CITY OF MUSKEGON
DATE OF MEETING: Thursday, September 13, 2018
TIME OF MEETING: 4:00 p.m.
PLACE OF MEETING: Commission Chambers, First Floor, Muskegon City Hall
I. Roll Call
II. Approval of Minutes from the special meeting of August 16, 2018.
III. Public Hearings
A. 2018-27: Request for a special land use permit to allow a gas station at 415 E Laketon Ave,
by Surinder Kaur.
IV. New Business
V. Old Business
AMERICAN DISABILITY ACT POLICY FOR ACCESS TO OPEN MEETING OF THE
CITY COMMISSION AND ANY OF ITS COMMITTEES OR SUBCOMMITTEES
The City of Muskegon will provide necessary reasonable auxiliary aids and services, such as signers for the hearing impaired and audio tapes
of printed materials being considered at the meeting, to individuals with disabilities who want to attend the meeting, upon twenty-four hour
notice to the City of Muskegon. Individuals with disabilities requiring auxiliary aids or services should contact the City of Muskegon by
writing or calling the following:
Ann Meisch, City Clerk
933 Terrace Street
CITY OF MUSKEGON
August 16, 2018
Chairperson T. Michalski called the meeting to order at 4:00 p.m. and roll was taken.
MEMBERS PRESENT: T. Michalski, J. Montgomery-Keast, B. Mazade, S. Gawron, J. Doyle, F.
Peterson, E. Hood, B. Larson
MEMBERS ABSENT: M. Hovey-Wright, excused
STAFF PRESENT: M. Franzak, D. Renkenberger
OTHERS PRESENT: J. Fox, 394 Houston Ave; L. Spataro, 1567 6th St; S. Rodarte, 444
Houston Ave; J. Witmer, Community enCompass; K. Knight, 406
Houston & 1148 6th St; B. Krick, 1762 Jefferson; B. Dodge, 90 W
Larch Ave; B. Kendrick, 314 Monroe Ave; H. Chavers, 294
Monroe Ave; D. Hippchen, 325 Monroe Ave.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
A motion to approve the Minutes of the special Planning Commission meeting of July 12, 2018, was made
by J. Montgomery-Keast, supported by B. Larson and unanimously approved.
Hearing, Case 2018-25: Request for preliminary Planned Unit Development approval for a mixed-use
development at 3400, 3460, 3474 Wilcox Ave, 1875 Waterworks Rd and 1490 Edgewater St, by MiCOAST
Properties, LLC. The application for this case was withdrawn by the applicant.
Hearing, Case 2018-26: Staff-initiated request to rezone 372, 380, 388, 394, 398, 406, and 414 Houston
Ave; 1246, 1252 and 1258 5th St; 235, 239, 240, 250 and 254 Monroe Ave; and 1148 6th St from R-3, High
Density Single Family Residential to Form Based Code, Urban Residential (FBC-UR). M. Franzak
presented the staff report. Staff is proposing the following rezonings from dense single-family residential to
dense multi-family residential to accommodate some new projects. These locations are already located near
multi-family homes and should fit in nicely with the existing neighborhood. Community enCompass would
like to build a new four-unit home on the vacant lot at 380 Houston Ave. This lot previously held a four-unit
home before it was demolished. Half of this block is already zoned FBC-UR and hosts several large homes.
This block could adequately support larger homes with the large alley and lots that could support multiple
cars parking in the rear. Community enCompass also owns two of the three lots at 1246-1258 5th St., with
the County of Muskegon owning the other parcel. They have proposed five row houses on these parcels.
This type of development fits these parcels well, as they are too small to accommodate multiple single-family
homes. The only type of home that would fit on these lots would be a single ranch, which is not compatible
with the neighborhood. A rendering of the proposed row housing was provided. The City owns the lots at
235-254 Monroe Ave. There is currently a Request for Proposals (RFP) out for this potential development,
and the City is encouraging dense single family homes, including row houses and cottage courtyard-style
buildings. Although multi-family zoning is not required for these projects, the FBC-UR designation will
allow for these building types. Renderings of possible building layouts were provided. Staff recommends
approval of the rezonings to allow for more housing options in the neighborhood.
