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                                 MARION TOWNSHIP

                   DRAFT MINUTES


             FEBRUARY 3, 2004 @ 7:00 PM


MEMBERS PRESENT:  Jim Anderson, Debra Wiedman-Clawson, Dave Hamann, 

                                          John Lowe, Jean Root

MEMBERS ABSENT:            None

OTHERS PRESENT:             John Ambrose, Planning Consultant

Bob Hanvey, Township Supervisor

                                                Annette McNamara, Zoning Administrator




John Lowe called to order the Marion Township Planning Commission, Public Hearing, Special 

Meeting for February 3, 2004 at approximately 7:04 p.m.  John Lowe read the agenda and asked if 

there is an amendment to the agenda?  Jean Root responded (as stated below.)  Members

 introduced themselves.  John Lowe introduced John Ambrose, Planning Consultant & 

Annette McNamara, Zoning Administrator.


Jean Root asked to add under New Business, discussion about scheduling of Master Plan 

workshop for the month of February. Dave Hamann made a motion to approve the 

February 3, 2004 agenda as amended. Debra Wiedman-Clawson seconded.  Motion carried 5-0.


No response.


RZN# 8-03 Chestnut Development

John Lowe turned the floor over to the applicant.  Steve Gronow introduced himself and gave a 

synopsis of his personal and business history in Livingston County. Mr. Gronow is here tonight

to give a presentation on his proposed rezoning request, hear comments from the public and the 

Planning Commission.  Mr. Gronow introduced his development team.  Appearing on behalf of Red 

Hawk Landing (Chestnut Development) was Steve Gronow, Developer; Roger Myers, Attorney of the

 law firm Howard & Howard; James Eppink, Land Planner; Brian Wenzel, Engineer and Dave Call from

 Atwell-Hicks. Roger Myers, appearing on behalf of land developer, asked for the Planning Commission’s

recommendation to approve the rezoning application from Suburban Residential (SR) to Urban Residential

 (UR). Mr. Myers stated they had submitted all information required by township zoning ordinance;

additional information requested by Bob Hanvey subsequent to application; information required by

PUD ordinance for a proposed mixed use development known as Red Hawk Landing.

Mr. Myers stated in December they requested that the township simultaneously approve the underlying

rezoning request from SR to UR as well as approval of the PUD, proposed mixed PUD.

The township decided the process will be the request for rezoning be considered for underlying density

of SR to UR.  Mr. Myers reiterated and urged the Planning Commission that the township zoning ordinance

 is in support of a rezoning request that requires the applicant to provide information relating to the reasons

for the proposed change in zoning. They submitted a packet of information to demonstrate and support the

appropriateness of the rezoning request being submitted via planning standpoint, market standpoint and

 also providing affordable housing.

(Presentation by James Eppink at about 7:10 p.m.)

Mr. Eppink outlined the plans of the development. The subject property is 136 acres on Mason Road, east

of Truhn Road, close to Burkhart Road.  Mr. Eppink cited that according to SEMCOG’s numbers, the

population in county will grow over 80-83% over the next 30 years and will double in Marion Township

over next 20 years. Disparity in income vs. expenses will increase by 41% and housing will increase by

100%. He stated there is a demand for affordable housing, single family homes selling at around $177,000.

Mr. Eppink stated Chestnut Development is proposing an alternative to suburban sprawl with traditional

neighborhood development that is in agreement with the Township’s Comprehensive Plan. Benefits, to

name a few, are right price housing, pedestrian oriented, usable open space, safety and social.

Design of the project consists of:  Access on Mason Road; 40 acres of wetlands; 30 plus acres of usable

recreation area, total of 70 acres of non-buildable property, UR rezoning would equal 267 units (2.2 units

per acres gross), under 3 net; neighborhood services such as small fresh market, day care center, trails,

 assisted living; right sized lots and marketable homes; narrow streets, sidewalks and trails, parks and

open space, small pond with fishing; townhouses. Comprehensive Plan and Master Plan agrees that

southern area in county remain rural and push density growth to north. Corridors identified by SEMCOG

 for growth would be Mason Road, Burkhart and D-19.

(Presentation by Brian Wenzel at about 7:45 p.m.)

