Planning Commission Minutes – September 05, 2012

Minutes of Helena Township Planning Commission

September 05, 2012


Meeting called to order by Swan at 7:05 p.m.

Opened with Pledge of Allegiance.

Roll Call:                     Present:           Jim Swan               Jim Gurr

Bob Johnson           Roger Dewey

Chris Dewald          Mike Robinson

Absent:             Bonnie Robbins

Township officials present:                    Guy Molby


Approval of Agenda: As submitted.   Motion Johnson, 2nd Dewald.   Approved (6,0)

Statement of Conflict of Interest:       Swan will not participate in Public Hearing discussion.

Approval of Minutes: June 6, 2012 As submitted.   Motion: Johnson, 2nd Gurr. Carried (4,0)   Dewey & Dewald abstain.

                                    August 1, 2012 include language pertaining change to change minimum structure width requirement from 20′ to 16′. Motion with change Dewald, 2nd Gurr.   (6,0)


Public Comment:        2 present. Swan asked Molby about outside storage at south end of township. Molby will talk with business owners concerning this.


Communication:          Gurr flyer from Michigan Association of Planning Conference at Grand Traverse Resort in October. Informative and suggest members consider attending. Discussion of cost and budget. Talk with Supervisor if interested in attending.


Special Use Permit:     Meeting closed at 7:13pm. Swan recluses himself. Johnson will chair this discussion.


                                    Molby reviewed permit.   23 listing mailed. 11 returned.   2 preferred, 2 indifferent, 7 not in favor.

One comment on those not in favor. Comment was concern of buzzer noise, bright lights, trash, loud radios of those using the vacuum, landscaping on berm.

Vacuums being installed are new technology. Very quiet vacuums, information included in permit.

Ferris addressed noise concern. Ambient noise at 40 feet is equal to or less than common noise of road noise, traffic, wind blowing, etc. Nearest home is probably several hundred feet away and should not be a problem.   Trash and other concerns were addressed at the time the car wash was approved.

Discussion of commission concerning requiring all activity to be conducted within an enclosed structure and why vacuums were not part of initial approval.

Section 4.06.04 allows activity outside of building with special use permit.


Public comment:          Jim Swan spoke on behalf of other residents not present. Those responding no were on Fowler Lane and they are knowledgeable to what is going on.   Initial permit did not address buzzer that sounds every time a car goes through wash. Residents feel this is having an impact on wildlife, fewer birds. There is a concern of malfunctions on the site and feel an update from the applicant is appropriate since the business has been in operation for one year.   There is also a concern on water quality.

Ferris questioned how these comments pertain to the vacuum permit. Water quality is affected more by green lawns on the lake than the car wash operation. Permit application is for vacuums and decision should be based on facts of this application.

Public comment period closed.

Discussion of Planning Commission members:

Dewald identified several businesses with activity conducted outside of an enclosed structure. Pollution concerns are at many businesses, one being right next door.   Wildlife is affected by work being done at the neighboring business also. Complaints should be consistent and address all businesses, not just one.

Dewey commented that this is an accessory use and should not require special use permit.   Business have tables outside, ice machines, gas pumps. This activity is a normal part of the car wash industry and should not require special use permit.

Discussion by members that the clause requiring all activity to be conducted within an enclosed structure was missed during our zoning ordinance review and needs to be addressed.

Motion to recommend approval to Township Board made by Robinson, 2nd by

Roll call vote: Yes votes, Dewey, Dewald, Gurr, Robinson, Johnson. No votes, none.

Robinson asked if there were trash cans available. Ferris reported they have a container and will add more by the vacuums.   They pick up trash daily along the highway and there is more trash from cars passing by than from the car wash.

Special hearing closed at 7:30 pm


New Business:            ZA report __ land use, __ field checks, __ attorney contact, __ other public contacts, __violations


Old Business:              Communication from Redman on Medical Marijuana ruling.   Township will not draft language at this time.

County Planning Commission reviewed proposed language change and did not find any areas of concern. We will receive documentation from them on their findings.


Public Comment:        Swan asked about travel trailer at Orin’s Well Drilling and if it was being used as residence. Allowed temporarily due to house fire. Discussion with Molby on access encroachment question brought to the commission at an earlier meeting. Molby stated Peterson said to hold off on this. Gurr shared that board had made the determination that owner on other side was not encroaching and was not ready to expend the funds to determine if this owner is encroaching at this time.

Adjourn:                      Motion: Johnson, 2nd Dewald. Carried (6,0)


Respectfully Submitted,

Bonnie Robbins

Helena Township Planning Commission Recording Secretary