BOARD OF TRUSTEES AND PLANNING COMMISSION
JOINT MEETING - JULY 7, 2003
MEMBERS PRESENT: Bob Hanvey, Sue Lingle, Dan Lowe, Myrna Schlittler, Dave Hamann, John Lowe,
Jean Root, Debra Wiedman-Clawson, and Jim Anderson
Kehoe, Township Attorney
John Ambrose, Township Planner
Annette McNamara, Zoning Administrator
Tom Klebba, Township Consultant
Bob Hanvey called the meeting to order at 5:04 p.m.
The township planner, township attorney, members of the
Planning Commission and Board members introduced themselves.
CALL TO THE PUBLIC
OPEN SPACE PRESERVATION ORDINANCE
Bob Hanvey asked John Lowe, chairman of the Planning Commission, to summarize its concerns and address its questions.
Mr. Lowe said the original intent of the language in the Open Space Preservation (OSP) ordinance was to regulate the parallel plan
language and to convey that the parallel plan was designed using individual septic systems as the basis for determining density.
Mr. Hanvey restated that the Planning Commission wants the language to read in such a way that thereís no clear advantage to a
developer to go one way or the other. Mr. Lowe doesnít want a substantial monetary benefit by going with the more clustered option
without additional amenities to offset it. Mr. Hanvey stated he hadnít seen anything in the ordinance that gives the Planning Commission
any authority to design the projectÖto tell the developer where the open space should be. Mr. Lowe said no, not where it should be,
but the open space needs to be calculated on the buildable area. Mr. Hanvey said then the developer could potentially have the open
space be on a lot-by-lot basis. Tom Klebba said the 25-foot perimeter buffer should be part of the open space so that it would stay in a
natural state and the site plan would say what that open space would be. The association would maintain it rather than individual property
owners (cutting grass, not cutting grass, etc.)
Mr. Lowe felt that should be something the township should be allowed
John Ambrose said that one of the problems is the ordinance requires a 25-foot buffer around any development, but it can be part of each
personís lot instead of common area. He feels the buffer should be outside of the lot boundaries. Itís difficult to tell someone they canít do
something with his or her own lot.
existing sub that didnít have it versus one that already has the 25-foot buffer. For example, on Clivedon Road, thereís no buffer on the side
lot, so there will only be 25 feet.
Under the current plan, both subdivisions would be 25 feet.
lot and is to remain as a greenbelt, is that as enforceable
as it would be if it was left as part of the association property.
Mike Kehoe said the township shouldnít be putting itself in a position to handle individual. If the buffer is part of the association, then
youíre enforcing against just that entity, not each individual property owner. He felt itís probably a little easier to enforce the ordinance if
the association owns the property.
didnít come out of the lot calculations. John Ambrose asked if the township has the authority to enforce master deed regulations.
Mr. Kehoe said no, but if it were part of the actual site plan that was approved, that would be another issue. John Lowe asked about the
issue of the calculation of the area on the perimeter lots. Will that be included as part of the lot? John Ambrose said yes, initially you
would include it; all buildable land would be used. Jean Root asked if that would be extended into PUDs as well? John Ambrose said
most of the major PUDs did that. John Lowe asked whether the Planning Commission can request more buffer, ask the developer to
move something, etc.? Mr. Ambrose felt that things could be requested at the site plan review as long as the conditions protect the health,
safety and welfare of the community. But normally, the developer will choose those things. John Lowe used the example of a lot next to
a 25-foot buffer with five lots adjacent in a new sub. In the rural character of the area, thatís pretty high density. Debra Wiedman-Clawson
said the ordinance should give a clearer definition of ďvegetation.Ē John Lowe asked Mike Kehoe if that would be defensible. Mr. Kehoe
said he thought it would be. Mr. Kehoe also felt it would be a good idea for the language in paragraph two of the OSP to add a new
item ďeĒ to add wording about compatible buffering with
and a half-acre lot may be viewed by a developer as being similar. Mr. Kehoe said one or two 20,000 square foot lots up against one acre
is probably not that big of a difference. He would like language to be added to give the Planning Commission the ability to request changes
based on each individual project.
