ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS
August 16, 2004 @ 7:30 p.m.
Larry Fillinger, Linda Manson-Dempsey, Dan Lowe, Dan Rossbach, and
John Lowe (arrived at
, Township Attorney
Annette McNamara, Zoning Administrator
CALL TO ORDER
Linda Manson-Dempsey called the meeting to order at
Ms. Manson-Dempsey explained
that the first
Call to the Public on the agenda is for agenda items
only, with a 3-minute. There
will be the opportunity after the
presentation under New Business to speak to the
public. The members of the
Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA)
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Annette McNamara said there was a mistake on the agenda—it
should read ZBA Case #8-04. Larry
to change the agenda from ZBA Case #5-04 to ZBA Case #8-04.
Dan Rossbach seconded. Motion
Larry Fillinger motioned to approve the agenda as amended.
Dan Rossbach seconded. Motion
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Zoning Board of Appeals,
July 19, 2004
Larry Fillinger motioned to approve the minutes from
July 19, 2004
as presented. Dan Rossbach
Motion carried 4-0.
Roger Myers, Howard & Howard,
101 North Main Street, Suite 430
: Mr. Myers is the attorney
representing Chestnut Development.
Mr. Myers questioned the number of the ZBA case.
His paperwork indicates it
should be ZBA Case #5-04.
Ms. McNamara confirmed that it should be ZBA Case #5-04 as originally
stated on the
Fillinger motioned to correct the agenda back to ZBA Case #5-04. Dan
Motion carried 4-0.
ZBA Case #5-04—Chestnut Development
Roger Myers introduced himself as the attorney for Chestnut Development,
along with James Eppink, planning consultant
who has also has been engaged by Chestnut for the purpose of
designing and planning the proposed development.
Mr. Myers provided the ZBA with background on this case.
Chestnut Development originally submitted an application to
rezone the property from the current Suburban Residential
(SR) classification to Urban Residential (UR).
with the rezoning request, Chestnut Development also
submitted an application for a Planned Unit Development (PUD)
under the township zoning ordinance, which proposed the
development known as Red Hawk Landing. At
the time of the
application, the township made the decision that it would
only consider the underlying rezoning request first, and not to
consider the PUD application, and that the PUD application
would only be considered if and when the underlying zoning
of the property as changed from SR to
. There was a presentation and
public hearing held by the Planning
Commission (PC). As
a result of that, the PC recommended that the proposed rezoning from SR to
The rezoning application then when to the Livingston County
Planning Department (LCPD), which similarly recommended
that the underlying rezoning request be denied.
The application then came back to the township board, and then
considering only the proposed rezoning from SR to
, voted to deny the rezoning application.
As a result of the denial
of the rezoning application, Chestnut Development has now
submitted an application for variances from the ZBA.
Specifically, Chestnut is seeking all necessary variances to
permit the proposed development, Red Hawk Landing, under
the township zoning ordinance.
The specifics of the proposal—number of lots, layout, and a
significant amount of
information on which Chestnut Development bases its proposal,
is included in a package of information that was
originally part of the PUD conceptual submittal package.
The scope of the variances being sought by Chestnut
Development are basically two-fold:
first, they are seeking a use variance to permit the development of
Red Hawk Landing
and secondly, they are seeking dimensional variances from all
aspects of the Schedule of Regulations, Section 7 of the
township zoning ordinance, that are inconsistent with
or do not permit, by right, the individual units that are proposed as
part of the Red Hawk Landing.
Mr. Myers said he recognizes that the township zoning ordinance
currently provides that
the ZBA does not have the authority to grant a use variance.
Mr. Myers doesn’t dispute that.
He’s merely proposing any
and all potential relief that could be secured from the ZBA,
and he understands that a use variance is likely not
permissible, but it was requested nonetheless.
The aspect of the application seeking the dimensional variance seeks
variances from all of the aspects of the Schedule of
Regulations in Section 7, specifically all setbacks related to
developments in the SR district.
He is requesting variances from the minimum net lot area that is set
forth in the
Schedule of Regulations application to the SR district.
He is asking for variances relating to maximum lot coverage
for the individual lots that are permitted in the Schedule of
Regulations that applicable to the SR zoning district.
He is asking for a variance from the regulations for
frontage/width of lots in the Schedule of Regulations that are
applicable to the SR zoning district.
