Sunday, September 24, 2017
Holland Logo

Minutes - March 28, 2017

 

ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS

Regular Meeting

March 28, 2017

Present:   Chairman Steve Haberkorn, Members Vern Johnson, Elliott Church, Russ Boersma and Ross DeVries. Also present was Assistant Planner/Zoning Administrator Corey Broersma and Recording Secretary Laurie Slater.

Absent:   Bob Swartz

The meeting was called to order by Chairman Steve Haberkorn at 5:30 p.m. Chairman Haberkorn explained the process to the audience.

Hearing declared open to consider a petition for multiple variances submitted by LHG, LLC for property located at 444 Chicago Drive, known more specifically as parcel number 70-16-28-199-036. Petitioner is requesting the following variances for the property line abutting 124 Walnut: 1) A nonuse variance of 7 feet from the required 10 foot wide greenbelt requirement; resulting in a 3 foot wide greenbelt; 2) A nonuse variance of 1 tree per 25 feet of the required greenbelt; resulting in 0 trees within the greenbelt; 3) A nonuse variance 1 shrub per 5 linear feet of required greenbelt; resulting in 0 shrubs within the greenbelt. The subject property is zoned C-2, General Commercial. 

Present for this request was Robin Stedman.

Ms. Stedman explained to the Board that LHG would like a three foot wide greenbelt instead of the ten feet because the area is already paved and they don’t want to pull up the pavement. They are also asking for no trees because of the roots coming up through the pavement. They also want two rows for parking instead of one. They would prefer a privacy fence eliminating the need for the shrubs. The existing fence belongs to the property owner at 124 Walnut Avenue.

The property was zoned Residential when purchased. Since then the property has been rezoned C-2 General Commercial and they have been granted a special use permit to use the property for storage of vehicles being repaired and sold. The consensus of the Planning Commission was that two rows of angled parking was not viable. Also, that the proposed on-way traffic for the lot should be west bound into the gated area so that the lights would not shine into the residential properties located east of Walnut. The Special Use was approved by the Planning Commission with the stipulation they comply with the ordinance on the greenbelt requirements.

Debra Tacoma of 124 Walnut Avenue was present in the audience. The Board asked her what she would prefer, the fence or the greenbelt with trees and shrubs. She replied that she prefers the fencing and that she is awaiting the results of this request before she repairs her existing fence, which is part wood and part chain link fence. She stated that there are night time and early deliveries daily with lights shining into her house.

She asked for clarification on what was discussed at the Planning Commission Meeting on March 7 about the owner being cautioned to hold off on the paving until after the rezoning and the special use had been sought. 

Staff asked Mr. Broersma if any of the property was in compliance with the greenbelt requirements. He responded that no, the south line of the whole property is out of compliance. Further a citation had been issued to the Owner for using the property in violation of the zoning ordinance. The citation was later dismissed upon the Owner’s submittal for the Special Use.


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

The Board went over the standards to review when considering a nonuse variance request. 


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

The existing pavement would need to be removed seven feet to put in the greenbelt. They have willfully disregarded the ordinance and staff recommendations. The property is otherwise not in  compliance. They are aware that they are not in compliance. Do not see a problem in requesting them pull up the pavement for the greenbelt. (Church)


Allowing the variance would be the best use for the property. The roots of the trees would tear up the blacktop. There is the mess of the leaves. (Johnson)
 

There is no one to protect the neighbor is in favor of the alternative fence.
 

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?

Another project in the neighborhood – Salvation Army will be required to have a greenbelt on the north and south sides of their property. Although this is two different types of uses, the greenbelt is  for the protection of the neighboring residential properties.

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 area is narrow. Even if the variance were to be granted there is still not enough room to park on both sides.

The Board commented that the greenbelt is to protect the residential use. This site could at some time in the future be used for a different use in the commercial zoning district.

At this point the Board had question about who would maintain the fence. How would the maintenance of the fence be enforced and how specific can the Board get in their motion should they decide to grant the variance.

Mr. Broersma explained that it would be the owner of HGL, LLC that would maintain the fence and if the Township saw that or had a complaint from a neighbor that the fence was in poor condition the Township could enforce it being maintained. Corey reiterated that staff would be comfortable with a six foot privacy fence in place of the shrubs in the ten foot wide greenbelt with trees. The ordinance as written does not require the shrubs to be evergreen, therefore, depending on the type of shrub that gets put in the greenbelt, the fence could provide better screening in the winter months.

4.   Are the practical difficulties alleged self-created?

The situation is self-created by the desire to use the property in a certain way. The property owners wants two rows of parking.

