Minutes - November 1, 2016
HOLLAND CHARTER TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION
November 1, 2016
The meeting was called to order by Chairman Marion Hoeve at 7:00 p.m.
Present: Chairman Marion Hoeve, Vice-Chairman/Secretary Jack Vander Meulen and Members Ken Bosma, Dennis Gebben, and Norm Nykamp. Also present was Planner Corey Broersma and Recording Secretary Amy LeVesque.
Absent: Members La Verne Johnson and Ed Zylstra and Planner Meghann Reynolds.
The minutes of the regular meeting of October 4, 2016 were approved with one correction.
Mr. Hoeve explained the meeting and hearing procedures for the assembled audience.
Mr. Hoeve next opened the public hearing to consider an amendment to the final development plan for the Waverly Shores Manufactured Home Park Planned Unit Development (PUD), located at 11777 Riley Street. The proposed amendment requests two additional manufactured home lots in the newly expanded park addition resulting in a total of 91 lots in the addition. The Planning Commission recommended approval of a PUD amendment for an 89 lot expansion onto an approximately 20 acre parcel to the north of the existing park at their May 10, 2016 meeting. The Township Board then adopted the resolution and report at their June 2, 2016 meeting. Present for this request was Mr. Eric Lord of the Atwell Group.
Mr. Lord explained that Waverly Shores was requesting a PUD amendment due to a typographical error on the application which led to the Township Board approving the resolution and report with 89 units instead of the 91 units that were intended in the request.
Mr. Broersma explained that the preliminary PUD amendment application listed 89 units, with resubmitted preliminary plans also listing 89 units. He also explained that the resolution and report was drafted with the anticipation that final plans would match submitted plans. He went on to explain that the submitted final development plan stated that the request was for 90 units while plans as drawn showed 91 units.
Mr. Broersma explained that plans for the recently submitted PUD amendment show increased unit size, a reduction in the playground area, elimination of 30 guest parking spaces, elimination of sideyards on interior units, and a utility easement increased from 36 feet wide to 80 feet wide. He commented that these proposed changes amount to much more than a typographical correction.
In response to a question from Mr. Gebben, Mr. Lord explained that the requirements for the easement located in the southwestern area of the expansion were wider than anticipated, resulting in a shift in units, a reduction in playground size and the elimination of guest parking in order to allow for 91 units. He commented that the easement would provide increased greenspace.
In response to a request from Mr. Bosma, Mr. Broersma explained that plans for the expansion show adequate space for parking three cars in each driveway. He also explained that seven visitor parking spaces on the west, two spaces near the utility easement, 14 spaces near the playground, and seven spaces on the eastern part of the addition have been eliminated.
In response to a question from Mr. Gebben regarding visitor parking, Mr. Lord explained that the plan meets State requirements and that the State does not require visitor parking. He also explained that increased easement requirements did not allow space for visitor parking, but that he would have included visitor parking if he could have found the space for it.
In response to a question from Mr. Nykamp, Mr. Lord explained that there are no visitor parking lots in the existing development and that none were required.
Mr. Broersma indicated that there are parking spaces near the recreation center, southwest retention pond, and northwest corner of the existing development.
Mr. Gebben suggested that the same ratio of number of units to visitor parking spaces that was used in the existing development be used to determine the number of visitor parking spaces in the expansion.
Mr. Vander Meulen commented that using the same ratio may not be comparable since there is a large lot for recreation vehicle parking in the north portion of the existing park. He also commented that developers have stated that they plan to phase out the RV storage area.
Mr. Broersma explained that plans show that there will be a turn off into the RV parking area from the proposed connector driveway into the expansion area.
Mr. Lord commented that he might be able to put ten parking spaces in the southwest corner of the expansion.
Mr. Bosma commented that he does not like the changes in plans for the proposed amendment and questioned the usefulness of parking located in the southwest corner of the addition. Mr. Hoeve agreed and commented that parking on the west end of the addition would not be useful to residents on the east end.
Mr. Lord commented that it is not common for mobile home developments to have the amount of parking that an apartment complex would and that the submitted plan follows State requirements.
Mr. Bosma commented that there is not much parking on the east side of the existing development. He suggested adding five spaces in the easement, two spaces on the eastern side of the playground area, four spaces near unit 370 on the eastern side of the addition and also adding spaces adjacent to unit 395 near the middle of the expansion property.