Mr. Myers restated that the request is for variances from all of the
regulations in the
Schedule of Regulations that are inconsistent with the
proposal that is set forth in the information that was submitted
with the application itself.
The basis of the request for the variances is essentially two-fold:
first, the principle reason
is that the property is not economically feasible to be
developed under the existing zoning restrictions, i.e., the density
that is allowed under the existing zoning restrictions.
Secondly, and in an attempt to make economically feasible use
of the property, Chestnut Development also desires to
accomplish two things. One is to
preserve as much open space
as possible and to provide public area that can serve
as an amenity to the residents within the proposed development,
hence the layout in the conceptual plan.
The second is a desire by Chestnut Development to further protect the
within the Wellhead Protection Area, which encompasses
approximately 70-75% of this site. If
this property were
developed under the existing zoning classification, assuming
it was economically feasible, development of the property
as zoned, absent an onsite wastewater treatment plant
or an extension of the township’s public sanitary sewer system,
would require individual septic fields.
Individual septic fields have a much greater adverse impact on the
aquifer and the Wellhead Protection Area, and as a
consequence, Chestnut Development would like to do one of two
to extend the township’s sanitary sewer system to provide public sanitary
sewer to the proposed units
in this project; or alternatively, to provide and build on
onsite wastewater treatment plant, which would provide a level of
treatment to the wastewater that would be generated from the
development to a degree much greater that what would be
created if this property were developed with individual lots
served by private septic fields. Based
on that information,
he is asking for all necessary dimensional variances
that are required under the Schedule of Regulations in order to
allow the development as proposed.
Linda Manson-Dempsey asked if Mr. Myers had the number of
proposed on the 50 acres.
Mr. Myers said the total number of units is 305 dwelling units.
Jim Eppink said the
breakdown of that is 267 single-family detached homes, 14
live/work town homes, and 24 town homes (all residential).
Manson-Dempsey asked what live/work town homes are.
Mr. Eppink said they are brownstone buildings with a
residential unit up and an office/storefront below.
As an example, Mr. Myers said the units immediately adjacent to
(the old Erb Lumber site) are live/work units.
Ms. Manson-Dempsey said under the current SR
zoning, what would be allowed?
Mr. Myers said if there’s no water and sewer, and the property is
individual well and septic fields, the site would accommodate
approximately 80 lots. That
would require a mass grading
of the entire site. Ms.
Manson-Dempsey asked the total number of acres.
Mr. Eppink said there’s a total of 135.9 total
acres, with 40.6 acres of wetlands, for a total of
approximately 95 acres that are non-wetland.
Mr. Myers said by the
time you take out roads and infrastructure, that leaves about
80 lots. If the property were
developed with an extension
of the township sanitary sewer line or an onsite system, with
public water it would allow approximately 150 lots.
assumes that there would be an amendment to the sewer
district, which the township has previously indicated would
not be permitted, or alternatively, the developer building a
private wastewater treatment system onsite. Larry
asked if the purchaser was aware of the current zoning when
the property was purchased. Mr.
Myers said yes; however,
that’s irrelevant for purposes of determining whether it
should be allowed to have an economically feasible use.
Dan Lowe asked Mr. Myers if he has numbers to substantiate
the claim that it’s not economically feasible.
Mr. Myers said regardless of whether it was developed for
public sanitary sewer/water or larger lots utilizing private wells
and individual septic fields, the market value is
approximately $40-45,000 per developed lot.
The cost to develop the
property with 80 lots and private wells and individual septic
fields, including all of the infrastructure—roads, grading,
engineering, storm water detention, would be approximately $5
million, which equates to approximately $63,000 per lot.
If the property is developed with water and sewer, and that
includes either an extension of the township’s existing sanitary
sewer system or the construction of an onsite
wastewater treatment facility, the cost is approximately $11 million.
If you amortize
that amount over 150 lots, that’s approximately $72,000 per lot.
Either way, there is a substantially
greater site development cost than what the market value of
the property would be. That’s
even assuming that the minute
the property was developed, every lot was sold, which of
course doesn’t happen. Dan Rossbach
asked if a PUD was
Myers said they wanted to, and it was Chestnut’s suggestion that the PUD
be considered as part of the
rezoning process, because it would allow the township board
to consider specifically what was being proposed.
township decided, at the recommendation of
, the former township planner, that would not be a good idea
and only the underlying rezoning should be considered.
