TUESDAY, AUGUST 27, 2013, 7:00 P.M.,



1.   Roll Call

PRESENT:   Hanna, Heying, McLaughlin, Mead, Pnacek, Senesac, Tanzini.  Young arrived at 7:31

ABSENT:      Stewart

OTHERS PRESENT:   Brad Kaye, Director of Planning and Community Development; Grant Murschel, Community Development Planner and twenty-six (26) others.


2.   Approval of Minutes

Moved by Hanna and seconded by Heying to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of August 13, 2013.  Motion passed unanimously.

3.   Public Hearings

Chair Pnacek advised that public hearing agenda item c, Conditional Use Permit No. 48 submitted by CMS&D Surveying and Engineering has been removed from the meeting agenda.


a.    Site Plan No. 317 – the request of Apex Engineers on behalf of Tom McLand Company, LLC for site plan review and approval of Foxfire Condominiums, a 20 unit condominium development, located at 5910 Powder Horn Trail.


Brad Kaye presented the proposal for Site Plan No. 317 for the site condominium project.  The site is 9 acres and is zoned RA-1.  The detention pond which exists will serve the proposed site.  Kaye further explained the site condominium process and its similarities to a platted subdivision.  Site condominiums do not sacrifice the community development standards and are subjected to the same requirements as a platted subdivision. The applicant has met all the information requirements and has complied with all district standards. 


Some concerns did exist with the original proposed site plan, including limited access, connectivity, road islands and storm water.  However, the applicant has addressed each of these concerns with the current proposed plan. 


Mr. Senesac inquired about the standards of the temporary, emergency access.  Kaye indicated that the Fire and Engineering Departments would be responsible for resolving final design details of the access with the applicant.  Mr. Heying wondered if there is access to the parcel to the north.  Kaye indicated that there is existing access to that parcel.


Ms. Hanna inquired about the storm water pond.  Kaye indicated that all requirements per city ordinance will be met for the pond.  She also wondered about each lot’s buildable area compared to the wetland area.  Kaye explained how the standards of the homeowners association will prohibit disturbance within any wetland during construction.           


John Ledy, of Apex Engineers, was present to answer any questions.  Hanna wondered about the depth of the pond.  Ledy indicated that it is about 8 ft deep and that measures will be taken to comply with all storm water regulations.  Maximum side slopes will be complied with so that the pond does not need to be fenced.  Ledy addressed the question about the flood plain north of the site, indicating that this area includes a county drain.  Construction would not happen within the flood plain or wetlands. Mr. Pnacek wondered about the emergency access and if it would be gravel base.  Ledy said that it would be and would not be pavement. 


Pnacek opened the public hearing.


Tom McCann is the project developer and a longtime Midland resident.  He too questions what a site condominium in as he does not fully understand it himself.  He explained that the proposed units would be high end and would create a high tax base for the City. 


Peter Peer, of 5605 Woodduck Way, commented on the restrictions of the proposed condominiums and wondered why they were lower than those of the original Foxfire development.  He would like to see the standards be the same as what exists next to the proposed site. 


Kaye explained that development design standards are implemented as deed restrictions or through condominium by-laws.  These standards are not applied or enforced by the city, but are private agreements between the developer and the purchasers of the property.  Kaye explained that the city is not able to require these standards be applied to this project.


Shrenik Nanavati, 5407 Trailridge Drive, voiced his concern over the value of the existing homes.  He believes that the new homes will be significantly reduced in size compared to the existing homes.  He was told that the current subdivision requirements would be met and he believes that they have been not. 


The public hearing was closed.


Senesac wondered about the maintenance of the emergency access.  Kaye indicated that year round maintenance, including snow removal, will be the responsibility of the developer and will need to be part of the condominium by-laws. 


Hanna and Heying wondered about the traffic island and their need for existence.  Kaye indicated that maintenance of the traffic island proposed will not be the responsibility of the City but the homeowner’s association.    

            A motion was made by Senesac to waive the procedural requirements for a second meeting.  The motion was seconded by McLaughlin.


