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Planning Commission Minutes - November 9, 2010

THE CHARTER TOWNSHIP OF CHESTERFIELD

PLANNING COMMISSION

NOVEMBER 9, 2010

A Regular meeting of the Charter Township of Chesterfield Planning Commission was held on Tuesday, November 9, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. at the Township Hall Located at 47275 Sugarbush, Chesterfield, MI 48047.

1. CALL TO ORDER:

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

2. ROLL CALL:

Present: Jim Priest Excused: Ray Saelens

Paula Frame

Joe Stabile

George Deeby

Paul Miller

Carl Leonard

Rick LaBelle

Michele Ficht

Others: Patrick Meagher, Township Planner

3. APPROVAL OF THE AGENDA:

Ms. Frame noted an addition to the agenda, under Reviews, Item K, Salon K, Proposed New Wall Sign #2010-39.

Motion by Mr. Priest, supported by Ms. Frame to approve the revised agenda as presented.

All Ayes Motion Carried

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

5. PUBLIC HEARING:

A. PHYLLIS ROULO PROPOSED REZONING – PETITION #324: Phyllis Roulo, P.O.Box 760 New Baltimore, MI 48047. Request is to rezone a 1.7 acre parcel of property located at 34875 23 Mile Road (north side) just west of the New Baltimore City Limits from RM-2 Multiple Family to C-3 General Commercial. Public Hearing was set on October 12, 2010.

Motion by Mr. Priest, supported by Ms. Ficht to open the Public Hearing on Rezoning Petition #324 at 7:05 p.m.

All Ayes Motion Carried

Phyllis Roulo stated that her husband bought this property about 17 years ago. It had been a Boston Whaler Factory, so it had been used for commercial purposes; it had been vacant for a couple of years when her husband purchased the property. Her husband had renovated the office building, but prior to that it was commercial. She was surprised to find out that the property was not zoned commercial when a prospective buyer contacted her. That is when she discovered that it is zoned RM-2.

During the Public Hearing the following individuals addressed the commission to express concerns, provide information or to support or oppose the rezoning: Geri Ireson, Jeffery Robertson and Vivian Burr.

Ms. Roulo stated that this property has been used as commercial since its inception. It was there long before the neighboring condos were built. There is quite a bit of berm and buffering between this piece of property and the condos. She and her husband have kept up the property and maintained it. It is not an eyesore. Her husband is now deceased. She is trying to sell the property and business. She has kept up the property during the last 14 months since her husband has passed away. She cannot imagine that she would have to tear down all three buildings, one of which is an 8,000 square foot warehouse, to have someone build a house or some other type of residential on 23 Mile Road. She does not think 23 Mile Road is conducive to residential. This property is not set back from the road. It is very close to the mile road.

Mr. Priest asked if it is occupied now.

Ms. Roulo responded no. Once her husband was deceased she had to layoff all of the employees and close down the business. She still goes there a couple of times a week and walks through every building. Each building is alarmed. She still maintains going into the office because she needs to pay bills and deal with other issues that have arisen with the company in her effort to close down the business. It is not abandoned per say. She is trying to sell the property. The reason she pulled it off the market is because of the zoning. She had a prospective buyer who was very interested in it until he found out that it was zoned RM-2. She does not remember having that conversation with her husband, or she would have dealt with it a long time ago. She does not know why he was able to get it amended, or why it was not rezoned properly when he purchased it. She has spoken with a real estate agent today, and as soon as this is rezoned properly, she will put it back on the market. She will sell and does not think that the buildings will be torn down when someone does buy it because the buildings are in good shape. She does not know what the potential is for another type of business use. She is thinking it would be used by another mechanical contractor. She sold all of the equipment at auction. There is an office building, which is approximately 4,000 square feet; there are various offices and cubicles and restrooms. There is a storage building to the side, which is approximately 700 square feet. There is another large warehouse type of building, which is 7,000 square feet.

Mr. LaBelle asked how long the buildings have been there.

Ms. Roulo responded that the buildings were there when her husband bought the property 17 years ago. He renovated the front office building and modernized it.