What the board looked at was the maximum density that could
theoretically be developed under the
zoning district, which is something like 1600 units if it went
across the entire site, which was not reality.
Jim Eppink added that the conceptual plan, as developed, meets or
exceeds all of the requirements in the township’s PUD
ordinance. The intention was to
have the requests processed
Ms. Manson-Dempsey asked for the numbers for a PUD under SR zoning.
Mr. Myers there was no
analysis done on that because there’s no guarantee a PUD
would be approved.
Call to the Public
Scott Bullis, 147 S. Truhn:
Mr. Bullis said a representative from Chestnut Development came to
his neighborhood and
said they were going to
develop 135 acres adjacent to Mr. Bullis’ property.
He proposed 200 affordable houses, a
ballpark, and a clubhouse.
Upon further investigation, the developer requested rezoning from SR
for 305 homes,
but with a Special Use
Permit, they could put 1000 units on this property.
This request was denied. Does
development of this size fit
the Master Plan? No, it’s been
denied. Sue Lingle, the township
treasurer, has said that
this is not in keeping with
the Master Plan. Rezoning to
is for municipal water service. This
is not compatible in the
This would be a high-density area.
We have Cascade Development at Norton Road and Cedar Lake Road,
which has been approved for
2,000 affordable homes; Fox Meadows at Burkhart and Mason Road with 16
Burkhart Ridge, which is in
Howell Township, but adjacent to this development, with 730 homes.
The strain on the
school system, the road
system with an average of 3.5 people per household with two cars…Cascade
is going to
increase this by 7,000
people or 4,000 cars; Burkhart Ridge with 2,500 people and 1,460 cars; Fox
Meadows with 56
people with 32 cars.
Now Chestnut Development is proposing to put another 1,000 people in
the loop, with 610 cars.
has a Class C level of service. It
cannot handle the traffic that Chestnut proposes.
Not to mention the
power demand—the average
household uses 5,500-9,500 kw per year.
Our area suffers from brown- and blackouts
The biggest effect on the environment with water and sewer in the
Wellhead Protection Area which is
outside of the sewer
district. The average household
uses 350 gallons of water—that is 127,000 gallons per year.
305 homes, that’s 39 million gallons of water.
They want to put in a treatment facility—there are no streams,
are no rivers on this
property, only wetlands. What
does the DEQ say this is going to do to the wetlands?
would also like to know
where does the National Pollutant Discharge Permit allow this treatment
facility to release 39
million gallons of water
into the environment. Mr. Gronow
says he is interested in doing something that is socially
Where is his environmental responsibility?
The size of the development does not fit the Master Plan,
the roads are not rated for
the traffic, and the surrounding area cannot support this development.
5729 Mason Road
Shaw asked who foots the brunt of the bill when a developer wants utilities
to a development?
Mr. Myers said the developer does—that’s why it costs so much.
Mr. Shaw asked what SR is.
John Lowe said Suburban
Residential, which is what the area is currently zoned.
John Wathan, 475 S. Truhn:
Mr. Wathan asked if the 305 units would be living units?
Mr. Myers said yes. How many
other types of units
would there be? Mr. Wathan asked
what the applicant wants the road frontage, lot size, etc.
Jim Eppink said in addition to the 305 dwelling units, they are
proposing a small village market of about
6,000 square feet, which
would be similar to Taorello’s. In
addition, they are proposing a small neighborhood daycare—
this would be available to
everyone, not just residents of the development.
They are also suggesting perhaps a 30-40 bed
senior housing unit.
The concept is to create a neighborhood that people can live in and
move within as they grow.
In terms of variances, the
zoning allows 85’ frontage. They
are requesting multiple size lots, which would allow
multiple size homes with
different price points, trying to maintain the affordable aspect.
The lots could be anywhere from
50’ to 70’.
The entire concept was based on a concurrent rezoning from SR to
, with a PUD overlay. Mr. Myers
they are not asking for
rezoning because the ZBA doesn’t have that authority.
The only thing they are asking for is
variances that would allow
the development. John Lowe
reminded everyone not to be site specific with Chestnut’s plan.
not what the ZBA is looking at. Once
a variance is granted, the variance goes with the property, no matter how
the project ends up.
Mr. Wathan asked if the variances are granted, what is the next step?
Who has the final say?
Mr. Myers said the plan is
if the variances were granted, an application for PUD would have to be
submitted. This board
can’t change the zoning.
