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    draft minutes

                                 MARION TOWNSHIP


                ORDINANCE WORKSHOP

                           June 16, 2004                                           


                                   JEAN ROOT

                                   JIM ANDERSON

                                   DAVE HAMANN

                                   DEBRA WIEDMAN-CLAWSON


                                  PHIL WESTMORELAND, TOWNSHIP ENGINEER

                                   MICHAEL KEHOE, TOWNSHIP ATTORNEY

                                   ANNETTE MCNAMARA, ZONING ADMINISTRATOR



The meeting was called to order at 7:00


Jean Root requested the agenda be amended as follows.  Items under Old Business to be

addressed in the following order;

  1. 6.24 Landscape Buffer
  2. Township Planner
  3. 6.20 Private Roads
  4. Noise Ordinance
  5. 19.02 Non Conforming Lots
  6. 6.07 Accessory Structures
  7. 8.01 & 8.02 Private Stables
  8. 6.14 Home Occupation
  9. Access Management
  10. Review Text Amendment List

Debra Weidman-Clawson clarified Township Planner, Noise Ordinance and Section 6.24 are

additions to tonight’s agenda. Noted. Dave Hamann motioned to approve the agenda for

June 16, 2004 Ordinance Workshop.  Jim Anderson seconded.  Motion carried 5-0.


Jean Root requested the residents, who have attended tonight’s meeting for a particular agenda

item, make their statements during the discussion on the agenda item.


Jim Anderson motioned to approve the May 17, 2004 Comprehensive Plan minutes.

Dave Hamann seconded.  Motion carried 5-0.


Section 6.24 Landscape Buffer

John Lowe would like to know if the Planning Commission recall and agree with the intent for the

adoption of Section 6.24 Landscape Buffer.  He explained for the members who were not on the

Planning Commission at the time.  A proposed development requested the access road along the

property line.  The property line was lined with mature Oak trees, which would be destroyed as a

result of the access drive.  This is how the ordinance for Landscape Buffer was conceived to

protect adjacent property and natural features.  At the last Planning Commission meeting

John Ambrose, Township Planner said that was not the intent of the ordinance. John Lowe and

Jean Root disagree. It seems to be an ongoing problem (Knolls of Grass Lake, Ironwood,

Family Golf) that surfaces after the fact, and then it is the Planning Commission responsibility to

explain to the residents why this takes place. The Board of Trustees has authorized Dave Hamann

to do research for a new planner.  The current planner is not under contract.  John Lowe asked

the Planning Commission for a consensus and questions.  Jim Anderson expressed concern with

the planners’ agitation during meetings when residents comment and ask questions and that is not

the image the township wants to project.  Dave Hamann asked the Planning Commission if

another meeting with the planner to discuss these items is an option.  Debra Weidman-Clawson

has concerns that the language being presented to the Planning Commission can be easily found

on the internet. Jean Root scoured the minutes from the Knolls of Grass Lake to find the statement

 made by the planner that the number of lots would be negotiable and the next meeting that was

held it was brought up that the number of lots is not negotiable.  Discussion ensued regarding the

collaboration between the attorney and the planner when developing language for the ordinance.

The Planning Commission does not see this happening.  Also, the formatting of the current

ordinance must be corrected to aid in adding sections without throwing off the format of the

entire document.  Jean Root stated that the Planning Commission may find that the planners’

performance is within today’s standards.  A committed was formed to research this issue. The

committee will consist of Dave Hamann and Debra Weidman-Clawson.  Annette McNamara and

Sandi Longstreet will also help with this project. Jim Anderson motioned to form a committee

to list and evaluate potential new planner for the township.  The committee will consist of

Dave Hamann, Debra Weidman-Clawson and Annette McNamara.  Debra Weidman-Clawson

seconded.   Motion carried 5-0.

Section 6.20 Private Roads

Nancy Johnson, 2677 High Meadows Road has come to the Planning Commission for the second

time to ask if there is anything Marion Township can do to stop additional parcel splits on

High Meadows Road.  The road is in disrepair and Mr. Johnson is not willing to continue the

maintenance for potential new residents. Annette McNamara summarized the work done since the

last meeting.  Documentation was found stating the township accepted the road yet, the

Livingston County Road Commission did not accept the road.  There were handwritten notes on

the letter stating the Livingston County Road Commission standards were too strict.  Mike Kehoe

is looking in his files to see if there is any documentation showing how many lots the township

approved to gain access thru High Meadows Road. Discussion ensued as to how to force the

homeowners to participate in the maintenance of the roads.  The township cannot deny a Land

Division because it is on an unapproved road.  The township can deny a land use permit if the

private road is not approved or if the addition of another home exceeds the number of homes

approved for that road.  The other option would be to apply to the Zoning Board of Appeals for

a variance.  The list of private roads in the township that the office has been using is a starting

point.  Our township engineer can review the roads and tell us whether they currently meet

Livingston County Road Commission standards or not.  The township cannot force homeowners

to bring the road up to standards.  If a land use permit is submitted for one of the original parcels,

 the land use permit can be approved.  If the original parcel is split and a land use permit is

submitted, that land use permit is denied until the road is brought up to standards. For the roads

the Planning Commission is reviewing now, who will be responsible for reviewing the roads at a

later date, how often should the roads be reviewed?  How will the township hold the homeowners

financially responsible? Dave Hamann stated the township has to make a decision; does the

township leave these pre-existing non-conforming non-standard private roads as they are; or

does the township become the enabler of bringing the roads up to specification and charging it

back to the resident? John Lowe asked the discussion be continued when the attorney is present.

