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AUGUST 25, 2015, 7:30 P.M.
 (return  to index)
  1. Chair Young called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.
  2. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Commissioner Fox.
  3. Roll Call:
    Members Present: Bill Benoit, Emily Bridson, Garrett Fox, Dan Holtrop, Sandra Jones, Ed Kape, Frank Vander Hoff,  and Johngerlyn Young
    Members Absent: Mike Pemberton (with notification)
    Others Present:  Community Development Director Terry Schweitzer, Economic Development Planner Lisa Golder, Planner Joe Pung, Staff Secretary Monique Collier, the applicants and 1 resident.
                Motion by Holtrop, supported by Fox, to excuse Pemberton from the meeting.
  4. Motion Carried (8-0) –
  5. Pemberton absent -
  6. Approval of the Minutes and Findings of Fact
    Motion by Commissioner Holtrop, supported by Commissioner Fox, to approve the Minutes of August 11, 2015 and the Findings of Fact for: Case # 23-15 – The Pantry – Special Land Use and Site Plan Review for a Child Day Care Center – Located at 5308 Division Ave SE Case # 24-15 – The Pantry Special Land Use and Site Plan Review for an Assembly Building– Located at 5308 Division Ave SE
    Case # 25-15 – FedCom Credit Union- Special Land Use and Site Plan Review for a Freestanding Financial Institution with a drive through Located at 4429 Breton Ave SE
  7. Motion Carried (8-0) –
  8. Pemberton absent -
  9. Approval of the Agenda
    Motion by Commissioner VanderHoff, supported by Commissioner Fox,                               to approve the agenda for the August 25, 2015 meeting.
  10. Motion Carried (8-0) –
  11. Pemberton absent -
  12. Acknowledge visitors wishing to speak to non-agenda items.
    There was no public comment.
  13. Old Business
    There was no Old Business
  14. Public Hearing
    Case #26-15 – 3663 Broadmoor – Special Land Use and Site Plan Review for a Major Vehicle Repair Establishment Located at 3663 Broadmoor Ave SE
    Case #27-15 – 3663 Broadmoor – Special Land Use and Site Plan Review for Indoor Vehicle Sales Located at 3663 Broadmoor Ave SE
    Planner Golder stated the request is for special land use and site plan review for 3663 Broadmoor. She stated the site is 3.71 acres with an existing 12,890 square foot building that has been vacant for a while.  Golder stated the applicant would like to repair vehicles as well as an indoor automotive sales. Golder stated the doors for the repairs will be placed on the backside so they can get cars in. She stated there is a setback requirement for industrial buildings adjacent to residential and there is a home immediately to the west. She stated they are putting in doors, therefore the applicant will have to go to the zoning board of appeals for relief. Golder stated she spoke to the homeowner and she does have a concern about noise. She would like the doors closed while the repair is going on. She does recognize that the area is planned for industrial but in the meantime she would like the doors closed.
    Golder stated for their statement of operations we need a modification that would include hours of operation, number of employees, and to confirm that none of the vehicles for sale will be sitting outside because it is restricted to indoor sales in an industrial zone.
    Golder stated there is a good landscape buffer.
    Golder stated she is recommending condition approval of the special land use and site plan review for a major vehicle repair establishment and indoor vehicle sales as outlined in her memo.
                Jones opened the public hearing.
    Greg Denboer lives, 3607 Broadmoor, lives on the proeproty next to the proposed project. He stated his concerns are noise, amount of vehicles that could be left there and worried about the condition of the property and the hours of operations.
    Motion by Benoit, supported by Kape, to close the public hearing.
  15. Motion Carried (8-0) –
  16. Pemberton absent –
    Kape asked if the applicant has set up a time to meet with the neighbors. Darehshori stated he just got the neighbors phone number when he came to the meeting and he plans to meet with her. He stated the hours of operation would be 8am-6pm and the doors will be closed to keep the noise down.
    Dan Hula from Hula Engineering was present. He stated the distance between the garage doors and the property line according to the ordinance needs to be 100 feet; the distance they have is 92 feet. He stated the setback for the side yard for residents is 20 feet and they have 29 feet. He stated when added up they are about 10 feet further than they would normally have to be for separation. He stated that is not the issue, the issue is the noise. Hula stated he spoke to the homeowner and her concerns stem from the truck facility that is south of them. Hula stated the truck facility has two big tall lights and she said they shine in her house. He stated he assured her they can’t do that and need the shoebox type and there are restrictions on the lights. Hula stated she was also nervous about the motor noise associated with diesels. He stated he told her he doesn’t think she will have motor noise because they are repairing vehicles He stated they talked about keeping the doors closed in the summer time so she would not be bothered.
