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                                 MARION TOWNSHIP

                   Draft Minutes


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

Michael Kehoe, Township Attorney

                                                Annette McNamara, Zoning Administrator



John Lowe called the meeting to order at 7:17 p.m.


Dave Hamann made a motion to approve the Public Hearing agenda for March 23, 2004. 

Jim Anderson seconded.  Motion carried 5-0.





Proposed Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment: Proposed Text Amendment – TXT# 2-04 Article VI General 

Provisions – Section 6.30 Private Sewage/Waste Water Treatment Plant

John Ambrose at the request of the Marion Township Planning Commission at a special meeting held on 

February 26, 2004, submitted revised language that would regulate the development of private sewage/waste water

 treatment facilities in Marion Township. He also stated in a letter dated February 7 and 25, 2004 believed in order to 

accomplish this task, both the Master Plan and Zoning Ordinance need to specifically address this issue.

First, the Township’s Comprehensive Plan (Future Land Use Map) needs to specifically delineate the boundaries 

of the Township’s proposed sewer and water service boundary areas. This task was discussed at length at the 

special Planning Commission meeting held on February 26, 2004 concerning the Township’s Comprehensive Plan 

which is being prepared by the Livingston County Planning Department.

Second, a recommendation of a new “overlay zone” be added to the Township’s Zoning Ordinance that regulates 

the development of private sewage/waste water treatment facilities.

John Ambrose in explaining the definition of a private sewage/waste water treatment facility read the following: 

“Private Sewage/Waste Water Facility shall include all necessary pipes, structures, tanks, media and all related 

equipment, parts, as well as any land area, that is designed and intended to provide sanitary waste water treatment

 and/or services for more than one (1) dwelling in a single-family residential development consisting of at least two 

(2) single-family dwellings.”  This would be the definition that would be added to Section 3.02, which is the definition 

section of the ordinance.

The main text that regulates private sewage and waste water treatment facilities would be developed as an overlay

 zone. It would be added to the general provisions, which is Article VI and common use section, Section 6.30.  

The purpose and intent of the Private Sewage/Waste Water Treatment Facilities Overlay Zone is to provide 

supplemental development regulations designed to protect the health, safety and welfare of Marion Township 

residents from possible ground water/aquifer contamination and from the over development of the Township with

 regard to density factors that are not consistent with the Township’s Comprehensive Development Plan and future 

land use map. The scope of this amendment would be that the provisions of this Private Sewage/Waste Water

 Treatment Facilities Overlay Zone shall conform to all of the requirements found in Article XVI; Special Use Permits

 as well as Article XVIII; Site Plan Requirements.  In addition, private sewage/water treatment facilities shall be

 limited to the handling and treatment of domestic (residential) waste, and in no case shall commercial and/or industrial 

sewage/waste water be treated by a private sewage/waste water treatment facility. Private sewage/waste water 

treatment facilities shall conform to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) permitting and

 construction requirements pursuant to Part 41, Act 451, P.A. of 1994 as amended.

John Ambrose stated the proposed zoning amendment has been reviewed by the Township’s Attorney, 

Mr. Mike Kehoe, and his revisions have been incorporated into the proposed zoning amendment.  

John Lowe asked Mike Kehoe, Township attorney, for any additional comments. Mr. Kehoe addressed a recent 

decision that was recently handed down by the Court of Appeals in regard to Lake Isabella located in Mt. Pleasant 

area. The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in regard to private waste water treatment systems stated

that one of their rules was that anyone who wanted to apply for a permit through the DEQ had to first obtain a 

resolution from the local unit of government; that the local unit of government would agree to take over responsibility 

in the event that the system failed. Understandably, they were reluctant to provide such a resolution due to dealing

 with many times this is dealing with smaller communities who do not have the facilities, staff or finances to be able

to undertake such a burden. In this particular case, Lake Isabella, a small village, refused to pass such a resolution

that led to them being sued along with the DEQ. In summary, the Court of Appeals said that the DEQ can no

longer enforce that rule. So they will not be able to require developers to obtain a resolution from the local units of 

government first. This will enable the process to go to the DEQ first and they will review the appropriate application 

for the appropriate information and issue or deny a permit accordingly.  

Court of Appeals basically said there was really no authority for the DEQ to impose that type of requirement and 

also stated by imposing that type of requirement there weren’t any standards or anything upon which to base a 

decision so a local government could deny it.  The Court of Appeals said that was unreasonable to not have any

standards, which puts this back to the province of the State to handle. There will no longer be a requirement from 

the DEQ that they have to come to the local unit of government first.  John Lowe stated that essentially the 

document being discussed relates to that finding. Mr. Kehoe stated it does from the standpoint that given that action 

by the Court of Appeals, municipalities, townships, may now be faced with developments that may propose a private

waste water disposal system. Given that, and given the fact that townships, the Township Rural Zoning Act, gives 

you the right to establish districts, determine how you want land to be used, determine density factors, etc., it would 

be a good idea for the township to take a position one way or another in regard to this type of development and 

believes from his understanding that’s what the township decided to do.


1.   Mary Ann Bahr, 3201 Grass Lake Court, Howell, commented in support of the Planning Commission’s

decision in amending or adopting this type of policy. Taking in consideration that it was not a question on 

the 2000 Comprehensive Plan survey, but if it had been posed to the residents in the community there 

would have been an overwhelming response that the residents would have supported the Planning 

Commission in what they had decided to place an ordinance in place that would limit and contain the 

noise and disturbance to the surrounding neighbors with these types of developments.

2.    Carol Kull, 3186 Marr, Howell, spoke on behalf of the Home Builders Association of Livingston

County as their executive officer. Their organization is a county-wide organization with members 

consisting of builders, subcontractors, suppliers, developers and remodelers. There’s 465 members 

and employs about 5,000 people in and around Livingston County. Ms. Kull’s presence was to speak 

out against the provisions in the proposed ordinance with regard to the onsite treatment systems which

 talk about conforming to the current density in the Master Plan. The following was read

“My interest in your proposed ordinance is related to affordable – or attainable – housing. My organization

 is part of a coalition of businesses in the county which make up the Housing Growth & Opportunities 

Council. We’ve partnered with the Howell and Brighton Chambers, the Economic Development Council,

 County Planning, the Realtors and other businesses to try and keep housing affordable for professional

 working people in our County.

My concern with your ordinance is that it will drive up the cost of development, making it more costly to

 build homes in Marion Township. The professional people you would be driving away from your 

community are our teachers, firefighters, police officers, and other entry to mid-level managers who 

earn in the $35,000 - $50,000 per year range.  

As a member of the Housing Growth and Opportunities Council, and a representative of the businesses 

who are trying to bring solid, well built and affordable homes to our county, I urge you not to pass this 

section of the ordinance, but instead to work to find ways to make home ownership attainable for the 

working professionals who serve our County. Thank you.”

3.    Kimberly Bowlin, 132 East Grand River, Brighton, MI  48116.

Ms. Bowlin read the following:  “I am legal counsel for HBALC and am speaking on behalf of HBALC

 and numerous builder and developer clients when I say I am opposed to the proposed zoning 

ordinance amendment pertaining to wastewater treatment plants. The objections I have are numerous, 

however, because I think most of them have or will be voiced by others in the room, I will stick to the 

legal objections.  In short, it is my opinion that the ordinance you propose is preempted by state law.

The general rule of law in Michigan on the issue of preemption can be found in People v Llewellyn, 401 

Mich 314, 257 NW2d 902 (1977). In that case, the court held that a municipality may not enact an 

ordinance if the ordinance directly conflicts with the state statutory scheme or the state statutory 

scheme preempts the ordinance by occupying the field of regulation the municipality seeks to enter,

 to the exclusion of the ordinance, even where there is no direct conflict between the two schemes of 

regulation.  Preemption may be established (1) where state law is expressly preemptive; (2) by 

examination of the legislative history; (3) by the pervasiveness of the state regulatory scheme; or

 (4) the nature of the regulated subject matter may demand exclusive state regulation to achieve the 

uniformity necessary to serve the state’s purpose or interest. If the nature of the regulated subject 

matter calls for regulation adapted to local conditions and the local regulation does not interfere with

 the state regulatory scheme, supplementary local ordinances are generally upheld. Id., pages 323-325.

In the current case, that is wastewater treatment regulations, there is no express preemption, no does

 the legislative history conclusively lead to a conclusion pertaining to preemption.  Instead, it is the 

pervasiveness and comprehensiveness of NREPA which demands exclusive state regulation, as 

does the nature of the regulated subject matter.  The state statutory scheme of wastewater treatment

 regulation was most recently examined by the Court of Appeals in the case of the City of Brighton

 v Township of Hamburg in its January 2004 published decision. In that case, the Michigan Court of 

Appeals stated, “The subject matter of the regulation clearly calls for a statewide, uniform system 

of regulation.”  The Court of Appeals reiterated a portion of the MDEQ’s brief stating, “The state has 

an interest in insuring that all the wastewater treatment plants located within the state are regulated 

in an even-handed fashion.”  Finally the Court of Appeals points out that any person, including a city 

or township, that is aggrieved by the DEQ’s issuance of a permit may request and have a contested 

hearing. This procedure for local input by way of contested hearing and ultimate adoption or rejection

 by the head of the DEQ ensures uniformity and coherence of a statewide policy to protect health, 

safety and welfare of the state’s citizens.

