TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2013, 7:00 P.M.,



1.   Roll Call

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

ABSENT:      McLaughlin

OTHERS PRESENT:   Brad Kaye, Director of Planning and Community Development; Grant Murschel, Community Development Planner and eight (8) others.


2.   Approval of Minutes

Moved by Young and seconded by Stewart to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of October 8, 2013.  Motion passed unanimously.

Moved by Hanna and seconded by Heying to approve the minutes of the special meeting of October 8, 2013.  Motion passes unanimously.


3.   Public Hearing


a.    Zoning Petition No. 588 – the request of Three Rivers Corporation on behalf of Tarbert Properties, LLC to zone property at 323 Sauve Street from Regional Commercial zoning to Industrial A.


Mr. Murschel presented the proposed zoning request.  He explained the location of the subject parcel and the surrounding land uses and zoning districts.  The proposed amendment is consistent with the City’s Master Plan as it is indicated as Light Industrial on the future land use map.  Murschel continued through the considerations the Planning Commission must review during any proposed zoning map amendment.  He concluded that staff supports the proposed amendment.


Kristin Riddle, of Three Rivers Corporation, presented for the petitioner.  She added that the petitioner has acquired many parcels in this area and hopes to purchase this property with an industrial zoning to make for the best, future development of the site. 


There were no comments in support or opposition of the proposal.


            The public hearing was closed.


            Hanna, Heying and Sensac agreed that the petition seemed straight forward and action on the proposal could be handled this evening.


            A motion was made by Mead to waive the procedural requirements for a second meeting.  The motion was seconded by Hanna. The motion passed unanimously.


Motion by Senesac and seconded by Heying to recommend to City Council the approval of Zoning Petition No. 588 initiated by Three Rivers Corporation on behalf of Tarbert Properties, LLC to zone property at 323 Sauve Street from Regional Commercial zoning to Industrial A. 


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

            NAYS:            None

            ABSENT:       McLaughlin


4.   Old Business


a.    Continued discussion of public notice options


Mr. Kaye began the explanation of this item and the background of this subject as it was mentioned during the October 8th Work Session.  He explained the reasons why the City publishes the notices in the paper per requirements of the Michigan Planning Enabling Act and Zoning Enabling Act.  He also explained how the City’s Zoning Ordinance requires certain steps to be taken for public notification on top of the requirements of the state legislation.  As it stands, the zoning ordinance requires additional notices to be placed in the newspaper than what state law requires.  Currently, each notice placed in the newspaper costs on average sixty-five dollars.


Hanna wanted clarification as she believed reducing the notices placed in the newspaper was contingent upon the improvement of the information on the City’s website and state legislation allowing notification to be placed solely on a website.  Kaye explained that it was not discussed to be a contingency as this review simply deals with potentially reducing the number of notices placed in the newspaper.  He further explained that any change to the practice of placing notices in the newspaper would still meet all of the requirements of state law; the State Legislature is currently reviewing the idea of changing the requirements but it is all preliminary at this point. At this time, he believes that the only place where costs to the City could be reduced would be the site plan approval process. 


Mead wondered about the idea of placing signs on the subject parcels.  He questioned the type of signs and if they would be reusable.  Kaye explained that reusable ones would be one option.  Senesac agreed that the signs could have a standard line directing individuals to the website; he also believed that in the interim, a link should be added to the front page of the website to direct visitors to a page where the notices are listed.


Kaye mentioned that staff is looking for additional direction from the Planning Commission and encouraged the commissioners to continue to think about the idea of changing the public notice requirements.  The ideas will be discussed at another work session. 


Pnacek wondered about what the changes would look like.  Kaye indicated that any changes would most likely be in the form of an amendment to the zoning ordinance. 


5.   Public Comments




6.   New Business


a.    Street Vacation – Portions of Corning Lane and Sauve Street


Mr. Kaye presented the proposal and began by explaining how it relates to the zoning petition.  The request would close Coning Lane at the westernmost boundary of 1719 Corning Lane and Sauve Street at the northernmost boundary of 323 Sauve Street.  The proposal would allow the property owner of the adjacent sites to combine parcels to create a larger site.  The city will require the applicant to create turnarounds at the newly created dead ends for use by public works vehicles and emergency vehicles.  Staff in all departments has recommended approval of this proposal.       


Heying wondered about an existing fire hydrant in the middle of the subject area.  Kaye indicated that the public utility easements will remain; the City will retain control of the hydrant and will continue to be responsible for the repair and maintenance of the hydrant as well as the other utility lines. 


