Reference Desk


Planning Commission Minutes - January 11, 2011



JANUARY 11, 2011

A Regular meeting of the Charter Township of Chesterfield Planning Commission was held on Tuesday, January 11, 2011 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: Ray Saelens

Paula Frame

Joe Stabile

George Deeby

Paul Miller

Carl Leonard

Rick LaBelle

Brian DeMuynck

Others: Brian Wilson, Community Planning & Management, P.C.


Ms. Frame noted that agenda item D Sign #2010-51 is listed as a wall sign, but should be a monument sign.

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

All Ayes Motion Carried

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


A. PROPOSED TRAINING-GYMNASTICS FACILITY – SLU #2010-08: Rhyan Adamson, 1048 Broad Ax Lane, Kimball, MI 48074. Proposed Training-Gymnastics Facility located at 56343 Precision Drive, Lot 16 in the North Bay Industrial Subdivision, south of 26 mile road west of Gratiot Ave. Public Hearing set 12-14-2010.

Motion by Mr. Priest, supported by Mr. DeMuynck to open the Public Hearing on SLU #2010-08 at 7:05 p.m.

All Ayes Motion Carried

Mr. Priest asked the applicant if they understand the planner’s and engineer’s comments, and can make the changes that are proposed.

Rhyan Adamson responded yes he does.

Mr. Deeby asked the applicant to comment on the planner’s review items.

Mr. Adamson replied that as far as the space that is occupied would be the shop area. The office is just for meeting and greeting. Activity will happen in the shop area in the back. In reference to item #2 with regard to future uses he is aware that it is in a light industrial area, and it is not a concern for him at this point. As far as the sign application he is aware that they will need to go through the special application and fees associated with it.

Mr. Deeby asked if he is aware of the nature of item #2, and what the planner is referring to as far as the impact.

Mr. Adamson responded yes. He knows that there could be other noises and fumes that would happen with other industries, and his business being an exception, and he is okay with that.

No one from the public spoke on this agenda item.

Mr. Stabile commented that he realizes that they are already operating over there.

Mr. Adamson stated that they are not officially open. They are in there already, unfortunately he did a lot of things backwards being new, but they are not open and operating.

Mr. Stabile stated that he read their comments and got the impression that there could be a lot of little kids there.

Mr. Adamson responded absolutely not. Their training is for middle age. The youngest they would do is 14.

Mr. Stabile commented that he assumed that with the gymnastics.

Mr. Adamson responded that they are training gymnastics to adults. It is not the tumbling and twirling that you normally see on television. It is ring moves and body movements. It is being able to move your body in space. They are incorporating weight lifting, gymnastics and aerobics all together into one type.

Mr. Stabile commented that he has been consistent for the last three to four years regarding the fact that he is totally against putting commercial operations in industrial areas; especially in this case his concern was the kids. We have been asked in the past to put these types of things in, and he does not believe kids should be around industrial areas. There is a lot of commercial property out there that is empty, and he feels these types of operations should be in commercial areas. He is glad to see that it is mostly adults.

Mr. Adamson stated that he is not licensed to train kids so he cannot have them in there.

Motion by Mr. Priest, supported by Ms. Frame to close the Public Hearing on SLU #2010-08 at 7:10 p.m.

All Ayes Motion Carried

Mr. Priest stated that our normal procedure would be to table this item until our next meeting. He asked the commission members what their feelings were on that.

Ms. Frame suggested a roll call with regard to taking action this evening.

Roll Call Vote:

Action This Evening – Mr. Priest, Mr. Stabile, Ms. Frame, Mr. Deeby, Mr. Miller , Mr. Leonard, Mr. LaBelle, Mr. DeMuynck

Table – None

Motion by Ms. Frame, supported by Mr. Miller to approve SLU #2010-08 subject to planner's and engineer's comments.

Mr. Deeby asked the applicant if they can meet the requirements of the engineer.

Mr. Adamson responded that with reference to the ADA requirements, he does have handicapped accessible bathrooms; there is handicapped parking. If there are other requirements he would have to review that. He will check with the Building Department and do what he has to do there. He will follow up with that and see what the codes are.