 
**   It was moved by Mr. Johnson to approve the variance for a three foot wide greenbelt with zero trees and zero shrubs. To reverse the flow of traffic to the west. The greenbelt is to be replaced with a six foot high fence of wood, vinyl or metal to be properly maintained by the owner. The motion died due to lack of support.

** It was moved by Mr. Boersma and supported by Mr. Church to deny the request for a seven foot variance taking the greenbelt down to three feet. Motion carried 3 to 2 with opposition from Haberkorn and Johnson.

** It was moved by Mr. Boersma and supported by Mr. Devries to deny the requests for zero trees and zero shrubs within the greenbelt. Motion carried 3 to 2 with opposition from Haberkorn and Johnson.

Hearing declared open to consider a petition for multiple variances submitted by Lakewood Construction on behalf of Intersection Ministries for vacant property located north of Riley Street and along the east side of Windquest Drive, known more specifically as parcel number 70-16-08-300-030. Petitioner is requesting the following variances: 1) A nonuse variance of 25 feet from the required 75 foot front yard setback; resulting in a front yard setback of 50 feet; 2) A nonuse variance of 10 feet from the required 30 foot north side yard; resulting in a side yard setback of 20 feet. The subject property is zoned I-2, General industrial.

Present for this request was Lynnelle Berkenpas of Holland Engineering representing Lakewood Construction and Intersection Ministries.

Ms. Berkenpas explained that Intersection Ministries acquired the property as a donation. The Church does not have the resources to put a building on the property. The open field is completely in the flood plain, which makes this parcel difficult to develop. This parcel also has shallow groundwater. There is four feet between the property and the groundwater.  The proposed oversized pond would be in the existing easement.

They are requesting to have a front yard setback of 50 feet instead of 75 feet. Moving the building closer to Windquest and further away from the drain would reduce the floodplain fill required to develop the property and maximize the use of the property.

Township comments indicate that the adjacent C-2 property would be allowed to build with 15 feet of the Windquest Drive right-of-way as it would be considered their side yard. Allowing Lakewood Construction to have a 50 foot setback on the same right-of-way would not be unreasonable given the property is on the boundary of an Industrial zone and a Commercial zone.


 
Lakewood Construction intends on putting a spec building on the property and selling it. They are trying to set it up best as they can for future use and the future owner. The use could be one of the allowed uses in the I-1 or I-2 zoning district. This is one of the smaller properties in the area for an Industrial property.

The Board discussed other similar variances granted in the Industrial Park. (Stow Company, Request Foods)

The applicant’s application stated: granting the requested 10 foot side yard variance would allow for truck deliveries on the south side of the building.

Staff comments for the side yard are that parking, truck docks and general industrial activity would be better located on the north side adjacent to the existing I-2 zoning district rather than the south side adjacent to C-2 zoning district.

Ms. Berkenpas commented that the north and south property lines are angled, impacting the side yard setback. So where the building would be 27.4 at the northwest corner, it would be 23.3 at the northeast corner, and 20 feet at the northeast corner of a future addition. Also, they are limited to the north or south of the site for maneuvering of trucks.

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

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

The Board went over the four standards to review when considering a nonuse variance request.

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 with the front yard requirements would be unnecessarily burdensome in that the entire property is in the floodplain and has high ground-water requiring a larger pond drain to deal  with the drainage. The corner lot is zoned commercial with a setback of 15 feet.

The property can comply with the side yard requirements. 

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?

Granting the request for a 50 foot front yard setback instead of the required 75 feet would do substantial justice to the applicant in that other properties in the area have been granted variances. The  adjacent corner property is zoned C-2 and allowed to have a 15 foot side yard setback from Windquest Drive.

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 property is unique in that it is entirely in the floodplain, and it has a high water table requiring site drainage ponds to be oversized resulting in careful consideration of the placement of a building.

4.  Are the practical difficulties alleged self-created?

The situation is not self-created.

** It was moved by Mr. Church and supported by Mr. DeVries to approved the request for the nonuse variance of 25 feet from the required 75 foot front yard setback; resulting in a front yard setback of 50 feet Motion carried.

** It was moved by Mr. Church and supported by Mr. Boersma to deny the request for nonuse variance of 10 feet from the required 30 foot north side yard; resulting in a side yard setback of 20 feet. Motion carried 4 to 1 with opposition from Johnson.

There were no public comments.

The minutes of February 28, 2017 were approved as written.

The meeting adjourned at 6:50 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Laurie Slater
Recording Secretary

 

six pack abs