Planning Commission Minutes 03-15-2018

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                                   CITY OF MUSKEGON
                                 PLANNING COMMISSION
                                   REGULAR MEETING
                                        MINUTES

                                        March 15, 2018

Vice Chairman B. Larson called the meeting to order at 4:00 p.m. and roll was taken.

MEMBERS PRESENT:              T. Michalski, F. Peterson, B. Mazade, J. Doyle, M. Hovey-Wright,
                              E. Hood

MEMBERS ABSENT:               B. Larson, excused; S. Gawron, excused; J. Montgomery-Keast,
                              excused

STAFF PRESENT:                M. Franzak, D. Renkenberger

OTHERS PRESENT:               B. Playford for Avasure, 1635 Rood Point Rd; K. Zimmerman,
                              Community EnCompass; D. Alexander, 3410 Whiskey Hollow; K.
                              Kolberg, 3414 Whiskey Hollow; L. Taunt, 2561 Maplewood Dr SE,
                              Grand Rapids

ELECTION OF OFFICERS
A motion to retain T. Michalski as Chairman and to nominate B. Mazade as Vice Chair was made
by F. Peterson, supported by E. Hood an unanimously approved. T. Michalski and B. Mazade
accepted the nominations.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES
A motion to approve the Minutes of the regular Planning Commission meeting of February 15,
2018 was made by J. Doyle, supported by F. Peterson and unanimously approved.

