Reference Desk


Planning Commission Minutes - May 10, 2011



MAY 10, 2011

A Regular meeting of the Charter Township of Chesterfield Planning Commission was held on Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. at the Township Hall Located at 47275 Sugarbush, Chesterfield, MI 48047.


Chairman Miller called the meeting to order at 7:03 p.m.


Present: Paul Miller Excused:

Joe Stabile

Paula Frame

George Deeby

Ray Saelens

Carl Leonard

Rick LaBelle

Brian DeMuynck

Others: Patrick Meagher, Township Planner


Ms. Frame noted that there was a correction to the agenda – Item I should be sign #2011-20 and Item H should be sign #2011-21.

Motion by Mr. Miller, supported by Mr. Saelens to approve the agenda with corrections.

All Ayes Motion Carried

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


A. Amendment to The Chesterfield Zoning Ordinance #110 Re: (4) CAR GARAGES.

Motion by Mr. Miller, supported by Ms. Frame to open the Public Hearing on Amendment to The Chesterfield Zoning Ordinance #110 Re: (4) Car Garages at 7:38 p.m.

All Ayes Motion Carried

Mr. Meagher explained the revisions to the amendment. He noted that the only other discussion on this amendment was with regard to whether sheds would be allowed with four car garages.

Mr. Leonard voiced his opinion on the approval of allowing sheds.

Mr. Saelens indicated his thoughts on not allowing sheds.

Mr. Miller asked if variances could be approved for sheds.

Mr. Meagher indicated that the ZBA could grant variances for sheds.

Mr. Deeby had no problem with sheds as long as there was a maximum size.

Mr. Leonard indicated that as liaison to the ZBA he would have no problem with variances as long as the shed would meet and not exceed 120 square feet.

Mr. LaBelle agreed as long as they did not exceed the maximum size.

Mr. Stabile preferred no sheds.

Ms. Frame agreed with Mr. Saelens and Mr. Stabile on no sheds.

Mr. Miller had no problem with allowing sheds.

No one from the public spoke on this agenda item.

Motion by Mr. Miller, supported by Ms. Frame to close the Public Hearing on Amendment to The Chesterfield Zoning Ordinance #110 Re: (4) Car Garages at 7:46 p.m.

All Ayes Motion Carried

Mr. DeMuynck indicated that he would abstain from voting on this agenda item in order to avoid the appearance of any conflict of interest.

Motion by Ms. Frame, supported by Mr. Leonard to approve Amendment to The Chesterfield Zoning Ordinance #110 Re: (4) Car Garages as presented subject to the addition of allowing a maximum of 120 square foot shed.

Roll Call:

Ayes: Ms. Frame, Mr. Leonard, Mr. Miller, Mr. Deeby, Mr. LaBelle

Nays: Mr. Stabile, Mr. Saelens

Abstain: Mr. DeMuynck Motion Carried


A. VITALE-CROSBY & ASSOCIATES, P.C. PROPOSED NEW GROUND SIGN – SGN #2010-24: Signs by Crannie, 4160 Commerce Dr., Flushing, MI 48433. Proposed new ground sign located on the north side of 23 Mile Road, just west of Nicolette Drive. Tabled 9-28-10.

Motion by Ms. Frame, supported by Mr. Saelens to approve SGN #2010-24 subject to the address being included on the ground sign.

Mr. Deeby asked if the confusion is cleared up with regard to the address being the business or the sign location.

Mr. Meagher stated that there was some discussion at the previous meeting indicating that in this particular case because the sign is going to be in an area that could cause confusion we would allow this sign without an address.

Ms. Frame amended her motion to approve the sign without the address being included.

Mr. Saelens continued his support.

Vote On The Motion:

All Ayes Motion Carried

B. VICTORY MOTORS NEW PYLON SIGN – SGN #2010-40: Phillips Sign& Lighting, Inc., 40920 Executive Drive, Harrison Twp., MI 48045. Remanded back to Planning Commission Board for failure to erect sign as approved, located at 29169 23 Mile Road. Planning approved sign for 12’ height, sign was inspected at 15’ in height. Tabled 2-15-11.

