Reference Desk


Planning Commission Minutes - February 23, 2010



FEBRUARY 23, 2010

A Regular meeting of the Charter Township of Chesterfield Planning Commission was held on Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. at the Township Hall Located at 47275 Sugarbush, Chesterfield, MI 48047.


Chairman Priest called the meeting to order at 7:02 p.m.


Present: Jim Priest Excused:

Robert Kohler

Paula Frame

Joe Stabile

George Deeby

Ray Saelens

Paul Miller

Carl Leonard

Michele Ficht

Others: Patrick Meagher, Township Planner


Motion by Mr. Priest, supported by Mr. Saelens to approve the agenda as presented.

All Ayes Motion Carried

4. SUBCOMMITTEE REPORT: (Committee will report items under Reviews)



A. BLACK, BLACK & BLACK LAW OFFICES PROPOSED NEW WALL SIGN – SGN #2010-07: David Black, 34021 23 Mile Road, Chesterfield, MI 48047. Proposed new wall sign located at the above address.

Ms. Frame stated that at this time the applicant still does not have an approved site plan.

Motion by Ms. Frame, supported by Ms. Ficht to table SGN #2010-07 for up to 6 meetings, with the deadline being May 25, 2010.

All Ayes Motion Carried

B. C.S.I. FINANCIAL SERVICES, INC. PROPOSED NEW GROUND SIGN – SGN #2010-08: Carla C. Stone 34845 23 Mile Road, Chesterfield, MI 48047. Proposed new ground sign located at the above address.

Motion by Ms. Frame, supported by Mr. Stabile to approve SGN #2010-08 with a variance to permit this sign in the existing office zoning district with a variance of 5 feet for the setback.

Mr. Priest commented that another reason for the variance is that they are using the same foundation as the existing old sign.

All Ayes Motion Carried


Motion by Mr. Priest, supported by Ms. Ficht to approve the minutes from the February 9, 2010 meeting as sent.

All Ayes Motion Carried





A. Ralph Daley Administrative Request for a Laundromat located at 31637 & 31643 23 Mile Road in the Maplewood Plaza – Tabled 2-9-2010.

Mr. Meagher stated that at the last meeting the commission asked the applicant to provide a site plan with details of the parking; also with some of the building plans showing how many machines are in there; as well as providing some parking calculations as to what will be required on the site. At this point in time, based on the plan, the applicants did not provide information regarding the other users of the building, but they did give us the overall square footage of the building. Mr. Meagher stated that based on his calculations they are 2 parking spaces short in terms of having the 20 machines within the store. This can be remedied if they in fact get rid of 4 machines.

Ms. Frame indicated that on page one of their site plan they are indicating 30 machines; on page 3 she counts either 27 or 36, she is not sure; and then on page 5 she definitely counts 36 machines. She stated that she did take a drive by there last week to see what was going on. On Tuesday she saw some men working; she knows they were not really supposed to; she saw some installation of machines going on. The next day when she drove past they had the windows all blocked out. She asked why they would do such a thing.

Roger Hyde stated that the building plans that accompany the site plan detail sheet that was submitted under the letter of February 11th are the actual building plans as prepared by Mr. Paul Clemente, who is a professional engineer. Mr. Hyde stated that he thinks that Ms. Frame is counting more than just the washing machines. There are 20 washing machines that are going to be installed according to these plans. It is the washing machines that are detailed in some particular fashion on the schedules, which appear on the last page. In terms of the other details, yes there are other machines, but they are dryers or extractors, which are a fancy form of dryers. It is the washing machines that they used to calculate, 20 machines, and then under the ordinance the requirement is for every 2 machines, one parking space.

Ms. Frame commented that we are going to review it, but she is pretty sure that the ordinance requires per machine not per washing machine.

Mr. Hyde responded that he has discussed this with their engineer and a couple of others from the community, because he does this work outside of Chesterfield, and the consensus is that they are talking about washing machines because when someone goes to the Laundromat, they first put their clothes in the washing machine and then they take their load and put it in a dryer.

Ms. Frame interjected that in the meantime someone else comes in and puts their clothes in the washing machine.

