TUESDAY, OCTOBER 8, 2013, 7:00 P.M.,



1.   Roll Call

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

ABSENT:      None

OTHERS PRESENT:   Brad Kaye, Director of Planning and Community Development; Grant Murschel, Community Development Planner and eleven (11) others.


2.   Approval of Minutes

Moved by Hanna and seconded by Senesac to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of September 24, 2013.  Motion passed unanimously.


3.   Public Hearing



4.   Old Business


a.    Zoning Petition No. 586 - the request of The Wirt-Rivette Group to zone property at 4710 Eastman Avenue from Office Service zoning to Regional Commercial. 


Kaye presented the application to refresh the Commission and to present the changes that have occurred since the last meeting.  He explained the current zoning of the site and the surrounding zones and the Master Plan designation of both the site and the surrounding area.  The concerns voiced by the neighbors were summarized.  Recently Kaye visited the site and spoke with the neighbors. Based on that on-site meeting, Kaye clarified the traffic movements on Eastman Avenue and specifically the southbound movements on Eastman Avenue.  He gave details about the applicant’s proposed conditional rezoning of the property.  With the conditional rezoning, the agreement would pertain to this owner as well as future owners.  He explained the uses that would be eliminated as proposed by the applicant in two separate offers. 


Senesac wondered about the exclusion of offices on the second floor and above and whether commercial activities would be permitted on the second floor and above.  Kaye indicated that certain commercial activities would be permitted on all floors as it stands.


Eric Finnigan, of Wirt-Rivette Group, explained that commercial uses on higher floors would not be feasible due to the parking constraints on site.


There were no additional comments in support of the proposal.


Mike Fales, of 7 Burrell Court, explained the few uses that were not excluded in the conditional rezoning proposal.  Specifically, credit unions and banks with drive-thru windows and restaurants with drive-thru windows.  He stated his opposition to the staff recommendation pertaining to surrounding uses.  In the staff report, it mentions the rezoning being compatible with the commercial activity to the north but seems to not mention the compatibility with the residential activity to the south. He thinks it should be kept at OS Office Service to buffer his property from a commercial zone. 


Stephanie Baiyasi, of 27 Burrell Court, explained that she was never notified about the “Meetings in the Box” that took place a few years back.  She feels that residents should be notified when changes are made to the Master Plan.


Kaye clarified that the “Meeting in the Box” process was undertaken during the Master Planning process a few years back.  Senesac said that a large effort was made by the City during that time to advertise the opportunities the public had to engage with the process. 


Roberta Barassi, of 23 Burrell Court, stated her and her husband’s opposition to the proposal. 


Sally Stebleton, of 6 Burrell Court, wanted to say that she was not notified about the “Meetings in the Box”.  She explained her opposition to the current rezoning proposal.  She asked the Commissioners to think about whether they would like it if a commercial zone moved right next to their own family residence. 


Mead clarified that the “Meetings in the Box” took place at least five years ago during the master planning process.  He explained again that a large effort was made to advertise the opportunities to the public. 


Chris Lauckner, of 3 Burrell Court, explained the issues with traffic turning around in his driveway coming off of Eastman Ave.  He read the RC Regional Commercial definition to explain that it is the most intensive and auto-oriented zone and how it should be buffered from residential zones.  He voiced his opposition to the proposal as it would remove the current OS buffer.


Finnigan wanted to note that a drive-thru use in the future would require approval from the Commission and City Council.  Kaye agreed that a drive-thru restaurant use would require a conditional use permit and further explained the size constraints the site provides to a use such as a drive-thru.


Mead explained that he believes the Commission has historically tried to buffer single-family residences from commercial districts.  He believes that the OS Office Service zone should remain to buffer the current residences from an intensive commercial district.


Senesac explained that he has been taught and has learned that with rezoning it is important to consider the rezoning without the current proposed activity.  He explained his thoughts on the history of the property including Bill Knapp’s and other rezoning requests.  He noted that during the process with the former Bill Knapp’s restaurant, the property line was moved to allow the restaurant to be located on the RC zoned property.  He suggested that the current property lines could change to allow for more activity onsite.  With this action the size constraints could be alleviated at any time and more intensive uses could happen.  He recognized that the petitioner had the right idea with wanting to disallow certain uses in the conditional rezone proposal but did not go far enough.  He felt the proposal could have disallowed more intensive uses. Stewart voiced his agreement with Mead and Senesac. 


McLaughlin agreed that the applicant has made a strong effort to minimize possible conflicts but the proposed excluded uses offered by the applicant did not go far enough in excluding some high-intensive uses.  He believes that the current state of the area is the perfect transition from commercial uses to the north to office service use, to residential uses in the south.  Heying agreed with McLaughlin and further explained his belief that the current set up is the proper buffering between RC and the single-family homes.  He recognized that there are other areas in the City where low-density residential abuts directly to RC but realized that the commercial uses were mostly there before the residences.  He believes that this situation is unique because of the nature of the court of residences.  As much as he would like to see additional progress in business development in the City, he believes that the Commission should act in support of buffering intensive commercial uses from existing low-density residential uses. 


Hanna explained her support for the residents or Burrell Court and how they’ve maintained the court in a tranquil condition as growth has gone on surrounding it.   


Young wondered how to phrase a motion on this proposal after hearing the comments from fellow Commissioners. Kaye explained the policy of the City to always present motions in approval of the proposal and then vote accordingly.


Motion by Young and seconded by Tanzini to recommend to City Council the approval of Zoning Petition No. 587 initiated by The Wirt-Rivette Group to zone property at 4710 Eastman Avee from Office Service zoning to Regional Commercial. 


YEAS:            None

            NAYS:            Hanna, Heying, McLaughlin, Mead, Pnacek, Senesac, Stewart, Tanzini and Young

            ABSENT:       None


5.   Public Comments




6.   New Business




7.   Communications




8.   Report of the Chairperson




9.   Report of the Planning Director


      Kaye advised that staff and commissioners had recently attended the Michigan Association of Planning conference and asked attending commissioners for their thoughts and comments.  Young discussed a presentation that took place regarding Dublin, OH.  He believed that the planning actions taking place in that city are similar in scale to actions that could be done in Midland. Young and Senesac believed that the conference focused heavily on large-city concepts that did not necessarily pertain to Midland. 


10. Items for Next Agenda – October 22, 2013


      Meeting Cancelled.  Next Meeting Date November 12, 2013.


11. Adjourn 


Motion by Heying and seconded by McLaughlin to adjourn at 7:47 pm.  Motion passed unanimously.


Respectfully submitted,




C. Bradley Kaye, AICP, CFM

Director of Planning and Community Development