Prior to the January 2004 Hamburg Township decision, in November 2003, the case of Lake Isabella

 Development, Inc. v Village of Lake Isabella and the DEQ was decided.  In that case, the Michigan

 Court of Appeals also held that the DEQ has exclusive jurisdiction over issuance of permits for 

sewer construction.

Putting the regulation of wastewater treatment plants in terms of “zoning” and “siting” issues does not

 cure the major flaw in the proposed ordinance -  that is, you are attempting to regulate that which is 

solely regulated by the state.  Two different ways of superceding the state’s exclusive jurisdiction over

 this area have tried and failed. I would respectfully request that you not be the third.”

4.   Pat Convery, President of Howell Chamber of Commerce, ________ town Commons. Ms. Convery 

appeared to reiterate the message of importance of affordable housing in this community and

 throughout the county. The problem in Livingston County is that many of our own children cannot 

afford to live here, people who work in our businesses cannot afford to live here, such as professionals

 as firefighters, police officers, school teachers who are forced to live outside our community. Affordable

 housing does not mean subsidized, cheap poorly constructed housing. We’re talking about housing 

that a working family can afford, a smaller size house on a smaller lot size, PUD design, something

 that would also create community. We’re losing our young people in this county and we’re losing our

 future leaders and urged the members of the Planning Commission to keep that in mind when making

their considerations.

5.  Don Harvey, 100159 Hamburg, also stated he had been working with affordable homes with the 

Livingston County Committee for affordable housing in the last four years. They have been doing 

presentations throughout the community in Livingston County, all the communities, showing them

 where and why affordable housing is needed. They would like the township to look at themselves 

as part of Livingston County rather than just looking at themselves trying to build a well rounded 

county where there is affordable homes in each county, each township rather than in exclusive 

townships. The ordinance has been passed in Handy Township where they are putting in affordable 

homes. Other townships have been invited to do the presentation and have shown a real interest in it. 

This is an attempt to build a well-rounded community with homes for working people, our kids, children,

 parents, grandparents.

6.  Mike Heisner, 2989 Rubbins, stated he is in favor of the ordinance. He lives in Marion Township and 

the people in this organization do not live here. He likes the way the township is and believes the 

ordinance should be adopted as proposed.

7.  Denis Kurencyk, Hamburg Township, 9104 Moonlight Bay, Pinckney, developer/builder in the county 

and was born and raised in the county. He grew up in South Lyon and lives in Pinckney with his offices 

located in downtown Brighton. He has lived in the area for 29 years and seen the changes in the 

county whether Lyon Township or Hamburg. Mr. Kurencyk stated his presence is to show his opposition

 to the proposed ordinance with regards to the on-site wastewater treatment and sewer system. 

“The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states that, ‘No person shall be deprived of life, liberty

 or property without due process of law nor shall private property be taken for public use without just

 compensation.’ However, local government often enacts local land use regulation such as the

 proposed ordinance that violates the constitutional rights of private property owners. 

What this ordinance will accomplish if enacted is deprive working class citizens of Livingston County 

the opportunity to obtain a quality affordable home in Marion Township. The word affordable has grown

 into a very dark and scary phrase in this county. I looked up the definition in the Webster dictionary this

afternoon and the meaning is as follows: “To be able to bear the cost of”, to make available if for to

provide naturally or inevitably. This is not such a scary phrase. It doesn’t commentate that the homes 

that are going to be affordable, people will not take care of them, the neighborhoods will be taken care

 of. We have to look back into the 1950’s and see what we did with our homes. I believe the same thing 

is today. People take pride in home ownership; it is the American dream. It is what everyone from under 

five years old until we’re 20 is what we dream about.  It’s what we work so hard for, is to accomplish 

that dream. So to say that the people who only make $30,000 or $35,000 a year and want to buy 

$150,000 home in the county aren’t going to take care of that, I think that’s very insulting to that group. 

What he finds amazing is that most people will go out of their way to find the best deal in town, whether

 it will be groceries, gasoline, you name it.  Wal-Mart became the largest retail chain in the country

on the idea of affordability to the masses.  Why is it to bring affordability to the housing sector most 

builders and developers seem to run into stiff opposition from both local citizens and local governments? 

 What this ordinance seeks to do is to stop any form of affordable housing be built in Marion Township. 

Density equals affordability. One of the biggest problems that Livingston County has is affordable policy.

 We cannot house our working class citizens. The median sale price for a home in Marion Township is

 $202,000 based on the 2000 census. That’s just a median, and that’s for new and existing. Most local

government officials agree that we need to provide affordable housing for our population. What always 

seems to happen is talking is cheap.  I have yet to see a local form of government besides Handy 

Township adopt or draft a public hearing affordable ordinance. According to the Bureau of the Census,

done in 2000, the additional cost, $1000 cost on an average price home, can potentially price out as 

many as 400,000 prospective home buyers.  Building 100 single-family homes generate eleven million

 dollars in new local income.  It puts 250 people to work in that community.  It provides more than one 

million dollars in additional tax and fee revenue to a local government during the first year of construction.

Our traffic systems can handle the new development that’s on its way.  Our school districts are planning,

 or already have planned, for the increase in student population. These arguments are old and tired and,

 frankly, have already been addressed. We must understand that change is constant and for the same 

reason our parents moved here, and why we choose to live here, many more people want the same

 opportunities to move to this county and raise their families. To try and stop growth is impossible. We 

are not stopping growth. We are increasing the costs of those families that wish to live and work in 

Livingston County.”

8.   Jim Sammons, 2985 Rubbins, stated he was for the proposal as it is. He also made the comment

that affordable housing is needed.

9. Mary Ann Bahr, 3201 Grass Lake Court, addressed comments made by the builders, Mr. Kurencyk 

and Mr. Harvey, and stated that when they were building their home to comment on the fact that if the 

median price of affordable housing in Livingston County at this point is $202,000, she falls in that 

classification of a $35,000 income wage earner. She also stated that neither one of the builders could 

give a bid on a home that she could afford. She built and made it fit into her budget and stated if you 

want to build affordable housing, it can be done.  

10.   James Barnwell, 127 Tompkins, Howell, asked how would this ordinance impact Master Planning 

and zoning?  Does the court case have any bearing on the zoning at Lake Isabella or anywhere, 

any zoning ordinances related or were these specific to the process of making application for the permit?

-   Does the current wellhead protection plan allow private wastewater treatment plant under that ordinance?

-         If the ordinance is not adopted, would additional density be allowed?

  Mr. Kehoe, Township Attorney, addressed the Lake Isabella case, and stated it did not touch upon zoning, 

lot size, variances, density or anything else.  It focused almost exclusively on the DEQ’s requirement that 

a municipality had to agree to be responsible if there was a failure. That case had no bearing on the ability 

of a township to regulate its land use or how it wants to establish density or anything along those lines.  

Mr. Ambrose addressed impact Master Plan or zoning, it doesn’t impact either.  It’s a suburban residential 

district; it wouldn’t have any impact other than that. Does the ordinance allow development inconsistent

 with the Master Plan?  No, the Master Plan zoning ordinance is what is used as guidelines for 

development. Does current wellhead protection ordinance allow wastewater treatment plants?  Not within

 Zone A or B wellhead protection and, therefore, is prohibited as are a number of other uses. If adopted 

as constraints, will additional wastewater treatment plants, will additional densities be allowed? No, it’s the 

Township’s responsibility to Master Plan and zone its community. And under those statutes of the state, 

you have that authorization and nobody else does. You go through the processes that are provided, such

 as, public hearings before you adopt those documents. It’s the impression based on documentation that 

has been received that if a wastewater treatment plant is put in at a residential development, you 

automatically get higher density and that is false.  If that was the case, then they are preempting state 

statutes with regard to local planning. So why have zoning and why have planning if you can preempt 

everything. This is not preempting local planning and local zoning. If they go out into an area that has 

been planned and zoned for low density high rural development, they will come in and suggest that they 

develop at a much higher density because they have a treatment plant and that is not the case. That’s

what is being said in the township ordinance.

11.   Roger Myers, Hamburg Township, 7710 Harbrook (?) Stone Drive, appearing as legal counsel on

behalf of Chestnut Development had a couple questions regarding the rezoning. The first question based

 on Mr. Ambrose’s and Mr. Kehoe’s comments suggesting that the rationale for this ordinance is the 

Lake Isabella decision and the concern over the potential financial ramifications to the township if these 

private systems should fail. Mr. Myers asked for clarification if that is the only rationale or if there’s other

rationale of the ordinance?

