Kentwood Committees & BoardsAPPROVED MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING
Planning Commission (Back to index)
Minutes for 05/08/2007
OF THE KENTWOOD PLANNING COMMISSION
MAY 8, 2007, 7:30 P.M.
A. Chair McIntyre-Evenocheck called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.
B. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Secretary Winczewski.
C. Roll Call:
Members Present: Ray Poyner, Laurie Sheldon, Nancy McIntyre-Evenocheck, Ed Swanson, Frank Vander Hoff, and Chris Winczewski.
Members Absent: Betsy Artz, Dan Holtrop, Abed Itani,
Others Present: City Attorney Jeff Sluggett, Community Development Director Terry Schweitzer, Economic Development Planner Lisa Golder, Staff Secretary Monique Collier, and citizens.
Motion by Poyner, supported by VanderHoff, to excuse Artz, Holtrop and Itani from the May 8, 2007 meeting.
- Motion Carried (6-0)
- Artz, Holtrop and Itani absent -
D. Approval of the Minutes and Findings of Fact
Motion by Swanson, supported by VanderHoff, to approve the Minutes of April 24, 2007.
- Motion Carried (6-0) ?
- Artz, Holtrop and Itani absent -
E. Approval of the Agenda
Motion by Swanson, supported by Poyner, to approve the agenda for the May 8, 2007 meeting.
- Motion Carried (6-0) ?
- Artz, Holtrop and Itani absent -
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 #4-07 Beacon Condominiums ? Major Change to a PUD Site Plan and Final Site Plan Review located at 2400 Forest Hills Avenue.
Planner Golder introduced the request. She stated that the proposed development is an amendment to the Embassy Park PUD. The Planning and City Commission approved the Embassy Park PUD in 1992. She stated that the Embassy Park PUD was originally approved for 187 condominiums and 82 single-family homes. The development that was eventually approved included 56 single-family homes (Phase 4), 28 condominiums (Phase 3), 86 Clark Home units and dentist office (Phase 1) and Christ Community Church (Phase 2). The proposed development involves (Phase 2), which would be amended by adding 9 dwelling units; including five single family detached and two duplex homes. She stated that the homes would be divided on the inside into condominium units, which consist of a bedroom and a bathroom and other areas of the home will be treated as common elements. She stated that the residents of these condominiums will be developmentally disabled adults. Guardian Angels will provide the support for these individuals as much as 24 hours per day. The community building on the eastern side of the site will be staffed 24 hours a day with an office use. Golder stated that the Guardian Angels is a non-profit corporation that is organized to provide faith-based home environments to adults with disabilities and this particular use is not a licensed care facility. Golder stated that the units are located off Forest Hills Avenue; on a 16 foot private road that is well within the requirements for private roads in the PUD. Golder stated that there are some questions that need to be answered:
? The type and amount of care required
? Whether the building codes might classify the use as institutional
? The atypical condominium ownership of a bedroom and bathroom
? Whether a cooperative might be a better mechanism
? Side and rear building elevations as well as a section drawing of the proposed plan and deviations and variances required
Some of the attributes of the project are:
? The project provides a housing product that promotes home ownership
? Provides a need in the community
? Low density is consistent with the Master Plan
? Low traffic generation.
Paul Solberg, Board President of Guardian Angel Homes, was present to represent the request. He went over the history of Guardian Angel Homes. He stated that they provide housing and housing support to adults with developmental disabilities. He stated that they help them with day-to-day activities and up to 24-hour care. Mr. Solberg stated that they are fairly independent people with very limited service needs as opposed to adult foster care homes. He stated that that the homes that they have designed have three to four bedrooms which is good for individuals with Autism because they prefer smaller group settings. He stated that some of the messages they have heard from the people in the developmental community is that the residents/families want ownership control. He stated that the proximity to the church is an important part of what they do; one of their emphasis is faith in action allowing the people in the church to put their faith in to action and allowing the people in the church to be part of the lives of the residents. All of their homes are located by churches.
