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CALL TO ORDER City of DeWitt Michigan

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					CITY OF DEWITT                                                                            Page 1
Regular Planning Commission Meeting
November 15, 2007                                                                       City Hall
CALL TO ORDER:
       Chairman Erik Olson called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. He led the Pledge of Allegiance.

ROLL CALL
     Members Present: Sue Erickson, Kathy Gilliland, Debra Good, Amy Kohlhepp, Terri Langdon,
     Mike Lee, Erik Olson, and Bill Sullivan
     Members Excused: Bob Smith

       Motion by Sullivan, seconded by Gilliland and carried by unanimous vote of the Planning
       Commission that Commissioner Smith be excused.

STAFF:
     Rob Nesbitt, Denice Smith, and Brian Vick

AUDIENCE:
     Lori Bogart, Mike Mollitor, and Mayor Jim Rundborg

APPROVAL OF AGENDA
    After review of the agenda, it was moved by Erickson, seconded by Sullivan and carried by
    unanimous vote of the Planning Commission that the agenda for the November 15, 2007
    Regular Planning Commission meeting be approved as presented.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
    Moved by Erickson, seconded by Kohlhepp and carried by unanimous vote of the Planning
    Commission that the minutes of the October 29, 2007 Regular Planning Commission Meeting
    be approved with the following corrections:
    Page 1, last paragraph, second sentence: “As a result, they City Council did not feel …”
    Page 4, first paragraph, last sentence: “… and should could “sell” DeWitt …”

       Let the record show that Commissioner Langdon did not vote since she was not present at the
       October 29th meeting.

PUBLIC COMMENTS:
     None.

OLD BUSINESS:
     None.

NEW BUSINESS:
     1. Site Plan Approval – Mike Mollitor - 116 East Main Street: Mike Mollitor was present to
     discuss his request with the Planning Commission. He is proposing to establish a beauty salon in
     an existing building located at 116 East Main Street. The beauty salon will occupy approximately
     650 square feet of the building’s first floor.

       Rob Nesbitt (City’s Planning Consultant with LSL) reviewed his memo (dated November 9, 2007)
       regarding Mr. Mollitor’s request.
CITY OF DEWITT                                                                             Page 2
Regular Planning Commission Meeting
November 15, 2007                                                                       City Hall
       In 2004, Mr. Mollitor received site plan approval to renovate the building. The first story of the
       building was to be used as a sign and graphics business and the second story was to contain an
       apartment unit. The site plan approval included significant exterior improvements to the building.
       These exterior improvements have been completed.

       The sign and graphics business included very little floor space that would be accessed by the
       general public. Therefore, when Planning Commission approved the previous site plan, the
       applicant was required to provide two (2) on-site parking spaces for the apartment unit. The
       limited customer parking for the sign and graphic business was to be provided by on-street
       parking. The sign and graphics business was never established.

       In January 2006, Mr. Mollitor made a similar request during the “All Star Barber Shop” process;
       however, at that time he was only seeking six spaces. The Planning Commission granted parking
       relief to allow a 280 square foot barber shop to be located in the subject building. The barber shop
       subsequently closed and the first floor of the building is currently vacant. The second story of the
       building continues to be occupied by an apartment unit and the required on-site parking for the
       existing apartment unit has been established.

       The City’s new Zoning Ordinance (effective July 1, 2007) requires Planning Commission
       approval of a sketch plan for any use that is more intensive, including its parking needs, than a
       previous use. The applicant indicates that the proposed beauty salon will occupy significantly
       more square footage than the previous barber shop and, although the applicant’s parking report
       states that there will be two stylists, the floor plan includes four work stations where the barber
       shop had only two work stations.

       The DeWitt Zoning Ordinance requires one (1) parking space for every 50 square feet of usable
       floor area in the proposed beauty salon. Since the proposed beauty salon will occupy 650 square
       feet, a minimum of 13 parking spaces are required. While this number of spaces is required by the
       Ordinance, it is more likely that the use will require 8 to 10 spaces (i.e. 2 spaces for the stylists, 4
       spaces for the four work stations, and 2 to 4 spaces for customers waiting).

