Planning Commission Minutes – October 2 2013

Minutes of Helena Township Planning Commission

October 2 2013



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

Opened with Pledge of Allegiance.

Roll Call:                      Present:            Jim Swan                Jim Gurr

Chris Dewald           Bonnie Robbins

Bob Johnson

Absent:             Mike Robinson

Township officials present:                    Guy Molby


Approval of Agenda: Add ZBA Language to Old Business. Motion: Robbins, 2nd Gurr. Carried

Statement of Conflict of Interest:          None

Approval of Minutes: two corrections. Motion: Gurr, 2nd Dewald. Carried

Public Comment:         None

Communications:        Robbins distributed information concerning new health care act and registration.

                                    Gurr reported he has taken on the task of trying to organize an area for presentation of Antrim County based businesses, townships, or other governing bodies to display or present what the area has to offer. Many attendees for the lower part of the state and a great opportunity to attack potential businesses or visitors to Antrim County. He will continue to keep us posted. Encourages members to go to the conference.

New Business:

ZA report Aug 2013 2 land use, 18 field checks, 0 attorney contact, 30 other public contacts,

  • violations

Sept 2013 2 land use, 12 field checks, 0 attorney contact, 19 other public contacts,

2 land use, 18 field checks, 0 attorney contact, 30 other public contacts,

  • violations
  • violations

Molby presented a diagram with five examples where a pole barn or accessory structure is placed on a parcel that is divided by a road from the parcel with the primary residence. These parcels are in the R1 or R2 districts. Discussion of how this should be addressed. Johnson stated the parcels would meet the requirement of the state of Michigan for homestead tax relief. Discussion of considering using the standard that if the parcels are under the same owner and contiguous the accessory structure be allowed on the other parcel.

Discussion of the hindrance and hassle created by requiring the parcels be joined under one tax number. Dewald questioned what happens in the future when the parcels could be sold separately, creating a non-conforming accessory building.

Review of zoning language that might prevent using the contiguous parcel standard as a defining measure for enforcement.

Various potential cases discussed. Consensus to review the ordinance sections further, request assistance from the township board and our legal counsel. Discussion will continue at November meeting.

Old Business:              Discussion of the language needed to correct the Zoning Board of Appeals section of the ordinance. Robbins will request permission to send this question to the legal counsel along with the accessory structure question. Commission members feel this could be addressed through the Zoning Board of Appeals By Laws by adding a statement that the ZBA will hold an annual meeting in April to elect officers. The zoning ordinance would not need changed for this correction.

Public Comment:         Swan questioned how residence on Fowler Lane made it through the setbacks and other                                      requirements. Molby stated they were in constant contact to check and verify they were in compliance.

Adjourn: Motion Johnson, 2nd Dewald. Carried


Respectfully Submitted,

Bonnie Robbins

Helena Township Planning Commission Recording Secretary