MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS,

WHICH TOOK PLACE ON TUESDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2006

AT 6:30 P.M., IN COUNCIL CHAMBERS, CITY HALL,

MIDLAND, MICHIGAN

 

1.      ROLL CALL

PRESENT:           Board Members -      Green, Holthof, Higgins, Lichtenwald,                                                                     and Pnacek

ABSENT:             Board Members -      Steele

OTHERS PRESENT:      Daryl Poprave, Acting Director of Planning & Community Development, Cheri Standfest, Community Development Specialist and 7 others.

 

2.   APPROVAL OF MINUTES

It was moved by Green and supported by Pnacek to approve the minutes of the September 19, 2006 meeting as corrected.  Motion was unanimously approved.

 

Page 1, under approval of minutes of the previous meeting, Higgins suggested the following clarifications: Fence is located on a retaining wall which varies in height from 2 feet to 8 feet in addition to the height of the existing fence which is 5 feet 9 inches in height.

 

The second one, page 5, 4th paragraph, 1200 and 1340 should have “sq. ft.” after them.

 

Page 3, top of the page, second paragraph, in response to Lichtenwald’s questions, should be on the bottom of page 2.

 

Page 1, public hearings, it states “currently under construction . . . “it should be more precise about the location.

 

3.   PUBLIC HEARINGS

 

a.      No. 06-14 – MidMichigan Innovations Center for an area/dimension variance to install an additional 160 square foot ground sign at 4520 East Ashman Street on property owned by the Dow Chemical Company.

 

Mr. Poprave showed a location map of the subject property.  The parcel is located east of the US-10 freeway, west of Rockwell Drive.  It is currently owned by the Dow Chemical Company.  The majority of the land is farm land, but it is used by the Dow Chemical Company.  The property is zoned LCMR, as well as the property to the west.  To the north there is some agricultural zoning, which includes the Midland County Animal Control facility and the City of Midland Landfill.  MidMichigan Innovation Center is not in possession of all the vacant land shown on the maps.  They currently have about a 30 sq. ft. sign that is in the MDOT right-of-way.  The State told them they cannot increase the size of this sign, so they are applying for a variance to have one additional sign.

 

The petitioner is interested in installing a 160 sq. ft. ground sign, on which there would be a lot of writing.  This is an “incubator” site and there will be a lot of writing on this sign.  The petitioner states they would like to identify at least 20 businesses.  They already have at least one 30 sq. ft. sign on this site.  Footnote “f” of the ground sign table, states, although it does not fit the petitioner’s needs, one ground sign is allowed with a maximum of 100 sq. ft. and additional ground signage is permitted if the parcel has more than 600 feet of road frontage (this parcel has 854 feet of road frontage).  However, additional ground signs must be spaced at least 200 feet apart.

 

They could have a 100 sq. ft. sign, which would be allowed by the ordinance, but they desire to have a larger sign than that.  Due to the orientation of the existing drives, they cannot meet the distance between the signs.  Therefore, they will need a variance from the Zoning Board.

           

Don Schutt, 4520 E. Ashman Street, Midland, represented the petitioner.  

 

Higgins asked why they need a 16’ x 20’ sign.  He does not understand why they need such a large sign.  They want to have 20 individual slats in the sign with 4” letters on each slat.  Mr. Schutt stated right now, they have 20 tenants in the building.  However, they have the potential for at least 8 additional tenants. 

 

Higgins stated that it would appear that they are at least 65 feet, and probably 100 feet from the sign that is on East Ashman Street now.  Is there any reason they cannot move the sign an additional 100 feet away from the existing sign?  Mr. Schutt stated it would be past the driveway at that point.  The proposed sign will be 50 – 60 feet from the drive and about 60 feet from the road. 

 

Higgins stated he still is not convinced that they need a 160 sq. ft. sign.  He asked the petitioner if he wanted to confer further with his sign person or if he would like the Board to make a decision tonight. 

 

Lichtenwald stated the Board has an obligation to act on this tonight.

 

No one spoke in favor of or in opposition to this request.

 

            Findings of Fact:

1.      Property is zoned LCMR.

2.      Speed limit on East Ashman Street is 40 mph.

3.      Facility is located physically east of E. Ashman Street and about 500 ft. north of the end of the grade at the overpass (over US 10).

4.      The facility neighbors are the Midland County Animal Facility and the City Landfill.

5.      There are two entrances to this property of off E. Ashman Street.

6.      There was a Dow Chemical letter received in favor of this variance.

7.      The property houses a multi-incubator site to accommodate many businesses.

8.      The facility is located east of Rockwell, just east of the Midland County line.

9.      The existing, 30 sq. ft. ground sign is located within the State of Michigan right of way.

10.  The State of Michigan already denied an enlargement request for the existing 30 sq. ft. sign within their right of way.

 

            It is moved by Green, supported by Holthof, to approve Petition No. 06-14 based on the findings of fact for a 160 square foot ground sign at 4520 East Ashman Street.

 

Higgins moved to put a condition on the motion that the maximum size of the sign should be 128 sq. ft.  Pnacek seconded the amendment to the motion.

 

Voting on the amendment:

Green:  No

Higgins:   Yes

Holthof:  Yes

Lichtenwald:  Yes

Pnacek:  Yes

 

The original motion has been amended to allow for a maximum of a 128 sq. ft. sign, based on the findings of fact.

 

Higgins feels that there are a lot of people in the building and they need additional signage to advertise all the tenants in the building.  He feels this property is unique and that all the criteria can be met. 

