Zoning Board of Appeals Minutes - April 27, 2011
THE CHARTER TOWNSHIP OF CHESTERFIELD
ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS
April 27, 2010
On April 27, 2010, a regular meeting of the Chesterfield Township Zoning
Board of Appeals was held at the Township Hall located at 47275 Sugarbush,
Chesterfield, MI 48047.
1. CALL TO ORDER: Chairman Stepnak called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.
2. ROLL CALL: Present: Marvin Stepnak, Chairman
James Klonowski, Vice-Chairman
Carl Leonard, Planning Commission liaison
Michele Ficht, Township Board liaison
Absent: Thomas Yaschen, Secretary, excused
Mr. Shawn Shortt attended the meeting as the representative of the Building
3. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE:
Chairman Stepnak explained the procedures to the audience.
4. ZBA PETITION #2011-03: Achatz Home Made Pie Company, 30301 Commerce Blvd.,
Chesterfield, MI 48051. Requesting a 25" front/side yard variance for addition
to an existing building located on the corner of Commerce Blvd., and North Bay
Drive at the above address.
LeRoy J. Stevens, AIA, 209 Huron Ave., Port Huron, MI 48060 addressed the
Petitioner stated that he was the architect for Achatz and that the expansion
was a simple project. He explained that Achatz has an industrial building where
they make pies. The building is in an industrial park on a corner lot and they
would like to put an addition of two truck wells on to the building to improve
the flow of traffic and increase production. He elaborated that there is some
vacant land next to the Achatz building, but it has a right-of-way of Detroit
Edison with some overhead lines, so they cannot expand in any other direction.
The addition would not encroach on the corner at all because they would not be
expanding office space. The expansion would only be for the manufacturing part
of the building which would put them in the required setback. He stated that the
expansion would not affect view or parking. He explained that they went to the
Planning Commission and that board approved of the expansion, but made a motion
for them to go in front of the Zoning Board for the variance on the setback. He
stated that they would recommend that the ZBA approve the variance because they
did not see anything wrong with the expansion.
Chairman Stepnak asked Mr. Leonard for any input on the matter because he
explained that Carl was the liaison to the ZBA from the Planning Commission.
Mr. Leonard asked basically what the plan entailed was Achatz trying to get a
little bit closer to the center line of the road?
Petitioner answered yes.
Mr. Leonard stated that he did not really have anything at this point.
Chairman Stepnak asked Mr. Leonard if Planning had any major concerns about
Mr. Leonard stated that he did not attend the last meeting. He asked where
the expansion was actually going? He asked if it was going where there is
Petitioner answered that the addition would only be where there is grass. He
stated that the parking is located on the other side of the building.
Mr. Leonard asked if the addition would be for loading and unloading
Petitioner answered yes. He stated that the business has been hampered
because the loading and unloading of products takes so much time with having to
pull pallets off the trucks. He stated that production would go much smoother
with the addition of the two truck wells, a staging area and a pit. He mentioned
that the storm sewer is down fourteen feet, so it would be plenty deep for the
drainage. He reiterated that the area were they are planning to build is only
grass and there is plenty of landscaping out farther.
Mr. Leonard stated that he was at a little disadvantage because he did not
attend the last Planning meeting. He asked Chairman Stepnak if he had received
anything in a written form from Planning concerning this matter?
Chairman Stepnak stated that he did not see anything concerning Achatz. He
explained that the board would consider a recommendation from Planning, but the
ZBA would make the decision on the merit of the petition.
Mr. Leonard asked the petitioner if he would be going back to Planning if the
ZBA approved the variance for the setback?
Petitioner answered yes. He reiterated that Planning made a motion to send it
to the ZBA with a recommendation that the board approves the variance and then
it would go back to the Planning Commission for the final site plan approval.
Mr. Klonowski asked if that meeting was in April?
Mr. Leonard stated that it was probably two weeks ago.
