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                                 MARION TOWNSHIP

               AGENDA and DRAFT MINUTES

                         March 7th, 2005   




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




                                    ZBA Case # 1-05 – Dennis GottschalK

                                    ZBA Case # 2-05 – Fred Brown

                                             ZBA Case # 3-05 – Fraternal Order of Eagles





                                              DRAFT MINUTES


MEMBERS PRESENT:      John Lowe, Larry Fillinger, Dan Lowe, Linda Manson-Dempsey,

                                                 and Dan Rossbach


OTHERS PRESENT:         Annette McNamara , Zoning Administrator                                                                                                                  



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


Larry Fillinger motioned to approve the agenda as presented.  Linda Manson-Dempsey seconded. 

Motion carried 5-0.


The members of the Zoning Board of Appeals introduced themselves. 


Zoning Board of Appeals, February 7, 2005

Larry Fillinger motioned to approve the minutes as presented.  Linda Manson-

Dempsey seconded.  Motion carried 5-0.

ZBA Case #1-05—Dennis Gottschalk (Spruce Run)

Call to the Public

George Kilpatrick, Mitch Harris Building Co.:  Mr. Kilpatrick read the following letter

signed by Mitch Harris, President of Turtle Creek Homeowner’s Association:

“As president of the homeowner’s association for the Turtle Creek subdivision, I would like

to offer the association’s position with regards to the proposed connection to our

neighborhood. We are against any throughway connections to our subdivision as it will

increase the volume of traffic and create additional safety issues for our residents. The original

proposal did not have the connection through Turtle Creek and it is our understanding that the

Township had suggested creating this connection. We do understand the desires of the

Township and are confident that you will explore all possible options during your deliberation.

Thank you for your consideration in this matter.”

(Close Call to the Public)

Debra Wiedman-Clawson was present from Desine Inc. on behalf of the applicant.

Ms. Wiedman-Clawson is asking for a review of Private Roads Serving Single-family,

Multiple-family and Commercial Developments, specifically paragraph 8 on the maximum

number of principal residences.  Based on the information they were given, the development is

designed with a boulevard in the first intersection.  It’s their understanding that the township

would like to see a connection into Turtle Creek.  Ms. Wiedman-Clawson said that a boulevard

was approved for Maple Farms; however, that is a PUD. She pointed out on the aerial drawing

numerous trees that would be lost if a connection is made to Turtle Creek. The developer

would prefer to leave the trees.  In addition, because the township doesn’t have a woodlands

ordinance, the developer could go through and mine all of those trees and then build the homes.

The township attorney’s letter of January 25 indicated he saw no problem with the boulevard.

A review by OHM’s traffic engineer indicated that the thoroughfare and interconnection of

roads would be better.  Ms. Wiedman-Clawson said that Spruce Run has private roads. If the

two developments are connected, there will be 88 homes and that would also be in violation of

the ordinance.  If the entrance is redesigned, the safety onto Mason Road becomes a concern.

 Desine Inc.’s suggestion is to write easements for lot 13 as a walking trail. This would increase

 pedestrian traffic only.  Children would be able to get between neighborhoods, which seems to

 be a concern of many parents.  As far as public services are concerned, there is a public road,

then a private road, and then a public road.  The police department has already stated on

numerous occasions that they will not patrol a private road and enforce the speed limit.

Secondly, school busses will not drive on private roads, so children will be picked up at the

entrance.  Finally, the association maintains the private road—they are responsible for the

maintenance of the road.  The township does not have a standard road maintenance agreement.

  Developments have been approved on an individual basis.  In the last development that was

approved, which is Wolf Ridge, they specifically stated that the township could do a special

assessment, which means the township would take over the private road if the association fails

to maintain it.  She understands the township doesn’t want to be put in that position. There

would be excess traffic coming from Turtle Creek through Spruce Run to Mason Road . The

corner of Burkhart and Mason is going to become quite congested in the future.  People will

cut through the subdivision to get to Mason Road and the expressway.  Therefore, Desine, Inc.

 is requesting that the variance be granted for the boulevard. The fire department stated the IFC;

 however, the township hasn’t adopted that yet.  They are only a recommending body, not an

approval body.  Linda Manson-Dempsey asked how far it is from Mason Road to the back

of the last house.  Ms. Wiedman-Clawson said less than 1 mile.  She also said that recently the

township Planning Commission was given a drawing for Marion Pines, and they discussed an

easement going through one of the lots to Turtle Creek for a walking path.  Desine’s proposal

is that by having these walking paths also added, there would be four neighborhoods connected.

