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Minutes - October 3, 2017


Regular Meeting

 October 3, 2017

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, Members Ken Bosma, Dennis Gebben, LaVerne Johnson, Norm Nykamp, and Ed Zylstra.  Also present were Community Development Director John Said, Assistant Community Development Director Corey Broersma, and Recording Secretary Sheri Thomassen.

The minutes of September 5, 2017 were approved as written. 

Mr. Hoeve explained the public hearing process to the audience. 

Mr. Hoeve opened the public hearing for consideration of a Special Use Request submitted by Fogg Filler, 3455 John F Donnelley Dr. (# 70-16-08-450-008) for a heating and electrical power generating plant, per Sec. 15.3.1, for a rooftop solar array.  This is an ‘after-the-fact’ request as the solar array has already been installed.  The property is zoned General Industrial (I-2).

Present to speak to this request was Rob Rafson, Renewal Engineering Developer.  Solar panels are already installed and will represent 7% of power usage annually.  Installation meets OSHA requirements. 

Staff Comments and Special Use Considerations were reviewed:

  1. The special use request is essentially for an accessory improvement placed on the existing building, therefore, it is compatible with the existing building and use of this property.
  2. The use, a solar array, is part of the existing principal building on the subject property, therefore there are no changes in proximity to the adjoining property.  Applicant shall provide details on any associated ground mounted equipment that may be placed within a building setback.  (Staff Note:  A field visit to the site indicated no apparent ground-mounted equipment installed as part of the solar array.)
  3. The proposed use does not require any additional parking facilities, as it is solely solar-powered generating equipment for the existing building.
  4. No hazard is expected from the solar array; the applicant will need to comply with Township building code rules and regulations.  Applicant shall speak to anti-glare measures that may be in place and agree to mitigate glare if future issues arise.
    Speaker indicated that solar panels have dimpled glass, so the amount of glare is far less than with standard glass. 

  5. No negative environmental impact is anticipated due to the installation of this solar array power generation system.  In fact, use of solar power helps reduce negative environmental impacts and does not cause smoke, noise or other impacts as part of its operation.
  6. The solar array’s presence on the roof of the existing structure is not anticipated to have a negative physical appearance, and will have minimal impact on nearby land uses and the surrounding neighborhood.  (Staff Note:  The field visit confirmed that the solar panels extend a maximum of a few feet above the roof of the building, and the applicant should confirm compliance with the maximum allowed 45 feet building height.)

Audience comments:  None.

Commissioner questioned whether or not something like this should be addressed in a new ordinance. 

**Motion to close hearing made by Mr. Vander Meulen, supported by Mr. Zylstra.  Motion carried. 

**Motion to grant the special use request made by Mr. Bosma, supported by Mr. Nykamp.  Motion carried. 

Mr. Hoeve opened the public hearing for consideration of a Special Use submitted by Casey Lim, 91 Douglas Ave., Suite 130 (# 70-16-20-327-009) for a commercial recreation facility, per Sec. 12.3.5, for a proposed (not-for-profit charitable) gaming room.  The property’s zoning is General Commercial (C-2). 

Present to speak to this request was John Doyle, Attorney, 2800 Tammany Ave, Lansing.  Casey’s has been rebranded Rail House Grill, remodeled, has a new menu, is a good operation, and is active in the community.  Space capacity is for 150 people on each side (billiards and restaurant).  Gaming operation would be open Thursday through Sunday, 6:30P-1:30A.

Also present to speak to this request was Marc Whitford, Rounders Poker & Gaming Supplies.  Rounders partners with non-profits who are also licensed through the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) to run Millionaire Party events and raises $200-$250K/year for non-profit organizations (sports teams, clubs, schools, etc.).  Casey’s/Rail House will still have to be approved by the MGCB.  Charities are audited often and are limited to four events per year, venues are inspected every few weeks, and control is tight.  MGCB has adopted charitable gaming into everything they do, and it’s illegal to change from non-profit gaming to for-profit gaming.  It is his experience that a charity poker room is great for employees, charities, business owners and the community. 

Two previous local gaming venues, Century Lanes and Sky Zone, are no longer participating in gaming operations.  Casey’s/Rail House has the capacity and is geared to do it.  Mr. Whitford is not aware of any 3rd party reviews, summary data or annual reports.  The Township has had no prior experience with this type of use.  Also, a couple of years ago billiards were added to raise funds for boy scouts, etc.  Commissioner asked how that is working.  Mr. Lim indicated that it hasn’t happened as they’d planned. 

Audience comments:  None. 

**Motion to close hearing by Mr. Bosma, supported by Mr. Gebben.  Motion carried. 

Special Use Considerations/Comments:

  1. The size of the proposed use is acceptable; however, Staff has concerns regarding the nature and character of the proposed use.  The transacting of money associated with the proposed use could become attractive for crime such as robbery.  The mix of gambling and liquor could exacerbate that concern, and the history of police calls with this business at this location further support this.  The applicant’s previous application for this activity (earlier in 2017) was denied by the State of Michigan, and there appears to be no new or revised evidence to support this request.   

