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APPROVED MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING
OF THE KENTWOOD PLANNING COMMISSION
JULY 26, 2016, 7:30 P.M.
COMMISSION CHAMBERS
 (return  to index)
 
  1. Vice-Chair Holtrop called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.
     
  2. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Commissioner Kape.
     
  3. Roll Call:
    Members Present: Bill Benoit, Emily Bridson, Garrett Fox, Dan Holtrop, Sandra Jones, Ed Kape, Frank Vander Hoff 
    Members Absent: Mike Pemberton, and Johngerlyn Young (with notification)
    Others Present:  Community Development Director Terry Schweitzer, Economic Development Planner Lisa Golder, Planner Joe Pung, Staff Secretary Monique Collier, and the applicants.
     
    Motion by Kape, supported by Jones, to excuse Pemberton and Young from the meeting.
  4. Motion Carried (7-0) –
  5. Pemberton and Young absent -
     
  6. Approval of the Minutes and Findings of Fact
     
    Motion by Jones, supported by Kape, to approve the Minutes of July 12, 2016 and the Findings of Fact for: Case#7-163160 Breton /Jay Stevens Group – Rezoning of .6 acres of land from I-2 Heavy Industrial to C-4 Office Located at 3160 Breton Ave SE; Case#8-16 – Full Circle Recycle/M.S.V Construction – Major Change to Site Plan and Special Land Use Located at 3233 Broadmoor Ave SE
     
  7. Motion Carried (7-0) –
  8. Pemberton and Young absent -
  9. Approval of the Agenda
     
    Motion by Benoit, supported by Jones, to approve the agenda for the July 26, 2016 meeting.
  10. Motion Carried (7-0) –
  11. Pemberton and Young 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#9-16 - Child Care Institute – Rezoning of 5.47 acres of land from RPUD-2 Low Density Residential Planned Unit Development to RPUD-1 High Density Residential Planned Unit Development Located at 3924 Shaffer Ave SE
     
    Case #10-16 – Child Care Institute – Special Land Use and Site Plan Review of a Child Caring Institution Located at 3924 Shaffer Ave SE
     
    Pung stated the applicant is requesting four requests; to rezone 5.47 acres of land from RPUD-2 Low Density Residential Planned Unit Development to RPUD-1 High Density Residential Planned Unit Development; along with the approval of the associated Preliminary and Final Site Plan for a PUD phase; and Special Land Use and Site Plan Review of a Child Caring Institution.
     
    Pung stated the property was previously rezoned from R1-A and R1-C to its current zoning of RPUD 2 in 2004. He stated along with that a preliminary site plan for a 12 units site condo development was approved. The project was never developed and the preliminary site plan has expired.
     
    Pung stated the perspective property owner wishes to develop the facility to house up to 160 international students between the ages of 10 - 18 who would attend local schools. The applicant has stated the students would not be allowed to have any cars, although they could have bicycles. The facility will be locked at all times with key card control access for the adults.
     
    Pung stated there will be two children per room and two rooms would share a bathroom. Based on their description of the use, it will be considered a child caring institution under the zoning ordinance. The current zoning district does not make allowance for a child caring institution, therefore the perspective property owners are looking at rezoning the property from RPUD2 to RPUD1 which does allow for child caring institutions as a special land use. As a child caring institution the use would be licensed by the State and would have to meet all the State requirements. It would also have to meet all State fire codes, buildings codes and licensing requirements as a child caring institution.
     
    Pung stated the facility would be a two story facility and proposed to be built in 2 phases. The first phase would consist of the housing of up to 80 students which would be half of what they are proposing to have on the site overall. This phase would also consist of the dining hall, study areas, and offices for the staff. The second phase would be the remainder of the housing facilities for 80 additional students.
     