       The subject property has limited room for the creation of additional parking spaces. The
       applicant’s parking report states that there are parking spaces across the street (Hungry Howies)
       and on the abutting property to the south that are available on a first come/first served basis. The
       owners of these properties have apparently given the applicant verbal permission to use their
       parking, however there is no certainty that the parking spaces will be available on an on-going
       basis. The applicant’s parking report further states that there are up to 15 on-street parking spaces
       within one block of the subject property that are available at all times. Based on LSL’s
       observations of downtown DeWitt, they are satisfied that ample on-street parking spaces are
       continually available along Main Street and Bridge Street in the vicinity of the subject property.
       However, LSL recommends at least two off-street parking spaces be provided for the employees.

       Section 78-374 (Location), item a. (Proximity to Building or Use Being Served) of the City’s
       Zoning Ordinance states, in part, “On-street public parking may be considered available to meet
       all or any portion of the needs of a nonresidential use, provided the Planning Commission finds
       parking spaces are reasonably available within the same zoning district at the time of day needed
       and provided that off-street parking is shown to be not feasible.”
CITY OF DEWITT                                                                              Page 3
Regular Planning Commission Meeting
November 15, 2007                                                                         City Hall
       Mr. Mollitor stated that the second-floor apartment unit has two reserved parking spaces in the
       garage area. He further stated that the subject property has enough room to accommodate two off-
       street parking spaces for employees. He agreed to place signs that would reserve those parking
       spaces for employees.

       Motion by Lee, seconded by Sullivan and carried by unanimous vote of the Planning Commission
       that

          BE IT RESOLVED to accept the recommendation of the City’s Planning Consultant and
       approve the request submitted by Mike Mollitor (116 East Main Street) allowing him to
       count the existing on-street public parking towards his off-street parking requirement with
       the condition that the two permanent off-street parking spaces for employees be signed as
       reserved parking; and
          BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Planning Commission recognizes that:
       1. there will be a potential business on the first floor; and
       2. the issue of downtown parking is not within the purview or control of the Planning
           Commission and, at this time, it appears there is adequate on-street parking to grant the
           request.

       2. Residential Accessory Buildings: At the May 24, 2007 Planning Commission meeting, the
       Commission discussed a uniquely shaped garage being built at 112 South Logan which raised the
       question regarding height of accessory buildings. At that time, the Planning Commission asked
       Brian Vick (City Administrator) and Rob Nesbitt (City’s Planning Consultant) to review the
       matter and offer their recommendation to the Planning Commission.

       In his letter (dated October 17, 2007), Mr. Nesbitt provided a report regarding the height of
       residential accessory buildings in DeWitt and more specifically, the height of accessory buildings
       on smaller residential lots. He offered the following comments:
       1) What should be the maximum height of an accessory building?
           Currently, the DeWitt Zoning Ordinance allows an accessory building to be a maximum of 16
           feet in height. Mr. Nesbitt provided a table comparing the City’s height and floor area
           regulations for detached accessory buildings in residential districts with several other
           communities. DeWitt allows accessory buildings to have a maximum floor area that is
           comparable to what other communities allow but most communities permit accessory
           buildings to be a maximum of 14 feet in height. The Village of Fowlerville includes a
           provision that states, “Must be designed and constructed to be compatible with character of the
           surrounding residential area with respect to exterior building materials and roof line.”

          The DeWitt Zoning Ordinance measures the height of an accessory building as its highest
          point. Most communities measure the height in the same manner as they measure the height
          of the dwelling (i.e. to the midpoint of a peaked roof, to the highest point of a flat or single-
          sloped roof, etc.).

          Reducing the permitted height and measuring the height of an accessory building in the same
          manner as the height of the dwelling will result in the construction of lower profile structures
          with walls less than 14 feet in height. It would also discourage the construction of flat roofed
          or single-sloped accessory structures since there is more space in the upper area of the peaked
          roof structure.
CITY OF DEWITT                                                                                Page 4
Regular Planning Commission Meeting
November 15, 2007                                                                          City Hall
       2) Should an accessory building be allowed to have more than one (1) story?
           There are concerns that the existing 16 foot permitted height encourages the creation of a
           second level in an accessory building, particularly if the second level is converted to habitable
           space. The Zoning Ordinance does not currently address whether a second level can be
           established in an accessory building.