M. Franzak explained the “missing middle” housing concept as it related to this request. Community
enCompass had plans to build homes in that area, as did the City of Muskegon. M. Franzak provided a map
showing the lots on Monroe Ave that the City owned. L. Spataro stated that he was the president of the
Nelson Neighborhood Improvement Association (NNIA) and spoke on their behalf. They had discussed the
proposal and took no formal position on it, positive or negative. He stated that single-family homeowners
had expressed concerns about their property values being negatively affected. S. Rodarte was opposed to the
request for multi-family homes, stating that single family homes were needed. He was also concerned with
property values and believed that multi-family units would have an adverse effect on those. He stated that
several other multi-unit properties in the area needed attention, and he was not in favor of adding any new
ones. F. Peterson stated that the area was a transition point from downtown to residential living areas, and
the City’s aim was to bring value and diversity to the neighborhood. Many of the lots proposed for rezoning
were vacant lots, and had been for some time. J. Montgomery-Keast asked what Community enCompass
planned to do with their lots, and when they intended to build. M. Franzak stated that they would like to
build a fourplex, for which there were several different design options. J. Witmer from Community
enCompass stated that they were currently in the process of applying for funds and would start building once
those were secured. K. Knight stated that his family had a long history in the area and he liked the single
family feel there. He was in favor of development, but not multi-family homes. B. Krick stated that
neighborhood residents had worked hard to clean up the area and make it more desirable. He was opposed to
row houses and any fourplex units. He was also concerned about parking and urged the Planning
Commissioners to consider the direction the neighborhood was going. B. Dodge concurred with Mr. Krick
and was opposed to multi-family housing as well. He did not want to see the area return to its former state,
with dilapidated housing stock. B. Kendrick stated that he had purchased one of the new Midtown Square
homes in the area and had concerns with multi-family housing, such as density and parking issues. He stated
that the Midtown Square development was single family homes and already had a nice diversity. H. Chavers
stated that he chose a home in Midtown Square due to the standards shown, and he wanted to see the City
maintain those standards, with single family homes. D. Hippchen lived adjacent to Midtown Square and was
happy with the improvements in the neighborhood. She had seen others improving their properties and
hoped the trend would continue with more quality single family homes. She was opposed to multi-family
housing and stated that a fourplex was too dense for the small lots. She believed that homeowners generally
tended to maintain their properties better than renters. J. Fox stated that he lived in the area and preferred
single family homes, as he believed it made the area more stable. M. Franzak explained that R-3 and FBC-
UR zoning districts were similar, but FBC-UR allowed more varied types of housing such as cottage
courtyard and row house-style buildings. B. Dodge asked if the proposal conformed to the City’s Master
Plan. M. Franzak stated that it did, as the plan called for the area to serve as a transitional zone between
downtown and single family areas. L. Spataro stated that they needed to consider whether the most intensive
use allowed in the proposed zoning was the best fit for the residences next door.
A motion to close the public hearing was made by B. Larson, supported by J. Montgomery-Keast and
J. Doyle asked if each unit in a row house was individually owned. M. Franzak stated that that was typically
true. B. Mazade had concerns about how this rezoning would affect the Fifth Street project. T. Michalski
stated that he concurred with the homeowners and was not comfortable with the proposal. He stated that
anything more than a duplex would be out of place. B. Mazade stated that he understood the concerns of the
neighbors. He was comfortable with the options presented with the exception of row houses. J.
Montgomery-Keast concurred with T. Michalski. She stated that she liked to see the development but would
like to see a more definite plan. F. Peterson stated that the problem house in this area had been a single
family home. Although Midtown Square was a great development, it was not sustainable for the City to
continue building those types of houses. The way to make future projects more sustainable was to have a
higher density and lower price point; more urban-thinking and less suburban. A development with different
types of housing would be more inclusive, as many people could not afford single family homes like the
Midtown Square development. T. Michalski suggested putting together a committee to discuss the issues,
including representatives of the NNIA. S. Gawron stated that more education and illustration regarding the
styles of proposed housing and where those types of projects were currently successful was needed. He
stated that the cottage and townhouse concepts were working in other areas of West Michigan. He asked M.
Franzak to explain the difference between the R-3 and FBC-UR zoning. M. Franzak stated that the R3
zoning allowed only single family homes. The purpose of the FBC-UR zoning would be to allow some
multi-family homes that were built to be just that, not single family homes that had been chopped up into
smaller units. FBC-UR also allowed different styles of homes. S. Gawron stated that the City was looking
for options for quality projects to fill the odd-sized lots that would otherwise be difficult to build on, in order
to reestablish traditional neighborhoods and energize the area. However, if neighbors were not comfortable
with the options as presented, more discussion was warranted. T. Michalski stated that tabling the request
would allow time for further discussion with the neighborhood. J. Montgomery-Keast reiterated that she was
in favor of development but would like more information. F. Peterson stated that staff from DPZ
CoDESIGN, a nationally renowned planning and design firm, had recently spent a lot of time in Muskegon.
They stated that what provided the most value in a neighborhood was having areas where people could live
together in a mixed-use environment. The way to have strong neighborhoods was to provide multiple options
to include people of different economic levels. F. Peterson explained that the City was not looking to make
this entire area into multi-family, only select lots. B. Mazade stated that he could understand the neighbors’
concerns, and suggested separating the Monroe Avenue lots from the others.