Ed Phillips distributed handouts to the commission members. He stated that he has been doing this business for 35 years and has never had to come to a meeting with things so out of order. If they wanted a 15 foot sign they would have asked for one in the beginning. It was not the plan here. There is a typography issue here. The sidewalk is lower than the street. When they set the poles they always set them long. They trim them once the sign is on the site. The owner of the business was out there with their installers. A phone call was placed to the sign shop. It was asked if the sign could be installed higher based on the 36 inch higher sidewalk. The sidewalk is not 36 inches higher; there is no question about that. It was suggested to their office that there was a 36 inch disparity. The office clerically approved the sign being installed at the 15 feet. It is less if you measure to the sidewalk and it is even more less if you measure to the street. The salesman was aware of the grade disparity. This was not a flagrant ignorance of the ordinance. They have a reputation to protect and they are not in the business of behaving like this. He did indicate that this is not higher than the Lodge Keeper sign.

Ms. Frame explained that the Lodge Keeper is an old sign that will have to be brought into standards within the next four years.

Mr. Stabile commented that he was surprised that this sign was at 15 feet because it did not look like it. It kind of sits down in a hole. It is very visible from the bridge, but coming from 23 Mile Road the other way it is almost not visible at all. He is not sure if he would have disagreed if they asked for the variance from the get go.

Mr. LaBelle asked what the elevation is from the sidewalk to the top of the sign.

Mr. Phillips responded that he honestly does not know. It is not three feet; he would guess maybe 24 to 28 stretching it a little.

Mr. Miller commented that if we grant this variance then everyone will be coming in requesting one, two or three foot variances.

Ms. Frame agreed.

Mr. Phillips stated that there is a huge ditch out front, then they have the sidewalk and then there is the berm that goes down. He does not know if it is the setback causing this or what, but when you are driving down the road the sign does not look that high.

Mr. DeMuynck asked what this commission has done in the past with regard to the measurements from the grade. Does it go from the sidewalk, road or driveway?

Mr. Meagher clarified that the measurement is taken from the ground right at the sign. It is the established grade. The typography enables the commission to allow a variance to even up signs with the surroundings.

Mr. Saelens asked what it measures off the driveway.

Mr. Phillips responded that the way the ground is there he is sure that it would be even higher. He asked if he could get the board to approve a 24 inch variance.

Mr. Deeby commented that he would like to see what the difference really is with some exact measurements.

Mr. Leonard asked if the hole sinks down a foot to a foot and a half.

Mr. Phillips responded that it is probably inches.

Ms. Frame commented that it looks much more than inches.

Mr. Saelens commented on setting the precedent for the next guy.

Mr. Phillips stated that the sign for Citizens Bank is at 18 feet.

Ms. Frame noted that was a resurface and within four years they will have to meet the requirements of the new ordinance.

Mr. Saelens stated that if they fill in the hole maybe they could pick up a foot.

Mr. Phillips stated that if he could get a variance for 18 inches he could fill in below the sign. He knows the owner well enough where he knows he would be fine with that.

Motion by Ms. Frame, supported by Mr. Stabile to approve SGN #2010-40 with a variance of 18 inches for the height.

Ayes: Ms. Frame, Mr. Stabile, Mr. Deeby, Mr. Saelens, Mr. Leonard, Mr. LaBelle, Mr. DeMuynck

Nays: Mr. Miller Motion Carried

C. HOLIDAY INN PROPOSED NEW GROUND SIGN – SGN #2011-14: Lakeside Hotels L.L.C., 1040 W. Hamlin Road, Rochester Hills, MI 48309. Proposed new ground sign located at 45805 Market Place Blvd. Tabled 4-12-2011.

Ms. Frame stated that no new information has been submitted.

Terry Riddle stated that he wanted to clarify some things from the minutes of the last meeting. Ms. Frame had noted that they have the option of advertising from either Gratiot or M-59; however that is not the case. When the commission allowed the variance for the four story building next door it completely encased them. So right now their front sign, which is required by the brand they could completely do without because it does them no good. If you take the normal path, which would be through the Walmart and head towards their hotel as just a passerby, which is 10% of their business, you would literally pull into the Hampton parking lot and not know that Holiday Inn exists unless you had a room on the back of the Hampton and looked out your window. When they erected the Holiday Inn they were not aware that the commission would approve a four story building next to them, or that probably would have been considered at the time, because you would have been able to see their sign at that point. The way they have elongated the Hampton on that street the Holiday Inn in non-existing from M-59 with no advertising and no options to advertise. The Holiday Inn has frontage on Gratiot and Marketplace. MDOT has the Holiday Inn listed as 1.1 miles from the exit at M-59 and I-94, while the Hampton Inn is listed as .6 miles from that same exit. When you pull into Marketplace you will just pull into the first hotel that you see, which is the Hampton. The sign for Gratiot was for that reason. MDOT has them measured to come in off of Gratiot not down Marketplace. The Hampton is bigger and taller. They were very smart to ask for the four stories. If they were to pull their sign down, which would be about a $30,000.00 investment, you would then direct in off of Gratiot, you would not see a hotel, you wouldn’t know what it is, even if you came back around from the other way thinking that you missed it, you still wouldn’t be able to see what it was. He thinks that there are some extenuating circumstances for the board to look at. There are no options for them. He would love to have inserts on the monument signs off of Gratiot and M-59 but that is not available to anyone on that side of the street; it is only for Walmart and everything in that plaza.