John Lowe stated that is one of the issues of the rationale. Mr. Kehoe concurred that is the primary one.

 John Lowe also stated that because this issue has come up at this juncture in time, it was necessary to 

basically address the issues in a manner so they weren’t reacting to something. In other words, something 

that had already gone awry. Mr. Myers stated that was his sense of the discussion for the evening and 

asked if that’s the case, then he would like to know and could understand the performance standards,

Section D, the latest part of the ordinance how that would address that concern. His question is how does 

A through D address that concern?

Mr. Ambrose stated in terms of location requirements, the first element, this type of use is currently

prohibited in the wellhead ordinance and has been on the books for some time.

Secondly, the Township is saying anything that is within the Township sewer and water district, which is 

open to this type of affordable housing that everybody is concerned with, and covers about a third of the 

Township, the Township is not going to allow the type of treatment plants to be built in competition with the 

public system, which was the intent. The remainder of the Township, which is two-thirds of the Township, 

would be open for this type of development where private sewer and water treatment plant based on the 

underlying zoning and would cover basically two-single family zoning classifications which is the rural 

residential district and suburban residential district and would be allowed there for a special use process

based on the underlying densities, lot areas, and any other dimensional requirements.

Mr. Myers commented that the DEQ has and still does regulate things such as setbacks and location 

requirements for onsite wastewater treatment facilities and that has had no impact as a result of Lake

 Isabella decision. So if the impetus for this ordinance is the Lake Isabella decision, then he doesn’t 

understand how imposing setback requirements and things of that nature addresses that financial 

security concern.

Mr. Ambrose stated he doesn’t think the setback requirements were directly aimed at the Lake Isabella 

decision. He believes it’s reasonable to have certain minimal requirements where a facility can locate in 

relation to where a house is sited.

Mr. Myers stated his understanding of a DEQ regulation, is standards that have been proposed in this 

ordinance are more stringent than what is allowed by the DEQ and what’s the rationale for imposing 

more stringent standards, what has been imposed by DEQ and still is imposed by DEQ?

Mr. Kehoe was not present when the Planning Commission discussed this but it was his understanding

 that A, B, C, and D, are typically standards that are in areas that the Township regulates or sets 

requirements, or regulations, for in regard to the siting of any type of use of land. As he looked at A through

 D, those appeared to be reasonable requirements.  In addition, because of the possibility that a 

development such as this could be sited next to an existing neighborhood or something like that, he felt

 it was reasonable for the Township to have not only requirements about having it look harmonious but 

also the setback distances and so forth on the circumstances seemed reasonable.

Mr. Myers’ stated this is a more stringent standard than what the DEQ has been consistently implementing 

and questioned what the precedence or rationale for making more stringent?  Is it the suggestion that 

those standards are not appropriate?  If so, what is the basis for that statement?  

Mr. Lowe stated the Planning Commission felt that the dimensions that were put into the proposed 

ordinance were deemed to be reasonable to protect the existing neighborhoods and the health and 

safety of the existing property owners that surround the project.

Mr. Myers questioned the proposed ordinance where it prohibits any private wastewater treatment 

facilities in wellhead protection areas, which obviously includes his client’s property. Is it the suggestion 

that private septic fields on single family residents provide a level of treatment that is greater than what is 

provided by private wastewater treatment facilities?

Mr. Lowe stated this has been in effect since the wellhead protection was established seven or eight years 

ago.  Mr. Ambrose stated the standards were established in conjunction with the City of Howell and the

Livingston County Health Department and MHOG was involved.

Mr. Myers still questioned if his client’s property were developed for 110 home sites and it was serviced by 

private septic fields, each home was serviced by private septic fields within the wellhead protection area,

 is it the suggestion that this ordinance, that it is more safe for the environment and the wellhead protection

 area than having a well than having a wastewater treatment plant that could service those same residents? 

 Mr. Ambrose stated that was not suggesting that.

Mr. Kehoe commented that this is a Public Hearing designed for the taking of input from the public in regard

 to their concerns and positions and their concerns and positions are duly noted.

12.  Steve Morgan, 4432 Glen Eagle Court, Brighton, in follow-up to the density issue for clarity, Mr. Morgan 

spoke to a public sewer in suburban residential (SR) zoning of 20,000 square feet. He stated with this being

 a public sewer; it has to be a public sewer by state statute even though it may be privately built.  He asked for

 a clarification of why there would be a differentiation between the one built by the township and one built by a 

private individual and required to turn over to a municipality by state statute.

John Lowe responded by relating back to the underlying zoning and the densities in the underlying zoning,

 which the Township has the ability to regulate. Mr. Kehoe concurred and stated that generally speaking it’s 

going to be a privately owned system due to an association being the owner as opposed to a public system 

or municipality owning and operating it. John Lowe stated it is quasi public because it is owned by an 

association and not municipal.

Mr. Morgan stated that is not allowed under state statute. If more than one person uses a sewer/water 

system then it must be a municipally owned system, or publicly owned.

13.  Kimberly Bowlin, 132 E. Grand River, stated  in relation to Mr. Myers’ comments about private septic 

systems and the question about whether or not those are actually safer to the public health, safety and 

welfare, wanted to quote from Lake Isabella in which the court said, no, it’s not.  It states that “The statute 

was intended to regulate the discharge of both private and public sewage systems. An arbitrary rejection of 

a local governmental authority prevents safe and sound sewage treatment practices which are authorized

 and encouraged by the law and would thus require the use of individual septic systems or some other 

disposal system which are discharged under the law.”

In relation to this, when the township talks about protecting Marion Township residents from possible 

groundwater and aquifer contamination, again, state statute covers that. The DEQ is the protector of the 

waters of the state and the court reiterates that in the decision that is being used to pass this unlawful 


14.  Kyle Sober, 6126 Pheasant Ridge, Fowlerville, asked for clarification of stating quasi systems to be 

competitive in the Marion Township’s sewer district?  Mr. Ambrose stated they didn’t want them located 

within the boundaries where the public sewers are being provided, which is close to a third of the township. 

Ms. Sober stated it appears that the township ordinance is picking and choosing where affordable housing 

can be located and will make it hard for their homes to sell in the future. Ms. Sober moved to this area from 

an area that had public sewer system and that the Township is opening themselves up to, if this becomes 

public as it is being said, and a sanitary sewer backs up into someone’s home more than once, the 

township is legally liable for that and is called trespass nuisance and it is a law. Ms. Bowlin disagrees with that.

  15.   John Hubert, 2629 Rubbins, stated how all these people who want to come in and build affordable 

housing do not live in Marion Township. Another thing is the issue about the roads handling all the traffic that

 there’s trouble with the traffic now and if the school goes in and other subdivisions, the roads will be terrible. 

16.  Jim Fenton, 408 East Grand River, Fowlerville, stated he has sat on a Planning Commission in

Fowlerville and knows how this has been a difficult time to try to do what people want them to do.  He

 asked Mr. Ambrose if he heard him say that this does not follow a Master Plan.  Mr. Ambrose stated he

 was asked if it was inconsistent with the Master Plan and he stated that, no, it’s not. Mr. Fenton stated a 

Master Plan for the general public is a document that’s required when you have a Planning Commission body 

and that Master Plan is created and that’s what the Planning Commission uses as a guiding document and

 has to constantly refer back to it to make sure that their long-term plan is making changes and is consistent 

with the Master Plan.  Ordinance changes are difficult for everybody and making special changes can get a

 Planning Commission and Township in a lot of legal trouble. One of his concerns needs affordable housing

 and stated our county is lacking for affordable housing and need to address it.

17.   Don Harvey stated the developers, the chambers and everyone involved in home growth has went to

every township and presented to all the townships for affordable homes and is not targeting Marion Township

 to allow affordable housing.

18.    Mary Ann Bahr stated in her subdivision there are at least two policemen that live there and found 

affordable housing. Ms. Bahr stated where we define affordable housing as a dollar value and asked that if 

these things are said they should stand behind them.

19.  Marty Ritchie, 3173 Grass Lake Court, stated he is for the ordinance. He has lived in the Pinckney/Howell

area for 20 years. He believes that affordable housing is whatever people want and doesn’t believe that 

$199,000 or $200,000 is affordable for people under 35.

20.  Bill Jones, 4405 Bentley Lake made a motion to move on.

 21.  Valde Garcia, 1152 Hudson Drive, appeared at the request of someone who asked him to speak to 

affordable housing. He stated affordable housing is a problem in Livingston County and is needed. It is 

needed throughout the state. The problem lies in what has been addressed before, how do you define 

affordable housing. This is a difficult task and if there is anything at the state level he can do to help, he

 invited the township to come to the state level or if there is something he could do to help, please contact him.

John Lowe asked for further comments and none being heard, closed the call to the Public at 8:23.

Debra Wiedman-Clawson stated that in Section A, #1, where private water and sewer treatment plant facility 

should be prohibited in those areas of the township that are designated in a Township’s Comprehensive Plan. 