Mr. Hyde stated that a machine, from an engineering point of view, is anything that helps you do work. It would be helpful if the ordinance said more with regard to what kind of machines. Mr. Meagher has done a calculation himself saying that basically on what they have submitted, and looking at all of the other uses on the site, that they are 2 spaces short, and so if they got down from 20 washing machines to 16, he suspects that is what is leading into the calculation.

Mr. Meagher clarified that he took the 20 machines based on the information they supplied in their letter. He did not count them off of their site plan.

Mr. Hyde commented that these are the first 2 units on the far eastern end, which is shown on the large drawing on page one. This development has the capacity for 6 other units. The far units to the west are now a hair salon where they have combined; they have eliminated the demising wall. There is another facility that is a retail paint shop; they have also removed the demising wall, so they have a large retail. The overall site is very well laid out. Parking spaces are all mapped out, which removes any congestion from 23 Mile Road because the cars can plainly come in. They are removing the hazard of any pedestrians because there is a plainly marked walkway around the front and side of the building. In terms of storm water runoff and retention, that is plainly satisfied by a site that has been in existence for a number of years without any problem. The striping makes all of the parking spots plainly visible to the patrons that are going to come to the establishment. Mr. Hyde stated that Mr. Daley has a lot of experience. Personally Mr. Hyde has seen what Mr. Daley has done with 2 stores in Clinton Township. If the commission members were to go by the facility at Cass and Groesbeck they would be surprised. It is a Laundromat that pulls you in and makes you want to think this is a comfortable and safe environment because it is well lit. The layout inside is kind of intriguing. It is nicely decorated. The facility at Harper and 15 Mile Road is the first one that Mr. Daley developed in recent years. The same feeling comes to you at this facility; even on a dark night. There is always someone attending the facility. Customers can come in and feel safe. Mr. Daley has also developed one in Westland on Wayne Road. This is a newer building, but immediately you recognize it; it is almost like a brand. What he is going to bring into this community, into this shopping center, is really going to augment it nicely. You have a hair salon, which on the weekends is going to be busy with people, but the couple offices close on the weekend. The paint store stays open on Saturdays, but on Sundays it is closed. There is ample parking for the patrons he would have. He wants this to do well. He wants the customers to want to come in, but he does not want them to have to come in and wait either. He wants them to feel comfortable coming in, comfortable using the machines, knowing that it is well laid out and well supplied. The site, because of the way it is laid out, in terms of the calculations of the machines is compatible with the existing water supply. The site has an existing 2 inch water line coming into the building. The 2 inch pipe comes in to a common area where each individual unit has their own meter. Mr. Daley will be using 2 existing meters, that by their calculations, will fully satisfy the water requirements for his establishment without taking any significant water from the others. When the 2 inches is reduced down to the one inch meter, and then fills a 1 ¼ inch pipe, is more than adequate by Mr. Clemente’s calculations. The sewer is also adequate. There is a 6 inch line that connects up the whole building to the existing sewer; so they are not talking about tapping in to the sewer line and expanding its use. This building was designed many years ago for multiple types of uses. A Laundromat is specifically permitted in C-3. It is specified in the ordinance that it is permitted without a special use approval. There will be no structural changes in the building. They are taking down a demised wall. Mr. Daley has a permit to start the demolition work. There is underground concrete that has to be taken up so that the proper plumbing can be put in. This building is going to accommodate this use very comfortably. He would like to know more about the calculations of the other uses that led Mr. Meagher to believe that they had to reduce the number of machines. The previous uses were a pizzeria and a mortgage company. If you look to the ordinance and do the calculations for those respective spots, they were using 16 spaces. This is a less intensive use in terms of parking than what was previously there. Mr. Daley is going to bring a fabulous site to this community. It is something that everyone will be pleased to see fit in. There is a need. There is no one that wants to succeed more than Mr. Daley.

Ms. Ficht asked if they have a permit to build out already.

Mr. Hyde responded no.

Ms. Ficht asked besides doing the demolition, have they done any installation there.

Ralph Daley responded that they are storing some machines there. With the length of time that this has taken he has had to move machines from the storage unit that they were in, and they are stored on site. He told the Building Department and they said as long as they were not hooked up, they were okay with that as long as they were just stored there at this particular time.

Ms. Ficht commented that they blocked the windows with paper.