Ms. Frame commented that she does not understand because the Dollar Store had a sign in there. Also, Extreme Fitness has a sign in there while they are on the opposite side of the street. She does not understand why the hotels would not be allowed in them.

Mr. Meagher commented that the entire PUD was under the same developer, including the hotel area. He informed Mr. Riddle that there was no variance required for up to six stories on any of the structures there.

Mr. Stabile asked Mr. Riddle what he would want in order to feel that he received a fair approval.

Mr. Riddle replied that they would like a small monument sign like the Hampton Inn. They have a piece of lawn that is close to the Hampton sign. They would have to put it at the furthest section to the right of their property.

Mr. Meagher asked if they could live with a 24 square foot ground sign.

Motion by Ms. Frame, supported by Mr. Stabile to approve SGN #2011-14 with a variance to allow the ground sign at the limitations of the PUD requirements in light of the fact that the Hampton Inn’s architectural characteristics block the visibility of the Holiday Inn, and subject to the sign not exceeding the 24 square foot limitation.

All Ayes Motion Carried

D. HUNGRY HOWIE’S PIZZA RESURFACE OF EXISTING WALL SIGN – SGN #2011-16: Harmon Sign, Inc., 7844 W. Central Ave., Toledo, OH. 43617. Proposed new wall sign resurface located at 25530 21 Mile Road in the Gratiot 21 Center Plaza.

Ms. Frame stated that this is actually not a resurface, but a brand new sign. She did speak with the applicant about the bare bulbs. The applicant did inform her that the bulbs are enclosed.

Motion by Ms. Frame, supported by Mr. Miller to approve SGN #2011-16.

Mr. Meagher noted that there is a typo on his review. He has that the sign exceeds the size requirements, but it actually meets the size requirements.

Vote On The Motion:

All Ayes Motion Carried

E. DOMINO’S PIZZA PROPOSED ADD TO EXISTING BP CENTER PYLON SIGN – SGN #2011-17: Aver Sign Company, 359 Livernois, Ferndale, MI 48220. Proposed new add to existing BPStation pylon sign located at 28230 23 Mile Road.

Motion by Ms. Frame, supported by Mr. LaBelle to approve SGN #2011-17 subject to the addition of the address, which the applicant has agreed to.

Mr. Saelens asked if this is the same location where we approved the Subway sign previously.

Ms. Frame indicated that the Subway has been removed from that business location.

Vote On The Motion:

All Ayes Motion Carried

F. VERIZON WIRELESS PROPOSED NEW ADD TO PYLON SIGN – SGN #2011-18. Proposed new cap (where Gratiot 21 Center is) insert to pylon sign located at 46982 Gratiot, in the "Gratiot 21 Shopping Center" located on the southeast corner of Gratiot & 21 Mile Road.

Motion by Ms. Frame, supported by Mr. Miller to approve SGN #2011-18 subject to adding the address and the removal of the propane sign.

Mr. Saelens asked if this meets the height requirement by adding the cap.

Ms. Frame explained that they are moving the panel at the top that says Gratiot 21 and replacing it with the Verizon sign.

Mr. LaBelle asked if that counts as two signs for Verizon.

Ms. Frame and Mr. Meagher explained that they can fill the panels with whatever they want as long as they meet the size requirements.

All Ayes Motion Carried

G. STAHLS AUTO FOUNDATION PROPOSED NEW GROUND SIGN – SGN #2011-19: Keith Socha, 31170 Jaguar Lane, Chesterfield, MI 48047. Proposed new ground sign located at 56516 North Bay Drive for Stahls Auto Foundation.

Motion by Ms. Frame, supported by Mr. Saelens to table SGN #2011-19 to the next meeting so that we can review and get a clarification on the requirements on the North Bay Industrial Plaza regarding monument signs in that subdivision.

