Planning Commission Minutes – February 3, 2016

Helena Township Planning Commission

February 3, 2016

Gurr called meeting to order at 7:00 pm

Opened with Pledge of Allegiance.

Roll Call:                               Present:                 Jim Gurr                        Bonnie Robbins

Ken Renaud                 Chris Dewald

Absent:                  Mike Robinson             Rodger Dewey

Bob Johnson

Township officials present:                               Molby

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

Statement of Conflict of Interest:  None     

Approval of Minutes:         Motion:   Dewald, 2nd Renaud.           Carried

Public Comment:               1 present               None

Communications:             Place making Guidebook information is available.

Old Business:

Master Plan Review:           Meeting closed at 7:10 pm for continuation of Public Hearing on Master Plan review.

Resident submitted letter addressing public safety concerns when large events are held on township owned property. Discussion of language currently in master plan.  Letter will be attached to record of public hearing.

Public Hearing closed at 7:40 pm.

Continued discussion of language addressing goals for Roads and Pedestrian Safety on page 4 of the master plan. Motion by Robbins to remove the word commercial from the language in two places.  Support by Renaud.  Motion carried.  Section will now read as follows:

The township has established a permanent roads and pedestrian safety committee to address citizens’ concerns regarding increased use of the primary county roads and residential secondary roads by traffic. Increased traffic threatens pedestrian safety in Alden and has the potential to alter the township’s quiet, residential character.  The township will explore alternatives to address these issues.

Additional changes are minor grammar and spelling changes that do not alter the language or intent of the plan.  Robbins will make those corrections and follow through on having the correct copy posted on the website.

The Helena Township Planning Commission has conducted a review of the township master plan, meeting the requirement of review every five years.  With notification made to the county, bordering townships, and the residents of Helena Township we are satisfied the Helena Township Master Plan is ready for submitting to the Board of Trustees for approval.  Motion by Robbins, supported by Renaud.  Motion carried.

Additionally: Public member was encouraged to speak with the Roads Committee about their pedestrian safety concern.

New Business:

ZA report

Jan 2016:  Land Use 2, Field Checks 8, Attorney Contacts 0, Public Contacts 11, Zoning Violations 0

Molby asked commission to add Section to our zoning ordinance review. (Temporary Structures)


Ordinance Review:  Robbins distributed an update of the zoning ordinance items the commission members have determined need review.  Discussion of need for all members to be a part of these review sessions.  Members will review the list and a schedule will be determined at the next meeting.  Robbins identified one topic that could be handled with a single sentence.  Section 4.06.03 will include bullet K as follows:

  1. Other similar businesses provided such uses shall be found to be similar by the Planning Commission.Discussion to keep record of the proposed changes and hold one public hearing to address all changes in the session just prior to submission to the township board for approval. Planning Commission members anticipate the work to be completed during the summer season and all residents will be encouraged to participate in the public hearing. Robbins will record meeting dates and discussions to include a full record with the minutes of the public hearing.
  2. Public Comment: Discussion of member’s attendance and bylaws. Commission members agree to change the meeting date to the first Thursday of each month in hopes to allow members with conflicting schedules to attend and to attract other community members interested in helping with the planning commission but unable to attend Wednesday meetings. Robbins will ask the board to approve this change.
  3. Motion: Robbins, support by Renaud. Motion carried.

Adjourn:                8:10 p.m. Motion Dewald, 2nd Renaud. Carried


Respectfully Submitted,

Bonnie Robbins, Helena Township Planning Commission Recording Secretary