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                                 MARION TOWNSHIP

                 Draft Minutes -   June 22, 2004  

                  PLANNING COMMISSION



                                     JEAN ROOT, SECRETARY

                                      JIM ANDERSON

                                      DAVE HAMANN

                                      DEBRA WIEDMAN-CLAWSON



                                     PHIL WESTMORELAND, TOWNSHIP ENGINEER

                                     ANNETTE MCNAMARA, ZONING ADMINISTRATOR




The meeting was called to order at 7:37 p.m.


Debra Wiedman-Clawson noted the agenda should be amended to include a recommendation

to the Board of Trustees regarding the Township Planner.

Dave Hamann motioned to approve the agenda for the June 22, 2004 Planning Commission 

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


Tammy Beal introduced herself; she is running for Township Clerk.


Change the heading to include ‘regular meeting’.  In the future, any meetings held other 

than the regularly scheduled Planning Commission meeting will be referred to as ‘Special 

Meeting’.  Dave Hamann   motioned to approve the May 25, 2004 Planning Commission 

regular meeting minutes.  Debra Wiedman-Clawson seconded.  Motion carried 5-0.


Township Planner

John Lowe opened the discussion.  Jim Anderson asked what criteria are being set to choose

a new planner. Jean Root wants consistency in what was said at pre application meetings 

verses what is reviewed by the Planning Commission.  Developers will submit plans and 

state that the plan was ‘approved of’ at a pre application meeting, yet the plan reviewed by 

the Planning Commission does not meet our ordinances. There are concerns that the 

ordinance is not interrupted as written. The attorney does not attend all Planning Commission

 meetings and is not aware of the intent the Planning Commission has in implementing new

language into an ordinance.  The planner needs to coordinate with the attorney so the 

information from the Planning Commission is reiterated in its entirety. Phil Westmoreland 

explained a typical process for interviewing potential candidates may include;

List the criteria expected

Interview process

Ten minute presentation

Fifteen to twenty minutes of questions and answers

History of public presentations in the past

Phil Westmoreland will provide the information necessary for the interview process.

Jim Anderson asked if other communities advertise.

Phil Westmoreland answered yes, yet that may to lengthy a process.

The three candidate referrals we have is a good start. Annette McNamara will contact the 

attorney in Kalamazoo to see if she has any suggestions. Beckett and Raider may be a 


The Planning Commission would like to see Phil Westmoreland attend the pre application

meetings.   Jean Root motioned to release the Township Planning Consultant, John Ambrose & 

Company, Inc. of his duties to Marion Township upon review from the Township Attorney.

To be recommended by the Board of Trustees at the time they deem appropriate.  

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

Planning Commission Rules and Procedures 1996

Jean Root reviewed the latest submittal dated April 16, 2004.  The following changes will be 


1. Remove language regarding officers serving a two year term.

2. Attendance, insert; a role of monthly attendance shall be recorded as part of official minutes.

3. Agenda format to be rearranged.  Call to Order, Introduction of Planning Commission members,

 approval of agenda and call to the public the remainder of the agenda stays the same.

4. Public participation; at the discretion of the chair he or she may allow discussion of agenda items.

5. Any letter received will be read out loud by the chair-person, to include; date, name, address and 

specific content.

6. Public hearing procedural guide will be added as page seven.

Dave Hamann motioned to table Planning Commission rules and Procedures 1996 until the

July 27, 2004 Planning Commission regular meeting.  A clean copy will be provided to Planning 

Commission members.  Jim Anderson seconded.  Motion carried 5-0.

Section 6.07 Accessory Structures

Item(s) #7 & #12 are a repeat of language.  Item #12 will be removed. 

Item #1, the last two sentences regarding accessory structures not to exceed three times the

ground floor of principal structure.  Planning Commission discussed the rear yard governing the 

size of the accessory structure, possibly 10%.  The Planning Commission will ask Mike Kehoe 

Township Attorney for recommendations on language for the July 15, 2004 Special Meeting.