    Pung stated they are looking for RPUD1 zoning which is consistent with the Master Plan recommendation for medium density residential which is up to 8 dwelling units per acre. Pung stated the way child and adult care facilities are calculated is, 6 beds is the equivalent to 1 dwelling unit. He stated based on that if they built out to the full 160 that would equate to a density of about 6.9 dwelling units per acre which is under the 8 dwelling units per acre for medium density residential and that would be consistent with the master plan recommendation.
     
    Pung stated there are several issues that still need to be addressed that are important to a PUD. He stated one is landscaping. Significant landscaping is important to meet the criteria for a PUD and also provide screening for the building and use. Pung stated one of the condition is that the final landscaping plan would be approved by the planning commission as part of the final site plan approval for the phase. He stated when they come back for the final site plan approval we would also be looking to approve a landscaping plan. Pung stated another main criteria is tree preservation, retention of existing significant trees. He stated staff will be looking at City approval of a final tree preservation plan as part of the final site plan approval. Any trees that are identified as being saved will have to be fenced as needed and if they do have to be removed or damaged there is a requirement that they be replaced.
     
    Pung stated another issue would be building elevations. It will be a fairly large facility, it is proposed to be two story but from the back it will look like a 3 story. The site backs up to the private golf course to the north and east of the proposed facility. Pung stated staff will be looking at having it blend in with the residential character. This will be one of the recommendations of approval when they come in for final site plan approval of the final building elevations. Pung stated staff looked at additional recommendations of what the applicant can do to enhance the building elevations such as shutters something to liven the building up. Pung stated right now the way it is being proposed, it looks like a motel or a dormitory. We recommend that the façade treatment increased and get it more towards a residential or nicer appearance, which is also a major component in criteria of a planned unit development; high quality architectural treatment and facade.
     
    Pung stated we are also looking for some modifications to their draft PUD agreement. We have to make sure certain things are clarified such as the staffing and final site plan approval and also reiterating the requirement for approval of a landscaping plan and tree preservation plans.
     
    Pung reviewed the recommendation to the city commission to rezone 5.47 acres of land from RPUD-2 Low Density Residential Planned Unit Development to RPUD-1 High Density Residential Planned Unit Development and also the recommendation to the city commission conditional approval of the preliminary site plan.
     
    Pung stated he is recommending conditional approval of the Special Land Use and Site Plan Review of a Child Caring Institution as stated in his memos
     
    Robb Lamer, Excel Engineering was present. He stated the changes they have made since the work session are they have taken the parking that is future or deferred and moved it back from the setbacks that is required by the zone. They have also shown more parking in the areas where they have no intention to park, but part of the questions at the work session was what happens if this project is no longer on the site years down the road. He stated they have shown some future parking in the areas where they are currently proposing to park buses. He stated they are looking at saving as many trees on the site as they can. He stated there are a lot of trees you can’t save, they are going to take down trees to bring the site to grade. He displayed what trees they were going to save. He stated if they don’t need to do the grading now then they will make sure they save the trees. Lamer stated they will work with staff to work through how it will work because some of the trees are too numerous to put on a plan effectively and call out as individual trees to be preserved. But the intent is to save everything behind the building and the fire lane and leave the remainder natural.
     
    Holtrop opened the public hearing.
     
    A letter was submitted from the Executive Director of the Christian Athletic Complex located north and east of the site. He is excited about the project and supports the rezoning.
     
    Motion by VanderHoff, supported by Fox, to close the public hearing.
     
  15. Motion Carried (7-0) –
  16. Pemberton and Young absent -
     
    VanderHoff asked if this meets the Master Plan. Pung stated based on the Mater Plan recommendation and how we calculated the use and density it will be consistent with the Master Plan. VanderHoff stated hopefully this will be a successful project and will be there for many years, but it appears to him once this is built it is going to have a very limited use for something else. He is concerned that it could become a big eyesore. He stated with our restrictions he can’t see a lot of other uses for this facility.  Lamer stated the owner believes that this is a great investment and from personal experience housing international students is a great asset to families. Discussion ensued.
     
