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                                 MARION TOWNSHIP

                     AGENDA and DRAFT MINUTES

                            February 15, 2005  





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

APPROVAL OF AGENDA:  February 15, 2005     

APPROVAL OF MINUTES FOR: January 10, 2005 Special Meeting


   Section 6.20 Private Roads Serving Single-Family, Multiple-Family and

   Commercial Developments                       






                                     JEAN ROOT, SECRETARY

                                     JIM ANDERSON

                                     DAVE HAMANN

                                     DEBRA WIEDMAN-CLAWSON

ABSENT:                      NONE


                                    ANNETTE MCNAMARA, ZONING ADMINISTRATOR

                                    PHIL WESTMORELAND, ORCHARD, HILTZ & MCCLIMENT

                                    ANGELA CAMPBELL, ORCHARD, HILTZ & MCCLIMENT

                                    PAUL SIERSMA, CARLISLE/WORTMAN

                                    MIKE KEHOE, MILLER, KEHOE & ASSOCIATES



The meeting was called to order at 7:32 p.m.


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

Motion Carried 5-0.


The Planning Commission members introduced themselves to the audience.


Ken Tyler 5200 Richardson .  He has seen the proposed text for pre-existing non-conforming

private roads and questioned the second handout, are they related to one another?  Ken Tyler

complemented the Planning Commission on the pre-existing non-conforming private roads

Proposed text, yet questioned why American Association of Street, Highway and Traffic Officials

(AASHTO) standards were not mentioned in second set of proposed text.

Jack Lowe clarified this is a workshop.  Tonight is not a public hearing it is an opportunity to

discuss and receive input from the public.  Jack Lowe closed the first call to the public.


Dave Hamann motioned to approve the January 10, 2004 Special Meeting minutes. Jim Anderson

seconded.  Motion Carried 5-0.


Section 6.20 Private Roads Serving Single-Family, Multiple-Family and Commercial


Mike Kehoe opened the discussion with the proposed text 6.20 A and 6.20 P on pre-existing

non-conforming private roads.  He has also submitted amended text for previous submittals to

the Planning Commission; two have already had public hearings that he was not aware of.

Mike Kehoe would like the Planning Commission to consider two options for private road language.

At the last Planning Commission meeting the problems regarding private road developments that

have been approved and additional splits are applied for, the township refers to the zoning

ordinance in place at the time for the additional splits.  The Planning Commission has seen

amended language addressing this in Section 6.20 paragraph 3, application and review process. 

Mike Kehoe asked the Planning Commission to choose the first paragraph, that refers to splits or

the second paragraph, which refers to land use permits.  He does not expect the Planning

Commission to make a decision tonight.  

Mike Kehoe referred to the current zoning ordinance, which does not address future splits on

pre-existing non-conforming private roads.  He read the proposed text and the second option.

Debra Wiedman-Clawson asked if this only applies to new private road applications.

Mike Kehoe answered yes.

Jean Root likes language that requires additional site plan review, thinks the average person can

understand this text.

Jack Lowe asked if this conflicts with the Land Division Ordinance.

Phil Westmoreland yes, if they meet the requirement of the public land act, the township cannot

legally deny a land division.

Discussion ensued on State of Michigan Land Division requirements; the township is required to

split a property if it meets all the requirements and the township denying a land use permit. 

Wording such as no new primary residents will be approved without an amendment to the original

site plan.  Or a sentence stating a split does not entitle an owner to a land use permit for a primary

residence. All agreed on inserting ‘no new developable lots/units may be created for which a land

use permit will be issued without an approved amendment to the site plan’ and a definition of

developable lots/units.  Mike Kehoe will amend the proposed text to cover 6.20 J 3.

Jean Root asked if this would affect decks, pools, accessory structures.

Mike Kehoe answered no; a primary structure must be in place for accessory structures.

Annette McNamara noted Mike Kehoe was asked to submit proposed text for 6.19 B Access

 Controls, 6.24 Landscape Buffer and 6.20 E 1 for the February 22, 2005 regular meeting. Public

hearings were held on the amendments for 6.24 and 6.20 E 1 on January 25, 2005. Those items

will be on the February agenda with the exception of 6.20 C Right of Way Width.

Jean Root asked if this was just cleaning up the language from the public hearings.

Annette McNamara answered yes.

