ZONING COMMISSION MINUTES - February 25, 2015
Chairman Paul Shaw called the meeting of the Catawba Island Township Zoning Commission to order at 7:32 p.m. Mr. Shaw introduced the rest of the Commission in attendance: Jordan Davenport, Vice Chair, Stephen Lonneman, Curt Baxter, and alternate, Greg Hart who served as a voting member in the absence of Ron Wiseman. Mr. Shaw also introduced Walter Wehenkel, Zoning Inspector and Zoning Commission Secretary and Matt Montowski, Township Trustee.
Mr. Shaw welcomed those in attendance and stated the Zoning Commission appreciated their interest. Since it was a public meeting, he advised that debates/talking amongst individuals was not permitted. He asked that all attendees sign the register and stated any person wanting to speak would be recognized by the chairperson and asked that they identify themselves by name and address for the record. He asked those in attendance to please be sure their cell phones are turned off or on vibrate. He then asked all in attendance to join in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
Mr. Shaw then suggested the following agenda for the meeting.
1) Consider application # 668129 from Robert J. Stewart & Judith H. Stewart to rezone parcel # 013-14781-19876-000 & parcel #013-15257-20476-000 from the A district to the R-2 district.
2) The reading and approval of our last meeting minutes from January 28, 2015.
3) Any old business
4) Any new business
Mr. Shaw asked if there were any additions or changes to the proposed agenda. There were none. Jordan Davenport moved to accept the proposed agenda. Curt Baxter seconded the motion. The motion passed.
Chairman Shaw requested a motion to consider application # 668129 from Robert J. Stewart & Judith H. Stewart to rezone parcel # 013-14781-19876-000 & parcel # 013-15257-20476-000 from the A district to the R-2 district. Steve Lonneman so moved. Dr. Greg Hart seconded the motion. The motion passed. Mr. Shaw asked if any Commission member had a personal or professional conflict concerning the case. There were none.
Chairman Shaw then read the Ottawa Regional Planning Commission’s letter recommending
the rezoning request be approved. Mr. Shaw asked Walter Wehenkel if there was any other
correspondence concerning the rezoning request. Mr. Wehenkel stated he had not received
any communication on the request. Mr. Shaw asked Vice Chairman Jordan Davenport to read
the legal descriptions for the parcels involved in the rezoning request.
Mr. Shaw asked for a representative for the rezoning request to make their presentation. No
one was in attendance. Mr. Wehenkel stated the applicants live in New Jersey and California
and a local attorney George Wilber filed the application and was advised of the meeting date
and time. He had not heard from Mr. Wilber concerning his attendance this evening.
Mr. Shaw opened discussion to those in attendance. Ernest Wylie stated he lives across the
street from the lot on Konker Road. He wondered why a rezoning to the “R-2” District was
being requested by the owner when most of the property in the neighborhood was either
zoned “A” or “R-1”. Jordan Davenport stated there was no explanation provided with the
application so it is anyone’s best guess. Walter Wehenkel offered several explanations. He
stated setback requirements are smaller in the “R-2” District. Lot coverage permitted is higher
in the “R-2” District. Lot area is smaller in the “R-2” District. Any of these could be the
reasoning for the rezoning request.
Jordan Davenport confirmed the owners are the same for both parcels. Mr. Wehenkel stated that was correct. Ernest Wylie repeated his only question was why “R-2”. Paul Shaw stated the Commission could only speculate on the reasoning as it was not stated and no one is present to speak to that question. Kathy Wylie stated she has not talked to the owners very much. Ernest Wylie stated he has talked to them enough to “know where the situation is going.” With no further comments, Mr. Shaw closed the meeting to the public.
Mr. Shaw asked for comments from the Commission members. Jordan Davenport stated he does not like to make decisions on rezoning requests without the applicant present. It is speculating why the request is being made. Though there is nothing binding on what the applicant says he plans to do versus what he actually does, he prefers to hear the applicant’s story.