PUBLIC HEARINGS
Hearing, Case 2018-06: Request to amend the Planned Unit Development at 1161 W Southern
Ave to demolish a portion of the building and to expand the parking lot, by Avasure Properties,
LLC. M. Franzak presented the staff report. The property is zoned R-1, Low Density Single
Family Residential; however, a PUD to allow office/research and development was approved in
2017. The approved PUD included the usage of the former school gymnasium and 57 parking
spaces. This request is to demolish the gymnasium and add parking in different phases, as needed.
They are also planning to move the playground at the corner of Southern/Davis to behind the
southern portion of the building. An urban garden will be located just to the east of the new
playground. Staff is in the process of approving the relocation of the playground and the addition
of the urban farm, since neither requires Planning Commission approval. There is an existing
parking lot east of the current gymnasium. The plan shows a few different parking options, with
some listed as future parking. After discussions with the applicant, it appears that the plan does
not properly depict what they are requesting. They would like to retain a portion of the parking
lot near the corner of Southern and Barclay (33 spaces). The area where the gymnasium currently
stands will be seeded for grass after demolition. An access drive to the building will be maintained
to the south of the new grass area. They are requesting a total of 93 parking spaces when the
building is fully occupied. Staff believes there may be a more efficient way to design the future
parking and there also needs to be more detail on stormwater management. The dumpster and
generator on the east side of the building appear to be fenced, but the plan must show that it is
screened and at least 5 feet tall. Staff is asking the Planning Commission to recommend approval
of the gymnasium demolition and the reconfiguration of the parking lot for 33 spaces; also, to
approve the addition of up to 93 parking spaces on site, as long as each phase is reviewed and
approved by staff. Notice was sent to all property owners/tenants within 300 feet of this property.
At the time of this writing, staff had not received any comments from the public. Staff
recommends approval of the demolition and parking lot plan, with staff authorized to review each
new parking lot phase, up to 93 spaces.
J. Doyle asked what the correct location of the parking spaces was, since the plan was incorrect.
M. Franzak stated that the location was the same as noted on the plan but the phases were different.
B. Mazade asked if the Nims Neighborhood had been notified of the request to relocate the
playground. M. Franzak stated that they were aware of it and he had been working with them on
it. They are also aware of the urban farm plan. M. Hovey-Wright asked if the group who raised
the funds for the playground were aware of the plan. M. Franzak stated that they were, and they
had been included in the discussions. B. Playford stated that the urban garden would be operated
by Community EnCompass, and Avasure was paying to move the playground.
A motion to close the public hearing was made by B. Mazade, supported by J. Doyle and
unanimously approved.
A motion that the request to amend the Planned Unit Development at 1161 W Southern Ave to
demolish the gymnasium portion of the building and to expand the parking lot, be recommended
to the City Commission for approval with the conditions that 1) staff may review future parking
expansions with the ability to provide up to 93 parking spaces, and 2) any necessary permits are
obtained, was made by M. Hovey-Wright, supported by B. Mazade and unanimously approved,
with T. Michalski, F. Peterson, B. Mazade, J. Doyle, M. Hovey-Wright, and E. Hood voting aye.
Hearing, Case 2018-07: Request for a Special Land Use Permit to allow the conversion of the
first floor commercial space into another residential unit in an R-2, Medium Density Single Family
Residential District at 1736 Beidler St. M. Franzak presented the staff report. The property is
zoned R-2, Medium Density Single Family Residential, and the building is a mixed-use type, with
an apartment above a retail space. The retail area has been vacant for many years, and its location
and condition make it difficult to attract any commercial investors. It is located almost 400 feet
away from Laketon Ave and is not visible from any major streets. The building to the east and the
building across the street are the same type mixed-use buildings and they have also had issues
attracting commercial businesses. The applicant is requesting to utilize the commercial space as
an additional apartment. Staff agrees that the space would be better utilized as an apartment rather
than to continue to sit vacant and become obsolete and blighted. Staff initially looked into a
rezoning to RT, Two Family Residential, but felt that was not the appropriate route, since the
parcel is in the middle of a single family residential district. If the existing building were to be
destroyed, the RT designation would allow a duplex to be built as a replacement, which does not
fit with the rest of the neighborhood. The zoning ordinance allows previously existing or
established commercial uses not already converted to residential to be used for limited business
purposes with a special use permit (see zoning excerpt below). All of these allowed business uses
are considered more intrusive to a neighborhood than an additional apartment, so staff has
interpreted the ordinance to allow less intensive (residential) uses with a special use permit as well.
This will also ensure that in the event of the building being destroyed, the property could only be
redeveloped into a single family residence, which fits in with the neighborhood. Apartments
require two parking spaces per unit. There is a two-stall garage on site and room for two more
cars in the driveway. The terrace is also paved in front of the building along Beidler St and Larch
Ave, which allows for another four parking spaces. Notice was sent to all property owners/tenants
within 300 feet of this property. At the time of this writing, staff has received one comment. P.
Bogner, owner of Wayne’s Deli stated that she has no objection to the request as long as adequate
parking is provided. Staff recommends approval of the Special Land Use Permit to allow the vacant
commercial space to be converted into an additional apartment. This would allow for reinvestment
of the property, while still limiting future uses in the event of a disaster.
J. Doyle asked if there were any tenants there now. M. Franzak stated that both units were vacant.
A motion to close the public hearing was made by B. Mazade, supported by J. Doyle and
unanimously approved.
A motion that the request for a Special Land Use Permit to allow the conversion of the first floor
commercial space into another residential unit in an R-2, Medium Density Single Family
Residential District at 1736 Beidler St. be approved, was made by E. Hood, supported by M.
Hovey-Wright and unanimously approved, with T. Michalski, F. Peterson, B. Mazade, J. Doyle,
M. Hovey-Wright, and E. Hood voting aye.

Hearing, Case 2018-08: Request to amend the Planned Unit Development at 1670 E Sherman
Blvd to utilize the building as a medical office that provides urgent care, occupational medicine
and radiology, by Mercy Health Partners. M. Franzak presented the staff report. The property is
part of the PUD that was approved for retail. The building was formerly an Old Country Buffet
and then briefly a Chinese buffet. The applicant is requesting to utilize the building for medical
uses, specifically for urgent care, occupational medicine and radiology. The PUD must be
amended to allow this type of use in this location of the plan. There is adequate parking at the
entire development to support this type of use. Staff recommends that traffic improvements be
made where the traffic lane intersects the drive-thru at Panera Bread. Customers exiting the drive-
thru often conflict with the cars driving east towards the exit. Staff observed several near-crashes
at this intersection, which will only become more dangerous once the building at 1670 E Sherman
is reutilized. More details are needed, but staff recommends either a stop sign and painted stop
bar in the eastbound travel lane or a curb that would direct drive-thru customers east after receiving
their food. Notice was sent to all property owners/tenants within 300 feet of this property. At the
time of this writing, staff had not received any comments from the public. Staff recommends
approval of the request to use the parcel for a medical facility. This building has been vacant for
many years and some of the other suites in this development have had difficulties attracting retail
businesses. The influx of people to the area from the medical use should result in higher traffic
numbers to the nearby businesses. However, any approvals should be contingent upon a new
traffic pattern being approved by staff.
L. Burpee and M. Weesies discussed the project and answered questions. L. Burpee stated that
there was plenty of parking at this site. They hoped that having the medi-center here would
alleviate some of the traffic congestion at the nearby Mercy Health campus’s emergency room.
The medi-center would be open 7 days a week with weekday hours for occupational health.
A motion to close the public hearing was made by J. Doyle, supported by F. Peterson and
unanimously approved.

