Planning Commission Minutes 01-16-2020

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                                    CITY OF MUSKEGON
                                  PLANNING COMMISSION
                                    REGULAR MEETING
                                         MINUTES

                                         January 16, 2020

Chairperson T. Michalski called the meeting to order at 4:00 p.m. and roll was taken.

MEMBERS PRESENT:               T. Michalski, J. Montgomery-Keast, J. Doyle, B. Larson, S.
                               Gawron, B. Mazade, E. Hood

MEMBERS ABSENT:                F. Peterson; M. Hovey-Wright, excused

STAFF PRESENT:                 M. Franzak, D. Renkenberger

OTHERS PRESENT:                D. Dietz, Family Financial Credit Union; J. Wolford, Muskegon
                               County 911; E. Hall, 2311 Moon; J. Canale, 12150 Cross Creek Dr,
                               Spring Lake; C. Benedict, 370 Mid Oak Dr, N. Muskegon.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

A motion to approve the Minutes of the regular Planning Commission meeting of December 12,
2019 was made by J. Montgomery-Keast, supported by J. Doyle and unanimously approved.

PUBLIC HEARINGS
Hearing, Case 2020-01: Request for a minor departure from the Form Based Code ordinance to
allow for a larger projecting sign (36” X 180”) than allowed and also an additional ATM sign (24”
X 20”) at 285 W Western, by Family Financial Credit Union. M. Franzak presented the staff
report. The property is zoned Form Based Code, Mainstreet. Family Financial Credit Union will
be moving into a suite facing 1st St in the Highpoint Flats building at 285 W Western Ave. They
are proposing a projecting sign that measures 36” wide X 180” high. Projecting signs are limited
to 36” wide and 48” high by the Form Based Code. They are also requesting a second smaller sign
(24”w X 20”h) that depicts the ATM location. The Form Based Code limits projections signs to
one per business. Notice letters were sent to properties within 300 feet of this property. Staff had
not received any comments from the public.

A rendering of the proposed signs was provided; however, staff stated that it did not appear the
rendering accurately depicted a 15-foot tall sign, as the door pictured was seven feet tall. The
Planning Commission had previously approved a departure for a large projecting sign at the
Berkshire building at 275 W Clay Ave. However, that sign depicted the name of the building,
rather than an individual business, which was common among the larger signs in downtown
Muskegon (i.e. Amazon, Frauenthal). Staff did not recommend very large projecting signs for
individual businesses. Staff also recommended that the ATM sign be included at the bottom of a
projecting sign or placed as a wall sign, rather than being a separate projecting sign. J. Doyle
suggested that if the larger sign was allowed, it could open it up to other businesses asking for the
same consideration. J. Montgomery-Keast asked what other means could be used to attract
customers attention. M. Franzak stated that sidewalk and window signs were allowed, and flower
pots could be placed at the entrance. He stated that he was not opposed to the sign hanging off the
building to make it visible from Western Avenue, but he thought the requested size was too large.
T. Michalski asked if the sign would be illuminated, and why it needed to be so large. D. Dietz
stated that it would be a lighted sign. She explained that the credit union was new to downtown
and their entry would face Second Street so they wanted the larger sign to make sure it was visible
from Western Avenue. J. Montgomery-Keast asked if they had considered other methods of
making the entry stand out, like what had been discussed earlier. D. Dietz stated that they could
use those methods also.

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

B. Mazade disclosed that he was a member of the credit union but stated that he had no financial
gain or conflict of interest.
A motion that the request for a minor departure from the Form Based Code ordinance to allow a
larger projecting sign (36” X 180”) than permitted and also an additional ATM sign (24” X 20”)
at 285 W Western be approved, was made by B. Larson, supported by E. Hood and approved, with
B. Larson, S. Gawron, B. Mazade, and E. Hood voting aye, and T. Michalski, J. Montgomery-
Keast, and J. Doyle voting nay.
Hearing, Case 2020-02: Request to amend Section 2321 of the Zoning Ordinance to allow
Wireless Communication Support Facilities as a special use permitted in the overlay district at 770
Terrace St, by Pyramid Network Services. M. Franzak presented the staff report. The zoning
ordinance defines a “Wireless Communication Support Facilities (WCSF)” as: A monopole,
guyed, or lattice type tower designed for the attachment of, or as support for wireless
communication antennas or other antennas. WCSF’s are only allowed as a Special Use Permitted
in six locations throughout the City. The applicant is seeking approval to allow another location
at the Central Fire Station at 770 Terrace St. Location maps and a description of the project were
provided. This project is supported by the Muskegon Public Safety Division as a necessary
component for First Responder incidents. Staff recommends approval of the zoning ordinance
amendment to allow WCSF’s as a Special Use Permitted at 770 Terrace St.
M. Franzak pointed out that this case and the next one involved the same project. The request was
for a monopole for emergency communications, not cell phones. J. Doyle asked why there would
be no cell phone equipment on the pole. J. Wolford was the Executive Director of Muskegon
Central Dispatch. He stated that most municipalities didn’t want additional equipment on the poles
in order to leave room when upgrades were needed.
A motion to close the public hearing was made by B. Mazade, supported by B. Larson and
unanimously approved.
B. Mazade stated that he didn’t care for the proposed location but would support the request, as it
was for public safety. A motion that the request to amend Section 2321 of the Zoning Ordinance
to allow Wireless Communication Support Facilities as a Special Use Permitted in the overlay
district at 770 Terrace St be recommended to the City Commission for approval, was made by J.
Montgomery-Keast, supported by S. Gawron and unanimously approved, with T. Michalski, J.
Montgomery-Keast, J. Doyle, B. Larson, S. Gawron, B. Mazade, and E. Hood voting aye.
Hearing, Case 2020-03: Request for a special use permit to allow a Wireless Communication
Support Facility (WCSF) (monopole) at 770 Terrace Street, contingent upon the successful
amendment to the ordinance in Case 2020-02, by Pyramid Network Services. M. Franzak
presented the staff report. This request is contingent upon the successful amendment to the zoning
ordinance that would allow WCSFs as a Special Use Permitted at 770 Terrace St. The request is
for a 195-foot tall monopole without guy wires. Location maps and a project description were
provided. The proposed monopole appears to meet all of the requirements for obtaining a Special
Land Use Permit, as long as it does not have a shiny or metallic finish; staff recommends approval
of the monopole as presented.
There were no comments from the public. A motion to close the public hearing was made by B.
Larson, supported by J. Doyle and unanimously approved.