Technically because the Township is still working on the new one needs to be reworded and recommended 

that the Comprehensive Plan Future Land Use be dropped and put on the Township’s proposed public sewer

 and water service boundary areas and then see attached drawing of what those proposed areas are. So it 

is not directly because of the timing of this and new Master Plan is being worked on, does not want to tie it to 

the old Master Plan that doesn’t have that in it and think it should say see attached drawing which is already

 in circulation.

Debra Wiedman-Clawson also stated she would like to know what the DEQ standards are for the site 

requirements and would like a copy of it.




Dave Hamann made a motion to close the Public Hearing. Debra Wiedman-Clawson seconded.  

Motion carried 5-0.    


                      Regular Meeting - Draft Minutes


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

                                            Jean Root


OTHERS PRESENT:        John Ambrose, Planning Consultant

                                            Bob Hanvey, Township Supervisor

                                            Michael Kehoe, Township Attorney

                                             Annette McNamara, Zoning Administrator




John Lowe called the meeting to order at 8:27 p.m.


Under new business, Judith Lyons, 3498 Cedar Point, requested that a new item be added to discuss 

“home occupation”. Jean Root requested that the section on the wastewater treatment plant be tabled to 

give the Planning Commission an opportunity to research further DEQ requirements to see how it relates 

to what the Planning Commission has currently and to have time to review all the comments that were 

set forth in the 3/23/04 Public Hearing. Also, there was a letter submitted by Tom Klebba regarding 

Jartnick Pond that needs to be added to the agenda. It was suggested that the rezoning of #4-03, 

Family Golf, be removed from the present agenda.

Jean Root made a motion to add to the agenda for the regular meeting, March 23, 2004, under New 

Business, an item regarding home occupation and the second item, regarding the Triangle Lake 

Association and Jartnick Pond issue.  Jim Anderson seconded.  Motion carried 5-0.

Jean Root made a motion to table to the next regular scheduled meeting of April 27, 2004 the Rezoning

Request #4-03 for Family Golf; the Knolls of Grass Lake Site Plan Review; Proposed Text 

Amendment – TXT# 2-04, Section 6.30 Private Sewage/Waste Water Treatment Plant; Proposed Text 

Amendment – TXT# 3-04 Article III Definitions, Section 3.02 Private Sewage/Waste Water Treatment Plant.

Dave Hamann seconded. Motion carried 5-0.

Jean Root made a motion to postpone the discussion for the Site Plan Review Application until the 

meeting of April 7, 2004 at 7:30.  Jim Anderson seconded. Motion carried 5-0.


Galina Zwerlein, 2501 Clivedon Road, Howell, commented that the Call to the Public was the first item to

be addressed and would like to make comments regarding the Knolls of Grass Lake. Secondly, she

would like to address the February 24, 2004 regular meeting minutes. Ms. Zwerlein read the following:

“While looking over the website minute notes of February 24, 2004 Planning Commission meeting, it has 

come to my attention that the minutes were not complete-pertaining to the Knolls of Grass Lake 

development. They did not include the letter I’ve submitted to the Commission before the meeting in

regards to the International Fire Code violation, nor did they include the letter from Howell’s Fire 

Marshall himself in regards to this development’s violation of the International Fire Code Section D107.1. 

The brief summary of the Fire Marshall’s letter noted in the minutes was misleading.  The minutes stated 

the following, and I quote:  ‘Mr. Rodwell’s letter states the plans are unsatisfactory as presented. 

 Mr. Rodwell states this is clearly a violation of the adopted International Fire Code Section D107.1,

 where the number of dwelling units exceeds 30, a separate and approved fire access road will be

provided.’ This implies that the proposed site plan of 36 home sites was only six over the fire code limit. 

In reality, it is over the IFC limit by about 23 home sites, since Clivedon, which is considered an access

road, already has 17 buildable home sites. (36 home sites proposed +17 existing home sites on 

Clivedon=53 total homes proposed off main road – 30 allowed by Fire Code=23)

Also at the last meeting an argument was made by the township (again, no mention of that in last 

month’s minutes) that the International Fire Code is only a recommendation, and does not have to be 

followed. If that’s the case, then why go through all the hassle of instructing Boss Engineering to get the

Fire Marshall’s approval, if they really don’t need it?  Howell Fire Marshall’s letter to the township relieved

the Fire Department of their possible, future liability.  If Marion Township and/or Boss Engineering choose

to ignore this fire code violation, then they may be held accountable in the event of any preventable damage,

injury, or death taking place, just as drunk drivers would be held responsible if he or she got caught.

International Fire Code was developed by a panel of experts for the benefit of public safety. According to

the International Code Council, 32 states currently use the International Fire Code, including Michigan.  

The potential home buyers of the Knolls of Grass Lakes subdivision should be made aware if the 

International Fire Code was not followed before they buy, since their future safety could possibly be affected.

Please include the Fire Marshall’s and my letters mentioned previously in their entirety with current minutes. 

Also, please include my complete comments verbatim, in order to preserve the meaning of what I have said.

I have taken the liberty of making a copy of each letter for township secretary’s convenience.”

John Lowe stated as a point of clarification for this particular issue, the major reason the Knolls of Grass 

Lake was being tabled for this evening was because the issues revolving around the International Fire 

Code have not been resolved at this point in time and the Planning Commission has not gotten a clear

response back from the people who are responsible from all the various agencies. These issues have

not been ignored and they are in the process of being resolved and will be addressed at the next meeting.

Mary Ann Bahr, 3201 Grass Lake Court, stated:

  1.  Mr. and Mrs. Bahr respectfully ask that Marion Township for the health, welfare and safety of                                                 

          the residents of Marion Township adopt and abide by the International Fire Code, Section D107.1 

          as a zoning ordinance or other governing of the township.

   2.   We respectfully ask that Marion Township for the good of the community abide and adopt a woodlands

         and wetlands protection zoning and other governing ordinance.

   3.  And while studying the documents for said International Fire Code we also ask that the

        Planning Commission, the Board of Trustees and the Township Attorney study, adopt,

        and abide by the State of Michigan DEQ Land or Management Division Wetland 

        Protection Administrative Code and discuss with the Livingston County Road 

         Commission (LCRC) point of access roads. Thank you very much.

John Lowe hearing no further comments for the Call to the Public, closed the Call to the 



January 12, 2004 Special Meeting Minutes

Jean Root commented that the reference to the seven acre corner piece of property at Cedar Lake

Road that was to be donated to the Township was not referenced and would like that added to the 

record and inserted under Bob Hanvey’s comments.

Jean Root made a motion to approve the Special Meeting Minutes of January 12, 2004 as amended. 

Dave Hamann seconded.  Motion carried 5-0.

February 24, 2004 Public Hearing

Jean Root made a motion to approve the Public Hearing Minutes from February 24, 2004 as submitted.

Dave Hamann seconded. Motion carried 5-0.

February 24, 2004 Regular Meeting

Jean Root cited the following changes:

-          Page 3 of 12, tenth paragraph, reference to the proposed High School, where it says, “They do 

      have some plan for improvements to widen Pinckney Road, four to five lanes from I-96 to Norton,” 

       should read Mason Road instead of Norton.

-          Page 4 of 12, bottom of page, “John Lowe stated that John Ambrose’s letter would include the 

 impacts that will be addressed by skipping it…What does skipping mean? Would skipping mean

pass SR to bring in UR? John Lowe commented it was referring to “skipping existing SR zoning 

and creating UR on the southerly boundary.” Also, in that same paragraph, fourth sentence, “the” 

should be removed.

-          Page 6 of 12, Item 7, fifth sentence, “contrary” zoning, should read “contract zoning

-          Page 11 of 12, first paragraph, tape will be reviewed for clarification

-          Page 11 of 12, eighth paragraph, “Jean Root asked if the township can prohibit private facilities 

      entirely and John Ambrose’s answer “No” should be added.

Dave Hamann made a motion to table the Marion Township Planning Commission Regular Meeting 

Minutes from February 24, 2004, 7:30 p.m., until reviewed and presented at the next regular scheduled 

meeting. Jim Anderson seconded. Motion carried 5-0.


RZN# 8-03 – Chestnut Development

John Lowe questioned if all information was in the packet. The e-mail from Webmaster reflecting RZN# 8-03 on

the top corner, were received after the Public Hearing. Mike Kehoe stated that they are part of the Planning 

Commission record but because they weren’t submitted in time for the Public Hearing, they shouldn’t be included.

Annette McNamara stated reference was made to Eloise Bose’s letter in the February 3, 2004 minutes and also a 

letter from David M. Kalp, dated 2/16/04 has not been noted in the record. John Lowe stated they should be added

to the packet. He also asked if the members were comfortable with the submitted information at this time. In response:

Jean Root commented that in previous rezonings they have gone through the criteria as part of the discussion with 

Mr. Kehoe and discussed each item as it pertains to this. Mr. Ambrose commented that letters information being 

reviewed, they could move on to the motion. Roger Myers appearing on behalf of the applicant, Chestnut Development, 

commented that the last time they were there, several questions had been asked by the Commission regarding specific

information that the Commission felt was relevant to the basis of the rezoning request. In an effort to provide the

information that was requested by the Planning Commission they had done several things.

