TUESDAY, DECEMBER 10, 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 nine (9) others.


2.   Approval of Minutes

Moved by Hanna and seconded by Young to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of November 12, 2013.  Motion passed unanimously.


3.   Public Hearing


a.    Site Plan No. 324 – the request of Axiom Consulting Services on behalf of Iron Wood Estates Development for site plan review and approval for a 43,480 square foot housing project, located at 4124 Waldo Avenue.  There were no comments in support or opposition of the proposal.


Murschel presented the proposal to the Commission.  He began by giving an overview of the location of the site on Waldo Avenue.  He explained the overall site plan as it is proposed.  The proposal meets all of the requirements of the special standards for congregate homes and all of the information requirements have been satisfied.  Screening, landscaping and lighting requirements are satisfied as well. 


Heying wondered about the removal of trees within the northernmost area of the site.  Murschel explained that this area will be used for a storm water detention pond to meet storm water management standards.  Hanna wondered how the removal of the trees will impact the neighboring homes.  Hanna also wondered about the impact of traffic on Waldo Avenue.  Murschel explained that the parcel is allowed the one access onto Waldo Avenue.


Stewart asked about the temporary drive located towards the east of the site.  Murschel explained that this is necessary for emergency vehicle access.  The temporary drive will be built to meet city standards.  Heying wondered if the applicant was permitted to have a private drive in this district.  Murschel indicated that private drives must meet standards but are not regulated by districts. 


Jim Klein, of Axiom Consulting, presented for the application.  He explained the reason that the storm water detention pond was located on the northernmost side of the parcel was that this area of the site is the most suitable for storm water retention and discharge and it has no other possible use.  The storm water outlet is also located in this area.  He explained that as many trees as possible will be saved in building the detention pond.  He indicated that the applicant has obtained the necessary DEQ permits for work on the site.  Neil Crave, of Leisure Living, also spoke about the application and the overall goals of the facility.  He explained that the market is for seniors who are unable to live on their own. 


Heying and Hanna wondered about the choice of trees for screening.  They believe that white pines will not adequately screen once mature.  Klein indicated that this was a choice by the landscaping firm.  As much existing vegetation will be retained as possible.  Additional trees will be planted where additionally screening is needed.


McLaughlin wondered about the future plans for Waldo Avenue and U.S. 10.  Kaye indicated that plans exist for this interchange but no time for construction has yet been chosen.  McLaughlin believes that a better interchange at that location would greatly reduce the current traffic issues on Waldo Avenue.   


Mead excused himself from the meeting at 7:25pm. 


There were no public comments in support of the application. 


Allison Rossi, of 3503 Mark Twain Drive, explained that she is concerned that trees will be removed near her property.  She voiced her opposition as she does not want to look out her backyard and see this facility. She also explained that she was told that the property was wetlands and could not be developed. 


John Lieberman, of 4302 Waldo Avenue, voiced his concern for the storm water pond located to the rear of his property.  He would like to know how it would be managed, if water would be there permanently and what would happen during large rain events.  He explained that the current woods shield his property from the traffic noise on U.S. 10.  He also was concerned over the potential impact of traffic on Waldo Avenue. 


Ron Utter, of 3503 Mark Twain Drive, voiced his concern over the storm water detention pond. He wanted to know if water would remain in the pond throughout the year and if additional mosquito issues would arise from such a pond.  He is also concerned about traffic on Waldo Avenue. 


Bruce Keister, of 856 North Waldo the parcel to the immediate north, explained his concern over the development. He also indicated that he was not notified of the proposed development until his neighbor told him.  He wanted to know how close the storm water pond will be to his property line and if a fence will be placed along the south side of his property. 


Klein addressed the concerns voiced by the neighbors.  He indicated that the pond will not retain water for extended periods.  The slope of the pond will be gradual enough to not need a fence.  He also explained that the pond will be kept clean and mowed.  Additionally, the facility will be fenced.  He explained that additional width will be added to Waldo Avenue at the entrance location.  The facility will not generate much traffic regularly as only fourteen employees will arrive and leave daily; very little traffic will come from residents as most residents will rely on other forms of transportation than their own vehicles.           


            The public hearing was closed.


            Hanna explained her caution to act on the item this evening.  She explained that she is not comfortable with the large removal of trees for the storm water pond and the traffic impact on Waldo Avenue.  Kaye explained that a criterion of the review is the preservation of natural features on site.


            Senesac asked Hanna to elaborate further on her concerns.  She explained her dissatisfaction with the removal of the trees and the potential impact of this on the neighboring properties.  Senesac explained that he believes the Commission should not move forward on action this evening without unanimous consensus.  He also explained that he could not think of another proposal that would have such a minimal impact on traffic on Waldo Avenue with a site this large. 


            The Commission expressed their concern over the amount of trees being removed near the abutting properties on the north side of the development where the storm water pond is being proposed.  They asked that the applicant look at reducing the amount of tree removal on site by either relocating the storm water detention pond or reducing the size of the pond.  They would like to see additional screening to lessen the impact on the abutting properties.      