       If the height of an accessory building is reduced to 14 feet, there is likely no need to specify that
       an accessory building on a lot 10,000 square feet or less must have only one (1) story, since a
       second story would not be feasible. The Ordinance could be amended to stipulate that a second
       story is not allowed in an accessory building when the building is located on a lot 10,000 square
       feet or less. The same restriction might be considered on a lot that is one (1) acre in size or less.
       A second story might be feasible on lots greater than 1 acre, because of the taller permitted
       building height, but there would be less potential impact on neighbors and the character of the
       surroundings due to the lot size.

       Mr. Nesbitt offered the Planning Commission some draft language that would amend Section 78-
       24. (Accessory Buildings and Structures; Residential Districts or Uses), Table II-01 (Residential
       Accessory Buildings and Structures). The proposed language would encourage conventional
       peaked roofs that are more compatible with the design of dwellings typically found in the City.
       As a result, the Planning Commission may wish to amend the Zoning Ordinance to:
       - Reduce the permitted height of accessory buildings from 16 feet to 14 feet on lots 10,000
           square feet or less.
       - Address the height of an accessory building so that it is measured in the same manner as
           principal buildings.
       - Specify that an accessory building is to have only one (1) story. Reducing an accessory
           building’s permitted height to 14 feet will have the effect of limiting the ability to create a
           second story. Alternatively, the Ordinance could permit a partial second story for storage
           purposes only.

       If the proposed revisions to the existing ordinance are desired by the Planning Commission, a
       resolution initiating the change by the Planning Commission should be adopted. At that point,
       staff will take the required steps to notify the required agencies and schedule the public hearing.

       After discussion, the Planning Commission determined that these proposed changes to the Zoning
       Ordinance were not needed at this time.

       3. 126 E Main Street – Proposed Use: The City has received a memo (dated October 11, 2007)
       from Timothy A. Brannan, Ph.D. (President, Instructional Technology Services, Inc.) outlining his
       proposed use for the vacant two-story building located at 126 East Main. Since Mr. Brannan was
       unable to attend tonight’s meeting, Lori Bogart was present to discuss the proposed use.

       Mr. Brannan was looking for a creative way to use the first floor. He is interested in opening a
       business that would offer daylong and after school workshops targeted at science, math, social
       studies and English language arts curriculum. Impression 5 is a logical partner in this endeavor
       and would be providing approximately 500 square feet of displays and a retail shop selling science
       kits and kid themed items. This will be their first fixed satellite location to offer programs in
       Clinton County. The main floor is handicapped accessible and has a drinking fountain and
CITY OF DEWITT                                                                             Page 5
Regular Planning Commission Meeting
November 15, 2007                                                                       City Hall
       restroom. The second story would be an office area (non-public) for professional on-line
       development and is not handicap accessible.

       Ms. Bogart stated that they are not an accredited educational institution and they are not an
       accredited state day care center. However, they consider their proposed use for classes to be a
       personal service similar to the yarn store offering knitting classes or the dance studio offering
       instructional dance classes. The Planning Commission has determined that the dance studio is a
       personal service.

       Rob Nesbitt (City’s Planning Consultant with LSL) reviewed his memo (dated October 19, 2007)
       regarding Mr. Brannan’s proposed use for the building located at 126 East Main Street.

       Mr. Brannon has stated that the property has off-street parking for staff members (who are
       occupying the office space upstairs) and overflow parking in the morning will be accommodated
       by Relli’s lot to the building’s south-side.

       The subject property is zoned CB, Central Business. The retail component is permitted by the CB
       district. However, the Zoning Ordinance does not specifically identify the workshop use. The
       uses that most closely match are:
       a. Educational Institution, defined as: “A public or private accredited kindergarten through 12th
           grade school, college, trade, or business school, nursery school, preschool, or day care center,
           and/or related administrative offices, excluding a maintenance garage.”; or
       b. Personal Service Establishment, defined as: “Establishments that perform services on the
           premises, such as, but not be limited to, tailors, beauty and barbershops, interior decorators,
           photographers, dry cleaners, physical therapy, massage therapists, or professional
           medical/mental counseling services.”

