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APPROVED MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING
OF THE KENTWOOD PLANNING COMMISSION
NOVEMBER 22, 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 Pemberton.
     
  3. Roll Call:
    Members Present: Bill Benoit, Emily Bridson, , Dan Holtrop, Sandra Jones, Ed Kape, Mike Pemberton, Frank Vander Hoff, 
    Members Absent: Garrett Fox and Johngerlyn Young
    Others Present: Community Development Director Terry Schweitzer, Economic Development Planner Lisa Golder, Staff Secretary Monique Collier, the press and 3 students
     
    Motion by VaderHoff, supported by Pemberton, to excuse Fox and Jones from the meeting.
  4. Motion Carried (7-0) –
  5. Fox and Jones absent -
     
  6. Approval of the Minutes and Findings of Fact
     
    Motion by Commissioner Benoit, supported by Commissioner Pemberton, to approve the Minutes of November 7, 2016 and the Findings of Fact for: Case#16-16 – City of Kentwood 44th Street Rezoning – Rezoning of .25 acres of land from C-4 Office to R1-D Single Family Residential Located on the south side of 44th Street between Madison and Julivan
  7. Motion Carried (7-0) –
  8. Fox and Jones absent -
  9. Approval of the Agenda
     
    Motion by Commissioner Kape, supported by Commissioner Jones, to approve the agenda for the November 22, 2016 meeting.
     
  10. Motion Carried (7-0) –
  11. Fox and Jonea
     
  12. Acknowledge visitors wishing to speak to non-agenda items.
     
    There was no public comment.
     
  13. Old Business
     
     
  14. Public Hearing
     
     
    Case#19-16Zoning Ordinance Text Amendments
     
     
    Increase the number of days allowed for commercial portable signs; limit the duration of individual commercial sign permits in commercial multi-tenant buildings; require permit sticker to be affixed to commercial portable signs
     
    Schweitzer introduced the request. He explained that the proposed zoning ordinance amendments addressed a variety of subjects. The first three involve sign regulations that wee developed subsequent to a survey of businesses and city boards in December of 2015. He stated the first sign survey question regarded the City’s overall approach to the regulation of permanent signs to determine if they were too restrictive, too permissive, or appropriate. Fifty-five percent (55%) of respondents felt that the current regulations were appropriate while forty-five percent (45%) felt they were too restrictive.
     
    The survey allowed respondents to provide comments on the question and the most common theme was that the limitation on the number of wall signs and freestanding sign was too restrictive.  Based on the responses, staff is not recommending any changes to the number of permanent sign regulations at this time.  However, staff thinks there may be some merit to modify the formula used to compute the allowable size of the freestanding signs in the commercial zone districts while maintaining the current maximum allowable size at 100 square feet.  The modified formula would allow for slightly larger signs while maintaining the same maximum allowance.
     
     
    Schweitzer stated the second sign survey question regarded the City’s temporary sign allowance, more specifically the amount of time which is allowed for the display of such signs.  The City currently allows up to 30 days of temporary sign display per calendar year per property.  It has been expressed in comments received over the years that 30 days of display is not sufficient and that the ability for a single tenant in a multi-tenant building to use the entire 30 days is an issue of concern. Forty-two percent (42%) of respondents felt that the current temporary sign regulations should be maintained.  Fifty-two percent (52%) of the respondents (includes 15 that selected other) indicated they were in favor of increasing the number of days for portable sign display. Thirty-four comments were received with the most common theme being to allow for more temporary sign display by allowing each tenant to have from thirty (30) to fifty (50) days of temporary sign display. 
     
    Based on the responses, staff feels it would be appropriate to consider an increase in the overall numbers of days for temporary sign display on a given property from 30 to 50 days and to limit the duration of a given permit to no more than 10 days at a time.  Staff would also like to amend the temporary sign provisions to require that a copy of the permit is posted on the sign.  This provision is intended to expedite the ordinance enforcement process by making it clearer in the field whether a permit was secured and the term of the permit.
     
    Schweitzer stated in an attempt to make it equitable to a single tenant building their individual temporary sign permits will not be limited to a ten day maximum
     
    Schweitzer stated The third sign survey question regarded the City’s allowance for electronic display and how often the message is permitted to change.  The regulations currently restrict the electronic sign display to a static message which cannot change more than once every five (5) minutes. Forty-five percent (45%) of respondents were in favor of maintaining the current regulations while forty-four percent (44%) were in favor of decreasing the interval of change to either one (1) or three (3) minutes.  Twenty-one (21) comments were received, of those eleven (11) were in favor of intervals of less than one (1) minute. Based on the survey responses and research on how other communities address electronic messages, staff feels that decreasing the interval between messages to one (1) minute is reasonable.
     
