get a sense of which areas of the map the Planning Commission would like to look at specifically, Commissioners were presented a copy of the existing land use map and the future land use map. In the past, there have been discrepancies between the densities envisioned by the Master Plan and those permitted in various zoning districts. The Zoning Ordinance has only one zoning district that limits density to four or fewer dwelling units per acre.
Ms. Winland showed a sample area of the community that had 4.4 dwelling units per acre, an area that has 4.8 units per acre, and an area that has 6.0 units per acre. The lots range from 12,000 square feet to 7,200 sq. ft. Difficulties arise because we have a lot of land that is zoned for what we typically think of as low density development, yet would be classified as medium density by the Master Plan because it has more than 4.0 units per acre. The difference between four and nine units per acre is huge to a developer. This is probably something we will need to talk about in the future. Staff is suggesting that six units per acre would be a place to start. It fits within the range and is consistent with the future land use map. Low density would be less than six units per acre. Medium density would be six to nine units per acre. The impact would only be realized on undeveloped properties at the time that the City makes decisions on permitted development densities.
If we have a piece of property that has been annexed, and we determine that should be low density, current Master Plan policies would only support development at a density less than four units per acre. When we discuss low density, are we discussing 3.6 units per acre or are six units per acre also considered low density?
The existing Master Plan identified medium density as 4-9 units per acre. There is a pretty big span between four units per acre and nine units per acre. Staff suggests that we need to look at both the upper and lower limits on medium density to determine if they are appropriate. This question does impact how the future land use plan looks, are we meeting our goals when it comes to different types of housing in the community, and it adds a little reality to what goes on in the ground in the future.
Mrs. Hanna stated she would like to see low density residential at no greater than four units per acre. Mr. Senesac stated he would support increasing the range of low density development up to six units per acre. There are a large number of homes in RA-2 zoning that are really RA-1 sizes. Ms. Winland stated she had trouble finding examples of the various densities to compare. Different areas of town have developed at different densities even though they may have the same zoning.
Ms. Winland offered to come back to the next meeting with a map to show areas that this would make a difference in and how those changes would impact the undeveloped areas of the community. The Planning Commission liked that idea. If the areas are already built out, it won’t make any difference.
Mrs. Hanna stated that in looking at the Future Land Use Map, she is seeing light industrial to the extreme north of Eastman Avenue. Ms. Winland stated that is correct. That area is in the township and there are industrial areas in most of the townships that have zoning that is not consistent with the City’s Master Plan.
Mrs. Hanna would like to revisit the northeast corner of Diamond Drive, from Wheeler to Wackerly, on Waldo Avenue. The MUGA area is expressed best on the existing land use map. On the existing land use map, we show the water areas as blue. On the future land use map it is shown as industrial. The area is zoned industrial, even though it is water. There is an area at the top of the map that was recently annexed into the city. We will also take a look at that. Mr. Mead stated there is an area around the airport in the northwest part of the city that also needs to be reviewed. Ms. Winland would also like to look at the recently annexed “Hang Time” area, now McKay Press. This is just west of Stark Road, north of Saginaw Road. The Mapleton area at S. Saginaw Road and Bailey Bridge Road is another area we would like to review. We will also review the area in the area of Third Street, where Dow Chemical will be purchasing existing homes for demolition.
Greg Groninger, 2720 Colony Drive, Midland, asked if there was any change in the public/semi-public areas of the community. Is there any change in the acreage that would impact the amount of land in these zoning districts? Ms. Winland indicated that no changes were presently proposed. Mr. Senesac asked Mr. Groninger if he felt that changes were needed. Mr. Groninger stated that he was not proposing a change.
Mr. Senesac asked if staff could put how much land is built out and how much land is zoned in each zoning district. Ms. Winland stated that would be difficult to do as we would have to look for vacant lots. She does not think this would have tremendous value as most of the city is built out except for the periphery.
Mrs. Hanna asked if anyone had projected the growth of this town within the next five years. No one has made any projections regarding population growth other than using historical figures. Family size is decreasing so people are taking up more family units even though the population is not increasing.
5. Public Comments (unrelated to items on the agenda)
6. New Business
Mr. Mead stated he would like to have some discussion on the issue of signs. He requested that a work session be scheduled for that purpose. Mrs. Hanna stated she would like to discuss the safety of retention/detention ponds and the safety of neighborhoods. She has given the name of a consultant to Cindy.
Cindy stated we have had nothing come in yet for the next meeting so perhaps that could be a work session on signs. Mrs. Hanna asked that the retention/detention pond discussion not take place at the next meeting as she will not be present.
8. Report of the Chairperson
9. Report of the Planning Director
Adjourned at 8:25 p.m.
C. Bradley Kaye, AICP
Director of Planning and Community Development
MINUTES ARE NOT FINAL UNTIL APPROVED BY THE PLANNING COMMISSION