1.      They redistributed the conceptual Planned Unit Development submittal package that was filed originally in 

November of 2003. Their understanding of the Township’s position that the rezoning request and the PUD 

application would not be considered simultaneously. However, many of the questions that the Board asked 

regarding specific information related to the proposal is reflected in the packet of information that was redistributed 

and relied on the information, albeit not for purposes of the PUD, because that’s not before the Commission, but 

that information is still relevant and believe is very supportive of the need to rezone the property that is the subject 

of the application. Mr. Myers believes that those packets were received by the Planning Commission and rely on 

 that information.

2.      Mr. Myers also stated he submitted a cover letter dated, March 2, 2004, additional information that the 

Commission requested that related to other similar type developments – mixed use PUD’s – that information was

 identified. Mr. Eppik was prepared to address those in greater detail and, obviously, it was impossible to provide 

all of that information in a written packet other than just identifying the developments.

3.      There was also information that was requested regarding absorption rates, market data related to home prices 

and have prepared additional slides for the Commission’s consideration to further shed light on that issue. Ruth 

Williams from Keller Williams is present to provide further information to substantiate the market data that they 

had addressed at the previous meeting. Mr. Eppik is prepared to elaborate on previous questions that the 

Commission had raised at the last meeting. Mr. Myers requested the opportunity to provide information that was

 requested at the last meeting.

 John Lowe stated that would be permissible as long as it’s not project specific but on a zoning basis. Mr. Myers 

stated it was zoning basis specific and also the information referenced received from the Township Attorney was 

never received by him and would be happy to address any questions raised from a legal standpoint. John Lowe 

asked Mike Kehoe for protocol on that issue. 

Mike Kehoe stated attorney/client privilege as opposed to general information. John Lowe stated it is not specific to a 

certain project but is a general practice. Mr. Myers’ concern is to the extent the information bears on the Commission’s

decision, it has to be a public record and believes they have the right and obligation to address those issues to the extent

that they bear on the Commission’s decision and would not infringe upon an attorney/client relationship.

Mike Kehoe stated the factors that the Planning Commission needs to look at are if they are of a general nature. He

advised that in the past someone has been allowed to make additional presentations before the business session

(Comment from audience)

Brian Heeg, 5557 Mason Road, Fowlerville commented that tonight’s request is a continuation of the appeal that was 

made for a zoning change and believes there should be a call to the public. John Lowe stated that the Public Hearing 

was already conducted on the rezoning. Mr. Heeg pointed out that it sounds like a continuation of that hearing. 

John Lowe explained that additional information had been requested at the last meeting, which the request by 

Mr. Myers’ is a response to that request.

(Presentation by Jim Eppik)

Mr. Eppik stated they are prepared to go forward with the proposal as it relates to the rezoning and the subsequent

PUD. Due to the time, Mr. Eppik stated he would skip ahead to the end of their presentation and address 

specifically the township’s consultant’s review letter, which wasn’t available to them prior to the meeting and

did not have an opportunity to review and respond to it at the last meeting.

Mr. Eppik stated he would like to respond to Mr. Ambrose’s recommendation for denial of recommendation for the 

rezoning of the PUD. Mr. Eppik stated he did have a review letter which was dated January 16, 2004 and listed 

about six or eight items and that he would like to respond to.

Jim Anderson at this point asked for a clarification of their presentation keeping in mind that Mr. Eppik’s 

presentation was to be new material based on the request of the Planning Commission and not a rebuttal.

Mr. Myers stated it was new material and, again, Jim Anderson asked if their intention was for rebuttal. 

Due to them not being made privy to that letter before, felt they should be able to respond to those points.

Mr. Myers pointed out that a question asked of the Commission was whether they had any further elaboration

on Mr. Ambrose’s traffic impact, the potential trip generation and the potential impact to the infrastructure as 

suggested in his report but they had not received his report until February 12th a week after the meeting. 

John Lowe stated that was one of the questions and said that would be acceptable to address. 

Mr. Eppik stated they were asked to provide information on traffic, schools, housing. It was pointed out that 

Mr. Ambrose provided trip generation numbers based on proposed density or density on the rough usable acreage 

and compared that to existing conditions, compared to SR zoning and then UR zoning or the proposed rezoning 

district. He pointed out that calculations for SR zoning based on 217 lots, which would be consistent  with what the

ordinance provides and more consistent with what he heard at the meeting but different than what the letter reflects.

In essence 217 single-family homes under SR zoning with trip generation 9.6 trips per day would generate 2000 

or 2083 trips per day. If you compare that to UR zoning, in the proposed plan that is allowed, with the 305 units that 

would be developed under a PUD scenario using the rezoning to UR, 267 homes with 9.6 trips per day would be 

2563. Twenty-four town homes generate slightly fewer trips, 8 trips per day; 14 work units would produce 

fewer trips, 91 trips per day. A total trip generation under the UR zoning of 28.46 trips per day. In comparing that

to the 2083, as Mr. Eppik pointed out, it’s important to know what is being looked at is an incremental difference.

The difference of what that land could currently be developed as versus the proposed rezoning. The incremental 

difference is 763 trips per day SR to UR rezoning. It would boil down to about 31 extra trips per hour per day.

Mr. Gronow addressed the question of the impact of a new school system with their development in place was 

posed to the superintendent of Howell schools. The national average per household is .4 students. The 305 unit total

of the development would add 122 students to the school system. This provides an additional $817,000 to the school 

district with revenue of $6700 per student. Mr. Gronow asked if the $6700 adequate to cover what it takes to 

operate a proficient school system and Mr. Breiner stated in the five years he has been superintendent he has not 

had to ask for additional money from the state. He does not see a problem with the increase of 122 students from

their development. Another point he supported was the affordable housing that would be provided to the teachers 

coming into the district. Additional point of information, a comparison in affordable housing within the county and the

 statement was put forth, “What is affordable housing,” and beyond that when it stops becoming affordable, at 

what point is people penalized for not having affordable housing.

Ruth Williams from Keller Williams addressed the average sale price in Livingston County is $231,000.  She stated 

first time home buyers are forced into looking at communities such as Red Oaks of Chemung where you own 

around ½ acre lot, and the price per square foot declines every year. Chilson Hills is comparable with 60 home sites 

that are very small, 960 to 1200 square feet. The average sale price for those homes when it first started was about

$114,000. Those houses now are about $165,000, a 31% gain in appreciation in equity.  Hickory Hills is a 300 unit 

development and since 2002 there have been 37 home sales. The prices at the beginning were about $148,000 with

a resale value of about $197,000, with a 24% increase in value and appreciation, which provides these first time 

home buyers the ability to move up. Mr. Eppik stated their proposal is a project similar to these that would allow 

home buyers to get into affordable housing, build equity, and move up. Another point that the Commission requested 

Chestnut Development to provide was a better understanding of how many homes are available on the market and

where the data came from. Mr. Gronow has familiarity in this area and spoke to a report that zeroed in on the 

Marion Township residential single-family stick built developments that have started in the last six years and are still

active in construction. The outstanding point is if you look at the average price of the homes being sold in those 

developments as zoned with the current land use policies and practices in force, the average sale is $268,000. 

The number of lots approved in those nine developments, Sun Ridge through Hometown, is 947 units. Of those 

947 units to date, only 227 of those have been sold, which makes the average sales per month less than 

one-half of one home per development per month. If you combine all nine projects to see what the absorption rate 

at that market, you’re selling just under five units per month in all nine projects in Marion Township at an average 

of 4.77 sales per month; you have a 150 month supply of that product. With no new developments that would lend 

a 12 ½ year supply. If the demand doubled, you would still have a six year supply and that’s what makes their

project more desirable. Chilson Hills, Mason Run, Macomb County are similar projects to what they are proposing.

Mike Kehoe suggested that they be allowed to respond to Mr. Ambrose’s letter dated, January 16, 2004 In light 

of that letter that was read into the minutes on February 3, 2004 that recommended denial, issues were site 

specific and project specific to the intent of developing this project.  Jean Root stated she had a hesitancy of 

doing that due to running a risk of appearing to look at both of those issues, and the Planning Commission is not 

doing that, looking at the PUD. She asked that Mr. Kehoe address that issue that the rezoning should be done

 separately.  Mike Kehoe agreed with that statement that they should be done separately, and stays away from 

anything that is development specific to the PUD plan itself and confine their answer to respond to 

Mr. Ambrose’s letter with regard to the Master Plan. Jean Root pointed out that when asked for the traffic

impact studies, the Planning Commission had asked for the maximum and minimum, not site specific.  

Their presentation was strictly site specific and felt that to repeat the last 15 minutes or so being site specific 

would add no value. There is a range from under UR density what those numbers could potentially be not 

simply based upon what was presented under the PUD which the Planning Commission is not to look at. 