Mr. Daley responded no there are some construction materials that are up against the windows, but that is about it. Also there is some plywood.

Ms. Ficht commented that she has driven by there and there is some paper on the windows.

Ms. Frame agreed and commented that it just happened to be the day after she was there looking in the windows and seeing machines being installed.

Ms. Ficht asked if we could just walk in there freely and see that there has been nothing installed yet.

Mr. Daley responded that there is equipment there, but nothing is hooked up.

Ms. Frame commented that it sure seems like they are hiding something.

Mr. Daley responded not really. They are not hiding anything. It has been about 6 weeks since he applied for his building permit. There is a wheel that gets in motion and there are different things that have to be coordinated and addressed as this project proceeds. He signed a lease back in December and he is paying rent.

Ms. Frame commented that as Mr. Daley and his lawyer have stated, he is not new to this. He should have been aware of the time that could be consumed from the time he submitted a site plan to the time that it is approved. He should know the timeframe because he is an experienced Laundromat builder. Just because this is taking an extensive amount of time does not mean that they can go ahead and do what they want when they want because they need to. There are still rules that need to be followed and permits that need to be pulled. She is especially offended because on the 10th of February she drove by and looked in the windows, and the next day everything was papered out. The windows were blocked so that no one could see inside any more. That leads her to believe that there is some type of shenanigans going on.

Mr. Daley responded that he does not know what kind of shenanigans could be going on.

Ms. Frame commented that she thinks they are putting in stuff before they got the approval.

Mr. Daley responded that he does have a demolition permit.

Ms. Frame commented that she saw men in there installing machines.

Mr. Daley responded that they brought machines into the building. There are machines sitting there right now. He had to move them from the spot they were in. He really did not think that they would have an issue with the approval since it is allowed by the ordinance. He knew the commission had some questions and concerns, and they were assured that they could clear those up. He thought they would be able to proceed at this meeting. He really thought that everything could be reconciled at the last meeting. He is not trying to jump ahead of anything.

Ms. Frame commented that she thinks they are trying to do that.

Mr. Daley apologized for that.

Mr. Deeby asked Mr. Daley to describe the other businesses beginning with his and going west in the site.

Mr. Daley responded that there is a AAA office nearest to the west of these 2 suites, then there is a paint store that consumes 2 suites, there is a financial center in a suite next to that, the last 2 are a hair salon.

Mr. Deeby commented that he thinks at the last meeting we requested that information be described on the site plan so that the parking could be determined. According to our planner that information was not provided. He asked the applicant why.

Mr. Hyde responded that the ordinance requires that the applicant for a use provide a site plan for the use that is intended. He is not the landlord. He is coming in as a tenant. The way the ordinances reads is that when they make their initial application for a building permit to do anything for the interior of that space, if they are going to make certain kinds of changes, such as structural alterations, or substantial change in use, the ordinance delegates it to the building official and the zoning administrator and its engineer to consider whether it needs to come for plan review. If it is insignificant, under the ordinance they don’t have to make a referral to the Planning Commission. That process is what Mr. Daley was not aware of as going to happen. He thought he could do it all right at the counter working with his building permit application. When the request was made for the parking information, Mr. Hyde stated that he looked into the details of the ordinance, which said that the site plan should provide that detail with regard to how many parking spaces are required for the applicant’s use. Mr. Daley is still not the landlord. He has no control of if the hair salon or paint store comes or goes, but for his use he should display for the commission how many spots his use requires. They provided that calculation based on the number of washing machines. They happen to know the prior use because they are taking out stuff from the pizzeria and the mortgage office, so they provided that information to show that it is less intensive. Mr. Hyde stated that he does not know how the township approved the prior uses, they are there. They are in existence. He does not think it should be incumbent on Mr. Daley to take the landlord’s position and start making requirements for the other tenants.

Mr. Stabile commented that he agrees with the applicant on this particular point. What is in the other units has no bearing on anything because they may be switched to something else; they may move out and someone else might move in. The whole calculation is on the whole plaza, not necessarily on who is in it.

