Planning Commission Minutes 05-10-2007

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                                              CITY OF MUSKEGON
                                            PLANNING COMMISSION
                                              REGULAR MEETING
                                                   MINUTES

                                                    May 10, 2007

Vice Chairman B. Turnquist called the meeting to order at 4:05 p.m. and roll was taken.

MEMBERS PRESENT:                        B. Mazade, L. Spataro, B. Larson, S. Warmington, J. Aslakson,
                                        B. Turnquist, B. Smith

MEMBERS ABSENT:                         T. Michalski, excused; T. Harryman, excused

STAFF PRESENT:                          L. Anguilm, D. Leafers

OTHERS PRESENT:                         D. Masselink, Interactive Studio Architects; J. Camp, Moore &
                                        Bruggink; M. Miller, 283 Houston


APPROVAL OF MINUTES

A motion that the minutes of the regular meeting of April 12, 2007 be approved, was made by J.
Aslakson, supported by B. Mazade and unanimously approved.

NEW BUSINESS/PUBLIC HEARINGS
L. Spataro arrived at 4:05 p.m.
S. Warmington arrived at 4:07 p.m.
Hearing; Case 2007-11: Staff-initiated request to rezone multiple properties in the portion of the
city presently zoned H, Heritage District, roughly bounded by Western Avenue, Ninth Street,
Muskegon Avenue, and Second Street. L. Anguilm presented the staff report. This case is a result
of a recommendation from the Historic District Commission (HDC) back in 2006. A brief
discussion was also held at a Planning Commission meeting last year regarding HDC’s reasons for
the request. The H, Heritage District zoning district encompasses portions of both residential and
commercial properties near Muskegon’s downtown. It also includes two of Muskegon’s historic
districts, the Clay-Western and National Register Districts. Rezoning of these properties will have
no effect on their historic district status. In fact, the Heritage zoning does nothing to protect the
historic character of any of the buildings in the district. It is, however, rather restrictive in what is
allowed through principal and special uses. Last year the Planning Commission recommended and
City Commission approved some additional principal uses on Western Avenue to allow for the
increased commercial development taking place in that area. Additional concerns were voiced from
HDC members regarding the “chopping up” of older homes in that area for use as two-family units,
which is a principal use in the present Heritage zoning. Staff spent several months studying the area
to determine how to best zone those properties in the district. Some were obvious, while others
were more difficult deal with. Both the B-3 and R-1 zoning would be an extension of existing
zones adjacent to the present Heritage zoning. Hopefully, this proposed rezoning makes the most
sense and will accomplish what is intended for the area. According to the Downtown/Lakeshore
Planning Commission Minutes – 5/10/07                                                                   1
Redevelopment Plan, Western Avenue is designated as a “Guest and Entertainment Center”. Uses
in this area are suggested to provide “entertainment, service and retail uses”. This is becoming a
reality with each new development that has been taking place in the past few years. The remainder
of the H district is referenced as “nearby historic residential districts”. In addition to merely
rezoning the area, other issues came to light. Those will be addressed in several cases that follow,
but include adding a few special uses in both B-3 and R-1 that make sense for those areas, and will
keep as many properties as “legal, conforming” uses as possible. Staff recommends approval of the
request to rezone the subject properties from H, Heritage, to R-1, One Family Residential and B-3,
Central Business districts, because the request conforms to the goals and recommendation of the
City’s 1997 Master Plan. G. Smith of 487 W. Webster e-mailed to say that he was in favor of the
rezoning.

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

A motion that the request to rezone multiple properties located in the portion of the city presently
zoned H, Heritage district, roughly bounded by Western Avenue, Ninth, Street, Muskegon Avenue,
and Second Street to R-1, One Family Residential and B-3, Central Business districts as described
in the public notice, be recommended for approval to the City Commission pursuant to the City of
Muskegon Zoning Ordinance and the determination of compliance with the intent of the City’s
Downtown/Lakeshore Redevelopment Plan and zoning district intent, was made by L. Spataro,
supported by J. Aslakson and unanimously approved.

B. Turnquist stated that he had received a request to change the order of the agenda to hear the site
plan review next. Board members agreed.