Jean Root motioned to table section 6.07 #1, for Township Attorney review.  Include page 6 of 6 

of the May 25, 2004 Planning Commission minutes.  Jim Anderson seconded. 

Motion carried 5-0.


When making amendments to the zoning ordinance, review of the definitions and other portions of

the ordinance that apply is necessary.  When the minimum acreage requirement for the Suburban 

Residential (SR) district was amended, the reference to acreage in the SR intent was overlooked. 

The intent of SR was read during a Zoning Board of Appeals meeting, stating incorrect information.

Mike Kehoe will let us know if a public hearing is necessary.  John Lowe suggested it be added to

the July 15, 2004 Special Meeting Agenda. 

Private Stables

Debra Wiedman-Clawson opened the discussion.  Debra Wiedman-Clawson is concerned with the

fact that the Rural Residential (RR) and the Suburban Residential (SR) requirements mirror one

another.  Debra Wiedman-Clawson recommends concentrating on one district at a time. The

fencing requirements and the minimum acreage need to be reviewed and amended.

A suggestion was made to allow in the SR district, three acres for the first horse and 1 acre for 

each horse there after, not to exceed 6 horses.  Debra Wiedman-Clawson suggested looking at

Putman Townships’ ordinance as an example.

For section 8.02 C thru K, leave this as is.  These items fall under the jurisdiction of other agencies.

The ordinance will need definitions for barns, pens, pastures, corrals and stables.

Rural Residential district requirements were discussed.  A maximum of eight horses in this district 

was suggested.  Discussion ensued on the parcel size requirement to fall under the Right to Farm 

Act.  There is no acreage requirement in the language that Sandi got off of the internet.  If in 

further investigation, a ten acre parcel falls under the Right to Farm Act, then the township will 

have no authority to govern the number of horses on ten acres.

Jean Root would like the Planning Commission to know the answers to these questions prior to 

making amendments to our ordinance. 

The Planning Commission would like to send this to Mike Kehoe Township Attorney for his review 

and comments.  The Planning Commission also questioned, would there be any conflict if the RR 

and SR requirements were different, between 3 and 1 and 3 and 2 in the different areas.

John Lowe requested tabling until the next meeting.  John Lowe requested the tabling of the 

remainder of the agenda due to the late hour.  Jean Root has a list of question for Mike Kehoe to

answer at the July 15, 2004 Special Meeting. 

Section 6.14 Home Occupation

Dave Hamann motioned to table section 6.14 Home Occupation until the next meeting.  Jean Root 

seconded.  Motion carried 5-0.

Review Text Amendment List

Jean Root noted this has been done and is an ongoing process.


Knolls of Grass Lake – Landscape Plan Review

Jean Root question the letter received from John Ambrose, Planning Consultant.  Has anyone seen 

the recently submitted landscape plan?  Dave Hamann stated the Board of Trustees approved 

contingent upon the approval by the planner and engineer of the landscape plan.  This should be 

caught prior to the construction plans being approved by the township engineer.  A land balancing

permit will not be issued until the plan is reviewed and approved by Jean Root.  Jean Root will 

stop by the township hall and review the materials.

Proposed Adler Development

Mike Boss questioned John Lowe as to the Planning Commissions possible response on the 

following; if Francis Road was paved up to the entrance of the proposed development and a 

special assessment district was set up would that satisfy the requirements?  Planning Commission

responded that there were more additional outstanding items to address. A second entrance, the 

residents’ objection, number of sewer taps and safety issues. 

Dave Hamann questioned if they wanted to resubmit a rezoning request? John Lowe answered yes.

Duly noted.


Bob Hanvey reminded the Planning Commission members that a representative is invited to the

Tollgate Wetlands in Lansing to review storm water management.

Debra Wiedman-Clawson had questions regarding a pre-existing non conforming lot on Cedar Lake

Road just south of Cedar Point Drive .  The owners would like to know if they can demolish and

rebuild.  A request for a variance may be required.


Dave Hamann motioned to adjourn at 10:25 p.m. Jim Anderson seconded. Motion Carried 5-0.