MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE MIDLAND CITY PLANNING COMMISSION
WHICH TOOK PLACE ON TUESDAY,
AUGUST 14, 2012, 7:00 P.M.,
COUNCIL CHAMBERS, CITY HALL, MIDLAND, MICHIGAN
1. Roll Call
PRESENT: Hanna, Heying, McLaughlin, Mead, Pnacek, Senesac, and Stewart
ABSENT: Tanzini and Young
OTHERS PRESENT: Brad Kaye, Director of Planning and Community Development, Cheri King, Community Development Specialist, Cindy Winland, Contract Planner, and 1 other.
2. Approval of Minutes
Moved by Heying, seconded by Hanna, to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of July 24, 2012. Motion passed unanimously.
3. Public Hearings
4. Old Business
a. DNO Sign Standards
Cindy Winland presented the proposed regulations in text format. This is the same set of text amendments previously discussed, but now shown as they will go in the Zoning Ordinance. One of the requests at the last meeting was to show these changes in a graphic format. A rendering of a multi-façade structure has been provided to help with the discussion.
The proposed ordinance includes “sandwich signs” provided they do not include changeable letters and are only displayed when the business is open. Chalk board style signs would be permitted. We currently only allow sandwich signs in the Downtown zoning district.
“Blade signs” that stick out from the facade wall, often underneath the canopy, are proposed. Each tenant would be permitted one such sign per street frontage. These signs are typical of a downtown.
Each tenant could also have an address, with letters not more than eight inches high. A plaque would also be allowed. Typical contents of the plaque might indicate the year the building was built, the tenants upstairs, or designate that it was in memory of someone.
Canopy signs are proposed for each tenant as well. These signs would be limited to the vertically facing fringe of the canopy.
Window signs are also permitted per tenant and could show things like hours of operation, “open” or “closed” signs, but nothing flashing.
We have two primary kinds of band signs. One is a banner sign. They cannot be more than 80 percent of the width of the building sign, nor could the band sign come within two feet of the end of the façade. In lieu of having a band sign, they would be allowed to have a wall sign. That could be up to 80 sq. ft. In order to do that, they could not have a band sign anywhere else.
Marquee signs, as we are considering them, would be vertical signs protruding from the building façade. These would typically, but not necessarily, located at the corner of a building. As proposed, this sign could only be up to 50 percent of the height of the building but would not be permitted to extend above the parapet of the building.
Ms. Winland stated that staff would like to know if we are close enough to put some of these changes into the Zoning Ordinance.
Mr. Senesac asked what is the definition of a building façade? We certainly need to define that so people do not get confused on what is allowed or not.
Mr. Senesac asked if this signage were applied to the buildings that are in the downtown today, how would this look? Ms. Winland stated she thinks this is more signage than is allowed in the Downtown right now. Mr. Senesac is concerned about some of the ZBA cases, that businesses want more signage, if each of the businesses went for the maximum signage allowed, how would that affect the downtown area? Ms. Winland indicated that the standards, as drafted, probably allowed more signage than we would prefer to see on a building.
Discussion followed concerning whether or not allowing businesses to select their type of signage would cut down on the number of and amount of signage. Mr. Heying stated he would be in favor of offering them the option of one of three different types of signs. It would be up to the businesses what kind of sign they would like.
Mr. McLaughlin asked if all these signs could be 80 sq. ft. Ms. Winland stated that the signs would be scaled to the size of the building. Mr. Pnacek stated the second story would start at about 12 feet. Discussion was for starting a marquee sign at 12 feet above the sidewalk and being allowed to go to the top of the parapet, provided the 50% of building height standard was complied with. Mr. Kaye noted that, as we push these marquee signs up on the buildings, they do not have the same impact they would have at a lower level.
Mr. Heying suggested they change paragraph B to state “In addition to the signs permitted in item A. of this section, up to a total of one sign per building façade area will be permitted according to the following schedule:” and they could choose from a marquee, a band sign, or a wall sign. If you choose a band sign, it cannot be more than 40 sq. ft. If you are on a corner and have a marquee sign, it can only be so high.
Ms. Hanna asked to see the drawings and draft standards again before we go to a public hearing. Mr. Pnacek would also like to see the changes one more time before we hold a public hearing. There was general consensus by the Commission that the draft standards come back one more time before a public hearing is held.
Commissioners questioned if the “six second rule” needs to be somewhere in this ordinance. It is already included in the ordinance and will remain.
Commissioners also suggested that audio signs need to be prohibited. Ms. Winland will incorporate it into the general standards and prohibit audible signs.
b. Master Plan Update – Chapter 6: Transportation
Ms. Windland stated the content of this proposed draft have been reviewed by the city’s Engineering Department. If there is something that the Commission really does not want to see in the Master Plan, staff can take that into consideration. Ray Senesac stated there did not seem to be many content changes. Staff confirmed that the non-motorized transportation plan has been incorporated but, other than that, there are no significant changes. The average daily traffic volumes and 24 hour counts were questioned as most reflect a decrease in traffic. The Engineering Department counts show that there has been a decrease in traffic on most streets. The perception is that there are fewer people working, more people are working at home and people are making fewer trips during rush hour.
Ms. Hanna would like to look at page 6.14. She is not sure this really needs to be in here. If it does happen, that would be the time to talk about it. She is not sure why it is in here now.
Mr. Heying stated that on page 6-22, the third paragraph regarding non-motorized transportation talks about kids walking or biking to school. With school consolidations, this is not going to happen as kids now may have to go a mile or more to school. He did agree that there are a lot more people biking today.
5. Public Comments (unrelated to items on the agenda)
6. New Business
Planning and Zoning News magazines were distributed to Planning Commission members.
8. Report of the Chairperson
9. Report of the Planning Director
a. Public Hearing Procedures
Mr. Kaye discussed the last Planning Commission meeting and how members of the public left frustrated. Much of the frustration can be attributed to our current public meeting procedures. Mr. Kaye has spoken with Mr. Branson, City Attorney, and suggests that a work session with Mr. Branson be held prior to the next Planning Commission meeting.
Motion by Hanna, seconded by Pnacek, that we hold a special meeting at 5:30 on August 28, 2012 to discuss meeting procedures. Motion passed unanimously.
10. Items for Next Agenda – August 28, 2012
a. Zoning Text Amendment No. 155 – To add a regulation exempting the setback requirements for an Unobstructed Sight Triangle if the area within the site triangle is held in different ownership than the principle parcel and all other setback requirements are met. (public hearing)
b. DNO Sign Standards
Adjourned at 8:22 p.m.
C. Bradley Kaye, AICP
Director of Planning and Community Development
MINUTES ARE NOT FINAL UNTIL APPROVED BY THE PLANNING COMMISSION