If they are granted the variances, a PUD application can be submitted
to the township board.
Mr. Wathan asked if the
development would be site condos. Mr.
Myers said the individual homes would be sold, they
are not rental units.
The roads and general common elements would have to be maintained by
5568 Mason Road
Ms. Cross said she lives in
across the street from the proposed
The Master Plan for this area is SR, is that correct?
John Lowe said yes. What
is the useable acreage
being designated for open space?
Mr. Eppink said there is 135.9 acres.
The PUD requires 30% open space.
To answer the question, upland
useable space is 30.75 acres. In
addition, there is 40.61 acres of wetlands.
total of 70.75 acres of the 135 acres is proposed to be either wetlands or
useable park space. Ms. Cross
that is developed open space or
natural? Mr. Eppink said they
have added several amenities—a fishing hole, a pond.
The land is tremendously wooded.
A typical developer would come in and immediately carve out the woods
Chestnut’s plan creates walking trails, an amphitheater, a fishing
hole, over five miles of sidewalks. Mr.
referenced the map for details on
wetlands, etc. Mr. Eppink said
they’ve taken the best parts of the land and kept them
as useable open space.
Dub Toddy, 367 S. Truhn:
Mr. Toddy asked if the pond referred to is the one that was dug out
this winter where the
original swamp used to be?
Are those the wetlands you’re not disturbing?
Mr. Eppink said they are not wetlands.
Mr. Toddy asked where the
sewer plant would go? Mr. Myers
said they would have to have either a surface water
discharge permit, which
would then discharge into the wetlands, or a groundwater discharge permit,
which would be
discharged into perhaps sand
filtration beds. Any developer
that wanted to develop this property under the current zoning,
and assuming that it is
economically feasible, would come in and level this site.
There wouldn’t be any water there.
Scott Bullis, 147 S. Truhn:
Mr. Bullis asked what the MPD and DEQ says.
Where are these reports? Mr.
you couldn’t even submit
those reports until the basic land use permits are in place.
If the variances were granted, then
an application for either a
groundwater discharge permit or a surface water discharge permit would be
submitted. That’s a
very costly process,
there are obviously a lot of engineering costs involved, and it’s
premature to even contemplate that
until you get the land use
approval. If you don’t have
land use approval, there’s nothing for you to submit to the DEQ.
Mr. Eppink said the land use
approval would be granted contingent on the DEQ approval.
Chairman Lowe again reminded the audience not to be too site
Mr. Myers said any variance or approval is always conditional
on whatever other approvals are required, i.e., the DEQ,
the Drain Commission, the Road Commission,
Mary Bartkowiak-Singer, former resident:
Ms. Bartkowiak-Singer said the idea of low-income housing is great,
this is an idealistic vision that won’t work in that area. She lives in an
area next to a 700-acre development and next
a PUD. Kids in an area like this
get into everything, and creating parkland doesn’t accommodate
in her own neighborhood is problems with flooding, problems with
electricity, etc. Ms. Bartkowiak-Singer
why is it that when someone needs to put in something to solve a social
problem, the people who live in the area
are often middle-class people, get dumped on and are expected to accommodate
these situations. If you lowered
density, and made it a multi-income development, you might then be able to
eliminate a lot of the problems and come
with a more ideal social situation.
5067 Mason Road
Mrs. Bartkowiak has lived in Howell for over 30 years, 26 years in
. For the past ten years, she
has lived at the present location. She
likes the outside at night so
she can see the stars, and
she doesn’t want to see a bunch of streetlights or shop lights.
She doesn’t want this
development at all.
According to the road commission, approximately 7,977 go past her
house each day. The traffic on
continues to get worse. If
another 800 cars are added to the mix, she will never be able to get in and
her driveway safely.
The road needs to be improved all the way from the development to
. Also, improve
The City of
and the railroad lowered the train tracks on
Maybe some of the hill on
can be lowered for better sight visibility.
Developers can make these changes, because she heard a
is putting more than $1 million into the roads around a new development.
Chairman Lowe asked if she knew the
name of the development in
? Mr. Myers said it’s on
, and it belongs to one of his clients.