Mr. Broersma commented that Holland Board of Public Works may allow paved parking spaces over the utility easement.
Mr. Lord agreed that he might be able to put parallel parking spaces in near the easement and also that he might be able to shift the playground to the east to allow for two parallel parking spaces near the playground. He explained that adding parking spaces adjacent to unit 395 would eat up playground area. He also explained that his design is intended to ensure walkability and that he expects that residents will walk to the playground and not drive. He went on to explain that the owners have created a nice community in Waverly Shores and that they are hoping to expand it. He stated that he would include visitor parking in the plan if possible, but that the size of the easement might not allow for visitor parking. He explained that no units can be located on the easement.
In response to a question from Mr. Bosma, Mr. Lord explained that units are approximately 50 feet wide with a depth of either 100 feet or 110 feet.
Mr. Bosma suggested eliminating unit 403 or unit 404 in the east to allow for eight parking spaces and also suggested adding parking on the west near the easement as well, resulting in 90 total units in the addition. He commented that parking is needed for visitors and that he was not happy to see all 30 spaces eliminated from the plan that was submitted and approved by the Township.
Mr. Hoeve introduced letters received from neighboring residents Robin Nichols of 11550 Waterford Court and Jennifer Smith of 11558 Waterford Court who both asked that screening be required along the east property line. Mr. Hoeve suggested that a line of evergreen trees be planted along the eastern property line.
In response to a question from Mr. Vander Meulen, Mr. Broersma explained that since Waverly Shores and Crystal Valley are both residential developments, the zoning ordinance does not require a 10 foot wide greenbelt.
Mr. Lord stated that developers would comply with written requirements of the ordinance regarding parking and landscaping as well as follow State requirements.
Mr. Hoeve explained that since Waverly Shores is a PUD, the Planning Commission is allowed to set requirements for landscaping and parking that differ from zoning ordinance requirements.
Ms. Sarah Stowe, of 245 Standish Street, explained that she is an area realtor and is not an interested party. She also explained that she is involved in Ottawa Housing Next, an organization that encourages affordable, accessible and safe housing in the area. She went on to explain that she supports the expansion of Waverly Shores since it will increase the availability of affordable housing and that there is a need for affordable housing in the area. She stated that she understands that the larger easement has resulted in changes to the plan for the expansion. She agreed that providing parking has value and that providing parking near the playground on the east and also providing parking on the western portion of the expansion is important.
Ms. Carrie Esparza, of 11561 Waterford Court, explained that she would like to see something done to ease the transition between the mobile home park and her neighborhood. She also explained that she and her neighbors have worked hard to be able to afford their homes and expressed concern about possible declining property values in her neighborhood due to the planned addition. She went on to explain that she was told when she purchased her home that there would not be any development on the property that will contain the expansion. She stated that she would like to see an attractive buffer between her backyard where her children and pets play and the proposed expansion. She suggested that visitor parking and storage be located in northeast corner of the expansion property.
** Mr. Bosma moved and Mr. Gebben supported the motion to close the public hearing. Motion carried.
Mr. Hoeve suggested that developers return to the Planning Commission with a revised plan including visitor parking, landscaping on the eastern property line and that the chain link fence in the addition property match the existing fence along the east property line. Mr. Broersma commented that plans show a chain link fence along the east property line of the addition that matches the existing fence.
In response to a question from Mr. Lord regarding parking, Mr. Vander Meulen suggested that the utility easement should have been taken into consideration in the original plans for the addition. He commented that he would prefer a plan that shows 30 spaces, as was originally submitted in plans for the addition. He also suggested that Mr. Lord consider Mr. Bosma’s ideas for creating space for parking. Mr. Gebben suggested that Mr. Lord determine the ratio of number of units to parking spaces in the existing development to determine the number of parking spaces in the addition. He also commented that the resubmitted plan should show attractive landscaping in the northeast corner of the expansion. He explained that Mr. Lord needs to show that providing less than 30 spaces for visitor parking can serve the community just as well as the parking in the existing development.
** Mr. Gebben moved and Mr. Nykamp supported the motion to table the request for the PUD amendment for the Waverly Shores Mobile Home Park pending the submission of a revised plan. Motion carried.
