Planning Commission Minutes – May 25, 2010 (Special Meeting)

Minutes of Helena Township Planning Commission

May 25, 2010



Meeting called to order by Swan at 7:05

Opened with Pledge of Allegiance.

Roll Call:                      Present:            Jim Swan                Jim Gurr

Bob Johnson           Bonnie Robbins

Rodger Dewey         Chris Dewald

Absent:             Joe Bassil               Sue Moglovkin

Township officials present:                      Guy Molby

Statement of Conflict of Interest: 

Swan:                          I will not be voting or participating due to conflict of interest as an adjoining            property owner.

Gurr requested clarification from Chris Bzdok (Township Attorney) concerning his vote as Township Board representative.  Bzdok stated conflict would occur should this go to the Zoning Board of Appeals which Gurr is also a member of.  Gurr can vote on both.

Approval of Agenda:  Motion to approve agenda Robbins, 2nd Gurr, all (6,0)

Public comment:  None

Correspondence:  Given to Molby, will be added to record.  Molby, 10 responses, 7 not in favor.

Swan relinquished chair to Secretary Robbins in absence of Vice Chair.  (7:07 p.m.)

Molby stated there has been some update on information and new information was distributed to members.

Bzdok met with Molby and also reviewed the material submitted from the last meeting.  Commission will make a determine if this is similar use allowed in this district or not.  If it is not allowed this will go no further unless it is appealed.  The planning commission makes that decision first.  If it finds it is a similar use and permitted we will review the standards and conditions of the site plan review and then make a recommendation to the board based on those findings.  May wish to discuss conditions based on concerns already raised or any new information uncovered in the finding of fact.  Craft conditions based on standards but do not get tied up with specific requirements such as type of light used.  These conditions can be taken care of by a subcommittee prior to final board approval.


Roll call poll of members to determine if members feel this is a similar use.

Dewey, similar if all is inside; Robbins, similar; Gurr, similar; Johnson, similar but would like to discuss vacuum later; Dewald, not sure but ordinance does state fruitstand must be enclosed.


Motion by Gurr that similarity standard has been met.  2nd Johnson,  Roll call vote: Dewey (yes), Dewald (yes), Robbins (yes), Gurr (yes), Johnson (yes)


Plan was revised to confine all aspects to the commercial zone.  Basin will not be on north parcel which is zoned RI.


Standards for Granting Site Plan Approval: Section 2.24.J

  1. Okay
  2. Okay
  3. Okay
  4. Johnson, would like a condition for fencing and landscaping on all sides abutting residential.  Similar to what is demonstrated on C2 of the drawing package submitted.  Dewald, need fence at the north property line.  Dewey, south side is commercial and does not need fence.  Johnson, fencing three sides might allow vacuums to be outside.

Discussion of 12.04 about setback and fencing.  North will require 10′ setback with landscaping where it abuts residential.  25′ rear setback with landscaping.  Dewald:  Where have we been consistent with other businesses.

Finding of fact:  Applicant will provide a continuous barrier of shrub.

  1. Okay
  2. Okay
  3. Not applicable to this request.
  4. Okay
  5. Okay
  6. Okay
  7. Okay
  8. Conditions:

Discussion that all activity will be conducted in enclosure.

Discussion of types of tanks used for storage of sludge.  Concrete tanks will be similar to concrete septic    tanks.  They will be placed as a standard household septic tank.  Tank manufacture warrantees the tank       against leakage.  Tanks will not be set into water or clay.  Discussion of

Question of onsite storage of chemicals:  Applicant stated they will be in enclosed, sealed containers.

Dewey:  Road commission needs final plans, same from the Health Department.  Not all green lights on       these permits.

Information from Tom Gipnee concerning chemical used in car wash industry and storage tanks.  Water in the tanks has been treated already by the process.  Certified by EPA that the chemicals are non hazardous.


Dewey:  can we have this documentation?  Who certifies the tanks?  Can we have the standards on the tanks? Concrete tanks can leak and if they are buried in this water table that waste could get into the lake.  I’d like to see some type of secondary protection that to prevent that happening.


Discussion of what commission would feel appropriate for this site.  Options could include requirement for dual lined tanks such as those used for fuel or pit liner as used in the oil industry.  Discussion of cost difference.  Commission’s duty is to assure protection of the lake and surrounding wells and can impose reasonable conditions to meet this need.


Discussion from public about use of chemicals and how we can know the owner will use the chemical they state in their application.  (Houseman, using different chemicals would cause the system to fail and cost more to re-start)  Request Material Safety Data Sheets be available.  Also request standards on tanks and chemicals be submitted to the board.


Discussion of how hours can be limited and if it is reasonable to place limits on hours of operation.  Owner (Pixley) agrees to limit hours of operation to minimize noise and activity impact on neighbors.


Discussion of land clearing prior to obtaining permit.  Bzdok stated enforcement is at the discretion of Zoning Administrator.


Discussion that allowing business to be conducted outside the enclosed building will open door for business to be conducted outside in commercial district in the future.


Discussion of zoning violations currently at site.  Bzdok stated that is separate from this finding of fact.


Discussion to apply the following conditions:

1)                   Landscaping and screening on west and north side of commercial property

2)                   Vacuums must be inside

3)                   Applicant will provide standards for tanks, EPA and MSDA sheets on chemicals used

4)                   All permits will be secured from agencies not yet signed off.

5)                   Hours – 6 a.m. – 11 p.m.

6)                   A performance guarantee will be in place


  1. Permits sited above must be finalized or project will not proceed.



Motion by Gurr in support of application for car wash with above conditions.  Support Dewey. Roll call vote:

Gurr (yes), Dewald, (yes), Johnson (abstain), Dewey (abstain), Robbins (abstain).  Discussion with Bzdok on where to proceed.  Bzdok stated the motion has failed and we need to either make a new motion or the application is denied.


Discussion of monitoring of tanks.  Consensus to add Condition #7: Storage tanks will have exterior secondary containment to insure contents do not escape.


Planning Commission has discussed each standard of site plan approval and finds that they are met with the seven conditions that are recommended.


Motion by Gurr in support with addition of condition of secondary containment for storage tanks.  Support Dewey.  Roll call vote:  Gurr (yes), Robbins (yes), Chris (yes), Dewey (no), Johnson (no)

Motion passed.  (3,2)

Conditions are as follows:

1)       Landscaping and screening on west and north side of commercial property

2)       Vacuums must be inside

3)       Applicant will provide standards for tanks, EPA and MSDA sheets on chemicals used

4)       All permits will be secured from agencies not yet signed off.

5)       Hours – 6 a.m. – 11 p.m.

6)       A performance guarantee will be in place

7)       Storage tanks will have exterior secondary containment to insure contents do not escape.


Public comment:  Poma, what happened?  Gurr:  the application will be sent to the board for approval or denial.


Hours of operation:  it is hard to limit the hours of operation if it is zoned commercial.


Other business:


The language of the Wind Towers needs some work.  He will review it and make detailed recommendations for planning commission to review at the next meeting.  The language currently lumps all towers together.  Should be different standards and review for three different levels of wind tower.


Motion to adjourn Robbins, 2nd Swan, all in favor.


Respectfully Submitted,




Bonnie Robbins

Helena Township Planning Commission Recording Secretary