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January 24, 2006

7:30 p.m.



APPROVAL OF AGENDA FOR:     January 24, 2006 Regular Meeting


CALL TO THE PUBLIC:                         Agenda Items only – 3 minute limit

APPROVAL OF MINUTES FROM:           December 27, 2005 Regular Meeting


1)     Subdivision Control Ordinance (General Ordinance)

2)     Proposed Text Amendment Standards for Specific Land Uses - Section 17.16 Group Day Care Homes

3)     Proposed Text Amendment Standards for Specific Land Uses - Section 17.27 Shooting Ranges (Rifle, Skeet, Trap, Pistol and Archery)

4)     City of Howell Master Plan Amendment – John Enos to confirm date for joint meeting

5)     Planning Commission budget discussion


1)     Small Way Private Road Site Plan Review – Tax ID# 4710-05-100-002 – Section 5 – South of Mason Road and East of Amos Road



                              DRAFT MINUTES

MEMBERS PRESENT:               John Lowe, Dave Hamann, Jean Root, Jim Anderson, Debra Wiedman-Clawson

MEMBERS ABSENT:                 None

OTHERS PRESENT:                  Phil Westmoreland, OHM

David Schroeder, OHM

John Enos, Carlisle/Wortman



John Lowe called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.


Jean Root asked to have an item on Article XX—Amendments added to the agenda and renumber the agenda items.  Dave Hamann motioned to approve the agenda as amended. Jim Anderson seconded.  Motion carried 5-0.


The members of the Planning Commission introduced themselves.




December 27, 2005 Regular Meeting

Jean Root asked for a change to the bottom of page 3, Section 6.19—Standards for Specific Land Use should say Section 6.18 F 1 & G—Condominium Projects.  Dave Hamann motioned to approve the minutes as amended.  Jean Root seconded.  Motion carried 5-0.


Cora Sauter from Engineering Technologies was present with the applicant.  Ms. Sauter briefly summarized the site plan.  Jean Root said there was no review from Carlisle/Wortman and asked John Lowe if the PC should even be looking at this request today.  Mr. Lowe said they are parcel splits, not a subdivision.  Deborah Wiedman-Clawson said the planner reviewed Bentley Ridge and two or three others.  The previous planner reviewed Tonch Drive and a few other private roads.  Ms. Wiedman-Clawson said all of a sudden, the PC didn’t get a review from the planner.  Mr. Enos said he wasn’t asked to do a review, although he has done private road reviews in the past.  Mr. Lowe asked the PC members if they wanted to give the applicant some direction.  Ms. Root asked if the applicant has looked at the zoning ordinance.  Ms. Sauter said yes.  Ms. Root said there are some issues with the flag lot, and this plan doesn’t even come close to meeting the ordinance.  Ms. Wiedman-Clawson said there are some road issues, too.  She said that Lot 4 doesn’t meet the ordinance for a flag lot, Lot 2 needs to be a seventy (70) foot setback, it’s questionable whether the frontage on Lot 3 is actually one hundred twenty (120) feet, the width of the gravel road doesn’t meet the Livingston County standards and the zoning ordinance.  Ms. Sauter asked how this procedure would be handled, because this is the second submittal that’s been made without receiving any feedback.  The PC members said this is the first time they’ve seen it.  Ms. Wiedman-Clawson said because there was an issue with the Livingston County Road Commission and the sight distance that it had been pulled.  Ms. Sauter said she did receive an engineering review, which was very helpful.  Ms. Root said that reviewing Section 6.20, which deals specifically with private roads, would be helpful.

