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                                                     MARION TOWNSHIP

                                   SPECIAL MEETING - PLANNING COMMISSION      

                                             AUGUST 9, 2004



                                 JIM ANDERSON

                                  DAVE HAMANN

                                  DEBRA WIEDMAN-CLAWSON



                                  ANNETTE MCNAMARA, ZONING ADMINISTRATOR




The meeting was called to order at 7:35


Jean Root motioned to approve the agenda as amended.  Dave Hamann seconded. 

Motion carried 5-0.


None heard.


Jean Root noted minor changes to the minutes.  Dave Hamann motioned to approve the minutes 

as amended.  Jim Anderson seconded.  Motion carried 5-0.

Existing Residential Subdivision District ERS-2

John Lowe questioned why 19.02 Non Conforming Lots was not on the agenda.

Jean Root answered; at the July 15, 2004 Special Meeting a public hearing was scheduled for the

August 24, 2004 Planning Commission regular meeting.  Further discussion will take place then.

This led into a conversation on non conforming lots in Existing Residential Subdivision District 

(ERS-2).  Allendale Estates and Twilly Hills Estates are two of the areas within the ERS-2 District.

Dave Hamann has concerns with the proposed language for Section 19.02.  Dave Hamann 

explained the intent in creating the ERS districts was to minimize the variance requests for the 

parcels that were pre existing non conforming lots of record that did not conform to the 1996 

zoning ordinance.   The Planning Commission is trying to make 19.02 lock down peoples ability 

to sell their property because of the zoning issue. Jean Root asked Dave Hamann to compile a list 

of the issues concerning the proposed amendments to Section 19.02 for the August 24, 2004 



Home Occupation

Jean Root proposed changes to the language submitted in the letter dated March 25, 2004 from 

John Ambrose establishing three classifications.  The approval procedure for Home Occupation, 

a fee schedule, nothing in the approval procedure for taking to the Board of Trustees, for 

class II & III a public hearing for the approval process. Dave Hamann agreed. Debra 

Wiedman-Clawson wants to know how Marion Township finds out a class II or III is taking place, 

when you get complaints.  How do existing and new business owners know to come in.

Jean Root current business will be grandfathered. Debra Wiedman-Clawson asked if language 

should include if ownership of property changes, new owner must come in and reapply.

Dave Hamann said Planning Commission has been requiring reapplication by new owner with

Special Use Permits. Proposed language for class II & III require a Special Use Permit, which 

would require a public hearing. Debra Wiedman-Clawson does not agree class II would need a 

sup because it is not run out of an accessory structure; it is run out of the home.  Neighbors 

would not be aware of a home business. Jean Root interrupts class II as applying to a business

that has customers coming to their home, deliveries, etc. John Lowe feels the current language 

is good and does not see a need for a change.  He is concerned we are creating red tape and this

is excessive. New language would allow advertising.  Give the neighbors a chance to comment on

proposed business and be informed of something going on.  Residents are operating home

business throughout the township and this is a way to have some control and monitor the 

business.  If property sells and someone assumes the business we have no documentation as to 

what business was taking place.  As with any other pre existing non conforming situation, 

document everything that existed and say that is grandfathered.  Then from the date of the 

ordinance amendment forward we will keep track based on the class of the home occupation.

Debra Wiedman-Clawson noted that the Home Occupations that exist now the township is not 

collecting personal property taxes on. The revisions to the Home Occupation were requested by 

the Board of Trustees after the Bonk Show Cause Hearing and the boring business on Cedar Lake 

Road . There are two types of business; a home office for a doctor a lawyer who simply has an 

office for administrative work within his home and then you have the people who have vans and 

or equipment, customers coming to the home. The second would need adequate parking and 

generate traffic. Reference was made to letter from John Ambrose, class I & II are the same, 

class III is different.  Maybe incorporate class I & II and keep III as is.  This language is repetitive

and could be incorporated. A suggestion was made to hold a public hearing and continue 

working on the language.  If we schedule a public hearing we need to have language in place 

for the residents so they have a base for input. Jean Root agreed to review the proposed and 

existing language along with the suggestions from the Planning Commission. She will incorporate

for the next special meeting. Discussion ensued.  No signs should be allowed in class I & II. 

Class III signs allowed.  Signs near the street may be an issue since we do not allow real estate 

signs.  Enhance current advertisement requirements.  Class II item D could be placed in class III, 

add public hearing necessary for class III.  Class II item three a, b & c (approval) to be moved to

 Class III.  Class III would need to go to Board of Trustees for final approval.  Include employee 

parking in all classes.  Class I & II list the requirements.  Class III will be more involved and 

require public hearing.  Add class III into the line items for Special Use Permits and list under 

each zoning district.