Mr. Stabile commented that he does not remember those buildings not being there. It has been 30 some years since he has been here. He remarked that Ms. Roulo is asking for a C-3 zoning, and he wondered that since the property has been used as industrial for all these years, with the front being used as an office, could it be zoned as office or C-1 general commercial. He specifically asked Ms. Roulo if she was really after the C-3.

Ms. Roulo responded no, she knows nothing about this and was advised by someone in the township offices that this is what she should ask for. She just said that she wanted it zoned properly as general commercial so that she could sell it. She believes that is how it has been used all these years.

Mr. Priest briefly explained the commission’s normal procedure for public hearings and rezonings.

Ms. Ireson again addressed the commission.

Ms. Roulo explained that the office building was totally renovated. It is very nice inside. It has bathrooms and showers. People who walk in are shocked by how nice this building is. It is obtuse to think that someone would buy this parcel and then purchase the next parcel and build some other type of commercial strip mall or something.

Mr. Priest remarked that would be speculation.

Ms. Roulo commented that there is a lot of parking behind the building. There is a driveway that goes in back to an asphalted area; there is also a grassy area. The asphalt area is for additional parking. There is quite a bit of parking.

Motion by Mr. Priest, supported by Ms. Frame to close the Public Hearing on Rezoning Petition #324 at 7:27 p.m.

All Ayes Motion Carried

Motion by Mr. Priest, supported by Mr. Miller to table Rezoning Petition #324 to our next meeting, which might be the end of this month or more likely the first meeting in December.

Ms. Frame noted the dates as either November 23, 2010 or December 14, 2010.

Vote On The Motion:

All Ayes Motion Carried

6. REVIEWS:

A. PROPOSED MICHIGAN SCHOOLS & GOVERNMENT CREDIT UNION – SLU #2010-06: Steve Brewer, CFO of MS&G C.U. 40400 Garfield, Clinton Twp., MI 48038. Proposed new Michigan Schools & Government Credit Union to be located in an Out Lot in the Chesterfield Commons Shopping Center, immediately west of our current branch location of 34826 23 Mile Road. Public Hearing Closed. Tabled to 11/9/10.

Mr. Priest noted that we received a letter from the applicant requesting to be tabled to November 23, 2010.

Mr. Meagher suggested that this be tabled to the next available meeting.

Motion by Mr. Priest, supported by Ms. Frame to table SLU #2010-06 to our next available meeting.

All Ayes Motion Carried

B. ACHATZ PIE PROPOSED NEW GROUND/PYLON SIGN - #2010-41: Phillips Sign & Lighting, 40920 Excutive Dr., Harrison Twp., MI 48045. Proposed new ground sign located at 56340 Gratiot.

Ms. Frame stated that currently off site signs are not permitted at this location.

Motion by Ms. Frame, supported by Mr. Leonard to deny #2010-41.

All Ayes Motion Carried

C. INSTITUTE OF NEUROMUSCULAR MEDICINE PROPOSED NEW WALL SIGN #2010-43: Sign Fabricators, 43984 Groesbeck, Clinton Twp., MI., 48036 – Proposed new wall sign located at 48762 Gratiot.

Motion by Ms. Frame, supported by Ms. Ficht to approve #2010-43.

All Ayes Motion Carried

D. GEORGIO’S FINE JEWELRY PROPOSED NEW WALL SIGN #2010-44: Mueller Signs/Sign Trek 45215 Hecker, Utica, MI 48317. – Proposed new wall sign located at 27929 23 Mile Road.

Motion by Ms. Frame, supported by Mr. Leonard to approve #2010-44.

All Ayes Motion Carried

E. HAMLIN PUB PROPOSED NEW GROUND-MONUMENTSIGN-SGN #2010-45: Phillips Sign 40920 Executive Dr., Harrison Twp., MI 48045. Proposed new ground sign located at 50659 Gratiot.

Motion by Ms. Frame, supported by Mr. Stabile to approve #2010-45 subject to them adding the address to the sign.

Mr. Deeby questioned the planner’s comment with regard to the brick façade.

Mr. Meagher responded that it is just a statement that the ordinance does allow for that to be counted as aesthetics. With the wording on it still meets the ordinance.

