APPROVED MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING
OF THE KENTWOOD ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS
CITY COMMISSION CHAMBERS
MARCH 21, 2011, 7:00 P.M.
1. Chair Derusha called the meeting to order.
2. Roll Call
MEMBERS PRESENT: Tom Cutts, Les Derusha, Garrett Fox, Mel Halloway, Richard Lenger, Alan Lipner, and Walter Wing
MEMBERS ABSENT: NONE
OTHERS PRESENT: Planner Joe Pung and the applicants
3. Approval of the Minutes and Findings of Fact
Motion by Lenger, supported by Fox, to approve the minutes of February 21, 2011 with corrections.
- Motion Carried (7-0) –
4. Public Hearing
Applicant: Dustin L. Wadsworth
Location: 3851 Model Court
Request: The applicant wishes to operate an indoor recreational facility at 3851 Model Court, SE. The property is zoned I-1 Light Industrial and does not allow for indoor recreational facilities. The request is for a use variance to allow for an indoor recreational facility to operate at this location.
Motion by Commissioner Lipner, supported by Commissioner Lenger, to table V-10-16 to table to the April 18, 2011 meeting noting this will be the last time they will table the request.
Pung stated he will check to make sure it is appropriate to say this will be the last time the board tables the request before action is taken and the applicant would need to resubmit.
- Motion Carried (7-0) –
Applicant: Matt Levandoski
Location: 3585 – 32nd Street, SE
Request: The applicant wishes to construct a new building in the industrial district. Up to 100% of the side of the building facing the street would be covered in metal siding. Section 10.03.C.1 of the Kentwood Zoning Ordinance limits the coverage by metal siding to a maximum of 50% and Section 14.05.D.4 requires that at least 50% be covered with brick, decorative block, cut stone, windows or other material approved as part of the site plan. The requested variance is to allow up to 100% of the building façade facing the street to be covered in metal siding.
Scoot Scoog, General Manger of Midwest Geothermal was present to represent the request. He stated the property is a flat lot and centrally located space. He stated the building is setback 480 feet from 32nd Street. He stated the landscaping plan shows the trees and the island with three additional trees.
Mr. Scoog displayed elevations of the building. He stated they are proposing windows on the front of the building and a two tone metal siding with a chair rail strip just below the windows. He stated there will be a dark tan lower level and green in the upper level framing the windows. He displayed various views of the building.
Fox asked what percentage of the frontage will be metal sided. Mr. Scoog wasn’t for sure, but he stated that the building in the front; the setback from the corner of the building to the warehouse area is 20 feet and 25 feet would get relief. Pung stated 25 feet for the warehouse portion would get relief. Scoog stated on the larger warehouse area there are no windows, that is really a storage and functional building for them that would be 100% steel siding. He stated the front office area
would probably be 30-35% windows and glass doors.
Cutts asked if this were two separate buildings. Scoog stated they are connected.
Holloway asked if the setback was 25 feet between the two buildings; would it count as a frontage on the big building. Pung stated there is an offset of 25 feet so if it had been setback 25 feet then we wouldn’t have to worry about the finished materials on the back portion of the building.
Fox asked if he looked into pushing the warehouse an additional 5 feet back. Mr. Scoog stated they have and there would be some cost associated with that. He stated some of the overlap with the windows gives them a mezzanine and that is where the mechanicals are going to be. Scoog stated it would be a bit of work to do that; they would lose that mezzanine space and room for the mechanical equipment that they want to put on that level. He stated it is not that it couldn’t be done, it would just take some work to do.
Fox asked if we were to look at fake windows would that count toward his frontage. Pung stated we have the allowance for a variety of materials that can be used; it just limits the metal siding to 50%. Pung stated with brick you can have 100%; decorative masonry 75%; stone 75%; wood vinyl or metal siding 50%; and finishes such as drivit, stucco, plaster etc. are limited to 25%.
Wing asked why not use a fake stone or brick or something on the building to cover up 50%. Scoog stated synthetic stone is more expensive than brick and they have looked into both and the cost is very substantial, in excess of $20,000. Scoog stated their budget is $650, 000 and they are currently $180,000 over that now. Wing asked if they have done cuts before they build. Scoog stated they are looking at a number of ways to reduce the cost. He stated there are several topics open with the City, storm drains, elevation of the building and the floodplain. Scoog stated almost $60,000 worth of fill needs to be brought into this location.
Wing stated he is concerned because if later on in the project they realize they will have to move things around and change it up then you find out they wasted money on getting a variance for no reason. Scoog stated this is just one issue but there are a number of them they are in discussion with right now and his hope is that they can reach a solution that works for their company and this investment.
Derusha stated he doesn’t think the community will even know there is a building back there. Scoog stated it is a very unique site and they are going to be storing materials outside which is a number of the things that are discussed in terms of hiding much of what they do from the public view. Scoog stated the trees and the island in the front drive coming to the building are what attracted them to the lot. Scoog stated the location is convenient to them for nearby suppliers and that the lot did have a lot of privacy. He stated there is a river and a parking lot on one side, a 20 foot bank on the back side of the lot, and about a 15 foot bank on the east side of the lot. He stated the view is really up this drive from 32nd Street.
Cutts asked how many trees they think they will have there to hide the view. Scoog stated they have the existing trees, the island is new, and about 12 new trees that are proposed. Scoog stated they put quite a bit of effort in their landscape plan to limit the view.
