Kentwood Committees & BoardsAPPROVED MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING
Planning Commission (Back to index)
Minutes for 03/10/2009
OF THE KENTWOOD PLANNING COMMISSION
MARCH 10, 2009, 7:30 P.M.
A. Chair Winczewski called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.
B. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Commissioner Sheldon.
C. Roll Call:
Members Present: Betsy Artz, Maurice Groce, Dan Holtrop, Laurie Sheldon, Frank Vander Hoff, Don Yokom, Johngerlyn Young and Chris Winczewski.
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 and the applicant.
D. Approval of the Minutes and Findings of Fact
Motion by Commissioner Sheldon, supported by Commissioner VanderHoff, to approve the Minutes of February 24, 2009 and the Findings of Fact for: Case #2-09 Heritage Pointe Ventures ? Major Change to Site Plan located at 2060 East Paris SE
- Motion Carried (8-0) ?
E. Approval of the Agenda
Motion by Commissioner Artz, supported by Commissioner Sheldon, to approve the agenda for the March 10, 2009 meeting.
- Motion Carried (8-0) ?
F. Acknowledge visitors wishing to speak to non-agenda items.
There was no public comment.
G. Old Business
There was no Old Business
H. Public Hearing
There were no Public Hearings
I. Work Session
Case # 3-09 - Carnival at Woodland Mall ? Site Plan Review for an Outdoor Recreational Facility located at 3195 28th Street SE Between Dunhill Formal Wear & Sears Auto Zone
Planner Golder introduced the request. She stated the Skerbeck Brothers are proposing a carnival to be located on Woodland Mall property. She stated the request is for site plan review for a carnival that will be 10 days in duration, from April 9-19, 2009. She stated the carnival will include 20 planned amusement rides, 15 games, and 3 food concessions. She stated the carnival will begin operations on each day at 12:00 noon or 3:00PM, and will close at either 9:00PM or 11:00 PM.
Planner Golder stated the carnival employees will be housed within 10-15 units to be located on the north side of the Woodland Mall property, east of the Kohl?s parking lot. She stated the units are fifth-wheel style travel trailers, RV motor homes and bunkhouses. Golder stated the bunkhouses are tractor trailer units that have 8-10 partitioned rooms with double bunk beds for housing the workforce. She stated the living quarter units are equipped with storage tanks for waste water, which will be collected and stored for proper disposal at a sanitary facility. Golder stated the water for the living quarters will be obtained by tapping a water hydrant west of the living quarters area. She stated another hydrant will need to be tapped for use near the carnival area. Golder stated the use of both hydrants is reviewed and approved by the City of Grand Rapids Water Department and Kentwood will review plans for the disposal of waste water.
Golder stated power for the event will be provided by two generators; one for the carnival itself and another for the living quarters area. She stated a dumpster will be provided and will be placed on the east side of the carnival area.
Golder stated the applicant is requesting site plan approval and the following issues must be reviewed and considered by the Planning Commission in making the decision on the project. Golder stated that it is an outdoor recreation facility; the carnival use is permitted, as long as the site plan meets the standards of the Zoning Ordinance.
Golder stated the applicant has proposed a 198 space parking area to the west of the proposed carnival. She stated staff questioned whether cars can access the parking area since there is a water line extending across the drive aisle from a hydrant. She stated this would not however, prohibit cars from parking east of the site in the Sears Auto Repair parking lot. Golder stated since the mall operator gave its approval for the carnival, any issues regarding parking in the Sears parking area is an issue between the mall manager and Sears. She stated there are also parking places designated around the edges of the carnival area. She stated these parking places are going to be largely inaccessible to carnival patrons; the drive aisles do not appear to be adequate to allow two way traffic to the parking spaces on the south side of the proposed carnival area. Golder stated therefore, the drive aisle to these southern parking spaces should be blocked.
Golder stated the site plan proposes a pedestrian access from the parking lot west of the carnival to the carnival itself. She stated this will be the only area where pedestrians can access the carnival from the parking lot (other than the access near the transit stop).
Golder stated the carnival site plan description indicates that a 40? telescoping light will be used to illuminate the midway area. Golder stated the lighting proposed is inconsistent with the city?s lighting regulations, both for height, and for the need to limit light and glare from the site onto adjacent properties. She stated the applicant has agreed to eliminate the 40? light. Golder stated the carnival operators will rely on the lighting in place already at the mall, as well as internal lighting from the games and other attractions.
Golder stated the carnival operators will provide security at the site during the hours of operation. They have made contact with the Kentwood Police Department to discuss the city?s expectations for security.
