APPROVED MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING
OF THE KENTWOOD ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS
CITY COMMISSION CHAMBERS
1. Chair Derusha called the meeting to order.
2. Roll Call
MEMBERS PRESENT: Les Derusha, Garrett Fox (arrived late), Mel Halloway, Richard Lenger, Alan Lipner and Walter Wing (arrived late)
MEMBERS ABSENT: Tom Cutts
OTHERS PRESENT: Community Development Director Terry Schweitzer, Planner Joe Pung, Staff Secretary Monique Collier and the applicants.
3. Approval of the Minutes and Findings of Fact
Motion by Lipner, supported by Lenger, to approve the minutes of October 18, 2010
- Motion Carried (4-0) –
- Cutts, Fox, and Wing absent -
4. Public Hearing
Applicant: Gary Crandall
Location 4973 Kalamazoo Ave. SE
Request: The applicant wishes to retain a six-foot high wood privacy fence in the front yard along Kalamazoo Avenue. Section 3.19.B.1 of the Kentwood Zoning Ordinance limits solid-type fences located in the front yard to no higher than three feet. The requested variance is for a three-foot increase to the maximum fence height allowed for a solid-type fence located in the front yard.
Gary Crandall, 4973 Kalamazoo Ave. was present to represent the request. He stated he put a 6 foot fence up when the City trimmed the trees and did the Kalamazoo Ave. project.
Derusha stated there was discussion about this request in August in response to the City trimming the trees, at that time the board suggested staff go back and talk to the attorney about putting a time restriction on how long he can retain the fence if we were to allow him to have it.
Pung stated Sluggett spoke to Mr. Crandall’s attorney about the time frame and the intent. He stated the intent was to have trees to replace what was there previously and they were recommending if they do a condition for the years they should also indicate if the planting reach a height of 6 feet the fence could also be taken down; whichever comes first either the time frame or reaching the height of 6 feet.
Derusha stated he didn’t know how long it would take a 24 inch tree to grow 6 feet in height. Pung stated it depends on the species and what the height is at planting. Derusha stated we don’t want this to go on forever and stated they will come up with a compromise once it reaches 6 feet or a time period expires.
Crandall stated that it was supposed to be acceptable by him the property owner but that will be acceptable for him.
Derusha opened the public hearing.
Lipner read a letter was read from Sandra Jones 5496 on Greensboro Dr. in opposition of the request.
Holloway asked how we would phrase the time frame and height. Derusha stated that the fence can remain as long as the bushes are less than 6 feet or 3 years expires. Holloway stated no matter where they are at the end of the 3 years that the fence will need to be removed. Derusha stated that is correct.
Crandall stated that his neighbor doesn’t have a time restriction on his. Derusha stated he believes that is true. Schweitzer stated he applied for the variance before he put the fence up. Schweitzer stated there was compensation for removal of vegetation for all properties along Kalamazoo Avenue.
Lipner stated he had significant tree frontage on Kalamazoo that was taken away because of the expansion.
Motion by Commissioner Lenger, Supported by Commissioner Fox, to close the public hearing.
- Motion Carried 5-0 –
- Cutts and Wing absent -
Lenger stated point 1 was met because of the widening of the street and taking out the trees during construction of Kalamazoo Ave. Lenger stated point 2 was met but we have to be careful because we don’t want this to happen all along Kalamazoo Ave. and he thinks there can be a case for this request based on the location and putting a time limit on the variance. Lenger stated point 3 was met.
Fox concurred adding there was a pre-existing fence. Lipner, Holloway and Derusha concurred.
Lenger stated point 4 was met there are no other neighbors and one letter from another street was submitted. Lenger stated point 5 was met. Lenger stated point 6 is met due to the widening and changing of the frontage.
Fox concurred adding there will be a time limit on it so that it will not create a situation where the entire street is going to have fences up. Lipner, Holloway and Lenger concurred.
Motion by Commissioner Lenger supported by Commissioner Fox, to approve V-10-14 with the following condition that it must be taken down when the bushes that are planted are 6 feet tall or 3 years has expired, whichever comes first.
1. That there are exceptional and extraordinary circumstances or conditions applying to the property that do not apply generally to other properties in the same zoning district. The conversion of Kalamazoo Ave. to a boulevard and the removal of existing trees and bushes as part of the project.
2. Due to the exceptional and extraordinary circumstances applying to the property, the condition or situation of the specific piece of property for which the variance is sought is not of so general or recurrent a nature as to make reasonable practical the formulation of a general regulation for such conditions or situations
3. That such variance is necessary for the preservation and enjoyment of a substantial property right similar to that possessed by other properties in the same zoning district and in the vicinity.
4. Due to the exceptional circumstances and the time limit placed on the variance the variance will not be detrimental to adjacent property and the surrounding neighborhood. The fence will be removed in three years or when the plantings are 6 feet tall.
5. The Variance will not impair the intent and purpose of the Ordinance.
6. That the immediate practical difficulty causing the need for the variance request was not created by any action of the applicant. The applicant did not cause the road project which resulted in the removal of vegetation on his property.
