BARTON HILLS VILLAGE
PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING
February 7, 2008
The meeting of the BHV Planning Commission was called to order by Chair Laura Weingartner at 7:43 PM at the Village Hall.
ROLL CALL Present: Commissioners Boddie, MacKrell and Weingartner. Participating by phone: ZPA Perry. Absent: Commissioners McCabe and Nichols. Others present: Planning professionals as indicated.
PUBLIC COMMENT None.
MINUTES Motion The minutes of the January 24, 2008 meeting were approved as printed. (Boddie/MacKrell/Passed unanimously)
UNFINISHED BUSINESS Regarding commission procedures, the following were established:
--Commissioners had no preference for motion format—Mrs. Esch may choose.
--Commissioners prefer the indication that motions passed unanimously.
--Minutes should be detailed enough to give a clear sense of the discussion.
--Agenda distribution procedure: Chair prepares, Mrs. Esch distributes via email, Commissioners respond directly to Chair if they will not be in attendance.
--Draft minutes distributed for comment; final minutes distributed with the agenda. Approved minutes will be posted on the BHV Bulletin Board and website.
--Commissioners favored allowing full attendance (quorum/voting) via the speakerphone. Ms. Weingartner will check to see if there is any legal requirement that a commissioner must be physically present (Michigan Municipal League advises a physical presence). Since the practical reality is that commissioners have travel schedules and may miss meetings, there was support for a more adequate accommodation, such as a higher quality speakerphone or wireless service. Mr. Boddie and Mr. MacKrell will investigate.
NEW BUSINESS The Commissioners interviewed representatives from two professional planning services.
Carlisle/Wortman Associates, Inc. Dick Carlisle was present to describe his company, noting that a written proposal had been submitted (Mr. Perry thought it had been circulated via email but Commissioners had not received it.) [Note: the proposal was distributed via email following the meeting.] His comments included:
--Carlisle/Wortman has been doing professional planning business in the Ann Arbor area for over 20 years and has served over 70 municipalities around the state.
--A list was distributed noting the various communities in Washtenaw County that have been serviced by the company.
--Services include general planning, development review, master planning and ordinance revision, as well as specific project reviews for municipalities that do not have their own staff.
--Mr. Carlisle has personally worked in the Ann Arborarea almost 30 years and has an intimate knowledge of the area, good relationships with Washtenaw County and the ability to keep clients informed of issues that may impact them.
--The company has provided services for Ann Arbor Township, including expert testimony in the recent Colt Farms case.
--The company has extensive experience in providing training and education, both to municipal staff directly and through workshops and conferences.
--While the company does not provide legal services as such, their staff has significant experience in the legal aspects of zoning/planning and works closely with municipal attorneys, including Reading, Etter and Lillich.
--In response to Mr. Boddie’s statement that the Commissioners have relatively simple goals (development of master plan, amendment of zoning ordinance, standardization of procedures), Mr. Carlisle emphasized that these things do not have to be complicated to be effective, and that the project could move forward in a timely manner and still provide adequate resources for the commission to be comfortable with what they adopt.
--Responding to a question regarding cost, Mr. Carlisle noted that a specific cost schedule is included in the written proposal. It could be done either as an overall not-to-exceed cost or as a set of particular services at hourly rates.
The Commissioners described their vision of the task before them, including:
--development of a Master Plan that reflects the values of the community and works with the basic established structures.
--amendment of the current Zoning Ordinance to more accurately fit the needs of the community, including clear definitions and understandable language, so decisions are made on the basis of established standards that are consistently interpreted.
--harmony of the Zoning Ordinance and the Deed Restrictions, with resolution of conflicting requirements and clearly established areas of authority.
--well-reasoned processes that result in legally defensible documents and decisions.
--developing a simple plan that complies with the law.