Hanna wondered about emergency access to the Beirlein’s site on the east side of Sauve Street.  Bierlein’s property abuts the east side of Sauve Street at 1913 Mark Putnam Road.  Kaye explained that the parcel is fenced entirely on the west side and is not accessible, short of scaling a fence, by emergency personnel today. Senesac inquired about Bierlein’s opinion towards this petition. Kaye indicated that the petitioner has been in contact with Bierlein but city staff has not received any comments from them at this time.  Kaye believes it is unlikely that Bierlein will have any objection as theur parcel is fenced on the subject side and access does not currently exist. 


Hanna wondered about the total acreage of the closed street.  It is estimated to be .81 acres.  She also wondered about cost of acre for this land and if the owner would be receiving a handout from the city.  She stated that if approved, the applicant would be given an amount of land valued at around $30,000.  Kaye added that the City is not permitted to sell public right-of-ways. 


Pnacek invited comments from the petitioner.


Kristin Riddle, of Three Rivers Corporation, further explained her client’s stance.  With a larger site, Tarbert Properties could take on larger industrial activities.  Additionally, she added that her client has been in discussion with the abutting property owners and has not received any objection. 


Heying wondered about where access to the full site would be located.  Riddle indicated that the main entrance will remain off Saginaw Road and a secondary entrance will be placed at Corning Lane. 


Mead wondered about the total acreage once all of Tarbert’s properties would be combined.  Riddle did not know the exact acreage but estimated it would be about ten acres.


Senesac voiced that he would like Beirlein’s approval before recommending the proposal.  Kaye explained that the PC is in a different position responsible to provide a recommendation whereas City Council will gather public comment.


Motion by Heying and seconded by Young to recommend to City Council the approval of Street Vacation proposal initiated by Three Rivers Corporation on behalf of Tarbert Properties, LLC to vacate portions of Sauve Street and Corning Lane. 


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

            NAYS:            Hanna

            ABSENT:       McLaughlin


b.    Master Plan Designation of 4710 Eastman Avenue


Kaye explained the history of this parcel and mentioned that three petitions have been either denied or withdrawn due to public outcry.  Staff is recommending that this parcel be changed from Commercial to Office-Service.  PC must direct the process to start. 


Heying wondered about the timing if the go-ahead was given tonight.  Four weeks would be needed for the public hearing.  Mead explained that he believes that it is the right thing to do.


Motion by Mead and seconded by Hanna to begin the amendment process of the Master Plan map designation of 4710 Eastman Avenue.  Motioned was passed unanimously.   



c.    Video presentation and discussion on city improvements


Due to technical difficulties, this item will be postponed until a later date.


7.   Communications




8.   Report of the Chairperson




9.   Report of the Planning Director


a.    Michigan Municipal League PlacePlan 2013-2014 Application


Kaye explained the grant application as it relates to the large network of agencies that facilitate the Place Making process.  The goal of the program is to retain talented individuals within Michigan cities.  This afternoon, the city was informed that our application was approved.  The essence of the application is to pull together the diverse areas that are in and around downtown Midland. 


Mead wondered about how the Planning Commission will be part of the process.  Kaye explained that the process of public input will start with city commissions and will greatly expand to encompass community stakeholders and any residents that are interested in the future of Midland. 


Senesac wondered about the deliverables of the project.  Kaye explained how it could be in different forms as the final product is delivered based on public participation.  Other communities have received a development plan when participating in this program. 


Hanna explained her caution towards outside groups coming in to push ideas onto Midland.  Mead explained that he disagreed with Hanna’s concern.  He believes that in the past, outside groups have worked hard to solicit comments from the people of Midland and have used these comments effectively to draft their final work.    


Kaye explained that the group will deliver exactly what we ask for.  The set deliverables will change as the comment process will define the final goals.


10. Items for Next Agenda – November 26, 2013


a.    Site Plan No. 324 – Iron Wood Estates Development – elderly housing at 4124 Waldo Avenue.


This item was not ready for this public hearing date and will be presented on December 10. 

A Planning Commission Work Session will be held before the December 10 meeting.  The meeting on November 26 will be canceled. 


11. Adjourn 


Motion by Senesac and seconded by Heying to adjourn at 8:05 pm.  Motion passed unanimously.


Respectfully submitted,




C. Bradley Kaye, AICP, CFM

Director of Planning and Community Development