    Darehshori stated in the back of the building there are some trees and some shrubbery. In the winter time he assumed it will be a little more visible than it is in the summer so he will volunteer to put some evergreen trees along the back to shield the neighbor completely from noise and having to look at the property. He stated there is a huge hill that is steep and it blocks a lot of the noise but he would be willing to put evergreen trees in the back. He stated the building looked terrible to begin with and looks even worse now, but he welcomed any of the neighbors to come look at his current properties. He stated he takes huge pride in how they look because it is a reflection on him. His priorities are well manicured and completely landscaped properties. He stated Broadmoor will also be mowed. There won’t be anything laying in the parking lots. Hula added a lot of the trees between the properties most are walnut trees and the neighbor said if they could arrange to get them removed she would appreciate it. Discussion ensued
    Holtrop stated he is slightly disappointed that they didn’t get renderings and percentages of material ahead of time. Darehshori stated they had received questions about putting stucco on the building. He wants to have the blocks removed to see what condition they are in. If they could scrap off the adhesive and just put a sealer on the block or paint the block that would save them money. It would look contemporary but they don’t know until the remove everything. He stated  they will be in compliance with the ordinance. Holtrop stated they may need to come back to the planning commission. Golder stated if they are not in compliance they will have to come back to the planning commission for an appeal and they can do that at anytime in the future. Hula stated their plan is to comply with the zoning ordinance and they can do that at the staff level. Holtrop stated he would have also like to have seen a statement of operations presented for a condition of approval that would have made neighbors more comfortable. Golder stated it won’t be a bad idea to get on the public record for the people that live in the area; the hours of operation and anything the applicant knows for sure they are going to have/do. Darehshori stated they plan to have their hours Monday-Friday 8am-6pm. To begin with they will have 4 employees and from there he doesn’t know where they are going to go. Holtrop questioned their parking lot and what they envision for storage. Darehshori stated most of the customers cars will be in and out. The parking lot is very large and the property is almost 4 acres of land and he doesn’t think there will be an issue.
    Benoit stated he is concerned about the overhead doors. He questioned whether the mechanics realize the doors will be closed. Darehshori stated he has been in and out of the building all summer and he was surprised to see how cool it was relative to the outside temperature. Darehshori stated he wasn’t planning on air conditioning. In the major section of the building they could use mist fans and leave the doors closed. He stated they want to be good neighbors. There are tools they can buy that don’t make as much noise. Discussion ensued
    Fox asked the neighbor whether his concerns been addressed. Denboer stated the main thing is just the junk cars on the property now. Darehshori stated that is partially his fault, and his friends or people in town were parking their vehicles without his permission. They left two cars in the parking lot. He stated if someone is there they will be able to monitor. Right now there is nobody there and this is not a normal situation.
    Golder stated this approval would allow bodywork unless the applicant says they don’t intend to do that, they need to put that in the statement of operations. Golder stated this statement of operations will stay with the property if the applicant is no longer there. She stated the approval itself was intended to allow for major repairs which would include body work.
    Fox questioned if the applicant will be looking at maintenance enhancements. Darehshori stated he would like the opportunity to do both maintenance and bodywork, most will be maintenance.  But they don’t know what is going to happen in the future. Therefore if they had the opportunity to do bodywork and have it written in their operations statement he would like to have that. He stated when they start out it will be mainly light repairs.
    Fox stated conceptually he likes the idea but it is hard for him to say what he likes without the operations statement. Fox stated with everything being up in the air it is difficult for him to look at and know what it is he is approving. Darehshori stated if there is anything specific they would like to know right now; they are basically going to do automotive repair between the hours of 8am-6pm Monday-Friday. He stated automotive repair is if someone comes in and needs brakes, spark plug changed, engine worked on or transmission worked on. Darehshori stated those are things that they will be doing 90% of the time and if he decides to have a body shop, he would have to section off the building. Darehshori stated if it is something that he has to come back for permission he would rather not do that if it is possible to get approvals now. Discussion ensued.
    Golder questioned if the applicant would like approval for body work. Darehshori stated yes he would like approval for body work so he doesn’t have to come back. He stated that he may not ever do body work but it may happen he doesn’t know.  Discussion ensued. Darehshori stated he would like to get the body work approval if possible.
    VanderHoff stated he is in favor of the request. He asked if this was an existing business being moved in or starting fresh. Darehshori stated they are starting the business from scratch. VanderHoff stated in his statement of operations he suggested that he ask for what the thinks he wants. VanderHoff asked if he plans to start the construction and renovation now.  Darehshori stated he doesn’t know how it works. They want to get it going right away. They have the funds all set, but it depends on how soon they can get permits before they get started.