Mr. Deeby asked if the applicant feels that they will be able to fulfill the requirements of the planner and engineer before they are issued a license to operate.

Mr. Adamson responded absolutely.

Vote On The Motion:

Ayes - Ms. Frame, Mr. Miller, Mr. Priest, Mr. Deeby, Mr. Leonard, Mr. LaBelle, Mr. DeMuynck

Nays – Mr. Stabile Motion Carried


A. PROPOSED MICHIGAN SCHOOLS & GOVERNMENT CREDIT UNION – SLU#2010-06: Steve Brewer, CFO of MS&GCU, 40400 Garfield, 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 the current branch location at 34826 23 Mile Road. Tabled November 23, 2010.

Adam Nelson stated that they have gone through with discussions with Mr. Meagher regarding their reiterations of the site. They do have all of the review comments. They have reviewed everything and met the comments as best as they can. He is not sure that there is much left outstanding. They have gone to MDOT and have gotten a review and approval to move the entrance drive on 23 Mile further to the east a little so that they could align the drives for the shopping center accessibility. They have also reviewed the circulation around the building and made sure that the traffic patterns allow for pedestrian access to their building, allowed for cross access agreements between the shopping center and themselves, along with the adjacent property to the west. They also took a look at the landscaping in making sure that they could get that all adjusted for the layout of the entrance drive. With regard to materials they are basically going with an earth tone scheme, which is very pleasing. They have done this on other prototype buildings already very successfully; it looks fantastic. They are happy to bring this building here.

Mr. Deeby asked if they have received the current comments from the planner and engineer. He asked them to comment on the drive-thru with regard to what they have done and what they are flexible in doing.

Mr. Wilson explained that the planner was just noting that the main access drive did move and because of that movement there is now the ability to relocate the drive-thru lane to the side or the rear. The main entrance to the site is fine.

Mr. Deeby stated that in light of the clarification that was given to him, in the applicants’ opinion what would they prefer to see as far as relocation of the drive-thru to either the back or side of the building.

Mr. Nelson responded that the business mall at the credit union tells them that they want to have the drive-thru on the north side of the building facing 23 Mile. Foremost is safety for the drive-thru lanes; having high visibility for the passing traffic, whether it be for the public or the police, which allows for people to see if the lanes are open, that they are accessible, that there is no one lurking in the way, that they can get to the ATM machine to get their cash and feel safe. They don’t want to screen the canopy too much because they want to maintain those visibility issues.

John Vitale stated that they have worked very closely with the landlord and Mr. Meagher in trying to develop the best situation for traffic flow in terms of vehicular flow and pedestrian flow. In terms of the canopy they have created a façade that fronts the roadway and perhaps soften the approach of the canopy and how it looks from the roadway as well as security from the lighting standpoint. It is concealed lighting with the lighting shining down to create the security so people that are there can be seen. They also allowed for an opening on 23 Mile Road so that visually there is that added security with whatever is going on in the drive-thru area. They provided a three dimensional image for the commission members to inspect. That façade on 23 Mile Road allows them to put signage as well as carry on the theme of the building. The front entrance of the building is oriented towards the shopping center. The credit union has done a lot of research in terms of how these buildings are oriented and how the canopy is best oriented to maximize their business. They have been very fortunate to have a very successful business and have enjoyed being located here in the shopping center and would like to see one of their new prototypes being built on the site. They have engaged a consultant out of Chicago that works closely with them on all their sites and helps them orientate the building, position the building to maximize their exposure and maximize their circulation, and contributes to the success they have had to date.

Mr. Deeby commented that it is unusual to have a drive-thru facing a major thoroughfare and he has never seen one.

Mr. Nelson responded that is how financial institutions have been evolving. Originally drive-thrus would be on the back of the building hidden away and they would move to the side; now they are looking to have those drive-thrus more towards like 23 Mile Road mainly because of security issues.

Mr. Vitale stated that they are promoting this in every location. Their type of business has evolved. Today their primary way of doing business is actually the drive-thru. The main feature of these institutions going forward the commission will see this happen. The drive-thru is one of the main aspects of their business. That is what this promotes.

