APPROVED MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING
OF THE KENTWOOD PLANNING COMMISSION
JANUARY 10, 2012, 7:30 P.M.
Chair Holtrop called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.
The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Commissioner Kape.
Members Present: Maurice Groce, John Helder, Dan Holtrop, Ed Kape, Laurie Sheldon, Ed Swanson, Frank Vander Hoff, Don Yokom and Johngerlyn Young
Members Absent: None
Others Present: City Attorney Jeff Sluggett, Community Development Director Terry Schweitzer, Economic Development Planner Lisa Golder, Planner Joe Pung, Staff Secretary Monique Collier, Assistant City Engineer Tim Bradshaw, the applicants and about 20 residents.
The Minutes of December 13, 2011 and Findings of Fact for: Case#14-11 Wax Doctor Detailing & Uhaul Service Center – Special Land Use Open Air Business and Site Plan Review located at 5091 Broadmoor Ave. SE were approved as drafted.
Approval of the Minutes and Findings of Fact
Motion by Commissioner VanderHoff, supported by Commissioner Swanson, to approve the agenda for the January 10, 2012 meeting.
Approval of the Agenda
Acknowledge visitors wishing to speak to non-agenda items.
There was no Public Comment
– ICC Behar – Special Land Use and Site Plan Review for parking in the flood plain located at 3425 East Paris Ave
Planner Pung introduced the request. He stated the request involves and special land use and site plan review to permit parking within the floodplain for ICC Behar. Pung stated the request has been previously tabled to allow the applicant to work out Engineering issues. Pung stated they have made significant changes from when they originally came to the planning commission. Pung stated there is a reduction in area to the proposed parking deck. He stated they have also eliminated all fill except for what is needed for the piers for the parking deck. Pung stated the entire structure is going to be a parking deck so the fill will be very minimal. Pung stated they are also providing makeup for whatever fill is used in the floodplain. Pung stated with the reduction in the area they are no longer encroaching within the floodway. Pung stated he is recommending conditional approval of the special land use and site plan as stated in his memo.
Chair Holtrop opened the public hearing.
There was no public comment.
Motion by Commissioner VanderHoff, supported by Commissioner Sheldon, to close the public hearing.
Yokom questioned whether or not the underside of the deck will be enclosed in any way to prevent garbage from gathering underneath. Pung stated it will not be enclosed. Pung stated if they were to enclose it there would be Engineering issues with regards to closing off the floodplain. Jazminko, the applicant stated they are a Mosque and they clean up regularly so that issue should not come up.
Motion by Commissioner Swanson, supported by Commissioner VanderHoff, to grant conditional approval of the Special Land Use Parking Facility located within the Floodplain as described in Case 11-11: ICC Behar Parking Expansion. Approval is conditioned on conditions 1-3 and basis points 1-4 as described in Pung’s memo dated 1/6/12.
Motion by Commissioner Swanson, supported by Commissioner Sheldon, to grant conditional approval of the site plan dated January 5, 2012 as described in Case 11-11: ICC Behar Parking lot Expansion. Approval is conditioned on conditions 1-4 and basis points 1-4 as described in Pung’s memo dated 1/6/12.
- Camille Woods (Kathryn Woods)– Preliminary and Final Site Plan Review for a Site Condominium Development located northwest of Lake Dr. and Camille
Planner Golder stated the site plan is the same that was reviewed about 4 weeks ago. She stated there is more information on the trees within the development. She stated some of the trees will have to be removed. The applicant was asked to place on the plan any trees greater than 6” caliper. Golder stated the applicant has also been working on some of the details of the City Engineer’s review. Golder stated the applicant shows a 20 foot storm water easement because the City limits what you can do within the easements and that is all that is required.
Golder stated there are 11 units; resulting in a density of 3.65 units per acre which is within our ordinance. Golder stated the detention pond is the same. She stated the developer submitted a letter dated January 3, 2012 in which he stated he is willing to work with the neighbors on the landscaping and other issues, the price for the units will be $225,000-$300,000.
Golder stated the storm water system will catch the water that is on either side and bring it to the detention pond. She stated if there are any water issues with which the neighbors were concerned the storm sewer design is for the water to go to the detention pond and then a controlled release off the site. This will be a better situation.