recommendations to mitigate impact on adjoining projects. These issues are site specific. He encourages a meeting prior to site plan
review so these types of items can be addressed.
to say they want the entrance to a development to move? Mr. Kehoe said the majority of the issues will be site specific depending on
the land, etc. Bob Hanvey asked how the township can avoid the charge that itís biased toward certain builders? Mr. Kehoe said itís the
Planning Commissionís role to be objective and follow the
ordinance as much as possible.
to determine what is buildable if there are no perk tests, no wetlands delineation, etc. Mr. Kehoe suggested that Mr. Ambrose draft
language for the OSP ordinance that would give the Planning
Commission the ability to negotiate.
parallel plan, yet one parallel plan that was submitted appeared to be wrong. Mr. Kehoe said he doesnít believe it has to be taken at
face value. Debra Wiedman-Clawson asked if the township could request perks on certain lots? Mr. Kehoe said yes, probably, but he
recommends adding language to the ordinance to give the right to request additional information. Heís not completely comfortable with
requesting a developer to perk all of the lotsónot sure thatís reasonable. The state law says that it has to be based upon the number of
houses that could normally be built. Add some language stating that when a parallel plan is provided and the Planning Commission
wants additional information to document that the building sites are in fact buildable under the parallel plan and as required by the
existing ordinance. John Ambrose read the definition of buildable: ďÖthe area of any lot or parcel of land that is actually buildable which,
for the purpose of developing land or computing density, shall not include existing or proposed rights-of-way for public or private roads,
major utility or pipeline easements, flood plains, wetlands (regulated and non-regulated), lakes, ponds, streams or any other body of
water except as otherwise provided in this ordinance.Ē Based on this definition, Mr. Ambrose doesnít feel unbuildable areas (wetlands)
can be used for calculations.
They obtained a permit to put the shared driveway in. Mr. Hanvey said once he went out and actually saw the lay of the land, it made
sense to do what the developer had proposed.
development. Using the example of Wolf Ridge and the two lots, he feels the Planning Commission would have been perfectly justified
in saying they wouldnít count those two lots as buildable because realistically, they wouldnít be developed. That would have been a
sustainable court decision. Mr. Hanvey asked if the township could hire a wetlands consultant to go out and do the staking and have the
money come out of escrow money. It needs to be done at some point, so why not do it first? Mr. Kehoe said if youíre going to require
something like that, wording to that effect needs to be in the ordinance. Mary Ann Bahr said the definition of buildable land says that
wetlands have to be included, and youíre putting the cart before the horse if you donít define the wetlands before you go forward.
There should be steps to follow. Step 1 is to define the wetlands. It doesnít make sense to get to the preliminary site plan approval
stage without the wetlands defined. How do you know how many lots? If youíre going to have open space in the zoning ordinance,
you have to have something that requires surrounding residents be notified. Mr. Hanvey said that adjacent landowners do have an interest
and they do have the opportunity to comment, but they really
donít have controlling authority over what the Planning Commission does.
Ms. Bahr said the Planning Commission should consider what surrounding residents have to say. If you set the standards, everyone has
to live by the same rules. John Lowe said that the survey includes the topographical layout of the site. The variation on the wetlands from
the preliminary to the final site plan is negligible. Itís very obvious where the wetlands are on almost every project. The developers arenít
going to submit something thatís blatantly obvious thatís
not a wetland and come back with a vastly different final plan.
asked what if the surveyor and the developer are one and the
wetland delineation has to be checked by an outside entity. Mr. Hanvey asked again, why couldnít that be done first?
Debra Wiedman-Clawson said the wetlands specialist needs a set of plans beforehand. John Ambrose said the ordinance does require
that wetlands within 200 feet of the site be shown. If a surveyor misrepresents intentionally, his or her license is at stake. Registered
surveyors wonít give misinformation.