Mr. Myers said that Mrs. Bartkowiak is absolutely right, the
to pay for a $1 million for
road improvements to pave
, which is currently dirt. To do
that, it was considered
as a PUD, the township
simultaneously granted rezoning, granted a PUD, and not only gave the
developer the density
that was requested in the PUD
application, they said if the developer would agree to pay to improve the
road and agree to
cap the square footage of a
certain percentage of the homes at 1,100 or 1,200 square feet to provide
housing, the township will actually
give 10 more units of density than what was requested.
Unfortunately, it costs a lot
of money to do road improvements or
provide water and sewer. The
only way that those costs can be economically
amortized is if you have enough
units to pay for them. Mr. Myers
said traffic is a legitimate concern. Referencing
map, Mr. Myers said that the Handy
Township Planning Commission just recommended rezoning 750 acres for the
facility. That is going to
create a tremendous amount of traffic. Traffic
from the subject property will be dwarfed
by whatever traffic will be
generated from the 750 acres used by
. If the road commission deems
they will make the necessary
improvements. Mr. Myers said the
proposal provides diversity, with a variety of housing
sizes, costs, etc.
Mary Bartkowiak-Singer: Ms. Bartkowiak-Singer said there is some diversity, but they
are really very tiny lots.
The density is the primary concern.
By the time you put in all of these improvements, wouldn’t it be
easier to develop
something that compromises.
This is a very sensitive area as far as water tables are concerned,
and she is worried
that this development will create a problem that the people
here now can’t afford to fix. Mr.
Myers said in an effort to be
sensitive to the environment, rather than putting septic
fields throughout a development, they are proposing an onsite
wastewater treatment plant or an extension of the sanitary
sewer. Ms. Bartkowiak-Singer
still feels the density won’t work.
5067 Mason Road
Ms. Bartkowiak went to the GIS department at the county and purchased
aerial photograph of the area.
It shows the water runoff from the subject property on to her
property. The contour lines
are so close you can’t even count
the number of lines. She
doesn’t want runoff on her property. She
has a pond in her
backyard that she’s put a lot of
money into. The runoff is going
to come in and destroy what’s been done.
The pond on
the subject property is also known
as an “attractive nuisance.” In
other words, it’s a liability to the surrounding property
What kind of fencing, or what will be put up, to keep kids off of the
surrounding property? If a fence
were put up,
who would maintain it?
There are a lot of small homes in the area.
What will this development do to existing wells?
developer needs to work with the community, the people who live there and
the township, to make everyone happy.
Mr. Myers said that storm water
drainage is regulated by the Drain Commission.
Before anything is approved, the Drain
Commission will dictate where storm
water detention or retention ponds will be. There
may actually be less runoff than
what is occurring naturally.
In terms of the potential impact on existing wells, that’s why this
project is being proposed.
Providing wastewater treatment
options is much more protective of the groundwater aquifer and the
individual wells then
putting in 80-100 individual septic
John Wathan, 475 S. Truhn:
Mr. Wathan asked what type of square footage, what type of dollars?
Mr. Myers said the
market value, if developed
under the SR zoning, is $40,000-45,000, with either public water and sewer,
or individual well
Chairman Lowe said there is a 1,000 square foot limit in the zoning
ordinance. Mr. Eppink said
proposed is stick-built.
They are not proposing government-assisted, low-income housing.
They have done an extensive
real estate analysis, and
feel there is a 12-year glut of lots available.
The homes would be anywhere between 2,500-3,000
square feet and would
sell from $280,000 to $500,000. There’s
a 12-year supply of those lots now. Lots
sizes on this
site would provide house
sizes anywhere from 1,100 square feet to 1,900 square feet.
The home size would be within that
The price range is dependent on square footage cost.
Chestnut is a developer, not a homebuilder.
the homebuilders would set
that. Generally in this area, homes
are selling for $100-120 per square foot.
Mr. Myers said
scenario, the approval was tied to square footage, not the price.
Construction costs can vary
The only thing you can control is the square footage, which will
dictate the price.
Paul Bushong, 555 S. Truhn:
Mr. Bushon said the township’s Master Plan says SR, it’s zoned
SR. Trying to change
the zoning against the
Master Plan didn’t go through. We’re
now trying to come back and make it acceptable through
Mr. Bushon agrees with the township’s decision to only consider the
rezoning because if Chestnut doesn’t
build and it’s changed to
zoning, whatever is acceptable in
is possible. Mr. Myers said if the
township had con-
sidered the PUD application
simultaneously, the property could only have been built as the PUD that had
5127 Mason Road
Referencing the map, this gentleman said there would be four or five
lots in his
backyard that he could throw a
Kim Wathan, 475 S. Truhn:
Mrs. Wathan said the developer presents the plans as if they really
care about the people
and the property, and she
doesn’t believe they do. She
feels they need to listen to the people. Mr.