-Motion Carried (5-0) –
-Cutts and Wing absent -
Holloway suggested to the applicant to start with at least 2 foot tall plants to meet the three years.
Applicant: Wheelz Sales & Leasing
Location: 3851 Model Court
Request: The applicant wishes to conduct retail sales of automobiles in the I-1 Light Industrial district. The Kentwood Zoning Ordinance does not permit retail sales of automobiles in the I-1 Light Industrial district. The request is for a use variance to allow retail sales of automobiles at this location.
Christopher Hooks owner of Wheelz Sales & Leasing, 3851 Model Ct. was present to represent the request. He stated he would like to conduct retail sales of high end automobiles out of an indoor storage facility that is enclosed and fully in house through their warehouse. He stated they do not conduct retail sales like a traditional used car dealership; everything is done via internet and by appointment. He stated this is more of a specialty business. He stated their cars range from antique collector cars to your everyday mid to high line imports, focused mainly on internet sales and worldwide sales throughout the U.S. and mostly Europe.
Fox asked how many vehicles the facility can handle. Hooks stated they have the capability to hold about 80 cars inside. Fox asked what would happen if they had more than 80 cars. Hooks stated they are far from that and financially he doesn’t see that happening if that were the case then they would move cars out to other locations. Hooks stated they have a facility where they keep some cars in storage for customers and they can send them back to their own personal garages.
Lenger stated last month the owner of the building that he is leasing came in looking for a sign on Broadmoor and that sign is for the entire piece of property. Lenger stated with that in mind there is not another way to put a sign out there for this type of building. Mr. Hooks stated all of their stuff is internet based and people make a scheduled appointment before they come, it’s not the drive by traffic and they do not have cars out on display to generate business. He stated they would like to get their name on the sign that was granted but they are not looking for additional signage.
Lipner asked if they plan to do any service, car washing or maintenance and if chemicals and, cleaners will be on premises. Mr. Hook stated they do not conduct service but maybe an occasional quick wash of a car but no maintenance. Hooks stated they do some inspections as well as appraisals for customers where they need to get under the car or pull tires off and it makes it easier for them if there is a hoist there. He stated they only carry soap and water.
Lenger asked where they are located now. Hooks stated their dealer license is at 5091 Broadmoor. He stated most of his vehicles are top of the line vehicles and the current facility doesn’t handle that. He stated it is all outside so it limits his business as to what he can have on display this will benefit having everything inside to continue to grow his business that way.
Derusha asked what kind of daily traffic he will anticipate. Mr. Hooks stated they will expect anywhere from 5-8 people per day. Hooks stated a lot of his business is internet based and the customer never shows up, the cars are shipped right to them. Pung stated in this case the State requires they have business hours and allowance for people to come to the site.
Chair Derusha opened the public hearing.
Jeffery Bowen, business partner with Wheelz Sales Leasing, 3851 Model Ct. was also present. He stated regarding the State licensing they do require that they keep certain hours so they can come in and inspect books, go through records to make sure everything is on par. He stated currently 70-90% their average ticket for a vehicle is $30,000 and up, that is the big reason they need an enclosed warehouse. He stated prior to this they were spread around town between different warehouses. He stated this makes it a lot easier for them to conduct business under one roof. He stated they have no interest to keep any inventory outside. He stated daily traffic is probably about 5-8 people they don’t do a lot of advertising, unless people see them on the internet and wish to come and see things, most of their cars ship out of state.
Motion by Commissioner Lenger, supported by Commissioner Holloway to close the public hearing.
- Motion Carried (4-0) –
- Cutts and Wing absent –
Holloway stated point 1 was met because it is unique business. Holloway stated point 2 was met as the building has been for lease for two years and this will make this a viable business. Holloway stated point 3 was met since the business will be inside.
Lipner, Fox, Lenger and Derusha concurred points 1, 2 and 3 have been met.
Holloway stated point 4 is met there have been only 3 similar request in the last 10 years. Holloway stated point 5 is met the warehouse will be retained in a warehouse condition and could be used for that again. Holloway stated point 6 was met they are looking for a larger building and it is already in existence in Kentwood it’s not creating the hardship it is centralizing it.
Lipner, Fox, Lenger and Derusha concurred points 4, 5 and 6 have been met with Fox adding their definition of retail is different than the State’s definition.
Motion by Commissioner Holloway, supported by Commissioner Fox, to approve V-10-15 with the following restrictions: no outdoor display of vehicles or sales, no maintenance of vehicles and no added signage, everything to be done inside the building.
- The condition, location, or situation of the specific piece of property or of the intended use of the property is unique to that property in the zoning district in which it is located. The business is unique in its operation and being primarily storage.
- The building structure or land cannot be reasonably used in a manner consistent with the uses allowed in the zoning district in which it is located. The property has been unleased for 2 years.
- The use variance will not alter the essential character of the neighborhood nor the intent of the City Master Plan nor be of detriment to adjacent properties. All storage and operating of business will occur indoors no outside display or storage.
