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APPROVED MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING
OF THE KENTWOOD PLANNING COMMISSION
JANUARY 27, 2015, 7:30 P.M.
COMMISSION CHAMBERS
 (return  to index)
 
  1. Chair Young called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.
 
  1. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Commissioner Pemberton.
 
  1. Roll Call:
 
Members Present: Bill Benoit, Garrett Fox (arrived late), Sandra Jones, Ed Kape, Mike Pemberton, Steve Redmond, Frank Vander Hoff, and Johngerlyn Young
Members Absent: Dan Holtrop (with notification)
Others Present:  Community Development Director Terry Schweitzer, Economic Development Planner Lisa Golder, Planner Joe Pung, Staff Secretary Monique Collier, and the applicant.
 
Motion by VanderHoff, supported by Jones, to excuse Fox and Holtrop, from the meeting.
  • Motion Carried (7-0) –
  • Fox and Holtrop absent -
 
  1. Approval of the Minutes and Findings of Fact
 
Motion by Commissioner Pemberton, supported by Commissioner VanderHoff,         to approve the Minutes of January 13, 2015 and the Findings of Fact for: Case#1-15A-1 36th Street Self Storage – Special Land Use and Site Plan Review for an Outdoor Storage of Recreational Vehicles - Located at 4175 36th Street SE
 
  • Motion Carried (7-0) –
  • Fox and Holtrop absent -
  1. Approval of the Agenda
 
Motion by Commissioner VanderHoff, supported by Commissioner Pemberton,                             to approve the agenda for the January 27, 2015 meeting.
 
  • Motion Carried (7-0) –
  • Fox and Holtrop absent -
 
  1. Acknowledge visitors wishing to speak to non-agenda items.
 
There was no public comment.
 
  1. Old Business
There was no Old Business
 
  1. Public Hearing
 
Case #2-15 – VCA Woodland Animal Hospital – Special Land Use and Site Plan Review of an Animal Hospital Located at 3100 29th Street (POSTPONED)
 
Young opened the public hearing.
 
Golder stated VCA came back to staff with a request  for 41 kennel slots for healthy animals which requires special land use review. Mr. Witte had previously noted that Whiskers was already approved for a kennel which included the whole site of which VCA is a part. He had suggested to review the kennel slots as a change to the site plan.  Golder stated we were going to do just a change to the site plan, but when we looked back to the findings of fact for the approval of Whiskers and discovered a condition that  the only place you can have a kennel was within the 19,000 square foot Whiskers building. Therefore we have to process an amendment to the approved special land use and site plan to Whiskers. We now have 2 special land uses that will come together for the public hearing for the veterinarian clinic and the kennel.
 
Motion by VanderHoff, supported by Pemberton, to adjourn the public hearing and table Case#2-15 VCA Woodland Animal Hospital to February 10, 2015. 
 
  • Motion Carried (8-0)-
  • Holtrop absent -   
  1. Work Session
 
Case#3-15 – Wildflower Creek – Final Site Plan Review of a PUD Phase; Pre-Preliminary Plat Review; and Consideration of a Change to a PUD Condition Located at 5083 Wild Senna Ave SE
 
Planner Pung introduced the request. He stated the applicant is requesting changing the conditions of approval of the PUD from 2006. Also a final PUD site plan and a preliminary plat approval are being sought. Pung stated in 2003 the City Commission conditionally approved the rezoning and preliminary site plan for an R-PUD-1 Low Density Residential Planned Unit Development consisting of 111 new single family homes and two existing homes.  He stated the intent was for the development to be neo-traditional in form with homes built closer to the right-of-way, streets lined with trees and a pedestrian network; in addition, the garages would be placed behind the homes.
 
Pung stated in 2004 the final site plan for the Phase I (51 lots) was approved The number of new single family homes in the overall development was reduced to 107.
Pung stated in 2006 a major change to the PUD was approved to:
  • Permit up to 40% of the homes to have front loading garages.  Garages to be placed 4 feet behind the front of the building.
  • Reduce building separation from 14 feet to 12 feet (side yard setbacks of 10 feet on one side and 2 feet on the other side).
  • Allow minimum floor area of 520 square feet on the main floor of a two-story home.  Minimum overall square footage (1,040 square feet) to remain the same.
  • Permit non-vertically oriented windows for the upper story and side windows.
 
Pung stated the current request is to have more than 60% of the homes to have forward facing garages instead of the 40% approved in 2006. He stated in 2006 the city commission added an additional condition that no more than 2 homes with forward facing garages could be located adjacent to each other. Pung stated subsequently there were two building permits that were issued that didn’t meet this condition standards after it was approved. Pung stated there are 2 circumstances where there are 2 homes adjacent to each other and 4 other homes.
 
Pung stated the applicant met with the Land Use and Zoning (LUZ) Subcommittee on November 25, 2014 to discuss the possibility of eliminating the requirement for front porches and to allow for garages that protrude into the front yard beyond the living space of the home.Pung stated the LUZ Committee was not supportive of eliminating the requirement for front porches or allowing garages that protrude into the front yard.The Committee did not want to see homes where the garage is the prominent feature as seen from the street; it was felt that allowing homes with protruding garages and no front porches would not be consistent with the intent of the PUD.The Committee was supportive of permitting a larger percentage of homes to have front facing garages.
 