    Bridson stated she thinks the idea is great. She stated she shares VanderHoff’s concern as to what else this could be if the applicant are no longer there. Pung stated we don’t have anything similar to this request but based on where it is located it may be something that Wedgwood Christian Services would be interested in. Bridson stated she thinks the preservation of the trees is important. She likes the idea of enhancing the appearance and thinks that is important too.
     
    Fox stated in recent conversations there have been discussion with making buildings sustainable, making them green etc., he questioned whether there be any efforts related to that. Lamer stated from a site plan standpoint when excel designs things there are times they do LEED certified projects and times they design things consistent with LEED principles. He explained the difference is you get the same product but you don’t get the plaque. Discussion ensued. Brad Potter Newco Design Build LLC stated he was part of the US Green Building Council for about 4 years he is familiar with the LEED process. He stated he is currently working on some projects and what they are doing is over insulation so there is less heat loss therefore gas and utilities will be lower. Everything is going to be LED therefore it will be less energy wasted. Double pane tinted windows. He stated they are also looking at how they can save money. He stated they are doing everything they can to make the building sustainable and affordable at the same time.
     
    Fox stated there was also discussion with the existing bridge and he wanted to know the decision that was made. Pung stated they were going to preserve it to able to utilize it, but it will be up to the DEQ and what the State will allow. Lamer stated he knows if they take out the bridge they will never be able to put one back similar. They would have to fortify it considerably. He stated they will talk to the DEQ. Lamer stated they will make the bridge safe, whether it mean removing it all together or improving it in such a way that it is safe and that it meets everyone’s goal. Lamer stated he doesn’t want to take the time to bring a plan to the DEQ if they can’t get the rezoning. Discussion ensued. 
     
    Fox stated he would love to see some sort of effort in protecting the students from the golf course area. To make sure there are no balls that will hit students when they are outside during their evening time.
     
    Jones stated she echoes the concerns about landscaping, it should be something that has to be in the forefront of their mind. Jones stated she is also hopeful that they will take in the concerns about the façade and take those suggestions to heart because this is going to be in a residential area they don’t want it to stand out unnecessarily. She stated as it stands right now it does look like a hotel. Therefore whatever they can do to make it look more residential will be appreciated.
     
    Benoit stated at the work session he raised some concerns about the rezoning He stated he still has a large amount of concerns of continuity in the area. He stated because of that he can’t support the rezoning for the PUD.
     
    Kape stated on Saturdays the children will have free time. He questioned what are they doing all day and how are they keeping 60 kids from going to play golf. Potter stated if they wanted to play golf that would be fantastic.  Potter stated what has been explained to him a lot of these kids have memberships at local athletic centers and they take them to that. They go to the mall and other social events so they can get out and experience what it is like to live here. Even though it is their free time it is planned and structured.  Kape stated there was discussion about buses and there was a concern that it was going to look more like a school with the buses parked in front; where do they plan to park the buses. Potter stated they are confident with the landscaping there is a 3 foot high hill that if you plant some minor shrubbery you are never going to see the bus from the road. Kape questioned the material on the building. Potter stated they are assuming it to be hardy plank which is a cement board that you will see on higher end residential and a mire tech which is synthetic wood trim. Discussion ensued.
     
    Benoit stated as far as the special land use the big item is 15.02.A. He doesn’t believe the development meets this requirement. He stated the whole west side of Shaffer is zoned and master planned for low density residential. He stated when you come down 44th street and heading north you will have residential on the left side all the way down to 36th Street. You also have the residential on the right had side with the Allen Edwin subdivision and then single family homes mixed in and right next to the proposed property is single family home. You are going to go down the road you will see homes and then this building and he does not think it is harmonious with the area. He stated he does not have a problem with what they are trying to do, his problem is what is it going to do with the area. He stated this request in no way looks like a single family home, or function like a single family home. He stated the golf course is Master planned to be park and open space. Discussion ensued. He stated he just doesn’t think this is the right place for it. He stated maybe on Burton Street somewhere like that. He noted other cross streets where you have institutional use including further down Shaffer you have Wedgwood and Wingate apartments. We are calling it a child caring facility, but it can also be called a dormitory because this is what a dormitory on any campus would look like. They will be sharing bathrooms, you have a roommate and there is a place for food to be prepared, etc. Benoit stated he was a little disappointed that none of the neighbors showed up. He just thinks it is out of character and does not comply to the special land use requirements.
     