Vote On The Motion:

All Ayes Motion Carried

F. CHESTERFIELD CROSSING’S PROPOSED NEW MARQUEE SIGN – SIGN #2010-46: Phillips Sign & Lighting 40920 Executive Dr. Harrison Twp., MI 48045. Proposed new pylon sign for the Chesterfield Crossings Development tenant’s located on the west side of Gratiot,south of 23 Mile Road.

Ed Phillips stated that they had a pre-meeting with Mr. Meagher and Ms. Frame. They understand that the new ordinance that went into effect 2 weeks ago is something that they definitely can live with. He was commenting about the 25 foot triangle with a clear vision. They are at the street and the cut is going to be changed; that will no longer be a driveway, so that issue is off the table. They can redesign the sign and bring it back. He requested that this be tabled.

Motion by Ms. Frame, supported by Mr. Miller to table Sign #2010-46 for up to 6 meetings, with the deadline being February 22, 2011.

All Ayes Motion Carried

G. HAPPY’S PIZZA PROPOSED NEW WALL SIGN #2010-47: Terry Burns (dba) Acme Architectural, 47115 7 Mile, Northville, MI 48167. Proposed new wall sign (front elevation) located at 51107 Gratiot.

Ms. Frame stated that she informed the applicant that only one wall sign is permitted in the township.

Mark Chalou stated that his client would like to not use the existing monument sign that is available and has been approved by this commission, and go after the east elevation wall sign. They are going to have a drive up window for picking up food. That will be facing east and is not visible from the street at all. They are proposing to drop or destroy the existing ground sign to have another wall sign. The neighboring Belle Tire currently has two wall signs; one facing east and another facing Gratiot. The pizzeria will be bringing employment for approximately 40 people. They really need this sign for the drive up window when you drive back into the Target mall area. Unfortunately, one of the problems is that there is no more existing room on the Target pylon sign. It seems that the other major clients in the mall have access to that sign and there is limited room on it. That is another reason why they are asking for the additional wall sign. It is a small wall sign. It is 19 inch letters, but it does incorporate a pick up window. There was a pick up window there before; they are just asking for the same thing. His client will do a wonderful job of restoring that building on the exterior and interior, and really increase the property value of that particular area. If they can go for a variance they would like to do that.

Mr. Miller asked for clarification if when we approved the Belle Tire sign they were going to take one of the wall signs off and put their new sign in front.

Ms. Frame responded that it was a different ordinance at that time.

Mr. Meagher explained that Belle Tire was approved through the ZBA to have a second wall sign facing the Target plaza. The commission decided that it was having no effectiveness facing the center, and allowed Belle Tire to move that sign to the north side of the building. There was no increase in signage; it was just moving existing signage. This was done under the previous zoning code,

Ms. Frame asked if the Happy’s Pizza pick up window is on the north or east elevation.

Mr. Chalou responded that it is the east. He approached Mr. Stabile and Ms. Frame to explain the location area.

Mr. Stabile commented that when we changed the sign ordinance some of the changes made had to do with parcels that faced other big shopping areas. We were trying to let them get some visibility from some other angles. In this particular case he is leaning towards agreeing on the second sign because of the location where it is at and it would give a better view from some of the other areas.

Mr. Priest asked what the square footage is on the drive thru sign.

Mr. Chalou responded that it is 206 inches long by 30 inches tall. He thinks it is about 33 square feet. It is a small sign considering what they would normally do.

Ms. Frame corrected that it is 43 square feet. Actually, they have a total of 30 inches by 206 inches; not 19 inches.

Mr. Chalou responded that is correct.

Mr. Priest recapped the petitioner’s proposal of doing away with the ground sign that they are proposing if we would grant them a variance for their second wall sign.

Motion by Mr. Stabile, supported by Mr. Leonard to approve a second wall sign in lieu of the monument sign for Happy’s Pizza.

Ms. Ficht asked that the motion include a condition that they take down the existing ground sign.

Mr. Stabile agreed to amend his motion; Mr. Leonard agreed to continue his support.

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

Nays: Ms. Frame Motion Carried

H. HAPPY’S PIZZA PROPOSED NEW 2ND WALL SIGN #2010-48: Terry Burns/Acme Architectural 47115 - 7 Mile Rd., Northville, MI 48176. Proposed 2nd wall sign on the north elevation located at 51107 Gratiot.

See Agenda Item G Above.