Brian Wenzel, Atwell-Hicks, addressed utilities for the site. Sanitary utilities, sewer, extension required

from west of Burkhart Road.  Water main extension required from Burkhart Road. No storm sewer

extension off-site, drainage handled on site.   Capacity issues requiring lift stations. Individual wells impacts

more open space and rezoning depends on it. From an environmental standpoint, 75% of Marion Township

 is in the well-head protection area, which in essence says that potential sources that could impact the

groundwater be eliminated. Private on-site wastewater treatment plant that has the ability to consolidate

water and sewer on site into one system would benefit and remove liability from township and obligation

of maintenance would fall back to the developer and community. Given natural features, on-site private

water system or combination of individual wells and private on-site wastewater system is feasible on this

property. If public utilities were available it would accomplish the goals from a planning perspective and

goals from an environmental protection standpoint.  This site sits in great location from a traffic

management standpoint in terms of its proximity and location on Mason Road and its availability to three

intersections. (Brian Wenzel concluded presentation at 7:55 p.m.)

John Lowe explained that a special meeting was scheduled for this public hearing to give Chestnut

Development an opportunity to present their proposal to the Planning Commission and public. The purpose

 is not to discuss detail of development nor design but to give interested parties an opportunity to propose,

gather information and ask questions. The potential rezoning from Suburban Residential (SR) to Urban

Residential (UR) is main topic and not site specific.


Judy Nowroski, 5631 Mason Road, questioned if the homes and lots in Burkhart Ridge have been sold?

Mr. Gronow stated a market study was done by Keller Williams and Burkhart Ridge was not included in

 those figures due to it being a different project and not stick homes.

For a point of clarification, John Lowe asked if the numbers included were county-wide. It was explained that

Keller Williams looked at numbers overall in Howell-Marion area.  Mr. Gronow will provide survey study done

by Keller Williams. 

Ms. Nowroski also asked the developers for examples of this type of community in place.

Mr. Eppink commented that Howell Town Commons sells at a higher price and there are similarities but the

density is greater. Kentland is an urbanism project but it’s not exactly like Red Hawk Landing.  Mr. Eppink

will provide a list to the Board.

Lori Sider, 7071 Grand River, questioned the square footage of these homes and how it will be better for an

average family of four? Mr. Gronow answered that it will be more economical for the buyer to buy at an

affordable price. The homes will be 1000-1100 square foot ranging in the price range of $160,000 to $180,000.

Doug Fisher, 249 Dieterle, questioned access to Dieterle Road. Preliminarily, as proposed will have two

access points, east or west. It was stated that an engineered traffic study is part of the PUD and an aerial

view is available.

Brian Heeg, 5557 Mason Road, asked if it’s the township’s responsibility to provide this type of affordable

housing.  John Ambrose explained as part of the Master Plan process it involves the community and

township involvement in providing quality of life, types of land uses suitable over a period of time. There is no

obligation to go out and seek low income projects that are regulated by densities.  It’s up to the developers to

provide what suits the market at that time. John Lowe added that it is covered in the Master Plan and

Comprehensive Plan as areas designated in the community that provides a mix. Maps are provided in the

township for north and northeast portion of township.  This does not affect rezoning of surrounding property.

Jerry Gillen, 4595 Mason Road, stated he has 340 feet of frontage and asked who pays for water and sewer

and the trees to be cut down?  This is at the developer’s expense.  He also asked about the increase in

volume of traffic. John Lowe stated that the Livingston County Road Commission (LCRC) engineers are

working on that.

Regina Fisher, 249 Dieterle, asked if the rezoning is passed how many more units would this allow.  It was

stated that as part of the PUD process, the developer provides a parallel plan that would be determinate on

whether wells and septic fields are put in place. If sewer is extended, that would allow ¾ acre lots on

100 acres of buildable land and would produce approximately 130 homes; with the septic, approximately

75-80 homes.  Under Urban Residential (UR), 267 units single family, and 41 townhomes.  John Lowe

summarized that 40 acres of wetland would equal a total of 136, 96 acres would be buildable area, ½ acre

lots would equal infrastructure and drainage easement would have to be removed for treatment plant. 