Case 2007-19: Request for site plan review for a cancer treatment center at 1440 E. Sherman
Boulevard, by Dwayne Masselink, Interactive Studio Architects. L. Anguilm presented the staff
report. The site is presently the home of the Westshore Regional Spine Center. They will soon be
moving to a new complex on Mercy Drive. The applicant requests approval for a 17,535 square
foot addition to the present 13,280 square foot building. The property is zoned MC, Medical Care,
as are the properties to the west, north and east. The property to the south, across Sherman
Boulevard, is located in the city of Norton Shores. With the addition of over 17,000 square feet to
the building, additional parking has also been proposed for the site and is shown to the south, in
front of the building. The amount of parking on the site falls somewhat short of the parking
requirement. However, there is a parking agreement in place between Mercy Hospital and the
Muskegon Cancer Center for 10 spaces, which will fulfill the requirement. There are several
mature oak trees slated to be removed in the front of the building to expand the parking area. Staff
has requested that additional trees be added to the landscaping plan to replace those being removed.
The Planning Department requires that a revised landscaping plan be submitted and approved as a
condition of site plan approval. The landscaping plan, although improved from the first submission,
needs the “Plant List” revised with all types listed and the correct number properly indicated. The
Engineering Department has no issues with the site plan. The Fire Department has the following
conditions: “the building must be fully fire suppressed, and fire suppression Fire Department
connection shall be in plain view and accessible at all times”. The DPW has no issues with this site
plan, but does have the following comment: “ninety degree bends on 6 inch fire line should be
avoided; provide riser detail with fire protection plans”. Staff has received no other comments
regarding this request and recommends approval subject to the conditions listed in the staff report.


Planning Commission Minutes – 5/10/07                                                              2
B. Larson asked if there was any documentation of the parking agreement with Mercy. L. Anguilm
stated that she had a letter. J. Aslakson asked if there was an overall plan for the hospital campus.
L. Anguilm stated that she had received a site plan recently for additional parking, but hadn’t
reviewed it yet. However, it was not for the entire campus. L. Spataro stated that he preferred to
see ample pedestrian connectivity on the site, which would reduce the dependence on large parking
areas.

A motion that the site plan for an addition to the medical building located at 1440 Mercy Drive for
Dwayne Masselink, Interactive Studio Architects, be approved, with the conditions that 1) all
requirements addressed in item #5 of the staff report shall be provided as needed on a revised site
plan prior to issuance of a building permit, and 2) all conditions of the Fire Department listed in
item #7 of the staff report are met, was made by B. Larson, supported by B. Mazade and
unanimously approved.

Hearing; Case 2007-12: Staff-initiated request to amend Article XX of the zoning ordinance to
remove H, Heritage District zoning from the ordinance. L. Anguilm presented the staff report.
Providing that the previous request to rezone all properties in the H, Heritage district to either R-1,
One Family Residential or B-3, Central Business is recommended to City Commission for approval
and subsequently approved by Commission, it will be necessary to remove this section of the
zoning ordinance.

A motion to close the public hearing was made by S. Warmington, supported by J. Aslakson and
unanimously approved.

A motion that the amendment to remove Article XX, H, Heritage District, of the City of Muskegon
Zoning Ordinance, be recommended to the City Commission for approval, with the condition that
the rezoning of the H, Heritage district as proposed in case 2007-11 is approved by City
Commission, was made by J. Aslakson, supported by B. Smith and unanimously approved.

Hearing; Case 2007-13: Staff-initiated request to amend Section 1202, (Special Land Uses
Permitted), Article XII, (B-3 Central Business District), of the zoning ordinance to allow additional
special uses. L. Anguilm presented the staff report. If the properties in the H, Heritage District are
rezoned as recommended in the previous case, some uses previously allowed in the H district would
no longer be allowed in the downtown area, even under a special land use permit. In addition,
galleries and museums are presently only allowed in OSR, Open Space Recreation and therefore,
the Muskegon Museum would continue to be nonconforming. Staff believes our downtown is an
appropriate place for galleries and museums, and proposes adding them as special uses. Also
included in this request are private clubs, lodge halls, social and similar organizations, including
assembly or rental halls, as well as antique shops. By allowing these uses through special land use
permit, certain properties, such as the Eagles, remain conforming but require a special permit for
any additional such uses in the future. Proposed new language is as follows: “8. Private        clubs,
lodge halls, social and similar organizations, including assembly or rental halls. 9. Galleries and
museums. 10. Antique shops”.

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

L. Spataro and L. Anguilm discussed the zero lot line and build-to requirements in B-3 districts. L.
Anguilm stated that she would look into adding those requirements to the ordinance.