    Staff spoke with a state gaming board official and indicated that local review would not influence state review.  Public safety concerns were gathered from the Ottawa County Sheriff’s office.  911 calls to Casey’s have decreased over the past two years.
  1. The proposed use would occupy a portion of an existing tenant space within a strip center that includes other adjacent retail and commercial uses.
  1. The parking facilities for the proposed use are anticipated to be acceptable for the proposed use.  The subject property includes an existing parking lot designed to accommodate assumed retail and commercial uses within the strip center.
  1. The site includes existing driveways, entrance/exit points and internal circulation which should accommodate the proposed use.
  1. As noted in Item #1 above, Staff is concerned that the proposed use will result in undesirable activity that could negatively impact adjacent properties and the surrounding neighborhood.  This is especially noteworthy as the proposed use would be a permanent use at this location, not a temporary or one-time event.
  1. The applicant already has an existing restaurant and billiards facility at this location, and the surrounding area appears to be fully occupied with a variety of retail/commercial uses, with little vacancy.  As such, Township Staff does not see a need or necessity for the proposed use as it relates to the surrounding neighborhood.

Commissioner questioned why, if this type of gaming is so beneficial, are they not still around?  Mr. Whitford suggested that it may have been a personal, business or facility preference.  He added that if venue is not booked for the designated four days, the operation remains closed. 

Commissioner asked for information regarding who/what is a non-profit?  What about law and order?  Who controls operation?  Also wondered why applicant, after being denied in May 2017, is back five months later.  Mr. Whitford added that Rounders has never had a violation. 

**Motion to table until research is done and report submitted to Planning Commission’s satisfaction made by Mr. Gebben, supported by Mr. Nykamp.  Motion carried. 

Mr. Hoeve opened the public hearing for consideration of a final PUD Amendment, Termination of Undeveloped PUD, Wyndover Acres - Riley St./Aberdeen Ave. submitted by Coastal Real Estate Holdings LLC.  Applicant requests to terminate remaining undeveloped area of Wyndover Acres PUD.  The property is designated Planned Unit Development (PUD), with underlying Single-Family Residential (R-1) zoning.

Present to speak to this request was Peter Rhoades, Rhoades McKee PC, 11377 James St., Holland.  Property is bank-owned, was never developed due to expense of moving gas lines and power lines.  It could be sold today but can’t be split until it’s extracted from the PUD agreement.  Mr. Rhoades asked that the public right-of-way go away, it is impractical, undefined and hinders the sale of the property.  Potentially buildable sites were pointed out by Mr. Rhoades.  Easement should’ve already been recorded per Ron Bultje, Township Attorney. 

Also present to speak to this request was Greg Raad, Nederveld Associates.  Mr. Raad clarified that the Township would be giving up just the “stub”.  Mr. Rhoades indicated that he had met with the Association and they were not opposed; no formal vote is required since PUD is not part of the condo association. 

Audience comments:  A resident that lives at 3416 Danelle Court is concerned that there are now two sets of powerlines plus the gas line.  Larry & Joan Alofs asked who the applicant is and what their intentions are.  Mr. Rhoades added that Coastal Real Estate/Macatawa Bank owns and wants to sell the property, however it is not marketable without release from the PUD.  They have prospective buyers. 

Consideration/Staff Comments:

  1. The applicant indicates that upon termination of the PUD, the property would be split and offered for sale. 
  2. Future parcel configurations, purchasers and anticipated uses are all unknown at this point.
  3. There is an existing court order that requires that right-of-way be dedicated for the future extension of Thornberry Way westward onto this property; Staff recommends that any approval of this request include that condition.

**Motion to close public hearing by Mr. Nykamp, supported by Mr. Gebben.  Motion carried.

**Motion recommending the Board of Trustees approve the PUD amendment to extract the Wyndover Acres PUD expansion area as presented while retaining the Thornberry Way right-of-way extension, made by Mr. Bosma, supported by Mr. Nykamp with the further condition that recording of the right-of-way be done prior to final approval of the PUD amendment by the current or future landowner.  Staff directed to prepare a favorable report and resolution for the Planning Commission’s review.  Motion carried.   

Mr. Hoeve opened the public hearing for consideration of a final PUD Amendment submitted by Brian Meiste/Principles Development Group Knollwood – 104th Ave./Ottogan Street.  Applicant requests amendment to Knollwood PUD for lot coverage.  The property is designated Planned Unit Development (PUD), with underlying Single-Family Residential (R-1) zoning.

Present to speak to this request was Greg Raad, Nederveld Associates, Hoover Blvd.  Mr. Raad summarized project’s history and asked to remove the 35% lot coverage requirement.  Staff added that an amendment will also correct some existing non-conformities.  

