Barton Hills Village, Michigan

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September 1, 2015



September 1, 2015

The regular meeting of the BHV Planning Commission was called to order by Chair Weingartner at 6:05 PM at the Village Hall.

ROLL CALL Present: Commissioners CMacKrell, Richards, Weingartner and Zoldan. Absent: Commissioners Curtner, JMacKrell and Wallace.
Others present: ZA Perry, Consultant Sally Elmiger and one resident.


MINUTES The minutes of the June 2, 2015 meeting were approved as printed. (Richards/Zoldan/P unanimously)




Master Plan Review The Commissioners welcomed Carlisle/Wortman Planning Consultant Sally Elmiger who serves as consultant to Ann Arbor Township, asking what environmental activities of the Township might be relevant to the Commission’s discussion of the 5-year BHV Master Plan review. Ms. Elmiger described three Ann Arbor Township Ordinances.

1) Wetlands Ordinance. The State of Michigan regulates wetlands of 5 acres of more according to a specific definition (involving presence of water, support of wetlands vegetation and presence of wetlands soils). Communities may regulate wetlands of 2-5 acres and/or less than 2 acres with higher standards; the State supports this regulation on the premise that communities know their wetland areas better. Both the State and the community would have to issue a permit to alter a wetland in that case. Wetlands permits allow change and also provide opportunity for consideration of other alternatives.

For BHV Commissioners to consider:

--Would there be any advantage(s) to BHV to add this layer of regulation?

--Are there significant wetlands in BHV that need greater protection?

--How would this impact residents who have wetlands on their property?

2) Natural Features Ordinance. This ordinance has two areas of focus.

--Steep slopes. Three levels of grade measurement provide maintenance/protection; used for site plan review sites only (in BHV would be over 10,000 square feet projects).

--Natural features buffer is required for lakes/streams. A 25’ undisturbed buffer is combined with a 75’ building buffer so construction must be 100’ from water features. This protects water resources from pollutants/contaminants in run off (which are absorbed through the soil/vegetation of buffers before reaching the water). While there are some Michigan Department of Natural Resources regulations, local communities can develop ordinances that include allowance for cutting views or walkways (cutting vegetation without removing roots), or at least a small step such as prohibiting grass all the way down to the water. Most people are supportive of protecting waterways and willing to adhere to such measures.

For BHV Commissioners to consider:

--What would be the reasons to develop ordinance(s) regarding natural features?

--How many properties would be impacted (including streams as well as the river)?

--Should regulation begin with site plan properties/new construction?

--How much would this overlap and/or support BHV Stormwater permit activities?

3) Trees and Woodlands Ordinance. This Township ordinance prohibits clear cutting of trees in woodlands and discourages cutting of larger trees on parcels of 3 acres or more. Two measurement figures are used: diameter at breast height (dbh) which is measured at 4 ˝’ above grade and nursery caliper which is measured at 6” above grade. Permitted removal of trees requires planting new trees using a formula (100 dbh x 140% to accommodate difference between dbh/nursery x 50%). The ordinance generally applies to large woodland areas (1 acre or more with more than 40 trees greater than 8” dbh/acre). Removal of dead/dying trees and invasive species is allowed.

For BHV Commissioners to consider:

--Tree removal has been previously discussed at length by several boards, but a high level of enforcement has not been supported.

--Where would the balance be between protection of trees and protection of property owner rights?

--Would there be overall community support for prohibiting clear cutting? Should other tree regulations be less restrictive?

--Should this be included in the Zoning Ordinance (which would only cover trees related to construction) or in the BHV Tree Ordinance (which currently covers only dead/dying trees that present a hazard to the roadways).

--What is the level of concern for fire/public safety based on the amount of dead/dying trees in BHV?

The Commissioners thanked Ms. Elmiger very much for her input. (Ms. Elmiger left 7:15 PM) It was agreed that further discussion of these topics should continue at the next Planning Commission meeting.

The Planning Commission identified no needed changes in the Master Plan and no need for a formal review of the Plan. The 5-year review of the Barton Hills Village Master Plan as required by the Plan and state enabling legislation was concluded. (Weingartner/CMacKrell/P unanimously)


The meeting was adjourned at 7:22 PM. (Richards/Weingartner/P unanimously)

Janice K. Esch, Assistant Secretary     Approved 12/1/15