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                                 MARION TOWNSHIP


                        April 11, 2005    




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

APPROVAL OF AGENDA:   April 11, 2005    

APPROVAL OF MINUTES FOR: March 14, 2005 Special Meeting


   Section 6.20 A - Intent

   Section 6.20 - P Pre-existing Non Conforming Private Roads

     Section 6.20 B - Construction Standards and Road Geometrics

       Section 6.20 J 3 – Application Review & Approval or Rejection

      Section 6.20 C – Right-of-Way Width

      Private Road Maintenance Agreement template

       Livingston County Health Department Private Sewage/Waste Water Treatment Facilities guidelines

      Set date for next special meeting






                                   DRAFT MINUTES


MEMBERS PRESENT:    John Lowe, Dave Hamann , Jean Root, Jim Anderson,

                                      Debra Wiedman-Clawson


OTHERS PRESENT:        Mike Kehoe , Township Attorney

                                      Phil Westmoreland, OHM, Township Engineer

                                      Angela Campbell, OHM, Township Engineer

                                      Paul Siersma , Carlyle/Wortman, Township Planner

                                      Annette McNamara , Zoning Administrator

                                       Bob Hanvey , Township Supervisor       



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


 John Lowe asked to have an item on discussion of zoning districts, and Annette McNamara asked to have an item

added to set date for May joint meeting.  Dave Hamann motioned to approve the agenda as amended. Debra

Wiedman-Clawson seconded.  Motion carried 5-0.


The members of the Planning Commission (PC) introduced themselves.




 March 14, 2005 Special Meeting

 Jean Root motioned to approve the minutes as presented.  Jim Anderson seconded.  Motion carried 5-0.


Paul Siersma explained that Carlisle/Wortman is developed a new process for providing text amendments to the zoning 

ordinance. Carlisle/Wortman will be coordinating efforts with the help of OHM and the zoning administrator.  The

amendments that the PC has been provided are quite extension.  There are two new ordinances—one for pre-existing, 

non-conforming private roads, and the other for new private roads.  He explained the format used.  Mr. Siersma said 

both ordinances are very similar, with the exception of some of the road design standards, purpose and intent, and 

some of the definitions. 

Section 6.20 A—Pre-Existing, Non-Conforming Private Roads

Mr. Siersma said OHM provided next text for paragraph A, Purpose and Intent.  Dave Hamann asked what happens to

all pre-existing, non-conforming private roads that don’t or can’t meet this ordinance.  Mr. Hamann said some residents 

previously asked about situations where there are roads in platted subs and they’re 25 feet wide.  There’s no way they 

will ever be brought into conformance.  Mr. Siersma said it might be up to the township engineer to review applications 

that are submitted, and perhaps make a judgment call.  Mr. Hamann said in other townships they have ordinances for

new roads; pre-existing, non-conforming roads that could conform; and then they recognize those that can’t or won’t. 

The roads that can’t or won’t are addressed at the zone administrator level.  Mr. Hamann is concerned that the

ordinance is not worded clearly.  Mike Kehoe asked if the township wouldn’t know the roads that can’t be upgraded. 

Mr. Hamann said they could be put in the ordinance as examples of those that wouldn’t have to follow this. Mr. Kehoe 

said he thought the position was going to be that there would be some pre-existing, non-conforming roads that wouldn’t

be able to meet these standards.  If those roads can’t meet these standards, then maybe we shouldn’t allow additional

land uses.  Mr. Hamann said there’s a difference between allowing splits and land use permits.  This has nothing to do 

with splits.  Jean Root asked Mr. Hamann to give an example.  Mr. Hamann said if this ordinance were in place today, 

and someone on Pleasant Lake wanted to tear down an old cottage, they can’t get a land use permit to rebuild until they

bring up the roads within the sub and the road going out to Triangle Lake Road . 

Jean Root provided a copy of Genoa Township’s ordinance, which has a sentence included which reads, “…this

section is also intended to allow new construction to occur on existing lots which front along such a road on the 

effective date of this section, if the roads are reasonably capable of providing sufficient access for the uses permitted 

in the zoning district.”  Ms. Root suggested adding a statement like this.  Mr. Hamann provided copies of ordinances

 from other municipalities that recognize pre-existing, non-conforming roads.  Mr. Kehoe said he doesn’t see where 

the ordinance prohibits someone from tearing down and rebuilding.  Mr. Hamann said it would become an 

interpretation issue. 