Staff Comments were reviewed:

  1. Section 3(i) of the existing PUD specifies a maximum lot coverage of 35%.  However, the petitioner indicates that the intention of this PUD is to provide for smaller lots, with correspondingly larger lot coverage, for the “internal” lots in the subdivision.  The applicant should propose a new maximum coverage; the most allowed in any zoning district is 40%.

    Mr. Raad added that since there’s already one property with 47% coverage that the new max be more than that. 48-50% lot coverage will bring existing units into compliance. 
  1. The proposed amendment would establish compliance for the previously platted and developed lots that exceed this lot coverage maximum.
  2. The remaining “perimeter” lots in the development along the north, east and west edges of the development (a total of 25 lots) will be required to meet the 35% maximum lot coverage.

Commissioner asked the recreation area is fully developed, and Mr. Raad indicated that it is. 

Audience comments:  None.

**Motion to close public hearing by Mr. Zylstra, supported by Bosma.  Motion carried.

**Motion recommending the Board of Trustees approve the PUD amendment with a stipulation of 50% max lot coverage made by Mr. Vander Meulen, supported by Mr. Johnson.  Commissioner asked about the rationale for max lot coverage.  Staff suggested it helps with storm water management, spacing, setbacks, bulk appearance, and lot to home size.  Staff directed to prepare a favorable report and resolution for the Planning Commission’s review.  Motion carried.

Final Plat Approval

1.  White Oaks Subdivision - applicant requests approval of the final plat of subdivision for the White Oaks Subdivision.  Preliminary approval for the plat was originally granted in 2006, however, the plat never sought final approval.  The plat has since been revised to reduce the number of residential lots to 52. 

The Planning Commission recommended preliminary approval of the revised plat on May 9, 2017.  On June 1, 2017 the Board of Trustees asked the Planning Commission to review their decision in light of public comments.  The Planning Commission re-affirmed its decision to recommend approval of the preliminary plat on June 6, 2017.  On June 15, 2017 the Board of Trustees approved the preliminary plat.

The Planning Commission reviewed the final plat with Mr. Greg Raad from Nederveld.  Mr. Raad asked that the Township Board consider request on Thursday, October 5, 2017.   

**Motion made to recommend approval of the final plat and directed Staff to forward the written recommendation to the Township Board of Trustees made by Mr. Bosma, supported by Mr. Zylstra.  Motion carried. 

2.  Hickory Woods Farm No. 4 – applicant postponed until November 7, 2017.

Public Comment:  None.

Zoning Ordinance Update

Mr. Hoeve expressed his concern with the decision made during a prior work session regarding the percentage of various trees for landscaping that was set at 25%.  This percentage will make it very hard to work with.  Staff agreed that the language could be more flexible, maybe taking the factor of 4 out and will resend their email reply in response to Mr. Hoeve’s concern. 

Next Work Sessions are planned for Wednesday, October 11 and 18, 2017 at 5:30pm.

Other Business

1. North Coast Arts/Amanda Daniels – Haunted Trail (temporary use) – 3846 120th Ave.

Petitioner requests approval for a temporary use, consisting of a “haunted trail” with theatrical displays, a concession stand, and ancillary activities at the subject location, which would take place October 5-7, 12-14, 19-21, 26-28, 30 and 31, 6 - 9 pm. 

The proposed use meets applicable guidelines for a seasonal temporary use, although its proximity to the single-family area immediately adjacent prompts Staff to seek Planning Commission action on this matter.  Staff speculates that the temporary use may impact the adjacent residential homes along Hickoryrow Drive.  Traffic, parking, noise, and light are the primary matters Staff has identified, although the limited time of the business operation (both the total number of days and the hours) would help limit these issues.  The subject property is zoned Agriculture (A). 

Ms. Daniels pointed out designated parking space.  She anticipates maximum of 30 cars at one time, and staff will direct traffic.  Parking on 120th Ave. is not allowed.  She is not concerned with crowd control, rowdiness or noise.  This is a for-profit event targeted for ages 15+.  Porta-potties will be brought in.  Only pre-packaged snacks will be served. 

General consensus of the Planning Commission is that the proposed Application For Temporary Use Permit may be processed according the application guidelines.

2.Nonconforming accessory structure - 3215 Cornerstone Lane

There is an existing nonconforming accessory structure (shed) located in the side yard abutting Riley Street (“corner side yard”) that does not meet placement requirements (such structures must be located in rear yards).  The structure has been present since approximately 2010, per aerial imagery records.  Applicable accessory structure setback requirements have not changed since that time.  The subject property’s rear yard slopes down towards the west.  There are several nonconforming sheds on nearby properties along Galway Ct., backing up to Riley.

Planning Commission agreed to put a stay on the enforcement; will continue to discuss during the upcoming zoning ordinance work sessions. 

Next Meeting scheduled for Tuesday, November 7, 2017 at 7:00 PM. 

The meeting adjourned at 8:40 PM

Respectfully submitted,

Sheri Thomassen
Recording Secretary

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