MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE MIDLAND CITY PLANNING COMMISSION
WHICH TOOK PLACE ON
TUESDAY, APRIL 22, 2014, 7:00 P.M.,
COUNCIL CHAMBERS, CITY HALL, MIDLAND, MICHIGAN
1. Roll Call
PRESENT: Hanna,Heying, McLaughlin, Mead,Pnacek, Senesac, Stewart, Tanzini and Young
OTHERS PRESENT: Brad Kaye, Director of Planning and Community Development;Grant Murschel, Community Development Planner and nine (9)other.
2. Approval of Minutes
Moved byHanna and seconded by Stewartto approve the minutes of the regular meeting of March25, 2014. Motion passed unanimously.
3. Public Hearing
a. Site Plan No. 329 – the request of Velmeir Companies for site plan review and approval for a 13,600 square foot retail pharmacy, located at 1015 South Saginaw Road.
Murschel presented the proposed site plan. He explained that the proposal is to remove three of the four existing buildings on the site in order to develop a CVS Pharmacy. Part of the site will remain vacant and set aside for a future redevelopment of the bank. Additionally, the development is proposed to include a drive-thru, parking and stormwater facilities. He explained the remaining items that haven’t been address, as explained in the staff report. He specifically touched on the findings from the City’s traffic consultant.
Senesac wondered if the traffic consultant’s report was in writing. Murschel explained that it was a verbal conversation. Senesac wondered how the Commission should view the “shared” parking on the plan. Kaye explained that the city is only concerned with shared parking agreements when one is required for a site to meet parking requirements. In this case, the bank site has not been developed and is not currently proposed to develop. Kaye stated that the Commission should view the nineteen spaces as additional parking for the CVS at this time.
Senesac wanted to clarify that one of the main questions given to the traffic consultant was how left hand turns out of the westerly-most driveway on Eastlawn Drive will impact existing traffic. Murschel confirmed that that was the case and that the consultant had advised that traffic spacing on Eastlawn is such that this driveway will not cause an issue. However, the consultant also suggested that the city enter an agreement with the landowner which would allow a restriction on that driveway should issues arise after construction.
Young explained that the location of this development is near to the city’s largest high school. He explained that congestion before school and after school is an issue, especially given that fact that high school students are inexperienced drivers.
Peter Poznak, an attorney representing Velmeir Companies, presented for the applicant. He explained the current condition of the site and how the development will greatly improve the green space and aesthetics of the site. Additionally, the driveways that are proposed are a great improvement with what is there. He explained that the shared parking agreement will stay with the property and will allow for the development of the bank or any other use. He also explained the reasoning for requesting the additional amount of parking as a CVS Pharmacy is more than just retail or a pharmacy. He explained that one can get similar things at a CVS as a 7-Eleven and because of this, additional parking is necessary.
Senesac wondered about the legality of the shared parking. Poznak explained that the agreement would be executed by the landowners. Kaye explained that the site must provide the minimum number of parking spaces but are allowed up to 120% of that number. The proposed site plan exceeds the 120% and the applicant is asking for an approval of this excess. A shared parking agreement is not in front of the Commission because there is not a second development that needs shared parking. If the bank property were to develop, at that time a shared parking agreement would be more appropriate.
John Bauman, of Velmeir Companies, explained that the site does have adequate loading space. He also explained that 80% of the gross sales of the store are from convenience type items.
John VerPlank, of URS, the engineer on the project answered the question regarding the underground stormwater detention. He explained that this is used where there isn’t space above ground for a detention pond. In his experience, it works well and does not have an issue in the local climate.
Chairman Pnacek welcomed comments in support of the proposal.
Rick Rosinski, chief operating officer of Wolverine Bank, explained the bank’s support of this proposal. He explained that the site is difficult but the proposal will greatly improve what is there currently. One large improvement is the reduced number of driveways accessing the property.
Senesac wondered if the future bank would want a drive-thru. Rosinski explained that banks have changed dramatically to mostly online; however, it has not been determined as to whether or not a drive-thru will be proposed.
Jay Brown, an attorney representing Wolverine Bank, explained that the two properties will have an agreement in place which will address the shared site access, stormwater and parking.
There were no comments in opposition of the proposal. Chairman Pnacek closed the public hearing.
The Commission began their discussion of the proposal. Mead explained that many items still need to be addressed before he would feel comfortable making a decision on the proposal. The Commission agreed that staff needs to present the report of the traffic consultant in written form as well as formulate a more direct explanation of the parking issue for the next meeting.
The Commission tabled the item until the next meeting in order to wait for more information from staff including the report from the traffic consultant and the explanation of parking.
b. Site Plan No. 330 – the request of MLR Engineering on behalf of Niche Properties for site plan review and approval for Twilight Self Storage, located at 4671 South Saginaw Road. (POSTPONED)
4. Old Business
a. Zoning Ordinance Article 8 Sign Standards
Kaye presented the staff report regarding the sign standards as they currently exist. Kaye clarified that scrolling screens must still meet the 6 second requirement from one content frame to the next. Kaye also explained how enforcement will be handled in regards to the current standards and the current work being done to document previous sign permits.
Senesac wondered if some of the language contradicts itself. Although not contradictory, Kaye agreed that some of the language needs to be improved.
Stewart wondered if it would be possible to require the signs to have automatic sensors that change with the amount of ambient light. Hanna wondered if there should be a maximum for light omitted during the daytime hours. Mead wondered if our standards differ drastically from other cities. He wondered if the standards are too rigid compared to other major cities which might prohibit businesses from moving to Midland.
McLaughlin wondered how signage trends were going. Young explained that there are two trends happening; commercial areas are moving towards digital whereas downtown-neighborhoods tend to have more traditional signage.
Kaye explained that the theme of the current ordinance is consistent with many other ordinances within the state but many differences exist.
Senesac and Hanna agreed that the electronic signs are designed to grab the attention of those passing by. McLaughlin explained that ultimately signage is a big player in how people perceive a town.
Heying explained his dissatisfaction with the first item of Section 8.04B. He believes that the standard prohibits things unnecessarily. Kaye explained that the whole ordinance is written in that way rather than listing all signs that need to be prohibited.
5. Public Comments
6 New Business
a. NMT Committee 2013 Accomplishments
Kaye presented the accomplishments of the Non-Motorized Transportation Committee to the Commission. Young and Hanna commented on the need for greater visual measures for bicyclists and those in wheelchairs, such as flags and lights. Tanzini explained that the committee is working to educate people within the community about the benefits of such things.
b. NMT Committee 2014 Action Plan
Kaye presented the 2014 Action Plan. He explained the specific steps that the committee members are planning to take to accomplish their goals during the year. Pnacek wondered where exactly on Eastman Road they are wanting to have a crossing. Kaye said that many locations are being looked at to be improved.
YEAS: Hanna, Heying, McLaughlin, Mead, Pnacek, Senesac, Stewart, Tanzini and Young
8. Report of the Chairperson
9. Report of the Planning Director
10. Items for Next Agenda – May 13, 2014
Kaye reported that public hearings will be scheduled for two developments: Twilight Self Storage and MidMichigan Medical Education building.
Motion by Senesac andseconded by Heying to adjournat9:13pm. Motion passed unanimously.
C. Bradley Kaye, AICP, CFM
Director of Planning and Community Development
MINUTES ARE NOT FINAL UNTIL APPROVED BY THE PLANNING COMMISSION