Golder stated two generators will be employed during the hours of the carnival. She stated one will be needed for the living quarters area; and one for operation of the carnival itself. She stated there is concern of noise by the neighbors
Golder stated the applicant will meet with the Police Department to discuss expectations with respect to gatherings at the living quarters, noise regulations, etc. during the evening hours. She stated the applicant will also meet with the city?s Public Works department to discuss expectations with respect to the wastewater disposal generated by the use. She stated the applicant intends to rent portable toilets for the living quarters area.
Golder stated the applicant indicates that a 30 yard dumpster will be used for the event.
Golder stated the applicant has indicated there are two rides that are 80? and 90? high; the rides are considered equipment. Golder stated the height restrictions of the zoning ordinance do not come into play. She stated the airport is requiring a permit to allow them the ride.
Golder stated everybody is satisfied with how the carnival will be handled.
Jamie and Sonya Skerbeck were there to represent the request. Sonya Skerbeck stated they are eager to work with Woodland Mall and think it will be a nice draw for people around the community to come out and have fun at a family event. Jamie Skerbeck stated they do a lot of events around the Grand Rapids area.
Commissioner Artz stated security is her biggest concern and questioned what they planned to do for security. Sonya Skerbeck stated she has talked to the Kentwood Police Department and the management at Woodland Mall to ask for their opinion. Skerbeck stated Woodland Mall suggested they utilize their third party security provider. Skerbeck stated the police department told them they think that would be adequate. Skerbeck stated they will make sure they can share radios and be able to communicate at all times. Skerbeck stated she will keep security at the carnival a half an hour after they close. Skerbeck stated they can easily hire more security if need be.
Commissioner Holtrop questioned if four porta johns will be enough for the carnival. Sonya Skerbeck stated based on the number of people they are hoping come to the event they think four porta johns will be enough and they have them serviced every other day. Skerbeck stated if they are overwhelmed with huge crowds they can make a change. Holtrop asked how they planned to get back and forth from the living quarters to the work site. Jamie Skerberk stated they will be walking back and forth and shuttled with their company vehicles; they have four to five pickup trucks. Holtrop asked if they living quarters site will have people at both locations throughout the day. Skerbeck stated for the most part the living quarter area there will be Skerbeck family members that are managing. Holtrop asked if there were any other alternate places for the living quarters. Sonya Skerbeck stated they like to be as close to their equipment as they can to be able to relay any concerns about security and it is easier for their workers to walk to the job site. Sonya Skerbeck stated as far as noise they have a staff meeting and make sure they know what their expectations are with respect to noise. There shouldn?t be any issues and their generators aren?t noisy.
Commissioner Young asked how many people they plan to employ. Sonya Skerbeck stated anywhere between 40-50 workers for the week. Skerbeck stated some are regular workers that are housed with them and others will be people hired from the area. Sonya Skerbeck stated they put their workers through background checks and check photo id.
Commissioner Yokom questioned why they pump out the porta johns every other day as opposed to daily. Sonya Skerbeck stated it is the function of the economics and if they need to clean them more they will. Yokom asked how many people they are anticipating visiting the carnival. Jamie Skerbeck stated if they see 10,000 people that would economically viable. Skerbeck stated they could do better than that, but it depends on the weather.
Commissioner VanderHoff questioned what the average person that attends the carnival spends. Jamie Skerbeck stated they spend 7-8 dollars. VanderHoff asked if this was a fundraiser. Jamie Skerbeck stated it is for profit and the mall will get a percentage of the proceeds from the revenue stream; they are guaranteed a minimum, plus a percentage from the sales. VanderHoff asked if this carnival is successful do they plan to do it on an annual basis. Skerbeck stated they definitely will. VanderHoff stated he is in favor and thinks it is great for the community.
Commissioner Groce?s concern was seeing that is right next to the mall where there are a lot of children, what kind of background checks do they do. Sonya Skerbeck stated she gets the employees drivers license and visit a lot of websites to find out sex offender status. Skerbeck stated they also observe behavior and if they get a feeling this is someone they don?t want the workforce alerts them; they are at will employees and can be terminated at any time.
Vice-Chair Sheldon asked if they have previous experience with carnivals at malls. Sonya Skerbeck stated they have 150 years of experience playing carnivals around the State of Michigan and Wisconsin. Sheldon stated she is concerned about the location of the dumpster and wondered if it could be moved where it is out of site. Sonya Skerbeck stated that is a possibility, but they would have to haul the garbage each day as opposed to just being able to toss it in the dumpster, She stated the closer to the carnival the better. Sheldon asked where the restrooms will be located. Jamie Skerbeck stated they will be in an area where they can be pumped out everyday, he said they can hide them. Skerbeck stated they have ways to shield. Sheldon asked how many additional vehicles will be on their living sites. Jamie Skerbeck stated 12-15 vehicles they will have semi tractors and pickup trucks. Sheldon stated she would like to make sure the presentation of what it is going to look like is maintained and look presentable. Sonya Skerbeck stated there is a tree line to help shield.