Mr. Lowe confirmed that Ms. Sauter had received a copy of the letter from the township attorney.  She said yes, and her client’s attorney is making revisions.  Mr. Lowe asked what the proposal for the existing building being within the setback.  He asked if the lot could be reconfigured so there’s no encroachment.  Ms. Sauter said at this point, he would probably apply for a variance for the building.  Mr. Morrison said the flag lot would play a role in that, too.  Mr. Lowe asked the applicant if he’s comfortable with the information he’s received so far.  Mr. Morrison asked the PC to address the road width in the future.  Ms. Wiedman-Clawson said the township has been working with a standard maintenance agreement, and we’ve required all of the other developers to use that standard, and this one’s not even close.  Ms. Sauter said they did call the attorney, who said there’s not a standard maintenance agreement.  Ms. Wiedman-Clawson said there’s one that’s been given out to use as a template.  Mr. Lowe said it’s not finalized at this point, but they can just ask for the template. 

Mr. Enos said if the applicant wants to sketch something up in terms of a lot configuration, he can do a quick review to make sure it’s in conformance with the ordinance requirements on lot size, lot widths, flag lots, etc. 

Mr. Lowe asked the engineers from OHM if they had gone through the drainage calculations, and does the retention pond work for what is proposed.  Mr. Westmoreland said yes. 

Mr. Morrison asked if there were any objections to clearing the roadway areas.  Ms. Wiedman-Clawson said that was brought up earlier:  where’s the landscape buffer, where are the clearing limits, etc.  Is that going to be required for land divisions too?  Mr. Lowe said the PC has asked for it on other land splits.  Mr. Morrison said all he’s asking for is the road right-of-way and retention area.  Ms. Wiedman-Clawson said the PC didn’t receive an aerial, but the applicant could provide an aerial overlay and show the limits of clearing for the road and the retention.  Mr. Lowe said the road layout could change.  Ms. Sauter said the position wouldn’t change; it might become longer.  Ms. Wiedman-Clawson said if this development were required to have 25-foot buffers and landscaping, you’d only get one lot.  Mr. Enos said his recommendation is that the PC not follow those requirements for land divisions.  Ms. Root suggested requiring clearing limits for the road only.  Mr. Enos said the requirements should be done on a case-by-case basis.  Mr. Hamann said the PC needs to decide what it wants, and it needs to be written into the ordinance.  Ms. Root said that could be discussed under the Priorities for 2006 agenda item.  Mr. Hamann said the 66-foot easement would be the clearing limit.  Mr. Lowe asked Mr. Westmoreland if that would be acceptable.  Mr. Westmoreland said yes.  Mr. Hamann asked if they need a land use permit to clear?  Mr. Lowe said they need to apply for one, or is that something they don’t need.  Ms. Wiedman-Clawson said he shouldn’t have to get a land use permit to take trees down on his own property.  Mr. Enos said that trees may be removed within the 66-foot right-of-way.  If they do any grading, they have to get a land use permit. 


John Enos said there were some changes in the state law that may expedite subdivisions, and the ordinance needs to be updated.  Mr. Enos said the MTA has put together a model ordinance.  His suggestion is to take the best parts of the MTA ordinance, the best parts of our ordinance, and incorporate them into one.  Mr. Enos is asking for the PC’s approval to combine the documents, send a copy to the township attorney, and have it available for discussion at the next meeting.  Dave Hamann asked Mr. Enos if he would identify how this ties into the zoning ordinance.  Mr. Enos said he would have a list of where in the ordinance it directs the reader to look at the subdivision control ordinance, as well as a flow chart.  Jean Root said the Board should be made aware that the two are being combined and why.  Mr. Enos said he would provide a memo detailing the information.  Ms. Root said she would like the letter from Mike Kehoe and the January 16 letter from John Enos to be included in what’s given to the Board. 

Jean Root motioned to table the Subdivision Control Ordinance to the February 28, 2006 meeting.  John Enos will draft a memo advising the Township Board of the PC’s intentions and include the letter from Mike Kehoe dated January 17 and memo from Carlisle/Wortman dated January 16.  Deborah Wiedman-Clawson seconded.  Motion carried 5-0.


Section 17.16—Group Day Care Homes

John Enos said that minor changes have been made to the language.  The attorney made some suggestions.  The language that was originally discussed regulated the number of children based on the zoning district the day care home was in.  The township attorney said that couldn’t be done.  He was also uncomfortable with requiring frontage on a paved road, and the minimum lot size.  A special use permit would still be required.  Mr. Enos asked if this has been to the county yet.  Ms. Root said no.  Mr. Enos said this could be approved with the changes and sent to the county. 