 

Green stated this property is unique in that you have 40 mph traffic and there are two entryways into this property.  The second lot appears to be one employees would turn into.  They would need the additional signage for safety factors.  The idea of that facility is to develop additional business for the community.  He has no problem supporting this variance request.

 

Holthof concurs with what has already been said.  He is comfortable with the criteria, as is Lichtenwald.

 

Voting on the motion:

            Green:  Yes

            Higgins:  Yes

            Holthof:  Yes

            Lichtenwald:  Yes 

            Pnacek:  Yes

 

The motion to approve the Petition 06-14 was approved 5 - 0.

 

b.      No. 06-15 – David Koepplinger on behalf of Midland King’s Daughters Home for an area/dimension variance to reduce the required rear yard setback at 2410 Rodd Street for a proposed 13,600 square foot addition.

 

Mr. Poprave showed a location map of the site.  It is located on the corner of Rodd and Nelson Streets, and is adjacent to Central Park, a municipal park.  The aerial photograph shows the location of the building and the adjacent tennis courts.  The photograph also shows the former city Civic Arena and the Community Center.  This parcel is zoned RB.  The surrounding property in the green is zoned Community, which houses Central Park, the old Civic Arena and the Community Center.  Northwesterly is zoned RA-4 and nearby is also some Office Service.  It is a ways from the Circle, which is a commercial designated area.

 

Attachment #1 in the staff report shows the parking, located off Rodd Street.  Additional parking will be created off of Rodd and Nelson.  The addition to the building would be in this rear yard area.  If approved, this variance request will allow a 13,600 sq. ft. addition to be constructed onto the King’s Daughters Home.  It would provide seven new apartments and two assisted living units.  The Zoning Ordinance requires a 72 ft. setback due to the length of the building parallel to the rear property line.  The petitioner is seeking a 21 ft. reduction in this setback.  The addition will still be 51 feet from the rear property line.  At its October 3, 2006 meeting, the Parks and Recreation Commission looked at this petition and they have no objections to this addition being located within the proposed rear yard setback.  There is a generator box located on Central Park property.  Also there was an addition done in 1986 that appears to be close to the property line.  The required setback was just implemented in the new Zoning Ordinance.  Prior to the new ordinance, there was only a 25 ft. setback required for RB zoning.  There are already two additions that have been added that are closer to the property line than allowed.

 

David Koepplinger, 2410 Rodd Street, Midland, 48640.  Mr. Koepplinger stated he did not have anything to add to the staff report. 

 

Higgins asked why they are adding nine beds but they are not increasing the facility size.  Mr. Koepplinger stated they have a license for 30 assisted beds and they use fewer than that.  The additional beds are in escrow.  It is the same way with the rooms.  They are utilizing licensed beds that they have always had, but that have not been used. 

 

Green asked about the existing parking.  It is behind the facility. Will the parking currently located on city property be vacated?  Mr. Koepplinger stated they want to add some parking on Rodd Street and on Nelson Street, next to the park.  Unfortunately, they are land-locked by Central Park.  The home is almost 50 years old.  They came up with this plan and the only way to do this was to apply for a variance and get closer to the property line.  That is why there are here tonight. 

 

No one spoke in favor of or in opposition to the petitioner’s request.

 

            Findings of Fact:

1.                  Zoning is RB.

2.                  Located adjacent to Central Park on two sides and at the corner of Rodd & Nelson on the other two sides.

3.                  The setback of the rear property line has been changed with the new Zoning Ordinance.

4.                  The rear yard is adjacent to city property.

5.                  The Parks & Recreation Commission has indicated they have no objection to this request.

6.                  The proposed addition will be totally in the rear of the building and will not be seen on Rodd Street.  The addition will not be adjacent to residential homes on Rodd Street.

7.                  There are two, existing nonconforming, building encroachments in the rear yard setback.

8.                  No communications from the public were received on this petition.

 

            It is moved by Higgins, seconded by Green, to approve Petition No. 06-15 based on the findings of fact for a 13,600 square foot addition.

 

Higgins felt the petitioner did a good job relating to the criteria.  He feels they have all been met.  The property is unique due to the fact that it is next to a City park.  He felt they did a good job with the design of the new facility.

 

Holthof concurred with Higgins. 

 

Green stated that since the Parks & Recreation Board looked at this and they had no problem with it, it looks like a good addition. 

 

Pnacek stated this addition is not detrimental to the use of the City park. 

 

Lichtenwald agrees.

 

            Voting on the motion:

Green:  Yes

Higgins:   Yes

Holthof:  Yes

Lichtenwald:  Yes

Pnacek:  Yes

 

The motion to approve the Petition 06-15 was approved 5 - 0.

 

 

4.   PUBLIC COMMENTS (not related to items on the agenda)

 

None

 

5.   OLD BUSINESS

 

None

 

6.   NEW BUSINESS

 

  1. MAP Conference report – Roy Green

 

Green stated he was happy he had the opportunity to attend the Michigan Association of Planning Conference in Detroit.  There is the ability to interact and meet other people who do the same types of activities in their community.  It offers a different perspective as they discuss the ways they make their decisions.  It was a very valuable opportunity and he would encourage anyone to attend this event.

 

 

7.   DECISION SHEET SIGNATURES

 

  1. 06-13 approval of findings of fact

      b.   06-05 recorded copy

      c.   06-07 recorded copy

      d.   06-09 recorded copy

      e.   06-10 recorded copy

      f.    06-11 recorded copy

 

Staff stated that there will be a Zoning Board of Appeals meeting on November 21, 2006.

 

8.   ADJOURNMENT

 

The Chairman adjourned the meeting at 7:40 p.m.

 

 

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

Daryl Poprave

Acting Director of Planning & Community Development

 

DP/djm