Golder stated the developer has made commitments regarding the building. He talks about the front elevation: pitch of the front gables, side pitch, and the trim around the windows, 10% brick façade and the size of the unit. Golder stated at first, there was mention of 1,500 square feet for a single story unit, which has been now reduced to 1,400 square feet, and 1,900 square feet for a 2 story which has now been reduced to 1,800 square feet for a 1 ½ or 2 story building. Golder stated this contradicts previous representations by the developer as well as the graphics previously submitted by the developer.
Golder stated the developer is committing to no fencing which is something the neighbors wanted and that there will be street trees that are 10 foot high. She stated the City uses a minimum caliper measure which is 2.5 caliper instead of a specifying a minimum height.
Golder stated the commissioners have been asking about the planning commission standards that are supposed to be used for a site plan review. She stated Chapter 13 Section 13.08 is very general. She stated the neighbors and their attorneys are focusing on Section 13.08.E, arguing that there will be a permanent adverse effect on the neighboring property. Golder stated what the applicant has represented the homes to be $225,000-$300,000 thus they are not going to be any less valuable than the existing neighboring homes and they meet the zoning ordinance with respect to the size. She stated this is single family residential, abutting single family residential. She stated in our draft Master Plan update one of our goals to mix different types of homes. She stated the homes are setback adequately and they meet the requirements for square footage and they meet the private road standards.
Golder stated another issue that has been a concern whether or not the homes are aesthetically compatible. Golder stated this is a subjective call, but it is single family residential abutting residential. She stated there are several situations in the City where we have a single story abutting a 2 story.
Golder stated another section of our ordinance relevant to this site plan is Section 14.05. She stated 14.05.B addresses site design and asks the planning commission to consider whether the proposal is harmonious and efficiently organized in relation to the size of the lot; is what’s being proposed on the lot efficient and organized in relation to topography; is the character of the adjoining property consistent with the character of the development plan. Golder stated the next section talks about buildings standards and setbacks and that they are placed to preserve environmentally sensitive areas. She stated the buildings are not proposed on environmentally sensitive areas.
Golder pointed out that Section 14.o5.D does not apply here because there is the exception for single and two family dwellings. Golder stated that other sections address preserving natural systems and minimizing tree and soil removal and part of the recommendation is even though there is tree removal on the site, to try to make up and put trees back at an equal rate as they are being taken out.
Golder stated that there are representations submitted by the applicant regarding his intent to develop; these are offered so we can include them as part of the recommendation and, to some extent, draw upon them in the future to decide some of the areas in site plan are consistent with what was proposed.
Golder stated this is a recommendation that goes to the city commission. She stated she is recommending conditional approval of the preliminary Site Plan dated 1/3/2012 for an 11 lot site condominium development for Kathryn Woods Site Condominium as described in Case No. 12-11 Approval is conditioned on conditions 1-8 and basis points 1-11 as stated in her memo dated 1/4/12.
Golder outlined the recommended conditions including compliance with the City Engineer’s memo and providing detail that has to do with the Condominium Act. Those details need to be provided before Final Site Condominium development approval. Golder stated a lot of the details will be doing a check of what was approved for the preliminary plan. She stated if it is inconsistent than what was approved in the preliminary, that is the opportunity to say to the developer this is what was approved you have to be consistent with that. Condition 3 references a landscaping plan and that existing trees 6” caliper or greater in size need to be replaced equally. Removal of larger trees warrant more replacement trees. Golder stated the City attorney did recommend that we add to this condition a performance guarantee to make sure that this will get done. Condition 4 specifies no accessory buildings in drainage easements and to make sure that this restriction is clear and placed on the master deed so the perspective homeowners will know this is a restriction. Condition 5, states that street trees at least 2.5 in caliper required by zoning ordinance Section 19.03. Condition 7 provides the master deed and bylaws, the opportunity to review those are reviewed by the City Attorney, Planning Staff and the City Engineer to make sure we are consistent with that preliminary plan. Condition 8 calls for a revision to the January 3, 2012 letter to be consistent with prior representations as to minimum sizes of homes and also the applicant shall demonstrate that lots 4 and 5 can accommodate a home. Golder commented it appears those building envelopes are pretty small so show that a home can fit on that plan.