Mr. Klonowski stated that he was asking because the only Planning minutes he
had were from the 29th and at that time it was mentioned that this was up for
Chairman Stepnak asked if there were any other concerns mentioned in the
Mr. Klonowski stated that it was noted that the engineers have indicated that
because of the complications of this they would like to see a full site plan.
Chairman Stepnak stated that the petitioner would have to go back to Planning
and that the ZBA would only be dealing with the zoning issues at this level. He
mentioned that the petitioner would be subject to any site plan and engineering
Mr. Klonowski stated so the board would only be looking t the setback
Chairman Stepnak responded yes.
Ms. Jones had no questions.
Mr. Alexie stated that he had been out to the site that afternoon and he
agreed that there was nothing in the proposed expansion area but grass. He
stated that it looked like the petitioner’s planned to put in a couple of
Petitioner answered yes.
Mr. Alexie stated that he did not really have a problem with it at all.
Ms. Ficht stated that she did not have any questions and commented that the
variance was pretty straight forward.
Mr. Shortt stated that he was concerned about some refrigerated trucks out on
the property. He asked if the petitioners planned to pull those trucks out if
this variance would be approved.
Petitioner answered yes because once they get the truck wells and that
additional space, the product will get moved out fast and they would no longer
need the trucks. He explained that the trucks were only there to hold product
that is going out.
Mr. Shortt stated that the Building Department did not really have a problem
with the board granting the variance. He commented that in fact he thought it
would clean up the site.
Chairman Stepnak stated that in this economy he did not want to be side
tracking a profitable business in our community right now. He mentioned that he
had been in Achatz many times and that it was a phenomenal business and they are
glad it is located in our community. He does not see any problems in that area.
He understands the need for the truck wells to streamline the manufacturing of
the product. He stated that he did not have a problem with it.
Mr. Alexie asked the petitioner if Achatz owned the building or leased it?
Petitioner stated that they own the building.
Mr. Alexie commented that was even better.
Mr. Shortt asked if the petitioner’s ever thought of coming in front of the
board for some signage on Gratiot?
Ms. Ficht stated that Achatz came in front of Planning when she was on the
board last year for a sign out on Gratiot. She stated that the only thing Achatz
could do would be to go the people who own the office part that have the big
thing in the island and see if they wanted to work it out and do something with
them. She stated that was about as far as Planning got with the sign situation.
Mr. Leonard mentioned that Achatz would probably have to put up a pylon sign
with multiple tenants listed on it.
Chairman Stepnak mentioned that he thought it was a PUD and basically that
would pretty much govern the signage and what does or doesn’t go in there. He
stated that the problem was that this area was developed as an industrial park
and there did not seem to be a need for something commercial to go in and it
kind of challenges the law. He stated that they should stick to what was in
front of the board.
Motion by Mr. Klonowski to approve Petition #2022-03 Atchatz Homemade Pie
Company, 30301 Commerce Boulevard, Chesterfield, for the requested 25’ front and
side yard variance for an addition to an existing building located at the corner
of Commerce Boulevard and North Bay Drive. The trailers that are now used for
refrigeration upon completion will be eliminated from the property.
Supported by Mr. Leonard.
Nays: None Motion Granted
5. OLD BUSINESS:
Mr. Klonowski referred to the situation at the previous ZBA meeting
concerning the conversion of the multiple family structure to a single family
home. He asked if the single new single family structure would burn down if the
family could just rebuild or if they would have to come back in front of the
board to request another variance.
There was a rather lengthy discussion among the board members on what happens
after a variance is approved as far as non-conforming status.
There was also a discussion about signage, lighting and garage size issues in
6. NEW BUSINESS:
There was no new business.
7. APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF PRIOR MEETING:
Motion by Mr. Klonowski to approve the minutes from the April 13, 2011 ZBA
Supported by Mr. Alexie
Nays: None Motion Granted
8. COMMENTS FROM THE FLOOR:
There were no comments from the floor.
Motion by Chairman Stepnak to adjourn at 7:34 PM.
Supported by Ms. Ficht.
Nays: None Motion Granted
Thomas Yaschen, Secretary
Grace Mastronardi, Recording Secretary