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APPROVED MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING
OF THE KENTWOOD PLANNING COMMISSION
DECEMBER 8, 2015, 7:30 P.M.
COMMISSION CHAMBERS
 (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 Benoit.
     
  3. Roll Call:
    Members Present: Bill Benoit, Emily Bridson, Garrett Fox, Dan Holtrop, Sandra Jones, Ed Kape, Mike Pemberton, Frank Vander Hoff,  and Johngerlyn Young
    Members Absent: NONE
    Others Present:  Economic Development Planner Lisa Golder, Staff Secretary Monique Collier and the applicants.
     
     
  4. Approval of the Minutes and Findings of Fact
     
    Motion by Commissioner Pemberton, supported by Commissioner Kape, to approve the Minutes of November 24, 2015.
  5. Motion Carried (9-0) –
     
  6. Approval of the Agenda
     
    Golder added Equine Assisted Development Discussion.
     
    Motion by Commissioner Holtrop, supported by Commissioner VanderHoff, to approve the agenda for the December 8, 2015 meeting with change noted.
     
  7. Motion Carried (9-0) –
     
  8. Acknowledge visitors wishing to speak to non-agenda items.
     
    There was no public comment.
     
  9. Old Business
     
    There is no Old Business
     
  10. Public Hearing
     
    There were no public hearings.
     
     
  11. Work Session
     
    Case# 1-16 Breton Homes North- Preliminary Site Plan Review of a Major Change to a PUD Located at 2475 Pfeiffer Woods Dr.
     
    Planner Golder introduced the request. She stated the request is for a major change to the 2007 Holland Home PUD for the area along the western portion of Pfeiffer Woods Drive.  The applicant is proposing to construct 5 detached single units, 27 duplex units and 20 triplex units.  She stated no change is proposed for the congregate building, although at this time the building contains only123 of the 215 units proposed.  She stated the change to the plan includes a road that runs parallel with Pfeiffer Woods Drive rather than the pod-type driveways that were proposed in the 2007 plan.
     
    Golder stated the original parcel was rezoned to RPUD-1 in 2001, featuring 221 duplex, triplex, and four-plex condominiums.  She stated the number was reduced later that year to 204 due to the extensive nature of the ravines within the area.  She stated several changes to the approved site plan were reviewed, and in 2006 a plan that incorporated a congregate building with 215 units was approved.  The plan also included 30 single family type lots.  Total number of units approved in 2006 was 324.  She stated a portion of the congregate building known as Breton Ridge was constructed, but none of the other units along Pfeiffer Woods Drive were approved.  Golder stated now in 2015 the applicant would like to amend the plan once again to eliminate the single family type units and instead proposed the attached “condominium type” units throughout the development.
     
    Golder state the applicant, Holland Home, is requesting a major change to an approved site plan for the Breton Ridge portion of Holland Home.  This portion of the development most recently (2007) was approved for 324 units that include 215 congregate building, 30 single family style lots, and 79 condominium style buildings (two, three and four units. Now, Holland Home is seeking approval for the 215 congregate building, and 116 condominium style buildings (single, two, three and four unit buildings). She stated with the increase in the number of units and the reconfiguration of the units, a major change to an approved site plan is required. As a result of the changes, open space on the site has decreased by .84 acres.  However, the open space on the site still exceeds the required 25% open space requirement.
     
    The new plan proposed includes 215 congregate units and 119 single, duplex and triplex condominium type units for 334 total units.
     
    The previously approved plan for the Breton North development proposed private drives off Pfeiffer Woods Drive that were not interconnected.  The proposed plan shows an interconnected private drive parallel to Pfeiffer Woods between Breton and Walnut Hills Drive.  She stated this private drive, named Post Oak Drive, coincides with the existing utility easement in this area. Post Oak Drive aligns on the east side of the site with Walnut Hills Drive.  Post Oak Drive includes some angled intersections that do not appear to meet the minimum radius turning requirements of the Fire Department.  She stated the new configuration reduces the number of curb cuts on Pfeiffer Woods Drive from 5 to 4.  It appears that the driveway closest to Breton Avenue could be removed, further reducing curb cuts.
     
    Golder stated the applicant shall indicate whether the building elevations will remain consistent with those previously approved for Holland Home.  A pedestrian connection should be established from the western part of Post Oak Drive to Pfeiffer Woods Drive.
     
