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APPROVED MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING
OF THE KENTWOOD ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS
CITY COMMISSION CHAMBERS
MARCH 16, 2015, 7:00 P.M.
 (return to index)
 
  1. Chair Lenger called the meeting to order.
     
  2. Roll Call
    MEMBERS PRESENT:  Kemal Hamulic, Anita Hitchcock, Robert Houtman, Richard Lenger, Alan Lipner and Monica Sparks, Thomas Webb
    MEMBERS ABSENT:  Les Derusha,
    OTHERS PRESENT: Planner Joe Pung, Staff Secretary Monique Collier, and the applicants.
     
    Motion by Hamulic, supported by Lipner, to excuse Derusha from the meeting.
     
  3. Motion Carried (7-0) –
  4. Derusha absent –
     
  5. Approval of the Minutes ofFebruary 16, 2015
     
Change Derusha to Lipner Chairing the meeting.
 
Motion by Lipner, supported by Webb, to approve the minutes of February 16, 2015 with change noted.
  • Motion Carried (7-0) –
  • Derusha absent -
  • Public Hearing
 

Appeal #V-15-02

 
Applicant:                               Senna LLC
Location:                                 4455 Roger B. Chaffee Blvd., SE
 
Request:                                  The applicant wishes to construct a 9,375 square foot addition onto an existing industrial building.  The addition would have side yard setbacks of 9.8 feet from the north property line and 15 feet from the south property line and semi-trucks would need to back in off of the street in order to access the new loading docks.  Section 10.03.B of the Kentwood Zoning Ordinance requires a minimum side yard setback of 20 feet and Section 17.09 requires that there shall be provided and maintained on the lot adequate space for standing, loading or unloading services in order to avoid undue interference with street or parking areas.  The requested variances are for reductions of 5 feet and 10.2 feet to the required side yard setbacks and to allow for a site layout which requires semi-trucks to back in off from the street in order to access loading docks.
 
Stan Boscher, owner of Senna LLC 4455 Roger B. Chaffee, was present representing the request. He stated their business has got to the point where they are out of room and need more warehouse space for their bridge and highway construction supply business. He stated they love the property and have invested a lot of money into the existing building. He stated they like the area centrally located for their customers, but it has become difficult to use as they are growing and adding employees, they can’t live with the current 10,000 square feet that they have. He stated they really need to add additional space in the back. Boscher stated he has looked at properties outside from where they are now and in other cities but it is much better to be centrally located. He stated if they could make this work it would be more beneficial to them to have everything under one location. He stated he realizes because of the width of their lot the addition will be challenging. He stated he’s had a few architects look at it and they have come up with the best plan. He stated he is asking for the variances especially on the side lot setbacks, if they could make it fit it would certainly accommodate their needs.
 
Lenger stated it looks like the entire addition will go on the back side or the west side of the building. Boscher stated that is correct. They do a lot of truck business and currently they are backing in, the reason they want the setbacks north and south is an average truck can be 53 feet long. They have a lot of open freight and a lot box freight so they need the loading dock in order to get their freight in. Boscher stated this is the only feasible way they can fit the addition to the current piece of property that they have. The architects have looked at it and they have tried multiple ways but this is the best.
 
Houtman ask if their neighbors back trucks off the street too. Boscher stated yes they both back trucks in. Houtman ask how will the standing room on the property work. Boscher stated the loading dock is 170 feet back from the street, there is plenty of room for the trucks. Boshcer stated parking space is not a problem, there is currently available 140 feet x 50 feet. Boscher stated the loading dock they will move to the end and they can back straight in. Discussion ensued.
 
Webb questioned how many parking spaces he will have. Boscher stated he could stripe 20 parking spots if he needed to. Discussion ensued regarding parking spots.
 
Boscher stated he understands they don’t want trucks sitting out in the road plugging up traffic, they do not have that problem. Boscher stated the only thing you will see is a truck stop and then back up and will be off the road in 30-45 seconds. He stated they are also on a dead end street.
 