Mr. Gronow in response to Jean Root’s concern, stated it has always been their intention to set a limit to the 

density of the project and feels there is an unwillingness by the Planning Commission to hear that. It is not their

 intention to put a1000 units on the proposed site. Mr. Gronow stated the PUD does limit the density and if 

they were successful in the rezoning, it is not their intention to come back before the Planning Commission 

and say they were planning to put in 1000 apartments. Jean Root stated as a point of clarification, the PUD does

not limit densities. Under the PUD you’re allowed under whatever zoning to build out the maximum based upon

 whatever the ordinance states. Thus, the Planning Commission is not limiting them by going under a PUD. 

Mr. Gronow stated they are offering to lower the density in their application and Ms. Root stated, unfortunately,

 they cannot look at that. Mr. Myers stated he specifically asked that question at the last meeting when 

John Lowe requested traffic information. And Mr. Myers’ question was if they’re looking at purely the range 

and scope then what they can provide is irrelevant; it does not shed any light on what their proposal is and 

would the Commission like what is germane to their proposal. Mr. Myers’ understanding was that’s what they did. 

Mr. Eppik reviewed Mr. Ambrose’s letter as follows:

1.   The project is not consistent with the 1992 Master Plan, that the Master Plan has intended areas to be 

developed or zoned in this zoning only based on what is being served by sewer and water. Chestnut Development’s 

contention is that the 1992 Master Plan is simply outdated, 14 year old document, which the Township is underway 

of updating.  The new proposed Master Plan being developed by the county planning agency is much 

more consistent with the project they have stated. That is indicated by statements that have been 

presented last time. A few statements is that the new zoning ordinance should encourage a variety 

of residential dwelling types which meets the needs of a changing population, are sensitive to existing 

natural features, are compatible with the character of existing residencies. The new Master Plan 

as it is being developed states the township should encourage an array of zoning districts in an

 innovative zoning ordinance language that permits many different types of housing opportunities 

such as elder cottage housing, housing of special needs, etc.

2.     Second point cited is that the project is not in the urban service corridor. The urban service 

corridor as defined by the Master Plan is paved roads, sewer and water, emergency services. 

Mason Road is a major regional road as indicated by SEMCOG. It’s a major link road which is

paved and has the ability to be improved. Sewer and water is possible to be extended throughout this 

corridor and fire and police services will certainly be acceptable now but with the growing population

Marion Township is slated to grow by 106% over the next 30 years. As the populations grows, 

revenue grows and the police and fire and additional services will grow with those. It would make 

sense in updating the Master Plan and not looking at the 1992 Master Plan, that that urban service 

corridor should expand east and west along Mason Road to take advantage of the growth areas that 

the Master Plan has currently identified.

3.  Outside the sewer and water service area, the topic of their presentation is that this is not a 

stumbling block. The sewer and water can be extended in a number of different ways both by 

extending the district, extending public sewer, shared agreements with Howell Township as well 

as private wastewater treatment systems. The wellhead protection area is a critical component 

and it certainly is safer in many cases that any type of sewer and water would be better for 

the wellhead protection area than any number of private septic systems within it.

4.  Another point is that the rezoning represents spot zoning. It’s not consistent with the current 

Master Plan dated 1992 or the old two acre zoning. The proposed zoning was compared with the 

existing two acre zoning, which in Mr. Eppik’s opinion did not make sense because the existing 

surrounding zoning is SR as opposed to two acre and perhaps it is not consistent with existing 

development pattern when that was originally developed as two acre lots. This is consistent with 

the surrounding zoning and it doesn’t represent spot zoning simply because this project in this 

entire corridor is on the northern edge of the township, the northwest part of the township. 

Understanding the regional impacts of Mason Road and Howell Township and the population 

growth that’s already occurring in this area that regionally speaking this is exactly the right place

 to rezone property to UR and to preserve the rural nature and character of the Township as it moves

 south. SEMCOG has identified it as a growth area. Howell Township and Marion Township has 

identified the northern edge of the Township to be the growth areas.

5.  Density compatibility is not consistent with the old two acre zoning. SR zoning would not be 

consistent with the existing two acre development patterns. Mr. Eppik reviewed the map. Twenty

 thousand square foot lots under the SR zoning would be 2.17 units per acre. It’s agreed that out of

 about 136 acres, about 100 acres of it is developable. If 2.17 acres under SR zoning, that would 

yield about 217 homes from a mathematical point of view. Under UR zoning, or Chestnut 

Development’s proposed rezoning, they would be looking at about 15,000 square foot lots or 

2.9 units per acre under 100 acres of buildable land would yield about 290 homes. Mr. Eppik 

stated what is important to note and where the traffic picked up on this, they’re talking about the

 incremental difference, talking about a difference of about 75 units allowable under the rezoning

 not a difference of zero versus 290.  The additional 73 units would provide are those very issues 

not only the extra revenue for the school system but the affordable housing, the opportunity to do

something that isn’t going to sit on the market for 12 and a half years.

In summary, Red Hawk Landing is consistent with the intent and the spirit of the new Master Plan.

 It is capable in a number of different instances, number of different ways to be serviced by water 

and sewer. It is located on a major corridor, one with excellent regional access and contiguous with 

regional growth and regional development. It is appropriate zoning to project the regional growth. 

The small increase in density of 73 units, SR versus the UR, given the same consideration provides 

the opportunity to create a lifestyle, provide opportunities that have been heard, and lastly, the 

incremental increase in traffic much like the incremental increase in density can easily be 

accommodated when it is considered to be 760 additional trips per day to trade off in the availability 

to increase the school system, increase the quality of life, the opportunities within the township far 

outweighs any consideration to keep it at the existing zoning.

John Lowe asked the members of the Planning Commission if they had any questions or comments. 

Jim Anderson agreed with Jean Root’s comments about not talking about the site program and rezoning 

situation and urged the members to keep that in mind. Jim Anderson also pointed out that the increases 

that were cited, such as 73 homes, that’s approximately a 25-33% increase both in traffic and number 

of homes. John Lowe commented this would be a maximum of ¾ acre lots that would bring it to 133, 

which makes the difference substantially more than that. Jean Root stated approving this request 

could possibly open a floodgate to anyone else with the same request to tie into public water and sewer 

and the Township has an obligation to the folks who are currently being assessed, to be able to provide 

that service for them. Mr. Eppik stated that the ability to provide the best water and sewer system is an issue 

separate from zoning. This can be serviced with water and sewer regardless or zoning and density. It is the

 best way to do that given the particular location of the township when you look at the health, safety and

 welfare of the residents in that community.  Utilities are governed by the State of Michigan. It is done that

 way so it is taken out of the zoning aspect to provide the best available services to the residents.

John Lowe stated the basis for deliberations for the evening would be looking at the location of the specific 

project in relation to the Master Plan that is existing and the future Master Plan and how it fits into this 

particular project and the information submitted by the representatives of the development. Issues for 

discussion were as follows:

1.      Is the rezoning justified or changed by changing conditions in the area?  Jean Root stated no. All of 

the property with the exception of the property to the north, which is zoned AR and in Howell Township, 

all the surrounding property is zoned SR and predominantly surrounded by agricultural uses or single-family 

homes on large lots. Debra Wiedman-Clawson stated that there’s also an SR with PUD overlay adjacent

 to the property. John Lowe stated the conditions that are there are existing conditions that have been there

 and there’s a finding of no change in that.

2.      What is the precedence and possible affects of such precedence which might result from the approval 

or denial of the request? Jean Root stated she can appreciate what the developers are saying about them

 willing to pay for the extension of the public water and sewer and most of that usage is obligated to the 

people who are paying for it now. It was also stated there’s a risk if this project is allowed to do it and 

anyone else within the SR district opens the door to allow those folks to come in and hook up.  Under 

Urban Residential Section 8.03 under the intent, the last statement refers to that idea that the district is 

not intended to be established within any portion of the urban services district where existing public services 

are not adequate to address more intensive land uses unless the necessary services are also established 

concurrent with the establishment of the land use. Jean Root stated in looking at the Township’s zoning 

ordinance reiterated that  that would run the risk of opening the door to setting a precedence and not following

what the Township has within the zoning ordinance. John Lowe concurred with Jean Root’s statement and 

stated one idea that should be considered is the property is zoned SR and isolated by SR with a UR being 

basically asserted as a spot zoning within an SR district and by setting a precedent of doing such type 

development the precedent is set to allow inconsistencies and spot zoning to basically to flourish at this point

 in time. This would be a negative precedent to set.

3.      Is the rezoning consistent with the Township’s future land use plan and established land use patterns?  

John Lowe stated that this neither meets the current or the future land use established land patterns on either 

of the current ordinances that are in place or the future ones that are being looked at this point in time.  Jean 

Root pointed out that under the old plan however antiquated may seem by the applicants, if the Township 

starts picking and choosing where it will be applied until it is rewritten does not seem to be the proper thing 

to do, to selectively choose where it will be used.  Also, within the new Master Plan and the proposed 

Master Plan the same statement states that the rural services district is to be held where currently there is

 no public water and sewer and do not want to see these type of developments go in at such high density. 

