MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE MIDLAND CITY PLANNING COMMISSION

WHICH TOOK PLACE ON TUESDAY,

MAY 22, 2012, 7:00 P.M.,

COUNCIL CHAMBERS, CITY HALL, MIDLAND, MICHIGAN

 

1.   Roll Call

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

ABSENT:      Hanna and Stewart

OTHERS PRESENT:   Brad Kaye, Director of Planning and Community Development, Cheri King, Community Development Specialist, and 8 others.

 

2.   Approval of Minutes

Moved by Senesac, seconded by Heying, to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of May 8, 2012.  Motion passed unanimously. 

3.   Public Hearings

     

      None

 

  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.

 

            The petitioner is requesting tentative and final preliminary plat review.  The proprietor is Midland Building Company.  The site is 5.89 acres.  The property is on the south side of Wheeler, west of Waldo Avenue.  The plat has a single access point onto Wheeler Avenue.  There is one lot that will exceed the 1:2.5 ratio because of the geometry that is necessary for this site. 

 

            The Engineering and Utility Departments have reviewed the plat conceptually but have not yet signed off.  The Fire Department has requested that no parking be allowed on the fire hydrant side of the street.  There is existing fill on the perimeter of the site that will be used to form a berm around the perimeter of the site or to provide necessary fill on the building lots.

 

            The applicant is asking for final preliminary review of the plat.  They have added sidewalk locations, street lighting and grading for the street to respond to deficiencies in the initial application.

            There were a number of concerns presented by the neighbors at the public hearing.  In 2005, the area to the south was annexed to the city and zoned to RA-4 in 2005.  The area to the west was originally in the city but was rezoned to RA-4 in 2005 at the request of the petitioner.  Each of the three zoning applications was noticed in accordance with state law.  There was concern by the neighbors about 2-family dwellings.  They are permitted by right in the RA-4 zoning district if the lot is 60 feet wide and 9,000 sq. ft. in area.  10 of the 20 proposed lots would meet the standards necessary to construct a duplex dwelling.

 

            The staff recommendation is approval with standard contingencies.  A public hearing was held on April 24, 2012.  If the Planning Commission makes a recommendation this evening, it could go to City Council for consideration on June 11, 2012. 

 

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

 

            Motion by Senesac, seconded by Young, to recommend to City Council the approval of Preliminary and Final 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 with the following contingencies:

 

            1.         Access to Lots 1 and 20 are restricted to Trotter’s Pointe Circle.

            2.         Lot 4 is approved in excess of the depth-to-width ratio of 2.5 to 1.

            3.         On-street parking shall be prohibited on the fire hydrant side of Trotter’s Pointe Circle and the cost of all on street signs shall be the responsibility of the proprietor.

            4.         The storm water detention system shall be designed and constructed in accordance with the City of Midland Engineering Department specifications.

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

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

            7.         The location, access and flow of any proposed fire hydrants and water service shall be designed and constructed in accordance with the City of Midland Fire Department and City of Midland Utility Department specifications.

            8.         A subdivision contract for detention access and maintenance is executed between the developer and the City. 

 

            Mr. Senesac stated that he feels the applicant meet all the requirements.  He supports the Fire Chief and their staff recommendation that there not be parking on the fire hydrant side of the road.  Mr. Heying thinks this is pretty straight forward.  It meets all the requirements.

 

            Mr. Mead stated that the petitioner did say that even though two-family dwellings are permitted in this zoning district, his intent is to build single-family homes.  It looks like half of the lots are not suitable for two-family dwellings.  Mr. Kaye clarified that the applicant has not offered to restrict the use of the proposed lots to single family dwellings even though that is their intent.

 

            Vote:

            YEAS:            Heying, McLaughlin, Mead, Pnacek, Senesac, Tanzini and Young

            NAYS:            None

            ABSENT:       Hanna and Stewart

 

      b.   Site Plan No. 312 – initiated by Rowe Professional Services Company on behalf of Midland Downtown Partners, LLC for site plan review and approval for a 224,255 square foot Stadium District Mixed-Use Project, located at 215 State Street, 614 and 709 East Larkin Street and 608 East Ellsworth Street.

 

            Mr. Kaye reported that the applicant is Midland Downtown Partners, LLC.  The location of this development is at 215 State Street, 709 East Larkin, 614 East Larkin, and 608 East Ellsworth Streets.  The area is 5.72 acres.  The zoning is Downtown and is subject to the Northside Downtown Overlay district.  The use is by right, subject to site plan review.  The building is approximately 224,255 square feet, spread over four stories in height.  It will include offices, restaurants, a wellness center and medical. 

 

            The location is the site of the former McKay Press facility.  It is across the street from Dow Diamond.  The building has just over a 50,000 sq. ft. footprint.  An architectural rendering was shown.  There may be some minor changes to this, however, the main design will remain the same.

 

            There will be landscaping along the George Street and the Ellsworth Street sides.  It is also recommended as a contingency, but it has already been agreed to by the applicant. 

 

            The question of roofline treatments remains open, with the ordinance standard reading, “Buildings with a flat roof appearance from the street shall have a decorative cornice.  Flat roofs shall be enclosed by parapets.”  This will require additional discussion this evening.  Partial cornices are proposed, but there are areas of flat roofs where cornices are not indicated on the elevations.

 

            Lighting fixtures include the front façade mounted lights.  Staff’s recommendation is this lighting fixture is not permitted by the ordinance at this time.  Also, the mast, that protrudes above the building, does not meet with the ordinance standards and staff has recommended removal of this structure from the plan.

