Saturday, September 23, 2017
Holland Logo

Minutes - February 28, 2017

ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS

Regular Meeting

February 28, 2017

Present:  Members Elliott Church, Russ Boersma, Bob Swartz and Ross DeVries.  Also present was Assistant Planner/Zoning Administrator Corey Broersma and Recording Secretary Laurie Slater. 

Absent:  Chairman Steve Haberkorn, Vice-Chairman Vern Johnson

Since the Chairman and the Vice-Chairman were both absent the Board had to vote on who was going to be acting Chairman for the meeting.

**   It was moved by Mr. Church and supported by Mr. DeVries that Russ Boersma be acting Chairman for the February 28, 2017 meeting.  Motion carried.

The meeting was called to order by Russ Boersma at 5:30 p.m.

Hearing declared open to consider a petition to multiple variances submitted by Jon Bryant for property located at 500 Douglas Avenue, known more specifically as parcel number 70-16-30-126-055. Petitioner is requesting the following variances for a self-storage mini-storage facility: (1) A request for a nonuse variance of 1 evergreen tree from the east property line’s landscape strip requirements; resulting in 0 evergreen trees along the east property line.  (2)  A request for a nonuse variance of 3 feet from the east property line’s 3 foot high earth berm requirements; resulting in no earth berm along the east property line.  (3)  A request for a use variance from the required placement of building(s) to enclose and screen outdoor storage areas; resulting in 0 building(s) along the east property line. (4)  A request for a use variance from the concrete or asphalt paving requirement for parking areas; resulting in a parking area surfaced with crushed concrete or similar material.  The subject property is zoned I-2, General Industrial.  

Present for this request was Kelly Kuipers with Nederveld and Associates on behalf of Jon Bryant. Jon Bryant was also present for this request.

Ms. Kuipers explained that they now have a fully developed site plan that she shared with the Board. They are asking for four variances.  

The first and second request was to allow them to eliminate the evergreen tree screening and the three foot berm on the east side of the property. Ms. Kuipers gave examples of various landscape requirements in different zones.  She further explained that the adjoining property to the east, ME Yacht Restoration, and Mr. Bryant are working together in the development of the two properties.  They will collaborate on utilizes, storm sewer and water main.  They have already submitted plans for the public utilizes and they have been approved.  The property owners would like connectivity between the two properties, having a berm would prohibit that. The boats that are restored at ME Yachts could possibly be stored at the outdoor storage.  This would eliminate the need to get out on the road; making the connectivity a safety factor.

The berm would not be on top of the easement, but the berm would be affected if there was a need to work on the utilities in the easement.

The third request is for a variance for eliminating the requirement of placing buildings along the east lot line. That too would restrict the connectivity between the two properties.  

The Board pointed out that ME Yacht Restoration is at the SE corner of this property and that the NE corner is not yet developed. 

The Board asked Mr. Broersma why mini storage developments have more elevated requirements on buffering. Mr. Broersma replied that it is for aesthetics – the architectural character of the property.  Most mini storage facilities have metal buildings with overhead doors.  The screening also screens the activities within the facility.  Vehicles coming and going, loading and unloading.  The screening is to protect adjacent properties from the uses of neighboring properties.

The fourth request is to allow for crushed concrete in the outdoor storage area rather than a solid surface. The crushed concrete is already there.  This is a Brownfield site and the concrete is not to leave the site.  There would be paved surfaces running through the crushed concrete like little roadways.  Mr. Bryant stated that it would be maintained by brushing back the stone from the paved areas once a week and keeping the area weed free.  One would need to get 75 feet into the site to get to the crushed concrete areas.  It is highly unlikely that it would make its way to the public road.

Mr. Bryant further explained that as far as the screening and the buildings along the east property line, he could put all the mini storage to the west side of the property and designate the east side for outdoor storage only as outdoor storage as a standalone is allowed by ordinance in an I-2 zoning district and the greenbelt requirement would be less.

Mr. Church explained that he would rather see one or two brakes in the berm between the two properties rather than eliminate the entire landscaping from the east side of the property.

In the audience to speak to this request was Jackie Bartley of 646 Pinecrest Drive. Her concerns were of the old building on the property.  Mr. Broersma stated that Mr. Bryant was granted a variance on the structure in January so that he could improve it for a building.

Ryan Tenkley of 623 Pinecrest Drive was also in the audience to speak to this request. He too had concerns about the “graffiti building”.  The approaching traffic could see this eyesore, so the more trees and shrubs the better.

Mr. Bryant commented that he plans to brick the “graffiti building” four feet up or all the way up. It will match the other proposed buildings on the property.  

The Board assured the audience that Township Staff (Corey) has a say in how the “graffiti building” fits in with the proposed development.

**   It was moved by Mr. Swartz and supported by Mr. Church to close the hearing. Motion carried.

Each Board Member voiced their thoughts on the four variance requests.