Rob Berrien, Excel Engineering spoke about the site plan. He stated that the water main on the west side of Forest Hills Ave. will be extended into the site. He stated that the sanitary sewer from Burton Street will be used as well as the detention pond that was built along with Christ Community Church. He stated that the development will have a private street and from a fire access standpoint there is a connection back to the church parking lot. He stated that the condominiums are single story structures without basements; with the exception of buildings three, four and the community building. Walk-out basements for storage will be built because of the site grading. The community building will have a conference room and rooms for support staff to work with individuals. He stated that there is also a healing garden area and that is a place for the residents to go and relax.
Commissioner Poyner wanted to know more about the function/purpose of the community building. Cynthia Longchamps stated that the first level is for activities. It is a community lodge with two kitchens and a place to socialize and have visitors. She stated that the lower level is for staff offices. Poyner asked if the residents need to be supervised in the community building. Cynthia LongChamps stated that the will have 24 hour supervision available in the homes and that the people select the services they need according to their level of functioning. Poyner asked what kinds of residents will live in the condominiums. Cynthia Longchamps stated that they will have a lot of Autistic patients because of the smallness of the home setting is ideal for them. She stated that there will also be people with cerebral palsy, epilepsy and mental retardation that are coming into these homes. Poyner asked if there are any known comparable facilities today. Cythina Longchamps stated that there is an AFC home that has twelve men located at 2607 Burton SE. Also she said that there is a condo that they do not own in Portland, MI. Poyner asked about putting in sidewalks. Rob Berrien stated that will not be a problem. Poyner stated that he is in favor of the plan and that he thinks it is good for the community. Poyner advised the applicants before the public hearing to communicate with the surrounding neighbors about the type of project that will exist there.
Commissioner Sheldon asked whether the residents drive. Paul Solberg stated that very few will drive. Mr. Solberg stated that the garages are there in the case that they have caregivers visiting. They want them to be able to park in the garages and not in the street. Sheldon asked about turn over as far as the residents go. Cynthia Longchamps stated that the residents will be homeowners so there will not be a great deal of turn over. Sheldon asked if there is a bus route near the site. Cynthia Longchamp stated that it is about 7/8 of a mile away and they are working with the bus system to try to get them to move it a little closer to where they will be living. Sheldon asked what kind a barriers will be in between the property and the residential area. Cynthia Longchamp stated that there will be some kind of landscaping. Ms. Longchamps stated that they are consulting with the neighbors to see what they would like to see to make them feel more private and give some privacy.
Commissioner VanderHoff stated that he thinks that this is a worthwhile project and there is definitely a need for it. VanderHoff asked how much the condominium units will sell for. Paul Solberg stated that they would be about $70,000 per unit. VanderHoff asked where the bath will be located. Mr. Solberg stated that it will be connected to the bedroom but two separate rooms. VanderHoff asked if there was a more productive way of doing this on a co-op basis or to just have the corporation own the house and lease it back to the people that are living there or rent to them. VanderHoff stated that he wonders how much demand this will be in the future for a bedroom and a bath. Paul Solberg stated that in Kent County alone there are 50,000 people with developmental disabilities. Mr. Solberg stated that they have a waiting list that extends well beyond what they will be able to satisfy. Attorney Jim Erdley, Varnum Riddering Schmidt Howlett stated that a co-op could be a structure that could work. It was debated at length with the board and one of the main objectives is to provide ownership to the resident but the board was running into financing issues. VanderHoff stated that there are front yard and rear yard regulations for a reason and he would like to see it at least meet the setbacks since they are very minimal. Rob Berrien, Excel Engineering, stated that Christ Community Church gave them the property and because of the uniqueness and interaction between the guardian homes they will go to the zoning board of appeals to get that variance. He stated that it is a tight site but they can look at the building footprints again to see what changes they can make.
