Planning Commission Minutes – April 6, 2011

Minutes of Helena Township Planning Commission

April 6, 2011


Meeting called to order by Johnson at 7:04 p.m.

Opened with Pledge of Allegiance.

Roll Call: Present: Bob Johnson Jim Gurr

Rodger Dewey Bonnie Robbins

Chris Dewald Jim Swan (7:29)

Absent: Mike Robinson

Township officials present: Guy Molby Bob Logee

Penny Wagner Cathy Rice

Rick Teague David Peterson

Tim Fox (ZBA)

Legal Council: Chris Bzdok Kate Redman

Approval of Agenda: Motion: Robbins, 2nd Gurr. Carried (5,0)

Statement of Conflict of Interest: None

Public Comment: 3 present (in addition to township officials)

P. Sak question how meetings were posted and if this was a special meeting.

Posting is at office, Higgins, and Post Office along with newspaper posting for Special Use or Public Hearing. Meetings are now posting on community calendar on website. This is the regular monthly meeting of the planning commission.

New Business: Review of suggested Zoning Ordinance changes from the township legal council.

Discussion with Bzdok and Redman about progress so far. Minutes will be forwarded to Redman with planning commission’s review of topics covered at the March 2, 2011 meeting.

Accessory building in setback area. Discussion of whether use should be allowed for temporary structure. Current ordinance denies use for this area for any purpose. Township is continually drawn into conflicts over wood piles, play structures, boat trailers, docks, etc in the setback area.

Continued discussion to abandon this ordinance language or re-direct it to prohibit permanent structures in the setback areas.

Fences are not included in setback regulation. Law allows 4′ fence to be on the property line.

Bzdok and Redman will re-work this to reflect our discussion tonight and submit for our review.

Make a list of what we do want to regulate in the setback area.

Discussion of problem of household waste and when the township should be involved. Should be in the junk ordinance.

Peterson-provide Molby with procedure to follow when dealing with violations to ordinance.

Bzdok-Nuisance ordinance gives due process of law and give township right to go on private property to enforce. Suggest giving Molby a procedure to handle situations not in the Nuisance ordinance but not including this in the zoning ordinance.

Manufactured housing-completely remove this section and incorporate it into other residential sections of the ordinance.

Private Drive– Discussion of whether to create regulation on private drive. Concern of emergency vehicles having access.

Dewey-does not want to regulate the property owner’s drive if it is not intended to be used by other property owners. If the easement or drive serves additional properties it should be treated differently than a drive serving just the property owner’s needs.

Discussion that former language was not approved by township board.

Road Commission has permitting process for driveways coming off a public road.

Johnson-Do we want to abandon this easement / private road language.

Discussion of why to regulate private roads.

Bzdok-They will tailor this to cover private roadway/easement that serve more than one parcel.

Sexually Oriented Business discussed at last meeting and language will be submitted for review.

Group Child Care Home is regulated by law. Discussion of language that covers this requirement. Largely regulated by the state.

Right to Farm – Allowed by law.

Home Occupations-Language removes size restrictions. More use allowed by right. Impact on neighbors would trigger need to bring request to the planning commission. Businesses that has have employees other than homeowner. Increase in traffic or modification of buildings. Consensus that language meets what we were want to see in the ordinance.

Outdoor Lighting-Bzdok-has limits and is more specific in some cases. Language is based on best practices. Review and get back with them on any concerns or changes.

Signs-Discussion on what changes are suggested and if we should regulate temporary signs such as yard sale. Real Estate signs are a complaint that comes to the zoning administrator. Discussion of placement of signs and whether township can regulate placement of real estate signs.

Bzdok-like lighting there are a lot of regulations so questions can be answered easily.

Parking regulation discussed. Regulations were based on standard formulas.

Special Use permit. One change was to require liability insurance on projects that pose risk.

Non-conforming lots-discussion to allow building of two homes if lots on non-conforming lots if owned by same owner and said lots were platted prior to adoption of the zoning ordinance.

Bzdok-will work on language to allow this.

Additonal-Bzdok-suggest including roads in definition of structure which would require land use permit. Does not apply to farm or logging roads.

Wetlands-Bzdok-can have ordinance that is not same as state. Redman-there is a process you have to go through. for Discussion to recommend wetland section be removed from the ordinance.

Bzdok-requiring pre-conference for permit process is good practice but should not be in ordinance.

Discussion of re-zoning conditions.

Combined meeting closed at 9:08 p.m. Planning commission will hold an additional meeting on april 20, 2011 to review topics discussed tonight.

Approval of Minutes: Tabled

New Business:

ZA Written Report

March 2011– 3 Land Use Permits, _6 Field Checks, 1 Attorney Contact, 14 Other Contacts. _0_ Zoning Violations

Old Business:

Wind tower ordinance did not go through public hearing. Hearing scheduled for May meeting.

Public Comment: None

Adjourn: 9:20 pm Motion Robbins, 2nd Dewald. Carried (6,0)

Respectfully Submitted,

Bonnie Robbins

Helena Township Planning Commission Recording Secretary