John Lowe stated one of the major issues is the increase in density in a spot zoning situation.

4.      Would the amendment create an isolated district unrelated to adjacent districts? John Lowe and other 

members of the Planning Commission stated that’s exactly what it does.

5.      What is the capability of providing utilities, roads and services if the rezoning is approved? Jean Root 

stated the idea of public water and sewer under the zoning ordinance Section 6.17, which mandates that no 

new land use or development that requires site plan review be permitted which shall reduce the level of service

that’s identified in the Master Plan. John Ambrose also addressed that issue of the level of services in his letter. 

Jean Root pointed out that at this time it would provide very limited public police and fire services. Debra

 Wiedman-Clawson pointed out that the closest fire hydrant is out on Burkhart Road. Mr. Myers questioned that

 issue, level of service, being addressed in Mr. Ambrose’s letter and John Ambrose stated he did not address that 

as a point of clarification. John Lowe stated the level of service would be addressed with the potential number of 

units that would be developed under the 133 homes that are currently able to be developed under the SR zoning 

with the 1330 trips per day as opposed to up to 6600 trips per day under the UR, which is not compatible to low 

density development patterns that currently exist around the subject site. Mr. Myers questioned the 6600 figure 

would lower the traffic level to what level service?  He pointed out the reference was C. John Lowe stated at 

some point in time there was a level of service from someplace and could not confirm that Mason Road was at 

level C at this point in time. Dave Hamann stated 6.17 A1 is the ordinance for level of service C. John Lowe

pointed out that more cars lowers the level of service.  Mr. Myers asked from what, to what, based upon what?  

Jean Root referenced map 4-3 under the current Master Plan indicates that Mason Road was at a level of service C in 1992.

6.      Will the rezoning be compatible with neighboring properties? No, it is predominantly surrounded by agriculture, single-family residences on large lots.

7.      Will rezoning adversely affect the value of these properties? Members of the Planning Commission stated 

they are not in a position to answer that question as far as economics and value of one property versus another.

8.      Can the property in question be put to a reasonable economic use in the current zoning district in which it is

 located? John Lowe stated that John Ambrose referenced that the SR with a PUD is available within the project

 area proposed site and projects of a similar nature have been done within the Township and it is economically 


9.      Are there adequate sites elsewhere in the community for the proposed use? John Lowe stated the Township

has UR zoning in the area of the northeast corner of the Township and most of that is in the urban services 

district and is available at this point in time and a community can be developed within areas which there’s already 

existing within the UR district which can be developed by anyone under the ordinances in place and available.

 John Lowe stated for the record the Planning Commission received two letters from: David M. Kalt, dated 2/16/04, 

143 South Truhn; Shannon Kegevein, dated February 5, 2004, 5049 Mason Road.

Jean Root made a motion that the Planning Commission recommend denial on Rezoning #8-03, a rezoning request by 

Chestnut Development, to rezone 136 acres located on the south side of Mason Road from SR to UR for the 

following reasons:

 1.      The proposed rezoning request has not identified significant changed conditions with respect to the subject site 

which would justify a rezoning from SR to UR in that:

(a)   The surrounding properties to the west, south, and east are zoned SR. The property to the north across 

Mason Road and Howell Township is zoned AR. No surrounding properties are zoned UR or Master Plan for any 

urban density land use.

(b)   The predominant surrounding land use to the subject site is single-family residential homes on large lots.

2.     The proposed rezoning would set an undesirable precedent of extending UR zoning and thereby urban density 

development into areas Master Planned for conservation and open space residential as well as areas that are located 

within the rural services area. Per Section 8.03 of the Zoning Ordinance, the UR district is intended to exist solely in

 urban services area as depicted in the Master Plan as it is only within the urban services area that public services

 would be adequate to accommodate the needs of higher density land uses.  Additionally, the UR zoning district should

 not be established at all even in the urban services district if the existing public services are inadequate to service the

 needs of the more intense land uses unless the necessary services are established concurrent with the establishment 

of the land use.

3.      The proposed rezoning would have a detrimental effect on the Township’s and other governmental 

organizations’ ability to provide adequate public services and facilities in that:

  (a)   The subject site is located within the rural services district where limited public sewer or water is provided and 

no public water or sewer extensions are anticipated to the subject site.

(b)   The proposed rezoning to UR could result in an additional 2900 to 6600, approximately, new vehicle trips per day

to Mason Road already experiencing congestion at peak times during the day. Section 6.17 of the Township Zoning 

Ordinance mandates that no new land uses or development requiring site plan review, except for single-family 

unplatted homes, will be permitted which shall reduce the level of service on the adjacent roadways below the level 

of service C as identified in the Township’s Master Plan until roadway has been improved to avoid such decrease in

level of service. Map 4-3 of the current Master Plan indicates that Mason Road was at a level of service C in 1992.

It is anticipated that an additional 2900 or more new trips per day would affect Mason Road level of service.

(c)   If rezoned to UR, the subject site could potentially be developed between approximately 290 single family 

detached and 1000 multiple family units. This intensity of development could significantly impact public school enrollment.

(d)   As the subject property is located within a Rural Services District there are limited police and fire services provided.

4.      The proposed rezoning would adversely affect environmental features on the subject site in the following way:

(a)   The subject property is Master Planned for conservation and open space residential. The Master Plan text regarding 

open space residential areas notes that soils in these areas are generally poor for supporting septic systems and,

therefore, larger lots may be needed to support residential units.

(b)   The subject property is located within the Highpoint planning area as identified in the Master Plan. The Highpoint 

planning area is characterized by prime agricultural lands as well as sensitive environmental features such as wetlands 

and woodlands. Development at urban densities may negatively impact these natural features.

(c)   No extension of public sewer and water is planned for the subject property or area. An adopted policy of the 

Master Plan, Page 4-23, states that any public sewer and water services shall be provided in the urban services district 

and shall not be extended beyond that district unless the township finds such extension is consistent with the 

Comprehensive Plan.

5.      The proposed rezoning is not in compliance with the Township’s Master Plan which depicts the subject site plan use 

as conservation and open space residential which would permit low density residential development one unit per 

10 acres. The proposed rezoning to UR which could permit up to 10 units per acre in multiple family development

 potentially could result in a development of significantly greater density than that recommended under the existing 

Master Plan.  

6.      The proposed rezoning is not in compliance with the Township’s Master Plan or other adopted township land use

 policies as UR zoning is intended to occur only in the Urban Services District where existing public services, water and 

sewer are adequate to serve the needs of higher density land uses. The subject property is located within the Rural

 Services District and has no public services, water or sewer, available to serve the site nor planed for extension.

7.      The proposed rezoning is not in compliance with the Township’s Master Plan or other adopted land use policies as 

the rezoning of the subject property to UR would permit an increase in traffic on Mason Road. In contravention with the 

adopted Public Services Strategy road and street policies of the Master Plan which notes that proposed land uses and 

site development projects larger than a single family home on an individual lot will be analyzed in regard to traffic

 impacts and roadway improvements.  The proposed rezoning could add significant new vehicle trips onto Mason Road 

which is already experiencing congestion.

8.      The subject property can be put to reasonable economic use under its current SR zoning as is evidenced by 

surrounding large lot single family residences. Other development options for the site under the SR zoning include a 

PUD or an open space preservation development. In close proximity to the site is the recently approved Cascade PUD, 

which is also zoned SR.

9.      The proposed rezoning of the subject property from SR to UR would represent spot zoning as it would be 

incompatible with surrounding land uses and incompatible with the Township’s adopted Master Plan.  

10.  There are adequate sites elsewhere in the Township for urban density residential development including areas 

located within the urban services district.

11.  The proposed rezoning effect on the value of surrounding properties can be considered subjective. However:

(a)   The proposed rezoning would permit development of the urban intensity which would be out of 

character with the existing large lot, single family residential development in the area.

(b)   The proposed rezoning could add approximately 290 to 1000 or more new dwellings to an area 

characterized by low density residential development in a rural atmosphere, thereby, increasing traffic on 

Mason Road, the sole access point for the property.

(c)   Uses permitted by special approval in the UR district include, but are not limited to, mobile home parks, 

and single family dwellings neither of which is in character with the existing large lot residential development

 prevalent in the area. Increased intensity of land uses include traffic, noise, density of development and 

may negatively impact surrounding property.

 12.  The Public Hearing dated, February 3, 2004, received a majority of negative responses regarding rezoning in person

 and in writing from the public.

13.  This recommendation is to include the letter dated January 16, 2004 from John Ambrose. And, finally, this rezoning 

request is to be forwarded to the Livingston County Planning Department for its review and recommendation, following 

to be forwarded to the Marion Township Board of Trustees for their review and decision.