Gronow needs to
listen to the people around
him. If he feels this is the
kind of development that people want, he should put it next to his
property, where instead of
developing something like this, he’s putting in a gated community where
the homes start at
If this isn’t economically feasible as its zoned, maybe he should
put his own money toward it. The
live in the area don’t
5620 Mason Road
It was mentioned that some of the lots would be 55’ wide.
What size house can
you build on that?
Mr. Eppink said it’s a conceptual plan and they don’t have a
ratio of how many are 55’ lots. They
trying to provide a housing and
lifestyle alternative. It’s
more than obvious that no one in this room will want to live there.
There’s an enormous demand for
people who don’t want to or can’t take care of large lots, that don’t
want large homes,
but still want the ability to
invest and build equity in a home. On
a 55’ lot, you can build a 1,100 square foot home, and
they can be incredibly attractive.
Mr. Anderson asked what the setback would be on a 55’ lot?
Mr. Eppink said they are
asking for variances from the
Schedule of Regulations, which dictates setbacks.
They are proposing homes that would
typically have 20’ between homes,
10’ on each side, or some other combination.
The trade off is the 70 acres of open
Approximately 35% of the population desires this type of home;
currently, only 5% being built are this type.
5049 Mason Road
She’s next to the property on the hill.
They have a problem with kids up and
down the hill, glass in the street.
There are always accidents on that road.
Even those little things make a big difference.
Bob McQueen, 610 Dieterle,
These people live in
for a reason and they are
by being zoned SR. Basically,
the developer wants to lower the standards and put in smaller lots.
Lisa McQueen, 610 Dieterle,
Although this development is in
, it will be in Howell
The developers come in and fatten up their checkbooks and take off,
and then the public has to ask for bonds
take care of the overflow of children that come from these little
communities. We are now on our
second high school.
have seven elementary schools that are 600+ students.
Where is the developer to help with that?
All of the roads
be overcrowded, all of the busses we’ll need to have.
We’re the ones who will pay the extra taxes to have schools
We don’t want this community here.
Scott Bullis, 301 S. Truhn:
Mr. Bullis said there are three huge evergreen lots, and he doesn’t
see them on the map.
They aren’t being
preserved at all. Mr. Eppink
said they’ve actually gone to great lengths to preserve the trees.
Preserving the trees is one
of the developer’s priorities. Mr.
Myers pointed out the boulevard that’s being suggested
which preserves the trees
instead of clearing them out. That’s
one of the benefits of an open space plan.
Joan Bartkowiak said when you
put roads in, you change the root structure of the trees and they die off.
3727 Brent Drive
These developments are going up between her property and the
Ms. Frech asked the status of the 2,000 home development at Norton
. How will we ever
get to the expressway?
That can’t be supported out here.
Chairman Lowe said that project is based on 1,200 acres.
Ms. Bartkowiak-Singer asked if changing this property would set a
precedent for other
Chairman Lowe said that will be part of the discussion after the Call
to the Public.
4255 Mason Road
Ms. French said Mr. Gronow contacted her over a year ago and wanted
to know if
she would help finance the sewer.
She feels he wants the residents to pay for the sewers.
Kim Wathan, 475 S. Truhn:
Mrs. Wathan asked for the definition of economically feasible.
Chairman Lowe said it
means there are viable
alternatives to the increased density and is able to be developed as is
currently zoned; that’s what
the ZBA is going to
determine. Dan Lowe said the township still doesn’t have any
documentation showing that it’s not
economically feasible. Mr.
Myers said the approximate cost of developing the site could be estimated.
Dub Toddy, 367 S. Truhn:
Mr. Toddy asked if the property perks?
Mr. Eppink said he doesn’t know.
Kim Wathan, 475 S. Truhn:
Mrs. Wathan said that the developer wants to put this where
people don’t want it, he
doesn’t put it next to him.
She also respectfully disagrees with the statement that there’s a
12-year backlog of property
for sale. Homes for
sale in this area aren’t taking 12 years to sell.
