Reference Desk


Planning Commission Minutes - November 23, 2010



NOVEMBER 23, 2010

A Regular meeting of the Charter Township of Chesterfield Planning Commission was held on Tuesday, November 23, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. at the Township Hall Located at 47275 Sugarbush, Chesterfield, MI 48047.


Chairman Priest called the meeting to order at 7:02 p.m.


Present: Jim Priest Excused: Paula Frame

Joe Stabile

George Deeby

Ray Saelens

Paul Miller

Carl Leonard

Rick LaBelle

Michele Ficht

Others: Brian Wilson, Community Planning & Management, P.C.


Motion by Mr. Priest, supported by Mr. Miller to approve the agenda as presented.

All Ayes Motion Carried

4. SUBCOMMITTEE REPORT: (Committee will report items under Reviews)



A. PROPOSED MICHIGAN SCHOOLS & GOVERNMENT CREDIT UNION – SLU #2010-06: Steve Brewer, CFO of MS&GCU 40400 Garfield, Clinton Twp., MI 48038. Proposed new Michigan Schools & Government Credit Union to be located in an Out Lot in the Chesterfield Commons Shopping Center, immediately west of the current branch location of 34826 23 Mile Road. Tabled from 11-9-10.

Mr. Priest noted a letter from Michigan Schools & Government Credit Union requesting to be tabled again.

Motion by Mr. Priest, supported by Mr. Saelens to table SLU #2010-06 to the next meeting.

All Ayes Motion Carried

B. BLACK, BLACK AND BLACK PROPOSED LAW OFFICE – SITE PLAN #2010-03: Mrozak Architecture, 4082 John R., Troy, MI., 48085 – Proposed law office located at 34021 23 Mile Road. Tabled 10-12-10.

Mr. Priest commented that this has been tabled several times.

Matt Nowicki stated that they have received the review comments, and there is still work to be done on their site plan.

Mr. Priest asked what the basement would be used for.

Mr. Nowicki responded storage for boxes and files; if it is used for anything at all. Their main office is in Port Huron so all of their files are there. This is just a satellite office for meeting clients.

Mr. Saelens asked if the basement will be used to store paper, etc.

Mr. Nowicki responded yes, or if they just need to keep something out of the way from the office.

Mr. Saelens asked if the building has a sprinkling system.

Mr. Nowicki responded that he does not think anything has been installed; not that he knows of.

Mr. Deeby asked if they have looked at the review comments.

Mr. Nowicki responded yes. They have addressed the last review list from the planner, which listed nine items. They also addressed the use of the basement. They tried to cover everything that was on that list, but now they have a couple more items.

Mr. Deeby asked if the list of items they now have is doable.

Mr. Nowicki responded that he does believe it is doable. The only discrepancy they have is putting the sidewalk across their neighbor’s property, because they would have to do that to connect to Baker Road. Mr. Meagher’s comments indicated just across the width of their own property. That is what they had done on the site plan. He does not know the ramifications of doing this to the neighbor’s property. He does not know if they have to tell the neighbor they are doing this. They would like to void this item if they could and just extend the sidewalk the width of their property.

Mr. Wilson indicated that the sidewalk should be in the road right-of-way, so it is technically not the neighbor’s property, it would be the Road Commission’s property. They should be okay to put the sidewalk in; if the road is not dedicated there, then they would not be able to do it. They would need to discuss that with the township engineer.

Mr. Nowicki responded okay; they will attend an engineering meeting and discuss it there.

Mr. LaBelle asked if they have two egresses coming in and out of the building.

Mr. Nowicki responded that they have a front and rear. The rear would be handicap accessible with a ramp.

Mr. Saelens commented that he is happy to see what seems to be a safe in and out of that parking lot as opposed to what they have there now.

Mr. Nowicki responded yes, hopefully if they slide the driveway, it is a little bit away from the Baker light, because it is a tough turn coming from the west to make a left there. Currently it is very difficult to get out of there during peak traffic hours; backing out is almost impossible.

Mr. Priest commented that in speaking with the planner it appears that most of the engineering concerns can be handled with engineering at the time of finalizing the site plan. The planner only has a couple of comments. He asked Mr. Nowicki for clarification on them handling all of the items.