In an update on items tabled at the October 4, 2016 Planning Commission meeting, Mr. Broersma explained that he expects that the developers of the preliminary West Shore Apartments PUD will submit their final development plan in time for consideration at the December 6, 2016 Planning Commission meeting. He also explained that the Hilton Home 2 Suites hotel which will be located on an adjacent parcel on West Shore Drive has expressed concern about the location and appearance of the carports along the west property line of the proposed apartments.
Also tabled at the October meeting was a PUD amendment submitted by Butternut Business Center PUD. Mr. Broersma explained that the Township’s attorney recommended that the site remain as one property, in one PUD. He also explained that a property split would result in two nonconforming lots, which is undesirable for the Township. He stated that he expects to receive a revised plan for the PUD in time for consideration at the December meeting.
Mr. Hoeve next opened the floor to general public comments.
There was no one present who wished to speak.
Mr. Hoeve then closed the public comment section of the meeting.
Commissioners next discussed proposed Planning Commission meeting dates for 2017 and revised the dates that were submitted.
** Mr. Bosma moved and Mr. Vander Meulen supported the motion to approve the following meeting dates for 2017: January 3, February 7, March 7, April 11, May 9, June 6, July 11, August 1, September 5, October 3, November 7, and December 5 with these dates being subject to approval by the Township Board and with all meetings to begin at 7:00 p.m. and be open to the public. Motion carried.
In an update on the search for a consultant to revise the zoning ordinance, Mr. Broersma informed Commissioners that LSL Planning has indicated that they will be closing offices in the area and are unable to accommodate the Township’s request. He explained that he has also contacted Ottawa County and that they do not have staff available. He also explained that he plans to contact Williams & Works, of Grand Rapids in the near future.
Next, Mr. Broersma introduced Dr. Andrew Peasley and Dr. Justin Peasley of Peasley Brothers Chiropractic, located at 442 Century Lane, Suite 200. Dr. Justin Peasley explained that he and his brother would like to operate a mobile chiropractic vehicle to allow them to travel to companies in the area and provide onsite chiropractic services to employees. He explained that they recently received permission from the Michigan Board of Chiropractic for the use of a digital X-ray on the proposed mobile office, and that their practice was among the first to receive this permission.
In response to a question from Mr. Vander Meulen, Dr. Andrew Peasley explained that the mobile unit would be self-contained and that there may not be a need for a restroom since areas that the mobile office travels to would have restrooms available. He also explained that the mobile unit would be parked in the lot of a dental practice for approximately 90 percent of the time. He also explained that the mobile office has not yet been built, but that it will be 35 feet to 40 feet in length, not more than 13 feet high and will be handicap accessible.
Mr. Broersma commented that since the doctors plan only day trips in the area, there will be no overnight parking at businesses. He also commented that Commissioners should have the same expectations and questions for this special use operation as for a brick and mortar business. He explained that Commissioners could also consider parking, sanitation, and accessibility.
Mr. Nykamp commented that the proposed business is different from a food truck in that the doctors will travel to their customers instead of customers traveling to the mobile office.
Mr. Justin Peasley explained that the mobile unit has a large 240 volt, 50 amp generator on board.
Mr. Broersma commented that setbacks and noise should be considered even though the mobile office will be driveable or towable. He also commented that this type of use should be considered when the temporary use regulations are updated. He explained that if a special use request is submitted, Commissioners would be considering granting a special use request which would stay with the property where the mobile unit would be parked overnight as well as setting regulations for parking and setbacks. He explained that the dentist’s parking lot that the doctors are proposing to use to park the mobile unit is located in an office and service zone.
Mr. Vander Meulen commented that he would like some type of written agreement in place between the Township and the operators. He also commented that noise from a large generator operating near a residential area could be annoying to neighbors and that a buffer would be required.
Dr. Justin Peasley explained that they do not plan to operate the generator when patients are onboard but that it might be necessary to briefly run the generator in order to take an X-ray.
In response to a question from Mr. Vander Meulen, Dr. Justin Peasley explained that the general public would not schedule appointments aboard the mobile unit but that employees of businesses it travels to could make appointments.
Mr. Bosma commented that he likes the idea for the mobile chiropractic office, but he is concerned about setting appropriate regulations and giving permission for the many types of mobile businesses, including food trucks.
