CITY OF MUSKEGON
February 11, 2015
Chairman T. Michalski called the meeting to order at 4:00 p.m. and roll was taken.
MEMBERS PRESENT: T. Michalski, B. Larson, B. Mazade, J. Doyle, E. Hood
F. Peterson, J. Montgomery-Keast, S. Gawron
MEMBERS ABSENT: B. Smith
STAFF PRESENT: M. Franzak, K. Cummins
OTHERS PRESENT: D. Rinsema-Sybenga, Muskegon Community College 221 S.
Quarterline Rd; T. Matheson, Matheson & Matheson, 560 5th St
NW #405, Grand Rapids; M. Colpetzer, Fleis & Vandenbrink,
27725 Stansbury Boulevard, Suite 150, Farmington Hills; L.
Morrisson, Mercy Health, 1500 E. Sherman Blvd, Muskegon
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
A motion that the minutes of the regular meeting of January 14, 2016 be approved, was made by
J. Doyle, supported by J. Montgomery-Keast and unanimously approved.
Hearing, Case 2016-04: Request for two major departures from the zoning ordinance (window
glazing, doors) and site plan approval for the buildings at 981 3rd St and 396 W Clay Ave, by
Muskegon Community College. M. Franzak presented the staff report. Muskegon Community
College will be locating several of its academic programs in the former Muskegon Chronicle and
Masonic Temple buildings downtown. The buildings are located in the Downtown (DT) context
area of the Form Based Code (FBC) zoning district, and while the proposed use is allowed, the
site plan did not meet two requirements of the code: window glazing and door placement.
The code requires that all windows have clear glazing. New windows are being proposed on the
building at 396 W. Clay Ave. on the large stone material area facing Hackley Park. The clear
window glazing requirement is nearly met; however, the bottom and top portion of the windows
are proposed to have a 100% non-transparent coating to screen mechanical features. The building
does meet the 50% building space window requirement. The rest of the glass will have 100%
transparency. Non-transparent window coating in this instance is somewhat unique because it is
an existing building. The code further requires buildings to have a door every 75 feet. This
requirement was put in place to make buildings appear more welcoming and give downtown a
more active feel. Long stretches of buildings without entrances reduce the walkability experience.
This plan proposes the addition of one new door and the removal of three doors on the building at
396 W. Clay Ave. This will leave 112 feet of space between the new door on Clay Ave and the
corner of the building at the intersection of 3rd St and Western Ave. The existing building space
will be home to an educational facility long-term. Since it is not a retail space, the changes are
seen as an improvement. The existing glass door furthest to the east is the most critical. The
removal of the other door entrances will not significantly reduce the distance between doors. All
replacement windows will be replaced with clear glass.
T. Michalski and J. Montgomery-Keast inquired about the placement of a curb cut in relationship
to the newly-proposed handicapped-accessible door on Clay Avenue. B. Mazade asked about
landscaping and parking lot improvements. D. Rinsema-Sybenga of MCC spoke to the history of
the project, and stated that they hoped to begin holding classes at the facility the fall semester of
2017. T. Matheson spoke regarding the project’s goal to create transparency and forming a better
connection to the downtown area, while maintaining historical elements of the building. They
were working the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) for federal funding through the Bank
Enterprise Award program (BEA). He addressed removal of the three existing doors, stating that
they are exit doors and cannot be accessed from the street. He addressed the curb cut concerns on
Clay Avenue and presented samples of the proposed transparent and non-transparent window
A motion to close the public hearing was made by B. Larson, supported by J. Doyle and
A motion that the major departures from the ordinance regarding clear glass and door removal be
approved with the following conditions: 1) the plan shall state that all replacement windows use
clear glass at ground level, 2) the new windows over stone be approved as presented, and 3) the
doors on Clay Ave be removed as proposed, was made by J. Montgomery-Keast, supported by B.
