While the rest of us have been plugging along through the winter, a group of dedicated people have been hard at work rewriting and updating Peninsula Township’s Zoning Ordinance, which was last reviewed in 2011. They’re working with McKenna Associates, consultants on the project who specialize in helping “public leaders create, redesign, and maintain thriving communities” (check out their website here).
Monnie Peters, a member of the Planning Commission and chair of the Zoning Ordinance Rewrite Committee, gave a report at the Feb. 14 Township Board meeting. She noted that they’re currently reviewing the second draft of the Zoning Ordinance by McKenna, and they’ve scheduled a special meeting on Feb. 27 at 5 p.m. to discuss the progress. Everyone is welcome to attend this meeting.
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Three members of the Planning Commission – Alan Couture, Monnie Peters and Laura Serocki – were selected to serve on the Zoning Ordinance Rewrite Committee. Their goal is to produce a document that is concise and easy to comprehend by improving the clarity of text, removing redundancies and removing unnecessary legalese.
The committee has been meeting once or twice weekly since December and is about halfway through the document. The items that will be discussed at the Feb. 27 meeting include:
Basement/Cellar Definitions: At this time, they have the same definition; should they be different? Should some walk-out basements be classified as a story?
Building Height Definition: Discussion is needed regarding the height of a building and where it is measured. Problems have occurred with the waterfront side of houses being taller than two and a half stories. The diagram should be clearer, too.
Farm Processing Facility, (Local) Food Production Facility, and Food Processing Plant: Will continue the discussion of the different ways to process and sell ag products. Need to conform to GAAMPs (Generally Accepted Agricultural and Management Practices – more info here). Could the term Farm Processing Facility be removed from the definition for (Local) Food Production Facility?
Lot, Depth of Lot, Front of Lot, Lot Line, Width of Lot, Minimum Width of Lot, Lot Line Type, Lot Types, Interior Lot, Parcel, Parcel Area, Parcel Site, Site, and Site Area: Propose changing all language in Zoning Ordinance to Parcel, except for Lots in Subdivisions and Planned Unit Developments. Should Site be used anywhere except in Site Plan?
Open Space: Need clarity regarding what uses are allowed and what structures can be placed in Open Space. Also need specific standards.
Ordinary High Water Mark (OHWM): Discussion needed on OHWM for water bodies other than Lake Michigan.
Major Thoroughfare, Highway Road, Local Road, Primary Road and Street: Suggest removal of these words and definitions from Zoning Ordinance. Classify all roads as major road, road or private road.
Structure/Lot Coverage/Impervious Surface: Need to clarify these definitions. ZBA requested clarification to assist them in variance requests. Should the definition of Structure include only above grade elements? Recently, Structure was changed to include decks, sidewalks, driveway, etc.; should the new definition remain? Should Impervious Surface be included in Lot Coverage or have a separate percentage coverage? Could/should Structure/Lot Coverage/Impervious Surface have agreement in definitions?
Zoning Administrator: Zoning Administrator is referred to numerous times in the Zoning Ordinance. Peninsula Township Zoning Administrator is now classified as Planning and Zoning Coordinator. How should this be clarified in the Zoning Ordinance? In definitions? In Article 13?
Section 3.03 G: Unresolved District Boundaries – need clearer statement.
A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers like the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, and magazines like Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So of course, I started my own newspaper. Because the Gazette is mainly reader-supported, I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks my way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the Old Mission Peninsula. Check out the donation page here. Thank you so much for your support. -jb