    Fox asked about a dealer license. Darehshori stated they are going to get that.
    Benoit stated he has concerns about approving the request as body work, he is not in favor of the neighbors seeing smashed up cars.
    Schweitzer stated our zoning ordinance for vehicle repair is no more than 72 hours for a vehicle that is inoperable to be outside. Benoit stated his concern is enforcement. Darehshori stated if the automotive repair happens he doesn’t do anything mediocre if he were going to do a body shop he would do it right and build an addition. Discussion ensued. Benoit stated in order to get his vote is to not allow body work at this point and then come back for site plan approval if he wants to build another building. Benoit stated if he is willing to put it on record that he won’t do bodywork he would be fine with the request.
    Fox asked when they plan on opening. Darehshori stated after they get their approvals for the site plan, building permits, facades, etc. They are thinking maybe next spring or summer.
    Darehshori indicated he would be willing to forego bodywork at this point in time.
    Golder stated for the record the applicant has offered that this will be just a repair shop no body work and that he would have to come back for site plan review related to the special land use in the future to build the extra building.
    Motion by Holtrop, supported by Fox, to grant conditional approval of the Special Land Use for a Major Vehicle Repair Establishment as described in Case No. 26-15.  Approval is conditioned on conditions 1-4 and basis point 1-5 as described in Golder’s memo dated 8/13/15.
  17. Motion Carried (8-0) –
  18. Pemberton absent -
    Motion by Holtrop, supported by Kape to grant conditional approval of the Site Plan dated August 21, 2015 for 3663 Broadmoor Major Vehicle Repair Establishment as described in Case No. 26-15.  Approval is conditioned on conditions 1-5 and basis points 1-5 as described in Golder’s memo dated 8/13/15.
  19. Motion Carried (8-0) –
  20. Pemberton absent -
    Motion by Holtrop, supported by VanderHoff, to grant conditional approval of the Special Land Use for an Indoor Vehicles Sales Establishment as described in Case No. 27-15.  Approval is conditioned on the conditions 1-5 and basis point 1-6 as described in Golder’s memo dated 8/13/15.
  21. Motion Carried (8-0) –
  22. Pemberton absent -
    Motion by Holtrop, supported by Jones, to grant conditional approval of the Site Plan dated August 21, 2015 for 3663 Broadmoor Major Vehicle Sales Establishment as described in Case No. 26-15.  Approval is conditioned on conditions 1-5 and basis point 1-5 as described in Golder’s memo dated 8/13/15.
  23. Motion Carried (8-0) –
  24. Pemberton absent -
  25. Work Session
    Case# 28-15 – Equine Assisted Development of Great Lakes Special Land Use and Site Plan Review of a horse stable Located at 3220 32nd Street SE
    Planner Golder stated the request is for the existing Tassell Farm.  She stated the site is  29.1 acres area with an existing single family house, an occupied caretaker’s home,  several barns and an arena type building on the property. She stated they are looking at the barn and the arena for the horses. Golder stated they will not be using the whole site. She stated there will be 6 full size horses and 3 miniature horses and they do therapy for various organizations. Golder stated the horses are not ridden because they are also abused horses.  Golder stated what we are concerned about is the activity and the parking and how that affects uses of the roads etc. Golder stated the applicant on their statement of operations indicated there is very little traffic. People come to do the caretaking but what they don’t include is the people that are there getting therapy and where they will park. Golder stated she has asked the applicant to update their statement for a corporate event how many cars might be there. She stated they show 6 spaces but there are other places they could park but we need a better understanding on a typical therapy session. Golder stated we don’t want them to run out of places and people decide to park on 32nd street or on the driveway leading in and the fire truck can’t get back in.
    Golder stated the master plan recommends medium density residential but in some sense this is a continuation of what has been there for years which is a barn.
    Golder stated for the specific standards we are fine on acreage and there is a setback requirement for a stable building adjacent to residential and they meet that. The arena is close but that is not the barn so we would like a little more information of what happens in the arena to make sure it is not disruptive.
    Deb Vanderband, Founder of Equine Assisted Development of the Great Lakes, was present.  She stated what they do is help professionals with healing children. She stated they work with therapist and children and they do family work. She stated to offset some of the cost they do corporate trainings and team building activities with the use of horses.
    VanderHoff stated he believes this is a worthwhile program. He stated there is a need and he is in favor.
