Charter Township of Orion
Oakland County, Michigan


Planning Commission
Minutes, Regular Meeting, Wednesday, December 3, 2008


The Charter Township of Orion Planning Commission held a regular meeting on Wednesday, December 3, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. at the Orion Township Hall, 2525 Joslyn Road, Lake Orion, Michigan 48360.

PLANNING COMMISSION MEMBERS PRESENT:Doug Zande, Chairman; Sandra Dyl, Vice-Chairwoman; Dick Christie, Secretary; John Steimel, OTB Representative; Shannon Filarecki. NOTE: There are currently two vacant positions on the Planning Commission.

OTHERS PRESENT: Charlotte Beiser, R. Donald Wortman, Janet Mazzetti, Steve Mazzetti, Alex Parry, Caitlyn Parry, Jill Kettler. Tom K., Stacy Cerget, John Baumann, Craig Kovarik, Phoebe Schutz

1. OPEN MEETING: Chairman Zande called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.

2. ROLL CALL: All members were present (There are currently two vacant positions on the Planning Commission).

3. MINUTES:

Moved by Secretary Christie, supported by Commissioner Filarecki to approve the November 5, 2008 regular meeting minutes as presented.  Motion carried 5-0 (There are currently two vacant positions on the Planning Commission).

Moved by Vice-Chairwoman Dyl, supported by Secretary Christie to approve the November 5, 2008, PC-2008-08, CVS Pharmacy Rezoning Public Hearing minutes as presented.  Motion carried 5-0 (There are currently two vacant positions on the Planning Commission).

4. AGENDA REVIEW AND APPROVAL: Moved by Commissioner Filarecki, supported by Secretary Christie to approve the agenda as presented.  Motion carried 5-0 (There are currently two vacant positions on the Planning Commission).

5. BRIEF PUBLIC COMMENT – NON-AGENDA ITEMS ONLY: None given.

6. CONSENT AGENDA:

A. PC-2007-09, The Villas of Pineview Independent Living Facility Site Plan, 2888 Baldwin Road: Moved by Commissioner Steimel, supported by Vice-Chairwoman Dyl to accept as presented the Consent Agenda regarding the following case: A)PC-2007-09, The Villas of Pineview Independent Living Facility Site Plan, 2888 Baldwin Road, approved the request for a one-year extension of the site plan approval due to Michigan's severe economic downturn.  Roll call vote was as follows: Christie, yes; Steimel, yes; Dyl, yes; Filarecki, yes; Zande, yes.  Motion carried 5-0 (There are currently two vacant positions on the Planning Commission).

7.  NEW BUSINESS: None.

8. UNFINISHED BUSINESS:

A. PC-2008-08, CVS Pharmacy Rezoning, From R-2 to RB-2, NE Corner of Baldwin and Maybee Roads (3461 Baldwin Road, 3491 Baldwin Road, and 3180 Maybee Road): Ms. Stacy Cerget, of Fazal Khan & Associates, Inc., 43279 Schoenherr Road, Sterling Heights, Michigan, 48313, and John Baumann, of The Velmeir Companies, 5757 W. Maple Road, Suite 800, West Bloomfield, Michigan 48322, were present.

Mr. R. Donald Wortman, of Carlisle/Wortman Associates, Inc., overviewed their Land Use and Zoning Analysis correspondence dated November 25, 2008*.  The summary of findings regarding the proposed rezoning are summarized as follows: 1)The land uses surrounding the site, between Maybee Road and the utility corridor, are predominantly residential.  Non-residential land uses in the vicinity are south of Maybee Road and north of the utility corridor; 2)The existing R-2 zoning of these parcels is consistent with the existing development pattern between Maybee Road and the utility corridor to the north and the current residential Township Master Plan.  This residential use is also consistent with the previously approved but postponed Orion Ridge PUD immediately west of the subject parcel; 3)A number of the homes on the east side of Baldwin Road north of Maybee Road are rental properties in need of maintenance.  A commercial rezoning could provide a redevelopment opportunity of this area; 4)The existing R-2 parcels and surrounding parcels could be combined to create a new single-family development.  It is also possible that a convalescent home/senior housing complex could be developed as a special use under the current zoning; 5)The development of the subject site for commercial purposes would expand the Gingellville Overlay District beyond its planned boundaries, as shown in the 2005 Plan; 6)Rezoning of these parcels to a commercial use may influence the future use of the parcels to the north or to the west at the Orion Ridge site; 7)There exists vacant commercial properties within the Village Square PUD and the Orion Village Crossing PUD, which may accommodate the proposed use; 8)The proposed rezoning would not be in conformance with the specific future land use designations for the parcels and goals and objectives of the 2003 Master Plan; 9)The Planning Commission is in the process of updating the 2003 Master Plan and will review various sites throughout the Township for possible land use update; 10)The proposed RB-2 zoning may increase traffic compared to the present uses under the R-2 district; and, 11)The adequacy of the existing water and sewer service will be evaluated by the Township Engineer.  He then noted that this area has applied for a rezoning in the past. 

