Text size: A A A

MARCH 8, 2016, 7:30 P.M.
 (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 Holtrop.
  3. Roll Call:
    Members Present: Bill Benoit, Emily Bridson, Garrett Fox, Dan Holtrop, Sandra Jones, Ed Kape, Mike Pemberton
    Members Absent: Frank Vander Hoff (with notification) and Johngerlyn Young
    Others Present: Community Development Director Terry Schweitzer, Economic Development Planner Lisa Golder, Staff Secretary Monique Collier and the applicants.
    Motion by Kape, supported by Pemberton to excuse VanderHoff and Young from the meeting.
  4. Motion Carried (7-0) –
  5. VanderHoff and Young absent -
  6. Approval of the Minutes and Findings of Fact
    Motion by Commissioner Benoit, supported by Commissioner Pemberton, to approve the Minutes of February 23, 2016 and the Findings of Fact for: Case# 3-16 - Conditional Rezoning of 200-44th Street, SE
  7. Motion Carried (7-0) –
  8. VanderHoff and Young absent -
  9. Approval of the Agenda
    Motion by Commissioner Benoit, supported by Commissioner Kape, to approve the agenda for the March 8, 2016 meeting.
  10. Motion Carried (7-0) –
  11. VanderHoff 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
    There were no public hearings.
  15. Work Session
    Case# 4-16 West Michigan Eye Care-Final Site Plan Review of a PUD Phase located at 2112 East Paris Avenue, SE.
    Golder introduced the request. She stated the project involves the construction of a 9,644 square foot eye care clinic and an additional 2,350 square foot tenant space on a 1 acre site within the Heritage Point South development. She stated the one acre proposed for the West Michigan Eye Care Clinic is part of a 9.8 acre site that was rezoned to Office PUD in 2013. Golder stated since the rezoning of the property in 2013, a final site plan was approved for a chiropractic clinic as well as a 41,000 square foot medical office building. The proposed eye care clinic would be the final building development on the site.
    Golder stated the original parcel of land planned for the northern out lot for the overall 9.8 acre development was 260 feet wide along East Paris.  She stated the parcel of land shown on the site plan is only 245 feet wide.  The parking lots and buildings are all the same width as was previously approved.  However, the preliminary plan allowed for a greater separation between the parking area and the building.  On the south side of the building, the previously approved plan indicated a 15 foot separation between the building and the parking spaces; the current plan only has 8.7 feet.  On the north side of the building, the 15 foot separation between parking lot and building has been reduced from 15 feet to 11.2’.  Golder stated with the reduction in setback, there is no longer space for both sidewalk and landscaping especially between the south side of the building and the parking lot.  She stated patients parking in this parking lot, including those parking in the handicap spaces would, have to use the drive aisle to access the entry to the building if there was only landscaping along the building.  If the separation between sidewalk and parking lot were 15’, there would be room for 7’ of sidewalk and 8’ of landscaping.
    Golder stated the access from the sidewalk along East Paris to get to the entrance to the building with the chiropractic building the sidewalk was moved. There was a sidewalk that went from the right-of-way right up to the building. Golder stated staff would like the sidewalk to go up to the door, right now it is shown as landscaping.
    Golder stated another issue is employee parking on the north side of the building. The parking will not be marked as employee parking. If you happen to park in that lot and the employee are not there to let you in, you would have to walk around to come in and there is no sidewalk on that side. The sidewalk for the private drive is on the east side of the driveway.
    Golder stated another issue is setback. The proposed building is set back about 15 feet from the edge of the private driveway that runs east of the building. Golder stated there is about 25 feet from the building and the actual lot line. Golder stated the OPUD does allow that setbacks and spacing between buildings can be varied to meet the objectives and standards of the PUD section. Golder stated the commissioners have a couple options with the setback; they can say there are ok with the 15 feet setback from the edge of the private drive or they can say they are not ok with that and since the ordinance does allow relief/deviations the applicant can go to the City commission for approval. She stated if the commissioners say no the setback should be 25-30 feet consistent with the C2 and C4 zone.
    Benoit questioned the employee parking and why not mark it as employee parking. Golder stated they want their employees to park there but they are not restricting the area.
    Pemberton stated his concern is we are trying to pack in a building that is too big for this lot.
    Craig Baker stated West Michigan Eye Care anticipates they will grow into that space. He stated it is their goal to have extra space to allow future growth for their business. He stated where they are currently they have outgrown their space. He stated on the south side they will incorporate some landscaping. The internal plan has a break room in back.  They have a small patio and staff will have a place to sit outside. If they shift the building over and pull that to the other side it will create a challenge for them.