Noise Ordinance

Greg Walsh, 3564 Black Eagle Drive would like to ask the township to implement a noise

ordinance. Mr. Walsh has called the local police authority and was told that if the township does

not have a noise ordinance, the police cannot enforce.  Mr. Walsh has a neighbor who plays loud

music with profanity. Discussion ensued as to the effectiveness of a noise ordinance. The cost for

the township to have the decibel level documented is a considerable amount. Having a qualified

professional available when the offense is occurring. 8:30 p.m. Mike Kehoe, Township Attorney

arrived. Mike reiterated the documentation of decibel level and having a professional available

when offense is taking place.  When it comes to profanity; first amendment rights have to be

respected. Putnam Township has implemented a noise ordinance that may work for the township.

Mike Kehoe will review the Putnam Township language, provide review and comment at the next

ordinance workshop. 

Section 6.20 Private Roads – continued

John Lowe updated Mike Kehoe on the previous discussion and asked if a land use permit can be

withheld. Mike Kehoe stated yes, legally you can with hold a land use permit under section 6.19. 

You cannot prevent a parcel split, yet you can prevent the building of a principal structure.

Jean Root asked if on the land division application the township makes the owner aware the

parcel is on a non-approved private road. Yes, any buildings, roads, etc. that do not meet the

current ordinance are stated. John Lowe asked Mike Kehoe if the township has the ability to

restrict decks, pools, accessory structure for the homes on non-conforming private roads.

Mike Kehoe stated no.  Can only deny a primary structure on a parcel split from the parent parcel.

Mike Kehoe explained as the ordinance reads today once the road has been constructed to

specifications and is approved, even if the parcel owner waited 5 years to build they can as the

road meet the requirements at the time.  There is no annual or bi annual review.  The ordinance

can be amended to include language on annual reviews.  There is language in the ordinance now

that if the road falls into disrepair and so forth the township can make the repairs and do an

assessment. This goes on a case by case basis. Debra Weidman-Clawson asked if this can be done

on High Meadows Road. Mike Kehoe answered if that provision was in the ordinance at the time

High Meadows Road was approved, and then yes it would apply. Yet we cannot take the ordinance

that is in effect now and enforcing it to parcels that were created fifteen years ago.

Mike Kehoe explained with a Private Road Maintenance Agreement states the ingress/egress for

the parcels within the legal description. If a parcel is not part of that legal description then the do

not have access thru the private road.  An example would be; the Board of Trustees approves

18 lots to have access via a private road.  This shall not be expanded beyond 18 lots without

township approval.  You also must make sure that is in the language that is recorded.  Amend

the ordinance to have PRMA reviewed after being recorded and prior to issuing a land use permit. 

The Planning Commission would like a list of the non-conforming private roads within the

township should be a part of the proposed Comprehensive Plan to make the residents aware. 

Discussion ensued on the review of existing non conforming private roads.  Some private roads

would not need review.  If they were constructed to specification and the township has the

paperwork to back it up.  A list of the private roads and attached documentation will be given to

Phil Westmoreland and a review process will be developed.  The first step would be to identify the

 private roads within the township and narrow the list to the ones that would need a review. 

The Planning Commission feels this should be done within the next few months.  There could be

a PRMA recorded at the Livingston County Register of Deeds office and not a copy at the township.

Make the number of lots to have access a part of the motion.  For instance say the number of lots

has to be in the declaration of restrictions recorded with the county and submitted to the township.

Should the roads be evaluated based on the standards in place at the time the township approved

the road. Can homeowners on a private road deny an upgrade to allow a land use permit if one

resident is paying for the upgrade?  Mike Kehoe said that is possible. The court will look at an

unreasonable burden. Mike Kehoe asked is it wise for the township to allow additional homes to be

build on a private e road that may have standards that are less than the current are and also at

the same time letting those additional housed to be built on a private road where there are no

means to maintain and share cost.  It that the townships problem and is the township creating

bigger problems by lettering these things happen.  Or the parcel that is created when the road

was created is the only parcel to be built on. If you want to make money by splitting your property

you have to do under a standard that is safer. John Lowe feels extra houses can be built if road is

improved.  This is for the health safety and welfare of the residents. The Planning Commission

asked Mike Kehoe to provide language for the General Provisions article/section.  Mike Kehoe

clarified sections; 6.20 J 3 and 6.19 B.

Section 6.24 Landscape Buffer

John Lowe would like to Planning Commission to discuss the viability of an ingress/egress next to

a property line.  Does the language address the intent?  Mike Kehoe responded this has not been

applied to recent developments due to extenuating circumstances.  If there is only room for a

66 foot road, and the ordinance only provides for a 66’ ingress/egress and is the Planning

Commission justified asking for an extra 50 feet in width.  The language states between uses,

if you look at the definition of use.  It is a stretch to say the road itself meets the use definition. 

Mike Kehoe does not feel the language is strong enough to defend that.

Jean Root noted section 8.01 D that refers to a development boundary, then when you look at

6.26 the sticking point is the word development.  This was just a private road parcel split.

Mike Kehoe can tie in language to connect with 6.24, if considering placement of easement to an

adjacent parcel the right of way width may have to be wider to accommodate the landscape

buffering required in section 6.24.  Mike Kehoe will provide language that meets the intent of the

Planning Commission and is acceptable and defensible. Mike Kehoe will have this by July 15, 2004

Special Meeting.


A Special Meeting was scheduled for Thursday, July 15, 2004 @ 7:30 p.m.  Mike Kehoe will attend

this meeting.


No response.


Dave Hamann motioned to adjourn at 10:45 p.m.  Jim Anderson seconded.  Motion

Carried 5-0.