Secretary Christie inquired whether the petitioner would be interested in tabling this case until after the Master Plan Update has been completed.

Ms. Cerget noted that she would have to call to consult with her client to make that decision.  She also noted that she believes that the R-2 zoning on Baldwin Road is not a suitable area for families anymore and she believes that these three parcels are not feasible for single-family residential development due in part to the wetlands and woodlands on those three parcels.  The Sunrise facility has been put on hold, but will probably come back in the future and they prefer to be next to a drugstore and a walkable community, but that would be a perfect use for that due to the limited use of those parcels.  The parcels are small and are just on that corner and would never be developed as residential.  When you talk about compatibility within the Master Plan, the area is planned for a mixture of uses.  It's not going to force everything to be commercial, because it's not all going to work as commercial.  These three small pieces would function well as commercial.  It's the best use for that site.  The parcels to the north, the best way to develop them is to protect the natural features and that's why we're not intruding upon that.  We're trying to keep it to the very specific corner of Baldwin and Maybee.  CVS did meet with some of the developers of the commercial projects to the south and they were unwilling to work with what they needed and what they have in amending the PUD.  They thought it would be too difficult, they wanted to charge too much, they weren't willing to work with them to put the CVS there, so that is why CVS pursued other locations.  Traffic at this site is already congested and developing this site as commercial would provide those necessary intersection improvements.  We already talked to the RCOC and we would have to do the passing accel/decel lanes and extend the turn lanes to accommodate it, which will dramatically improve the intersection.  Water and sewer is available on the south side of Maybee and they would be extending it.  They did talk to the water and sewer department and that is available and adequate size to handle the site once they bring it across the street it would then be able to be extended down if someone came in with CVS or other residential development to the north.  Regarding the points in the summary of findings, the site is no longer a family-friendly location because of the traffic, so to leave it zoned R-2 at that intersection is really inappropriate.  The Master Plan is a vision of what you want your community to be.  There have been rezonings to the south and southeast since the 2003 Master Plan contrary to what the Master Plan had approved, so now you've got another revision coming up and we would strongly recommend that you would reconsider this area, because it is a transitional area and it does need to be reviewed. 

Commissioner Steimel commented that according to correspondence received from Mr. Dave Adams, of L/D Investment Company, LLC, 755 West Big Beaver, Suite 2301, Troy, Michigan 48084, dated November 25, 2008*, the developer of the shopping center, in which the CVS is currently a tenant, is stating that he is willing to work out a solution.

Ms. Cerget commented that they are unable to give CVS the drive-thru that they need.

Mr. Craig Kovarik, of Velmeir Companies, stated, we did entertain some conversation with the owner of that strip center.  He proposed for us to go out on the corner, but if you're familiar with that, there is a detention pond for that site that is just maybe 130 feet south of Waldon Road in front and it doesn't allow us the space to be able to put our building in place there.  There is no circulation around the existing building to allow us to put a drive-thru on the building that's there presently.  The ambition of our client, CVS, is to provide greater services to improve the quality of life for its residents here and one of those is to provide the service of a drive-thru.  So, although we've had conversations with him and we have looked diligently at that, it was not a feasible project.

Commissioner Steimel stated, I would tend to disagree, not totally, there is a difference of opinion here and I would say I can't necessarily consider it a finding of fact that it is impossible to fit a drive-thru in the existing one.  He then inquired whether the petitioner has investigated whether it would be feasible to relocate in the PUD on the southeast corner of the site and if not, why it wouldn't fit there.

Mr. John Baumann, of Velmeir Companies, commented that CVS specifically wants to be on the corner and that is why they have chosen the northeast corner.  They are aware of all the other retail opportunities in the immediate vicinity, but this particular location would fit their business plan and their strategy far greater than anywhere else in that quadrant of all four corners. 

