MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE MIDLAND CITY PLANNING COMMISSION

WHICH TOOK PLACE ON TUESDAY,

MAY 8, 2012, 7:00 P.M.,

COUNCIL CHAMBERS, CITY HALL, MIDLAND, MICHIGAN

 

1.   Roll Call

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

ABSENT:      Pnacek

OTHERS PRESENT:   Brad Kaye, Director of Planning and Community Development, Cheri King, Community Development Specialist, and 12 others.

 

2.   Approval of Minutes

Moved by Young, seconded by Senesac, to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of April 24, 2012.  Motion passed unanimously. 

3.   Public Hearings

Mr. Mead announced that the action on the Preliminary Plat of Trotter’s Pointe will be postponed until the May 22, 2012 meeting.

     

      a.   Site Plan No. 312 – initiated by Rowe Professional Services Company on behalf of Midland Downtown Partners,

 

            The applicant for this site plan is Midland Downtown Partners, LLC.  The proposed development will be at 215 State Street, 709 East Larkin St., 614 East Larkin Street and 608 East Ellsworth Street on 5.72 acres.  It is zoned Downtown and is subject to the Northside Downtown Overlay.  It provides for a variety of uses in this area.  All of the uses that are contained on this site plan are permitted uses by right.  We are dealing with 224,255 sq. ft. of floor space of four stories in height.  It will contain offices, restaurants, a wellness center and medical.

 

            The location is to the west of Dow Diamond.  It is bordered by Putnam Park, Ellsworth Street, George Street Main Street and State Street.  There is a proposed expansion of the Downtown Development Authority to extend the DDA to include this development.  This proposal is before City Council at the present time.

 

            The plan, as proposed, shows the building in an “L” shape along State and Main Streets.  Parking will be located predominantly in the rear, with on-street parking in the front.  They are looking to provide some different architectural styles to the building.  There is proposed landscaping including some small landscape islands in the parking lot to the rear.  Landscaping will also be required on the George Street and Ellsworth Street sides.

 

            The building façade will include relief in and out as you walk along the street so it will not have the appearance of a solid wall.  The developers are not quite sure of the tenant mix but that is not required at this time. 

 

            Discussion items recommended by staff include:

·         Building Scale and Design – it is a different scale building than what has traditionally been built in downtown Midland.  It is appropriate with the Dow Diamond across the street. 

·         Landscaping along Ellsworth and George Streets – By standard, they are required to have one tree for every 40 lineal feet on each side.  The applicant should be questioned about the landscaping along the two street frontages.

·         DNO Standards for flat roofed buildings – they are required to have cornices and parapets.  We need to look at whether or not this would be considered a “flat roof appearance” to determine ordinance requirements.

·         Pedestrian circulation – The sidewalk systems along Main Street are being continued.  They are extending the streets and sidewalks from George Street, with additional pedestrian walks along Ellsworth Street.  They are looking to use this site as a channel to Dow Diamond.  There is a pedestrian walk-through from the back of the building to Dow Diamond. 

·         Lighting fixtures – Uplighting is allowed.  They are using these lights as soft lighting for the building and would seem to conform with the ordinance standards.  Unshielded lighting is not currently permitted.

·         Signs – Staff is currently looking at sign standards for the DNO district.  The application does not include a request for sign approval at this time.

 

            Procedurally, the Planning Commission could make a recommendation on May 22, 2012.  City Council could consider the site plan on June 11, 2012.  Staff recommendation is that further revisions are required at this time.  No public comments have been received. 

 

            Kevin McGraw, President of Midland Downtown Partners, stated the business partnership was formed to do this project.  They have done lots of different developments together and were approached to bring some vision to the Downtown and to the ballpark.  They are trying to make this look like it is a myopic building that does not look like a doctor’s office or an office building.  He is very pleased at what Neumann/Smith did with their vision.  The pedestrian arcade is a big part of it.  The Baseball Foundation wanted it to tie in to the Dow Diamond.  The parking lot will be vacant at night so it will provide parking for the Dow Diamond.  They are trying to comply with the ordinance.  They are trying to create a dynamic downtown.  They hope that, eventually, this will continue further down Main Street. 

 

            They have a number of corporate tenants that will be locating in this building downtown.  They already have commitments from them, however, their identities are confidential at this time.  They purchased 608 Ellsworth Street today.  The McKay Press property will probably be closed on in August.  They anticipate starting development in August.  It is currently a contaminated piece of property so this will be a challenge for them.  A lot of the brownfield that was approved will go for parking.  The baseball foundation is excited that there will be significantly more parking that will be cheap and that will go to local charities.  They will comply with the ordinance for landscaping. 

 

            They agree that the one light Brad was talking about does project out.  They want the light to glow.  They want everyone to be comfortable sitting there.  It can’t be glaring or distracting.  They feel that people leaving the stadium will want to see that soft glow on the ground floor for safety purposes.  They do not feel they are setting a bad precedent about the signage they are proposing.  They want that kind of signage to make this development more exciting. 

 

            Scott Bonney, Neumann/Smith Architects, stated they wanted this to look as “urban” as possible.  They want the building to hug the street.  The whole idea is to drive through the parking lot so it feels like a street.  They also wanted pedestrians to feel like they can get to the building.  The building is designed to have the entrance on the curve.  There are shops all along the building across from the stadium.  It gives more retail space for the shops.  The typical height is 61 or 62 feet.  The highest part of the building is about 68 feet, which is well below that required in the ordinance.  They have looked at lighting very carefully.  They have tried their best to avoid glare.  A building like this needs vitality at the base of the building.  There are actually mini glowing sabres of light that will match what is currently downtown.  They are also planning to illuminate the cornices to accent them and make them appear larger. 