- The requested use is not of so general or recurring a nature as to make reasonably practical the formulation of a general regulation or adding it to the permitted uses in the zoning district in which it is located or to permitted uses in other more appropriate zoning district. There has been only 3 similar requests in 10 years.
- The variance will not impair the intent and purpose of this Ordinance.
- The immediate unnecessary hardship causing the need for the variance request was not created by the applicant.
- Motion Carried (5-0) –
- Cutts and Wing absent -
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.
Dustin Wadsworth, 3851 Model Ct. SE, was present to represent the request. He stated he would like to use the suite A on the weekends as a paintball arena and possibly during the week for dance lessons and other dance related entertainment purposes.
Fox asked what kinds of paint guns they will use. Mr. Wadsworth stated it is going to be professional standard paintball guns.
Derusha asked what’s the issue with the request. Pung stated this is a commercial use as opposed to an industrial use that is why it is not allowed in the industrial districts, it is allowed by right within the commercial districts and then allowance as a special land use within the other zoning districts. Derusha asked if the issue would be traffic. Pung stated traffic, and mixing industrial use with non- industrial uses/ traffic.
Lipner stated in February of 2004 a variance was issued and granted. Pung stated variances are only good for one year and the golf range that was planned never went in and the variance has since expired.
Schweitzer stated when the city set up a zoning district they set aside areas exclusively for industrial uses and that is why recreational uses have not been identified in the industrial zone. He stated they wanted to keep those areas specifically for industrial, warehousing and manufacturing operations. Schweitzer stated some communities have reviewed their industrial use allowances to see if some commercial uses should be allowable in industrial zone and Kentwood has not done that remaining consistent with keeping that area set aside for industrial use only.
Derusha asked if he had pursued looking at other areas. Wadsworth stated he has looked around and has not been able to find the size he would require for a professional paintball arena. He stated this is an 8800 square foot area which would allow him the ability to change his field. He stated you need a minimum of 7000 square foot to do a professional arena.
Chair Derusha opened he public hearing.
Mahe Mahesh, owner of 3851 Model Ct. stated this building has been vacant for a long time they have been struggling to get people in the facility. He stated this request will help him out with his finances, he’s been struggling and is behind in his taxes.
Schweitzer stated the applicant initially sent information to the Board exclusively in terms of paintball and now they would like to add the dance studio and lessons which was not identified in the original application. Derusha stated since it has not been noticed as a dance studio the request would have to be re-noticed.
Lenger asked about parking. Wadsworth stated there are 34 parking spaces available to this suite and the maximum allowed to be playing paintball is 12 people per session and the session last an hour.
Holloway asked if the 34 parking spaces were for his portion of the building. Wadsworth stated it is 34 for their portion.
Wadsworth stated there will be a recreational area where there will be vending machines, televisions and couches for people to wait if needed. He stated youth groups do not exceed more than 15 people and people who play paintball are between the ages of 13 and 18 and he believes there won’t be more than 15 people per group.
Lipner asked if there will be a need for dressing/changing areas. Wadsworth stated it can get a little messy the bathrooms they have in are large, it will allow people to put the suit over the top of their clothes. He stated it is protective material you pull over your clothes nothing you will change into.
Fox asked if they wash the material. Wadsworth stated they will offer it for rental or they can bring their own. He stated if there is a need they will wash the equipment but if not it will be sprayed and set on a shelf.
Schweitzer stated in terms of how this is being described will the paintball be independent of the dance lessons and studio. Wadsworth stated the dance studio was something he was entertaining and he wasn’t aware he needed to do something separate. Schweitzer stated we did have some dance establishments set up and there were police enforcement issues and their needs to be a lot more understating of how that will operate and how that might come into the play with the ordinance.
Holloway asked if there will be any food sales. Wadsworth stated it will be through vending machines they won’t have a cafeteria.
Lenger thought there should be more detail needed as far as the interior of the building to go forward with the request. Pung stated if they feel they need additional information they can table the request if they desire and if there is specific information they would like to see they can request that as well.
Discussion ensued regarding layout of the site.
Derusha asked if he comes back next month can the dance be added to it. Schweitzer stated we have to re-notice in order for that to take place in the next meeting.
Derusha stated to the applicant the board would like additional information and work with staff to get that together.
Holloway stated he would like to see a layout of the lounge area and where there is going to be protection for people from the paintball area, the vending machines and what will be carried in them.
Derusha stated there was a valid point mentioned about bringing young people dropping them off hopefully the parents will stay and manage the situation.
Lipner stated if he intends it to do this weekends only what’s the use during the week, how many days etc.
Fox asked if this will be a major remodel. Wadsworth stated the only major addition he would be doing inside the building would be where the couches would sit and where the vending machines would be.
Derusha suggested he work with staff and we will table to December 20, 2010
Motion by Commissioner Lenger, supported by Commissioner Lipner, to table V-10-16 to the December 20, 2010 meeting.
- Motion Carried (5-0) –
- Cutts and Wing absent -
Motion by Lenger, supported by Fox, to adjourn the meeting.
- Motion Carried ( 5-0) –
- Cutts and Wing absent -
Meeting adjourned at 7:49 p.m.
Alan Lipner, Secretary