The survey done by the township shows that 36% of the residents want hiking trails, but nobody

wants to pay for them.  This is a way for the developers to contribute to the township, have the

interconnecting trails for the walkways, and the township won’t have to pay for them. Dan Lowe

asked how a boulevard could be considered two entrances.  Ms. Wiedman-Clawson said the

same as the township has approved on other developments, and its two accesses. You could get

an emergency vehicle down either one of those lanes.  Ms. Wiedman-Clawson said it meets the

intent of the ordinance. Larry Fillinger asked whether any plans were made to connect with

Maple Farms. Ms. Wiedman-Clawson said it’s been discussed. The problem is that the

association is not completely formed in Maple Farms. Jack Lowe said in regards to Maple Farms,

that was a PUD that was negotiated with the Planning Commission. Mr. Lowe read review

letters (copies attached) from Les Rodwell, Fire Marshal, and from OHM’s manager of

traffic engineering. Dan Rossbach asked for clarification that Maple Farms has private roads.

Jack Lowe said yes, and Turtle Creek has public roads. 

Call to the Public

George Kilpatrick, Mitch Harris Building Co.:  Mr. Kilpatrick asked to address a couple

of points that he heard brought up tonight.  He asked if there have been any significant traffic

studies for this area with regard to the high school traffic.  A lot of the students from the

south end of the district, contrary to what the letter states, will use this as a cut-through.

Jack Lowe asked why the students would go through the subdivision. Most of them would

use Mason Road . Mr. Kilpatrick asked if any information has been presented regarding

knockdown gates. Jack Lowe responded that the developer hasn’t proposed by the

developer to do an emergency connection. Ms. Wiedman-Clawson said it’s something they

could possibly look at as a solution between Maple Farms and Spruce Run, but she wouldn’t

necessarily agree with Turtle Creek.

Kelly Sitarek, 3045 Ridley Way :   Ms. Sitarek said her association documents indicated

that all of the co-owners of the units are responsible to pay for the cost of upkeep, maintenance

and repair of the roads. If there is more traffic coming through, which they will, they have to

pay for it.  They bought their property because of the private roads with only one way in or out.

The traffic on Norton Road is horrendous now.  More people will cut through the subdivision

to get to Mason Road .  The children have to walk to the bus stop, and she doesn’t want anyone

getting hit. Larry Fillinger asked her opinion on a bike path. She felt that was fine. Jack Lowe

wanted to clarify whether the roads in Turtle Creek are public or private. Ms. Sitarek said her

documents indicate they are private.  Mr. Lowe said it’s his understanding that the roads are

public.  After much discussion, Linda Manson-Dempsey asked Mr. Kilpatrick from Mitch Harris

whether the roads are public or private.  Mr. Kilpatrick said the roads were developed as public

roads and have been turned over to the county. 

Jean Porter, 235 Slider:  Ms. Porter said there is a safety issue because Turtle Creek has no

sidewalks. The kids have to play in the street. If they are interconnected with not only one, but

two other subs, that would create a lot of traffic on streets where kids are playing.  Secondly,

Ms. Porter said she has a problem with the discussion on the emergency vehicle access.  In

Turtle Creek, they have two entrances with a little island in the middle.  Why can’t this other sub

have the same thing?  Jack Lowe said that it doesn’t meet the spirit or intent of the ordinance. 

Potentially, if there were an accident right at the intersection, it could block the entire boulevard. 

Ms. Porter asked why it was approved for Turtle Creek.  Mr. Lowe said it was designed for

future connections.  Ms. Porter said it’s hard for them to swallow.  They buy in a sub that’s

going to be quiet, with one entrance and 57 homes and that’s it, and roads they thought would

be private. 

