Planning Commission Minutes March 8, 2022

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Minutes of Helena Township Planning Commission

March 8, 2022

Meeting called to order by Gurr at 7:05 P.M.

Opened with Pledge of Allegiance.

Roll Call:

            Present:            Jim Gurr                                    Laura Westerman

Joe Bassil                                 Mike Robinson

Bonnie Robbins           

                Absent:             Gordy Schafer              Sue Moglovkin             

Township officials present:  Bob Logee, Butch Peeples

Approval of Agenda:    Motion by Robbins, supported by Bassil. Add Shipping Containers under Points of Discussion, ByLaws under new business.  Approved 

Statement of Conflict of Interest:          None 

Approval of Minutes:   Minutes February 8, 2022. Motion by Bassil, supported by Robbins.  Approved without change.

Public Comment:         0 in attendance.  Gurr discussed need for bringing concerns to the table for discussion.

Communications:         Gurr shared info on learning opportunity being offered in Leelanau.  April 27th starting at 6:30.  Let the office know if you want to go and car pool can be set up.

New Business:             February  2022: LU 5, FC 3, AC 0, PC 8, ZV 0

                                    Planning Commission By Law revisions:

2.  The Planning Commission shall meet the second Tuesday of every month at 6:00 PM in the Helena Township Community Center, governmental room.

6.  At the April meeting, the commission shall elect from its membership a chairman, vice chairman, and secretary.

All other bullets remain as stated.  Motion:  Bassil, Support:  Robinson.  Approved (5,0)

Old Business:              Review of letter from legal counsel.  Two key sentences state we are applying ordinance language that is sound.  The permitted uses by right and by special use application are clear event venues do not meet the criteria to be allowed in Agricultural District. Consensus to not change any language in the ordinance pertaining to commercial use in this district.

                                    Bassil shared notes for April topic of mobile food vendor language. 

                                    Decisions on use of storage containers made with use of ordinance sample.  The draft of the edited document is attached to these minutes.

Public Comment:         None

Adjourn: 8:42  P.M.          

Respectfully Submitted,

Bonnie Robbins

Helena Township Planning Commission Recording Secretary


From Storage Container language:

An “accessory storage building is:

  1. A building originally constructed for use as an accessory building for the storage of materials and equipment accessory to a primary use located on the property.

5.01.02– Storage Containers

The purpose of this section is to regulate use of storage containers on R1, R2, Village and Commercial zoned properties.

For purposes of this ordinance section only, cargo containers, railroad cars, truck vans, converted mobile homes, trailers, recreational vehicles, bus bodies, vehicles and similar prefabricated items and structures originally built for purposes other than the storage of goods and materials are not accessory storage buildings.


  1. “Cargo containers” include standardized reusable vessels that were:
  2. Originally designed for or used in the packing, shipping, movement or transportation of freight, articles, goods or commodities; and/or
  • Originally designed for or capable of being mounted or moved by rail, truck or ship by means of being mounted on a chassis or similar transport device.  This definition includes the terms ‘transport container” and “portable site storage containers” having a similar appearance to and similar characteristics of cargo containers.
  • Storage on R1, R2, Village and Commercial zoned properties.
  • Only accessory buildings and accessory structures as defined in Section 1.03 shall be permitted as accessory storage containers on property within R1, R2, Village and Commercial zone of the township.  Cargo containers, railroad cars, truck vans, converted mobile homes, travel trailers, recreational vehicles, bus bodies, vehicles, and similar prefabricated items and structures originally built for purposes other than the storage of goods and materials are not permitted to be used as accessory storage buildings on property zoned R1, R2, Village and Commercial.
  • Notwithstanding, the provisions set forth in subsection A of this section, the temporary placement of transport containers and/or portable site storage containers shall be permitted for a period of time not exceeding ninety (90) days following issuance of a Land Use Permit obtained from the zoning administrator.  Zoning administrator has the authority to extend this permit for an additional 90 days.
  • Notwithstanding the provisions set forth in subsection A of this section, licensed and bonded contractors may use cargo containers for the temporary location of an office, equipment, and/or materials storage structure during construction which is taking place on the property where the cargo container is located.

Current violations – Time to comply.

All owners of property within the township shall have 120 days from the effective date of the ordinance codified in this section to bring the properties, which currently contain accessory storage buildings that are in violation of the terms of this section, into full compliance with the provisions of this section.


In the event any conflict exists between the provisions of this section and other currently existing provisions for Helena Township the existing provisions zoning provisions shall apply.

Enforcement and Violation language to be reviewed at the April meeting.