Kentwood Committees & BoardsAPPROVED MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING
Zoning Board of Appeals (Back to index)
Minutes for 09/18/2007
OF THE KENTWOOD ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS
CITY COMMISSION CHAMBERS
SEPTEMBER 18, 2007, 7:30 P.M.
1. Chair Derusha called the meeting to order.
2. Roll Call
MEMBERS PRESENT: Jerry Akers, Tom Cutts, Les Derusha, Theresa Dudley, Alan Lipner, and Ed Swanson
MEMBERS ABSENT: Richard Lenger
OTHERS PRESENT: Planner Joe Pung, Planner, Staff Secretary Monique Collier, the applicants, and fifty citizens.
Motion by Swanson, supported by Dudley, to excuse Lenger from the September 18, 2007 meeting.
- Motion Carried 6-0)
- Lenger absent
3. Approval of the Minutes and Findings of Fact
Motion by Swanson, supported by Dudley, to approve the minutes of August 20, 2007.
- Motion Carried (6-0) ?
- Lenger absent -
4. Public Hearing
Applicant: Guardian Angel Homes
Location: 2400 Forest Hill Avenue, SE
Request: The applicants wish to develop an assisted living facility on a 3.06 acre site which will be split off from a larger 10.32 acre site currently the home of Christ Community Church. The existing parking for the church would be setback one foot from the new property line created by the lot split. The Kentwood Zoning Ordinance requires a minimum parking setback of 45 feet along with a 20 foot landscaped buffer.
The development would consist of four residence buildings and one community building located off of Forest Hill Avenue. The residences will have front yard setbacks of 20 feet (Kentwood Zoning Ordinance requires 35 feet), combined side yard setbacks of 15 feet (Kentwood Zoning Ordinance requires 40 feet) and rear yard setbacks of as little as 20 feet (Kentwood Zoning Ordinance requires 50 feet).
The requested variances are a reduction of 44 feet to the required parking setback, waiving the 20 foot landscape buffer requirement, reduction of 15 feet to the required front yard setback, reduction of 25 feet to the required combined side yard setback and a reduction of 30 feet to the required rear yard setback.
Rob Berends, with Exxel Engineering, was there to represent the request. He stated that Guardian Angel Homes provides housing and housing support to adults with developmental disabilities. He stated they are trying to provide an avenue of ownership to give parents the ability to provide for their children when they are gone. Mr. Berrends stated Christ Community Church gave Guardian Angels Home a piece of property. He stated that the Planning Commission decided this project is an assisted living facility so therefore it is a special land use and requires variances. He stated they need four requests for variances.
1) Front yard setback in a special land use is 35 feet and Guardian Angels is requesting 20 feet for buildings 1,2,3 and 4. He stated the building does meet the R-PUD-1 zone requirements and if this was an assisted living facility under the special land use they would not need the variance
2) Rear yard setback, the special land use requirement is 50 feet. He stated the special land use puts the assisted living facility in with hospitals and larger nursing home type situations and Guardian Angels Homes is not. He stated the buildings are single family type development buildings. He stated they are requesting a 20 foot minimum rear yard. If they were not a special land use they would not need a rear yard setback.
3) Side Yard setback is a 20 foot requirement per building and 40 feet total between buildings. They are asking for 15 feet between buildings 2 ,and 3 and buildings 3 and 4 and under the R-PUD- 1 the requirement would be 12 feet between buildings, and once again they are requesting the variance due to the special land use designation
4) The parking lot setback. He stated the parking lot setback is required to be 45 feet of which 20 feet is to be landscaped. He stated the ordinance is intended to protect existing residential uses from someone building a parking lot up to them. He stated they intend to put a six foot vegetative buffer. He stated they are creating a hardship on themselves.
Mr. Berends stated the Planning Commission and the City Commission didn?t look at the project as a special land use designation and they approved the setbacks. He stated they only used the designation because if something were to happen, Guardian Angels can?t just sell the buildings and start renting them out. He stated the care provider is in the home assisting the individuals with their daily needs.