Mr. Meagher responded that he does look at that when he looks into these centers; particularly when we get restaurants in there because the parking demand is so much higher than the standard retail. That is where it plays in; it says only so many machines per parking space. The concept is if you have 50 machines in there and can only accommodate parking for 25 machines you are causing yourself a problem that you would normally not have. In some centers the owners have designed them to accommodate more intense uses, and other centers have not.

Mr. Stabile asked how we are looking at this with regard to the 20 washing machines or 20 machines.

Mr. Meagher responded that he had not counted them on the plan. He just assumed that there were 20 machines and had not differentiated between washing machines and dryers. He does not know if the parking generation that was utilized for the ordinance included washers and dryers or just washers. He would have to research it.

Ms. Ficht commented that the pizzeria was a carryout facility. There were people coming and going; they would never eat there.

Mr. Hyde commented that the ordinance allows you to calculate for a pizzeria either based upon the square footage, or if there is dining in based upon capacity. He did not use the capacity, he used the square footage. He further commented that the ordinance specifies that if it is carryout only, you are supposed to look at the area where people can stand and wait for the carryout. He just did not go there doing the calculations because Mr. Daley is using less than previously. That comment was also made across the counter at the Building Department. He could not find anything in the ordinance that says that the tenant must take responsibility to go to all of the other tenants and fix their parking needs. He does not see how they would have the authority to do that. These are existing tenants and the site was approved to accommodate a lot of different uses. This one will fairly fit in. If comparing this site to Mr. Daley’s other existing businesses they are very comparable with regard to the size and number of machines. They are all busy areas and they have no parking problems. They don’t want to create a parking problem because they don’t want customers to go anywhere else.

Mr. Priest reiterated that we need to know by doing some research as to the parking spaces being calculated on the number of washers or washing machines and dryers.

Mr. Daley added that everyone uses washing machines and dryers in conjunction with each other. Very rarely would someone come in just to wash their clothes and take them home wet.

Mr. Priest commented that if a washing machine opens up when someone puts their clothes in a dryer and someone else comes in and puts their clothes in the washer, at that point there are 2 machines running at the same time.

Mr. Daley responded that Mr. Priest is assuming that there is someone right behind that person that was willing to put their clothes right in that same washing machine. It does not happen like that. People do not stand in line to use the same washing machine.

Paul Clemente stated that studies have been done that say that people come in and use multiple washing machines and then take the clothes out and put them in one dryer so a person is using multiple machines. He has done that himself. They have 50 pound dryers. There are all different size machines.

Ms. Frame reiterated that we need to review the information on the number of machines. She asked Mr. Clemente about the discrepancy in the number of machines on the various pages of the plans. S1.1 indicates 30 machines, A101 indicates 30 machines, P1.1 indicates either 36 or 27 machines.

Mr. Clemente asked Ms. Frame to explain her definition of machine.

Ms. Frame explained that since we are talking about a Laundromat, it is anything that has to do with laundry; a washing machine or dryer; that is what she is counting as a machine.

Mr. Clemente approached Ms. Frame to review the plans. They counted the number of machines.

Mr. Clemente explained that they have 20 washing machines and 16 dryers. They also have machines such as a boiler in the mechanical room; they have a water heater; they have a cashier station and they have a drycleaning rack. All of those are machines. He has been doing this work for more than 38 years. He has done multiple Laundromats; more than 15 in the last 8 years. This is the first time in all the years that he has been engineering that he has heard somebody refer to in a Laundromat all the machines as something that is countable. It is on the basis of the washing machine that water and sewage requirements are developed. In the 2006 Michigan Plumbing Code, which references the International BOCA Code for plumbing, it states that all of the equipment loads will be based upon the washing machine because it dictates sewer, water and electrical needs primarily. There is also an issue with regard to the water connection size and the sewer size, and whether or not it is sufficient to handle this particular usage.

Mr. Meagher responded that actually the engineers have contacted us and indicated that while they note these things for the applicant’s information, the Water and Sewer Department has not objected to them keeping the hookups the way they are. The engineers want it on record that they recommend that there be separate services extended to this user because the township will get complaints after they open as to the usage of water that goes through their particular use that will be shared with the other units.

Mr. Clemente responded that is reasonable obviously. No one can know what the actual usage will be when they sit down to design these things. They can only go based on experience over the years for similar facilities.