    VanderHoff stated if the neighbors don’t have a problem with the request then we shouldn’t and in addition the request goes to the city commission and they will have the final say.
     
    Holtrop questioned where the greenspace will be for 160 children. Lamer stated most are high school age children and more than likely they won’t be playing at the building they will be at school playing sports. He stated when you look at what the property has in the back there is a lot of room. Holtrop asked if the majority of the students will be going to NorthPointe School. Jiang stated that is correct. Jiang stated they want to beautify the area and bring benefits to the neighborhood. He reached out to some neighbors and the condo association. The president of the condo stated there were no objections to the request. Jiang indicated he will encourage the children to participate in activities and go to MVP etc.
 
Motion by Jones, supported by Fox, to recommend to the City Commission conditional approval of the preliminary site plan dated July 19, 2016 for the Child Care Institute Rezoning as described in Case 09-16.  Approval is conditioned on conditions 1-12 and basis point 1-9 as described in Pung’s memo dated July 7, 2016.
 
  • Motion Carried (5-2) –
  • Benoit and Holtrop dissenting –
  • Pemberton and Young absent -
 
Motion by Jones, supported by VanderHoff, to Recommend to the City Commission conditional approval of the request to rezone 5.5 acres from RPUD-2 Low Density Residential Planned Unit Development to RPUD-1 High Density Residential Planned Unit Development as described in Case No. 09-16.  Approval is conditioned on conditions 1-8 and basis points 1-8 as described in Pung’s memo dated July 21, 2016.
 
  • Motion Carried (5-2) –
  • Benoit and Holtrop dissenting –
  • Pemberton and Young absent -
 
 Motion by Jones, supported by to grant Conditional approval of the Special Land Use Child Caring Institution as described in Case 10-16:  Child Care Institute.  The approval is conditioned on conditions 1-5 and basis points 1-5 as described in Pung’s memo dated July 21, 2016.
  • Motion Carried (5-2) –
  • Benoit and Holtrop dissenting –
  • Pemberton and Young absent -
 
Motion by Jones, supported by VanderHoff, to grant Conditional approval of the site plan dated July 19, 2016 as described in Case 10-16: Special Land Use Child Care Institute.  Approval is conditioned on conditions 1-11 and basis points 1-6 as described in Pung’s memo dated July 21, 2016.                                         
  • Motion Carried (5-2) –
  • Benoit and Holtrop dissenting –
  • Pemberton and Young absent -
 
  1. Work Session
     
    Case #11-16 – Grand Rapids Auto Gallery – Major Change to an Approved Site Plan Located at 4722 50th St. SE
     
    Pung introduced the request. He stated the request is a Major Change to an approved site plan to permit a 12,000 square foot building addition to a facility that is used for indoor vehicle sales.
     
    He stated the planning commission approved the special land use and site plan for indoor vehicle sales May 10, 2015. The approval covered the existing 28,000 square foot building plus the 6,000 square foot addition. The addition was constructed in August of last year. Pung stated they needed to get a variance from the zoning board of appeals to have vehicle sales and storage in access of 5,000 square feet and that was approved in March 2015.
     
    Pung stated the owner met with the planning commission May 25, 2016 to discuss violations regarding outdoor display and storage of vehicles. That is a restriction to the use, no outdoor storage of vehicles.  Pung stated one of the solutions was expanding the building. The applicant indicated they had the ability to add at least 12,000 square foot to the building. The owner has now come forward with the major change to the original approved site plan in order to do the 12,000 square foot addition. Pung stated since the addition they are seeking is going further beyond 5,000 square feet, they went to the zoning board of appeals to seek another variance in order to increase the indoor storage capacity. The zoning board approved the variance on July 18, 2016.
     