Planning Commission Minutes – 5/10/07                                                                3
A motion that the amendment to Section 1201, (Special Land Uses Permitted), of Article XII, B-3,
Central business District, of the City of Muskegon Zoning Ordinance to allow additional special
land uses in the district, be recommended to the City Commission for approval, with the condition
that the rezoning of the H, Heritage district as proposed in case 2007-11 is approved by City
Commission, was made by L. Spataro, supported by J. Aslakson and unanimously approved.

Hearing; Case 2007-14: Staff-initiated request to amend Section 401 (Special Land Uses Permitted),
Article IV, (R-1, One Family Residential District) of the zoning ordinance to add bed and breakfast
facilities as a special land use (in the Clay-Western and National Register historic districts) in an R-
1 district, with conditions. L. Anguilm presented the staff report. Similar to the previous case, the
H, Heritage District allows for bed and breakfast facilities with a special land use permit. There are
some already existing in this area and it seems to be a good use to be located near our downtown.
Short of allowing them in all R-1 zoning districts, which could trigger a barrage of requests to
Planning Commission, staff would recommend that they be allowed only in the Clay-Western and
National Register historic districts. The same conditions presently imposed in the H district are
recommended, except condition “a” was added, requiring that the home be located in the Clay-
Western or National Register Historic Districts, as identified by the City of Muskegon Historic
District Commission map.

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

A motion that the amendment to Section 401 (Special Land Uses Permitted), of Article IV, R-1,
One Family Residential Districts, of the City of Muskegon Zoning Ordinance to allow bed and
breakfast facilities under certain conditions, be recommended to the City Commission for approval,
with the condition that the City Commission also approves the rezoning of the H, Heritage district
as proposed in case 2007-11, was made by J. Aslakson, supported by B. Larson and unanimously
approved.

Hearing; Case 2007-15: Staff-initiated request to amend Section 1200, (Principal Uses Permitted
#1), of Article XII, (B-3. Central Business District), of the zoning ordinance to clarify allowed retail
sales. L. Anguilm presented the staff report. A question was raised to staff as to whether the sale of
“merchandise” included “commodities”. Since other sections of the ordinance (B-1 and B-2), call
out “commodities”, staff felt it might be prudent to clarify the B-3 language so the intent of this
section of the ordinance is clear, and make the language more consistent with other Business
zonings. The intent of the B-3 district is “to create a shopping, living, cultural, governmental,
office, heritage and institutional focal point for the City of Muskegon and Muskegon area”. New
language (additions are in bold): “1. Retail sales of new merchandise and commodities, provided
that all sales are made from a completely enclosed building except that this section shall not
prohibit the sales of antique collector items, this section shall prohibit the operation of a store whose
primary sales are previously used products, except as further regulated.”

A motion to close the public hearing was made by J. Aslakson, supported by B. Smith and
unanimously approved.

A motion that the amendment to Section 1200 (Permitted Uses, #1), of Article XII, B-3, Central
Business District, of the City of Muskegon Zoning Ordinance, be recommended to the City
Commission for approval, was made by B. Larson, supported by L. Spataro and unanimously
approved.

Planning Commission Minutes – 5/10/07                                                                  4
Hearing; Case 2007-16: Staff-initiated request to amend Section 2334 (Signs, #8) of Article XXIII,
General Provisions, to remove H, Heritage, zoning from “Permitted Signs” in the sign ordinance.
L. Anguilm presented the staff report. If Case 2007-11 is approved by the City Commission, there
will not be an H district left in the City. Therefore, reference to it in the sign ordinance needs to be
removed. New language: (deletions are crossed out and additions are in bold): “8.             Permitted
signs in the B-1, Waterfront Marine Zone, Open Space Conservation, Open Space Recreation, and
Lakefront Recreation and Heritage Districts.”

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

A motion that the amendment to Section 2334 (Signs, #8), of Article XXIII, General Provisions, of
the City of Muskegon Zoning Ordinance to remove the reference to Heritage zoning, be
recommended to the City Commission for approval, with the condition that the rezoning of the H,
Heritage district as proposed in case 2007-11 is approved by City Commission, was made by L.
Spataro, supported by B. Smith and unanimously approved.