    Fox asked if they will be connected with counseling centers.  Vanderband stated they are interested in growing and the investment in all areas of the community is their goal. Fox asked how many employees. Deb stated 2 of them but they run primarily through volunteers. Discussion ensued. Fox asked if they have established a curriculum. Vanderband stated she was certified through Eaglas where you can purchase different programs. She stated she is also drafting a curriculum at this time taking a coaching approach as well as a therapeutic approach. Kade Boverhof Equine Director of Development stated they are both certified through Grace Bible College. Discussion ensued regarding curriculum. Fox questioned if things go as they desire what are their hours of operation and days. VanderBrand stated they would like to be available in the evening so they are thinking 8am-8pm Mon-Fri and some Saturday operations and if they are being asked to do a group on Sunday that is a possibility too.
    Benoit stated he would like to see a maximum number of cars. Benoit questioned what are they going to do about the odor. Vanderband stated they have already contacted a waste removal system and they will be hauling waste away.
    Holtrop stated he would encourage supplementing the statement of operations. Holtrop asked if they are currently in operation. VanderBand stated they are on 100th Street in Alto. They are currently in 3 different locations they are in transition. Discussion ensued regarding location. Holtrop asked if they have had any contact with neighbors noting it would be nice to have a short meeting with them before the public hearing. Vanderband stated no she has not.
    Bridson questioned how long the property was vacant Golder stated she doesn’t know how long it has been vacant but the caretaker has continued living on the property.  Bridson questioned if the house is part of the request. Golder stated the house is not part of the request and the owner of the house intends to try to use the house for something else. However, we can’t have two principle uses on one property. Golder stated depending on what they come up with we will have to see if the two uses can coexist on the same property without violating the zoning ordinance.
    Bridson questioned if the applicant plans to do any upgrades to the buildings they plan on using. Cad Boverhoff stated the buildings are very structurally sound and have been updated throughout the years. He stated there are minor things that need to be repaired. Discussion ensued regarding children’s organization they have been in partner with: Menesa; Arbor Circle; Network 180; and Seeds of Promise. VanderBand stated they would like to work with expelled youth too. Bridson stated they said there will be no more than 3 vehicles on the property. Kade Boverhof stated they will clarify that for the public hearing, at maximum they will have at least 6 vehicles.
    Jones questioned in terms of the 6 parking spaces that are available to them, when they do corporate events what does that mean.  Vanderband stated when they have done team building events the participants have carpooled and they have also offered to pick them up and drive them in. So it depends on the different types of groups they are having. Vanderband stated youth groups always come in vans. There may be 3 events in the year. Golder stated the applicant was wondering if there was a one big event, a year whether they could park on the grass. The owner of the site doesn’t want that to happen a lot. Golder stated she wants the applicant to give us a parking plan. Golder stated there are a lot of other places you can park on the site but we just want to make sure they will be able to pull in and out. Discussion ensued
    Jones asked if they would have people coming from the Hope Network homes on the  buses. They don’t have access to the far west driveway and if they have buses coming on the property it will be hard to go in reverse. VanderBand stated there is room on the overall site. However, she will have to see the turning radius worked out in the area they will be leaving. Golder stated we want to make sure the owner is ok with that and we would want that written into the lease. Jones asked how long is their lease. VanderBand stated they discussed a year. Boverhof stated their intent and goal is to eventually purchase the property but right now it is a one year lease.
    Jones asked if this is a non-profit business. Vanderband stated this is not a non-profit. She stated they have partnered with Seeds of Promise, a non- profit in downtown Grand Rapids and they are an urban community outreach and there are funds that can be provided to them through the partnership with Seed of Promise.
    Jones questioned if there is noise associated with what they are doing. VanderBand stated they will not have their donkey there because of its noises. But even with horses, they will communicate with each other and there will be neighing. She stated in the arena where it is close to the residents they are a therapy program so they really structure it around peace in the arena so it is quiet and peaceful. Discussion ensued.
    Kape encouraged the applicant to make a connection with the Tassell family and keep them updated with what they are doing and keep them involved.
    Jones asked how they compare to the riding program in Rockford. VanderBand stated they the Rockford stable is a riding program. They work with people with physical disability and they are looking for balance and motor skills. She stated her program is/focused on are more behavioral skills, empowering a person to become more successful. Discussion ensued.
    Holtrop questioned if this gets approved will, the whole parcel be approved for a horse stable operation but governed by their statement of operations. Golder stated it will be governed by their lease as well. They said they are going to be in two buildings. If they came with a third building that would be in violation of the special land use and we would have to go back for site plan review.  They can only use the two buildings and they can’t be a riding facility.
    VanderBand stated as they continue to grow riding is a viable means and may eventually like to do that. Golder stated we will have to determine if that is a major change or a minor change.