The analysis has not been done but an estimate would be 100-150 acres.  Theoretically, it would probably

be 50% greater.  John Lowe stated in summary there would be approximately 75-85 houses conventional;

160 under ½ acre suburban residential with sewer and water; 305 under urban residential.

Joan Bartkowich, 5067 Mason Road, voiced concerns regarding increased traffic in the area of Burkhart

would produce approximately 600 more cars that would be problematic to pulling out onto Burkhart. Another

concern would be additional schools.  Mr. Myers added assuming there were two vehicles per household

would equal 320 cars.

Elaine French, 4255 Mason Road, pointed out that In Line Development is a project similar to Red Hawk

Landing and they’re proposing 255 homes in Howell Township and urged the Planning Commission to

preserve the land.

Ben Page, 5067 Mason Road, addressed the project being on a hill and producing runoff. Would there be

provisions made to protect the swampland. Brian Wenzel commented being that with runoff in a

predevelopment stage. They will build detention ponds and create areas for storm water to go, which is

required by the county.

Pat Klein, 327 South Truhn, voiced  concerns over more people moving out here would result in more

crime and also taxes going up.

Karen Holden, 4383 Mason Road, addressed a survey that was sent out and stated 72% people agreed to

low density and rural atmosphere, 5% disagreed. The general consensus showed people do not want

high density.  John Lowe emphasized that applicant has the right to present and propose their development.

Aaron Currie, Howell Township, asked about a detrimental impact of higher density to adjacent property.

He also asked about the costs of utilities and possibility of extending into utilities.

Tim Heeg, 5525 Mason Road, questioned whether homeowners have to tie into sewers with the installation

of sewers.  John Lowe stated he will investigate the answer to that. Jerry Gillen stated that there have been

similar situations, one being in Wixom, where he was not allowed to fix his well when it broke and had to tie

in to the sewers.  John Lowe stated at this point he is not sure of the ramifications of the developer fronting

the cost. The township will research that point.  Mr. Myers added depending on where district boundaries

are drawn would dictate the hookup depending on proximity on properties in district. This particular property

is not in district. A letter was submitted to the township by Elouise J. Bullis and was read into the record:

    “I own 301 S. Truhn Road, Fowlerville. I have been here since 1969. I moved to have a peaceful place

    to raise my children without city problems. I do not want this proposal to pass from suburban to urban

     residential.  Thank you. Elouise J. Bullis, Meeting February 3, 2004.”

John Lowe hearing no more comments from the public closed the Call to the Public.


John Lowe asked John Ambrose to review his letter of January 16, 2004. John Ambrose after careful review

of the proposed rezoning and his findings recommended the petition to rezone approximately 136 acres of

land from Suburban Residential (SR) to Urban Residential (UR) be denied.  Reasons stated were:

1. The proposed rezoning request is not in keeping with the Township’s Master Plan and the planned

land use policies that have been adopted by the Township for the subject site. The proposed zoning

classification (UR) is intended for those areas of the Township that are capable of being served by the

 availability of public services (sewer and water).  Furthermore, it is the intent of the UR District to be

established only within the Urban Services District where existing public services (water and sewer) are

adequate to meet the needs of higher density and/or intense land uses.

2. The Urban Services District is located in the northeast corner of the Township in the vicinity of the I-96 and

Pinckney Road (D-19) interchange.  Developments in the Urban Services District call for paved roads, public

sewer and water, and fire and police services at an urban service level. The subject site located in the

northwest corner of the township, which is planned for low density residential development that is not

dependant on having public sewer and water services.  In addition, services in this area of the Township are

not at an urban service level which would be required to cope with the proposed potential development

(see item “5” below).

3. The subject site lies outside of the Township’s sewer and water services area.  Densities allowed in the

UR District cannot be developed without public sewer and water services.

4. The proposed rezoning represents a “spot rezoning”, a concept that is not recognized for its sound

planning and/or zoning practices. A “spot rezoning” is defined by a publication entitled “The New Illustrated

Book of Development Definitions”, 1997 Third Printing by Rutgers State University, and is defined as follows:

 a “spot rezoning” of a parcel of land is designed to benefit the owner (applicant) for a use that is incompatible

 with surrounding land uses and further does not comply with the Master Plan (Township’s Master Plan).