Hearing: Case 2007-17: Staff-initiated request to amend Section 2331 (Landscaping, Fencing,
Walls, Screens, and Lighting), #20 (d) of Section XXIII, clarifying the location of the “horizontal
plane”. L. Anguilm presented the staff report. The Zoning Ordinance requirements for outdoor
lighting were amended in 1998. At that time the present requirement for 100% cut-off lighting was
put into place. The reasons behind this requirement were twofold. It is best to keep the light
concentrated in the areas where it is needed for safety reasons, and also to protect the environment
in several ways. Keeping outdoor lighting directed downward helps eliminate sky glow, light
trespass, glare, clutter and confusion, energy waste and financial waste. Recently, a variance was
obtained to this section of the ordinance to allow lights shining up into the sky to wash the wall of
an office building on our lakeshore. One of the arguments made by the applicant was that our
zoning ordinance didn’t designate where the “horizontal plane” was, and the applicant interpreted it
to be the top of the building. In order to further tighten this language so it meets the intent under
which it was written into the ordinance, staff recommends the following addition: New language
(additions are in bold): “d. Lighting fixtures shall be a down-type having one hundred percent
(100%) cut off. The light rays may not be emitted by the installed fixture at angles above the
horizontal plane passing through the lowest point on the light fixture from which the light is
omitted, as certified by the manufacturer' photometric test.”
                                          s

B. Larson stated that he didn’t like the terminology used in the lighting ordinance, and was not in
favor of the amendment. L. Spataro was in favor of the ordinance and amendment, and stated that
controlling lighting was part of being a good neighbor. J. Aslakson stated that the purpose of
lighting was safety and security, and the ordinance helped insure the intended purpose. B. Mazade
didn’t think the language needed to be as specific as what was proposed. Board members discussed
the proposed amendment and the lighting ordinance in general. S. Warmington asked why the
“lowest point” was chosen. L. Anguilm stated that it was difficult to find a definition, and she had
checked ordinances from other municipalities to come up with the requirements.

M. Miller stated that he lived near a commercial building downtown, and their lighting illuminated
his entire living room. He felt that it was important to regulate lighting to help protect neighboring
properties. He asked if all new buildings were subject to site plan review. L. Anguilm stated that
they were. He asked if there were design criteria for all of downtown. L. Anguilm stated that there
was for the former mall site, but not for the entire downtown.

Planning Commission Minutes – 5/10/07                                                                 5
A motion to close the public hearing was made by S. Warmington, supported by L. Spataro and
unanimously approved.

A motion that the amendment to Section 2331(Landscaping, Fencing, Walls, Screens, and Lighting,
#20 (d) of Article XXIII, General Provisions, of the City of Muskegon Zoning Ordinance, be
recommended to the City Commission for approval, was made by J. Aslakson and supported by L.
Spataro, with B. Larson, B. Mazade, B.Turnquist, and S. Warmington voting nay. The motion
failed.

L. Spataro asked whether board members wished to revisit the lighting issue. J. Aslakson asked that
staff put that on the June agenda for discussion. L. Spataro requested that staff check into State and
Federal regulations.

Hearing; Case 2007-18: Staff-initiated request to amend Section 2326 (Off Street Parking #12), of
Article XXIII (General Provisions), to reduce the residential parking requirement in the Downtown
Parking Overlay District. L. Anguilm presented the staff report. Staff has been discussing parking
requirements and studying residential parking requirements of other municipalities. Although most
municipalities require 2 spaces for each dwelling unit, some ordinances, such as Grand Rapids,
require only 1 space per dwelling unit. The new “Smart Code” design concept proposes 1.5 spaces
for each unit. The thinking behind that requirement is that some units are occupied by single
people, and other occupants may not own a car when living in an urban area. Our “Downtown
Parking Overlay District” makes no allowance for on-street parking for residential uses as it does
for commercial uses. Some residential properties downtown already use some on-street parking for
their residents (Amazon Building). Staff believes this minor change to the ordinance may help ease
parking problems in the downtown area. Other areas of the City would not be affected, since the 2-
space per dwelling unit would remain in effect. The proposed new language is: “c. In the
downtown parking overlay district only, the required number of residential parking spaces shall be
1.5 spaces per dwelling unit.”

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

A motion that the amendment to Section 2326, (Off-Street Parking and Loading, #12, d), of Article
XXIII, General Provisions, of the City of Muskegon Zoning Ordinance, be recommended to the
City Commission for approval, was made by J. Aslakson, supported by B. Larson and unanimously
approved.

OTHER

Downtown Parking – S. Warmington stated that he met with the President of the DMDC to discuss
parking and the meeting went well. Board members discussed the downtown parking situation,
parking agreements, and the sale of property where parking agreements were involved.


There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 5:30 p.m.


dml
5/10/07
Planning Commission Minutes – 5/10/07                                                               6

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