Secretary Winczewski asked whether an easement was required on the property for the connection to the sewer on Burton Street. Rob Berrien stated yes and as far as public utilities this plan has been submitted to the City of Grand Rapids for preliminary utility extension request line drawing. Mr. Berrien stated that it will require the existing sewer come off from Burton to an existing manhole and up to the development. He stated that they will have to get a public utility easement for the sewer and also from Forest Hills Avenue right of way for the water main. They are currently getting preliminary approval and responses from the City of Grand Rapids. Winczewski stated that he wanted to make sure that the church was also getting sewer service off of Burton. Winczewski stated that he is worried about how well the common area will be maintained. Winczewski?s concern was for liabilities if someone gets injured in a common area and whether these scenarios are detailed in the master deed. Attorney Jim Erdly stated that the master deed is still in preparation and once it goes through the commission process it will give them an idea of what needs to be put in the master deed. Winczewski stated that he likes the concept. He wants to ensure that condominium sales and transfers are allowed and follow a common structure. Planner Golder stated that what we also want to make sure that in the master deed it addresses what happens if Guardian Angels no loner exists or if renting will be allowed. Staff recommends that this is covered in the PUD agreement. Winczewski stated that if possible it would be nice to have at the public hearing an example of what other communities similar to this have incorporated into their master deeds. Winczewski asked about the headlights from the parking on the north side and is there any buffering. Rob Berriens stated that it is his understanding that that parking lot does not fill up on Sundays. There is some landscaping that may have to be addressed, from guardian angels they weren?t that concerned about it. Winczewski suggested that the opportunities with adjusting the property line would take care of the variance problem as well as headlights if the last row of parking were eliminated. Rob Berriens stated that it isn?t the issue it is the 45 feet from the property line. He can?t take a row of 20 parking spaces out. He would have to take 45 feet of pavement out.
Vice-Chair Swanson stated that the issues he had were the sidewalks, but they agreed to deal with that. Swanson stated that he doesn?t want this to become a rental issue and he would like to have that addressed in the master deed. Swanson stated that the building code issue will be a big deal; Rob Berriens stated that the architect is meeting with Claude Spellman, building code inspector to fine tune some points.
Ron Berriens stated that if the ownership turns into a condominium type it will make a difference how you group people together. He stated that the idea was you would have three high functioning Autistic people in the same unit and you group the needs together as far as support staff. He stated that if something happens to one of the residents and they need to sell they are not just going to put a sign up and sell it to anybody. It will be Guardian Angel Homes that will oversee that resale. They may buy it back as a board and then they resell.
Chair McIntyre-Evenocheck asked if this will be setting precedence as a condominium by allowing one bedroom, one bath in a larger unit. Attorney Jeff Sluggett stated that staff has to make a determination as to what use the development falls under. Once staff makes the interpretation, the zoning ordinance could be amended to change that if necessary. Sluggett stated that staff doesn?t look at ownership; it is the use staff has to focus on. Golder stated that staff was determining the definition of dwelling unit. McIntyre-Evenocheck stated that the issues that were brought up were the sidewalks on both sides, deviations and variances that are required for rear and side yard setbacks, condominium ownership, check out if a cooperative might be better, building codes and communication with neighbors and more info on type of care. Golder stated that a lot of these she would like to have in the PUD statement so we can refer to it and the master deed can refer to it also.
J. New Business
There was no new Business
K. Other Business
1. Commissioners? Comments
Chair McIntyre-Evenocheck stated that if any of the Commissioners are interested in the MSU Citizen Planner Program to talk to Director Schweitzer so that they can attend. She stated that the Growing Communities conference is coming up on June 14th, let Terry know ASAP if commissioners plan to attend. Also an invitation to an open house to Fleetwood Diner was given to the Commissioners for Wednesday May 16, 2007 4:30pm-7:00pm.
2. Staff?s Comments
Director Schweitzer stated that at a previous meeting there was a request for the worse road conditions. If they want the list it can be emailed. Schweitzer went over the list of the top 10 worse roads in Kentwood.
Motion by VanderHoff, supported by Poyner, to adjourn the meeting.
- Motion Carried (6-0) ?
- Artz, Holtrop and Itani absent -
Meeting adjourned at 8:25p.m.
Chris Winczewski, Secretary