Jim Erdley, Attorney with Varnum Riddering was also available to represent the request. He stated the reason why the special land use was chosen for the project is because each unit on the north side are duplexes that contain three bedrooms and bathroom combinations and on south side it is a single family structure with three bedrooms/ bathroom combination. He stated the way it was designed is because each combination is a condominium unit that will be purchased and owned by the resident owner. He stated the city was concerned that if it was not being used for the purpose it is intended to be used it could be something that was not desirable from the city?s perspective. He stated they were pushed in the special land use when they may not need that assisted living designation.
Jim Erdley stated point 1 is met. He stated the shape of the property is unique, it is triangular shaped and that triangular shape is putting some pressure on the boundaries even after reducing the number of units from 26 to 22.
Jim Erdley stated point 2 is met because the property is adjacent to Christ Community Church and part of their program is to integrate the segment of the population that they are assisting with the faith community.
Jim Erdley stated point 3 is met because there are other properties in the zoning district and in the vicinity that are available that are being used for low density residential use and despite the special land use designation that is what it is.
Jim Erdley stated that point 4 is met because there is nothing in their view that is detrimental to any of the neighboring properties and the only thing they are butting up against is the parking lot.
Jim Erdley stated point 5 is met because the intent and purpose of the special land use assisted living ordinance was aimed more at institutional type living structures which there are reasons they want the facility away from the road and spread apart.
Jim Erdley stated that point 6 is met because they did not plan to develop the piece of land in that spot, they came to it because of the church?s generosity and its affiliations. He stated the shape of the property and the special land use that is causing tyhem to come before the board.
Pung stated the City Commission approved it for the site plan, they did not look at the special land use, that was at the Planning Commission level. They have worked out some issues such as, financial feasibility, sale of the units, making sure they will go to people that meet their definition and they wanted to make sure that it was a taxable development and not classified as a non-profit.
Derusha asked if the City Commission and Planning Commission were comfortable defining this request as an assisted living facility. Pung stated that was the definition that applied, it was a unique form of development. In order to make it manageable and affordable to those who need to purchase, each condo is defined as a bedroom and a bath and a common area that is owned as a whole. Pung stated they will require some assistance that is why it was grouped into an assisted living facility and therefore it was considered a special land use with the additional setback requirements; Pung stated had it not been for that they would have been here this evening only for the parking setback for the church.
Dudley asked if there should be some stipulations on the property saying that if they ever decided to leave that it wouldn?t become something else. Pung stated that was covered by the Planning/City Commissions in their approval of the site plan and the special land use.
Rob Berends, Exxel Engineering stated the master deed stated that the project will be used for the intended purpose any other use they would have to amend the site plan and go back to the Planning/ City Commissions before anything can happen.
Swanson asked what the demand was for this kind of facility and is there a likely hood that these will sell. Paul Solberg, President of Guardian Homes, stated there are 44 people on the list for 22 slots, they think there is an immediate demand. He stated there are 40,000 people in Kent and Ottawa County with developmental disabilities, there is a very large population.
Helen Fisk, 1560 Woodlawn Ave and members of Christ community church is in favor of the project.
Henry Devries, 2504 Forest Bluff Ct. SE, Patty Watson 2500 Forest Bluff Ct., a letter from Lois Devries 2504 Forest Bluff Ct., main concerns were Kentwood put zoning rules in place for a reason and they should be abided by, this is a steep land and too tiny, they don?t think it is buildable, the transportation - how will they get around, worried if this project fails what will the buildings be, they think they should deny the project so Guardian Angels can come up with a better plan to meet the setbacks.
Frank Lynn with Disabilities Advocate of Kent County was in favor of the project. He stated this is a unique project. He stated he gets phone calls from people who are seeking housing that is affordable. He stated as far as transportation, Go Bus will service the condos. He thinks the project should be approved as proposed.