Jim Anderson seconded. Motion carried 5-0.

Fox Meadows Site Plan Review

Steve Morgan along with Mr. Strange from Eschelon Homes appeared to review their proposed site plan. They chose to

remove the detention pond from the property on Mason Road. The storm drainage detention was moved. Mr. Goodman 

had also requested that the storm drainage was moved to accommodate any future development that he may choose to

 do on the corner property, which would be included in the special assessment district for drainage.

In summary of engineer reports, there were approvals from Tetra Tech. Landscaping would be around the detention 

pond on the corner. He stated the Township attorney had suggested a property in exchange before approval. There is a 

purchase agreement on file and the Township attorney has looked at it and the closing is scheduled for a week from today.

John Ambrose reviewed his letter of March 12, 2004 and based upon Fox Meadows plans that have been submitted he 

stated he recommends the final site plan be approved. The one issue he believes should be addressed would be the area 

that’s a 20’ x 20’ sign easement at the entrance of the proposed development. He stated they have had about six months 

to decide about designing their sign and that when such sign is designed, the applicant will submit a site plan for the sign 

for review and approval. It appears that the applicant had adequate time to design an entrance sign for this project, and 

said sign needs to be included on the final site plan submittal.  Other than that, John Ambrose stated he would 

recommend approval.

John Lowe questioned Item 6 of John Ambrose’s March 12, 2004 letter whether a house could be constructed on that 

lot with the setbacks. John Ambrose stated he believes a house could be constructed on that lot but it would be a 

tight building envelope on Lot 16.

Mike Kehoe, Township Attorney, stated he has seen a purchase agreement for property that would supposedly 

allow the detention area to be used up in that northwest corner but has not seen any legal description. There are 

references within the purchase agreement regarding mutual and reciprocal easements that Mr. Morgan has made

 reference to but has not seen copies of those particular documents. The Master Deed will need at a minimum a

 new legal description but doesn’t know if the legal description that is being looked at includes this additional property

 or not. There are a couple minor items in the Master Deed that need clarifying but there’s no big problem with 

getting those taken care of. Ms. Bowlin has been cooperative in the past in other requests.  The Master Deed still

 makes reference to 17 units and that needs to be changed.  Jean Root stated that has been changed. Also, the 

possibility of sharing with the private road with Mr. Goodman, there is nothing in the condominium documents that 

deals with that either. Jean Root stated the condominium documents that were reviewed addressed giving easement

 to contiguous parcels. It basically states that the association or developer has the right and ability to do that. 

Mike Kehoe stated he would like that narrowed down since contiguous could be construed on the other side of the 

road, etc. It is not specifically spelled out that that particular parcel would have access to it. There’s also the issue of

one access road, one entrance, one ingress and egress onto a public road. Mr. Kehoe also stated that there’s a 

limit of homes that can have access by a private road when there is only one ingress egress. John Lowe also 

stated that needs to be spelled out where that road is going to access because there could be site distance issue

from the intersection and distances from the intersection. John Lowe asked if it’s their intention to remove the 

existing driveway because that’s what is shown on the retention area in the front? Debra Wiedman-Clawson 

questioned how they would access the house? The township engineer addressed the driveway issue that with 

an end garage they would not be able to access the house on a temporary basis without somehow impacting the 

pond and stated he would like to see how that would be worked out. It’s 30 feet from the northeast corner of the 

house to the edge of the easement. John Lowe stated a concern that in the event that nothing takes place with 

this house with the driveway there on a permanent basis for a permanent situation as far as access. Another

 issue mentioned by the township engineer is the outflow, the discharge rate, which was unclear how they got the

 numbers they had. Recalculations were redone using the T value that the township engineer got was a very

 insignificant impact on the detention pond. It would not change the shape, size of the pond. John Lowe asked

 in relation to that comment that these ponds are not substantially larger than they were proposed on the last 

drawing but yet they’re proposing that if that is developed at another point there’s extra capacity in there? 

The calculations do not show that but during the final engineer detailed construction review could clarify what

 the exact drainage area is. Pond number one between the calculations that are provided there is not a lot of 

difference. It’s hard to tell at this point. John Lowe asked if these re-drawings have been to the Livingston 

County Road Commission and there’s been no change.

Debra Wiedman-Clawson commented about the existing barns and who would remove them and it was stated

 it’s in the purchase agreement. Mike Kehoe stated he would like to see these items finalized before the closing.

Mr. Morgan stated they were asking the Planning Commission to recommend to the Board that they approve this.

Debra Wiedman-Clawson asked if that corner parcel wanted to become commercial, and that would be 

accessing a private driveway is there anything in the ordinance? John Ambrose stated they couldn’t have access 

to a private drive but have access to a private road. It was stated that the future of that lot is in the future of the 

Planning Commission’s hands. If someone comes in for a commercial, they have to come to the Planning 

Commission for a rezoning and look at those issues. Mike Kehoe stated those concerns should be expressed.

Debra Wiedman-Clawson stated this plan is better than the last one presented. John Lowe asked the township 

engineer if this site plan was satisfactory in order to finish up on construction. Yes, there are minor details that 

need to be taken care of but they are nothing significant. Debra Wiedman-Clawson asked the township engineer

 if there is a problem with the utility easement, the 25 feet for constraints of getting it in and maintaining it?

 It was stated that 25 feet was sufficient for future maintenance. Everything would have to be contained to the 

north. It was asked if the homeowner could tap into that. An agreement could be made at that point in time.

John Lowe asked if they should proceed. The Township attorney stated what is left to be done is nothing of 

extreme significance. He said that a recommended approval subject to his review and approval, that would be 

permissible. Jim Anderson made a motion to recommend approval for the Final Site Plan for Fox Meadows,

 Tax ID #10-05-200-043, known as Fox Meadows with the following conditions:

1.      John Ambrose’s letter, 3/12/04; Orchard Hiltz letter dated, 3/11/04; and the final review and recommendation

 of closing documents and the association bylaws to Mr. Kehoe and time for submission to the Board of Trustees

 review on or before April 5, 2004. Dave Hamann seconded. All said yes except Jean Root was no.  

Motion carried 4-0.

Jean Root made a motion to set a Public Hearing for Proposed Text Amendment – TXT # 1-04 Article XIII

 Planned Unit Development District – Change Heading – set a public hearing for the next regular meeting,

 April 27, 2004 at 7:15. Debra Wiedman-Clawson seconded. Motion carried 5-0.

Jean Root made a motion to hold a Public Hearing for Text Item 1-04 Article XIII Planned Unit Development District – 

Changing of the Heading – to state Planned Unit Development Overlay District at 7:15 on April 27, 2004. 

Debra Wiedman-Clawson seconded. Motion carried 5-0.

Dave Hamann made a motion to table the Planning Commission Rules and Procedures document of 1996 until the 

next meeting, April 7, 2004 at 7:00. Debra Wiedman-Clawson seconded. Motion carried 5-0.


Home Occupation

Judith Lyons, 3498 Cedar Point, presented to the Planning Commission regarding home   occupation. She had a question 

regarding limited detail may be permitted on premises. Limited was basically designed for those who do such things as 

arts and crafts. When merchandise is brought in from outside and is sold is considered a commercial operation. Arts and

 crafts done on one’s home site is considered a home occupation with limited sales. Another question was the 

employment of more than two persons. That was proposed but the current document is in effect at this time. The 

current ordinance says you can have one employee. Mrs. Lyons asked if jellies fall in the same category with arts and 

crafts. The Health Department may need to be contacted when you talk about food products for sale. 

Mrs. Lyons asked about a separate building and it was explained that she would come into the Township and fill out an 

application. The Planning Commission will look at the proposed home occupation request.

Jean Root made a motion to put the home occupation, review of home occupation language for the next regular meeting 

of April 27, 2004 under old business.  Jim Anderson seconded. Motion carried 5-0.

Triangle Lake Association and Jartnick Pond

 The next issue for discussion was Triangle Lake Association and Jartnick Pond. The township engineer stated paving 

Triangle Lake would help with the problem. Ken Recker from Livingston County Road Commission stated the culvert in 

that area will be improved, which will hopefully help the situation with the sediment and erosion in that area.

Jean Root asked if Jartnick Pond is in violation of the site plan. John Lowe stated that’s questionable. The township 

engineer stated he could check that out and make recommendations.

Jean Root made a motion to send to the Township Board, exclusively Dan Lowe or the person in charge, regarding the

road condition to review the issues with siltation as noted in an email sent dated Tuesday, March 23, 2004 regarding 

Triangle Lake and Jartnick Pond Subdivision. Upon review from the Township Board’s representative they need to 

address the issues in the letter and be certain that Jartnick Pond site plan is in compliance and in contact with the Road

 Commission for improvements that may be necessary to resolve the issue. Dave Hamann seconded.  

Motion carried 5-0.              


Dave Hamann made a motion to adjourn. Debra Wiedman-Clawson seconded. Motion carried 5-0.

(Meeting adjourned at 11:30 p.m.)