Golder stated with respect to condition 8 the applicant made representations throughout this process. He spoke about sales price, building materials, the pitch of the roof, the pitch of the gables, elevation and floor plans that gives an idea of the kind of quality of homes he is looking at. However what we see now is a reduction in square footage; the floor plans don’t match the square footage that was quoted in the January 3 letter; it is not clear about the roof and the gable pitch, explain how that makes it a better home. She stated the roof and gable pitches that were on the letter do not match the elevations that were provided. Golder stated she is not clear on what the applicant representations are any more. Golder stated this must be resolved because when we get to that final plan we need to know what standards will apply.
VanderHoff asked what would be the problem on the square footage minimum on the single story if he went to1,500 square feet and on the 2 story he went to 1900 square feet. Halland stated it is 100 square feet so it is generally not a big deal. Halland stated he spoke to builders and they looked at their portfolios of homes they build and 1,400 and 1,800 better fit in with what they envision. Halland stated he hasn’t committed to any builders. Halland pointed out the City minimum is 1,040 square feet. Halland stated by showing the front elevations and the floor plans he was attempting to put at ease the neighbors’ concerns that they weren’t going to get a bunch of 1,040 square foot ranch homes built behind them without basements and without any detail on the front elevation. Halland stated he wanted to offer now so the commissioners can understand and be more comfortable with this as well.
VanderHoff stated he is in favor. He stated the planning staff feels it meets all the requirements, the minimum density, and if he platted it out he can do this by right. He has a right to use this property according to our Master Plan and our density. VanderHoff stated he doesn’t have a problem with this and he understands the neighbors concerns.
Helder stated he agrees with VanderHoff and he has no problem with the project.
Sheldon wanted to specify conditions on the minimum square footage and price of the homes. Golder stated we are in a better position to specify these as conditions if it is offered. Golder stated she would be more concerned about specifying price because it is market driven. Attorney Sluggett stated he would be very uncomfortable with the commissioners setting a price as that is not within their legal authority. Sluggett stated in terms of the square footage, he thinks they have some latitude in terms of what they can require but to keep in mind they need to be able to point to something in the zoning ordinance as the basis for any requirement.
Sheldon stated she would like to see part of the condition being the square footage. She stated she doesn’t want to see this changed again and we need it to be consistent. Sheldon stated she is not excited about this project at all. She stated she doesn’t think it fits well with the community.
Sheldon asked how many different style homes will be built. Halland stated the Craftsmen style is popular. He sated a certain percentage will be custom built homes for people and they will chose whatever architecture they want. Discussion ensued regarding the look of the homes.
Golder stated if he gets more descriptive on what look he is going for and have the elevations to match it would be helpful. Sheldon asked if there will be several different builders building and tons of different styles that will not go with the community. Halland stated it will be styles that are popular in Grand Rapids, the Prairie Style, the Craftsman and the Traditional or Colonial. Discussion ensued regarding looks of homes.
Yokom stated he is not really enthusiastic about this but seeing that he meets all the criteria of what we have in place it gives him the opportunity to build.
Swanson stated at one point the private road was to curve at a 45 degree angle where unit 11 is located in order to pull it away from the Lake Drive parcels. He asked what happened. Golder stated the design resulted in the 2 detention ponds which was rejected by the city commission service committee, and at that point he went back to the other plan. Golder stated he also looked at bringing the street in from the north then that made it too long. He did try other ways that preserved more of the trees but the plan now under consideration is close to the first plan.
Swanson stated the 84 foot radius is short and he would like to see a much longer radius. He thinks it can be done. Assistant City Engineer Bradshaw stated the road commission has standards set and 84 feet meets their standards. The City of Kentwood doesn’t have a standard for a 25 mile an hour private residential street. Swanson stated he would like to see it 150 or more feet of radius which would be a much smoother curb. Swanson stated he think it looks a little out of place and a longer radius would work better. Swanson stated he agrees with the commissioners he is meeting our requirements, but, he is not really impressed.
Groce stated he is not happy with this and he questions how the developer can get $225,000 for a 1,400 square foot home in today’s market. The homes selling for that price are larger than 1,400 square feet. He stated he is not happy with this.
Young stated she isn’t happy but it appears to meet the requirements.