The Board went over the standards for a nonuse variance request for the request to eliminate the evergreen trees and earth berm on the east side of the property. The Board asked for guidance from Mr. Broersma as to whether they were to consider the connectivity of the two properties when answering the standards and making the motion.  

Mr. Broersma stated that tonight was the first he had heard of the two property owners wanting connectivity and submitted plans do not show connectivity. He recommended reviewing the standards and making the motion for the request without the connectivity.

1.  Would strict compliance with the minimum area, yard setbacks, frontage, height, bulk, density, or other regulations of the Zoning Ordinance be unnecessarily burdensome?

Strict compliance is not unnecessarily burdensome. The berm and trees accomplishes the purpose of separating the uses.  It makes the property look nice, shielding the use from the vehicles passing by.

2.  Would granting the requested variance do substantial justice to the applicant as well as to other property owners in the zoning district? Or would a lesser relaxation than that applied for provide substantial relief to the property owner and be more consistent with justice to other property owners in the district?

Having the berm and trees would be more just to other property owners. The ones required to have the same and the adjacent property owners.  Once the variance is granted it stays with the property forever.  The use of these properties could change throughout the years.

3.  Is the plight of the property owner/applicant due to the unique circumstances of the property (e.g. an odd shape or a natural feature, such a wetland or stream) and not to general neighborhood conditions in the area?

The configuration of the property is strange, but it does not create a landscape hardship.

4.  Are the practical difficulties alleged self-created?

Yes the situation is self-created as it is the desire of the applicant to develop the property for a particular special use which has requirements that need to be met. 

**   It was moved by Mr. Church and supported by Mr. Swartz to deny the request for the nonuse variance of one evergreen tree per 15 feet from the east property line’s landscape strip requirements; resulting in 0 evergreen trees along the east property line and the nonuse variance request of 3 feet from the east property line’s 3 foot high earth berm requirements; resulting in no earth berm along the east property line based on the ZBA’s findings of the four Nonuse Variance Standards as reflected in the minutes for the reasons set forth in the minutes. Motion carried with one opposition from Mr. DeVries.

The Board went over the standards to considered for the request for a use variance from the required placement of building(s) to enclose and screen outdoor storage areas; resulting in 0 building(s) along the east property line.

The property cannot be used for any of the uses permitted in the district in which it is located. This means that none of the uses (by right or special use permit) allows a reasonable economic return on the use of the property.

The property can be used for any of the uses permitted in the district in which it is located. The use does not deprive the applicant of a reasonable economic return on the use of the property.  The property is unique with a unique history.  The mini-storage with outdoor storage use has minimal impact on the neighbors.  It could be worse.

2.  The plight of the property owner is due to unique circumstances particular to the property (i.e. odd shape or a natural feature like a stream or wetland) and is not due to general neighborhood conditions.

Although the property is of an odd shape and has an odd shaped existing building on it, there are no unique circumstances particular to the property that would allow the applicant relief from having to screen the east side of the property with a building.

There is no plight of the property owner. It is due to the ordinance.  It requires this use to be surrounded by buildings.  It would require this no matter where they put the outdoor storage.  The connectivity between the two properties is unique.  Storage facilities are not usually connected to another business.

3.  The proposed use would not alter the essential character of the area.

The proposed use would not alter the essential character of the area. It would improve on the existing state.  There are other uses that the property could be used for that would be more objective to the neighbors.

4.  The problem was not self-created.

The situation is a result of a decision to want to develop the property most convenient to the applicant. Having buildings, berms and trees doesn’t keep from connectivity.  Yes, it is self-created.

There was further discussion among the Board. The building would serve a purpose in the NE corner where it is still undeveloped.  In the SE corner where the property connects to ME Yachts screening with berm and trees would be sufficient.

**   It was moved by Mr. Church and supported by Mr. Swartz to grant a lesser relaxation.  Retain the requirement of a building in the NE corner and put a true greenbelt on the SE corner with an extended greenbelt of 15 feet wide and a 3 foot high berm with trees on top. Motion failed.

**   It was moved by Mr. Church and supported by Mr. DeVries to allow a continuous 15 foot wide berm along the east property line with one tree every 15 feet and as many shrubs as a standard greenbelt calls for in place of the required buildings. Motion carried.

The Board went over the standards to consider to allow crushed concrete instead of the hard surface paving requirement.

1.  The property cannot be used for any of the uses permitted in the district in which it is located. This means that none of the uses (by right or special use permit) allows a reasonable economic return on the use of the property.

The property could still be used for any of the uses permitted. The crushed concrete is already on the property and the property is a Brownfield site.  The applicant indicates the materials are not to be removed from the property.

Paving the entire area would not allow for a reasonable economic return on the special use of the property. 

2.  The plight of the property owner is due to unique circumstances particular to the property (i.e. odd shape or a natural feature like a stream or wetland) and is not due to general neighborhood conditions.