Mr. Nowicki responded that he has a document from Mr. Meagher dated in June, which listed nine concerns. They did everything except they are not really sure about the right-of-way and what that all entails. Maybe that is on the engineering review items. He read one of the engineering concerns with regard to existing and master planned right-of-way shall be indicated, and asked for direction from the commission as to where they can find that.

Mr. Priest commented that it appears that the planner has no major problem with this agenda item.

Motion by Mr. Priest, supported by Ms. Ficht to approve Site Plan #2010-03 subject to engineer’s and planner’s comments being finalized to their satisfaction, with a stipulation also that the basement will be used for storage only.

Mr. Deeby asked Mr. Nowicki if he understands that signage is not included in this approval.

Mr. Nowicki responded yes, the sign application is a totally separate issue.

Mr. Stabile asked if we are going to let engineering handle the sidewalk situation, because he suspects that it will never get done.

Mr. Priest agreed to make that a condition of his motion that the sidewalk will be completed as requested.

Ms. Ficht continued her support

Vote On The Motion:

All Ayes Motion Carried

C. BLACK, BLACK AND BLACK PROPOSED NEW GROUND SIGN – #2009-46 SGN: Black, Black and Black, 34021 23 Mile Road, Chesterfield, MI., 48047 – Proposed new ground sign located at above address. Tabled 2-9-10.

Mr. Priest read the planner’s review comment.

Matt Nowicki responded that the sign is plastic. It is about 6 feet wide by 4 feet tall. He indicated that it is the sign with the yellow and black writing.

Ms. Ficht commented that she is not a fan of that sign at all.

Mr. Stabile commented that sign has to go.

Mr. Nowicki asked if it is unappealing or is it the height or size.

Ms. Ficht replied that to her it is obnoxious. She has been waiting for that sign to come down for a long time.

Mr. Nowicki stated that they are hoping to get something in there that the township likes; something less harder on the eyes. This office has the exact same sign as their Lapeer office.

Mr. Stabile asked for clarification as to the sign ordinance having some type of scale of type.

Ms. Ficht replied it is for square footage and the size of the sign in comparison with the frontage of the property. She asked Mr. Nowicki where they plan on putting the sign.

Mr. Nowicki responded that it is on their site plan; it is right of the driveway as you come in, about 15 or 20 feet off of the road.

Mr. Priest commented that according to their application for the sign they are proposing an 8 foot by 5 foot sign; however, it does not say what it is made of.

Mr. Nowicki stated that the owner had it premade and ordered; it is a complete unit.

Mr. Priest asked Mr. Nowicki to approach to clarify the location of the sign.

Mr. Miller asked for clarification of the size.

Mr. Priest replied that the application lists 32.9 square feet; it is approximately 8 feet by 5 feet.

Ms. Ficht asked if the sign sits in a brick base of something similar.

Mr. Nowicki responded that he is not sure how it will be secured to the ground, but it is not just going to sit there on the ground.

Mr. Priest commented that the application lists that they are placing two 4 by 4 posts in the ground with the sign in between them.

Mr. Stabile commented that he thinks that they need to fill out a new sign application. We require a lot more on our sign applications.

Mr. Wilson suggested that in order to eliminate any confusion, it would be best to table this so that the applicant can address all of the questions and submit a new formal application for the sign.

Motion by Mr. Priest to table #2009-46 SGN until the next meeting for additional information as to where the sign is going to be on the site plan and what it is made out of.

Mr. Stabile suggested that they just start over with the sign applications.

Mr. Deeby agreed with Mr. Stabile. He suggested that they provide them as addendums to their original application so that it is much better engineered and abiding to our sign ordinance as best as they can if they expect them to get approved. They can resubmit those for presentation.

Mr. Priest instructed Mr. Nowicki to include the address on the sign for the next application.

Mr. Saelens supported Mr. Priest’s motion.

Vote On The Motion:

All Ayes Motion Carried

D. BLACK, BLACK AND BLACK PROPOSED NEW WALL SIGN– #2010-17 SGN: Black, Black and Black, 34021 23 Mile Road, Chesterfield, MI., 48047 – Proposed new wall sign located at above address. Tabled 6-15-10.