    Pung stated there are really no issues with the use or expansion of the building, however there are some minor engineering details that has to be worked out.
     
    Chris Hoexum stated after they met with the planning commission in May they were looking at ways to clean up and improve the outside of their site. They looked at several options but the only thing that made sense with the type of vehicles that they sell and how they conduct their business is to expand the building to its full capacity. He stated it is costly but they see future growth in their business but it will also allow them more efficiency in their business. Discussion ensued
     
    VanderHoff stated with the addition he thinks this will alleviate the violation and it won’t be necessary to have cars outdoors. Hoexum stated during normal business hours cars wil be going in and out on test drives but other than that cars will be inside after hours for sure.
     
    Bridson stated this sounds like a good solution.
     
    Fox questioned how many more cars the additional space will accommodate. Hoexum stated they will be able to house about another 85 vehicles if they nicely display them but the can probably put close to 110 cars in packed. Discussion ensued.
     
    Jones stated she is happy they are able to get the extra space.
     
    Benoit stated he hopes all goes well.
     
    Holtrop stated it looks like there are some added outdoor parking spaces. Hoexum stated they have 15 extra parking spots, right now their neighbor Service Pro has been using 10 spots. Hoexum stated they will be done using the parking spots by the end of the month. Hoexum stated on average they have 13 employees and have 6-8 customers on a busy day at their facility. They have never had an issue with parking for customers or employees. Holtrop questioned if the parking spaces are required or requested or can they be deferred. Pung stated if they don’t need them they don’t have to put them in they can defer parking. Hoexum stated they plan to put them in for resale value down the road it will be a lot easier to do it now. Hoexum stated they are going to be repaving the east side of the building as well, Discussion ensued
               
     
  2. New Business
     
    Motion by Kape, supported by Benoit, Set public hearing date of August 23, 2016, for:  Case#12-16 Cloverleaf Site Condominium – Preliminary Site Plan Review for a Site Condominium Project Located at 4392 Woodside Oaks Drive
     
  3. Motion Carried (7-0) –
  4. Pemberton and Young absent -
  5. Other Business
     
  6. Form Based Code
     
    Golder discussed the setback, build to lines and the build to zones and the section on the percent of the building wall that has to cross the front of each lot and parking.
     
    Golder stated Wyoming is going to adopt their ordinance in a month for Division and then they are going to rezone the property in November.
     
    Schweitzer stated Wyoming sent an invitation to the meeting and they will forward it along to the commissioners if they would like to attend.
     
  7. Commissioners’ Comments
     
    Bridson reminded the commissioners of the concerts at City Hall on Thursdays 7pm.
     
    Jones stated she noticed the new traffic signals up at 32nd and Shaffer and 52nd and Eastern and she really likes the new street signs. They are wonderful. They are so big and the font is different, perfect for older adults.
     
    Kape asked about the building on Broadmoor he noticed they have been painting the building and have about 15 cars out. Schweitzer stated it is going to be a car dealership. The new operator has dealt with wholesale vehicle sales and is in the process of securing a retail vehicle sales license.
     
  8. Staff’s Comments
     
    Golder stated the group seeking a slaughter house wants to come back in front of the LUZ committee possibly on August 9. She stated instead of slaughtering at the grocery store they own a parcel of land in between the two Mosque on East Paris and they want to rezone to industrial.
     
    Schweitzer stated the Mayors office is entertaining an initiative to get a request for proposals from consultants to look at the long range development of the city campus.
     
    Adjournment  
     
    Motion by Commissioner VanderHoff,  supported by Fox, Commissioner                             to adjourn the meeting.
  9. Motion Carried (7-0) –
  10. Pemberton and Young absent -
     
    Meeting adjourned at 8:40pm
     
     
                                                                Respectfully submitted,
     
                                                                Ed Kape, Secretary