Derusha asked if the ordinance is strictly about aesthetics. Pung stated it is to improve the look of the industrial area, maintain the aesthetics and the look of the area.
Lenger stated the warehouses to the east are certainly no asset. Pung stated the only one of those buildings had to meet the requirements the buildings behind the first building did not have to meet those requirements because they don’t have frontage.
Cutts asked about what will be stored outside and where they plan on putting the items. Scoog stated they are a geothermal contractor and they work with plastic black pipe and get it in a coil primarily, but also 20 foot sticks. Scoog stated they receive materials from different suppliers and they preload trailers prior to their crews going out to a job site. He stated for the most part their employees are at various job sites. He stated they primarily concentrate on the commercial market installations across the state; Ohio and Indiana. He stated that they order material and then preload trailers for job sites. He stated they do some residential work, they store coils and materials for residential installation. Cutts asked if this will take place in their backyard. Scoog stated that is correct and the design of the building was based on that so they connected the buildings that way so they can shield a yard and have the privacy of a yard. Scoog stated they carry anywhere from $35,000-$50,000 worth of inventory in their yard at their present location.
Fox stated he wants to make it easy for them to make this variance happen. He stated the difficulty he is facing is because this is new construction and one of the guidelines the board has is this can’t be a situation that is brought on by the applicant or their entity. Fox stated because this is new construction this is something that would be brought on by his organization because they did not make sure that the design met the city code. Fox also stated that he realizes they are looking at an expense, but the Board’s guidelines say we cannot consider the expense he would have to go through to meet the code and those are two guidelines that have to be met. Fox stated what he sees in what was submitted is not enough to get over those two points.
Scoog stated they selected this site because it was unique, it was a simple site with frontage on 32nd Street. He stated as a contractor needing to store materials and working with as much outdoor space as they do inside they selected the site because of its uniqueness. Scoog stated this was not clear as to how this would apply the setback being 480 feet from the lot. Scoog stated they picked this lot out of privacy and very limited view and it is also an ease of security for their operation. He stated this needs special consideration based on its shape and position. Scoog stated in terms of their decision to bring forward alternative siding and looking at the steel siding the two tone chair rail design, they would like to go forward with this building; it enhances the community and the environment and they feel it is a sharp look.
Fox stated he would have liked to have seen at minimum the front of the building meeting the requirements and then the Board could have worked with him on the warehouse. He stated if they were to say they will do 50% on front then he feels the Board can work with him on the 5 foot difference.
Derusha stated he agrees. He stated we get this request often because it is a cost issue. Derusha stated in this situation he thinks a case can be made because of the 5 feet of difference from that back building which has a significant impact on calculation frontage of how much that 50% is . He stated if you take the office portion of the building with the windows then the amount of what you would have to have to otherwise meet the requirement would be substantially reduced. Derusha stated the best he can do is reduce the 5 feet on the setback on the main part of the warehouse.
Fox stated in his opinion what Derusha has stated in conjunction with what they are doing with landscaping, gives enough ammunition to go waive that 5 feet. Fox stated with the front to him we are looking at 30% , that is still 20% of frontage that is not in good standing which is difficult for him to get over that hurdle.
Pung stated at one point they were looking at different designs for the front and maybe moving the office over. Scoog stated there are a number of things that they are looking to improve their cost to meet the budget. He stated one of the proposed changes is to take the office area move it into the front of the warehouse which would then eliminate the offset. Scoog stated this is one of the things he has out for bid right now and that would save them some cost and building a smaller building. He stated they are trying to make this happen for them and work within the constraints that the company has for the investment. Scoog stated the setback may be taken care of but getting back to the 50% it causes more difficulty when you look at the peek of the larger building and mirroring the two buildings together they now have one single façade in the front but the issue is still there for the building itself.
Lipner stated bigger windows could do it or off-setting more of the metal. Scoog stated he didn’t want to present the cost side of things. He stated the lot is unique it’s just a matter of picking the right type of development for this piece of property.
Discussion ensued regarding several different options the applicant is looking to accomplish.
Derusha stated most people want to build a metal building at the lowest cost and unfortunately we get a lot of that. Derusha asked what constitutes the side of a building. Pung stated there is a front and a 25 foot rap around.
Lipner stated there are certain items that we all have to agree on and they all have to be met and the very last one is the immediate practical difficulty causing the need for the variance request was not created by any actions of the applicant. Lipner stated the property is unique but their design is what is causing the variance request. Lenger stated listening to what he is saying it doesn’t sound like he is married to this design at this point.
Lenger asked was this the final design or would it be wise to table and come back when they have the final design.
Derusha stated the way they have it designed the could alleviate the 5 foot difference of the main building in the back.
Lipner stated they would like to encourage him to continue the project and utilize the property it is a great idea.
Scoog stated he thinks tabling for 30 days would give them a chance to brainstorm and see what other ideas they can come up with.
Motion by Commisisoner Lenger, supported by Commissioner Fox, to table V-11-04 to April 18, 2011.
- Motion Carried (7-0) –
Motion by supported by to adjourn the meeting.
- Motion Carried (7-0) –
Meeting adjourned at 7:42 p.m.
Alan Lipner, Secretary
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--- Mayor Clanton
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