Mr. Nowicki explained that this sign is etched into the side of the building.

Mr. Saelens clarified that it is already there.

Mr. Nowicki responded yes.

Mr. Priest asked for clarification that it is in the brick.

Mr. Nowicki responded yes.

Mr. Stabile commented that he thought that we approved that one at some point.

Mr. Priest asked if they are asking for another one.

Mr. Nowicki replied no.

Mr. Stabile commented that he thinks they did it without having approval, but he thinks we did end up approving that.

Mr. Saelens noted that the planner’s comments indicate that the applicant submitted one application for two wall signs and that only one is allowed.

Mr. Stabile commented that he thinks that maybe there was a stop order on this sign because they were actually bricking it. Maybe it wasn’t formally approved. He does not know.

There was discussion with regard to the applicant adding a phone number to the wall sign.

Mr. Nowicki commented that they have another sign in their window that lists the phone number.

Mr. Priest informed Mr. Nowicki that that is another problem. They really do have two wall signs; one in the window and one at the end of the house. They cannot have both.

Mr. Nowicki stated that they will take down the one in the window.

Mr. Stabile commented that he sure wishes they would tame things down instead of keep pushing to get things that are beyond what we would really like to get there as is okay with our ordinance. We already said okay to that brick on the side after it was done without approval.

Motion by Mr. Priest, supported by Ms. Ficht to approve #2010-17 SGN the wall sign that is in the end of the building with the understanding that the window sign comes out.

Mr. Saelens noted that the phone number being requested below that sign is not part of our approval.

Vote On The Motion:

All Ayes Motion Carried

E. LAKEVIEW SHOPPING CENTER PROPOSED NEW GROUND SIGN - #2010-26 SGN: BLM Signs, 28414 Harper, St Clair Shores, MI., 48081 – Proposed new ground sign located at the north east corner of 23 Mile Road and D.W. Seaton. Tabled 8-24-10.

Mr. Priest stated that they are proposing a sign that is 134.5 square feet. Our new ordinance

says that they are allowed 107.33 square feet. The proposed sign is 13.5 feet high. The ordinance calls for 12 feet.

Joe Rogowski stated that in August they were seeking a 150 square foot sign. During that meeting some issues were raised about the ordinance and the sign amortization issue, along with some other things. He had an opportunity to go back and look into that and speak with some tenants. The concept of their proposal is to strike a balance between the township’s desire to modernize the signage and their need to address the concerns and the things they are hearing from their tenants. They have a uniquely shaped building to a degree. There are 12 units in there. The way it is laid out with the reverse "L", signage is important. They have enjoyed for a number of years a 400 square foot sign. Now, because of the fire, rather than just fix it and kick the can down the road for a few years and then have to address the sign amortization issue, they want to just bring it to a head and get a sign that everyone can live with. They realize that the sign is too high, but they are trying to utilize the current structure. They could take the signage part and move it down so it meets the height requirement. That is not a problem at all. With the 12 units in there it provides approximately a foot and a half per tenant space per sign, where before they had 4 foot signs. That is a significant reduction but he knows that is something they can deal with and he can keep the peace with the people that they have there currently. Hopefully they will be attracting others in the coming months.

Mr. Saelens asked if they will be taking the Lakeview Shopping Center sign and moving it below the tenants’ signs or will they move the whole sign down.

Mr. Rogowski responded that they would just move it all down because he thinks it is better on top.

Mr. Saelens commented that right now they show 8 tenant spots but they need 12.

Mr. Rogowski replied they have to provide for that. They don’t have 12 people in there right now, but they will. They have in the past.

Ms. Ficht asked if there will be a street address on this sign.

Mr. Rogowski responded yes, they will make sure that is on there.

Mr. Deeby confirmed with Mr. Rogowski that they can meet the 12 foot height requirement. He asked if they will or will not be able to meet the 107 square foot requirement.

Mr. Rogowski responded that the proposal would be 134.5 total. That is not all tenant signage. He thinks it is important to have a marker of the plaza so that people know Lakeview Plaza.

Mr. Deeby confirmed with Mr. Rogowski that they are including the header then.

Mr. Rogowski responded correct, yes. The 134.5 allows for a foot and a half width plates from the 4 feet that they currently are.