Section 7.10 Schedule of Regulations

John Lowe asked Planning Commission if they have any proposed changes.  No response.

Jean Root motioned to schedule a public hearing for Section 7.10 - Schedule of Regulations for 

September 28, 2004 at 7:00 p.m.  Dave Hamann seconded.  Motion carried 5-0.   

Section 6.07 Accessory Structures

Debra Wiedman-Clawson asked if we ever had an agricultural designation. Debra 

Wiedman-Clawson expressed concern with accessory structures and the Right to Farm Act.  

What if they have nine buildings and they are housing construction equipment instead of 

agricultural equipment what is the difference.  Can this be changed it to agricultural if they are a

farmer and they fall under a different use for accessory buildings?  There was a situation where 

a property owner had 90 acres split the property and left the principal and accessory structures 

on 14 acres. The barn burns down next to the house and the Zoning Board of Appeals forced the

property owner to rebuild the barn in the back of the house. John Lowe responded.  She

purchased the property knowing it was on 14 acres and wanted to start it, it was self created.

Debra Wiedman-Clawson stated one farmer has multiple barns and all the equipment is stored 

outdoors.  Another property owner builds a large accessory structure to store equipment and 

now the township wants to limit the size of accessory structures to three times the ground floor

living space. Debra Wiedman-Clawson said the standard size of an indoor riding arena are;

42’ x 120’ or 42’ x 160’. Discussion ensued regarding ground floor living space square footage 

being used for the calculations for size of accessory structures. Jean Root noted conflict in item 

one of 6.07, there are two sets of criteria for 2 acre parcels and under.

An accessory building shall not occupy more than twenty (20) percent of a required rear yard for parcels 

(lots/building sites) two (2) acres or less in size.  For parcels of land under two (2) acres, an accessory 

building shall be limited to two (2) times the ground floor area of the principal structure.

Jean Root asked; which one do you follow?

Debra Wiedman-Clawson said you have to meet both.

In Suburban Residential (SR) for one acre an accessory building equal to the gross ground floor

area (does not say anything about livable area) of the principle dwelling or 1,000 square feet 

which ever is larger for parcels up to two acres . Planning Commission decided to ask Mike Kehoe 

to reference letter his letter dated July 7, 2004 to revise Section 6.07 #1 to read like

Handy Township; remove #12 and change #5 to read: not to exceed 35’.

John Lowe would also like Mike Kehoe to answer the following questions.

What if over ten acres and want a structure larger than 4:1 – request a variance or attach a deed 

restriction stating the parcel can not be split lower than 10 acres.  Special Use Permits should be 

reviewed on what time frame basis. Debra Wiedman-Clawson what if a resident receives a variance

for a larger structure on a large parcel.  At a later date the resident files a land division application 

and the assessor is not aware of the Special Use Permit restrictions that the property cannot be 

split below the acreage at the time the Special Use Permit was granted.  Do we require a deed 

restriction as part of the conditions of the Zoning Board of Appeals ruling?

John Lowe answered there are not that many large parcels left in the township and it is cost 

prohibitive.  They can go to the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Section 8.01 D 1 & Section 8.01 D 2 - Private Stables in Rural Residential & Suburban Residential

Debra Wiedman-Clawson suggested limiting six horses or as many as you wan if breeding and 

under two years old.  Ordinance needs definitions for pasture and corral.  Pasture has grass and 

no dust.  Corrals do not have grass and are dusty.  Allow in the SR district; 5 acres for the first 

horse and ˝ acre for each additional horse, not to exceed six.  Fence requirements set backs need

to be specified. Pasture fencing can be placed on the property line and corral fencing needs to be

set back 75’ off the property line. Jean Root read from the June minutes; in the SR district; 

3 acres for the first horse and 1 acre for each additional horse not to exceed six horses. In the 

Rural Residential District a maximum of eight horses. John Lowe suggested changing the 

requirements for a stable being 150’ from a dwelling to 150’ from the property line.

Jean Root wants to ask Mike Kehoe for pasture and corral definition suggestions.

Jim Anderson feels Planning Commission should be consistent with buffering requirements in 

all three horse stable ordinances.  Which are Private Stables in RR 8.01.D, Private Stables in 

SR 8.02.D and 17.28 Commercial Stables. Debra Wiedman-Clawson is willing to take a copy 

of the language, highlight changes in the three sections of the ordinance and submit for the next 

meeting to be scheduled later tonight.

