MARCH 12, 2013, 7:00 P.M.,



1.   Roll Call

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

ABSENT:      Hanna, Mead

OTHERS PRESENT:   Brad Kaye, Director of Planning and Community Development, Jeff Burdick, Community Development Planner and twelve (12) others.


2.   Approval of Minutes

Moved by Senesac and seconded by Heying to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of February 26, 2013.  Motion passed unanimously.

3.   Public Hearings




4.   Old Business


a.    Site Plan No. 314 – initiated by MLR Engineering on behalf of Niche Properties for site plan review and approval for an expansion at the Twilight Motel, located at 4659 South Saginaw Road.


Brad Kaye provided a brief overview of this case.  He reviewed previous concerns that the Planning Commission and staff had with the site plan and outlined changes that the applicant has made to the site plan to address those concerns.  At the Public Hearing for this case, concerns were also raised about children not having a safe place to play and it was suggested that a play area be included on the site plan. This play area has not been included, as the applicant informed staff that their rental policy is not to rent to individuals with children.  The problems experienced last summer were due to a tenant that had mislead the business owner. Kaye stated that if the Commission believes the technical standards for site plan approval are met, then staff recommends that this site plan be recommended for approval.   


Commissioner Senesac stated that shortening the building or reconfiguring it would allow the room to utilize the existing driveway access point, thus reducing the need for an additional access point onto Saginaw Road.


Commissioner Heying noted that a storm water detention area is not shown on the site plan.  Brad Kaye stated that the City Engineering Department has reviewed and approved the site plan, but that the applicant’s engineer can speak to this point in greater detail.  


Mike Rybicki, the engineer for this project, explained that the City’s Engineering Department determined that storm water detention is not necessary on this site.  He also reiterated that the Midland County Road Commission has approved the proposed additional driveway access point onto Saginaw Road.   


Commissioner Senesac expressed concern about the number of driveway access points and noted that this does not meet the City’s goal for limited access points from major roadways.


Commissioner Heying stated that he visited the site and that it appears a lot different in the winter than it does in the summer.  He noted that visibility is reduced in the summer due to foliage on the trees.  He noted that this site plan depicts a development that is out of scale with the size of the property and with the surrounding properties.  Although the property is zoned to permit this size of development, he is still hesitant that this is the best design for the site. 


Commissioner McLaughlin also expressed concern about increasing the number of access points onto Saginaw Road.  He noted that the site could be redesigned to allow more green space and reduce the number of access points.  Brad Kaye

informed the Commission that in the Standards for Site Plan Approval (Section 27.06 of the Zoning Ordinance) the vehicular and pedestrian circulation layout standard states that an applicant may be required to limit street access points in order to ensure public safety and promote efficient traffic flow. 


Commissioner Pnacek stated that the applicant made revisions to the plan and that he is comfortable with the fact that the County Road Commission approved the proposed driveway access points. 


Motion by Senesac and seconded by Young to recommend to City Council the approval of Site Plan No. 314 initiated by MLR Engineering on behalf of Niche Properties for site plan review and approval for an expansion at the Twilight Motel, located at 4659 South Saginaw Road with the following contingencies.


1.    All outstanding information identified in the Planning Staff report shall be provided.

2.    Written confirmation shall be received from the City Fire Department confirming that the site plan satisfied their emergency vehicle access requirements.

3.    A landscaping plan demonstrating compliance with the standards of Article 6 shall be provided to the satisfaction of the Planning Department.  Buffer landscaping shall be installed prior to site work unless deferred in writing by the City Planning Department.

4.    Storm water management permit fees shall be paid prior to any site work commences. 

5.    An updated photometric plan shall be submitted demonstrating compliance with Section 3.12 of the Zoning Ordinance.

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

7.    A soil and sedimentation control plan shall be submitted. 




            YEAS:            Pnacek, Stewart, Tanzini and Young

            NAYS:            Heying, McLaughlin, Senesac

            ABSENT:      Hanna and Mead


            Motion passed 4-3.


b.    Zoning Petition No. 584 – initiated by Prodo, Inc. to rezone property at 400/410 North Saginaw Road from Residential A-1 zoning to Residential B zoning.


Brad Kaye provided a brief overview of this case.  He stated that the applicant has presented a conditional zoning offer in writing to the Planning Department.  The offer includes the following:

-  Limit uses to 4 duplex buildings. 

-  Exclude all other uses permitted in Residential B zoning. 

-  Maximum of one driveway.

-  Screening on all three sides of property. 


Kaye explained that conditional zoning offers must come in writing from the applicant, and cannot be required or requested by the city staff, the Planning Commission or City Council.  This conditional zoning offer meets these standards and can therefore be considered in deciding on this petition.