Mr. Deeby commented that it is recommended that if the commission decides to let this pass this way that greater landscape shielding is created in front between the thoroughfare and the drive-thru. That seems to defeat the purpose of what they are after; but as far as our ordinances go and what we have been promoting in this community, in his opinion that is the direction we are going. He is left a little confused as far as which way to go with this. If he votes to have the drive-thru face 23 Mile Road he is going to vote to have the landscape appropriately done to create the kind of shielding that is being requested and required.

Mr. Vitale responded that they will work with the township and planner to provide a nice landscaping plan. What they don’t want to do is hide the signage. They are going to spend a lot of money to create this additional façade to screen that canopy. They are not opposed to enhancing that with landscaping but they don’t want to block the signage because the reason they are putting that façade out there is to extent their name and business to the street side. It is important that people see their façade and signage. It does them no good to have signage and then cover it with tall trees. They can enhance the landscaping. They want this to look very nice. It will be a very high end building with expensive materials. They think we would be proud to have this building in our community.

Mr. Deeby asked if the Detroit Edison easement issue has been resolved and if they have clearance on that.

Mr. Nelson responded that they recognize since their original submittal that the easement is an issue that they have to resolve with DTE, and they know that they will have to relocate that. Their understanding is that the easement is only there to provide power to the other out building on the shopping center site. The ability to reroute the power for that building is not really an issue. It is something that they have worked with Detroit Edison on other types of projects similar to this. They are able to move through that process and get it approved and resolve it. They don’t feel it is an issue at all.

Mr. Deeby asked about AEW’s second review comment with regard to the access agreement.

Mr. Vitale responded that is something that they certainly would be able to provide. They are working with the shopping center owner to do that.

Mr. Deeby asked if they already have that in hand.

Mr. Vitale replied he thinks that has all been worked out.

Mr. Priest commented that it comes down to if we want the drive-thru in front, which they are proposing; and if we do how are we going to landscape it so it does not block what they are putting up to start with. They could accommodate shorter landscaping.

Mr. Vitale stated that they can do some landscaping of a certain height. They want to do some nice landscaping; they just don’t want to block the signage. They will work closely with the township. They can provide some taller trees in strategic places. They are not opposed to having some deciduous trees throughout the site, but they want to make sure that the signage is prominent.

Mr. Priest commented that he can’t blame them for that.

Mr. DeMuynck stated that especially with the ATM and night drop and package receiving on the front on 23 Mile Road, they are going to have the visibility; you don’t want to block it with any tall landscaping, especially for security. He knows this is new to the community in Chesterfield but he definitely would not want to see anything blocking that, especially with the way the economy has turned. You want the visibility from 23 Mile Road so that the law enforcement that is driving by can look at it. He feels it should all be low landscaping with nothing tall.

Mr. Miller agreed that their landscaping is fine.

Ms. Frame also agreed that the landscaping as they show on their example would be great.

Mr. Miller commented that he knows someone who has a store in the plaza and they want to have the drive-thru in the front and not the back.

Mr. Stabile stated that he likes it the way it is and feels it is a good project.

Motion by Mr. Priest, supported by Mr. DeMuynck to approve SLU #2010-06 with the understanding that the engineering and planner’s comments will have to be satisfied.

All Ayes Motion Carried

B. BLACK, BLACK & BLACK PROPOSED NEW GROUND SIGN #2010-17 SGN: Black, Black & Black 34021 23 Mile Road, Chesterfield, MI., 48047 - Proposed new ground sign located at the above address. Tabled 11-23-2010.

Ms. Frame stated that there has been no new information received on this agenda item.

Sevahn Merian stated that they would be happy to do whatever the commission wants them to do. There is currently one big sign in the middle of the window facing the front. They have received a variance for parking in the front. They are just going to follow the recommendations that we are making.

Ms. Frame explained that the application before us this evening is only for a ground sign. We are only discussing information on that this evening. She asked Ms. Merian if she had any new information on that.

Mr. Stabile commented that he believes that at the last meeting we told them to come back with a completely new sign application as the original application was not complete or correct.

Ms. Frame commented that they have not done that.

Mr. Priest instructed Ms. Merian that not only did they not do that, but they put the sign up, which they did not have the right to do. They were told at the last meeting when the wall sign was approved that it was approved subject to all other signage being removed. The signage is still in the window and the ground sign is up, which they did not have approval to do. The ground sign is fastened onto four by fours out in the middle of the yard.