 

            As you come in from the downtown, there is another style of building on the end.  There should be some canopies on the first floor and space for outdoor dining. 

 

            They are proposing to use some brick and some stone on the building, along with some metal.  They are trying to create something that complies with the DNO District.  The building will be LEED Silver certified.  They can prohibit moving or flashing signs. 

 

            Mrs. Hanna asked about the parking.  She only sees a few handicap spaces.  She does not see any bike racks.  Stacie, with Rowe Professional Services, stated there are bike racks provided.  They will use the downtown standard bike racks so they conform to the surrounding areas.  It is more important to have trees along Ellsworth Street than along George Street.  Are there other areas of the city where a building like this might go?  Not really.  It belongs near a stadium and in a downtown district.

 

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

 

            Public hearing is now closed.

 

      b.   Site Plan No. 310 – initiated by Central Michigan Surveying & Development Company on behalf of P & P Opportunities, LLC for site plan review and approval of Olive Garden Restaurant and retail, located at 6803 Eastman Avenue.

 

            Mr. Kaye stated this is the second advertised public hearing.  The property is located at 6801 Eastman Avenue on 4.41 acres of property.  It is zoned Regional Commercial.  It includes the proposed Olive Garden at 7,500 sq. ft., a small building addition with a commercial drive-through, and a future development area.  The fairgrounds are to the west, the Midland Mall is to the east.  The former Damon’s is to the south and the existing plaza is to the north.  Access will be onto Eastman Avenue.  At the prior public hearing, staff had some concerns about the cross access through the site and the other sites along that side of Eastman Avenue.  All the detail is provided for site plan approval.  The Olive Garden site plan was approved back in January of this year. 

     

            The only outstanding details are lighting and landscaping details.  Written authorization from Midland Lodging LLC (Hampton Inn) has not been provided.  A cross site access agreement has not been secured.  These agreements are currently in progress.  Everything indicates that they are continuing to move forward with the agreements but they have not come forward with them.

 

            If the agreements are submitted to the city in time, the Planning Commission could make a recommendation on May 22, 2012 and could go to City Council for consideration on June 11, 2012.  Staff recommendation is that the application is incomplete at this time.  One public comment was received.  There is a garage and a house on the back of the site that is owned by the developer.  This garage and house will be removed. 

 

            Mr. Mead stated he is not clear where we go with this.  We still have to have site plan approval for the parking area and the new access onto Eastman Avenue.  The Olive Garden site plan actually was approved back in January and they could start building at the present time, based upon the site plan that was approved back then. 

 

            The petitioner, Tim Beebe, Central Michigan Surveying and Development, stated they did a mad scramble to get the engineering drawings done.  They are still working on the cross access agreements.  One of the property owners has Saylor Drive, which is a 24 foot strip drive.  Until all the details are worked out, the parties have been recommended by their attorneys not to sign the agreements.  It is progressing, but not as fast as the engineering plans. 

 

            Sheila Messler, 2049 N. Dublin Road, project manager for this site.  She worked for the original developer of this site and is now working with the current developers to transform it.  When Damon’s closed, it gave the opportunity to change the site.  The site needed a good face lift.  There were discussions with the city about access to Eastman Road.  The stumbling block is now trying to get the cross access and joining the parcels together.  She believes the Fair Board is meeting tonight to discuss the cross access from their driveways.  The tenants are all happy in the existing mall there. 

 

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

 

The public hearing is now closed.

 

4.   Old Business

 

      a.   Preliminary Plat of Trotter’s Pointe – a residential subdivision of 20 lots on 6.21 acres east of Swede Avenue and south of East Wheeler Street.  The developer is Midland Building Company.  (POSTPONED UNTIL MAY 22, 2012)

 

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

 

      None

 

6.   New Business

 

      Information was provided for the Master Plan, Chapters 3 and 5.  Staff will bring them forward for discussion at a future meeting. 

 

7.   Communications

 

Commissioners received a current issue of “Planning and Zoning News” in their            packets.

 

8.   Report of the Chairperson

 

Mrs. Hanna, as the representative of the non-motorized transportation committee, stated that the committee now has a program on MGTV.  One of the big plans is the “bike to work” that is coming next week.  They are working closely with Dow and Dow Corning.  The idea is to either walk or bike to work that week.  They are having a little problem with the “safe ride to school” or the “safe walk to school”.  Adams School is really trying to get people in that area to walk or bike to school.  They are concerned about bike safety.  There have been a lot of people riding bikes, especially at night-time, without appropriate lighting.  They have tried to work with the power chairs.  That is a little more challenging.  They are making progress, even if it is slower than other people would like.

     

9.  Report of the Planning Director

 

We are going to start making a few changes, very slowly.  Staff will try to start putting on the agenda the coming items for the next agenda.  Staff will try to revise the report format that will require Commissioners to do a little less reading and will require staff to do a little less writing. 

    

10. Adjourn             

 

      Adjourned at 8:28 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

 

 

C. Bradley Kaye, AICP

Director of Planning and Community Development

 

MINUTES ARE NOT FINAL UNTIL APPROVED BY THE PLANNING COMMISSION