Motion by Swanson, supported by Dudley to close the public hearing.
- Motion Carried (6-0) ?
- Lenger absent -
Akers stated as proposed there are some extraordinary circumstances such as the slope, but he doesn?t think we meet Point 1 because there can be some changes to the design to help meet the dimensions to eliminate the property shape. Akers stated point 2 he is struggling with, he said that in his thought this is an assisted living facility, but has merits as a condo, he thinks there should be a separate zoning classification for assisted living condos, but he said point 2 was met. Akers stated point 3 he is struggling with the neighbors and the concept of what they are trying to do and thinks it does not meet point 3.
Lipner stated point 1 was met due to the extraordinary shape, location and slope of the property but he thinks some if not the majority could be eliminated with more work. He stated point is met 2 because the uniqueness, there are no specifics on condo type assisted living. He stated point 3 was not met.
Dudley stated that she doesn?t think points 1, 2, and 3 have been met. She stated she doesn?t think it is the boards place to determine if it is needed.
Swanson stated point 1 was met in that the shape is certainly unique and a unique relationship to the church. Swanson stated point 2 was met because we don?t have this anywhere else and this is a unique request and the reason for the change is because staff forced them to a special land use in order to come up with the description that fit the unique need otherwise they wouldn?t be here for these variances. If we didn?t force them into the special land use to find a way to guarantee that this will remain as an assisted living facility. Swanson stated point 3 was met, he stated it is low use residential and because of the unique shape the units are pushed a little closer together, but if you take the whole property with the church and land it is very low use.
Cutts concurred with Swanson that points 1, 2, and 3 have been met. Cutts questioned point 3 with the potential grade at the southern end of the map the potential for building. Swanson stated there isn?t anything, Cutts stated if it is unbuildable then he thinks it is met.
Derusha stated that point 1 was met and point 2 was met, point 3 he is struggling with, he thinks it can be reconfigured with fewer units to meet the requirements, he stated the quantity of the units have a financial implication associated with it and he does not think it meets point 3.
Akers stated that point 4 is met because they are building in a residential area and they are trying to make it a condominium feel and there are condos in the area. He stated that point 5 was met due to the projects uniqueness. He stated point 6 was not met because splitting the property was caused by the applicant.
Lipner stated point 4 was met but the comments by the neighbors make him wonder, but he doesn?t think it will be detrimental. He stated that point 5 was met due to its uniqueness. He stated point 6 was not met because of the splitting of the land.
Dudley stated point 4 has not been met. She stated that point 5 was met and point 6 has not been met.
Swanson stated point 4 was met because it is a condominium feel and it is being done in a nice way. The only neighbor that should object is the church and they provided the land. Swanson stated point 5 was met because it is a special condition for an assisted living and has residential character. He stated point 6 was met because it was donated by the church and they have done what they can to use the builadble area and still maintain the residential character condominium feel.
Cutts concurred with Swanson.
Derusha stated point 4 and 5 was met but point 6 was not met because the lot split created the problem.
Motion by Swanson supported by Cutts to approve V-07-11
1. That there are exceptional or extraordinary circumstances or conditions applying to the property that do not apply generally to other properties in the same zoning district due to the unique shape, location and slope of the property.
2. Due to the exceptional circumstances applying to the property and the unique uses the variance 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 a 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. The use is a low density residential use which is permitted in this area.
4. The variance will not be detrimental to adjacent property and surrounding neighborhood. The development is residential in design and character similar to adjacent uses
5. Due to the unique circumstances of this project, the variance will not impair the intent and purpose of this Ordinance.
6. That the immediate practical difficulty causing the need for the variance request was not created by any action of the applicant. It was the amount and shape of the donated land.
- Motion failed (4-2)-
- Cutts and Swanson in favor -
- Akers, Lipner, Dudley and Derusha dissenting ?