John Lowe said with pre-existing, non-conforming roads that have houses, the roadway curves are already in place. 

The hope was to get the best possible solution with the roads that are already there.  Phil Westmoreland said in order to 

get driveways, the roads have to be in a safe condition.  Even if it’s pre-existing and they can’t move the road, he strongly 

recommends a driveway not be placed if it doesn’t meet safety criteria.  Debra Wiedman-Clawson asked who would do the

 site distance review?  Mr. Westmoreland said the township engineer should. 

John Lowe said that on page 6-12 is the issue of land use permits on private roads.  It states that a land use permit

 can’t be issued until there’s final approval.  In subdivisions, for example, there are basecoats of asphalt.  In order to 

get final approval, the top coat has to be on.  That’s not the direction the PC wanted.  Mr. Westmoreland said with a 

plat, most people would generally finish the plat before they get anything more than four models built.  Some people

 will bond for the final topcoat.  It’s up to the developer in that case.  With it being a private road, the township has 

no responsibility for maintenance after the fact. 

Ms. Root said there possibly needs to be three sections.  Mr. Hamann said another angle he’s seen is when it’s called

 out as a pre-existing, non-conforming road, some townships will spell out all of those situations, or roads, in the first

paragraph.  Mr. Siersma asked if he was suggesting inserting an inventory of the roads.  Mr. Hamann said he’s seen it 

done that way.  Ms. Root has some concerns with actually listing the roads.

John Lowe asked about indicating utility easements in the Private Road Maintenance Agreement.  Mike Kehoe said it 

would be done that way. Discussion ensued on wording for the Private Road Maintenance Agreement.  Jean Root 

suggested adding definitions to further clarify.  Mr. Kehoe suggested additional language in the Purpose and Intent 

paragraph of Section 6.20 A.  The definitions should include language that would cover additional residential uses or the

creation of new lots or an increase in the number of residential units, as opposed to someone wanting a deck or pool. 

number of different scenarios were discussed.  John Lowe said he would like to see the option to pave the road within the

current road structure.  Phil Westmoreland said as long as the ground surface is 26 feet wide with 11-foot lanes. 

 John Lowe asked if the township assessing records could be used to indicate that a parcel can’t be built on.  Annette 

McNamara said it’s up to the seller to inform prospective buyers that a parcel can’t be built on.

Mike Kehoe said the township can’t do anything to prevent a situation where someone splits property that doesn’t qualify f

or a land use permit.  The township can’t protect someone from buying the property.  Mr. Kehoe said that is standard 

procedure everywhere. 

Dave Hamann asked if it would behoove the township to have a “review board” for any situation related to pre-existing, 

non-conforming roads.  Mike Kehoe pointed out the variance criteria and factors to be looked at.  Phil Westmoreland 

suggested language to the effect that the review board can waive whatever requirements it feels necessary to produce a

quality development, or an improvement in the health, safety and welfare of the residents.  John Lowe suggested the 

review board could submit a recommendation back to the Planning Commission for its review.  Jim Anderson said he’s

concerned about the consistency of a review board.  Mr. Anderson also suggested that the minimum requirements for a 

non-conforming road be listed in simple language.  Phil Westmoreland said that poses a problem with interpretation.  

Mike Kehoe suggested having the information included in the land split packet rather than in the ordinance.  Debra 

Wiedman-Clawson asked if the land split application is the same as an application for upgrading a road—would there be a

separate application.  Dave Hamann said Section D says what needs to be done.  Phil Westmoreland said it depends on 

how significant the change would be.  Debra Wiedman-Clawson asked if it could be done in a way that if the private road is

 less than 26 feet wide, then they have to do this.  If it’s 26 feet wide and needs a little more gravel and a couple of soil

 borings, then there’s not a problem. 

John Lowe said this is what is needed for reconstruction—is there some way to specify that if a site visit determines the 

only thing required is minimal ditching and gravel, then anything beyond Item C doesn’t need to be dealt with. 

 Jim Anderson said almost like a decision tree.  Phil Westmoreland said he thinks that would be possible.  The 

assumption should be there would be up to 25 homes on the road.  Mike Kehoe asked Phil Westmoreland to draft a

 standardized form for evaluation of a road.  Jim Anderson said he believes the township needs a 2000-foot limit on the 

length of the road.  John Lowe said 2000 feet is an arbitrary number.  They can apply for a variance.  Mr. Lowe asked

 Mr. Siersma to include 2000 feet as well as 25 units in Section 6.20 A, subsection D 1 d.  Phil Westmoreland said he

 would lump d, e and f into significant versus minor adjustments. 

