Planning Commission Discusses Form Based Code Update

Planning Commission Discusses Form Based Code Update

MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP, MI - The Planning Commission held their first virtual meeting on Monday, May 18th, at 7:00pm.

The Commissioners were at remote locations and discussed Form Based Code, a topic that has been going on for more than a year. The Principal Planner of Meridian Township, Peter Menser gave an update on the building code standards and used childcare centers as an example, because they provide 4 different sets of criteria under which they can operate and doesn’t need Planning Commission approval.

Scott Hendrickson, the Planning Commission Chair thought it would be worth while to go through and discuss the use table in general for form based code to see if there would be any specific objections, and thought it would be best for the commissioners in this specific form that the commissioner are creating. Hendrickson also wanted to point out what should be excluded from the use table list if adjustments were going to be made.

“The first I noted was the motor vehicle sales, and don’t know if motor vehicle sales is something that we’re looking to see in this particular area. I know we were interested in a little further east in the township, as well as across from it on the Jolly Rd area. What I’m concerned about is that we’re not going to get in a situation where we see small motor vehicle sales facilities like you see on Larch and Cedar. I’m just looking at the available parcels that are there and I think that if we try to prevent that sort of use, by striking on the table. That again would be one suggestion,” Hendrickson said.

Peter Tresize, the newly appointed Vice Chair for the Planning Commission was in agreement with Commissioner Hendrickson as far as the auto sales and says, “There should be some recognition of residential if we’re looking at a mixed use of upper floor residential and this is all commercial. It could be all residential, as long it met the building form based requirements. As Mr. Lane had pointed out, this is only the commercial piece, and I think we need to add that back in.”

Commissioner Cordill was in favor of striking out and thought by design that the form that was being proposed with the building against the car sales locations have a big lot out front with the building set back. When you see them in big cities, sometimes when it’s all glass in the front and they display there and I don’t think it would be appropriate. The typical usage wouldn’t fit with what were envisioning for this area and would be supportive of taking it out. Commissioner Hendrickson also agreed with Commissioner Cordill stating that, “it doesn’t seem fit the aesthetic of that area.”

Another Commissioner, Jerry Richards shared his thoughts and did not want to eliminate the ability to put things outside and says, “You can have a nice look at the street, but I’m thinking on small market that wants to sell flowers and during the seasons it’s going to have them outside en route of the building. I don’t want to be so restrictive, that you can’t do anything outside. I’m thinking big, I’m thinking small and it would apply to everyone. I think that part of the challenge is you have to visualize, and what were trying to create an attractive look the entices people. Again my main concern is being restrictive to the point that where small businesses cannot put products outdoors.”

Commissioner Hendrickson says that this will continue on a brief business point and at the next Planning Commission meeting on Monday June 8th, at 7:00pm.

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