Commissioner Steimel inquired why they want to build a CVS right across the street from another drug store.

Mr. Baumann commented that it is the new way of thinking in retail when businesses are clumped together, they create a better competitive environment and it actually helps all of us in the end as consumers. 

Commissioner Steimel commented that he would still like to see them work something out with the PUD on the corner.

Vice-Chairwoman Dyl stated, two observations, when the PUD to the south came in, that PUD was probably a year to two years in the making and one of the things that was a heavy conversation point was that the corner use would become some sort of office use to create the buffer for the neighborhoods.  If this rezoning goes through, then you're destroying the buffer that we worked very hard to do to create the transition.  The other concern I have is that the current location for CVS and that entire PUD is on Baldwin and Waldon, which are both thoroughfares.  The houses on Waldon back up, it's the back yards.  If this were to go through as commercial and this was a concern to the PUD to the south as well, Flintridge and Maybee, the houses front onto the road and those folks on Flintridge just paid a lot of money to have their road resurfaced.  They didn't do it to create a cut-through for commercial and that's the concern I have.  If we were to move the commercial to the south, that Flintridge already gets a tremendous amount of cut-through traffic with people shortcutting over to Baldwin.  If you were to move this south, then they're going to get more.  All those people that are using Waldon to get to the CVS now are going to have to go across Flintridge to get there, all of us that live to the east, so that's my concern.  As far as the walkability, we already have the walkability to the existing location.  I think there is a real possibility of putting a drive-thru there.  It would require amending the PUD by this Planning Commission.  Although there are no promises, that doesn't mean that the Planning Commission wouldn't be willing to work with the owner of the property to try to achieve what you're trying to achieve.   

Commissioner Filarecki stated, the issue in front of us tonight is a rezoning of the parcel itself.  It's not a rezoning with a site plan.  The promises that were made for improvements I heard and I appreciate.  I use that intersection daily and it's not nice.  The thing that I did not hear you mention is signal improvements and that is sorely needed at that intersection.  The Road Commission of Oakland County (RCOC) has no intent to do anything at that intersection.  The road widening process for Baldwin Road was originally to widen that to a five-lane cross-section and now that plan has been deteriorated substantially to only intersection improvements at Waldon and Baldwin with no intent of looking at Maybee and Baldwin, so we're looking at a rezoning of three parcels of land on the northeast corner that are not tied to a site plan.  There is no way that you can hold the applicant accountable to the promises made tonight for road improvements.  The only way that would take place is if it was done as a PUD and all of that was included in the PUD discussion and approval.  Whatever decision we make tonight, that's a decision to rezone those three parcels, then that stands as commercial and in these economic times, if CVS for some unknown reason decides to pull out at the last minute, we would now have three parcels of land zoned as restricted business adjacent to other residential parcels and we've just done some spot zoning.  As far as I'm concerned, we're reviewing that in the Master Plan right now, I would much prefer to revisit this once we've analyzed that as part of our Master Plan analysis and figured out what we're going to do with that strip.  To make a decision right now before we've analyzed what we want to do with that section kind of puts the cart before the horse.  If we opt tonight to rezone that to restricted business, you've now got it on three of the four corners, which would make it very unviable for us to deny that fourth corner.  None of the proposed improvements are guaranteed with a rezoning.  The only way that can be guaranteed is with a PUD. 

Ms. Cerget noted that they have looked at the possibility of a PUD for this site, but the ordinance is very restrictive when it comes to PUD's for what they need to do. 

Chairman Zande, Secretary Christie, and Commissioner Filarecki inquired if the petitioner would be willing to postpone the rezoning until after consideration of this site in the Master Plan Update process.

Commissioner Steimel noted that would take quite a while and that they need to look at this request that is in front of them now with the Master Plan as it is currently.

Planner Wortman commented that he believes that the Planning Commission could postpone this or the applicant could request a postponement.  It's possible to come up with a rough draft within a few months. 

Mr. Baumann commented that this is an opportunity for the community to bring water to the north side of the road to improve the intersection and to get a lot of infrastructure done at the expense of CVS and an increased tax base.  They do not have the time to delay this request for months and months while the Master Plan is reworked.  Every day in this state, projects are being cancelled and CVS is no exception.  Now is the time. 

Chairman Zande commented that they will now review the criteria used in evaluating the rezoning request as stated in Section 30.06,C,4, for the findings of fact.

Members noted that #1, The objectives of the Master Plan, have not been met.