Jack Lowe informed the audience members the February 22, 2005 agenda will include Section 6.24

Greenbelt Buffer, proposed text addresses greenbelts where a 66’ right of way and entrance to a

road are adjacent to a property line, the 66’ right of way will need a 25’ greenbelt between it and

the property line, to minimize impact to adjoining property. Section 6.19 Access Controls, lots/units

that are part of a development must access a road interior to the development.

Mike Kehoe read the new sentence added to 6.20 A, and the creation of Section 6.20 P, which would

address pre-existing non-conforming private roads.  Mike Kehoe read the purpose and intent of

6.20 P then sub section 1 and sub section 2.

Jack Lowe asked if the Planning Commission had any questions.

Jim Anderson has a question about AASHTO standards that are in effect at the time the application

is submitted to the township.  Does that mean if the road met current requirements in say 1960,

and a split is requested, does the road meet 1960 standards or the standards at the time the land

division application is submitted?

Mike Kehoe answered this reads they have to be brought up to the standards at the time the division

is created.

Jack Lowe asked Phil Westmoreland how the AASHTO standards have changed in the 20 years.

Phil Westmoreland answered the road width has changed, cul-de-sac radius increased, multiple

changes have been made over the years.  There are provisions to violate the rules for roads with a

25 mph speed limit and lower.  Most subdivision streets are 25 mph and lower, so long as you meet

health, safety and welfare issues.

Debra Wiedman-Clawson noted private roads do not have speed limits.

Jack Lowe wants to avoid Zoning Board of Appeal cases with multiple variance requests to the

AASHTO standards.

Jack Lowe asked if it would be reasonable to pick out the highlights and relate back to those

standards without going to a 4” book.

Phil Westmoreland said township can pick out highlights they want to maintain as a consistent

design feature.  Highlight road widths, cul-de-sac radius, site distance and curb requirements.

 If AASHTO standards change, Planning Commission will evaluate the zoning ordinance and

decide if they want to change.  There are typically changes every 15 to 20 years.

Jack Lowe also asked how they compare to Livingston County Road Commission (LCRC) standards.

Phil Westmoreland answered.  In general they are the same, yet they spell out their requirements in

detail and have their own book.

Jack Lowe noted LCRC standards book is not as involved as AASHTO standards book and may be

easier to reference.  Our zoning ordinance makes reference to LCRC standards.

Phil Westmoreland said LCRC requirements are good.

Jack Lowe noted existing roads have a 50’ cul-de-sac and would not be able to expand to 75’ to meet

current standards. There are other requirements that cannot be met.  Site distance is another issue.

Jim Anderson noted the proposed text reads in 1960 a road is built at a certain specification.

In 2005 an owner applies for a land division and the township says they have to bring the road up

to current standards, this is not what the Planning Commission wanted and that is the way this reads.

Debra Wiedman-Clawson suggested a minimum depth of gravel, this is where most of the poor road

conditions.  For pre-existing non-conforming private roads it is a safety issue.

Jean Root noted residents come to the township and complain that their roads are sub standard.

Debra Wiedman-Clawson the township is not responsible.

Discussion on proposed text stating the township has a private road maintenance agreement

template and the necessity of developing a one.  Currently Mike Kehoe reviews private road

maintenance agreements on an individual development basis.  Suggestions of accepting existing

agreements and updating.  If there is no agreement in existence the township can provide the

template and it is the owners’ responsibility to put into place.

Further discussion on where the responsibility lies, with the township or with the property owner. 

Jean Root felt the property owner that wants to split property and profit from it should bear the

brunt of the cost of upgrading and getting the other neighbors to sign up.

Debra Wiedman-Clawson disagreed.

Jim Anderson asked Mike Kehoe if the township adopted this language and a person wants to split

their property and doesn’t follow the zoning ordinance and we go after them can they sue the

township and win.  Can we stop them if they cannot get their neighbors to sign the agreement?

Mike Kehoe said we can provide in our zoning ordinance they have to do it yet the neighbor might

succeed in keeping them from doing it.  Neighbor could sue to prevent the expansion of the road. 

The township can get involved in litigation yet the township is not liable from that standpoint.  If it

says it is a private road easement that is more difficult to stop as opposed to an easement that is

described as an easement for ingress and egress.

Charlie Musson suggested reading the Land Division Ordinance, the Planning Commission is discussing

things they don’t have any control over.