Larson and unanimously approved, with T. Michalski, B. Larson, B. Mazade, J. Doyle, E. Hood,
F. Peterson, J. Montgomery-Keast, and S. Gawron voting aye.
Hearing, Case 2016-05: Request for a Special Use Permit to allow a ten-story building addition
and relocation of a helipad at 1500 E Sherman Blvd, by Mercy Health Partners. M. Franzak
presented the staff report. The site measures just over 37 acres (51 acres if you include all 4
parcels) and can be accessed off of Sherman Blvd and Mercy Drive. Mercy Health Partners is
proposing a 10-story building addition at 1500 E Sherman. The zoning ordinance states that all
buildings over three stories in Medical Care (MC) districts receive a Special Use Permit.
Additionally, they propose to relocate the helipad site which also requires a Special Use Permit.
Both projects can be included on the same Special Use Permit.
The 10-story addition will connect to the southern end of the existing main hospital building. The
helipad will be moved to just south of the building addition. While the proposed helipad does not
meet the 100-foot setback on the east property line, a shorter distance may be approved by the
Planning Commission. The ordinance suggests that the helipad contain perimeter landscaping and
fencing; however, the plan does not depict such. The parking lots will be reconfigured to make
room for the addition: The parking lot to the south of the existing main building will be removed;
the parking lot to the west of the existing main building will be reconfigured; and the parking lot
to the north of the property will be enlarged. The parking lot to the north will have a new drive
and sidewalk for ingress/egress. The existing drive (located to the east of the lot) does not have a
sidewalk, and will increase from 153 spaces to 715 spaces. The total number of parking spaces
on the site is 1784. The plan should state that all parking lot lighting will be 100% cutoff and
downward facing, and the existing sanitary line on Mercy Drive which is depicted as a 10” sanitary
line and not 12” as shown. The applicant must confirm the existing sanitary sewer size on Mercy
Drive or confirm that the sewer line can handle the additional flow from the lift station. The Fire
Department listed the following items to be addressed before final approval can be given: a) Fire
flow water supply shall be completed, b) Define the total fire area so that fire flow and hydrants
can be determined, c) Additional hydrants are currently required. Submit plan showing all
hydrants; proposed and existing; d) There is no water supply in or near the vehicle parking areas,
e) Current water main shows hydrants on a dead end drive. Water main shall be looped; and e)
The farthest parking lot road width is 22 feet wide without a safety walk for pedestrians.
B. Mazade asked for clarification regarding the stormwater runoff from the parking lot, noting that
the elevation differed from the east side of the parking lot to the west side by 18 feet. M. Colpetzer
introduced storyboards to showcase the campus configuration, the parking lots, the walkways, the
relocation of the helipad, and the storm drainage system. He emphasized that each phase of the
project would be presented to Engineering for approval before finalization. M. Franzak asked
where the secondary helicopter pad would be located. M. Colpetzer stated that the County airport
would be the dedicated diversion point. J. Montgomery-Keast expressed concern regarding the
potential polluting of Little Black Creek by stormwater runoff and U.S. 31 contaminants.
Colpetzer explained that none of the water actually discharges into the creek, and stated that the
drainage plan actually diverted runoff between the wetlands into a natural settling area. He
explained that three 12-inch pipes connecting the drainage area emptied into a holding pond where
the sediment percolated into the ground prior to entering the wetland area.
A motion to close the public hearing was made by B. Mazade, supported by B. Larson and
A motion that the Special Use Permit for the 10-story addition and the relocation of the helipad be
approved with the following conditions: 1) A new site shall be submitted to and approved by staff,
which includes all of the comments from the Engineering and Fire Departments, 2) The perimeter
of the helipad be fenced and landscaped, 3) A sidewalk be added to the existing drive leading to
the northernmost parking lot, and 4) The plan must be revised to state that all parking lot lighting
will be 100% cutoff and downward facing, was made by B. Mazade, supported by B. Larson and
approved, with S. Gawron, E. Hood, F. Peterson, B. Larson, J. Doyle, and B. Mazade voting aye,
and T. Michalski and J. Montgomery-Keast voting nay.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 4:55 p.m.