    Golder stated there was also an issue with the drop off area. The City Engineer notes that the pick-up drop off lane for the building does not align with the driveway across the street, creating a left turn lock-ups and other traffic complications.  She stated the suggestion is for revising the layout or having the driveway serve as a one way ingress only driveway. Craig Baker stated that is their intention to have the one way ingress driveway.
    Benoit stated if that is one way coming in and someone pulls in from the south where the door is they will have to go in reverse. Rob Berends stated it will be signed and striped as a one way in. Benoit questioned the employee parking. Is there enough parking for what is considered the customers parking area for the size of the building? It appears there may be more parking spaces or close to the same on the back side where the employees parking lot would be. Baker stated there are roughly 54 parking spaces and based on the exam rooms that works pretty well. Benoit questioned if there was a reason they don’t want to put a sign up that says employee parking. Baker stated he can do that if that helps. Benoit stated it seems to make more sense to him if someone comes and sees there is no admittance they will have to get back in their cars and drive around because there is no sidewalk to get in the entrance.
    Fox stated if they do get people parking in the rear his thought was to require a connection to the public sidewalk on the west side of the building so they would walk the long way around the building. Baker stated if they did there is a drain and some landscaping that has to occur. Baker stated if putting an employee only sign up helps West Michigan Eye Care they can do it He also suggested placing a camera to view the back door. Fox stated he doesn’t have an issue with 15 feet as a setback on the east.
    Jones questioned the engineer memo on the barrier free parking. Golder stated that has been resolved. Berends stated they were able to change the grading plans.
    Bridson stated if she were a patient and the parking is in back she would not want to be walking along East Paris. She thinks there are some things that don’t make sense. Golder stated the applicant has agreed to put the employee only parking sign in and to keep in mind there is additional parking on the site. Discussion ensued. Bridson stated for the private drive setback on the east, 15 feet is insufficient. She thinks it is a lot of building for the space, she thinks it’s too much. She said they are cutting it close on a lot of different things and it just doesn’t add up.
    Kape pointed out that the engineering report notation the dumpster is positioned is awkwardly. Golder said the Engineer said that because of the way the parking is and with the angle. Kape asked if there was concern that the building elevations incorporated too much siding. Golder stated she initially thought it was all siding, but since the building is all proposed to be all brick then it is fine.  Kape questioned if there is going to be 2,350 square feet of tenant space the eye care clinic will rent it out. Baker stated this is space they will eventually grow in to.
    Pemberton stated the whole site feels a little tight. He stated it looks like it will work right now the way it’s laid out, but once they grown into it they will max out parking and maybe beyond. Discussion ensued regarding parking. Pemberton’s concern is putting in a larger building than was originally planned. He stated there will be a bigger capacity of people going in and out of it not only employees but visiting patients. He thinks we are going max everything out. Golder stated we did approve the secondary parking lot to the south of the large building to the east. Pemberton stated he doesn’t have a problem it’s a good looking building, great use, but it just feels cramped.
    Jones stated looking at the parking lot and the issues it doesn’t line up and it looks tight and this will be a facility that is going to serve older adults and adults with disabilities. She questioned how Go Bus or small passenger buses are going to maneuver on the site, it looks really tight. Golder stated she thinks that will be something we need to look in to, she doesn’t know. Berends stated for 15 passenger vans and Go Bus there shouldn’t be any issues making that turn. There is only one parking space and it is all striped out to come in, drop off and go right out. Golder asked the applicant to put a template on that to verify.
    Holtrop stated we approved two 10,000 square foot buildings within this PUD and someone purchased a lot knowing that it was approved for a 10,000 square foot building and now they want to build a 12,000 square foot building. The 10,000 sf design would get rid of some of the issues that have come up. Holtrop questioned if West Michigan Eye Care would accept a 10,000 square foot building that was approved for the lot that they already bought. Baker stated it will create hardship on their part. Holtrop stated but that was already approved before they purchased the lot and for someone to come in to buy it and say they want it changed knowing it was 10,000 square feet he is concerned. Schweitzer stated there is provision in the ordinance for an approved site plan up to 20% increase in the building size. It is an administrative review, but the administrative review will still look at the same issues that have been discussed. Baker stated one of the challenges, as things have been designed, is the exam bays and if the commissioners say you have to stay at 10,000 square feet it will eliminate some tenant space. Discussion ensued. Baker stated the idea is for them to grow into the space, if they can’t go beyond 10,000 square feet then maybe they will have to sell the lot back to them or someone else. He understands the concerns. Holtrop stated they have a 5 year growth plan but they are entering in a spot that they would outgrow and wants us to change our rules for them and he doesn’t know.