- Lenger absent -
Location: 4855 Broadmoor Avenue, SE
Request: The applicant wishes to construct a 70-foot extrusion tower as part of their manufacturing process. The Kentwood Zoning Ordinance limits the height of the tower to 60 feet. The requested variance is for an increase of 10 feet to the permitted height of the extrusion tower.
Ron Andronaco was there to present the request. He stated they acquired the building in November with the plan of relocating their facility and creating about 225 jobs within the next five years at the facility. He stated they got the approval of the airport to build the tower they need. He stated they vertically extrude PTFE tubing to manufacturing high grade pharmaceutical hose. He stated they need the extra 10 feet to be able to go into larger size tubing. He stated he did not know the city had a variance on the height of the building and there is a limit of 60 feet. He stated had he known that he would not have invested in Kentwood because the tower is a big part of his business. He stated they spent 2 million dollars on the front of the building and they have invested a lot of money in the facility and just remodeling the front.
Derusha was concerned if it were 70 feet above ground.
Akers asked what was the 60 foot height rationale. Pung stated in most zoning district there is a height limit but there is a knowledge that certain structures will have to go higher than that such as a church steeple etc. Pung stated they added the ability for such structures to go 15 feet above normal height of the zoning district.
Motion by Swanson, supported by Akers to close the public hearing.
- Motion Carried (6-0) ?
- Lenger absent ?
Cutts stated point 1 was met due to the type of business use. Cutts stated point 2 was met he does not think this will be a reoccurring event. Cutts stated point 3 was met due to the fact that he is trying to better facilitate his business and does not see that as being a recurring issue and that the manufacturing process needs it.
Swanson, Dudley, Lipner, Akers and Derusha concurred.
Cutts stated point 4 was met since it is all surrounding uses industrial use. Cutts stated point 5 was met. Cutts stated point 6 was met.
Swanson stated point 4, 5 and 6 were met and he hopes Mr. Andronaco?s experience in Kentwood is good.
Dudley, Lipner, Akers and Derusha concurred.
Motion by Dudley, supported by Cutts, to approve V-07-16
1. That there are exceptional or extraordinary circumstances or conditions applying to the property that do not apply generally to other properties in the same zoning district. It is a large formally vacant industrial facility.
2. The condition or situation of the specific piece of property for which the variance 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. The proposed use/process is not a recurring one.
3. That such a variance is not 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. Without the variance the process to make the tubes is not possible.
4. The variance will not be detrimental to adjacent property and surrounding neighborhood. The proposed use is industrial just like the surrounding uses and the airport has approved the tower.
5. The variance will impair the intent and purpose of this Ordinance.
6. That the immediate practical difficulty causing the need for the variance request was not created by any action of the applicant. It is the nature of the manufacturing process which has caused the need for the variance.
- Motion Carried (6-0) ?
- Lenger absent -
Applicant: Michigan Commercial Properties LLC
Location: 4842 Division Avenue, SE
Request: The applicant wishes to construct a 9,014 square foot commercial building on the property. The proposed development would provide 32 parking spaces (Kentwood Zoning Ordinance requires a minimum of 36 spaces), would have a front yard parking setback of 10 feet (Kentwood Zoning Ordinance requires a minimum front yard setback of 35 feet), would have lot coverage of 84% (Kentwood Zoning Ordinance limits lot coverage to 75%) and would have a 3-foot green space along the north property line (Kentwood Zoning Ordinance requires a 20-foot landscaped buffer along the lot line abutting the residential district).
The requested variances are for 1) a reduction of 4 parking spaces from the minimum required, 2) a 25 foot reduction to the required front yard setback, 3) an increase of 9% to the permitted lot coverage, 4) a reduction of 17 feet to the required landscape buffer along the north property line adjacent to the residential district (eastern most 200 feet) and 5) to waive the vegetation requirements of the landscape buffer.