Chair Winczewski asked if the bus transit will still be operating. Schweitzer stated the system operates until 11p.m. and we will check before the public hearing to find out when the last bus will come through the Woodland Mall. Winczewski stated we should try to coordinate with the Rapid to have one more route so people can utilize the buses instead of driving. Winczewski asked if there were any state verifications for the rides. Jamie Skerbeck stated each ride is inspected by the state you get an annual inspection sticker and they notify the state for each venue in advance. Skerbeck stated they have the right to come in and do any spot check they wish to do. Skerbeck stated more than likely they will be operating on last year?s sticker; they are allowed to do that because they will come in some time this year to inspect them again and the fire department will have to see them as well. Sonya Skerbeck stated to find out more about ride licensing and safety requirements in the state of Michigan the Economic the Department of Labor and Economic growth is responsible for that at www.mi.gov and go to carnival amusement rides.
Commissioner Yokom asked what kind of advertising they plan to do. Sonya Skerbeck stated they will pay for TV spots once they have final approval.
Case #1-09 ? Zoning Ordinance Text Amendments relating to billboards
Director Schweitzer introduced the request. He stated the request is being requested by CBS outdoor to introduce for an opportunity for LED Billboards in the community.
The list below is the Zoning Ordinance Sub-Committee Recommendations/Considerations
LED Billboards (3-6-09)
The following table provides an overview of the Zoning Ordinance Sub-Committee recommendations regarding the various facets of the CBS Outdoor request to amend the billboard regulations.
CBS Request Current Billboard Regulations On Premise LED Signs Committee Recommendation
LED Billboard in C-4 Billboards only in Industrial - Limited allowance outside Industrial
Permitted Use w/ no site plan review by PC Special Land Use and site plan review by PC - Special Land Use and site plan review by PC
Limited to I-96 frontage No specific street type specified - LED along I-96 only
Treat as accessory use Treat as principal use on legal lot ( width and area) - Principal use on legal lot (width and area)
LED display Not allowed 60% of sign or 100 square feet, whichever is smaller No recommendation
5280 foot minimum spacing 600 foot minimum spacing - 5280 for LED billboards
Allow up to a 40 foot height 25 foot maximum height - 40 foot maximum height
4 non-conforming billboards to be removed for each LED billboard No removal of existing specified - OK
Illumination subject to default setting of sign Shall not be detrimental to occupant of nearby property nor a safety hazard Maximum 5000 nits daytime; maximum 500 nits dusk to dawn Some type of modified regulation
Message change every 6-8 seconds One time per day Message change no more than 1 per 5 min. Message change no more than 1 per 5 min.
No setback specified in request Min. 200? from freeway ROW; min. 100? from any other street ROW - Lesser or more flexible setback
Maximum size of sign 672 sq ft. Maximum size of sign 300 sq ft - Allow up to 672 sq ft only along I-96
Director Schweitzer stated Mike Hucul, the CBS representative, has participated in the sub-committee discussions and has stated that CBS may consider modifying their request in light of the considerations covered in the table. Schweitzer stated in any case the Planning Commission will ultimately be called upon to recommend to the City Commission whether to accept or reject the request from CBS.
Schweitzer stated during the course of the committee deliberations several other considerations were identified:
?If the City decides to allow for LED display on billboards, should mechanical tri-vision signs also be allowed?
?Should the Zoning Ordinance include provisions to address the conversion of existing billboards to LED or tri-vision display?
?Should the City of Kentwood institute provisions that would prescribe minimum setback requirements between billboards and residential uses or residential districts? How would the setback provisions be devised? Structure to structure? Lot line to lot line?
?Should violations of the billboard sign regulations be addressed as municipal civil infractions or criminal misdemeanors?
?Should the City require the sign company to certify that a sign has been pre-set to automatically adjust the brightness to the levels prescribed in the Zoning Ordinance? Should regulations also be devised to require the sign company to have the sign inspected by a qualified inspector and, as necessary, recalibrated if the City receives a valid complaint that the sign may be in violation?
?Should the City institute restrictions on the use of white backgrounds on the LED display?
?Should the City withhold action on the intermittent electronic message issue and await the findings of the Federal Highway Administration research project to study the effects of commercial electronic variable message signs sued for outdoor advertising n driver attention and distraction? Phase II of the research project is anticipated to be completed during December 2009.
Schweitzer stated how it?s expressed in the ordinance needs to be modified and there is work to be done once there is a sense of direction on it.