Ms. Merian stated that she does not think there is a ground sign.

Mr. Priest stated that he went by there today, and unless they went out there this afternoon with a chainsaw and cut it down, it is setting there, and they were not approved to do that. They have completely ignored anything that we have asked them to do now for over a year.

Ms. Frame commented that they just continue to send other different people here to represent them.

Ms. Merian stated that they will be happy to do whatever we want them to do with the sign.

Mr. Stabile instructed Ms. Merian that we want them to take the sign that is not supposed to be up in front off, take the ones out of the window, and come back with a brand new sign application because the last one was not correct or complete.

Mr. Priest stated that the application for the ground sign gave us no information whatsoever, and when we asked the gentleman that was here at the last meeting what it was made of, etc., he said he did not know for sure.

Ms. Frame interjected that he said he would get us all that information immediately.

Mr. Stabile interjected that we thought Ms. Merian was coming here this evening with all that information, which we have not gotten.

Ms. Merian replied that person is no longer working with them anymore and she apologized that that has not been done. She asked where the sign application can be obtained.

Mr. DeMuynck asked how many partners are in this law firm.

Ms. Merian replied just herself and Mr. Black.

Mr. DeMuynck instructed Ms. Merian that both she and Mr. Black need to get together with this commission and get the information because the signs that they have put up are not allowed by this township. They will have to reapply, get the information and start all over again. If they have any questions they need to speak with someone in our Building Department or Planning Department.

Motion by Ms. Frame, supported by Mr. Miller to deny #2010-17 SGN because at this time there still has been no new information provided, and we are requesting a new application.

Mr. DeMuynck asked if there will be a new set of fees when they reapply.

Mr. Priest responded that he does not know.

Ms. Frame commented that we do not have control over that.

Mr. Leonard asked for clarification if the motion includes them removing the other signs.

Ms. Frame replied that is a code enforcement issue.

Mr. DeMuynck asked if anyone knows if there have been any violations issued for the illegal signs. He then directed his question to Ms. Merian.

Ms. Merian responded that she does not know. She has not seen any.

Mr. Stabile commented that there were other issues with the wall sign. There were issues with parking. He believes that there were some violations, but he does not know if there was anything on this particular item.

Mr. Priest commented that he thought we were pretty lenient with them last time by allowing them to keep the wall sign up, which is on the side of the building, without removing that.

Mr. Stabile commented that allowed them to leave the phone number on the sign that was put up illegally, so they already have that much leeway from us.

Ms. Frame informed Mr. DeMuynck that she looked back in her notes from January 12, 2010 in which Black, Black and Black new proposed ground sign appeared; and this is still an issue a year later.

Vote On The Motion:

All Ayes Motion Carried

Mr. Priest commented that we would like to get this cleaned up and we appreciate Ms. Merian’s time. He feels bad for her, but last time there was a different person here, and the time before there was yet a different person. It seems that we are not making any headway. It seems that they need to sit down and fill someone in and send them here to get things straightened out.

Mr. Stabile commented that he asked them last time to just tame that whole area down. They should get the signs out of the front, get the sign out of the window; just tame it down.

C. HAMPTON INN & SUITES - PROPOSED NEW WALL SIGN #2010-42: Chesterfield Hospitality, Inc. 24170 Sherwood, Centerline, MI., 48015. Proposed new wall sign for the Hampton Inn & Suites located at 45725 Market Place Blvd.

Ms. Frame stated that she explained to the applicant that they are only allowed one wall sign and one monument sign. At this time the applicant has requested to withdraw application #2010-52, which would be the wall sign that would be facing the Holiday Inn.

Motion by Ms. Frame, supported by Mr. Leonard to approve the other two signs, wall sign #2010-42, which is on the front of the building if you were coming from Hall Road and monument sign #2010-51, which would be on the street on Market Place Blvd. with variances in sizes in lieu of the signage in the immediate area, referring to Holiday Inn variances that were granted.

All Ayes Motion Carried

Calvin Kuza stated that they were on the agenda for last month and got pushed to this month, which is fine. They are scheduled to open March 8th. They need to get permits as soon as possible.

