Planning Commission Minutes April 23, 2020

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Minutes of Helena Township Planning Commission

Special Meeting             April 23, 2020

Meeting called to order by Gurr at 3:04 P.M.             Opened with Pledge of Allegiance.

Roll Call: Meeting held with Zoom or conference call in

Present:            Jim Gurr                        Laura Westerman (3:08)

Mike Robinson                         Joe Bassil

Bonnie Robbins                        Gordy Schafer

Absent:             None

Township officials present: Bob Logee

First order of business: Election of Chair, (Jim Gurr); Vice Chair (Mike Robinson); Secretary (Bonnie Robbins)

Motion: Robbins, 2nd Schafer, Carried

Approval of Agenda:   Motion: Robbins, 2nd Bassil. Carried

Statement of Conflict of Interest:          None

Approval of Minutes: March 5, 2020. Motion: Westerman, 2nd Robbins. Carried.

Public Comment:         Schafer asked if the meeting had been posted. Abbie Hawley from legal counsel provided township with materials to post on website and where public could have access to login information. Robbins stated the materials had been made available to the public.

Communications:         None

New Business:             Zoning report tabled.

                                    Land use permit:

Walker Shores Development (WSD) legal counsel, Gina Bozzer discussed the purpose of the change request. These will not be pole barn structures, green scaping will be used buildings and the roadway. The change will have less impact on individual lots. Owners would be responsible for applying for building permits. Bylaws specify this is meant to be as unintrusive as possible.

Denny Irelan of WSD stated there are no wetlands impacted. Buildings will be designed with the intent to keep the development looking nice and keeps buildings out of sight. Taxes will be attributed to individual owners. Specific designs will be provided to the planning commission. Township legal counsel, Chris Bzdok, discussed the process of the amendment to the development site plan and his recommendations for this application. The recommendation is to refer this application to the zoning board of appeals for determination of whether it meets the ordinance requirement of parcels being contiguous. He also recommends an escrow account to cover any expenses beyond standard planning and zoning charges.

Bozzer stated she discussed the escrow with Mr. Walker and while he feels it is excessive they will place $5000 in escrow.

Schafer questioned if they will all be the same size? Irelan said yes. Schafer asked if escrow monies will be refunded if not used. Bzdok said yes.

Westerman stated concern that buyers know they need a permit. Irelan stated purchase would probably be contingent on obtaining permits.

Gurr reminded PC members the ZBA will make the determination of whether it meets the ordinance and it will then come back to the planning commission. He express his appreciation to the applicant for being up front with their plans. Gurr asked if the purchaser would be limited to one unit. Irelan stated they may purchase more than one. Buildings will be built in sequence starting with A, B, C, etc. Gurr also discussed cluster development in the open space chapter and this follows that concept.

Robinson noted there were lots that may not have room for storage buildings.


Robbins read the motion to refer this application to the ZBA for interpretation. Motion language is attached. Motion: Robbins, Support: Schafer.

6 Ayes – 0 Nays


Robbins read the motion to request $5000 escrow. Motion language attached.

Motion: Robbins, Support: Bassil

6 Ayes — 0 Nays

Old Business:              Tabled

Public Comment:         None

Adjourn: Motion Robbins, 2nd Schafer. Carried

Respectfully Submitted,

Bonnie Robbins



Helena Township Planning Commission Recording Secretary


Motion to Refer to ZBA for interpretation 4 23 2020

Motion to Establish Escrow 4 23 2020