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

            NAYS:            None


            Motion by Mead and seconded by Hanna to recommend to City Council the approval of Site Plan No. 317, the request of Apex Engineers on behalf of Tom McLand Company, LLC, for site plan review and approval of Foxfire Condominiums, a 20 unit condominium development, located at 5910 Powder Horn Trail contingent on the following:


            1.         Final engineering drawings to the satisfaction of the City Utility and Engineering Departments shall be provided.  Such plans shall include the extension of utility lines and sidewalks along the future road extension connecting to the adjacent property to the west of the site condominium.

            2.         A final storm water management plan, including final design details of the detention pond, shall be submitted to the City Engineering Department.

            3.         Fencing of the detention pond shall be required, in compliance with the City of Midland storm water ordinance, should side slopes exceed 1:6.

            4.         A final soil and sedimentation control plan shall be submitted to the City Building Department.

            5.         Prior to construction, a secondary means of access suitable for emergency vehicle use shall be provided to the satisfaction of the City of Midland Planning and Engineering Departments.  Such access shall be located along the common unit boundary between units 16 and 17, connecting to Wackerly Street.  The requirement for this secondary access shall be released by the City at such time as further access to the development is provided by way of a public roadway extending through the adjacent property to the west and connecting to Wackerly Street or another public street.

            6.         Phasing of the project may be approved by the City Planning Department provided that the first phase of the development incorporates both the secondary access to Wackerly Street and the future road connection to the adjacent parcel to the west. 


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

            NAYS:            None


Site Plan No. 321 – the request of Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. for site plan review and approval for a retail development, located at 7001, 7007 and 7013 Eastman Avenue.


Chairman Pnacek asked to be excused from this agenda item due to a conflict of interest.  Mead motioned to excuse Pnacek, it was seconded by McLaughlin.  The motion passed unanimously.   


Grant Murschel presented the site plan.  He explained the proposed retail development including location and site plan layout.  He indicated that all informational requirements have been met and all district standards have been adhered to.  The site plan is a proposal for three tenants; however, the tenants have not been indicated at this time. 


Heying inquired about the state of Shepherd Drive and its ability to handle traffic into the site.  Murschel indicated that at this time, Shepherd Drive is gravel.  It would remain in the same condition and would not be improved. 


Hanna questioned the number of parking spaces on the development.  Murschel explained that the activities within each tenant unit will need to be of a size which meets the existing parking and not exceed it.  Senesac inquired about how vehicle maneuvering within the parking lot will work, specifically the loading space at the rear of the building.  Murschel explained that special scheduling will need to happen on site as to not block the parking.  One frequently used solution would be to have loading take place during non-business hours.   


Hanna inquired about the existing trees located on site and how they will be removed to accommodate the pond.  Murschel explained that it would be nice to see the trees retained; however, the applicant is not required to retain them as screening is not required and what is proposed for landscaping meets the requirements of the ordinance.  Additionally, he added that the pond is necessary for required storm water management.


Mead wondered about having a new development access a gravel street and the adequacy of the proposed storm water pond.  Murschel indicated that preliminary review from the Engineering Department has indicated that the proposed pond is adequate but a final design review will take place.  Mr. Kaye echoed that typically a preliminary review is conducted by the Engineering Department and the Planning Commission approves that plan.  If changes need to occur, staff can approve ones that are small in magnitude.  In the event substantial changes must occur, the plan is revised and must go through the approval process again, including a further public hearing before the Planning Commission.     


Hanna and Heying wondered about the lack of screening proposed.  Murschel indicated that the ordinance requires screening of adjacent properties which are zoned residential.  The parcel abutting the development to the west is used as a residence but is zoned Regional Commercial, so screening is not required. 

Justin Muller, of Kimley-Horn and Associates, presented for the applicant.  He began by giving a review of the process in working with the City.  He indicated that there is a proposed bike rack.  He also indicated that the storm water proposal has met the requirements indicated by the Engineering Department.  The detention is designed to meet the standards and also aesthetics.  Parking has been designed to meet the standards of the ordinance and to meet the needs of the activities of the assumed tenants.   