Jean Root motioned to send Section 17.16—Group Day Care Homes, as submitted January 16, 2006, to Livingston County Planning for review and recommendation to be sent to the Township Board.  Jim Anderson seconded.  Motion carried 5-0.

Section 17.27— Shooting Ranges (Rifle, Skeet, Trap, Pistol and Archery)

Mr. Enos said County Planning had an opportunity to review this text amendment.  Some of the minor changes can be made.  Discussion ensued on fencing requirements.  Mr. Enos said he could provide a copy of the approved language with suggested changes from County Planning .  Mr. Hamann said if the PC is satisfied with the ordinance, it should be sent to the Township Board for its review and approval.  Mr. Hamann asked if minutes go with the recommendation to County Planning .  Ms. Root said she doesn’t believe minutes are included.  Mr. Hamann said the county liaison, Patrick Sloan, is supposed to understand what’s being sent to them and should be contacting the township for clarification.   Mr. Lowe said he would contact Mr. Sloan and ask him to contact our planner for background material.  Jean Root motioned to send Section 17.27—Shooting Ranges (Rifle, Skeet, Trap, Pistol and Archery), as submitted, to County Planning .  After further review of their suggested revisions, the PC feels comfortable with the language as submitted due to comments from the current gun club, as well as through the review process.  Dave Hamann seconded.  Motion carried 5-0.


Mr. Enos said that Paul Streng has been out of the country for a few months, so the city hasn’t been willing to act on this item because he wants to be part of it.  Mr. Enos will have his colleague ask again at the next meeting.  Dave Hamann motioned to table this item until new information is received.  Jim Anderson seconded.  Motion carried 5-0.


Jean Root asked for this item to be put on the agenda.  Bob Hanvey provided the PC members with a copy of a resolution from 1959 that there was supposed to be a separation in the budget between the Township Board and the Planning Commission.  Does he know if Marion Township ever made a resolution changing that?  Ms. Wiedman-Clawson said not in the past ten years, but she doesn’t know about before that.  Ms. Root said billings from township consultants would have to be broken down by line item.  Her other question was if the PC is going to start taking suggestions on language, because there have been issues with the last few amendments that have been sent to the Board.  The Township Board is doing exactly what County Planning is doing—they’re nitpicking and not getting a full picture of the PC’s discussion and things they’ve looked at.  The attorney is flip-flopping on issues.  Who will take that amount as part of their budget?  Mr. Enos said he could modify the way his invoices are done.  Mr. Hamann said the clerk’s office would have to be more detailed.  Mr. Enos said the township needs a set escrow policy.  Ms. Wiedman-Clawson asked about having the township engineer certify as-builts after the developer’s engineer has already certified it.  She feels someone needs to decide whose certification the township is going to take.  Ms. Root asked Mr. Enos what the standard procedure is.  Mr. Enos said he feels the township engineer should do the certification.  Mr. Hamann said the township needs to protect its investment.  Charlie Musson said the township should take the certification from the developer’s engineer.  Mr. Westmoreland said the township doesn’t do the layout of the facilities such as storm sewers, sanitary, water main, that are underground, they don’t have that surveying information, so the developer is responsible to provide a plan to show where they put the fits.  All the developer has to do is send it to OHM and they check it to make sure it meets the criteria.  Mr. Lowe said the township engineer needs to check what is actually in the field.  Mr. Enos said some communities have their engineers out there full time.  Mr. Lowe said OHM has been directed to make intermittent inspections—spot checks.  Mr. Westmoreland said OHM has been having discussion with the drain commissioner’s office about private wastewater treatment facilities and they’ve found, in almost every instance, severe negligence on the part of the developer’s engineer.  The developer’s engineer is not looking out for the township’s best interest.  Mr. Westmoreland said there are established township criteria for inspection.  He said they are doing full-time inspections on sanitary sewer.  He strongly recommends that continue because that’s the township’s system. 