Ms. Frame instructed him that he could apply tomorrow morning.

D. HAMPTON INN & SUITES – PROPOSED NEW MONUMENT SIGN #2010-51: Chesterfield Hospitality, Inc., 24170 Sherwood, Centerline, MI., 48015. Proposed new monument sign for the Hampton Inn & Suites located at 45725 Market Place Blvd.

See Agenda Item C Above.

E. HAMPTON INN & SUITES – PROPOSED NEW WALL SIGN #2010-52: Chesterfield Hospitality, Inc., 24170 Sherwood, Centerline, MI., 48015. Proposed new wall sign for the Hampton Inn & Suites located at 45725 Market Place Blvd.

See Agenda Item C Above.

F. SOLE TANNING SALON – PROPOSED NEW WALL SIGN #2011-01: B-B Sign & Lighting, Inc., 1528 E. Eleven Mile Road, Madison Heights, MI 48071. Proposed new wall sign located at 47181 Gratiot in the Gratiot Crossings Plaza.

Ms. Frame stated that this sign meets all of the ordinances.

Motion by Ms. Frame to approve Sign #2011-01.

(Cardi Princi?) stated that there is actually a change that they made in the artwork. He provided a drawing for the commission.

Ms. Frame asked if it is the same square footage.

(Cardi Princi?) responded it is close; it is a little smaller than what they were originally approved for.

Mr. LaBelle commented that this sign is larger.

Mr. Deeby commented that it was 32 square feet.

Ms. Frame replied that now it is almost 50 square feet; we are talking 18 square feet.

Mr. Deeby commented that his first thought is that now this needs to be reviewed because of the changes made.

Ms. Frame agreed. She stated that this was not brought up during the sub-committee meeting. She instructed the applicant that on the application we would need the lighting detail.

B.B. Bongorno stated that the square footage of the sign is increased a little bit from the original layout drawings that were submitted with the application. He explained that with the accent of the "y" that drops down and the upper case cursive script "t" brings in the square footage a little bit higher with just those two items. He thinks the original drawing was 40 square feet and they are now asking for an additional 9.75 square feet. There are also a lot of stores in that plaza that do have a lot more square footage for wall signs than what the ordinance allows. He cited the Dollar Store and Leather Depot and Game Stop.

Ms. Frame stated that we will have to table this just to be on the safe side.

Mr. Priest instructed that our next meeting would probably be the first meeting in February. He asked how far back off the road they are.

One of the petitioners responded that they are set fairly far back behind CVS.

Mr. DeMuynck asked what business they are next to.

(Cardi Princi?) responded between Auto Zone and Extreme Fitness.

Mr. Bongorno stated that they were hoping to open February 1st if possible. He noted that Mr. Priest said this would be tabled until February.

Mr. Priest explained that there is a provision that they can come in to the Building Department and get a temporary sign until they are approved for their regular sign.

Mr. Wilson stated that their sign can be 2 ½ times what they are allowed if they are more than 200 feet back from the road.

One of the petitioners responded that they are.

Mr. Wilson stated that if that is the case, their unit is 20 feet wide, which means that the maximum square footage would be 45 square feet.

Mr. Bongorno asked if they comply with the 45 square footage and size things down to keep everything within 45 square feet would that make everybody happy where we could process this.

Mr. Stabile wondered if we can be sure they are beyond the 200 feet.

Ms. Frame commented that she is pretty sure, and they are actually facing 21 Mile Road.

There was brief discussion among the commission members.

Mr. Priest clarified that they want to reduce their square footage to the allowed 45 square feet.

One of the petitioners responded correct.

Mr. Priest clarified that they are asking for approval this evening if they do that.

One of the petitioners responded yes.

Mr. Wilson asked if this is a channel sign or an actual panel wall sign.

Mr. Bongorno responded that it is channel letters.

Motion by Ms. Frame, supported by Mr. Leonard to approve Sign #2011-01 subject to them meeting the 200 foot setback and reducing the square footage on the new art to 45 square feet.

Mr. Deeby asked if we are good with the details of the sign electronics.

Ms. Frame responded yes.