Senesac wondered about the space for vehicles to maneuver within the parking lot.  Muller indicated that the aisle width meets the ordinance standards and the bump-outs proposed are enough to allow a vehicle to maneuver in and out of any spot. 


Hanna wondered about the width and condition of Shepherd Drive.  Muller indicated that the roadway and driveway width will be adequate for vehicle maneuvering and that all parties are aware of the condition of the road. 


McLaughlin opened the public hearing.


Wanda Roberts, a property owner adjacent to the site, is concerned about the cut-ins to Shepherd Drive and the width of the road.  She questioned the lack of sidewalks on Shepherd Drive.  She would like to see them included for safety and road buffering as well as pedestrian access.   Ms. Roberts also wondered if the landscaping was intruding into the public road.


Muller responded to the concerns of the neighbor stating that Shepherd Drive is outside of the confines of the parcel being development and that the proposed development is not encroaching into the right-of-way.  Hanna wondered about the lack of sidewalks.  Muller indicated that they have not been requested to place sidewalks on Shepherd Road.   


The public hearing was closed.


Hanna wondered if planning staff was comfortable with the proposal or if the questions raised should be given more consideration.  Kaye indicated that the questions asked have either been answered by the applicant or have been addressed in the staff report.  Hanna questioned the ability for Shepherd Drive to handle the traffic.  Kaye indicated that the applicant has a right to access to the public road.  Hanna also wondered if the City was able to discourage public traffic using the road farther down.  Kaye indicated that the applicant is not required to place signs along Shepherd to discourage traffic but the road authority could do so if appropriate.  


McLaughlin wondered if there are any plans to improve Shepherd Drive.  Kaye indicated that at this time there are not.  Heying stated that this proposal reminds us of the need for a service drive running parallel to Eastman Road. 


Mead, Senesac and Hanna voiced their desire for a additional time to consider the proposal given the number of questions that were brought forward and discussed.  Commissioners agree to bring the application forward at the next meeting for the purpose of making their decision and recommendation to City Council. 


      d.   Non-Motorized Transportation Plan – Midland City Council first approved a Non-Motorized Transportation Plan on July 22, 2009.  That plan has since been largely implemented through improvements to the on-street bike route network.  As more than three years have now passed since its original adoption, the Non-Motorized Transportation (NMT) Plan is in need of being updated.


            Kaye began by presenting a brief history as to the creation of the plan.  The NMT Committee was created in September of 2009 to implement the NMT Plan that was adopted in July of 2009.  The Committee is now presenting updates to the original NMT plan.    


            Dave Waite, co-chairman of the NMT Committee, presented the proposed plan.  He pointed out that the plan is not only for biking but for pedestrians, old and young, and those who do not have access to motorized transportation.  He explained the plan in an outline including the costs of implementing the plan.  Additionally, he explained all of what the committee looked at in its creation of the plan.  Through the process, the committee organized many “bike-to” events; he presented maps which showed how bicyclists accessed these events.  The committee also organized two open houses for public comments. He indicated that the focus of the plan is moving away from the engineering, build it role and into an educational one. He presented the proposed NMT improvements and the subsequent timeline for each project.  Part of the proposed multi-use paths is part of the regional trail system.  


            Kaye explained the NMT process and timeline for action. 


            Hanna wanted to encourage those who are watching this meeting to get the kids moving with exercise including biking and walking to school.  She stated that the obesity in children is an epidemic. 


            Senesac wondered about the usage of the pathways including the demographics of the users. Kerry Irons, of the NMT Committee, indicated that the statistics do not include the demographics, just the number.  Senesac commented about the discussion regarding the bike path on Swede and the parking within the bike lane. Waite answered that there has been no issues with the situation as far as he is aware.


            Mead wondered about the funding for the implementation of the plan.  Kaye indicated that the proposed amount averages out to around $20,000 per year but will be considered on a year to year basis as part of the City budget process. 


            Pnacek opened the public hearing.


            Ken Andrews, a member of the public and the NMT Committee, commented that in his experience he has found that the City of Midland must compete with other cities for professional talent.  He mentioned that having safe and adequate infrastructure in place for people to use non-motorized transportation will benefit many residents and those looking to locate in Midland.     