Mr. Stabile recapped that they were waiting for Premier Center to get settled, and we approved 125 on Premier.

Mr. Deeby asked what the distance will be between the ground and the first plate.

Mr. Rogowski replied that it will be approximately 2 ½.

Mr. Deeby asked for clarification on them having 12 units where they now show 8.

Mr. Rogowski responded yes, there will be 6 on each; that was a mistake by the drawer.

Mr. Deeby asked if they will leave 4 blank plates.

Mr. Rogowski responded yes, they will put them at the bottom.

Mr. Deeby asked where the address would be.

Mr. Rogowski asked if we just want the number without the street name. After confirmation he replied that it would be best placed in the header.

Mr. Priest suggested that they put it right down the middle pole.

Mr. Rogowski agreed.

Mr. LaBelle commented on them using the existing structure and asked if there has been any consideration to making this a little narrower so that they could cut down on the square footage.

Mr. Rogowski responded that if they made it narrower, then it would go up. Really the cost is not the issue because there was a fire and there is insurance coverage. He was just trying to figure out a way so they would not have such a drastic change from what is there now while trying to keep their request at a minimum.

Mr. LaBelle asked how wide the panels would be.

Mr. Rogowski responded 4 feet wide.

Mr. Stabile asked if they are still trying to use the existing angle iron there.

Mr. Rogowski responded that is the way he thought they would do it.

Mr. Stabile commented that it would be nice to get rid of that huge angle iron; it would sure look better.

Mr. LaBelle wondered about them going to 1 ½ by 3 ½ plates. That would put them closer to the 125 square foot range.

Mr. Wilson commented that right now they have 112 square feet dedicated to tenant signage. The Lakeview Shopping Center is 22.5 square feet. If they were looking to match 125 square feet they could keep the existing tenant square footage and then just adjust the shopping center portion of the sign to 13 square feet.

Mr. Rogowski responded that he supposes anything is possible, but he has not visualized how it would look. It is pretty narrow as it is. He thinks it is about a foot and a half.

Mr. Priest commented that it is 15 inches and we are asking them to go to 12.

Mr. Wilson suggested that they could squeeze it so that it is not 18 feet wide. Right now the header is 22.5 square feet.

Mr. Rogowski responded that they could move that in and it could be like a topper of sorts and if they move that down 9 feet from 22 that would be 13 square feet.

Mr. Priest commented that he thinks they can do it.

Mr. Rogowski replied he does too.

Motion by Mr. Priest, supported by Mr. Saelens to grant a variance on #2010-26 SGN from the 107.6 to 125 square feet; how they get there is up to them. Also, the sign will be no more than 12 feet high and no wider than it is right now.

Mr. Stabile noted that the address numbers must be added.

All Ayes Motion Carried


Motion by Mr. Priest, supported by Mr. Miller to approve the minutes from the November 9, 2010 meeting as sent.

All Ayes Motion Carried


A. Letter from Alice Cox requesting a one year extension for site plan #2006-26.

Motion by Mr. Priest, supported by Ms. Ficht to approve a one year extension for Site Plan #2006-26.

All Ayes Motion Carried



A. ROULO PROPOSED REZONING PETITION #324: Phyllis T. Roulo P.O. Box 760, New Baltimore, MI 48047. Requesting to rezone property located on the north side of 23 Mile, just inside the eastern boundary of Chesterfield Township the address is 34875 23 Mile Road, business formerly, Brentwood Plumbing & Mechanical. Request is to rezone property from RM-2 (Multiple Family) to C-3 (General Commercial).

Motion by Mr. Miller, supported by Mr. Saelens to approve Rezoning Petition #324.

All Ayes Motion Carried

Mr. Wilson noted that this is a recommendation to the Township Board as they make the final decision.

Mr. Deeby asked if it would be prudent to add the comments of the planner regarding development patterns in the area and a site plan being required for additional screening.

Mr. Priest agreed that would be fine.

Mr. Stabile provided a copy of the planner’s comments to Barbara Roulo, who was representing Phyllis T. Roulo.


A. ADMINISTRATIVE #53: L&A Architects, 2430 Rochester Ct., Troy, MI., 48083 – Proposed administrative change to McDonalds located at 28320 23 Mile Road. Tabled 11-9-10.