Houtman questioned if he spoke to his neighbors. Boscher stated his neighbor across the street is present and he has talked to Bob his neighbor who is the closet to him, they have a verbal agreement if they have a fire lane it will have to come in between their building. Boscher stated he did talk to the Fire Marshal and the Fire Chief and Maday and they said they will meet approval as long as they maintain 20 feet. Houtman asked if he will have to sprinkle. Boshcer stated he spoke to the Fire Marshal and sprinklers are not needed.  Discussion ensued.
 
Houtman asked about the other 2 businesses on Roger B Chaffee that variances were granted. Pung stated there is an extensive history of lot splits, lot combinations etc. The others are existing non-conforming.
 
Lipner ask if the existing building falls into the 9.8 foot from the north property line. Boscher stated that is correct and plans to keep it that way. He stated they can’t move into it because there is a utility easement and it he hopes to follow exactly straight back that would make the best use of the space that they have there.
 
Houtman asked if he plans to add employees. Boscher stated he hopes to.
 
Motion by Lipner, supported by Houtman, to close the public hearing.
 
  • Motion Carried (7-0)
  • Derusha absent.
     
    Lipner stated point 1 is met looking at the other businesses in the area. Lipner stated point 2 is met. Lipner stated point 3 is met.
     
    Houtman, Webb, Sparks, Hamulic, Hitchcock,and Lenger concurred.
     
    Lipner stated point 4 is met the neighbor is present. Lipner stated point 5 is met.  Lipner stated point 6 is met.
     
    Houtman, Webb, Sparks, Hamulic, Hitchcock and Lenger concurred.
     
    Motion by Lipner, supported by Houtman, to approve V-15-02.
    1.      That there are exceptional and extraordinary circumstances or conditions applying to the property that do not apply generally to other properties in the same zoning district. The property is narrow with limited ability to expand and allow truck access. It is a dead end street. Similar situation to other parcels on the street.
    2.      Due to the exceptional and extraordinary circumstances applying to the property, the condition or situation of the specific piece of property for which the variance is sought is not of so general or recurrent a nature as to make reasonable practical the formulation of a general regulation for such conditions or situations.
    3.      That such variance is necessary for the preservation and enjoyment of a substantial property right similar to that possessed by other properties in the same zoning district and in the vicinity. Other properties on the street have received variances for side yard setbacks in order to expand or split parcels.
    4.      The variance will not be detrimental to adjacent property and the surrounding neighborhood. The structure will have setbacks similar to other buildings on the street. It is a dead end street with limited traffic.
    5.      Due to the exceptional and extraordinary circumstances applying to the property, the variance will not impair the intent and purpose of this Ordinance.
    6.      That the immediate practical difficulty causing the need for the variance request was not created by any action of the applicant.
     
  • Motion Carried (7-0) –
  • Derusha absent -
    Appeal #V-15-03
     
    Applicant                                GR Auto Gallery
    Location                                  4722 – 50th Street, SE
     
    Request                                   The applicant wishes to conduct indoor vehicle sales at this location.  The existing building is 28,000 square feet in area and a future 6,000 square foot addition is proposed for a total area of 34,000 square feet.  Section 15.04.HH.4 of the Kentwood Zoning Ordinance limits the vehicle display and/or storage area to 5,000 square feet.  The requested variance is for an increase of 29,000 square feet to the allowable vehicle display and/or storage area.
     
    Chris Hoexum, owner of GR Auto Gallery, was present.  He stated GR Auto Gallery would like an approval to move into a new building located at 4722 50th Street in Kentwood Michigan. GR Auto Gallery has been operating out of their current location of 3851 Model Court since 2009 and only want to move facilities due to a better business opportunity, more efficient facility and future room to grow their operation. He stated they are asking the Zoning Board to approve this addition so that GR Auto Gallery can continue to operate.
     
    Hoexum stated they are not a new business and not looking to change their operation or do anything different than what they have been doing the last 4 years in the City of Kentwood under the same zoning. He stated their goal with the new facility is to be able to house their office staff so they can continue to have their headquarters situated here rather than having to expand into another location or another piece of property to facilitate this expansion.  He stated they have about 90+ vehicles displayed in their showroom. He stated they are not the typical used car dealership, they do not have the big sales, the big foot traffic, the constant, sales and banners and promotions going on to get people in the door. They specialize in an indoor facility where everything is contained within their warehouse. Hours of operation are 9-5 Monday –Friday. The biggest thing that sets them apart from all the other dealers in town is that 90% of their sales are conducted solely via the phone, email or through the internet and about 90% of them go outside the State of Michigan.
     