    Golder stated there are a few things they need to work on to make the plan better. If the speed limit is 20 miles per hour the curves that are shown are acceptable however if it is 25 miles per hour they are not acceptable. Golder stated staff will work with the applicant at staff level and come up with a recommendation. If the fire Marshall says the trucks still can’t turn down the road then there is a problem with curvature. Golder stated there were a couple of locations with two curb cuts and why not just have one. They will have to work through that as well. Discussion ensued regarding curvature.
     
    Benoit stated he likes the idea of both Purple Ash and Sweet Birch Ct. coming out into Pfeiffer Woods. Mina Breuker stated residents say elderly they don’t like that because of the traffic so they were trying to make it less busy for their residents because, they wanted more cul-de-sacs. Benoit stated that forces all the people at both ends to endure all the traffic. He stated they are not solving the problem. Police and fire have to come all the way down the road to get where they are going and dead ends can be very tricky for fire apparatus. Benoit stated because of the 25 foot road they are not going to allow any parking on the road? Will both sides be posted fire lane or posted no parking. Golder stated yes, they are putting extra parking spaces off the main private drive. Benoit stated with that size road it can be tight even if you post parking no parking on the hydrant side.
     
    Jones stated driving does not improve as we age. Her concern is that the width of the street is not age friendly and it really needs to have sidewalks on both sides of the street. She stated you are going to have people using mobility devices and people who are walking. If someone is living on the other side of the street they should not have to cross over to use the sidewalk. Breuker stated they do not have that in their present Breton Woods area and what they have heard from their  residents is they would be thrilled to just have one sidewalk because right now they do not have that. They are looking to encourage the walking. Breuker stated right now the sidewalk is proposed on the east side of the road they are looking at the other side because it is safer for them to cross a road where people are stopping than going past all the driveways; because people don’t stop when they come out of their garage. Jones stated it is perceived that it would be safer but her concern would be that Stanaback Park is on the other side so if people wanted to walk and head towards that park it would be better for them to be on the other side because they don’t have to cross the major thoroughfare. Brueker stated it is safer to cross there than pass some of these driveways and there is a major walkway to Stanaback Park. Golder stated there is sidewalk on two sides on Pfeiffer Woods Drive. Jones stated she would agree with commissioner Benoit that Purple Ash Ct. and Sweet Birch Ct. need to come out on to Pfeiffer Woods. She understand what the current residents are saying but they will have future residents who may not agree. Jones stated she thinks it is safer giving the fact that we are talking about older adults. Jones stated there needs to be a better way for the emergency personal to reach the people who live on those two streets without them being constrained to having to use one of those other two entrances into the development.
     
    VanderHoff questioned how this will affect their plan, it sounds like they are downsizing the drive to 24 feet when normally it will call for 30 feet. He questioned whether it would be the problem if the road was 30 foot wide a little more vision and a little more leeway for people. Brueker stated she does not know she will have to get back with Exxel Engineering and see how that fits. She is not sure what the reason was. Discussion ensued.
     
    Jones stated she can get information from AARP on roads for the next meeting.
     
    Kape asked if most of the units have a 1 stall garage. Brueker stated all have 2 stall garages. Kape stated to him it looks like a lot of homes in that little area.  Kape questioned what made them want to go with the duplexes. Brueker stated that is something they wanted to try what they are hearing from perspective residents they would like to have a single standing home. She stated this is new for Holland Home so they wanted to put some in to see the response they get.  Discussion ensued. Breuker stated they plan to start phase 1 of their project along Whitebud Drive North Maple Court and Whitebud Court because all the roads are in and all the utilities are in and there are 47 units and once they sell about 35 they will move into phase 2. Kape stated he thinks the single family would be more desirable that is why he was wondering why they were doing with more of the 2 and 3 units together. Breuker stated they are much more expensive that is another issue so you have to look at home sales and where that balance is for your price point to make it realistic for the clients. Golder stated to keep in mind that they had been marketing for 30 single family homes from the old plan alond Whitebud and for whatever reason they are not built yet.
     
    Benoit stated with 24 foot roads they might be able to get sidewalk on both sides it give you more room to be able to do that. He stated he thinks Purple Ash needs to come out to Pfeiffer Woods. He questioned if at the end of Post Oak Court is a normal to end a road like that. Golder stated a single family neighborhood there will normally be a cul-de-sac with a turn around for the snow plow but perhaps since the City isn’t maintaining that road they chose the proposed design. Benoit stated it just seems to him as though they would give the fire trucks some place to turn around and the same thing for snow, someone still has to plow the snow.
     