A motion that the request to amend the Planned Unit Development at 1670 E Sherman Blvd to
utilize the building as a medical office that provides urgent care, occupational medicine and
radiology, by Mercy Health Partners, be recommended to the City Commission for approval with
the condition that a stop sign be erected and a white stop bar be painted on the pavement at the
Panera Bread drive-thru exit, was made by B. Mazade, supported by E. Hood and unanimously
approved, with T. Michalski, F. Peterson, B. Mazade, J. Doyle, M. Hovey-Wright, and E. Hood
voting aye.
Hearing, Case 2018-09: Staff-initiated request to rezone 1814 Dyson St, 1824 Dyson St, 1831
Dyson St and 1828 Jarman St from B-2, Convenience and Comparison Business District to R-2,
Medium Density Single Family Residential District. Also to rezone 1813 Dyson St from R-1, Low
Density Single Family Residential District to R-2, Medium Dentistry Residential District. Also to
rezone 1808 McIlwraith St, 1814 McIlwraith St, and 1825 Jarman St from B-4, General Business
District to R-2, Medium Density Single Family Residential District. M. Franzak presented the
staff report. The Muskegon County Land Bank owns the home at 1814 Dyson St, which is
improperly zoned for business uses. They have requested a rezoning to residential so that they can
use grant funding to demolish the house. Staff also noted several other properties in the area that
appear to be improperly zoned. All of these properties are either used as residential homes or are
vacant residential lots. Having them zoned for business can make it difficult to sell the home,
refinance or rebuild in the event of a disaster. Photos of each of the houses proposed for rezoning
were provided to board members. All buildings appeared to be of residential construction. Notice
was sent to all property owners/tenants within 300 feet of all of these properties. At the time of
this writing, staff had received several calls from neighbors who had questions about the rezonings,
but all were in favor after discussions. Staff recommends approval of the rezonings so that the
current uses are reflected with the proper zoning.
No comments from audience members were received. A motion to close the public hearing was
made by J. Doyle, supported by M. Hovey-Wright and unanimously approved.

A motion that the request to rezone 1814 Dyson St, 1824 Dyson St, 1831 Dyson St and 1828
Jarman St from B-2, Convenience and Comparison Business District to R-2, Medium Density
Single Family Residential District. Also to rezone 1813 Dyson St from R-1, Low Density Single
Family Residential District to R-2, Medium Dentistry Residential District. Also to rezone 1808
McIlwraith St, 1814 McIlwraith St, and 1825 Jarman St from B-4, General Business District to R-
2, Medium Density Single Family Residential District, be recommended to the City Commission
for approval was made by M. Hovey-Wright, supported by E. Hood and unanimously approved,
with T. Michalski, F. Peterson, B. Mazade, J. Doyle, M. Hovey-Wright, and E. Hood voting aye.