Mr. Hyde commented that he does not know how to tackle the machine issue because it does not define what kind of machines. We all know we are trying to get to the same objective, which is to get a facility that is a compliment to our community. There has to be trust and faith, and he would not want that to be worn out by them making the wrong arguments or presentation or their thinking that we asked the wrong questions, but he does not know how to address that because it does not say what kind of machines; if he turns to an engineer that has done it dozens and dozens of times, and he called two others who when asked how to interpret this said count the washing machines.

Mr. Meagher reiterated that the only thing he can do at this point because he does not know the answer is to research the parking generation that is required and this ordinance is based on.

Mr. Deeby commented that the main concern is the parking, and we have a right to be concerned about that because it has to do with the congestion and the situation in that retail plaza as far as the other businesses go, the accessibility of the people in and out, and it becomes a safety issue.

Mr. Hyde commented that the property to the east is a neighboring property owner who operates a party store. That whole area between this area and that development is asphalted; it is not striped. He knows that there are restrictions on where additional parking spaces could be added to this plan, but it is conceivable under the ordinance that a couple spaces could be striped on a neighboring plan if he reaches an agreement, or the landlord reaches an agreement with the neighbor. He does not think that they will have a problem with parking ultimately when they get the calculation issue resolved.

Mr. Priest commented that we are not here to try to stop this project. He does not want them to get that impression. We have got to follow the ordinance. The question of what constitutes a machine needs to be researched by us. Maybe we are right there. He hopes we are. We do not want a problem.

Motion by Mr. Priest, supported by Mr. Leonard to table Ralph Daley Administrative Request for a Laundromat located at 31627 and 31643 23 Mile Road in the Maplewood Plaza for up to 2 meetings so that Mr. Meagher can do the research on it and get back with us.

Mr. Kohler commented that he feels that they are not working with us so he will vote nay. We gave them time and they have come back with the same information.

Mr. Saelens commented that he just wants to make sure that there will be no more construction before a permit is issued, other than the demolition, for which they have a permit because we will look at that as a good faith issue also.

Vote On The Motion:

Ayes: Mr. Priest, Mr. Leonard, Mr. Stabile, Ms. Frame, Mr. Deeby, Mr. Saelens, Mr. Miller, Ms. Ficht

Nays: Mr. Kohler Motion Carried

Mr. Daley asked for clarification as to when this item is tabled to.

Mr. Priest responded up to 2 meetings, and hopefully it will be the next meeting. If we can get the information researched hopefully it will be the next meeting. He can’t guarantee when that is going to be because if we don’t have enough items submitted for the agenda we don’t have a meeting. That is the problem. Normally the next meeting would be March 9th.

Mr. Daley commented that there is a cost factor involved here. He signed a lease December 28th. He has been building Laundromats for about 20 years. Every time that he has applied for a permit it has never taken more than 2 to 3 weeks, depending on how busy the Building Department is. He has never ever encountered this type of delay. It has been 6 weeks since he applied for his building permit. He is paying rent there. He asked for us to help him get this project moving because we may put him out of business before he gets a chance to go into business. He is not saying that we are responsible for that, but it is an extra ordinarily amount of time to get a building permit issued. They have given us all information available from experts, people that have been in this business for years and years. He has an engineer that is more than qualified. He has built 23 Laundromats himself. When he says that a washing machine is used in conjunction with a dryer it is not a fallacy. He is not making this up. They do have large capacity washers that take 5 loads. He understands that we have a question that someone comes right behind another and uses a washing machine. In a perfect world that would be excellent. He would be making all kinds of money, but it is not a perfect world. That does not happen. He has a store on Harper that does very well. If he gets 2 turns a day out of each machine he is doing very well. The way we are saying it he would have probably 50 turns out of each a day if someone was standing right behind them. That doesn’t happen in any Laundromat. There is not a Laundromat built today that would do 50 turns from each machine everyday. They do have adequate parking. His attorney has told us what is required of them. The previous users used more parking. The pizzeria had 2 tables and 8 chairs in there. They did serve on premise. He is telling us what was there. He did the demolition on the store. They are less intensive than the 2 users that were previously before them. They have addressed every issue that there is. He really would like to have us approve this plan so they can move forward before he goes out of business.