Mike Kehoe responded that getting a division of a piece of property comes under the land division

act totally separate from the zoning.  We blur the lines when we talk about if someone can get a

land division what is the status of the private road. Again, if they meet the land division requirements

 they can get a split.  We can’t talk about zoning issues in regards to that land division application. 

Mike Kehoe does not think a road that was built to 1960 standards should carry anymore house until

it is brought up to 2005 standards.  The increase in numbers and density needs higher standards.

Jack Lowe suggested the township come up with a reasonable set of standards.

Discussion on getting 51% of the homeowners on the road to sign an agreement and coming to the

township for a special assessment.


Larry Diedrick 3371 Sesame - they have a special assessment, their road is 22’ paved, will this make

them non compliant with the zoning ordinance?  Jack Lowe answered no.  They wrote a maintenance

agreement for them and it works well. Jack Lowe asked what would happen if someone upgraded the

road and got a maintenance agreement in place, they pay for it themselves.  How does this cost get

passed along? Phil Westmoreland if someone brings it up to standards and others follow right behind,

the others don’t make that much of an investment, yet they must become part of the maintenance

agreement. Discussion ensued as to possible scenarios and how they could be handled.

Charlie Musson suggested language in the agreement anyone who buys property has to sign a

document they will participate with the township in the automatic consent of a special assessment.

Dan Lowe 2441 Norton suggested the Detroit Edison way.  The first person to upgrade, the next

person to split has to pay a percentage back to the first person.

Charlie Musson asked if the legislator give the township the authority to do?

Mike Kehoe will look into it.

Ken Tyler, 5200 Richardson.  Noted AASHTO standards are the best.  Felt a minimum of 24’ width

 and 6” of crushed stone is reasonable, you cannot ask someone to put sand under an existing

road.  He asked the Planning Commission if the township has adopted the International Fire Code,

allowing 30 lots/units on a road with one point of access.

Steve Majors, Pheasant Run.  Relate standards to the number of parcels served by a road.  A tiered


Debra Wiedman-Clawson reminded him you have to look at the maximum number a road can


Gerald McCann, 883 Hurley.  His road could not be upgraded like what was discussed tonight. 

The road Gerald McCann lives on has exceeded the maximum of 28 lots/units. 

Gary Poma, 200 Dinkle Drive .  Questioned the Planning Commission on placement of cul-de-sac

on his 10 acre parcel as Dinkle Drive would be too costly to upgrade. 

Jack Lowe suggested he consult an engineer to see if standards could be met.

Jim Barnwell, 127 S. Tompkins.  Expounded on the question of where the road ends.  Is it the

intent the upgrade is on the entire road or up to a property and a cul-de-sac is placed on the

property.  He also suggested an entire Section related to pre-existing non-conforming private roads

instead of including it in Section 6.20.

Jack Lowe closed the call to the public at 9:05 p.m.

Jack Lowe asked Mike Kehoe, Phil Westmoreland and John Enos to work on the proposed text for the

next workshop.  Copies of the proposed text will be available one week prior to the next special


Jean Root motioned to hold the next workshop on March 14, 2005 at 7:30 p.m. and tentatively on

April 11, 2004 at 7:30 p.m.  Debra Wiedman-Clawson seconded.  Motion Carried 5-0.

Dan Lowe expressed the position that it is not acceptable to ask a land owner who would like to split

property to have to upgrade the entire road.  He also agrees with a percentage being paid after the

investment on behalf of another.

Jean Root wants text that would prohibit site condominiums off of private roads.

Other Discussion

Debra Wiedman-Clawson would like the township to look into the auto service station operating

within the Wellhead Protection Area on Amos Road .  Item #6 - Auto Service Stations are not

allowed in this area.

Jack Lowe asked Mike Kehoe what is necessary to protect open space and common areas in

developments from defaulting on taxes, being sold to a developer and built on.  How are we

making sure these areas protected?

Mike Kehoe answered most do not even have a tax id, and are never assessed, thus cannot go into

default.  He suggested working with the township assessor to make sure these are handled properly.

Jim Anderson asked how other townships handle that situation.

Ken Tyler gave a few examples.  


No new business.


Dave Hamann motioned to adjourn the meeting at 9:40 p.m.  Debra Wiedman-Clawson seconded.

Motion Carried 5-0.