  26. New Business
    Motion by Holtrop, supported by Fox, to set public hearing date of September 22, 2015, for: Case#29-15 – ETO Magnetic- Final Site Plan Review for a PUD Phase Located on the NW Corner Patterson Avenue/60th Street; Case#30-15 – 3233 Broadmoor – Special Land Use and Site Plan Review for an Indoor Recycling Facility  Located at 3233 Broadmoor Ave SE
  27. Motion Carried (8-0) –
  28. Pemberton absent -
  29. Other Business
  30. Appeal of Zoning Administrator Façade Determination
    Pung stated the Consumer’s Energy building located at 4501 40th Street is undergoing major exterior repairs and renovations. He stated with the renovations they are going to add EFIS which exceeds 25% as allowed by the ordinance.
    Don Spasha, with Sidock Group Incorporated, architect for Consumer’s Energy was present. He stated there is currently a ½ inch thick panel brick on the building that is falling off. He stated this will be a repair to the exterior.  He stated they feel it will be hard to meet the zoning ordinance because they would have to pour a new footing in the front to put a brick veneer in without putting panel brick back on the building. The EFIS product has improved over the years and it is a much higher quality material now than when the zoning ordinance was written. Discussion ensued. He stated to meet the building code energy code EFIS is the best product. He stated in his opinion the more material you put on the façade of the building it starts taking away the aesthetic of the building. He stated they will have 2 colors of the EFIS.
    Dale Maack , Project Manager of facilities for Consumers Energy was present and displayed photos of their building in Alma with EFIS. 
    Benoit stated EFIS has been improved over the last 10-12 years. It is a good product.
    Holtrop questioned if the ordinance for 25% is reasonable. Schweitzer stated when EFIS first came about it seemed to be a good system. Subsequently problems arose when the product crumbled and didn’t last very long. Therefore we backed off on how much we would allow. Schweitzer stated we also were concerned about where it was used. Schweitzer stated things have changed. It is a more acceptable and attractive and energy efficient and more durable. It may now be reasonable to revisit the zoning regulations regarding the allowable percentage of this product. In the meantime he feels that the request is a reasonable consideration. Discussion ensued
    Fox asked what are the drawbacks to EFIS. Benoit stated structurally there isn’t. You still don’t want to use it in high traffic areas. It is a very good product yet still subject to damage if it isnt installed correctly and inspected correctly . Benoit stated he wouldn’t have a problem with the request if our intentions were to change the ordinance. He stated we need to take a look at the ordinance and not keep over riding things.  He doesn’t like that. Everybody needs to follow the same rule. Discussion ensued.
    Jones stated her concern is going from 25% to 63% and she concurs with Benoit about making exceptions to the rule if we are not changing the rules to the game.
    Discussion ensued.
    Bridson suggested tabling and looking at our ordinance. Schweitzer stated there is a time factor with that. They have to fix the problem now, they have chicken wire to hold it up. Schweitzer stated most of our allowances come in 25 % increments. That might be something they can consider. Maack stated the only problem is they have already ordered the material they didn’t know this ordinance existed.
    Benoit stated we could use this as a learning tool and get the new building façade in.  This might help us in our process of reviewing the new ordinance. We might want to go higher than 50%. There are a lot of buildings that are 100% EFIS and look very good.
    Kape stated he agrees with Benoit if there is a building with chicken wire on it we need to do something.
    Mock stated he would offer to change the front with EFIS to incorporate a sculpted part. Holtrop stated he was leaning in that direction if they could break it up a little more and put an edge in. Holtrop stated we can learn from it and review it.
    Fox stated 50% was his first thought. Discussion ensued. Fox stated he is not comfortable enough with going to 63% but thinks they could do 50% and then we take a look at it from there.
    Motion by Holtrop supported by VanderHoff, to grant the Façade determination to not exceed 63% EFIS with some additional enhancements on the south elevation.
  31. Motion Carried (6-2) –
  32. Bridson and Jones dissenting
  33. Commissioners’ Comments
    Holtop asked staff to keep the commissioners in the loop when Consumers is done so they can take a look at the building.
    Fox suggested if an ordinance is 20-30 years old we should automatically take a look at it to make sure it is current
  34. Staff’s Comments
    Staff offered no additional comments.
  35. Adjournment
    Motion by Commissioner VanderHoff, supported by Commissioner Benoit,                           to adjourn the meeting.
  36. Motion Carried (8-0) –
  37. Pemberton absent -
    Meeting adjourned at 9:21p.m.
                                                                Respectfully submitted,
                                                            Ed Kape, Secretary