I wrote this blog for the online local news: PATCH. You can also read it there under "local voices".
I am not changing this blog at all, so you will need to click on all the links to read about the project that I am discussing. Do take the time to read about the project in the various township board minutes. Too bad ALL the discussions from those meetings are not video recorded and archived. So far, even though the township put cameras in the main hall for the purpose of recording meetings, they have refused to video record any other meetings: ie: ZBA, Planning Commission, Design Review Board, etc. They do record the Board of Trustees meetings. Call the township and ask for the other boards/commission meetings to be video recorded. Thanks.
The Township Zoning Board of Appeals will meet Tuesday night @ 7 pm to hear a total of 12 agenda items. The first item was tabled from an earlier meeting. The next 9 are also residential requests for variances to their property. The last two agenda items are commercial properties. Click on the above link to read about the agenda items. One item MAY be in your neighborhood. Once the ZBA rules on the agenda item, only a circuit court suit may change the outcome or confirm the outcome. The "board packet" link did NOT work for me...so there were no DETAILS of each item to be viewed. Must attend the meeting for that. The meeting is NOT recorded so there will be NO archived video record. A SHAME....and one the township leadership can easily remedy. But will they?
Here is the last agenda item:
Seeking approval for the following variances to allow for construction of a proposed new medical / office / retail development to be located on the westerly side of Telegraph Road, south of W. Long Lake Road, with demolition and / or renovation of the existing buildings, Section 16, Devon Hills Estates, Lots 3 – 10, 28 – 30:
• Proposed encroachment into the required 10 ft. southerly side yard setback with an addition to an existing non-conforming building,
• Proposed parking within the required 25 ft. front setbacks and the required 10 ft. side setbacks,
• Proposed 11 ft. height variance for the new building and a 7.7 ft. height variance for the proposed parapet,
• Proposed landscape plantings within 4 ft. of property lines,
The Code of the Charter Township of Bloomfield, Section 42-3.1 requires a minimum thirty (30) ft. side yard building setback in the OR-1, Office-Retail zone district. The Code of the Charter Township of Bloomfield, Section 42-7.12 states that non-conforming structures shall not be enlarged or altered in a way which increases their nonconformity. The Code of the Charter Township of Bloomfield, Section 42-3.1 requires a minimum ten (10) ft. side yard parking setback in both the B-3, General Business zone district, and OR-1, Office-Retail zone district. The Code of the Charter Township of Bloomfield, Section 42-3.1 allows for a maximum building height of thirty-two (32) ft. in the B-3, General Business zone district. The Code of the Charter of Bloomfield, Section 42-2.2 allows for the parapet height to exceed the building height a maximum of three (3) ft. on a flat-roofed building. The Code of the Charter Township of Bloomfield, Section 42-5.6, states that plant materials shall not be placed closer than four (4) ft. from the fence line or property line. The Code of the Charter Township of Bloomfield, Section 42-3.1.9 requires a minimum twenty-five (25) ft. front yard parking setback within the O-1, Office zone district.
(A. Jonna, 4066 – 4136 Telegraph Rd., 4145 – 4151 Dublin Dr.)
WHY AM I HIGHLIGHTING THIS ITEM?
Simple. I want to point out how much is granted to commercial developers so they can build. The above agenda item has a lot of requests. Why have township guidelines when most are abandoned easily at the ZBA and at other boards? Can you imagine buying a piece of property to build a residential home....and then ask for those kinds of variances? Those would never be granted to you. Why does the township permit soooo many variances for commercial development? Certainly there is a project that can FIT ON THE PROPERTY without seeking excessive variances. Just asking.
THIS ITEM WAS AT DESIGN REVIEW BOARD ON MAY 2, 2012
Remember, the Design Review Board meets at 2pm on a Wednesday. The only members of that board are the Supervisor, the Clerk and the Treasurer. The Clerk was absent and there was no mention in the minutes for a third person as the alternate member hearing the agenda items. So this item was approved by 2 people. While the meeting is open to the public, it is not video taped, the microphones are not used, nor is the overhead projector often used for the audience to view the site plans.
PATCH, for some reason, keeps me from copying a "snapshot" copy of the PDF file of the minutes of May 2. Therefore, you need to go to this link to read the May 2 minutes about the "C. SITE Plan" project. These projects should not BEGIN at the Design Review Board. They ...2 people...OKed this project on Telegraph, south of Long Lake...and sent it on to the other boards...basically saying it was OK with them...so OK all the needed variances at your board seems to be the passed along message. Don't forget, the other board members are "appointed'...by the elected seven.
THIS ITEM WAS AT THE PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING ON MAY 21
You need to go to this link to read the minutes of the planning commission for this item. There was no public comment...as I guess..no public showed up? Did you know about this new project? Do you care? There are lots of issues that needed to be changed to make this project work...including a lot split. It is a three story building with a road cut on Long Lake and one on Telegraph. More traffic in the area, especially with the high school moving all students to that area and the "township campus" traffic including police and fire vehicles. Should be an interesting and congested intersection in the near future.
THIS ITEM IS AT THE ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS TUESDAY, JUNE 12
You can bet money that this project will get the necessary approvals from the ZBA. More predetermined outcomes by the township boards. The most recent time there was public oversite...was with the Tim Horton issue...I think by this same developer. But, the township granted variances, etc. for that project, so the lawyer said they HAD to grant the Tim Horton project. Seems this project is not next to residential, so therefore, no public outcry.
WILL THIS BE A GOOD DEVELOPMENT/PROJECT IN THE TOWNSHIP ?
Probably. Was there a different location that could accommodate a three story building better with the necessary parking, landscaping, set-back requirements? Probably. But, hey....this township will vary any rules they want and even write up new ones...to get the right developer, with the right project, at the right time even if it is NOT the right piece of property.