M. Franzak stated that part of the ordinance prohibited shiny or metallic finishes on the monopoles.
The engineer working on the project stated that this pole would be galvanized metal and would
lose its shine over time. They had experimented with painting these kinds of towers in the past,
but maintenance became an issue. B. Mazade suggested something other than a steel tower,
possibly a wrap of some kind.

A motion that the request for a Special Use Permit to allow for a Wireless Communication Support
Facility (monopole) at 770 Terrace St be approved, contingent upon the successful amendment to
the ordinance in Case 2020-02 and with the condition that the monopole does not have a shiny or
metallic finish, was made by J. Montgomery-Keast, supported by B. Larson and unanimously
approved, with T. Michalski, J. Montgomery-Keast, J. Doyle, B. Larson, S. Gawron, B. Mazade,
and E. Hood voting aye.
Hearing, Case 2020-04: Staff-initiated request to rezone the property at 372 Morris Ave from
Form Based Code, Downtown to Form Based Code, Mainstreet. M. Franzak presented the staff
report. The property measures nearly eight acres and is zoned Form Based Code, Downtown. This
zoning designation only allows for mixed-use buildings. The property owner has plans to develop
this lot, but they would like to offer a different variety of buildings within the development.
Preliminary plans include a hotel, parking garage with retail frontage, entertainment center, dining,
event space and townhomes. The Mainstreet context area would allow all of these building types.
A preliminary site plan was provided. After the successful rezoning, the applicant plans to apply
to the Planning Commission for a “Specific Development Plan” as allowed in Section 2002.01D
of the Form Based Code. M. Franzak explained that the Specific Development Plan would be
similar to a PUD, but under Form Based Code zoning. Staff recommends approval of the rezoning.
J. Montgomery-Keast asked about the contamination history on the property. M. Franzak stated
that the gas company was formerly located there, and the site had been contaminated. However,
the site had been capped. The social security office was located on the adjacent site, which had
the same contamination issues. J. Canale was a partner in the project and described their plans for
the development. He added that 2nd St. would be extended to connect to 1st St. J. Doyle asked
about the other street that came off 1st St. and entered the site. J. Canale stated that that drive was
for access to the Social Security Administration. T. Michalski asked if there would be any effect
on the Indian Cemetery. J. Canale stated that there would not be. J. Montgomery-Keast asked
how they planned to deal with the contamination. J. Canale stated that they had had a due care
plan completed and a restrictive covenant. There would be no subterranean grade, such as
basements. J. Doyle asked how large the parking garage would be. J. Canale stated that at this
time, it was planned to have 3 to 4 floors. T. Michalski stated that this was a prime downtown
spot so it was important to have it done right.
A motion to close the public hearing was made by J. Doyle, supported by J. Montgomery-Keast
and unanimously approved.
A motion that the request to rezone the property at 372 Morris Avenue from Form Based Code,
Downtown to Form Based Code, Mainstreet be recommended to City Commission for approval,
was made by J. Doyle, supported by S. Gawron and unanimously approved, with T. Michalski, J.
Montgomery-Keast, J. Doyle, B. Larson, S. Gawron, B. Mazade, and E. Hood voting aye.
NEW BUSINESS
None

OLD BUSINESS
190 Wood St – M. Franzak stated that the rezoning had been approved by City Commission.

Hartshorn Marina area – J. Doyle asked about the status of the development that was planned for
the vacant lot near Hartshorn Marina. M. Franzak stated that it was still in process; the first
house plans had recently been approved.

OTHER

There was no chapter 5 outline from Suburban Nation this month.


There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 4:45 p.m.

DR

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