CITY OF MUSKEGON
September 10, 2015
Chairman T. Michalski called the meeting to order at 4:00 p.m. and roll was taken.
MEMBERS PRESENT: T. Michalski, B. Mazade, J. Doyle, L. Spataro, S. Gawron, B.
Larson, F. Peterson, J. Montgomery-Keast
MEMBERS ABSENT: B. Smith, excused
STAFF PRESENT: M. Franzak, D. Renkenberger
OTHERS PRESENT: D. Kamps, 1885 Buys Rd; J. Buist, 1239 Terrace St.; B. Turnquist,
1575 E Harbour Towne Circle; B. Greenwood, 1309 Peck St.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
A motion that the minutes of the special meeting of August 13, 2015 be approved, was made by
B. Larson, supported by J. Montgomery-Keast and unanimously approved.
Hearing, Case 2015-15: Request for a Special Use Permit (SUP) to allow a non-profit
organization to establish a residence for young adults that have recently aged out of the foster
care system in an RM-1, Low Density Multiple Family Residential district at 1319 Peck Street.
D. Kamps of Step Up provided an executive summary document explaining how the
organization was formed, its mission, and their funding. Their proposal was to provide housing
and guidance for up to four young women and a mentor. Step Up’s purpose is to assist young
adults that have recently aged out of the foster care system transition to independent living. A
SUP is needed because although this is a multi-family zoning district, this house will be one
contiguous unit and the tenants do not meet the zoning ordinance definition of “family”. A
“family” is defined in the zoning ordinance as: One or more persons living together and related
by the bonds of blood, marriage, guardianship, foster relation, or adoption, and not more than
two additional unrelated persons, with all such individuals being domiciled together as a single,
domestic, housekeeping unit in the dwelling. The zoning ordinance allows “Adult Foster Care
Large Group Homes” as a special use permitted in this district. This use is not the same, but is
similar enough to warrant a public hearing for the use. Property owners and tenants within 300
feet were notified of the proposed use. R. Rischar, of 1302 Peck St, is supportive of the
proposed use. M. Celestin, who owns 1316 Sanford St, is also in support.
S. Gawron asked if the SUP would apply to this organization only. M. Franzak stated that was
correct. D. Kamps explained that “Step Up” was a non-profit organization currently affiliated
with Community EnCompass, and he discussed their mission. L. Spataro stated that he was a
member of the Muskegon County Homeless Continuum of Care Network and had concerns
about transitional housing. He stated that lenders like MSHDA were moving away from this in
favor of permanent supportive housing. J. Buist stated that this facility would not be a typical
transitional living center like a homeless shelter, but rather a place for young adults to live until
they were stable and were able to get their own place. They did not expect a quick turnover of
residents. D. Kamps addressed the question of program sustainability, their plans to finance the
program, and the financial expectations for the residents. B. Mazade thought that foster children
had the option of remaining in the state foster care program until the age of 26. D. Kamps stated
that some of the residents may still be eligible for state aid through the foster system. He stated
that Step Up had formed a working relationship with the Department of Human Services (DHS)
and they had suggested possible candidates for the program. L. Spataro asked if this house
previously contained multiple apartments. M. Franzak stated that it did.
B. Turnquist stated that he was in favor of the request. He had heard about the program and
believed it would be a positive for the community. B. Greenwood lived next door and was also
in favor. She stated that the applicants had contacted the neighbors to explain the program and
A motion to close the public hearing was made by B. Larson, supported by F. Peterson and
L. Spataro stated that the underlying use was RM-1, and 5 people in the house would be less
density than what was allowed under the RM-1 zoning. He was in favor of the request as long as
it did not become and room and board situation. T. Michalski stated that he was satisfied that the
SUP conditions would not allow that.
A motion that the special land use permit, per Section 701 of Article XII of the Zoning
Ordinance, to allow the use proposed in the “Step Up Executive Summary”, be approved, based
on compliance with the City’s Master Land Use Plan and conditions set forth in Section 701 of
the City of Muskegon Zoning Ordinance was made by B. Larson, supported by B. Mazade and
unanimously approved, with T. Michalski, B. Mazade, J. Doyle, L. Spataro, S. Gawron, B.