Dick Boundy, 906 W. Sugnet, stated that he is in support of the plan but has some concerns with the route on Sugnet and specifically the east bound lane.  He believes that the route is unsafe for bicyclists because of the existence of golf balls leaving the golf course and the motorized traffic on the roadway specifically to the hospital.  He is worried about the safety of those using the eastbound lane on Sugnet.  He would like to see another route through the area.


            Laura Currie, a resident on Sugnet Road, is also concerned over the safety of the east bound route on Sugnet Road.  She previously expressed these same thoughts to City Council before the Sugnet Road improvements were approved.  She is proposing the use of Applewood Road and St. Andrews Road as an alternative route for eastbound non-motorized traffic. 


            Randall Frank, 1298 W. Sugnet, echoed the concerns voice by his neighbors.


            Kerry Irons mentioned that Sugnet Road has low traffic counts and is very safe.  All safety standards were adhered to in the creation of this route.  He also indicated that crossing a solid yellow line to pass a bicyclist is permitted.   


            Dick Boundy commented about the Michigan pavement markings and how passing is not allowed over a solid yellow line. 


            The public hearing was closed. 


            Mead & Hanna asked whether Engineering should look again at the lanes on Sugnet Road.  Mr. Kaye indicated that Engineering reviews each proposed project.  As indicated by Ms. Currie, City Council has heard the concerns regarding Sugnet Road and have decided to move forward. 


            McLaughlin wondered about regular updates from the NMT Committee.  The Commission agreed that a regular report should be submitted from the Planning Commission representative on the NMT Committee.


            Motion by Senesac and seconded by Mead to recommend to City Council the approval of the improved Non-Motorized Transportation Plan:


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

            NAYS:            None

            ABSTAIN:      Young

Mead commented that he wants to bring the comments of the public regarding Sugnet Road to the attention of City Council.  Kaye advised that staff would do so in their report to City Council.


Senesac encouraged the Committee to start collecting metrics to measure the usage of NMT within the City and accident reports.  Kaye indicated that that is a direction that the Committee is already moving forward with and no discernible accident patterns have yet been found.


5.   Old Business


a.   Zoning Petition No. 587 – initiated by CK & CS, LLC to zone property at 6923 Perrine Road from Larkin Township zoning to Residential A-1 zoning. 


      Mr. Kaye presented the zoning proposal to refresh the Commission on the proposal.  He explained the concerns regarding the legal description and how no further issues remain. 


      Pnacek indicated that this was the only outstanding concern with the proposal.  McLaughlin wondered about the annexation to the City.  Kaye indicated that the annexation process was not affected by the legal description issue. 


            Motion by Heying and seconded by Hanna to recommend to City Council the approval of Zoning Petition No. 587 initiated by CK & CS, LLC to zone property at 6923 Perrine Road from Larkin Township zoning to Residential A-1 zoning. 


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

            NAYS:            None


6.   Public Comments




7.   New Business


2014 Planning Commission Meeting Dates.  Approval of the schedule was motioned by Hanna and seconded by Senesac.  The motion passed unanimously.


Mead asked that the attendance policy for the Planning Commission members be brought forward for discussion at the next Planning Commission meeting.


8.   Communications


      Michigan Planner publication was provided to each commissioner in the agenda packet.


9.   Report of the Chairperson



10. Report of the Planning Director




11. Items for Next Agenda – September 10, 2013


a.  Zoning Petition No. 586 – The Wirt-Rivette Group to rezone property at 4710 Eastman Avenue from Office Service zoning to Regional Commercial.

b.  Site Plan No. 321 – The request of Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. for site plan review and approval for a retail development, located at 7001, 7007 and 7013 Eastman Avenue.

c.  Planning Commission Attendance Policy


12. Adjourn 


Motion by Heying and seconded by Hanna to adjourn at 9:42 pm.  Motion passed unanimously.


Respectfully submitted,

Brad's Signature.JPG

C. Bradley Kaye, AICP, CFM

Director of Planning and Community Development