 

            A public hearing was held on May 8, 2012.  If the Planning Commission makes a recommendation tonight, it will proceed on to City Council for consideration on June 11, 2012.  Staff recommendation is that approval with contingencies can be considered at this time.  One public comment (letter) was received in support of this petition.

 

            Mr. Senesac asked about the size of the building.  If approval as submitted was recommended tonight, he questioned if the Planning Commission would have to go back and reviews lights, cornices and parapets.  Mr. Kaye stated that the Planning Commission has the latitude to make a decision based on their interpretation of the ordinance tonight and that administrative approval of any minor changes could be granted by staff.

 

            Scott Bonney, Neuman Smith Architecture, stated the parapet height is about 24 inches in their design.  It is still below the 75 foot height limitation for the building.  After looking at the DNO guidelines, they feel the intent of those were to provide for a variety of character in buildings along Main Street.  They will eliminate the mast as it protrudes too far above the building. 

 

            Mr. Pnacek asked about the lighting.  Is the concern with the lighting proposed that the lighting will shine off site?  Mr. Kaye stated this is soft lighting and perhaps we can develop standards that would allow this type of fixture.  Revised standards could address illumination and where these might be appropriate and where they might not. 

 

            Motion by Senesac, seconded by Pnacek, to recommend to City Council the approval of Site Plan No. 312 initiated by Rowe Professional Services Company on behalf of Midland Downtown Partners, LLC for site plan review and approval for a 224,255 square foot Stadium District Mixed-Use Project, located at 215 State Street, 614 and 709 East Larkin Street and 608 East Ellsworth Street with the following contingencies.

 

            1.         Revised building elevations that include cornices and parapets across the proposed building roofline shall be provided in compliance with Section 21.04.A. 1 of the Zoning Ordinance.  This contingency shall become null and void should Section 21.04.A.1 be amended by City Council to permit partial cornices as shown on the current site plan. 

            2.         Specific building elevations detailing pedestrian entrances shall be submitted for administrative site plan review. 

            3.         A minimum of 50% of the ground floor façade area shall be clear windows and doorways.

            4.         Outdoor seating within the public right-of-way shall require review and approval by the Midland City Council. 

            5.         Individual awnings shall be subject to administrative site plan review.

            6.         Street trees along Ellsworth Street and Poseyville Road (George Street) shall be required in compliance with Section 21.04 C.1 of the Zoning Ordinance.

            7.         An updated site photometric plan shall be submitted in compliance with Section 3.12 of the Zoning Ordinance. 

            8.         Updated lighting fixtures shall be submitted in compliance with Section 3.12 of the Zoning Ordinance.

            9.         The vertical mast light shall be removed from the final site plans and shall not be approved. 

            10.       All on-street parking spaces shall have 45 degree turnouts to allow for street cleaning and maintenance activities.

            11.       Sidewalk easements or right-of-way for sidewalks shall be conveyed to the standards of the City of Midland Engineering Department.

            12.       Final fire hydrant locations shall be approved by the City of Midland Fire Department.

            13.       Servicing easements shall be conveyed to the City of Midland in such locations and in such form as required by the City of Midland Engineering, Water and Wastewater Departments. 

            14.       Storm water management methods shall be designed and constructed in accordance with the City of Midland Engineering Department specifications.

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

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

            17.       A soil & sedimentation control plan is required as the project is in excess of one acre in size. 

 

            Mr. Mead talked about the purposes of cornices in the downtown area.  You can actually see the differences the cornices make.  Mr. Pnacek stated there are a lot of different textures and heights and that the building facade is broken up enough.  The drawing looks good.  Mr. Senesac stated they have to look at what the ordinance says.  When the ordinance was written, we were not thinking about large buildings like this.  He does not think they can put new meaning into the ordinance.  We need to go back and revisit that section of the ordinance.  Mr. Mead asked if anyone had any problems with the way this building is proposed.  Mr. Senesac stated that he thinks we should look at the issue of cornices and not make a different interpretation of the ordinance tonight. 

 

            The specific standards states, “Buildings with a flat roof appearance from the street shall have a decorative cornice.  Flat roofs shall be enclosed by parapets.” 

 

            Mr. Heying stated that he feels this development meets the intent of the ordinance.  It does not say how long, how much, or how many.  Mr. McLaughlin agrees with Mr. Heying. 

 

            Mr. Senesac stated he thinks the proper way to handle this would be to have staff come back to the Commission with language that would clarify this issue and approve language that would solve the discrepancy presented.

 

            Karrie Blundell, with Kramer Management Group, stated they do want to arrive at the final schematic as soon as possible so they can prepare their budget.  If it is not determined tonight, they would have to proceed with an estimate based upon a full cornice for budgeting purposes.  The application does not contain a petition for signs at this time.

 

            Vote:

            YEAS:            Heying, McLaughlin, Mead, Pnacek, Senesac, Tanzini and Young

            NAYS:            None

            ABSENT:       Hanna and Stewart

 

      c.   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.  (POSTPONED BY PETITIONER)

           

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

 

     A planning intern, Lori Morgan, will be working in the Planning Department again 

     this summer.  She may be presenting in front of the Planning Commission at a future 

     meeting.

 

10. Items for Next Agenda – June 12, 2012

 

      a. DNO sign standards

      b. Master Plan – Chapters 3 (Natural Resources Inventory) and 5 (Future Land Use)

 

10. Adjourn             

 

      Adjourned at 7:55 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

 

 

C. Bradley Kaye, AICP

Director of Planning and Community Development

 

MINUTES ARE NOT FINAL UNTIL APPROVED BY THE PLANNING COMMISSION