Holtrop stated it was his recollection that the lots on the east side (5-11) were going to be a little narrow to accommodate a gentler curve in the road. Golder stated the gentler curve created the two detention pond situation and that was rejected by the city commission service committee. Holtrop questioned eliminating lot 11 and putting in a gentle curve would that affect the detention ponds. Halland stated they curved to get away from the Jacotes property, but they had to take lot 11 and move it.
Holtrop stated he again visited the property and asked what the stakes on the back side of the Lake Dr. property are representing. Halland stated that is the south property line.
Holtrop stated he spent time going through our ordinance and focusing on standards relating to: overcrowding of the land; aesthetically pleasing with the compatible surroundings; harmonious in size and type of lot; character of adjoining properties, type and size of buildings. Holtrop stated as he went up and down the street and saw several brick and siding and brick homes, garages out the front and side and also homes that are 1,800 -3,000 square feet in area and, lots that are 50% larger. He did not feel that this plan is consistent with neighborhood as described and is therefore not in full compliance with the zoning ordinance standards particularly referring to Section 13.08 C, 13.08 G, 14.01 B, D, and E and 14.05 B, E and F.
Motion by Commissioner Holtrop, supported by Commissioner Groce, to recommend to the City Commission denial of the Preliminary Site Plan dated 1/3/2012 for an 11 lot site condominium development for Kathryn Woods Site Condominiums as described in Case No. 12-11. Denial is conditioned upon the following: failure to comply with Zoning Ordinances Section 13.08 C, 13.08 G, Section 14.01 B, D, E and Sections 14.05 B, E, and F. Based upon the preceding findings, comments and above-stated rationale.
VanderHoff stated based on our ordinances it seems to meet our rules and policies that we laid out and he felt the City Attorney didn’t feel the proposed plan was deficient in terms of the Zoning Ordinance sections specified by Holtrop. VanderHoff stated he doesn’t know how the commissioners can make a decision just because they don’t particularly like that layout. VanderHoff stated it meets our rules of what we laid out so how can this be turned down. He stated he may not like it either, but the point is the applicant has followed what we set in our Master Plan and Zoning Ordinance; minimum lot size etc. and then we turn it down on what basis? VanderHoff stated the ordinances that Holtrop mentioned the Attorney and Planning Department the other way, this is why we have a Master Plan.
Golder stated if there is a disagreement one thing the commissioners might want to look at is the plan with the road that is pulled away a little more and preserving more of the open space. She stated it would mean the loss of a lot because we don’t want to get into that 2 detention pond situation. Golder stated that can be an alternative if they don’t want to go so far as to deny, but are still concerned with the natural features and preservation of natural systems described in 14.05 E. She stated sending such a recommendation to the City Commission would be unusual.
Holtrop stated we have had several months, many comments, several letters, several discussions about this project. He understood some of the things had to be offered and not imposed by the planning commission and after several months of hearing comments not many things were offered. Holtop stated Golder mentioned this being unusual to recommend to the City Commission. Golder stated what would be unusual is to send a recommendation that may result in a layout that the planning commission hasn’t seen. The City Commission may be uncomfortable knowing the planning commission really hasn’t seen the plan. Holtrop stated we still don’t have the plan we are voting on so we shouldn’t vote. Golder stated there are zoning ordinance specified time limits and they are at the end so the planning commission has to vote.
Swanson stated we should table the motion and table the project another time to let him come back with the tapered road as we talked about and correct the square footages then we can deal with it in two weeks. Golder stated they cannot table again due to zoning ordinance time restrictions. However, the applicant could offer to temporarily waive the time limit. Swanson stated it would be worthwhile to consider this change. Golder stated it would be if they hadn’t run out of time, but it has been 3 months. The developer made no offer.
Swanson stated he agrees with VanderHoff. The applicant has met everything that we have asked him to do unless he is willing to table himself and look at this change in the design of the road. Vanderhoff stated we should give the applicant assurance that if he does what we ask then we will approve. Swanson stated we cannot give him assurance until we see it. If he is willing to table and correct the paperwork look at the angled option that would be nice.