    Hoexum stated they have a small detail service inside their facility; they do not do any mechanical work or body work; they do not work on any cars in their facility other than making them presentable for their pictures. He stated they sell cars worldwide. Hoexum stated they offer financing options and make it simple and easy for customers. Hoexum stated they do have some customers that do fly in to pick up their car a drive it home. He stated they are not taking an additional industrial building out of the market.
     
    Hoexum layed out what the new facility will look like with their current inventory. He stated they currently have 7 offices in their current facility but the new facility will allow them to triple their employee facility. He stated the proposed building is a great set up. He stated he wants to stress that foot traffic on a good day in the summer may be 5-6 people at the most.
     
    Hoexum stated one thing they also plan to doing with the expansion of the 6,000 square feet is going energy efficient. He stated they have talked to DTE and Consumers to change out all the light bulbs to a T8 or T6 electrical system which will be more efficient for them and keep their cost down but also less energy out of the building and the planet.
     
    Hoexum stated they have connected with most of their soon to be neighbors on 50th Street and told them what they plan on doing and spoke to the managers and none had any issues with what they are trying to do and are very excited to have them come in as a new neighbor in their area.
     
    Hoexum stated they would like to open up the business in either June or July of this year and move into their new facility.  He stated they definitely envision growing their business and their market throughout the United States.
     
    Houtman stated when he was out there the office manager indicated potentially he could add some employees. Hoexum stated not so much for their current operation in Grand Rapids but as they expand stores throughout the U.S.
     
    Webb thanked the applicant for the thorough presentation and stated he looks like he found the right building; the building does not appear to be suited for much else.
     
    Lenger ask the reason behind the 5,000 vehicle display limit. Pung stated we looked at all the variances that were granted when we were going through the amendment of the zoning ordinance. They didn’t want high volumes of foot traffic in an industrial area.
     
    Lenger opened the public hearing.
     
    A letter was submitted in support from Dave Shapiro the building owner. Indicated the difficulty in selling the existing building since its design is not conducive to current industrial needs with respect to ceiling height, size of dock doors and limited ability to add new dock doors and provide adequate semi-truck circulation.
     
    Motion by Hamulic, supported by Lipner, to close the public hearing.
     
  • Motion Carried (7-0) –
  • Derusha absent -
     
Hamulic stated point 1 is met. Hamulic stated point 2 is met. Hamulic stated point 3 has been met they have a unique business.
 
Sparks, Hitchcock, Lipner, Webb, Houtman and Lenger concurred.
 
Hamulic stated point 4 is met. Hamulic stated point 5 has been met. Hamulic stated point 6 has been met
 
Sparks, Hitchcock, Lipner, Webb, Houtman and Lenger concurred.
 
Motion by Hamulic, supported by Houtman, to approve V-15-03
1.      That there are exceptional and extraordinary circumstances or conditions applying to the property that do not apply generally to other properties in the same zoning district. Based on information the building owner potential buyers of the building for typical industrial use find it does not meet their needs for truck access etc.
2.      Due to the exceptional and extraordinary circumstances applying to the property, the condition or situation of the specific piece of property for which the variance is sought is not of so general or recurrent a nature as to make reasonable practical the formulation of a general regulation for such conditions or situations.
3.      That such variance is necessary for the preservation and enjoyment of a substantial property right similar to that possessed by other properties in the same zoning district and in the vicinity.
4.      The variance will not be detrimental to adjacent property and the surrounding neighborhood. The building will not change other than an addition. Use not expected to generate more traffic than other industrial uses.
5.      Due to the exceptional and extraordinary circumstances applying to the property, the variance will not impair the intent and purpose of this Ordinance.
6.      That the immediate practical difficulty causing the need for the variance request was not created by any action of the applicant.
 
  • Motion Carried (7-0) –
  • Derusha absent -
     
    Motion by Lipner, supported by Houtman, to adjourn the meeting.
     
  • Motion Carried ( 7-0) –
  • Derusha absent -
    Meeting adjourned at 8p.m.
                                                                            Respectfully submitted,
                                                                            Alan Lipner, Secretary