Attorney Sluggett stated he has talked to the CBS attorney regarding how to get rid of the other four billboards since it is part of the package that has been offered to the city. Sluggett stated he expressed to CBS his concern in terms of exactly how that would work and he is uncomfortable with the idea to write in the ordinance that you have to get rid of four non-conforming billboards in order to qualify for this. Sluggett stated he questions the legality of having it in the zoning ordinance. Sluggett stated they need to come up with some kind of a tool that is going to give the city the assurance that if it proceeds with the assumption of four non-conforming billboards are going to disappear, that, in fact they do disappear. Sluggett stated right now he?s not sure what tool they will use to make that happen.
Chair Winczewski stated they could potentially wait until the federal study comes out at the end of the year, to decide whether to amend the billboard provisions.
Discussion Ensured concerning the factors the federal study may take into account in gauging driver distraction attributable to billboards in general and electronic billboards specifically. Frequency of change and brightness were some of the factors.
Schweitzer stated at the next meeting staff will try to have language drawn up for the commissioners to react to. He stated at the end of the hearing if they feel they are in a position to take action there will be language to put it in effect.
Schweitzer stated staff will check and see what Gaines Township has as far a restrictions and try to come back with more information of the brightness of that sign on M6 compared to the one on 131.
Structures and Improvements Plan (SIP)
Golder introduced the request. She stated there are three main areas, building and site improvements, parks and streets and sidewalks.
VanderHoff stated his opposition to a golf practice facility funded with taxpayer money that would compete with private enterprise. He stated if there is a need for a golf practice facility around here he is sure private enterprises can do it. VanderHoff stated he wouldn?t have a problem if there was a private investor with his own money to build it on our land and even give him the land. Winczweski stated with parks they don?t do the project until they get a matching grant of a full grant.
Artz stated she agrees with VanderHoff.
Golder stated to the commissioners if they think of questions before the public hearing to let her know so someone from engineering there or she will have them answered before the public hearing.
J. New Business
Motion by Commissioner Holtrop, supported by Commissioner Artz, to set the public hearing date of April 14, 2009 for Case #4-09 - Kentwood Branch Library ? Site Plan Review located directly south of 4900 Breton Avenue (City Hall)
- Motion Carried (8-0) ?
K. Other Business
1. Master Plan
Director Schweitzer gave an overview of the Master Plan to the Commissioners. He stated staff would like to undertake a joint master planning process involving Parks and Recreation, the City Commission and the Planning Commission. He stated the plan preparation and adoption would be staged to allow for the adoption of state mandated Parks and Recreation Plan by December 2009, and the subsequent adoption of the overall plan update in 2010. He stated a comprehensive update of the overall plan is not anticipated to be necessary. Schweitzer stated instead the plan will be update that focuses upon a number of specific topics and subareas as well as demographic and trend analysis.
Schweitzer discussed the prospective topics and subareas:
*Division Avenue Corridor
*28th Street Corridor
*Assess the inventory of existing city properties to evaluate the potentials of park and open space use
*Evaluate the inventory of existing park properties to detail their respective features, means of access and identification
*City Hall Campus
*Non-Motorized Trail Planning Parks and Recreation
Chair Winczewski asked for a general overview of why we need a master plan and what its goal is etc. Schweitzer stated a master plan is an official document that outlines the community?s characteristics, articulates a vision and establishes goals and strategies for realizing that vision in the future. He stated what they will be looking at is what they want the community to look like in the future. He stated to not only come up with a vision but also goals and strategies as to how they will achieve. He stated it can address elements of community as far as the transportation system, housing and environmental and nature resource preservation, economic development, parks and recreation public utilities and public buildings. The State of Michigan has mandated that every five years communities review their Master Plan to see if it warrants update and revision.
Schweitzer asked the commissioners to take a look at the list as far as perspectives issues and subareas and email which ones they think are the top three as far as importance and also identify the bottom three so we can get direction on how to approach. Winczewski stated they should email Schweitzer only and not the whole group.
2. Commissioners? Comments
Artz stated she has had a lot of experience with carnivals and if the proposed carnival draws the wrong crowd there are going to be some problems. Discussion Ensued.
Holtrop stated LUZ met to review a proposal to put in low income housing adjacent to the ITT building on East Paris and Sparks.
Sheldon let everyone know she is expecting another baby.
3. Staff?s Comments
Golder stated there will be a workshop for the Brownfield Assessment grant. She stated there will be a planning works session on the morning of Wednesday April 1 to discuss where our priorities are with respect to the redevelopment to the Brownfield site in the city and she will send them information.
Golder stated Menards will not move forward at the time. She stated MDOT came back with recommendations and requirements unacceptable to Menards. She stated Menards does still have an approved site plan. If they can work something out they will come back.
Motion by Commissioner VanderHoff, supported by Commissioner Sheldon, to adjourn the meeting.
- Motion Carried (8-0) ?
Meeting adjourned at 10:20p.m.
Don Yokom, Secretary