       An educational institution is a special land use in the CB district. If Planning Commission
       determines the proposed use falls under that definition, the applicant would be required to obtain
       Special Land Use approval, with a required public hearing.

       A personal service establishment is a permitted use in the CB district. If the proposed use is
       determined to be a personal service establishment, the use would be allowed and would be subject
       to only those approvals that typically apply to a building’s change of use (i.e. sign approvals,
       parking approval if the use is more intensive than the previous use, exterior changes). Under this
       permitted use, the applicant would be required to have one parking space per 50 square feet of
       usable floor area. Therefore, the proposed 1,800 square feet would require 36 parking spaces. It
       was the consensus of the Planning Commission that it would be difficult for the applicant to meet
       the parking requirements.

       The Planning Commission’s role is not to interpret the Ordinance. If the Planning Commission
       determines that the proposed use is neither of these uses, the applicant would have the option of
       applying to the Zoning Board of Appeals for a similar use determination. The ZBA would need to
       decide whether the proposed use is similar to one of the permitted or special land uses listed in the
       CB district. In cases where the ZBA makes a similar use determination, the other applicable
       provisions of the Zoning Ordinance also apply. For example, if the ZBA determines that a
       proposed use is similar to a special land use listed in the applicable district, the applicant is still
       required to apply for special land use approval.
CITY OF DEWITT                                                                             Page 6
Regular Planning Commission Meeting
November 15, 2007                                                                        City Hall
       The principal use of the property is not determined by financial criteria. The property may have
       more than one principal use in addition to accessory uses.

       The Planning Commission is supportive of the proposed use of the building but debated about how
       to categorize the proposed use and parking issues. The Planning Commission must be satisfied
       that it has sufficient information to make such a determination.

       Motion by Lee, seconded by Sullivan and carried by roll call vote of the Planning Commission
       that

         BE IT RESOLVED that the Planning Commission clearly sees the proposed use for the
       building located at 126 East Main Street, as submitted by Timothy A. Brannan, Ph.D.
       President, Instructional Technology Services, Inc., as a Personal Service Establishment
       ROLL CALL VOTE:
              Erickson       No          Gilliland       No            Kohlhepp      Yes
              Lee           Yes          Olson          Yes            Smith         Excused
              Langdon       Yes          Sullivan       Yes            Good          Yes

       The Planning Commission continued discussion regarding the parking requirements. As
       mandated earlier in this meeting, the Planning Commission would like dedicated employee
       parking to be on-site. Ms. Bogart stated that there is a notched gravel area that could
       accommodate up to four parking spaces.

       Mr. Nesbitt stated that the Zoning Ordinance requires parking unless the Planning Commission
       grants relief. It was suggested that Mr. Brannan work with the City Administrator to provide the
       Planning Commission with a listing of where employees and customers will park and what
       agreements he has with nearby commercial property owners (i.e. Relli’s, Hungry Howies, Dr.
       Schoonover, etc.) to address the parking requirements. The Planning Commission would like Mr.
       Brannan to attend the December 13th Planning Commission meeting to discuss his parking plan.

COMMISSIONER COMMENTS:
    - Commissioner Erickson (Council representative to the Planning Commission) provided an
      update regarding the City Council’s recent action rejecting LSL’s proposal for assistance with
      the Comprehensive Development Plan. Mayor Rundborg appointed a committee (Sue
      Erickson, Chair; Council Members Strouse and Hunsaker and Planning Commissioners Olsen,
      Lee and Gilliland) to prepare a list of options and present their recommendations to the City
      Council.
    - Block Imaging is trying to sell. Parking issues continue to be a problem in the downtown area.
      The Downtown Development Authority is reviewing options but has not made any
      recommendation to Council yet.

ADJOURNMENT:
    Hearing no objection, Chairman Olson declared this meeting to be adjourned at 8:47 p.m.

       Respectfully submitted,


       Denice Smith, City Clerk

				
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