Mr. Hoeve commented that the operation of the proposed mobile unit should be compared to the operation of other brick and mortar chiropractic operations.
Mr. Nykamp commented that the doctors are already operating a brick and mortar office.
Dr. Andrew Peasley commented that they will be paying to rent space in the dentist’s office parking lot where they plan to park the mobile unit.
Commissioners agreed that they would consider a special use request for the proposed chiropractic mobile unit and asked that the Drs. Peasley submit an application that includes a site plan and also encouraged them to seek guidance from Mr. Broersma.
Next, Mr. Broersma introduced the subject of requirements for parking and outdoor storage surfaces in commercial and industrial zones. He explained that the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) recently granted a variance allowing a crushed concrete surface in an outdoor storage area at 4211 Hallacy Drive (May 24, 2016). He also explained that 5 River Hills Drive received special use permission to operate an outdoor self-service storage facility and that a crushed concrete surface was shown for the outdoor storage area for seasonal storage of recreational vehicles (November 11, 2014). He stated that property at 471 Howard Avenue was granted special use permission to operate a self storage mini facility (March 1, 2016). He explained that the property was split and that the resulting western parcel that was granted special use permission for mini storage now has an address of 500 Douglas Avenue. He explained that the owner of the property believes that permission for a crushed concrete surface in the outdoor storage area at 500 Douglas Avenue was also granted during approval of the special use request. Mr. Broersma explained that Staff’s position is that a variance must be requested from the ZBA for any type of surface other than pavement for parking and outdoor storage. He asked for direction from Commissioners.
Mr. Hoeve commented that he believes that parking and storage surfaces should be treated or improved and that parking and storage should not be allowed on grass or dirt.
Mr. Gebben commented that he believes that different standards should be applied to parking surfaces and storage surfaces. He commented that he believes that storage areas for items such as pallets or bales of hay need not be paved.
Mr. Broersma explained that he does not believe that the ordinance differentiates between parking and outdoor storage surfaces. He referenced Section 17.5 Requirements for Parking Areas of the zoning ordinance which states that parking areas for more than five vehicles shall be paved with concrete or asphalt. He also explained that outdoor storage areas require special use approval in commercial and industrial zones.
Mr. Vander Meulen commented that paving prevents rainwater from soaking into the ground, which is why applicants are sometimes allowed to defer paving parking areas until they are needed. He explained that if storage areas are not paved, weeds and debris accumulate, resulting in an unattractive appearance. He agrees with crushed concrete surfaces being allowed in storage areas, if surfaces are maintained. He explained that paving lanes that lead to and from crushed concrete areas will allow mud to drop off tires before they reach streets.
Mr. Bosma commented that it is difficult to differentiate parking spaces versus driveways for outdoor parking if a crushed concrete surface is used. He also commented that it is difficult to plow snow from lots with different types of surfaces.
Mr. Vander Meulen commented that the property at 5 River Hills Drive was required to differentiate parking spaces in the outdoor storage area and also required to control weeds.
Mr. Nykamp commented that an industrial storage area that has semis and other types of heavy equipment would tear up a paved surface, meaning that industrial storage surfaces should be treated differently than outdoor storage in commercial areas.
Mr. Gebben suggested that perhaps it is time to rethink the practice of paving. He explained that he favors a greener approach that would have less impact on the environment. He also explained that the Macatawa Area Coordinating Council encourages stormwater practices which encourage surface permeability and that paving means that water must be piped away.
Mr. Vander Meulen suggested contacting the Ottawa County Water Resources Commission for guidance. Mr. Bosma agreed.
Mr. Broersma commented that water in retention ponds is not always treated, but allows settlement. Mr. Bosma also commented that drains and filters in vehicle parking lots must be maintained.
Mr. Jon Bryant, of Underground Building Maintenance, explained that he believes that property at 5 River Hills Drive was granted permission for a crushed concrete surface in an outdoor storage area with the stipulation that parking spaces be delineated and weeds be controlled. He also explained that he bought property at 500 Douglas Avenue because he believed that he would also be allowed to use a crushed concrete surface in an outdoor storage area. He went on to explain that the cost of paving his outdoor storage area makes the economics of operating a self storage business difficult. He stated that paving the outdoor storage area would also require adding the cost of piping drainage to Lake Macatawa. He stated that the Township needs to be realistic about forcing business owners to incur the cost of paving outdoor storage areas and should stop requiring it since this practice prevents people from doing business. He also stated that he may consider operating his mini self storage facility without outdoor storage.