Surrounding land uses include single-family detached homes that require a minimum two (2) acre parcel of

land.  Many of the homes in the vicinity of the subject parcel are built on parcels of land that far exceeded the

previous minimum two (2) acre required lot area (current SR zoning requires a 0.75 acre lot area), which is

not compatible with the densities that are potentially allowed in the UR, Urban Residential District nor are

they compatible with the densities planned for this area in the Township’s current Master Plan.

5. Based on a 136 acre site with what appears to be approximately 100 +/- acres of buildable land, the

potential resultant development allowed under the proposed UR, Urban Residential District (total units)

could range between 292 (single-family detached units) and 1,000 (multiple-family attached) dwelling units

or 2.9 units per acre to 10 units per acre.  This potential resultant density is not compatible with the existing

density patterns adjacent to the subject site, which require a minimum two (2) acre lot area for single-family

 dwellings or with what the Township’s Master Plan has planned for this area.  Under the current zoning of

SR, Suburban Residential District, the density of 0.75 units per acre would allow approximately 133 units.

6. Based on the proposed UR, Urban Residential District zoning classification, the potential number of

vehicular trips per day generated from the subject site would range between 2,920 and 6,600 trips, which is

based on data derived from a publication from the Institute of Transportation Engineers (“Trip Generation,

6th Edition, 1997). The maximum potential trips per day for the subject site, based on the current SR zoning

 classification, which has a potential for 133 single-family homes, would be approximately 1,330 trips per

day as opposed to 2,290 to 6,600 trips per day. The latter figures are obviously not compatible to the low

density development patterns that currently exist around the subject site.

7.Jim Anderson commented that he would like to see a traffic study and also an impact study on school

system. Secondly, he questioned where the runoff discharge would go. Brian Wenzel explained it’s based

on the type of system and based on permit. There are two permits: surface water discharge permit and

subsurface discharge permit. 

8.These are dependent on the number of homes, type of system and characteristics set by DEQ and set by

State of Michigan, and the availability of discharge permits, types of soil and amount of water are factors also.

9. There is a risk of failure. The market study was done in September 2003 and was based on one year

historical sales data. Jim Anderson urged references to affordable housing vs low income not be


10. Jean Root asked for point of clarification regarding approximately 80% of project is within wellhead. 

Is it siteable for water sewage plant due to topography?  It was answered yes.  This would also impact the

price of the home.

11. Dave Hamann asked if material regarding water and sewer extension was available. Brian Wenzel

stated the information is in their packet. They only received what is pertinent to the rezoning right now.

Also, Dave Hamann inquired what the second generation value would be and would it be outside the

affordable range. Mr. Gronow stated, historically, the community sets the appreciation level. This project is

similar to the Chilson Road project and it appreciated $20,000-$30,000.

12. Jim Anderson asked when do these homes become not affordable. Mr. Gronow stated that as value

rises, so do incomes and they’re targeted for same people.

13. John Lowe commented that he would like a couple issues addressed:  How will the developers address

the ratio of traffic figures to support this position and how would this project integrate into Cascade

Development and surrounding developments.

14.  John Lowe stated that a letter of recommendation from the township attorney will be forthcoming after

the minutes are received.

15. Mr. Myers asked if it would be reasonable to assume that the Planning Commission’s mind is made up.

John Lowe stated that is not the case and needs previously stated issues addressed, such as a traffic study.

16. John Ambrose requested trip generation data for 267 single family units, which does not include


17.  Mr. Myers requested a copy of John Ambrose’s letter dated, January 16, 2004, which will be provided.

Mr. Gronow requested that their packet be distributed.

18. Jean Root made a motion to table the Rezoning Request #8-03 to March 23, 2004 Planning 

Commission Regular meeting to be held at 7:30 p.m.  Dave Hamann seconded.

Motion carried 5-0.


The Comprehensive Planning Workshop was discussed.

Jean Root made a motion to hold the Comprehensive Planning Workshop on February 26, 2004

at 7:00 p.m. Jim Anderson seconded.  Motion carried 5-0.


No response.


Dave Hamann made a motion to adjourn at 9:30 p.m.  Jim Anderson seconded.

Motion carried 5-0.