    Fox stated he would echo the sidewalks. He thinks those are important aspects and even to take that further as to looking at making it walkable in a way that goes beyond standard sidewalks. He stated when he thinks about what the community wants or desires if it would be possible behind in some of the areas of the open space creating just some paths for walkability. Brueker stated there is a huge ravine and they looked at that and even to do a walk path is not possible. Fox questioned if there was any intentions in gating the entrances. Breuker stated this is unlicensed independent living. Fox questioned if there community space in Breton Ridge and Breton Terrace that is accessible to the residents of the duplexes. Brueker stated all of the residents have access both to the Terrace and the Ridge.
     
    Pemberton stated he will be interested in seeing the new plan. He stated he is going to defer to the Engineering and the Fire Department to make sure everything is in compliance. If it fits their needs he is good with it, there is no point in him second guessing. He stated as far as connecting all the way out to Pfeiffer he would defer to the Fire and Engineering, the more connections there is the more traffic everywhere. He doesn’t have a problem with some not being connected. He stated as far as density it does look a little bit busy but once you get into phase 2 and 3 they might decide the 3 unit buildings are really going the duplex goes a lot better and then reconfigure and put a couple more duplexes. Because you look at those streets and it’s all driveways and driveways for aging people would be kind of an issue backing up.
     
    Kape stated with respect to the streets that we are discussing about not entering onto Pfeiffer why not gate those streets at Pfeiffer Woods where only emergency vehicles would have access. Then the residents that are living in those condos would be satisfied with not having the people coming down their streets. Breuker stated she is not sure how that would look.
     
    Golder stated when talking about emergency gates at Pfeiffer Woods access she doesn’t know that putting them in is going to get Fire Department there any faster but she will ask. Golder stated these residents generally don’t create a lot of traffic they like the typical single family neighborhood. Discussion ensued
     
    Fox stated his thought was to limit the number of connections off of Pfeiffer and to do just gate where the emergency vehicles have access to that back end of the condo cluster. Golder stated she will poll the Fire Marshal to see what his thoughts are on the access that is provided by this plan and by the new plan. She was thinking to reduce the number of curb cuts onto Pfeiffer but if those roads are separated and if this is the only access to these units then that will have to stay. Golder stated it sounds like there is a desire to keep the condo clusters open for emergency and to close them for traffic going through.  Golder stated we will have that detail for the commissioners with the new plan at the public hearing.
     
  12. New Business
     
    Motion by Holtrop, supported by VanderHoff, to set a public hearing date of January 12, 2016 Case# 1-16 Breton Homes North- Preliminary Site Plan Review of a Major Change to a PUD Located at 2475 Pfeiffer Woods Dr.
     
  13. Motion Carried (9-0) –
     
  14. Other Business
     
  15. Equine Assisted Development
     
    Golder stated a new entity is looking to invest and they have some ideas for long term use of the property. Golder stated staff thinks they are to have to eventually rezone to a mixed use PUD. However, in the meantime they want to get the Equine Center going and in order to accommodate this they would like to make a switch in the plan. Under the current approval The Quonset type building was going to be the barn for horses. The applicant is requesting a minor change to the approved site plan to allow for gambrel roof barn to be used as a horse stable for the Equine Assisted Development operations. The use of the Quonset and other buildings would be addressed at a later point in time. Golder stated the Equine Assisted development would have the same number of horses, same operation.
     
    Benoit stated his only concern is when we had the public hearing there were a number of people who testified and written letters and without it being on agenda he feels like we are jamming this thing in. He has no problem with the use but has a problem with the residents not knowing what is going on.
               
    Motion by Vanderhoff supported by Kape to approve the site plan to allow for gambrel roof barn to be used as a horse stable for the Equine Assisted Development operations. The use of the other building would be discussed and reviewed by planning commission as part of the future development plan  
     
  16. Motion Carried (9-0) –
     
  17. Commissioners’ Comments
     
    The Commissioners wished everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
     
  18. Staff’s Comments
     
    The staff offered no additional comments
     
  19. Adjournment
     
    Motion by Commissioner VanderHoff, supported by Commissioner                             to adjourn the meeting.
  20. Motion Carried (9-0) –
     
    Meeting adjourned at 8:30p.m.
     
     
                                                                Respectfully submitted,
     
                                                            Ed Kape, Secretary