Halland stated what confuses him is everything that was mentioned in Holtrops statement goes against the City of Kentwood’s Zoning Ordinance. He stated Golder said they want different size homes; different looks of homes, mixed uses etc. Halland stated he has a lot of disagreement with Holtrop’s statement because it is not true. Halland stated he went to the City Commission Service Committee because he was going to have 2 detention ponds and that was a better plan no question about it. But he felt the neighbors do not want this to get approved. He stated the neighbors are trying to throw every little thing in the commissioners’ face so that he has to either spend this money, or lose a lot so that this is no longer profitable and that he is going to go away. Halland stated he is not going away, he bought this property. He stated he understands the commissioners will be the least popular people besides him if this plan is approved. He stated we have rules we live by, we have a zoning ordinance for a reason and he worked hard and spent tons of money in trying to get different things to work which has all been shot down. He stated he is not opposed to doing what they want done because he thinks it can be done and he can still save lot 11. Halland stated he would like to see approval with a recommendation to curve the road away from Jacokes as much as possible still allowing him to get a house on lot 11.
Holtrop stated the applicant made a statement saying that he has done everything. Holtrop stated that based on the neighbors comments, something he could have done was come forth with a 6 to 8 house development and that probably would have gone through pretty well. Halland stated there is no reason to develop just 6-8 lots since there is not enough money to be made and he is not doing this for his health.
When the initial vote was inconclusive the commissioners voted by a show of hands.
Motion Carried (5-4) –
Swanson, VanderHoff, Helder, Kape and dissenting -
There were no public hearings.
There were no work sessions.
Motion by Commissoner Vanderhoff, supported by Commissioner Sheldon,to set a public hearing date of February 14, 2012 for Case #1-12 – Garden Annex – Special Land Use and Site Plan Review for a Medical Clinic located 4130 Breton Ave. SE
Election of Officcers
VanderHoff nominated the existing officers to serve another term. There were no other nominations.
Motion by Commissioner VanderHoff, supported by Commissioner Swanson, to reelect Holtrop as Chair, Sheldon as Vice Chair and Yokom as Secretary.
Motion Carried (9-0) -
Commissioners commented on Case#12-11
VanderHoff felt that the applicant should have been able to do what he wanted since he met our zoning requirements.
Attorney Jeff Sluggett stated Golder made a good reference while giving her introductory comments. Sluggett stated there are various sections of the zoning ordinance that apply to a site plan review for a site condo, but that 13.08 and 14.05 are the most relevant ones with respect to this project. Sluggett stated they are both somewhat subjective. He stated most communities he works with relative to site plan reviews tend to be quantitative only rather than introducing qualitative aspect to the review. He stated Kentwood has allowed, through adopting sections 13.08 and 14.05 some degree of subjectivity to come into play applied in a reasonable fashion. He stated it is up to the majority of the planning commission to decide whether some of these standards are met. Sluggett stated interpreting the action that was taken tonight the planning commissioners don’t think some of the qualitative aspects of the zoning ordinance are met. He stated under Kentwood’s ordinance you can meet all of the lot space requirements and setbacks etc. and still theoretically have a project that fails because it doesn’t meet a zoning ordinance’s subjective requirements. Sluggett stated maybe at some point it should be looked at whether or not you want to continue to have those qualitative standards in the zoning ordinance.
Schweitzer stated another thing that comes to mind, and Golder touched upon it in her introduction is whatever decision is made you have to have some evidence to go with each one of the points.
Helder stated he didn’t think foul language used by the applicant was appropriate.
Sheldon stated she felt the applicant never had all the information.
Swanson asked if there are anymore properties out here in Kentwood like this. Schweitzer stated there is property out there that hasn’t been developed for one reason or another and chances are we can encounter this again.
Holtrop stated he noticed Scotties Drive-Thru Coffee Shop has opened up.
Schweitzer distributed Conflict of Interest Statements.
Golder stated there may still be a LUZ committee meeting prior to the next meeting but she will give them enough advance.
Golder stated they are moving forward developing a conceptual PUD plan for the northeast corners of 60th
and Kalamazoo. She stated a developer is working with an engineer to come up with a basis.
Holtrop asked Collier to provide him a copy of the Subcommittees and their descriptions and have it in the packet for the next meeting
Motion by Commissioner VanderHoff, supported by Commissioner Helder, to adjourn the meeting.
Meeting adjourned at 8:45p.m.
Don Yokom, Secretary