    Residential Parking Restrictions
     
    Schweitzer stated in a residential area, the open off street parking of one commercial vehicle which is operated by the occupant of the lot.
    He stated during a recent informal hearing before the 62B District Court Magistrate it was made evident that the city needs to update the size/weight standards of what is considered allowable commercial vehicle parking in residential zone districts.  The scope of the parking and loading provisions of the Zoning Ordinance relate to all zoning districts for the off-street parking facilities for the storage and parking of self-propelled motor vehicles for the use of occupants, employees and patrons of the buildings.  However, certain restrictions were specified to establish and maintain suitable, sound and stable residential environments.  Aside from specifically restricting heavy equipment, semi-tractors and/or trailers in residential areas, the current way to generally classify the type of commercial vehicles restricted in a residential area or district is based on the rated capacity of the vehicle.  After researching how other communities address this issue we feel that outside parking and storing of commercial vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds, would be the most effective way to restrict the types of commercial vehicles allowed in residential areas or districts.  Examples of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less would include: Dodge Ram 1500 and 2500, Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and 2500, Ford F-150 and F-250, Ford Excursion and Chevrolet Suburban 2500.  Examples of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or more would include: Dodge Ram 3500, Ford E-350 and F-350, GMC Sierra 3500 and Hummer H1.
    Previously the Zoning Ordinance contained a specific accessory use allowance for the open storage/ parking of no more than one commercial vehicle in a residential area on the conditions that it was a vehicle operated by the occupant of the lot and that the vehicle was limited to no more than a one ton capacity.  The reason for this provision was to make allowance for those residents who were afforded a “company” vehicle.  We feel a modified provision should be re-introduced.
     
     
    Modify front yard requirements to take into account an existing setback line
     
    Up until 2002 the Kentwood Zoning Ordinance contained a provision that allowed the consideration of existing setback lines in the determination of the required building front yard setback.  In the aftermath of the tornado of 2014 a number of homeowners had to undertake substantial reconstruction of homes built during a time where the minimum front yard setback was much less than required under the current zoning requirements.  While zoning board variances were secured, the need for this review process and the associated time delay would not have been necessary had the former provision been retained.
     
    Modify the pool fencing requirements
     
The State Building Code contains a new reference to the 2015 International Swimming Pool and Spa Code (ISPSC) that allows for motorized pool covers meeting certain design criteria to forego the need to fence the back yard area where the pool may be located. The City of Kentwood needs to amend the Swimming Pools and Other Similar Structures Zoning Ordinance provisions to maintain compliance with the State Building Code.
Sale of vehicles on private property provisions
 
Section 66-63 of the Municode was recently amended to more effectively address the issue of the display of motor vehicles for sale on private property.  To avoid conflict and maintain consistency with the regulatory provisions of the Municode we recommend amending the Repair and/or Sale of Motor Vehicles Zoning Ordinance provisions.
 
Modify professional qualification requirements for the preparation of landscape plans
 
Section 19.02 of the Zoning Ordinance addresses landscape plan specifications.  The introduction of this section specifies that the landscape plan shall be prepared by a registered landscape designer.  The State of Michigan does not have a registration for landscape designers, instead they do have a licensure for landscape architects.  We therefore recommend amending the Zoning Ordinance to be consistent with the State of Michigan professional qualification requirements.
 
Modify setback measurement for drive-in or drive-through facilities
 
The Special Land Use site design standards for Restaurants and Other Establishments with Drive-in or Drive-Through Facilities including retail and financial institutions currently specify a minimum 50 foot setback for all principal and accessory buildings from the adjacent public right-of-way or property line.  Since the major reasons for the setback is minimize disturbance to adjacent properties and to assure for minimum stacking for vehicles exiting the site staff recommends referencing the setback to the “point of drive-through transaction” instead of the “principal and accessory buildings”.
 
Allow for deviations or alterations of development requirements to be considered and granted by the City Commission for Regional Shopping Centers within the C-3 Regional Commercial zone district
 
Schweitzer stated the area in and around Woodland Mall is zoned C-3 Regional Commercial.  The intent and purpose of this zoning is to provide commercial goods and services of a regional nature, serving areas both within and outside the City.  There are some very distinctive characteristics associated with the Woodland Mall area that continue to warrant this exclusive zoning designation.  Of particular note are the large enclosed mall, the expansive common parking areas, a well-defined internal traffic circulation system and consolidated points of access onto the adjacent State trunklines, M-11 (28th Street) and M-37 (East Beltline).  As the Mall continues to redevelop it would be desirable to either reconsider specific development requirements or establish a mechanism to afford the Planning and City Commission more flexibility in the application of the codes.
Staff recommends the creation of a mechanism, similar to that within our Planned Unit Development zones, to enable the City Commission to consider the waiver or alteration of specific development requirements for Woodland Mall.  To accomplish this action, we suggest broadening the scope of the definition of a Regional Shopping Center to distinguish the enclosed Woodland Mall and its associated parking and internal circulation from the balance of the freestanding buildings and outlots.  In addition, review standards will be specified to evaluate requests for waiver or alteration of development requirements.
 