Mr. Carlisle agreed that the key to developing a successful master plan and supporting documents/procedures lies in clearly setting forth reasonable bases for the conclusions reached. The Master Plan should carefully document the uniqueness of the community in terms of protecting that character. Concerning the cost, Mr. Carlisle agreed that this is not a complex structure with many different zoning districts, so it would not be a large job. A high level of participation and feedback from the commission and the community will be important in making the process efficient and productive.
Mr. Carlisle left/Mr. Strader & Mr. Kramer arrived 8:25 PM
LSL Planning Brad Strader and Robert Kramer of LSL Planning presented a flipchart
summary of their company’s qualifications and services. Their comments included:
--LSL Planning has a number of years’ experience in the area, around Michigan and in
other states. They provide planning services to 70 communities and other clients such as the Michigan Department of Transportation and Washtenaw County. The company is currently completing the Chelsea Master Plan.
--The staff of 15 planners can offer specialists in a variety of areas as well as a network of allied firms across the county.
--The company has extensive experience in communities similar to Barton Hills (high percentage of residential zoning, waterfront, etc).
--A hands-on approach is used, based on core values that focus on a sustainable, long-term product and implementation that will support decisions well into the future.
--The company provides training and education, including seminar instruction at conferences.
--LSL has won awards for innovation in planning services and values a high degree of client satisfaction, continually asking how services could be improved.
--A team approach is used, matching the skills of the staff with the needs of the community.
--Mr. Strader and Mr. Kramer have studied Barton Hills, noting such characteristics as high quality design, unique character of the street/lot layout, importance of natural features and waterfront, traffic calming devices and emphasis on environmental protection. Their staff would focus on these characteristics in guiding the development of a Master Plan.
--Services offered include attendance at meetings at the client’s request, advising and assisting boards and commissions, site plan reviews, reports, answering questions on zoning/planning issues, onsite training, review of forms/procedures and coordination with related agencies. Emphasis is placed on quick response to questions.
--Master Plan development focuses on crafting concise, clear documents with implementation strategies to fit daily use needs. This is the most exciting thing the Planning Commission does as it steps back to assess the history of the community, then create a vision for the future. In that process, LSL would assist in community goal-setting, determining what needs changing and what should be protected from change, assuring that regulations are in compliance and promoting sustainable/”green” techniques.
--A sample process would include identifying existing conditions/trends, public involvement using a variety of formats, development of community vision and policies, and recommendations for future land use.
--Implementation of the plan may include infrastructure investment, review and amendment of the zoning ordinance and assistance in interpretation of the documents.
--A technical review of the zoning ordinance and work on revisions can be done simultaneously with the development of the Master Plan.
--LSL would be the company of choice for BHV because of their experience in similar communities, innovative approach and strong transportation-environmental background.
The commissioners related their understanding of the tasks involved and the current status of the community situation. In response to commissioner questions, Mr. Strader
and Mr. Kramer noted that while they are not attorneys they would work closely with the
municipal attorney to assure compliance. The company has experience with communities having deed restrictions. Zoning ordinance amendments could be done
after the Master Plan is complete, or in incremental steps along the way so the document will be useful. In regard to cost, the project would be relatively simple and not too expensive: $10,000 would be a very inexpensive Master Plan, with a cost of $25,000-30,000 expected if there is a lot of public involvement. Project reviews can be covered by application fees. Mr. Strader and Mr. Kramer distributed some printed information and left at 9:15 PM.
Mr. Perry’s phone connection also ceased at that time.
A third planning service provider, Birchler Arroyo, will be interviewed at the next Planning Commission meeting (written information from the company was distributed to the commissioners). Mr. Boddie will report to the BHV Trustees, and will suggest that the amount of $20,000 be included in the budget for the expense of the Planning Commission in the coming fiscal year (2008-2009).
Motion Barton Hills Village Deputy Clerk Jan Esch was appointed to be Assistant Secretary of the Planning Commission (Boddie/MacKrell/ Passed unanimously)
The meeting was adjourned at 9:34 PM (Boddie/MacKrell/Passed unanimously).
Janice K. Esch, Assistant Secretary