Dan Gerhardt, 3152 Painted Drive :  Mr. Gerhardt said the parcel proposed for the connection

is an irreplaceable asset. Putting a roadway through there is a detriment to Marion Township

and the entire county.  He also opposes a roadway through there because of safety issues. 

Turtle Creek has no sidewalks, no playgrounds, and they knew that when they bought there. 

But there was also a closed-loop system of roadways.  Mr. Gerhardt said some kind of

walkway or bike path is a tremendous idea.  The residents of Turtle Creek care about this area,

and he hopes the township will not put a roadway onto Painted Drive .

Mohammed Najafi, 3036 Ridley Way :  Dr. Najafi said he has a Ph.D. in civil engineering

and is a PE.  He disagrees with the letter from OHM’s traffic engineer and suggests that

another engineer review the plan. 

Steven Gordon, 3027 Painted Drive :  Mr. Gordon says it seems like, if you look at the one

proposal, there was a stub road provided in one these communities to go into another

community. Mr. Gordon asked if that was proposed when Turtle Creek was built—is there is

stub road in Turtle Creek?  Jack Lowe said actually there are three.  Mr. Gordon said the

common sense approach would be if you go onto Painted Drive , there is a tree issue, the

woods and everything’s that natural. Putting a road in there would be quite costly. Crash gates

would be an option because of the fact that it wouldn’t be a thoroughfare. The other option

would be to go into a road that’s already proposed. 

Debra Findlay, 297 Tortoise:  Ms. Findlay said she is concerned about the amount of

traffic and noise.  She said they chose this property for exactly what is there, and they haven’t

even moved in yet and there’s already talk about tearing it apart, excavating, etc.

Jim Smith, 2952 Painted Drive :  Mr. Smith said he has three children and he is concerned

about safety.  Mr. Smith said he moved from a sub at Latson and Eager Road , which is

interconnected with other subs, and he hit a child with his car. Is the main concern Turtle

Creek or the new sub?  If there were a separate entrance from the boulevard for Spruce Run,

would we have to have this meeting?  Could the developer eliminate lot 28 and use it as an

entrance?  Ms. Wiedman-Clawson said the site distance wouldn’t allow that.  Jack Lowe said

the ZBA’s purpose tonight is more philosophical; in other words, should the subs be

connected or not, what are the benefits and detractions, etc. The township has to look at the

community as a whole. Mr. Smith asked which fire station these subdivisions will be served

by. Jack Lowe told Mr. Smith where the fire stations are. Mr. Smith said the proposed

thoroughfare wouldn’t service any of the fire stations.  

Darryl Paldan, 3077 Ridley Way :  Mr. Paldan thanked George Kilpatrick and Mitch Harris

for addressing the residents’ concerns. Mr. Paldan said he’s lived in many different

communities.  He said the residents of Turtle Creek moved here because of the surroundings.

Mr. Paldan asked the ZBA to let residents know in the future when it’s working with developers. 

Gary Findlay, 297 Tortoise:  Mr. Findlay said it seems that the main concern is safety and

emergency access.  Couldn’t those issues be served by the crash-gate situation?

Then children in all three communities would not be affected by cross-cut traffic. The streets

would be much safer and emergency vehicles would still have access. 

Ron McNeal, 2968 Painted Drive :  Mr. McNeal has two small children. At this point, the

children have to walk to the bus stops and there are no sidewalks. The subdivision already has

a steady parade of people shining for deer, squealing tires, etc.  Mr. McNeal feels the

interconnection will increase the nuisance.

Arthur Munsell, 645 N. Truhn:  Mr. Munsell said he’s lived here all of his life. He drove a

delivery truck in the area for 30 years. You have to get from place to place. He defends the

township 100%. This is a growing community. If people didn’t want to be part of a growing

community, why did they come here?  Mr. Munsell said he’s raised two girls; neither one of

them played in the roads. 

David Guarino, 3100 Ridley Way :  Mr. Guarino said his was the first house built in Turtle

Creek.  He asked why the roads were private to begin with and now they’re public. He has

two small children and there are no sidewalks.  He moved out here for privacy and a tight-knit

community. Mr. Guarino said he had four cul-de-sacs he could look at when he moved out

here and loved the idea of the wooded cul-de-sacs with one way in and one way out. He asked

if a boulevard was approved for Mitch Harris, why couldn’t it be approved for Spruce Run.