I. HAPPY’S PIZZA PROPOSED NEW GROUND SIGN #2010-49: Terry Burns/Acme Architectural Sign, 7 Mile Road, Northville, MI 48167. Proposed face change for Happy’s Pizza Monument sign located at 51107 Gratiot.

See Agenda Item G Above.

J. SPRINT PROPOSED NEW WALL SIGN #2010-50: Terry Burns (dba) Acme Architectural Sign, 47115 7 Mile Road, Northville, MI 48167. Proposed new wall sign adjacent to Happy’s Pizza at 51097 Gratiot.

Motion by Ms. Frame, supported by Mr. Miller to approve #2010-50.

All Ayes Motion Carried

K. SALON K PROPOSED NEW WALL SIGN #2010-39:

Ms. Frame stated that the applicant was previously tabled. They removed the sign that was at the top of the building as we asked.

Motion by Ms. Frame, supported by Ms. Ficht to approve #2010-39.

All Ayes Motion Carried

7. APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF PRIOR MEETINGS:

Motion by Mr. Priest, supported by Mr. Miller to approve the minutes from the October 12, 2010 meeting as sent.

All Ayes Motion Carried

8. COMMUNICATIONS:

9. NEW BUSINESS:

10. OLD BUSINESS:

11. PLANNERS REPORT:

A. Belle Tire Sign Ground Sign #2010-15: Harmon Sign, 7844 West Central Ave. Previously approved on 4/13/2010. They would like to move their ground sign a small measure north, as the Planning Commission suggested at the April 13, 2010 meeting. Sign approved 4-13-10.

Mr. Meagher stated that they are requesting to be allowed to do what the commission asked them to do, which is move the sign further north.

Motion by Ms. Ficht, supported by Ms. Frame to approve the relocation for the already approved sign for Belle Tire #2010-15.

All Ayes Motion Carried

B. Administrative Request # 54: Stucky-Vitale Architects: Proposed new renovation to the whole frontage of this strip mall at Chesterfield Crossing’s Development. Plus a proposed addition on to the Play It Again Sports, as well as additional space at Hamlin Pub and relocating the outdoor seating. Approved on 8-10-2010, with the stipulation that applicant receives approval from the Zoning Board of Appeals for ‘number of parking spaces’. That petition was approved 10-13-10. See minutes inside.

Mr. Meagher stated that they were requesting to redo the exterior of the building; as part of that they were doing a small expansion on the back of the building. They needed to get a variance for the parking spaces, which they did get. He thought we already approved this subject to that variance; however, there seems to be some type of confusion by the commission. Therefore, he asked for a motion to approve that change based on the fact that the ZBA granted the variance.

Motion by Ms. Frame, supported by Mr. Deeby to approve that change based on the fact that the ZBA granted the variance.

All Ayes Motion Carried

C. Administrative Request #53 L&A Architects, 2430 Rochester Ct. Troy MI 48083. Request is for an addition of a second drive-thru and a façade overhaul to modernize the building. There was also mention of a ‘cross access agreement’ for McDonald’s, 28320 23 Mile. Tabled 10-12-10.

Mr. Meagher stated that when they came before the commission they had done a little more than what was previously discussed in the administrative sessions. They had modified the parking lot partly at the request of our Fire Department. The commission had asked at that time that they remove the second drive. What they submitted and what he had received in his packet was a letter from MDOT stating that they could keep the second drive if they wanted. However, he thinks that is a choice of the Planning Commission rather than MDOT.

Mr. Priest commented that we adopted the recommendation from the Macomb County study regarding exits and entrances into each location. We sent that to the Township Board for their approval.

Ms. Frame commented that it was the Access Management Agreement, which was done approximately 6 or 7 months ago.

Mr. Stabile asked if it was Macomb County or MDOT.

Mr. Meagher responded that MDOT coordinated the study; the county and SEMCOG were involved in preparing it, along with a consulting firm out of Southfield. Mr. Meagher suggested that he contact MDOT and bring back the results of that phone call to the commission.

Mr. Priest suggested that we table this item until our next meeting.

Michael Kazarian stated that at the last meeting they did get marching order to follow up with Macomb County, which they did; that led them to MDOT, who told them to submit their plans, which they did. MDOT responded back with a letter stating that they would not require McDonalds to pull a permit at this time, and what they have is basically fine with them. They were hoping to come back today to get some type of resolution because they did get the response from MDOT.