Dave Hamann motioned to table this item until the February 28, 2006 meeting.  Jean Root seconded.  Motion carried 5-0.


Mr. Enos said these systems are becoming a reasonable option, although the township needs to protect itself.  Mr. Enos said he’s working closely with Washtenaw County on developing a model ordinance that will allow for two things to happen.  There would be a general law ordinance, which specifies special assessment procedures, maintenance agreement procedures, and those types of things.  They would also regulate these systems as a special use.  Mr. Enos said the engineers would be instrumental in creating the language.  Mr. Westmoreland said the county has a great set of standards, and they have a lot of experience now in taking these over.  Ms. Wiedman-Clawson said it was just passed at the House level that it can be excluded.  Mr. Lowe said he would check on recent legislation.  He also said the township does have the ability to put anything more restrictive than the MDEQ restrictions in the ordinance.  It’s important that the isolated plants out in the community are referred to separately so that the zoning districts don’t change, and it’s not used as a basis to increase density.  Mr. Enos said it should be clarified by using the term “municipal” rather than “public.”

Dave Hamann motioned to table this item.  Jean Root seconded.  Motion carried 5-0.


Ms. Root informed the PC members that she went to the township board meeting, and they did approve some of the text amendments.  She said the board is questioning the same things that County Planning is, although the township attorney isn’t doing us any favors when he advises one way and six months later, his response is different.  Mr. Hamann said he feels that Mr. Hanvey is trying to get better connectivity within the zoning ordinance.  Ms. Root said she feels there needs to be better communication between the PC and the Township Board prior to the whole process.  Mr. Enos said the PC should provide an analysis of why things are changed, e.g., a brief synopsis for the Township Board and County Planning .  Discussion ensued on the procedures for text amendments.  Mr. Enos said the PC should look at ZBA cases over the past few years, and those are typically issues that should be addressed.  He said they should also look at the goals and objectives in the Master Plan.

Charlie Musson said the township needs to look at and be prepared to put in municipal sewers.  Mr. Enos suggested having a joint meeting the Township Board in the next few months.  Ms. Wiedman-Clawson said she feels that anything on the list is fine, but anything from today on needs to follow the amendment procedure.

Dave Hamann motioned to table this item until the next meeting pending input from the Planning Commission board members, the Township Board, and the planning consultant.  Jim Anderson seconded.  Motion carried 5-0.


Some of the discussion on this item was done under Priorities for 2006.   Discussion was also held regarding Section 20.03 C 2.  Mr. Enos said he would add language for the board’s review. 

Jean Root motioned to table Article XX—Amendments until a formal written request is submitted to the planner and placed on the February 28, 2006 agenda.  Dave Hamann seconded.  Motion carried 5-0.


Deborah Wiedman-Clawson asked for clarification on private roads.  Because there is no new ordinance yet, it falls under the old ordinance.  If someone wants to split property on a private road, they get a land use permit from the zoning administrator.  Nothing has to be done to the road, correct?  Mr. Lowe said yes.  Ms. Wiedman-Clawson cited Berry Manor Drive as an example:  a ten-acre parcel and a three-acre parcel on a 66-foot wide easement.  She said the property owner intends to split the ten-acre parcel into smaller pieces.  If the road ordinance is in place, does he have to bring that 66-foot wide Berry Manor Drive up to current standards?  Mr. Lowe said he was told that when he split the first parcel.  Her second question, which no one can answer for her, is how the shared driveway by three or four parcels that comes off of Norton Road ever got put in.  She said the easement has been paved and is now serving three houses.  Mr. Lowe said that it’s a flag lot.  Ms. Wiedman-Clawson said there’s not enough frontage if it’s not a road.  She said the zoning administrator couldn’t explain how they got it through.  She’s been unable to get an answer from the zoning administrator and the supervisor. 


Dave Hamann motioned to adjourn the meeting at 10:10 p.m.   Jean Root seconded.  Motion carried 5-0.






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