Mr. Wilson stated that there has been no new information received from McDonalds in the past month. He recommended that this be tabled.

Motion by Mr. Miller, supported by Mr. Saelens to table Administrative Request #53 for up to 6 meetings.

All Ayes Motion Carried

B. ADMINISTRATIVE #54: Thomas Bankstahl, 47634 Burlingame Drive, Chesterfield, MI 48047 Proposed administrative approval for 31255 23 Mile Road, Alamonte Plaza for a veterinary clinic.

Mr. Wilson stated that he recommends approval subject to the sidewalk being extended along the frontage of the property, as well as the fence being a minimum of decorative vinyl coated chain link fence.

Thomas Bankstahl stated that he already spoke with Mr. Shortt regarding the sidewalk. He said they would get bonded until the spring because of weather conditions, which is perfectly great. In the back of the building they are going to do a 6 foot brick fence so that from 23 Mile Road there won’t be any visible fencing to match the building. The park setting for clients will probably be a 4 foot black aluminum decorative fencing because that is not to contain animals; the animals are on leashes with their owners at that time. That is for waiting periods. They are planning on doing a fountain and a couple of park benches and having that area landscaped off to the side.

Mr. Priest asked how much room there is in the back of the building and how much area the fence would take.

Mr. Bankstahl responded that he was not going to start it until 80 feet back from the front building. It is in the back of the back 6 units, which the hospital, dog day care and the indoor boarding area would encompass. The asphalt goes back to 38 feet. They asked for 20 feet but if there needs to be something there we should let him know. There is still 18 feet of drivable asphalt there. Anything the commission tells him to do he would do.

Mr. Saelens asked if they are taking over the entire buildling.

Mr. Bankstahl responded yes, they are. They purchased the building.

Mr. Leonard asked if they have a facility in another city right now.

Mr. Bankstahl responded that they have two facilities in Clinton Township. Their wellness center, where they do holistic and traditional care, is on Groesbeck. They have a plaza, similar to this, which has a boarding, day care, training, grooming and hospital staffed by 7 doctors. They are open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.

Mr. Leonard asked the names of the other facilities.

Mr. Bankstahl responded Parkway Small Animal and Exotic Hospital, Parkway Veterinary Clinic and the Animal Activity Center. He indicated he is on staff there, as well as being the owner. He takes a lot of pride in what he does and he loves his job. He thinks there is a big demand in the area for quality affordable care. That is what they want to provide.

Mr. Deeby asked if they can fulfill all of the requests from the planner and engineer.

Mr. Bankstahl responded yes, absolutely. Sidewalks, they are going to go with the higher decorative fence; it will be nicer than vinyl coated chain link.

Mr. LaBelle clarified that they will not be storing animals outside.

Mr. Bankstahl responded no, animals are accompanied by a person at all times. Behind the building there is no storage. That is only for pottying, and the animals will be accompanied by a caretaker, veterinarian or technician.

Mr. Leonard asked for a projected opening date.

Mr. Bankstahl responded that it all depends on moving things through. They are hoping for tentatively March 1st.

Mr. Priest commented that he is happy to see the parking lot fixed.

Mr. Bankstahl replied that they are doing some pretty cool stuff. The landscaping is going to be really sharp too. There will be elevated decorative stone with a new tree being put in. It will look real nice when they are done.

Motion by Mr. Priest, supported by Mr. Leonard to approve Administrative Request #54 subject to the planner’s and engineer’s comments being met.

All Ayes Motion Carried


Ms. Roulo asked when they can expect the Rezoning Petition to be before the Township Board for their ruling.

Mr. Priest advised her that more than likely it will be the first meeting in December.

Mr. Wilson advised her to contact the Clerk’s Office to make sure when it will be on the agenda.

Mr. Priest asked for volunteers for the next pre-planning meeting.

Mr. Saelens and Mr. LaBelle agreed to attend.



Motion by Mr. Priest, supported by Mr. Miller to adjourn the meeting at 8:00 p.m.

All Ayes Motion Carried

Paula Frame, Secretary

Christine A. Hunyady, Recording Secretary

Go To Top