Pung stated the City owns property to the north of the adjacent Consumers Energy Company property. Pung stated the current access easement through the Consumers Energy property does not align with the proposed location of Wild Senna Avenue. Pung stated as per the PUD Agreement, the developer will have to either realign the street to match up with the access easement or obtain a replacement easement approved by the City from Consumers Energy.
 
Pung stated the majority of the area for Phase II is covered with grass/brush. He stated there is a significant tree line with a variety of large caliper trees along the west property line.  Pung stated as with Phase I the integrity of the tree line will have to be maintained with minimal tree removal. He stated in Phase I the integrity of the tree line was accomplished through the installation of a retaining wall in the rear yards of the homes. Pung stated the applicant will have to work with City staff to determine the best approach to ensure that the integrity of the tree line is maintained.
 
Pung stated the Engineering had a few issues. He stated Wild Senna terminates at the north property line without a cul-de-sac. Engineering stated they need a cul-de-sac terminals. Engineering is looking at a permanent easement or a temporary easement at minimum. Pung stated the applicant may be able to work the easement to be on their property or the consumers energy property as part of renegotiating the easement. Pung stated there are also some drainage issues that will have to be worked out.
 
Pung stated issues that need to be addressed are:
  • The PUD Agreement will need to be amended to reflect any changes approved by the City.
  • A tree preservation and landscape plan will need to be reviewed and approved.
  • Realignment of Wild Senna Avenue or obtain a replacement easement from Consumers Energy Company to allow access to City property.
  • Amend or remove the condition that no two homes with forward facing garages can be adjacent to each other.
  • Determine how the tree line adjacent to the Windy Ridge development will be preserved.
  • Cul-de-sac Wild Senna Avenue
 
Chris VanderHoff was present representing Wildflower Creek. He stated he and his brother have owned Bosco Construction for 25 years and have done several projects/developments in the greater Grand Rapids and Kentwood area. He stated when he first looked at this plan in 2005 he had a hard time trying to put the neo-traditional plan together. It was a difficult plan with the rear garages they could not get it economically to work. He stated they came up with different designs. He stated in 2009-2010 the bank foreclosed on the property and they were able to come up with favorable prices on the lots with the bank and a workout program. He stated he was able to come up with a plan that had a neo-traditional look that met the requirements of the porch, the windows etc that had a lot of features and character.
 
Chris VanderHoff stated they have been building 8-12 units per year and they have been selling. He stated he went to the LUZ committee to request to build a different type of home, but the Luz committee didn’t like that. He stated he would like a few small changes. VanderHoff stated the homes that have the garages in the back are the most difficult to sell, they are more costly to them because of the driveway and the associated sales on them. He stated most customers do not like their driveways in the back, they want the traditional front garage. He stated as a result most of the people who bought the rear load garages they do not use their garages. He stated this is their main reason to build the garages more to the front. Discussion ensued. Chris VanderHoff stated other than the garages they are staying on track from when the plan was originally approved.
 
Fox questioned the trees. VanderHoff stated the trees on the west tree line abutting Windy Ridge will be addressed at the final plat stage they have the topography lines and figure the grade lines. Chris VanderHoff stated they believe it will work just with the proper grading. Chris VanderHoff stated if need be on the south end of the plan on the west line they may need to put a retaining wall in there to get proper drainage and to keep the space behind the homes. The other tree item, they have an extensive landscape plan that they have to keep continuing on with; trees in the parkway along the road. As they go to the next phase there is quite an extensive landscape plan along 52nd Street that has been previously approved that they do have to follow. Fox questioned the access easement to the north through the Consumers properties. Chris VanderHoff stated he has a phone call into Consumers Power but it is no problem for them to follow through and work it out. He feels after 5 or 6 months he shouldn’t have a problem moving the easement.  Fox asked about the driveways in the rear. Chris Vanderhoff stated to get the house with the proper setbacks and to have some landscape and greenery and porch they had a 9-10 foot driveway. Fox ask what types of homes he is looking to build. Chris VanderHoff stated they build two different models, and they do different color schemes. Discussion ensued.
 
Kape stated he was present at LUZ and one of the things the committee didn’t like was the design. Chris VanderHoff stated they have changed the desgn.
 
Benoit stated the applicant wants 60% front facing garages but he doesn’t see where he is requesting to eliminate the 4 foot offset. VanderHoff stated he has 40 plus homes that are built with the 4 foot offset. Pung stated the offset is sitting back behind the foyer. Discussion ensued.
 
Jones stated she was concerned about the landscaping and a little disappointed there are no plans to review. Pung stated they are planning to continue with the building designs they used in Phase I. Chris VanderHoff stated he plans to stay on course in what they have been building just more front loads than rear loads for a variety.
 