(close Call to the Public at
Linda Manson-Dempsey asked if they could make application for the PUD under
the current SR zoning? Chairman
said yes. Dan
Rossbach asked if there are other developments in the area that have PUDs?
Chairman Lowe said that
Cascade has applied under the SR zoning for a PUD.
There aren’t any that have already been developed in the area.
Ms. Manson-Dempsey said there’s nothing preventing them
from applying for the PUD under the SR zoning.
nothing preventing them from splitting the property and
putting in site condos. Chairman
Lowe said no.
Linda Manson-Dempsey went through each item in Section 5.05
the strict enforcement of the provisions of the township’s zoning
ordinance would cause an unnecessary
and deprive the owner of rights enjoyed by all other property owners owning
property within the same
district: They can apply for PUD
under the current zoning. They
can develop and split the parcels and go with
condos. Nothing prevents any of
that from happening. Chairman
Lowe said Cascade has submitted a preliminary
under this ordinance to develop the 1,200 acres under the SR zoning with a
PUD. Ms. Manson-Dempsey asked if
is a PUD? Chairman Lowe said
yes, it’s in the
zoning district. He also added
that this property
similar to all surrounding property in that area and there’s nothing
unique about it. Granting this
variance would change
affect of the Master Plan. Dan
Rossbach said it would be considered spot zoning.
Ms. Manson-Dempsey asked if
Planning Commission makes the recommendation on a PUD?
Chairman Lowe said yes.
conditions and circumstances unique to the property which are not similarly
applicable to other properties in the
zoning district: Basically, the
property in that area is all similar. There’s
nothing that distinguishes it from other
conditions and circumstances unique to the property were not self-created:
It is self- created if they want to put in
than what is allowed under the current SR zoning.
Chairman Lowe said the applicant was well aware of the zoning
that area when the property was purchased.
Ms. Manson-Dempsey asked when the property was purchased.
have been made to that aspect of the zoning ordinance in the past five
years. Dan Rossbach said it’s
it is self created as it’s zoned SR and there’s no reason the property
can’t be developed with SR zoning.
the requested variance would not confer special privileges that are denied
other properties similarly situated in the
zoning district: Larry Fillinger
said it would confer special privileges if approved.
Chairman Lowe said they would
granted a special privilege to increase the density, and it would allow uses
in the district that are prohibited by the
the requested variance would not be contrary to the spirit and intent of
this ordinance: Larry Fillinger
said with the
Plan in place, it would be contrary. Chairman
Lowe concurred. The existing
area is noted by large parcels that
substantially larger than what the applicant is proposing.
Existing properties within the area are substantially larger
and this would actually be inserting smaller, non-conforming lot sizes
within that district.
The difficulties shall not be deemed solely economic:
Linda Manson-Dempsey said based on what was heard tonight,
are a big part of it. Chairman
Lowe said one of the main reasons they are requesting the variance is that
it’s not economically feasible under the current zoning.
Dan Lowe said basically what they’re asking for is a
rezoning of the property, and the ZBA can’t rezone property.
Chairman Lowe said they’re asking for a variance that would
essentially create a rezoning. Linda
all of the options under the existing zoning haven’t been
explored. Chairman Lowe said
this property is far from unique,
it’s typical and consistent with that corner of the
township. Dan Lowe said the
Cascade development is the same
situation and they’re doing a PUD under the SR zoning.
Chairman Lowe also said the ZBA needs to consider if this
variance is granted, what affect would that have on the
character of the surrounding area—the parcels, property and
homeowners in the area. The
residents have demonstrated how they feel.
Ms. Manson-Dempsey wanted to clarify
whether the applicant asked for rezoning?
Mr. Kehoe suggested the ZBA should discuss whether, in terms
of the use variance, the hardship is the result of the
applicant’s own actions.
One of the factors is whether they were aware of the zoning at the
time it was purchased.
Mr. Kehoe said in order to be entitled to a use variance, one
of the factors the ZBA should look at is whether or not the
hardship the applicant is referring to is related to its own
actions. If they purchased the
property aware of the zoning,
there is a question as to whether or not there’s an
unnecessary hardship. Dan Lowe
said they knew the property was
zoned SR, and if they paid too much money for it to be
economically feasible in SR, and now they want to change the
zoning because they paid too money.