In response to a question from Mr. Gebben, Mr. Bryant explained that he received permission from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) before developing his property and that environmental monitoring, including water sampling, will continue.
In response to a question from Mr. Bryant, Mr. Broersma stated that Planning Commission meetings are not recorded. He explained that the special use request approves only the use of the property, not the materials that are used.
Mr. Vander Meulen commented that although the Planning Commission reviewed the use of crushed concrete in the outdoor storage area for 5 River Hills Drive, permission was not given for crushed concrete in the outdoor storage area of 500 Douglas Avenue. He explained that the outdoor storage area at 5 River Hills Drive was to be used for seasonal storage of recreational vehicles.
Mr. Bryant commented that he feels that the rules were changed after his special use request was granted. He stated that he is willing to follow rules and requirements.
In response to a question from Mr. Hoeve, Mr. Broersma agreed that Mr. Bryant could apply to the ZBA for a variance.
Mr. Gebben stated that he believes that the distinction between parking and outdoor storage should be clearly differentiated by the ordinance. He also stated that he believes that paving all outdoor lots is not the answer.
Mr. Bosma commented that the Planning Commission should consider different situations and scenarios before making a decision on the matter.
Mr. Gebben commented that decisions on improving surfaces should be made by the Planning Commission on a case by case basis.
Mr. Nykamp suggested that the ZBA consider each case to determine the best type of hard surface to be used for each area and location. He agreed that paving everything is not the answer.
Mr. Bosma commented that ordinance requirements should be interpreted by the ZBA.
In response to a question from Mr. Bosma, Mr. Nykamp explained that the ZBA may grant relief from some ordinance requirements, but is not sure that they would be willing to consider relief from paving requirements.
Mr. Bryant commented that outdoor storage areas do not typically have continuous movement of vehicles, resulting in less wear and tear on the surface. He explained that the surface treatment for lots should depend on the volume and type of use. He also explained that no other municipalities in the area require outdoor storage areas to be paved and referenced a letter signed by Ms. Kelly Cavanaugh of Nederveld, Inc. that was distributed to Commissioners showing that ten municipalities in Ottawa County do not require paving of outdoor storage areas.
Mr. Broersma suggested that Mr. Bryant submit an application for a variance for consideration by the ZBA. Mr. Hoeve agreed.
Commissioners suggested that Mr. Bryant apply to the ZBA for a variance to allow a crushed concrete surface in the outdoor storage area on his property at 500 Douglas Avenue.
Next, Mr. Broersma drew Commissioners’ attention to a question from a property owner with frontage on US-31 and the interpretation of the zoning ordinance concerning a second identifying sign. He explained that Article 18, Section 18.10.G.11 states that lots with frontage along US-31, M-21 (Chicago Drive) or I-196 are permitted to have a second freestanding sign with height not more than eight feet, area not more than 32 square feet and placement on the opposite street frontage of the other sign. He also explained that the property owner would like to buy a narrow strip of land with Quincy Street frontage in order to place directional signage or a second free-standing sign.
Mr. Broersma questioned whether Commissioners would be willing to consider Quincy Street as the opposite street and allow the secondary sign or whether the issue should be brought before the ZBA since it is so unique.
Mr. Hoeve agreed that the situation is unusual, believes that the sign should be allowed and reminded Commissioners that content of the sign cannot be regulated.
Mr. Broersma explained that there will be an access easement agreement and that all lots will be combined. He reminded Commissioners that the secondary sign would not be allowed to be placed within the easement.
Mr. Nykamp cautioned against allowing the secondary sign along Quincy Street to become a billboard. He stated that he believes the secondary sign should be allowed due to the existing property’s US-31 frontage. Mr. Bosma agreed.
Commissioners agreed to consider the location of the proposed secondary sign on Quincy Street as fulfilling ordinance requirements as an opposite street frontage.
Mr. Hoeve reminded Commissioners that their next regular meeting will be held December 6, 2016.
The meeting adjourned at 8:47 p.m.
Respectfully submitted, Amy LeVesque, Recording Secretary