All Ayes Motion Carried

H. DOLLAR TREASURE PROPOSED NEW WALL SIGN – SGN #2011-21: Ultimate Signs, 8827 Mark Twain, Detroit, MI 48228. Proposed new wall sign located at 34870 23 Mile Road in the Kroger Plaza.

Motion by Ms. Frame, supported by Mr. Saelens to approve SGN #2011-21 and SGN #2011-20.

All Ayes Motion Carried

I. DOLLAR TREASURE PROPOSED NEW PYLON SIGN – SGN #2011-20: Ultimate Signs, 8827 Mark Twain, Detroit, MI 48228. Proposed new pylon sign located at 34870 23 Mile Road.

See Agenda Item H Above.


Motion by Ms. Frame, supported by Mr. Saelens to approve the minutes from the April 12, 2011 meeting as sent.

All Ayes Motion Carried




Mr. Saelens asked about the signage for Black & Black.

There was brief discussion regarding their signage.

It was agreed upon that members should contact Zoning Enforcement to seek some action on their signage.

Mr. DeMuynck indicated that he will also follow up with Mr. Seibert when he sees him next week.


Mr. Meagher commented on issues with sign resurfacings when there is panel for panel replacement. He asked if anyone had any strong objections to the Planning Department staff handling resurfaces as long as the data is forwarded to the Planning Commission after the action is taken.

There was brief discussion among the commission members.

Mr. Meagher suggested that the wording be indicated clearly that the resurfaces that involve only a panel to panel switch may be approved administratively.

Mr. Miller asked Mr. Meagher if he will look at the resurfaces.

Mr. Meagher indicated that he will review them also. He also indicated that it is at the Township’s discretion as to his review of these signs. Upon further discussion he indicated that the wording would include panel to panel involving no electrical or other building permits required. We could include a provision indicating that where the content is questionable as to whether it is a panel to panel change it shall go to the Planning Commission and in his review he will note that it is questionable. He can include the wording that the Planning Department Director shall be the person who signs off on these resurfaced signs after the review by the planner if that is what the commission wants. He will also make note in the wording regarding lewd and offensive signage.

Vitale-Crosby Revised Landscape Plan

Mr. Meagher indicated that he has no objections to their modification of putting in one row of arborvitaes rather than two rows.

Motion by Mr. Deeby, supported by Ms. Frame to approve the amended landscaping for Vitale-Crosby.

All Ayes Motion Carried

Sign At Bowling Alley Site By Lavdis Properties

Mr. Meagher indicated that the commission had approved two signs, which were 150 square feet, that they could take two panels and replace it with reader board. It meets the ordinance but they submitted their application too late to be placed on the agenda.

Motion by Ms. Frame, supported by Mr. Miller to approve the administrative changes with the reader board on one of the new signs but making it crystal clear that they must remove the existing sign before the new signs go up. Also, the reader board must meet the requirements of the reader board ordinance.

All Ayes Motion Carried

Seasonal Windshield Repair At Meijer

Mr. Meagher stated that they are asking that we set a Public Hearing to place a van at Meijers to do seasonal windshield repair. There is question as to whether this falls under our Solicitation and Transient Merchant Ordinance.

Robert Stearns clarified that this is not a van but rather a trailer with collapsible poles; it is either 10 by 8 or 12 by 10. Meijers charges them rent in the form of gift certificates for their clients. It is ancillary to the main premises.

Mr. DeMuynck asked if this is the same set up as the Meijers by Hall Road.

Mr. Stearns responded exactly. It is the same company.

Mr. Saelens asked if they pay property taxes to Chesterfield.

Mr. Stearns responded that they do not but Meijers does.

Mr. Saelens indicated that there are businesses in Chesterfield that perform these services and they do pay property taxes to Chesterfield.

Motion by Mr. Miller, supported by Mr. Saelens that at this time we would not entertain a motion to set a Public Hearing as this is considered a transient merchant and it makes it unfair to our existing businesses. However, we would like Mr. Meagher to review this with regard to where it fits in to our planning laws and determine if it is a valid request and then the township can advertise for a Public Hearing.

All Ayes Motion Carried


Ms. Frame asked for volunteers for the next pre-planning meeting.

Mr. Saelens and Mr. Stabile agreed to attend.

Mr. Saelens commented on reader board signs and transient merchants.

There was brief discussion regarding these two items.



Motion by Mr. Miller, supported by Ms. Frame to adjourn the meeting at 8:15 p.m.

All Ayes Motion Carried

Paula Frame, Secretary Christine A. Hunyady, Recording Secretary

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