The property is a Brownfield site. 

3.  The proposed use would not alter the essential character of the area.

Allowing crushed concrete would not have a negative impact if maintained. Moisture would soak through the crushed concrete rather than sit on top of a solid surface.  Allowing the use of the crushed concrete would be a better use of that material instead of putting it in a pile somewhere on the property.  

4.  The problem was not self-created.

The problem originates from the decision to use the property in a certain way that creates the problem. However, this is a Brownfield site and the materials on the property are meant to stay there or they would have to have them hauled away, possibly to Detroit.  It’s the character of the Brownfield site to keep the possible contaminated materials on site. 

**   It was moved by Mr. DeVries and supported by Mr. Church to approve the crushed concrete in the storage area where recreational vehicles will be stored.  The crushed concrete areas are to be maintained on a regular basis for weed growth.  Paved drive aisles are required and must be kept free of loose material to ensure public roads and infrastructure are not negatively impacted.  Overall area subject to site plan approval.  Motion carried.

Hearing declared open to consider a petition to extend a nonconforming use submitted by Matt Grindle on behalf of the Salvation Army for property located at 104 Clover Street, known more specifically as parcel number 70-16-28-252-011, -012, and -058. Petitioner is requesting to extend the nonconforming use by constructing an approximately 21,000 square foot addition for church services and associated activities.  The building is nonconforming because access is not provided from a primary collector or major arterial street.  The subject property is zoned R-2, One-family and Two-family Residential.

Present for this request was Edward Zwyghuizen of Gen 1 Architectural Group.

The Salvation Army has been on the property since the 1950’s. At one point there was a church structure on the property, it came down in 2010.  Since then they have kept the existing structure functional.  They are wishing to expand the existing structure with a multi-purpose room, a worship space, and music and art rooms.  The property is nonconforming in that it is not on a main roadway. 

Mr. Broersma stated that the Salvation Army would need to combine the three parcels into one before a building permit will be given.

The proposed addition is 2.43 acres in size. There is commercial property across the street. The future land use for this area is mixed use development.  The Spruce Road side is more residential.  The proposed driveway is a very significant driveway.

Mr. Zwyghuizen explained that most of the traffic comes in from Clover. The Zoning Board of Appeals would prefer a more residential approach on Spruce.  Mr. Zwyghuizen further explained that the approaches are in accordance to Ottawa County Road Commission standards.

They have allowed 80 parking spaces for now. They have enough room for 150 parking spaces for the sanctuary and 20 parking spaces for office staff.  When the services ramp up they will add more parking.  They are in the process of acquiring the property at 76 Clover.  

There was no one present in the audience to speak to this request.

**   It was moved by Mr. Church and supported by Mr. DeVries to close the hearing.  Motion carried.

The Board went over the three standards to review when considering a petition to extend a nonconforming use.


1. 
Whether the extension, enlargement, alteration, remodeling or modernization will substantially extend the probable duration of the nonconforming structure, building or use.

Yes, the extension would substantially extend the probable duration of the nonconforming structure, but the future land use for this area is mixed uses.

2.  Whether the extension, enlargement, alteration, remodeling or modernization of the nonconforming structure, building or use will interfere with the use of adjoining lands or other properties in the surrounding neighborhood for the uses for which they have been zoned pursuant to the provisions of this ordinance.

No, the extension of the structure will not interfere with the use of the adjoining lands or other properties in the surrounding neighborhood. It fits with the neighborhood, more so on Clover than on Spruce.  The impact of the proposed building can be minimized with landscaping and staff will work with the Ottawa County Road Commission on the approach.

3.  The effect of the nonconforming structure, building or use and such extension, enlargement, alteration, remodeling or modernization thereof on adjoining lands in the surrounding neighborhood.

There would be no negative impact on the area. The land would be fully utilized.

**   It was moved by Mr. DeVries and supported by Mr. Swartz to approve the request as presented pending site plan review.  Staff will work with the Ottawa County Road Commission to see what can be done to minimize the Spruce Road approach.  Motion carried.

Mr. Broersma presented a problem at 660 Douglas. With the widening of the street, the house has become very close to the road.  When the snow is plowed by the County, slush splatters the house and a window has been broken from the force of it.  Per a May 19, 2015 letter from the Road Commission, the County would permit a fence it the right-of-way as long as it was 10 feet from the curb and was acceptable to the Township.  The Owners are requesting to place a 6 foot high fence at their property line (right-of-way line), approximately 20 feet from the curb.

The consensus of the Board is to let them put up the fence to protect their house. They do not need to submit a variance request.  The situation is a result of the widening of the road and the County would approve a fence closer to the road than requested.

The minutes of January 24, 2017 were approved as printed.

The meeting adjourned at 7:47 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Laurie Slater
Recording Secretary

 

six pack abs