Ms. Frame asked why they have a problem with a single access with the trouble that has occurred with the double access in that area. It is a very high traffic, high speed area. She would think that their main concern would be their customer’s safety coming in and out of the site. All of the access studies that have been done show that a single access drive is much safer than a double access drive, especially with the entrance to the tire dealership right next door and the entrance to the expressway within 200 feet.

Mr. Kazarian responded that he is relying on MDOT. They have said that they are not requiring a single access, of which McDonald’s had asked them to review the engineering plans. He would think if it were that much safer then MDOT would have required them to do it. He is not an engineer, and he cannot debate it. They find it to be more disruptive to their business as opposed to having a single access point. It is easier for their customers. They are a convenience driven business. They are not a destination point. If it is harder to get in and out of the site, in addition to their deliveries with a 50 foot truck trying to maneuver through the site, right now you can come in one way, round the site and go straight out, as opposed to kind of doing a u-turn within the site; it does make it more difficult for them. It is harder for their customers and harder for their delivery trucks. That is one of the reasons why they don’t want to do it.

Ms. Frame commented that one of the reasons we are going to table this tonight is so we can be in contact with Macomb County and MDOT because they are the ones who did the study and did the recommendations to the townships in Macomb County and asked us to do single access driveways when available; and since this project is basically tearing up the whole parking lot with green space being moved, there is no reason that we can’t take care of this as we were asked to by Macomb County and MDOT. We have also made other businesses in the same corridor comply with this directive in making 23 Mile Road safer. We will have to investigate this further. The other fast food businesses bring their delivery trucks in fine with just one access.

Mr. Stabile commented that McDonalds has been one of our good neighbors in all of the communities around here. We just went through this within the last year making Taco Bell comply with a single access.

Mr. Kazarian asked if they did work in the right-of-way.

Mr. Stabile responded no, the right-of-way work had already been done.

Mr. Kazarian commented that they are disrupting specifically a six foot strip along the east property line that runs the length of the property; it comes to approximately 1,300 square feet of the property. They are leaving the loading zone where it is and modifying the property that is just south of that. There is probably a 40 by 40 area that they are modifying to go to a 2 lane order point as opposed to a single. There is certainly site work being done. They are not doing work in the right-of-way. They certainly are not redoing the entire site.

Ms. Frame commented that there is much more work going on than is usually considered for an administrative request.

Mr. Meagher suggested that the commission direct the applicant to get on one of the Thursday morning meetings prior to our next planning meeting so that their engineers and our engineers, and whoever else needs to be there, can discuss the issue and come back to the commission with a recommendation.

Mr. Priest agreed that is a great idea.

Mr. Kazarian welcomed that opportunity.

Mr. Meagher informed the applicant to contact the township, specifically the Clerk’s Office, to get on the next engineering meeting, and to request that the planner be present.

Motion by Ms. Frame, supported by Ms. Ficht to table Administrative Request #53 until our next available meeting; either November 23, 2010 or December 14, 2010.

All Ayes Motion Carried

D. Administrative Request #55: Advanced Integrated Tooling Solutions, 29700 Commerce Blvd., Chesterfield, MI 48051. Request is for a 10’ high barbwire fence in the Industrial Zoning District at the above address.

Mr. Meagher stated that the barbwire requires that the Planning Commission review this. It is located on the east side of the building so it really will not be visible from any of the street fronts. He indicated he had no objections to this. They would need to file for permits from the Building Department.

Motion by Ms. Frame, supported by Ms. Ficht to approve Administrative Request #55.

All Ayes Motion Carried

GARAGES:

Mr. Meagher distributed a new version of the garage amendments instructing everyone to review them for discussion at the next meeting.

12. COMMENTS FROM THE FLOOR:

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

Mr. LaBelle and Ms. Ficht agreed to attend.

13. PROPOSALS FOR NEXT AGENDA:

14. ADJOURMENT:

Motion by Mr. Priest, supported by Ms. Ficht to adjourn the meeting at 8:07 p.m.

All Ayes Motion Carried

Paula Frame, Secretary

Christine A. Hunyady, Recording Secretary

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