Pemberton ask if the City could assist the developer in his dealings with Consumers because the easement from consumers goes to City property as well and felt it will be easier to get the easment. Pung stated the easement goes across and leads into the City’s property.  Chris VandeHoff stated that was discussed. He did ask if he were having trouble would the City be able to step in and help. VanderHoff stated this is a tight project to make work.
 
Young asked if the homes are the same size. Chris VanderHoff stated there are 1,500 square feet 3 bedrooms, walk in closets, two full bathrooms etc. VanderHoff stated they do a good job inside, they build each one as if they are their own.
 
Fox suggested to the applicant to bring the landscaping plan to the public hearing. Chris VanderHoff stated there is on file an already approved landscaping plan. He stated he will bring the blueprints. Pung suggested if he sends the items to him as a jpeg he could print them out as part of the report for the public hearing.
 
Kape stated with respect to the easement are we requiring the applicant get the easement before we approve the plan. Pung stated due to the time it will take to go through Consumers Energy this will be a conditional approval to either re-align the street or change the easement. Pung stated this will go to City Commission as a tentative preliminary plat approval then it has to go through the county and different agencies. Then it goes back to city commission for final preliminary plat approval and then they come back for a plat approval. They have to have this all worked out before they can get the final plat.
 
Fox ask if there was a homeowners association. Chris VanderHoff stated not yet, but they are looking to establish an association. Discussion ensued.
 
Fox ask if they are looking to do anything with the homes on 52nd Street since you are able to see them from the road. VanderHoff stated that portion has already been completed they do have to put a fence up on the top of the berm and the landscaping that is there and the berm itself is all that is required. Discussion ensued.
 
Case#6-15 - VCA Woodland Animal Hospital – Change to a Special Land Use and Site Plan Review of a Kennel 3100 29th Street
 
Planner Golder stated  the original Whiskers facility was approved as a kennel in 2007.  She stated an expansion for the kennel facility was approved in 2012.  The 2012 plan included a 19,642 square foot building which would allow 90 kennels.  An additional 15,000 square foot building was shown on the site plan for a training facility.  She stated as a condition of approval, the Planning Commission limited the kennel portion of the facility to the 19,642 square foot building.  The VCA Animal Hospital is now proposing to add 41 kennels within their proposed animal hospital building which is inconsistent with the original approval.  An amendment to the Special Land Use and Site Plan is required.
 
Golder stated there will be two special land uses the commission will have to look. One will be the public hearing for the animal hospital and then the Kennel.
 
Golder stated the overall parcel is 3.49 acres in size.  The VCA parcel will be 1.21 acres in size and is proposed to be split from the Whiskers parcel.  Golder stated VCA is complimentary to Whiskers. 
 
Golder stated they could have up to 120 kennels for healthy animals based on square footage. But they won’t do that because their primary intent is to be a veterinarian hospital. Golder stated they do care for a small number of exotic animals such as birds. If they want to kennel exotic animals they will have to go the zoning board of appeals. She stated the applicant should distinguish between animals boarded and animals being cared for as a part of veterinary services. Golder stated services provided on the premises shall be limited to grooming, training, exercising, socializing and overnight boarding of dogs or cats.
 
Golder stated the plan portrays an 880 square foot outdoor exercise area.  The fencing is proposed to be chain link. Golder stated we are going to rely on their project statement they will be revising it to cover everything.
 
Pemberton stated he would like to see them stick to a plan and hopefully by the time of the public hearing the commissioners will know what they are reviewing. Golder stated we will have revised plans with the 7,200 square foot building. Golder stated she doesn’t think it will be a problem with these uses, the request fits in the area.
 
Jones stated it seems to her that they are not really clear on what it is that they want She stated 41 kennels is an odd number and it seems strange. It is so much uncertainty as to what they want.
 
Benoit stated we need to see a better plan. It is hard to have discussion not knowing what they are doing and will reserve his questions until the public hearing.
 
Redmond ask about a curb cut on Shaffer. Golder stated they had reserved the right to do it in the future but they decided to share the driveway. She stated we will be looking for those easements to assure cross access and shared parking.
 
Golder stated for the public hearing we will get a better plan.
 
  1. New Business
 
Motion by, Kape, supported by Pemberton, Set public hearing date of February 24, 2015, for:  Case#4-15 – East 32nd Storage – Special Land Use and Site Plan Review for Outdoor Storage of Recreational Vehicles Located at 3585 32nd Street SE; Case #5-15 – Heritage Pointe South-Total Health Chiropractic – Final Site Plan of a PUD Phase Located at 2172 East Paris Ave SE
  • Motion Carried (8-0) –
  • Holtrop absent -
  1. Other Business
 
  1. Commissioners’ Comments
 
Kape encouraged the commissioner to go to Sheldon Cleaners Open House Thursday January 30, 2015.
 
  1. Staff’s Comments
 
Staff Offered no additional comments
 
  1. Adjournment  
 
Motion by Commissioner VanderHoff, supported by Commissioner Pemberton                             to adjourn the meeting.
  • Motion Carried (8-0) –
  • Holtrop absent -
Meeting adjourned at 8:25p.m.
 
                                                            Respectfully submitted,
 
                                                            Ed Kape, Secretary