Debra Wiedman-Clawson asked if a new item should be added about making an attempt to get current homeowners to 

sign a private road maintenance agreement.  Phil Westmoreland said that 24 feet should be the minimum for pre-existing

 roads.  John Lowe commented on the stopping distance chart, which seems very daunting.  Mr. Westmoreland said the

 chart reflects the minimum acceptable standards.  Mr. Lowe asked about not including this information for pre-existing,

 non-conforming roads.  The question was deferred to the attorney.  Mr. Kehoe said be believes the township may be

 putting itself at greater exposure if there aren’t some standards.  Jim Anderson asked if speed limit signs would be 


Phil Westmoreland asked for clarification on minor or major revisions and what triggers the need for a plan set.  If they 

have to do major revisions with a plan set, do they have to meet everything that’s listed for new roads or will the township

let them only meet the minimum requirements. Debra Wiedman-Clawson said she believes the minimum. Mr. Westmoreland 

said then something needs to be in the ordinance for that minimum. 

John Lowe asked about using the criteria the ZBA uses if the site distance can’t be met due to unique circumstances. 

Jean Root mentioned item e, which says dead end roads shall terminate with one of the turnarounds. What if they don’t 

want a cul-de-sac at the end of the road?  Debra Wiedman-Clawson said it’s a safety issue.  John Lowe said he’s

concerned with the T-intersections; he would rather see a cul-de-sac.  Angela Campbell from OHM said these options 

were presented as an alternative if there isn’t enough room to achieve a cul-de-sac. 

John Lowe asked about item h on page 6-5 on 90° turns.  Mr. Lowe suggested adding the Planning Commission in there 

as well as the township engineer.  Phil Westmoreland said he would prefer to change it to Planning Commission and 

Board.  Mr. Westmoreland said if the sight distance is taken out (drop f & g ), then i goes with them.  The maximum 

slopes are addressed under i .  The section on vertical curves will be dropped (ii under h). 

There is a misprint on page 6-7:  bottom width should be 2 feet, not 2 inches.  On page 6-8, item G, add 2000 feet. 

Phil Westmoreland suggested at the bottom of page 6-7 and top of 6-8, item f about the cul-de-sac, that should be left in.

  John Lowe said he believes that’s all in there.  Mr. Westmoreland also wanted to clarify that anything over 25 homes,

even on pre-existing, should be paved.  The response was yes.  Mr. Westmoreland then asked at what point do we start 

counting?  Discussion ensued on the best way to determine this. 

Annette McNamara asked about item 2 on page 6-9 and whether the language should be changed to read “no more than

a total of 25 land use permits will be issued without an approved amendment to the site plan.”  Debra Wiedman-Clawson 

said yes.  John Lowe said the language needs to be clearer.  Ms. Wiedman-Clawson said this would only pertain to 

existing roads that would be increased in size. 

Annette McNamara suggested that she provide a breakdown of the private roads are involved and how many houses are 

on each road.  Jim Anderson said he thinks that would be helpful—it may not be as big an issue as it appears to be.

 Jim Anderson asked if something could be done with deed restrictions when splits are done.  Dave Hamann said the 

problem is those things can’t be enforced at the time land splits are done. 

It was decided that Mike Kehoe , Paul Siersma and Phil Westmoreland would incorporate changes discussed tonight and

provide copies for further discussion with the township board members. 

Annette McNamara indicated that May 16 had been selected for a joint meeting with the Planning Commission, Board of 

Trustees, and Zoning Board of Appeals. 

Jean Root motioned to table the remainder of the agenda items under Old Business.  Jim Anderson seconded.  

Motion carried 5-0.


John Lowe asked Mike Kehoe to address the zoning portion of the comprehensive plan.  Mr. Kehoe said that there’s an 

area within the master plan where reference is made to medium-density residential as a transition zone between

suburban residential and rural residential.  There isn’t anything for medium-density zoning.  Jim Anderson pointed out 

that discussion with held with Kathleen Kline-Hudson with regard to the fact that there is no zoning for each colored box 

in the future land use map, and she explained this is not a zoning map. 


Jean Root motioned to adjourn the meeting at 11:00 p.m.   Jim Anderson seconded.  Motion carried 5-0.