Larson, J. Montgomery-Keast and F. Peterson voting aye.
Hearing, Case 2015-16: Staff-initiated request to amend the Master Land Use Plan to remove
all references to Fisherman’s Landing. M. Franzak stated that staff recommended removing all
references to Fisherman’s Landing in the Master Plan. Doing so will keep the City’s options
open in the event of a land swap in the future, and make the transition easier. A list of locations
in the Master Plan where Fisherman’s Landing was mentioned was provided in the staff report.
F. Peterson explained a past situation involving Fisherman’s Landing, which led to this request.
He stated that this park was not in the City’s charter as a charter park.
A motion to close the public hearing was made by B. Mazade, supported by B. Larson and
A motion that the proposed amendments to the City of Muskegon’s Comprehensive Master Land
Use Plan to remove references to Fisherman’s Landing be recommended to City Commission for
approval was made by B. Mazade, supported by S. Gawron and unanimously approved, with T.
Michalski, B. Mazade, J. Doyle, L. Spataro, S. Gawron, B. Larson, J. Montgomery-Keast and F.
Peterson voting aye.
L. Spataro clarified that anything done with Fisherman’s Landing would still require outside
oversight in the form of state approval.
Hearing, Case 2015-14 (TABLED): Staff-initiated request to amend section 400 of the zoning
ordinance to allow multiple family dwellings under certain circumstances in R-1, Single Family
Residential districts. This case was originally brought before the Planning Commission in
August. It was tabled by the board and returned to staff for revisions. Revised language was
provided in the staff report. New language under Section 400: Principal Uses Permitted (in an
R-1 zoning district) now states: “Multiple family dwellings (allowed) under the following
conditions: a. The home has already been altered with prior approval to allow for multiple
dwellings. One family dwellings may not be altered to allow for multiple dwellings, nor may
new homes be built for multiple dwellings, and b) Homes that have already been altered for
multiple dwellings may add additional dwellings as long the total number of dwellings does not
exceed the number of dwellings that historically existed in the structure (for example, if a three-
unit building was converted to a two-unit building, that building could legally be converted back
to a three-unit building, but not a four+ unit building), and that all dwellings meet the living area
standards listed in Section 2319.”
A motion to close the public hearing was made by L. Spataro, supported by S. Gawron and
A motion that the proposed amendment to Section 400 of the City of Muskegon Zoning
Ordinance, to allow multiple family dwellings in R-1, Single Family Residential districts under
the conditions listed in the staff report be recommended to the City Commission for approval
was made by L. Spataro, supported by B. Larson and approved, with T. Michalski, J. Doyle, L.
Spataro, S. Gawron, B. Larson, J. Montgomery-Keast and F. Peterson voting aye, and B. Mazade
Property Updates T. Michalski asked for a status update on the former Sappi property and the
WaterMark building. Updates were provided by F. Peterson. He stated that there was a pending
sale on the Sappi property, and the WaterMark owners had committed to a plan of action on their
M. Franzak advised board members that a senior housing project previously brought before the
board had been resurrected at a different location. The new location is the vacant lot at First St.
and Webster Ave. The development would have to meet the form-based code standards.
M. Franzak also stated that he was reviewing plans for the High Point Flats development.
Depending on what the revised plans showed, that project may also meet form-based code
requirements and not require Planning Commission approval.
Proposed housing development on Houston Ave. near 4th St. J. Montgomery-Keast stated that
she was approached by persons involved with the community garden at this location and they
wanted to know if the garden could be incorporated into the new housing development. F.
Peterson stated that there had been some discussion about the garden location, but no decisions
had been made yet.
J. Doyle asked for an status update on the housing project. F. Peterson stated that they hoped to
have the homes completed by early spring.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 4:50 p.m.