As a result of the conditions offered, some of the staff’s responses to the general evaluation criteria for rezoning have changed.  Previously, the staff’s response to the general evaluation criteria point of whether the proposed amendment is consistent with the City’s Master Plan was possibly.  With the conditional zoning offer, the staff’s answer has changed to yes.  Four duplex dwelling units would be consistent with the Medium Density Development guidelines of the Master Plan, in that it would create a residential density of 6.3 units per acre, which is within the 6-10 dwelling units per acre allowed within the Medium Density Development guidelines.  The staff’s response to the general evaluation criteria point of whether the amendment will be in accordance with the intent and purpose of the Zoning Ordinance remains ‘possibly.’  Although the four duplex dwelling units intended by the applicant would be reasonable for the site, the condition of screening the site from surrounding properties is not detailed enough for the staff to provide a yes answer to this criteria point.  Kaye noted that all other staff responses to the general evaluation criteria remain the same.   


Commissioner Senesac stated that the first three condition zoning offers are concrete, but the last offer of screening is nebulous.  He asked if a contract would need to be entered into which offers concrete language for each condition point.  Brad Kaye replied that a contract would have to be entered into to assure that these conditions are enforced and enforceable. 


Commissioner Pnacek asked if this proposal would require site plan review before the Planning Commission.  Kaye replied that it would not. 


Matt Rapanos, the applicant for this proposal, stated that beyond the screening condition being offered, the construction of the duplexes themselves would provide surrounding residents with screening from traffic noise.  He noted that this proposal, at 6.3 dwelling units per acre, is at the low end of the density range allowed by the Medium Density Residential designation within the Master Plan and that more units could be constructed on the site.  He also noted that if the two existing lots were developed with single family residential units, then there would be two driveway access points onto Saginaw Road instead of the one access point that is proposed within the conditional zoning offer.  He also stated that this development would generate tax revenue for the City. 


Commissioner Pnacek asked if there were members of the public present new comments in support or against this proposal.


Pat Andrews expressed concern that these duplexes could be unkempt rental properties and that surrounding property values would decrease as a result of this development.  


Debbie Sands stated that the staff map depicting the locations of those individuals who signed a petition against this development speaks for itself.  She asked if the additional letters from residents were turned in to the Commission members.  Commissioner Pnacek stated that these letters were provided to the Commissioners in their meeting packet.  Sands noted that the City can’t control who will rent these units. 


Commissioner Senesac stated that he was pleased with the turnout of residents at the public hearing for this case.  He noted that the public hearing is not the ideal time for the public to ask detailed questions concerning a particular request and that these questions should be asked of staff prior to the public hearing.   He stated that things change overtime and that these two lots have sat vacant for a long time.  The Planning Commission decided during the updating of the Master Plan, that a development of medium density would be appropriate for this site.  In his opinion, the conditions offered by the applicant make sense.  


Commissioner Stewart stated that not approving this request would deny the landowner reasonable use of this land and almost constitute a taking.  He stated that the conditional zoning offer provides a workable solution to develop on this site

Commissioner Heying was originally concerned that the other permitted uses allowed under RB zoning would not be appropriate for this site.  However, the conditional zoning offer allays this concern and he feels it fits with this property.  


Commissioner Senesac noted that the proposed conditions will stay with the land. 


Commissioner McLaughlin stated that he is okay with these conditions being written at the staff level and reviewed by the City Council.  He feels that this conditional zoning offer presents the highest and best use for this site.


Commissioner Pnacek stated that he supports the conditions offered by the applicant. 


Motion by Senesac and seconded by Heying to recommend to City Council to rezone property at 400/410 North Saginaw Road from Residential A-1 zoning to Residential B zoning conditional upon execution of a contract addressing the following standards offered by the applicant:

-  Use of the property shall be limited to 4 duplex buildings. 

-  All other uses permitted in Residential B zoning shall be excluded. 

-  A maximum of one driveway shall be permitted for the property

-  Screening shall be provided on all three sides of the property. 




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

            NAYS:            None

            ABSENT:      Hanna and Mead


            Motion passed 7-0.


5.   Public Comments




6.   New Business




7.   Communications




8.   Report of the Chairperson




9.   Report of the Planning Director


Brad Kaye informed the Commission that the Conditional Use permit for the property on Sam Street was scheduled for a public hearing by the City Council during their previous night’s meeting.    


10. Items for Next Agenda – March 26, 2013


      Brad Kaye stated that there are currently no items for the next agenda and that the Commission can choose to cancel this meeting if desired.  Commission Pnacek inquired about holding a workshop meeting to discuss Planning Commission procedural issues.  Kaye replied that he and Cindy Winland have been working on these issues and that this can be discussed at the workshop.  It was decided to hold a Planning Commission workshop session on March 26, 2013 at 6p.m. and cancel the regular scheduled Planning Commission meeting for that night.


11. Adjourn 


Motion by Senesac, seconded by Heying to adjourn at 7:57 pm.                  . 


Respectfully submitted,





C. Bradley Kaye, AICP

Director of Planning and Community Development