Permit Process

Officials' misconduct - Mt. Pleasant, MI City Administration

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Commissioners : Makes No Sense - Unfamiliar Process

Despite commissioners having stated the process is unfamiliar and makes no sense the Zoning Board of Appeals continues non-appeal hearings. ZBA Case 04-2011, 510 W. Pickard industrial zone new construction, the Board reviews site plan and authorizes variance.

Mt. Pleasant City Code

Chapter 154 : Zoning Ordinances

§154.169(A) The Planning Commission is empowered to review site plans - Permit Process

§154.163(A) The Zoning Board of Appeals shall have the power to hear and decide enforcement decision appeals; §154.162(C) The Zoning Board shall not have the power to make any changes in the terms of this chapter; §154.164(A) Applications for a variance shall be submitted and served in the same manner as provided for appeals

§154.169(D) Decisions shall be based upon standards and requirements contained in the Zoning Ordinances; §154.162(C) The Zoning Board shall not have the power to make any changes in the terms of this chapter

Statute Excerpts

Current Review Procedures

Planning Commission 03.03.11 work session minutes

1) Staff meets with applicant and determines if SUP/SPR and/or Variance is needed.

2) If ZBA action is required, the case goes to them first and ZBA action sets the new standard for that site. ZBA meets 4th Wednesday of the month.

3) PC reviews based on ordinance as varied by ZBA. PC meets on the first Thursday of month.

January 6, 2011

Commissioner Holtgreive states variance authorization prior to planning commission review makes no sense to me. video clip

February 14, 2011

Commissioner Tilmann states variance authorization prior to planning commission review is not a familiar process. video clip

March 3, 2011

Planning commission work session to discuss Current Review Procedures. Discussion ignores local statute provisions and introduces the fictitious Planning Commission Work Session (excerpts)'time out' authority.

City Code empowers the ZBA to hear enforcement decision appeals. A decision necessarily precedes an appeal of that decision.

City Code mandates planning commissioners want to see conformity with ordinance.

Commonly a disciplinary action used with young children.

ZBA is explicitly denied authority to change ordinance content.

State statute and City Code restrict non-use or dimensional variance to applicant showing practical difficulty of compliance.

Under Current Review Procedures applicant will be asking the ZBA to rule on the ZBA's previous decision.

Procedure not found in City Code.

Holtgreive commented that it really doesn't matter what order it happens, as even if PC hears the case first and approves it contingent on ZBA approval, the ZBA can still deny.

Orlik commented that from a PC standpoint it is difficult to determine what he wants to see in the site plan before knowing how the ZBA is going to rule.

Gray commented that the Board needs to know that if they are not comfortable with a variance that has been issued; they need to let staff know. It is okay to call a "time out" - postpone a case to do more research, etc.

Morrison explained that there is a continuum of decision making: The safest is to abide by ZBA ruling. The farther you wander from the ordinance standard set by the ZBA, the riskier it is.

Robinette commented that if, in cases such as the variance to increase occupancy, if staff felt it was too dense they could reflect that in their reports.

Staff also commented that you can't knock out an applicant's right to appeal to the ZBA.

Smith asked what they should do if something comes up in a meeting that they aren't comfortable with but you don't want to turn down the entire project. Morrison suggested calling a time out - figure out what piece of the project you want to get at and revisit the issue.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Commissioners : Makes No Sense - Unfamiliar Process

Despite commissioners having stated the process is unfamiliar and makes no sense the Zoning Board of Appeals continues non-appeal hearings. ZBA Case 04-2011, 510 W. Pickard industrial zone new construction, the Board reviews site plan and authorizes variance.

Mt. Pleasant City Code

Chapter 154 : Zoning Ordinances

§154.169(A) The Planning Commission is empowered to review site plans - Permit Process

§154.163(A) The Zoning Board of Appeals shall have the power to hear and decide enforcement decision appeals; §154.162(C) The Zoning Board shall not have the power to make any changes in the terms of this chapter; §154.164(A) Applications for a variance shall be submitted and served in the same manner as provided for appeals

§154.169(D) Decisions shall be based upon standards and requirements contained in the Zoning Ordinances; §154.162(C) The Zoning Board shall not have the power to make any changes in the terms of this chapter

Statute Excerpts

Current Review Procedures

Planning Commission 03.03.11 work session minutes

1) Staff meets with applicant and determines if SUP/SPR and/or Variance is needed.

2) If ZBA action is required, the case goes to them first and ZBA action sets the new standard for that site. ZBA meets 4th Wednesday of the month.

3) PC reviews based on ordinance as varied by ZBA. PC meets on the first Thursday of month.

January 6, 2011

Commissioner Holtgreive states variance authorization prior to planning commission review makes no sense to me. video clip

February 14, 2011

Commissioner Tilmann states variance authorization prior to planning commission review is not a familiar process. video clip

March 3, 2011

Planning commission work session to discuss Current Review Procedures. Discussion ignores local statute provisions and introduces the fictitious Planning Commission Work Session (excerpts)'time out' authority.

City Code empowers the ZBA to hear enforcement decision appeals. A decision necessarily precedes an appeal of that decision.

City Code mandates planning commissioners want to see conformity with ordinance.

Commonly a disciplinary action used with young children.

ZBA is explicitly denied authority to change ordinance content.

State statute and City Code restrict non-use or dimensional variance to applicant showing practical difficulty of compliance.

Under Current Review Procedures applicant will be asking the ZBA to rule on the ZBA's previous decision.

Procedure not found in City Code.

Holtgreive commented that it really doesn't matter what order it happens, as even if PC hears the case first and approves it contingent on ZBA approval, the ZBA can still deny.

Orlik commented that from a PC standpoint it is difficult to determine what he wants to see in the site plan before knowing how the ZBA is going to rule.

Gray commented that the Board needs to know that if they are not comfortable with a variance that has been issued; they need to let staff know. It is okay to call a "time out" - postpone a case to do more research, etc.

Morrison explained that there is a continuum of decision making: The safest is to abide by ZBA ruling. The farther you wander from the ordinance standard set by the ZBA, the riskier it is.

Robinette commented that if, in cases such as the variance to increase occupancy, if staff felt it was too dense they could reflect that in their reports.

Staff also commented that you can't knock out an applicant's right to appeal to the ZBA.

Smith asked what they should do if something comes up in a meeting that they aren't comfortable with but you don't want to turn down the entire project. Morrison suggested calling a time out - figure out what piece of the project you want to get at and revisit the issue.