Mike Baker, member of Michigan Commercial Properties LLC was there to present the request. He stated they would like to bring a national retailer to the site.
Donald Nyswander Attorney with Nyswander, Barens and Devries was also present. He stated they are proposing to build a 9,000 square foot building. He stated the lot is very unique in nature, it is 103 feet by 422 feet deep. He stated it creates some problems when it comes time to construct a building on the narrow property considering the requirements under the zoning ordinance. He stated the national retailer that is intended to lease the property states the 32 parking spaces would be more than sufficient for the intended use. He stated regarding the front yard setback their building is recessed relative to the two buildings on each side. He stated their intention is to have the customer parking in the front end. He stated the lot coverage of 84% is necessary in order for them to construct the building and being that it is 100 feet wide and 422 feet long they would have to build a long building to accomplish the lot coverage at 75%. He stated the 3 foot greenspace is heavily over grown with fully mature trees and a fence and an effective buffer on the property that blocks the residential area from their commercial site. He stated they are asking that the variances be granted because they believe they have met the criteria. He stated Point 1 is because of the size of the lot. Point 2 he stated this is not a recurrent situation because the state of Michigan prohibits the creation of a lot with a width to debt ratio 1 to 4. He stated point 3 was met and to look at the property development along South Division and the construction that has been there. He said the adjacent buildings have a zero lot line and are located closer to the road than they are proposing. He stated they just want a viable commercial development at the location. He stated point 4 the adjacent property owners along South Division are also all commercial. He stated with the residential property in the back there are scrubs and fully mature trees and a fence. He stated point 5 was met because by putting a retail establishment on Division they will not be impairing. He stated point 6 was met because the lot has been there for a long time and they didn?t create the dimension. He stated there is no place to expand to change the dimensions.
Swanson asked if the neighbor to the south was talked to about shared access. Mike Baker stated he has talked to them quite a bit and mentioned about a possible mutual easement that he is open to. He stated the neighbor asked for economic compensation and they left it at that. Swanson asked if he could do something such as snow plowing or something. Swanson stated he would like for this to be tabled to next month. Swanson asked if they can tell what this will be. Mike Baker stated it is a national retail store. Mike Baker stated he doesn?t oppose a mutual easement but he doesn?t think he needs it because if he were a residential property owner behind the proposed building he would much rather have the semi turn around in the front of the building and pull out onto South Division. He stated if he is forced to give an easement to the neighbor he doesn?t think that is going to benefit him for the parking. He stated he is open to an easement, but doesn?t see the need for it.
Derusha asked how they are going to turn the 73 foot semi around in the parking lot.
Residents with concerns were Perry & Michelle Cannon 24 Garland, Peter Eversdyke 4860 Division Ave. Pat Whitney owner of the property to the north Jackie Vacoviac lives east of the proposed property. Their concerns were they don?t think it is right to put it three feet away from their property line. They stated there are empty buildings all along South Division, why build another one. The landscaping the applicant is saying is mature, is scrub brush, they want to see a buffer zone, a green zone. They think the building is too big for the site, they need to downsize the building and come back with another plan. They think it is only fair that everybody meet the zoning requirements. They don?t want semi trucks running up to their fence.
Lipner asked about the lighting in the back. Mr. Baker stated the lightning plan will be dictated by specifications of the national retailer and staff. He stated he can not downsize the building and if it can?t be granted it can not be put there.
Motion by Swanson, supported by Akers to table the public hearing to October 15, 2007.
- Motion Carried (6-0) ?
- Lenger absent ?
Swanson stated he would like a demonstration of how the semi truck is going to make it and he has stated he would like for them to put it five feet from the fence and maintain the scrubs.
Akers and Dudley stated they will be resigning from the zoning board.
Motion by Akers, supported by Dudley, to adjourn the meeting.
- Motion Carried ( 6-0) ?
- Lenger absent -
Meeting adjourned at 9:15 p.m.
Jerry Akers, Secretary