Chairman Zande noted that the second and third items are: Existing uses of property within the general area of the property in question and the zoning classification of property within the general area of the property in question.  The surrounding parcels are: to the north is R-2; to the east is R-2; to the south is RB-2, OP-1, RM-2, R-1; to the southwest is PUD, SE, R-2; and, to the west is RM-1, SE, PUD.  The fourth item is: the suitability of the property in question to the uses permitted under the existing zoning classification.

Planner Wortman noted that assisted living would be permitted in this use in addition to single-family.

Members agreed.

Commissioner Steimel noted that the site was not intended for restricted business and he would rather see CVS develop as part of one of the PUD's in that area that is already zoned for that use.  He also noted the importance of looking out for the neighboring residents of the proposed site as well.

Mr. Baumann commented that he believes that a new CVS store would encourage more commercial development in the area to the south in the PUD's.

Commissioner Filarecki commented that she, too, would rather see CVS develop within one of the PUD's in the area and that the decision tonight needs to be made based upon the current Master Plan. 

Vice-Chairwoman Dyl commented that CVS is a valuable part of our community, but members need to focus on the fact that the rezoning should be acted upon with consideration of all uses that would be allowed there in that zoning and not just the pharmacy. 

Ms. Cerget commented that she doesn't believe that the proposed site is currently suitable for R-2 due to the traffic issues, well water, and failed septic systems.

Vice-Chairwoman Dyl commented that she is not totally convinced that the PUD is not possible to use in R-2 here, because despite the fact that it does not allow you to change a zoning classification from residential to commercial, there is a tremendous amount of flexibility for the residential and a good example of that would be Round Tree where everybody said that that corner could not be done as anything but commercial and there are some very nice houses there.  It's not as small as the corner that you're dealing with, but if you look at that plan, it's a PUD and you will see that that corner is a different density than the rest of the property.  So, there is some flexibility to allow a residential PUD in this area.  I'm not ready to concede that R-2 is not right for this property, especially since you've got R-2 homes right there next to the site with residents living in it and it is not a rental house.  Also, your argument saying that the properties are deteriorating does not fly as a reason for rezoning.

Moved by Vice-Chairwoman Dyl, supported by Commissioner Steimel regarding case PC-2008-08, CVS Pharmacy Rezoning, from Single-Family Residential-2 (R-2) to Restricted Business-2 (RB-2), with the site including 3461 Baldwin Road (Sidwell #09-29-126-043), 3491 Baldwin Road (Sidwell #09-29-126-044), and 3180 Maybee Road (Sidwell #09-29-126-045), located on the northeast corner of Baldwin and Maybee Roads, to recommend denial of the rezoning to the Charter Township of Orion Board of Trustees based on the following findings of fact: 1)The rezoning is inconsistent with the existing Master Plan and the existing Gingellville Overlay District in the Master Plan; 2)The existing use of the property is residential and is adjacent to R-2 residential indicating that R-2 is currently viable in this area; 3)The trend to the area has been to residential; 4)The office use to this on the southeast corner was intended to create a transition to the residential to the north and east and rezoning the property would be contrary to the transition that was previously created; 5)The road to the east is a collector street and further to the east is a residential street that would not be conducive for the increase in traffic to a commercial development; 6)There is existing vacant property to the south with the correct zoning; and, 7)The property owner has not shown that the property cannot be developed as zoned.  Roll call vote was as follows: Steimel, yes; Dyl, yes; Filarecki, yes; Christie, no; Zande, yes.  Motion carried 4-1 (There are currently two vacant positions on the Planning Commission).

9. PUBLIC COMMENTS: None.

10. COMMUNICATIONS: None.

11. COMMITTEE REPORTS: None.

12. PUBLIC HEARING: None scheduled at this time.

13. CHAIRMAN’S COMMENTS: Chairman Zande noted that he is glad to be back and thanked members for their well wishes.

14. COMMISSIONERS’ COMMENTS:

Secretary Christie congratulated the Lake Orion Dragon Football team on their exceptional season this year.

Commissioner Steimel congratulated Vice-Chairwoman Dyl and Secretary Christie on their re-appointments to the Planning Commission for another three-year term.

15. ADJOURNMENT: Moved by Vice-Chairwoman Dyl, supported by Commissioner Filarecki to adjourn at 8:50 p.m.  Motion carried 5-0 (There are currently two vacant positions on the Planning Commission).

* On file in the Building Dept.