A motion to table this request was was made by J. Montgomery-Keast and failed due to lack of support.
A motion to deny this request was made by B. Larson and failed due to lack of support.
A motion that the request to rezone 235, 239, 240, 250 and 254 Monroe Avenue from R-3, High Density
Single Family Residential to Form Based Code, Urban Residential be recommended to the City Commission
for approval was made by B. Mazade, supported by F. Peterson and approved, with J. Montgomery-Keast, B.
Mazade, S. Gawron B. Larson, J. Doyle, F. Peterson, and E. Hood voting aye, and T. Michalski voting nay.
B. Larson asked what the rationale was for approving a portion of the request. B. Mazade stated that the
Monroe addresses were proposed as single family dwellings, while the others would allow multi-family
A motion to table the request to rezone 372, 380, 388, 394, 398, 406, and 414 Houston Avenue; 1246, 1252
and 1258 5th St; and 1148 6th St from R-3, High Density Single Family Residential to Form Based Code,
Urban Residential was made by B. Mazade, supported by B. Larson and approved, with J. Montgomery-
Keast, B. Mazade, B. Larson, J. Doyle, T. Michalski and E. Hood voting aye, and S. Gawron and F. Peterson
L. Spataro invited the Planning Commissioners to engage with the NNIA on these kinds of issues.
Master Plan Update – M. Franzak stated that staff was working on updating the Master Plan and would be
going to the neighborhood associations for their input.
“The Docks” Project - T. Michalski asked if anyone present wished to speak on the proposed “The Docks”
development that had originally been on the agenda but was withdrawn. No one wished to speak.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 5:15 p.m.
September 13, 2018
2018-27: Request for a special land use permit to allow a gas station at 415 E Laketon Ave, by Surinder
1. The property is located at the southeast corner of the intersection at Wood/Laketon. It is currently the
location of Metro PCS.
2. The applicant is requesting a special use permit to change the use to a gas station, which will include
a small addition to host a beer cooler. The current building measures 1,251 sf and the addition would
be an additional 560 sf. The lot measures roughly 18,730 sf.
3. The property is zoned B-2, Convenience & Comparison Business. This district allows automobile
service stations for the sale of gasoline, oil, tires, muffler tune up, not including major repair such as
engine rebuilding, undercoating, and similar industrially oriented activities, and subject further to the
The curb cuts for ingress and egress to a service station shall not be permitted at such
locations that will tend to create traffic hazards in the streets immediately adjacent thereto.
Entrances shall be no less than twenty-five (25) feet from a street intersection (measured from
the roadway) or from adjacent residential property, and subject to other ordinances of the
The minimum lot area shall be ten thousand (10,000) square feet, and so arranged that ample
space is available for motor vehicles which are required to wait.
There shall be provided, on those sides abutting or adjacent to a residential district, a four foot
(4') completely obscuring wall or fence. The height of the wall or fence shall be measured
from the surface of the ground.
All lighting shall be shielded from adjacent residential districts and from abutting streets.
All restroom doors shall be shielded from adjoining residential property.
4. It appears possible for these conditions to be met at this property, however, the internal traffic pattern
presents problems for safe ingress/egress. Staff is currently working with the applicant to revise the
internal traffic pattern. The way it is currently set up would make it impossible for the cars at the
western most pumps to exit the site. Also, the curb cut on Laketon Ave is very large and may be
required to be reduced. The Engineering Department is currently reviewing the curb cut standards for
this type of use.
5. The site plan indicates that the curb cut on Wood St will be moved to the north so that it is at 25 feet
from the adjacent residential property. This will still allow for the distance requirement from the
intersection to be met as well. A six foot wood fence will be placed along the south property line for
6. The plan shows the addition on a greenbelt buffer inside the property, which will really help with the
aesthetics of the property and business corridor as a whole. However, it may need to be altered on the
Laketon side to better accommodate traffic. Also, the terrace (between sidewalk and street) is
currently pavement and will need to be replaced with grass as well.
7. There is adequate parking for the retail store, however, the internal traffic pattern should be revised to
make the parking spaces more accessible to those entering off of Laketon Ave.
Existing building from the intersection of Wood/Laketon
Sidewalk without greenbelt buffer on either side. The Curb cut on Wood St to be moved further
plan proposed a greenbelt buffer inside the property north for seperation from house.
on both Laketon and Wood. However, the plan does
not show the buffer in the terrace (between sidewalk
Staff recommends addressing the internal traffic pattern and greenbelt buffer requirements before approval is
given. Staff will be working with the applicant to submit a revised plan before the meeting.
I move that the request for a special land use permit to allow a gas station at 415 E Laketon Ave be
(approved/denied/tabled) with the following conditions (if any):