Vote On The Motion:

All Ayes Motion Carried

G. TEAM FITNESS – "FITNESS FOR FUN FITNESS FOR LIFE" – PROPOSED NEW WALL SIGN #2011-02: B-B Sign & Lighting, Inc. 1528 E. Eleven Mile Road, Madison Hgts., MI 48071. Proposed new wall sign located at 47139 Gratiot in the Gratiot Crossings Plaza.

Motion by Ms. Frame, supported by Mr. Miller to approve Sign #2011-02.

All Ayes Motion Carried


Motion by Mr. Miller, supported by Ms. Frame to approve the minutes from the November 23, 2010 meeting as sent.

All Ayes Motion Carried





ADMINISTRATIVE REQUESTS (#56 THRU #59) Carrie Sawicki with "HERO" – Homeless Empowerment Relationship Organization, 7025 Metroplex Dr., Romulus, MI 48174. Requesting to place 4, 5’x5’ Clothing & Footwear Recycler Containers at the following locations, B&B Liquor at 21723 23 Mile Road, Mamma’s Pizzeria at 48909 Jefferson, Chesterfield Commons Shopping Center at 35000 23 Mile Road and Zora Mobil Oil at 47191 Jefferson.

Mr. Wilson stated that he did go out to each site. The boxes are already in place but they are not at the location shown on their plan. The planner has no objections to the proposal, but does suggest that the applicant provide a maintenance bond to assure that the boxes are maintained and don’t become blight.

Mr. Stabile questioned who gets paid for these and who is actually making money on these. There are several names on these bins. He knows they are trying to make it sound like a charitable thing but does anybody know what this is really about.

Mr. Priest noted that we have never had things like this come before us before and they are already scattered around the township.

Mr. Stabile commented that he thinks they need to get out of here.

Mr. Priest commented that it seems to him that they are getting over crowded. He asked Mr. DeMuynck if the township has taken any action on this.

Mr. DeMuynck responded no. He just noticed them the other day and wondered where they came from. He noticed that some businesses have propane gas bottles, paper boxes, an ice machine and now you have this out there. When do we have to draw the line? He understands that it is a great idea to donate items, but you have Habitat for Humanity, the Salvation Army and Purple Heart for example. No one has come to the Board on this yet.

Mr. Stabile commented that he has read the literature and he is not sure but can pretty much guarantee that most of the money is going to the recycling place in Texas.

Mr. Priest commented that it does not sound to him to be a charitable organization.

Mr. DeMuynck suggested that this be tabled and let him bounce this off the other Board members and he will get back with the commission for the first meeting in February.

Motion by Mr. Priest, supported by Mr. Deeby to table Administrative Requests (#56 thru #59) to allow the Township Trustees to review it.

All Ayes Motion Carried


William Baade inquired about the status of wind turbines.

Mr. Priest informed him that we have not taken any action as of yet.

Mr. Baade suggested that a small committee be formed consisting of two commission members, Mr. Meagher and volunteered himself.

Mr. Leonard commented that he had provided some information to Mr. Meagher, but together they have not moved forward on anything.

Ms. Frame commented that this industry is evolving quickly. The information that we get often changes month by month. Until we get to a more steady pace of what is actually going to be the norm for the type of product that people will put up we will not be able to make a decision.

There was some discussion among the commission members with regard to the wind turbines.

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

Mr. Miller and Mr. Leonard agreed to attend.

Ms. Frame asked Mr. Leonard if he would like to be the liaison to ZBA for the next year.

Mr. Leonard asked for time until the next meeting to make his decision.

Mr. Priest informed Mr. Leonard to give him a call prior to the next meeting if he can.

Mr. DeMuynck commented that we need to work on the garage ordinance.

There was brief discussion regarding the garage ordinance.

Mr. DeMuynck informed the members that when this comes up for a vote he will abstain so as to eliminate any conflict of interest as this might affect him.

Mr. Miller suggested that Mr. Wilson inform Mr. Meagher to bring back the garage ordinance and the wind turbines to the next meeting.



Motion by Mr. Priest, supported by Ms. Frame to adjourn the meeting at 8:15 p.m.

All Ayes Motion Carried

Paula Frame, Secretary Christine A. Hunyady, Recording Secretary

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