Commission to require the parallel plan to include wetland delineation before preliminary approval. John Ambrose said the parallel plan
should include all the information just as any project would. Dan Lowe asked why the item wasnít tabled because it wasnít complete?
Mr. Ambrose said there were other issues.
ordinance states buildable area cannot include wetlands as part of the calculation, are we standing on solid ground as a basis to deny
those lots? Mr. Kehoe said yes. Mr. Hanvey asked if that means a parallel plan canít include wetlands as part of a lot. If someone has a
ten-acre parcel with only one acre being buildable, they still would be allowed to build. John Lowe said subdivisions or site condos use a
one-acre minimum without wetlands. A parcel split is different. Basically, different criteria can be used depending on how a parcel is
created and the character of the development (metes & bounds versus site condos, subs, etc.) Jean Root said thatís why there are
different mechanisms for different types of parcels. Dan Lowe asked Mike Kehoe if giving a developer a preliminary approval gives them
any benefit in court if final approval was not given? Mike Kehoe said the Planning Commission could only act on the information
presented at the time. If the township is provided with the parallel plan and thereís concern that some of the parcels wonít perk or
arenít laid out right, the developer should be told and it should be part of the record. Approval should not be given; it should be denied
based on those conditions. Jean Root asked what if thereís a question on the number of lots theyíre asking for. Mike Kehoe said the
township could ask for proof that those sites can be built
Control Act for conventional subdivisions. Basically, itís a three-step process. Thereís a pre-preliminary, a preliminary and a final plat.
The pre-preliminary plan shows the general layout of the roads and proposed lots. The next phase includes more detailed information.
The developer is usually given a list of items that need to
be addressed in the final plan.
latest proposal for the requirements for the perk tests, etc. Does the latest language meet the townshipís needs? John Ambrose said
the purpose of the language in item 4 in the OSP ordinance is to get away from centralized septic systems. The key is that the lots
should be designed with individual on-site septic systems. Bob Hanvey asked if something should be in item 4 that says this only
applies to places where thereís not sewer available. Mr. Ambrose said if someone added sewer to a parallel plan, the township wouldnít
have these kinds of questions.
John Ambrose and Mike Kehoe suggested some changes in the
wording of item 4 as follows:
Hartland Townshipís language that includes a paragraph that deals with the DEQ and additional language that provides for storm water
management, etc. It seems like the township always follows the Livingston County Health Departmentís (LCHD) standards, but those
standards change. Debra Wiedman-Clawson said the wording needs to be something that would hold up in court. John Lowe said the
approval process by the township engineer should consider the standards of the DEQ and the Drain Commission. John Lowe mentioned
that Mr. Kehoe had said the township couldnít justify requiring the development to do the plan twice. Mike thought it would be too
restrictive to actually require them to prove each building site perked. The current language is not bad. Mike thought there was some
language in the Hartland Township ordinance that might be useful. The OSP language will be changed to read, ďÖThe parallel plan
shall be designed to occupy buildable land only and all lots and/or building sites shall be designed to accommodate individual on-site
septic systems that meet the design criteria of the
Livingston County Health Department.
sewer and water availability and whether a developer can pick and choose whether they want both. His understanding is that if both are
accessible, they canít have one without the other. The township has no way to meter the sewer usage with wells. Does the ordinance
need to be changed? Mike Kehoe said he will review the language. In an effort to keep Mike Kehoe apprised of the work the Planning
Commission is doing, John Ambrose asked for permission to consult with Mike Kehoe on issues as needed. Bob Hanvey said the
board could vote on that at its next meeting. John Ambrose will draft additional language to the OSP ordinance, and another public
hearing will be held.
CALL TO PUBLIC
Dave Hamann motioned to adjourn the meeting at 7:15 p.m. Sue Lingle seconded. Motion carried 5-0.