Holtrop opened the public hearing.
 
There was no public comment.
 
Motion by VanderHoff, supported by Kape, to close the public hearing.
 
  • Motion Carried (7-0) –
  • Fox and Young absent -
     
    Pemberton questioned the 50 foot setback requirement for drive-in or drive through facility are we putting people in a spot where they are nonconforming and if they want to remodel they have to do something big. Schweitzer stated right now it is measured from the side property line to the building wall. It will allow in the future for the buildings to be closer to the road.
     
     
    Motion by Kape, supported by to Recommend to the City Commission amendment of the Zoning Ordinance to: modify the base formula for the allowable size of commercial freestanding signs; increase the number of days allowed for commercial portable signs; limit the duration of individual commercial sign permits in commercial multi-tenant buildings; require permit sticker to be affixed to commercial portable signs; modify the minimum interval between messages on dynamic display signs; modify commercial vehicle parking allowances in a residential area; modify front yard requirements to take into account an existing setback line; restate the minimum side yard in industrial zones; modify the pool fencing requirements; modify sale of vehicles on private property provisions; modify professional qualification requirements for the preparation of landscape plans; modify setback measurement for drive-in or drive-through facilities; and allow for deviations or alterations of development requirements to be considered and granted by the City Commission for Regional Shopping Centers within the C-3 Regional Commercial zone district.
  • Motion Carried (7-0) –
  • Fox and Jones absent -
     
  • Work Session
     
    Case#1-17- Non Motorized Plan
     
    Schweitzer gave an overview of the non-motorized facilities planning process. He stated staff will attempt to set up a joint meeting with the Parks and Recreation Commission
     
  • New Business
     
    Motion by Holtrop, supported by Kape, to set a Public Hearing Date of January 10, 2017 for:
    Case# 2-17 – 4571 Patterson Vehicle Sales – Special Land Use and Site Plan Review for Indoor Vehicle Sales in an Industrial Zone located at 4571 Patterson Ave SE
    Case#3-17 – Mosley School of Cosmetology – Special Land Use and Site Plan Review for a Commercial School – Located at 4450 Breton Ave SE
    Case#4-17 – Zoning Ordinance Amendments – Regarding Wireless Communications
    Case#5-17 – City of Kentwood Rezone – Rezoning properties located at 4412 Madison, 4420 Madison, 4412 Madison, 4413 Julivan and 4417 Julivan from C4- Office to R1-D Single Family Residential
     
  • Motion Carried (7-0) –
  • Fox and Young absent -
     
  • Other Business
     
  • Commissioners’ Comments
     
    Holtrop stated there was a LUZ meeting regarding 36th Street between Patterson and East Paris. They would like to put an indoor outdoor tennis complex the property is Master planned for community oriented develop but Currently zoned residential. He stated  tennis courts are a special land use in the residential zone. Since the applicant was not present staff was requested to pass along several questions to clarify the request.
     
  • Staff’s Comments
     
    Schweitzer asked commissioners if they would like for staff to adjust the 2017 schedule so they can participate in National Night Out. The regular meeting would be August 8, 2017 but we could change it to Monday, August 7, 2017.
     
    Schweitzer stated a letter came in from the Islamic Mosque at 3357 East Paris indicating that they would not be in favor of rezoning any of the frontage property on East Paris between 32nd and 36th Street to Industrial. The letter related to recent discussion at the LUZ Committee to consider a zoning ordinance amendment to make a allowance for slaughter houses/animal processing.  If such an allowance were to be pursued it would likely occur only in an industrial zone district.  The commission acknowledged the letter and noted that the Master Plan for this particular section of East Paris frontage was not envisioned for industrial use.
     
  • Adjournment
     
    Motion by Commissioner VanderHoff, supported by Commissioner Kape,                          to adjourn the meeting.
  • Motion Carried (7-0) –
  • Fox and Young absent -
     
    Meeting adjourned at 8:40pm
     
     
                                                                Respectfully submitted,
     
                                                                Ed Kape, Secretary