Mr. Guarino also said he doesn’t want the value of his home decreasing. Jack Lowe clarified

that the boulevard entrance was approved and most of the subdivisions were approved, for

the last several years, with the idea of future connections. That’s what the cul-de-sacs are for.

Mr. Guarino voiced concern about the homeowner’s association documents stating they are

private roads, and now he hears that the roads are public and the stub roads will connect all

of the subdivisions.  If they are indeed public roads, he said he has an issue with Mitch Harris.

Mr. Guarino said he is trying to protect his own little world.

Rachel Gordon, 3027 Painted Drive :  Ms. Gordon said part of the big picture of Howell is

all of the nature. That’s part of what attracts people to Howell, and the community is growing

because of those areas. To eliminate those areas detracts from our community. She supports

the idea of the bike trail that could be accessed by emergency vehicles.  She is also concerned

about the safety issues.

Dan Gerhardt, 3152 Painted Drive :  Mr. Gerhardt asked if anyone is aware of where the

students will be coming from to the new high school.  Will there be open enrollment? 

Larry Fillinger said they’re working on that right now.  With all of the new subs that are being

discussed at Mason and Burkhart, if there is a throughway from Spruce Run to Turtle Creek,

the kids won’t wait at Mason and Norton, they won’t go out by the expressway, they’ll come

through the sub to get to the high school.  It’s the ZBA’s job to look at the future. 

Jean Porter, 235 Slider:  Ms. Porter said if there were a survey amongst all three subdivisions,

probably all of them would say they didn’t want the subs to interconnect. That’s 145

taxpayers, and they want what they paid for, and what they paid for is a nice, quiet sub.

Ms. Porter also asked if there is any minimum price range in these two other subs.  Jack Lowe

said they are probably similar; the land values and lot sizes are essentially the same. 

Debra Findlay, 297 Tortoise:  Ms. Findlay said it was brought up earlier that the township

doesn’t have a woodland ordinance. A developer could come in and clear the property, and

that would affect the value of Turtle Creek. Jack Lowe said the township is working on a

woodland ordinance.  It’s a very difficult issue to deal with.  There’s been logging done on

this particular site.

Jim Smith, 2952 Painted Drive :  Mr. Smith asked Jack Lowe to clarify, using the drawing,

exactly how the subs would be connected.  Mr. Lowe said that hasn’t been proposed yet. 

He believes it would come at the mid-point.  Ms. Wiedman-Clawson said there is research

being done now.  It wouldn’t look anything like this drawing. Mr. Smith asked if Painted Drive

would be a straight road.  Mr. Lowe said it would be a T-intersection. 

Julie Newman, 385 Tortoise:  Ms. Newman asked what happens with the public road and

private road as far as maintenance. Mr. Lowe said it would be a private road and that would

have to be clarified with the attorney. 

Kelly Sitarek, 3045 Ridley Way :  Ms. Sitarek said she’s confused on what the issue is.

If the residents of Turtle Creek and the developer of Spruce Run don’t want the connection,

what is the issue?  Jack Lowe said the township will get information from the fire department

on breakaway gates as an option, and if that meets the International Fire Code (IFC). 

Ms. Wiedman-Clawson said the township just approved a development that doesn’t meet the

IFC, namely the Knolls of Grass Lake.  Bob Hanvey said the Knolls of Grass Lake was

approved before the township approved the IFC.  Ms. Wiedman-Clawson asked when the

township approved the IFC.  Mr. Hanvey said three or four months ago. 

Frank Lopez, 341 Tortoise:  Mr. Lopez said he supports his neighbors, and these

developments were set up as private roads. Mr. Hanvey said in general, when the

condominium is first created, the developer owns the roads. They are private roads until the

time the second coat of asphalt goes on, and then they become public.