Steve Lonneman stated the Commission has approved requests before without the applicant in attendance. In some cases the people are known and in others they are not, but there is nothing binding by their presentation. He stated he finds it a challenge to ignore the Land Use Plan and the County’s recommendation on the rezoning request as they are the professionals. The Commission should not ignore their expertise.
Curt Baxter stated he is personally uncomfortable with approving the request without the applicant present. He values the comments of others and he believes it is best to know the intentions of property owners when making decisions. He knows owner’s presentations are not binding. The tendency is to feel the importance of the meeting should require their attendance, but that is not the case this evening. The Township is closer to the situation than the County is and the decision made should be the best for the community and the area.
Paul Shaw asked if the homes were used seasonally. Ernest Wylie stated the homes are year round rentals with the owners being elsewhere. Steve Lonneman reminded those in attendance that there is another hearing before the Township Trustees and the applicant will hopefully be represented at that meeting. The Trustees make the final decision.
Jordan Davenport stated letters were sent out to all of the adjoining lot owners. There were about ten of them. Only the Wylie’s showed up or communicated on the rezoning request.
He asked the Wylie’s how they feel the rezoning request will affect them. Mr. Wylie stated it would only affect him if the driveway were to be put in across from his home. Mr. Wylie believes the owner might be considering creating an additional house lot. Mr. Wehenkel scaled off the distance from the existing home on Lot 1 and the property lines. He stated he did not believe there would be sufficient lot width to create another lot fronting on Konker Road even with the change in zoning. The only way another lot might be created would be along the west road between the two houses. That would have no impact upon the Wylie’s property. Jordan Davenport stated another home in that location would be very similar to the density in the surrounding area.
Dr. Greg Hart stated the issue that bothers him the most was the lack of dialogue with the applicant. He understands it may not be binding, but he would have liked to hear the presentation before voting on the rezoning change. Mr. Baxter asked Dr. Hart who he meant by no dialogue. Dr. Hart stated the applicant.
Matt Montowski stated the applicant hired an attorney to handle the request. For some reason the attorney is not in attendance. The Commission should vote on the application based upon the Land Use Plan and their knowledge of the neighborhood. Steve Lonneman agreed stating the attorney could simply tell us what we want to hear, but once the rezoning is approved, the owner can do whatever the zoning resolution permits him to do.
Paul Shaw stated a request has been made in Application # 668129 from Robert J. Stewart & Judith H. Stewart to rezone parcel # 013-14781-19876-000 & parcel # 013-15257-20476-000 from the A district to the R-2 district. He requested a motion on Application # 668129 from Robert J. Stewart & Judith H. Stewart to rezone parcel # 013-14781-19876-000 & parcel # 013-15257-20476-000 from the A district to the R-2 district. Jordan Davenport moved to recommend approval of the rezoning request. Curt Baxter seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Shaw stated the proposed Application # 668129 from Robert J. Stewart & Judith H. Stewart to rezone parcel # 013-14781-19876-000 & parcel #013-15257-20476-000 from the A district to the R-2 district will be recommended to the Catawba Island Trustees for their consideration. The date of their meeting will be March 10, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. Mr. Wehenkel told the Wylies that they will not receive another letter from the township. Matt Montowski invited them to attend and express their concerns. Hopefully the applicant’s attorney will be in attendance at the meeting.
Mr. Shaw stated the minutes were mailed out to the members. He asked for a motion for the approval of the meeting minutes from the January 28, 2015 meeting. Steve Lonneman so moved. His motion was seconded by Curt Baxter. The motion was passed.
Mr. Shaw asked Mr. Wehenkel if there was any old business. Mr. Wehenkel stated Tomi Johnson will be submitting a variance request to rent her single family home on a weekly basis. Her rezoning was reviewed in December of 2014. He stated he had no new business.
Mr. Shaw stated the next scheduled meeting of the Zoning Commission is March 25, 2015. If there are no rezoning requests, the meeting will not be held. Mr. Wehenkel will send out a notice.
Mr. Shaw asked for a motion to adjourn. Steve Lonneman so moved. Curt Baxter seconded the motion. The meeting was adjourned at 8:20 p.m.