Planning Commission Minutes 10-12-2017

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                                     CITY OF MUSKEGON
                                   PLANNING COMMISSION
                                     REGULAR MEETING

                                          October 12, 2017

Vice Chairman B. Larson called the meeting to order at 4:00 p.m. and roll was taken.

MEMBERS PRESENT:              T. Michalski, F. Peterson, B. Larson, J. Montgomery-Keast, B.
                              Mazade, J. Doyle

MEMBERS ABSENT:               E. Hood, excused; S. Gawron, excused; M. Hovey-Wright

STAFF PRESENT:                M. Franzak, D. Renkenberger

OTHERS PRESENT:               K. Callow for Melching, 2110 Geneva Ln; S. Bolhuis, 1008 Randall


A motion to approve the Minutes of the special Planning Commission meeting of September 14,
2017 was made by J. Montgomery-Keast, supported by J. Doyle and unanimously approved.


Hearing, Case 2017-26: Request for a Special Land Use Permit for outside aggregate storage in an
I-2, General Industrial District at 1221 E Barney Ave, by Melching, Inc. M. Franzak presented the
staff report. The property contains 23.5 acres and is zoned I-2, General Industrial, which allows for
aggregate storage with a Special Use Permit. This property is the former location of ESCO, which
manufactured chemicals as part of its paper products. Melching, Inc. intends to move its operations
from the Windward Pointe/Sappi site to this location along with its offices which are currently in
Nunica. The property has 12 buildings and a tank farm on site. Five of the buildings would be kept
for future use while the rest would be demolished. There are also about 16.5 acres of open
undeveloped land on site; about half of it is lowland with heavy vegetation that is planned to remain
untouched. About 7.7 acres of this area will be used for aggregate crushing operations and storage;
this area would be screened with a privacy fence. Just to the west of this area, closer towards Roberts
St, they intend to store trucks and excavators. The plan does not show this area to be screened, but
staff recommends that it should be, since they will be storing equipment. A site plan was provided to
board members. The plan is broken into two sections-- one section is for the portion of the property
north of Barney Ave and the other is for the section south of Barney Ave. Notice was sent to all
property owners/tenants within 300 feet of this property. Staff was contacted by a couple of
companies who were concerned over what type of aggregate would be stored on site. Staff has
concerns as to whether this is the highest and best use of the site, given the minimal amount of
developable industrial land available in the city.
M. Franzak discussed other areas of concern: 1) the amount of impervious surface proposed would
exceed the amount allowed for the site, and 2) no stormwater management plan was submitted. He
stated that both were important considerations due to the creek and wetlands in the area, and therefore
staff recommended against the request.
B. Larson stated that Melching had been a good neighbor and it was good to have someone interested
in the property. F. Peterson had concerns about additional traffic and the best use of the property.
There was already increased traffic in the area due to the nearby hospital expansion, and with the
amount of aggregate that would be coming and going, traffic congestion could become a problem. In
addition, the new hospital building would look directly over this site. He stated that the site had not
marketed for sale, and it would be a suitable location for manufacturing rather than storage. J. Doyle
asked what was required for stormwater management. M. Franzak stated that this size development
would require a full plan showing elevation and stormwater calculations. Locations of stored
aggregate would be packed down and considered impervious surfaces so it was important to know
where drainage would be. J. Montgomery-Keast asked if there had been any environmental studies
done on the property. M. Franzak stated that he was not aware of any. T. Michalski asked if Roberts
St was capable of handling further industrial traffic such as heavily loaded trucks. B. Mazade stated
that Roberts St. was built to handle industrial traffic. F. Peterson stated that his concern was more
about the volume of traffic. T. Michalski was concerned about the scarcity of land in the industrial
parks, and materials storage was something that did not create many jobs. K. Callow stated that the
City’s plan showed this area as industrial and that was their intended use of the lot. He stated that
they had already purchased the lot and thought their business would be a good fit for the area. He
stated that they met the I-2 zoning requirements and the only question was the storage of aggregate.
B. Larson asked what type of materials they planned to store there. K. Callow stated that they would
store materials from building demolitions as well as aggregate. J. Montgomery-Keast stated that
Little Black Creek, which ran through the property, was already impaired. She was concerned about
thermal pollution and preferred to see a stormwater plan. She was not comfortable having aggregate
storage near the creek. K. Callow stated that there would be no hazardous chemicals or controlled
materials. B. Mazade asked him about the amount of pavement. K. Callow stated that he had not
been aware that their plan exceeded the allowable maximum and he would take a look at it in an
effort to comply with ordinance requirements. F. Peterson asked for clarification on the items to be
stored. K. Callow explained that most of the sorting of materials was done on-site wherever the
materials were originally located, to remove trash before transporting what was left to their property.
It would not be the norm to bring all materials from a demolition site over to this site. J.
Montgomery-Keast was also concerned with the noise from crushing operations, due to the nearby
hospital campus. As far as the view, a fence would not screen anything from the upper floors of the
hospital. B. Larson pointed out that the area of US-31 and Sherman Blvd. was already a noisy
location. K. Callow stated that they would have a crusher on site, but Beacon Recycling was also
right in the area and they ran heavy equipment at their facility as well, as it was in an industrial area.
Their storage area would be at least 500 feet from the buildings on Roberts St. and over 1000 feet
from the hospital. He pointed out the proposed area on an aerial map of the site.

S. Bolhuis owned a business in the area and stated that he had no objections to the request. He asked
if Melching would be combining their properties in the area. K. Callow stated that they could not
combine this site with the other due to a right-of-way going through the property. J. Montgomery-
Keast asked if there was another location where they could store aggregate. K. Callow stated that
there was an approximate 2-acre area but it was too small for their needs.

A motion to close the public hearing was made by B. Mazade, supported by B. Larson and
unanimously approved.

B. Mazade pointed out that if this location was not approved for the aggregate storage, it would still
be available for other heavy industrial use by right, which could allow more intense uses. J. Doyle
was concerned with the lack of a stormwater retention plan.
A motion to table this case until the next meeting so the applicant can provide a stormwater
management plan and address concerns regarding the impervious surfaces was made by B. Larson,
supported by J. Montgomery-Keast and unanimously approved, with T. Michalski, F. Peterson, B.
Larson, J. Montgomery-Keast, B. Mazade, J. Doyle

Hearing, Case 2017-27: Request to amend the final Planned Unit Development at 1740 E Sherman
Blvd to allow construction of a new outbuilding, by Pacifica Companies. The applicant has requested
to table this case at this time.






Imagine Muskegon Lake – M. Franzak updated board members on this process. The stakeholder
meeting went well and a public input session was scheduled for October 30, which members were
invited to attend.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 4:37 p.m.


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