Dan Rossbach motioned to deny the use and dimensional
variances requested by Chestnut Development for the following
applicant has not adequately shown it meets the requirements of Section
5.05 C 1 because the application of
current ordinance to the property in question does not deprive the
applicants of rights that are commonly enjoyed by
property owners in this district. The
fact is that the township has told the applicant that it can develop the
SR zoning with a PUD option and this has not been acceptable to the
applicant. There are numerous other
only in the area, but in the township, that are zoned SR and the applicant
is not being treated differently from those
owners. Furthermore, there are
parcels in the township that have been developed under the SR zoning with a
option, and that are seeking to develop a PUD with SR zoning.
regard to Section 5.05 C 2, there are no circumstances or conditions
that are unique to this particular parcel in
to its application. The parcel
is capable of being developed for single-family residential homes; it can be
PUD. The parcel can’t be
developed at the density that the applicant wants.
These same problems could be faced by
adjacent parcels in this zoning district under the same request that is
being presented by this applicant.
not only in there a common nature of this problem in the general area, but
that problem exists in many
areas of the township where there is SR zoning.
regard to paragraph number 3 of Section 5.05 C, the conditions and
circumstances that the applicant is
to were self-created because the applicant purchased this property knowing
full well what the zoning was at the
it purchased the property. The
applicant must be considered to have known what the zoning was and what type
the existing zoning would allow.
regard to paragraph 4, the granting of the requested variance would
confer special privileges on this property that
denied to other properties in the district because it would allow this
applicant to have significantly greater density than
permitted by the zoning district. If
this variance were to be granted, then the applicant would definitely obtain
special privileges in the form of density, and other special privileges that
accompany such density.
it could open the door to allowing uses within the district that are
prohibited in this district by the zoning
The applicant is seeking to have attached housing, commercial
development, and other special privileges
are not generally available in the SR district.
to Section 5.05 C 5, the granting of this variance would be contrary to
the spirit and intent of the zoning
Part of the intent of the Suburban Residential zoning district is to
permit both the development of suitable
land for residential purposes while also preserving the residential
character of existing neighborhoods. In
area, the residential housing is characterized by larger lots existing in
certain small tracts of land and there
a significant number of larger acreage parcels for which this type of
density would be inconsistent and incompatible.
last factor, 5.05 C 6, that needs to be examined is whether or not the
difficulty is deemed solely economic.
this particular case, the applicant has the opportunity to develop the
property with a PUD under the existing zoning.
applicant also has the opportunity to take advantage of the township Open
Space Cluster Housing Project which
allow it to develop a significant number of single-family residential houses
on the property while maintaining open
and achieving many of the goals that the applicant claims it wants to
accomplish in its request for a variance. The
has not provided any documentation to indicate that it can’t develop the
property reasonable with a reasonable
return under the existing zoning.
the applicant’s request essentially seeks to accomplish what could be
considered a rezoning of the property.
the application may be termed as a “Request for a Variance,” if the
Zoning Board of Appeals were to grant this relief,
would in effect rezone the property and the Zoning Board of Appeals is not
authorized to rezone property.
in reviewing the four factors that should be considered in order to
grant a use variance, (1) the applicant
not shown the property can’t be used consistent with existing zoning.
Current zoning will allow for a PUD development;
the applicant’s situation is not unique because it shares a very similar,
if not identical, situation with other property
in the area as well as other properties in the township that are zoned SR;
(3) the character of the area would be
changed by the increased density, multiple family dwellings and other
development that could result from the
of the variance the applicant seeks; (4) the hardship is the result of the
applicant’s own actions because the
was zoned as SR when the applicant purchased the property and the applicant
has not shown the property can’t be
as zoned. Therefore, the
applicant has not established that it is entitled to a use variance.
Additionally, under the
zoning ordinance, the Zoning Board of Appeals is not authorized to grant a
Dan Lowe seconded. Roll
call vote: Larry Fillinger, Dan
Rossbach, Linda Manson-Dempsey, Dan Lowe,
John Lowe—all yes. Motion
ZBA Rules and Procedures
provided the ZBA members with a copy of the ZBA Rules and Procedures, as
well as a copy of the
entitled, “Authorities & Responsibilities of Michigan Township
Officials, Boards, and Commissions.” Ms.
make appropriate changes/updates to the document, and send to the township
attorney for review. She will provide
version at the next meeting.
Call to the Public
Larry Fillinger motioned to adjourn the meeting at
Dan Rossbach seconded.
Motion carried 5-0.