    Holtop re-stated the concerns that were raised on the proposed building. They would move the sidewalk connection East Paris to the parking lot, they would move it flush to the building so it will go straight on the south side of the building. He stated the east side of the building the 15 foot is acceptable as long as nobody would have to traverse that side of the building so that will entail the northern parking lot would have an employee’s only sign. He stated they will also be verifying the turning radius for the Go Bus.
    Holtrop questioned if they would expect more than 26 customers at a time. Baker stated they don’t base their parking needs on the number of exam rooms, but if they have an extra person come into the optical lab the eye clinic said they will be ok. Discussion ensued regarding parking.
    Holtrop asked if the commission have any concerns with the 20% increase of the building size.  Benoit stated it makes it feel cramped but we want them to do business. But it’s cramped and it is causing most of the concerns that they have. Benoit stated to have more employees as you do customer parking is unusual. Bridson stated she thinks it’s too much, she thinks she would vote against the request. She recognizes there has been a lot of work and time put into this but longevity wise this will be here forever.
    Holtrop stated dropping the excess building space would make the site feel a little bigger with some open space but it probably wouldn’t add any parking or it might add a sidewalk. Baker stated it would add greenspace. Baker stated if the commission says they are uncomfortable with this can we make that lease space smaller, maintain the 25 feet they would still have a building larger with expansion. And the lease space would become 9 foot smaller would that make the commission more comfortable. Golder stated that is consistent with what was approved before.
    Benoit stated there is probably a good 3-4 foot over hang so at 15 feet the edge of the roof will be really close.
    Holtrop stated it would be 9 more feet of greenspace open area on the east side of the building and it shrinks the building to 9x70, 700 square foot smaller will get us closer to the 10,000 square feet.
    Pemberton stated the critical floor space north to south 102 square feet, we’ve got 122 feet across the north line; what if you flipped the building and you can still get your 102sf would go across the north end. Golder stated you wouldn’t have enough parking. Pemberton stated he is just looking for a way to get them where they need to be, but it just seems where the crowding happens is across the north line and the south line, if we can squeeze the building and still keep the dimensions where they need to be and flip it then they can get a little room on both sides. He stated if we can see anywhere between 10-11,000 square feet we might be able to make something happen, but 12,000 is a stretch. Baker stated if they remove too much West Michigan Eye Care will probably have to look elsewhere
    Fox stated we approved a 10,000 square foot building but what is written allows for a 20% increase. Schweitzer stated it gives the ability for administrative review of up to 20% in excess and we would have to go through the same thought process on the administrative level to see whether or not it would fit therefore, staff would be looking at the same issues. The only other issues we are making accommodations for the sidewalk along the south side of the building out to the sidewalk along East Paris and the bus stop. To the extent that over time we see people using the bus as an alternative to the parking that might have a minimal impact on their parking needs at a given time. Discussion ensued regarding people using transit.
    Holtrop stated they are willing to make slight adjustments. Although there is some hesitation it is reasonable on what was approved before. Go bus access has to be answered. Jones stated she is still bothered by the new 10,000 square foot building and she is not supportive. They knew what they were getting before they purchased and she has a problem.
    Bridson stated her concern is north to south and she is on the fence.  Kape stated he concurs he is on the fence too.
    Pemberton stated he thinks there is room for compromise if we can make some adjustments and come back with maybe something in the 11,000 square foot range we could make it happen and he thinks compromise could happen. He stated he knows Dr. Ford and his clientele doesn’t ride buses but that doesn’t mean that down the road that it won’t change. His current location it is hard to get to without a car.
    Baker stated he appreciates the commissioners working with them. He stated he understands.
  16. New Business
    Motion by Benoit, supported by Pemberton, to set a public hearing date of April 12, 2016, for: Case# 5-16 Structures and Improvements Plan 2016-2022
  17. Motion Carried (7-0) –
  18. Young and VanderHoff absent -
  19. Other Business
  20. Commissioners’ Comments
    Commissioners offered no additional comments.
  21. Staff’s Comments
    Schweitzer stated the SIP sub committee met earlier in the evening and we are ready for a work session during the next meeting.
  22. Adjournment
    Motion by Commissioner Benoit, supported by Commissioner Kape, to adjourn the meeting.
  23. Motion Carried (7-0) –
  24. VanderHoff and Young absent -
    Meeting adjourned at 8:25p.m.
                                                                Respectfully submitted,
                                                            Ed Kape, Secretary