Mr. Priest commented that we asked for this information quite a while ago. As far as he knows this has just come to us.

Mr. Daley responded that the first time around we did not have the site plan that he submitted. He submitted the site plan to Ms. Giese.

Ms. Ficht explained that she was here the day that Mr. Daley came to the Planning Department. She was standing by the Supervisor’s Office. When Mr. Daley was asked for the site plan he said "my attorneys said I don’t have to give you a site plan. It’s not required". When we got our piece of paper at the last meeting it was just a square, and then Mr. Daley came up with a site plan that he claimed he gave to the Building Department. She was here the day Mr. Daley told Sherri Gisler and Ms. Giese that he did not have to furnish a site plan.

Mr. Daley responded that he does not remember saying that. He would never have said that.

Ms. Ficht stated that he did not say that to her, but she was in the office and she heard him say that at the counter.

Mr. Hyde commented that he was at the counter too when this issue came up because he dealt with the Zoning Administrator and asked if they can avoid going to plan review if there are just incidental things. She said no we prefer to have it go to plan review. He came over here and asked what we need. He was informed that they needed something to show the whole building. Mr. Daley had a site plan from the owner. He instructed him to just mark on there where his unit is going to be on that plan, and then somebody in the office said that they would copy it.

Mr. Priest commented that is water under the bridge at this point. We made the motion. They know where we are coming from. Let’s move on.

B. Steven Rice, 50100 E. Russell Schmidt Chesterfield, MI 48051. Proposed Greenhouse for personal use (No Retail on site) located at the above address.

Mr. Meagher stated that this greenhouse is at the rear of an industrial building. Their plan is to grow several fig trees within that building. The applicant was here this evening. Mr. Meagher wanted more details with regard to the structure that they are putting up. He is not sure what the affidavit of use that there are too many concerns of any intensity, but there are concerns with regard to water and sewer if in fact they are going to have it in there, what the materials of the structure are going to be, how high it is. The applicant did have some drawings for us this evening. He asked them to submit those formally so they can be addressed formally. He also informed them to call the engineers to work out their issues, as well as the Fire Department because this is kind of a lean to type of structure with 3 walls on it. It will be immediately adjacent to the existing building. He asked for a motion to table this item to allow them time to address these issues.

Motion by Ms. Ficht, supported by Ms. Frame to table Steven Rice Proposed Greenhouse for personal use located at 50100 E. Russell Schmidt for up to 6 meetings, with the deadline being May 25, 2010 to allow them time to address these issues.

All Ayes Motion Carried

C. Discussion on Chesterfield Township Sign Ordinance.

Mr. Meagher stated that the main concern at the last meeting was that if we skip a meeting someone would have to wait 30 to 60 days for a sign approval that meets the ordinance and really does not require much review. He had made some amendments and this was discussed at pre-planning. The thought was that if we are going to have a mandatory meeting the first meeting of every month no one is ever to wait longer than 30 days, more like 20 days maximum because we have a submittal time requirement. He indicated if everyone is comfortable with it, we could just ignore the sign amendment.

There was brief discussion with regard to holding a mandatory first meeting during every month.

Ms. Frame left the room at 7:59 p.m.

Mr. Priest suggested that the Planning Department place it on the application that there will be a meeting the first meeting of the month.

Mr. Deeby suggested that we try the mandatory first meeting each month; if we feel that it is not working in 3 months we can discuss again and try something else.

Ms. Frame reentered the room at 8:02 p.m.

All members agreed to have the mandatory first meeting each month.


Ms. Ficht informed everyone that she spoke with Supervisor Lovelock, who has no problem with the issuance of identification cards for the Planning Commission if the members go the Police Department for the identification cards. She will get a procedure for the members to follow and bring it back to the next meeting.

There was brief discussion regarding the identification cards.

Mr. Leonard commented on windmills.

Ms. Frame asked for volunteers for the next pre-planning meeting.

Mr. Miller and Ms. Ficht agreed to attend.

Mr. Saelens commented that he will not be in attendance at the next meeting.



Motion by Mr. Kohler, supported by Ms. Frame to adjourn the meeting at 8:09 p.m.

All Ayes Motion Carried

Paula Frame, Secretary

Christine A. Hunyady, Recording Secretary

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