Darryl Paldan, 3077 Ridley Way :  Mr. Paldan asked if the decision is made to interconnect

and the site plan changes, when would the decision be rendered? Jack Lowe said Desine, Inc.

would have to provide another plan and they would determine the timeframe. He suggested

the residents check the website or call the township. 

Mohammed Najafi, 3036 Ridley Way :  Dr. Najafi again suggested that another traffic

engineer review the site plan.

Kurt Sitarek, 3045 Ridley Way :  Mr. Sitarek asked how many homes would be in Spruce

Run. Jack Lowe said 36. Mr. Sitarek asked where the gravel trucks will go, all of the lumber

trucks, the streets will be a mess. Why does the township need to hook three subs together

for fire trucks?  Jack Lowe said it goes back to response time. He said the township is going

to have the fire department review this again with a breakaway gate. The township is very clear

on the residents’ concerns that there are no sidewalks, the interconnection and through traffic.

David Guarino, 3100 Ridley Way :  Mr. Guarino pointed out that there are no streetlights in

Turtle Creek. 

Dan Gerhardt, 3152 Painted Drive :  Mr. Gerhardt asked if there’s any way to go back to

the fire department and ask some questions about the number of occurrences within the past

five or ten years where a fire truck was unable to get into an area because an intersection was

closed.  This is a quality of life issue, a safety issue for pedestrians. 

(Close Call to the Public)

Larry Fillinger motioned to table ZBA Case #1-05 until the April 2005 meeting.  Linda Manson-

Dempsey seconded.  Motion carried 5-0.

Dan Lowe said everyone moved out here because they wanted a quiet, peaceful neighborhood.

Mr. Lowe said he grew up just down the street from Turtle Creek.  His mom used to walk up

and down Norton Road .  Now all of the new residents are driving up and down past her and

she can’t walk on the street, so he knows exactly what they’re talking about.  Now you’re saying

that “we’re here now, we don’t want anybody coming by our section.”  Maybe we didn’t want

all of the new residents coming by her section. 

ZBA Case #2-05—Fred Brown
Larry Fillinger motioned to table ZBA Case #2-05 until the April 2005 meeting.  Linda Manson-
Dempsey seconded.  Motion carried 5-0.

ZBA Case #3-05—Fraternal Order of Eagles

Art Munsell was present on behalf of the Eagles.  The ZBA requested at its last meeting that the

signage at the Eagles be cleaned up, and this has been done.  Jack Lowe asked if the Eagles had

discussed using the sign with the church.  Mr. Munsell still they are still working with them. 

Linda Manson-Dempsey said the ZBA needs to know what the sign will actually look like. 

Mr. Munsell said pretty much the same as the previous drawing.  Jack Lowe said if the church

won’t be sharing the sign, is it necessary to have the three sections.  Mr. Munsell said yes, they

have a lot to advertise.  Larry Fillinger said while he does believe the Eagles should have a sign;

however, the ZBA needs to see an accurate drawing.  Also, who will be building the sign? 

Mr. Munsell said they probably would be working with Brownie Sign Co.  They do the signs

for First National Bank.  Mr. Fillinger asked if they’ve been given a price. Mr. Munsell said if

they go with the digital sign, it will be $50,000.  If they go without digital, it will be about

$20,000.  Mr. Munsell said the Eagles will be holding a meeting on Tuesday, March 8, and they

 will firm up how much money can be spent.  Mr. Munsell said he would prefer the digital sign.

 Mr. Fillinger asked if Mr. Munsell could get an answer on which sign by next week. 

Mr. Munsell said probably not, because they also have to get approval from the national

organization.  He felt he could probably have more information by the ZBA’s April meeting. 

Larry Fillinger motioned to table ZBA Case #3-05 until the April 2005 meeting to allow the

Eagles to bring in an accurate drawing of the proposed sign.  Discussion:  Jack Lowe said this

is still a 20’ high sign.  If the church isn’t also using the sign, he would have a concern about

whether the Eagles need all three sections.  Mr. Munsell said they would like three sections

because that’s what they were previously approved for.  Dan Rossbach seconded. 

Motion carried 5-0.




Linda Manson-Dempsey motioned to adjourn the meeting at 9:30 p.m.  Dan Rossbach

seconded.  Motion carried 5-0.