NEW BUSINESS

None
OLD BUSINESS
Hearing, Case 2017-33: Staff-initiated request to amend Section 2321 of the zoning ordinance to
expand the overlay district and allow Wireless Communication Service Facilities at 1800 Peck St
(Marsh Field) and 2375 Beach St (Water Filtration Plant). M. Franzak presented the staff report.
Cell phone towers are regulated by Section 2321 (Wireless Communication Service Facilities) of
the zoning ordinance. An overlay district allows these facilities in four different locations in the
City. A map was provided to the board members showing those locations. Staff is requesting to
expand the overlay district with two new locations, one at Marsh Field and the other behind the
Water Filtration Plant. This would increase cell phone coverage throughout the City. This request
is only to expand the overlay districts and allow companies to apply for a Special Land Use Permit
to construct a new facility. There were some concerns from citizens at the December Planning
Commission meeting about the water filtration plant location. They recommended that the
proposed location be moved 200 feet to the south along the bike path. Staff has prepared that as
option 2 on the aerial map included in the staff report. Option 1 would be in the area inside the
water filtration plant parcel where there are already two existing antennas. If option 1 is selected,
the existing antennas could be relocated to the new facility. It may not be possible to relocate them
to Option 2 due to the cost laying new wires. Staff sent out a notice letter for this hearing to
everyone within 300 feet of the water filtration plant. At the time of this writing, staff had received
calls from Susan Newton at 3444 Keaton Ct and Herb Hooker at 3443 Keaton Ct, who were both
in favor of Option 1 which showed one cell tower pole instead of the two antennas currently there.
Staff recommends approval of the ordinance amendment with option 1 for the water filtration plant
site. Staff received no opposition to the proposed Marsh Field location.

M. Franzak discussed comments he had received after the staff report was sent to board members.
D. VanWesep and E. DeJong of 3430 Whiskey Hollow Dr both wrote letters opposing any cell
tower location at the beach. D. VanWesep stated that it would negatively affect their view and
believed it was bad for Muskegon’s image as a tourist destination. E. DeJong was opposed due to
having a cell tower or pole of an industrial nature obstructing the lake views. He also believed
that it violated the zoning ordinance. M. Schutt of 3355 Lakeshore Dr wrote in support of Option
1, as better cell service was needed in the beach area. B. Mazade asked how tall the current towers
were that were located on the property, and how tall the proposed cell pole would be. M. Franzak
estimated the current towers to be 125 feet tall; a monopole like the one proposed was allowed to
be up to 200 feet tall maximum. B. Mazade asked if a Special Use Permit would be required in
order to erect the actual pole. M. Franzak stated that was correct. J. Doyle asked about the
assertion in Mr. DeJong’s letter about option 1 being in violation of the zoning ordinance. M.
Franzak stated that the proposal did not violate the zoning ordinance for cell towers. He went on
to discuss option 2’s location, which was a less desirable option, as it was in a critical dune area
as well as a city charter park.
D. Alexander of 3410 Whiskey Hollow stated that he was in favor of either option 1 or 2,
depending on what the other neighbors decided. He asked if the City would get paid for use of the
cell pole. F. Peterson stated that was correct. There was further discussion on whether any profits
made from the tower would go toward the water department or the parks department. M. Franzak
stated that option 2 located in the charter park would complicate the leasing of pole space and
could be an expensive and time-consuming legal process according to the City’s counsel. K.
Kolberg of 3414 Whiskey Hollow stated that he did not think the beach was the proper area for a
tower or pole, and he was concerned that allowing one would lead to more. B. Mazade stated that
city ordinance required co-location on the same pole, to eliminate the need for several poles or
towers. L. Taunt owned property on Whiskey Hollow and stated that either option would be
acceptable but it appeared that option 2 would be best for the neighbors. L. Page stated that he
represented the Pigeon Hill Alliance, a non-profit group concerned with environmental issues in
the area. He stated that he had made several cell phone calls from the area and was able to get
through each time. Board members and other audience members stated that they regularly had
calls dropped in the area of the beach. L. Page stated that he preferred option 1 over option 2, as
option 2 was in a charter park and critical dune area.

A motion to close the public hearing was made by M. Hovey-Wright, supported by J. Doyle and
unanimously approved.

A motion that the request to amend Section 2321 of the zoning ordinance to expand the overlay
district for Wireless Communication Support Facilities be recommended to the City Commission
for approval, with Option 1 being the recommended choice for the Water Filtration Plant site, was
made by M. Hovey-Wright, supported by J. Doyle and unanimously approved, with T. Michalski,
F. Peterson, B. Mazade, J. Doyle, M. Hovey-Wright, and E. Hood voting aye. F. Peterson
confirmed that the motion included the Marsh Field site. M. Franzak stated that was correct.

OTHER

Imagine Muskegon Lake (IML) plan – M. Franzak updated board members on the IML plan
progress. The consultants were almost finished; once the final plan was complete, staff would
pursue adopting it as part of the city’s Master Plan. B. Mazade asked if anything had changed
from the draft plan. M. Franzak stated that there were some changes made.


There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 5:00 p.m.

DR

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