            The Commission decided to table the item until the next regular scheduled meeting on January 14, 2014.


      b.   Conditional Use Permit No. 49 – the request of Eastlawn Center, LC to permit a drive-thru window lane at the Eastlawn Center Food Court on a property located at 961 South Saginaw Road.


            Murschel presented the proposed drive-thru located within the Eastlawn Shopping Center.  He explained the overall design of the site along with the measures that are proposed to increase traffic efficiency and decrease congestion.  He explained that the proposal met all of the district standards and non-discretionary criteria.  Dial-A-Ride service does not have a specific pick-up and drop-off location but the barrier free spaces near the subject unit entrance are proposed to be used. 


            Heying asked about potential conflicts with the other drive-thrus currently on the site.  Pnacek wondered about parking conflicts on the northeast side of the drive-thru.  Murschel explained that the queue spacing meets the standards of the ordinance and that courtesy will need to take place for cars to maneuver in and out of those spots.  Additionally, the center meets parking standards and could remove those spaces that are impacted.   


            Michael Damman, of Eastlawn Center L.C., presented for the applicant.  He explained that the drive-thru is being proposed for a Biggby Coffee restaurant.  He explained that his client requested the drive-thru and Eastlawn Center L.C. began working with their architect to develop one that would work with the current conditions.  He believes that what is proposed is the best use for the site.  The drive-thru lane will have arrows painted on the asphalt directing drivers to the window. 


            Heying wondered about the proposed bollard and if it was needed to direct drivers away from the sidewalk.  Damman indicated that the bollard would be right at eye-level to direct drivers.  McLaughlin explained that the large open area is a large one-way and the angled parking will help indicate the direction of the traffic.   


            The public hearing was closed.


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


            Heying explained his support for the proposal.  Senesac explained that he believes that the proposed configuration is not the most ideal set-up but he does not know how to improve it.  What is proposed might be the best solution.   


Motion by McLaughlin and seconded by Hanna to recommend to City Council the approval of Conditional Use Permit No. 49 the request of Eastlawn Center, LC to permit a drive-thru window lane at the Eastlawn Center Food Court on a property located at 961 South Saginaw Road for on the following four (4) reasons and one (1) contingency : 


1.    Conditional use permits require the evaluation of the objective criteria in this report.  This development meets all of the objective criteria. 


2.    Conditional use permits also allow an evaluation of the subjective criteria listed in this report.  Subject to the conditions of approval recommended, this development meets all of the subjective criteria.


3.    The proposed use as planned meets the intent and purpose of the Zoning Ordinance and the intent of the Regional Commercial District to serve as the most intensive and vehicular-oriented commercial district.


4.    The proposed use would not be generally detrimental to the general welfare of the adjacent parcels and neighborhood.



1.    New signage must meet the requirements of Article 8 of the Zoning Ordinance.


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

            NAYS:             None

            ABSENT:        Mead


4.   Old Business




5.   Public Comments






6.   New Business


a.    Zoning Ordinance Updates


Kaye reminded the Planning Commission that zoning updates are completed annually.  Whereas a large number of substantial changes were made last year, the changes proposed this year are more administrative in nature.  He presented the zoning ordinance updates as presented in the staff report. 


Mead rejoined the Commission at 8:40pm. 


Hanna wondered if the definition for car rental establishments includes large moving truck rental.  Kaye indicated that it does.  Hanna wondered about the current hotels and the existence of extended stay and non-extended stay in the same building.  Kaye explained that he would further research an answer. Senesac wondered about the definition of “temporary storage.”  Kaye explained that currently it is not defined. 


Stewart wondered whether or not the text should include “permanent” under vehicle, commercial number six. Hanna wondered if the Table 3.3 could be researched for the proposed senior housing facility on Waldo Avenue.   


Hanna wondered if the ordinance accounts for new LED lights.  Kaye indicated that proposals must include the lumens in submitted photometric plans but we do not regulate light source types.  Hanna wondered about the location of filling stations and the setback standards.  Kaye indicated that he would look into her request for further research on this. 


The Commission agreed to move forward with the public hearing process on the proposed zoning amendments.  Kaye indicated that he would revise the proposals based on the discussion this evening. 


7.   Communications




8.   Report of the Chairperson




9.   Report of the Planning Director


      Kaye informed the Commission that City Council approved the memorandum of understanding with the Michigan Municipal League to move forward with the PlacePlan Grant.  Senesac wondered about the timing of the project.  Kaye indicated that this was still being discussed but that it would be close to a sixth-month process. 


10. Items for Next Agenda – January 14, 2014


a.    Site Plan No. 325 – Self Storage Units – 1547 Washington Street 



11. Adjourn   


Motion by Hanna and seconded by Heying to adjourn 9:29 at pm.  Motion passed unanimously.



Respectfully submitted,





C. Bradley Kaye, AICP, CFM

Director of Planning and Community Development