Section 6.24 Landscape Buffer

Debra Wiedman-Clawson questioned the Planning Commission if definitions for natural vegetation

and visual buffer are needed. Planning Commission will ask Mike Kehoe if it is necessary to add 

language or add as defined by Planning Commission, interpreted by Planning Commission or at 

the discretion of the Planning Commission.  Ask Mike Kehoe if definitions would be necessary.

Jean Root motioned to set a public hearing for Section 6.24 Landscape Buffer on 

September 28, 2004 at 7:10 p.m.  Dave Hamann seconded.  Motion carried 5-0.

Section 6.19 Lots to Have Access

The Planning Commission agreed a separate workshop for private roads and the four Sections of 

the Ordinance that relate to private roads would be necessary.  The Planning Commission would

like to hold a Special Meeting for the following ordinance amendments only; Section 6.19,

Section 6.20 B, Section 6.20 C and Section 6.20 J 3.

Noise Ordinance

Jean Root motioned to postpone the proposed Noise Ordinance until further notice. Jim Anderson 

seconded.  Motion carried 5-0.

Discussion on Planning Consultant Evaluation

Dave Hamann updated the Planning Commission on the committees’ progress.  At the meeting to 

be scheduled later tonight the planning consultant applicants will give a presentation on the 

proposed Mason Road project.  Debra Wiedman-Clawson requested the applicants supply the 

Planning Commission with a written review prior to the presentation.  The presentations will be

scheduled for 7:00 p.m., 7:45 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.  If the presentations do not take the entire

45 minutes the Planning Commission will work on Section 6.14 Home Occupation, Section 6.07 

Accessory Structures, Sections 8.01 D 1 and 8.02 D 1 Private Stables in the Rural Residential and 

Suburban Residential Districts and Section 17.28 Commercial Stables.  

Review Draft List of Private Roads

Planning Commission would like to table this until a Special Meeting to address private roads and 

the four Sections of the Zoning Ordinance that pertain to private roads can be scheduled in 



ERS-2 Existing Residential Subdivision District

Dave Hamann stated we need to find the documentation on the Existing Residential Subdivision 

District (ERS-2).  Once we determine which parcels are ERS-2, then we need to get in back on the 

record (Zoning District Map.) Dave Hamann motioned to table ERS-2 Existing Residential 

Subdivision District to gather further information.  This item to be placed on the 

September 28, 2004 Planning Commission agenda.  Jean Root seconded.  Motion carried 5-0.

Section 8.01 D 1 Single Family Subdivision and Condominiums

An excerpt from Mike Kehoe letter dated July 8, 2004 was read; subparagraph 8.01.D.1.a would 

perhaps be more appropriately placed in Section 6.24. John Lowe stated the way the ordinance

reads now this only pertains to subdivisions and site condominiums. The Planning Commission

intended it to pertain to any project and all developments.  By placing in Section 6.24 it would 

then encompass all projects. Suggestions were made to remove sub paragraph a, of 8.01.D.1.a, 

also include sub paragraph b into sub paragraph #1.  Send to Mike Kehoe with these suggestions

for his review and comment. Jean Root asked this be placed on the August 24, 2004 Regular 

Meeting agenda. Jean Root motioned to set a public hearing for Section 8.01.D.1 Single Family 

Subdivisions and Condominiums to be held on September 28, 2004 at 7:20 p.m.  

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

Section 6.6.20 B Construction Standards and Road Geometrics

Planning Commission would like to have a special meeting in October for the following ordinance 

amendments only.  Section 6.19, Section 6.20 B, Section 6.20 C and Section 6.20 J 3.

Section 6.20 C Right of Way Width

Planning Commission would like to have a special meeting for the following ordinance 

amendments only.  Section 6.19, Section 6.20 B, Section 6.20 C and Section 6.20 J 3.

Section 6.20 J 3 Application Review and Approval or Rejection

Planning Commission would like to have a special meeting for the following ordinance 

amendments only.  Section 6.19, Section 6.20 B, Section 6.20 C and Section 6.20 J 3.

Set a Special Meeting

Motion made to schedule a Special Meeting for September 14, 2004 @ 7:00 p.m.


Jean Root noted Genoa Township responded to the draft Comprehensive Plan.  No comments 

were made.


Debra Wiedman-Clawson motioned to adjourn at 10:15 p.m.  Dave Hamann seconded. 

Motion Carried 5-0.