By Rosemary K. Otzman
The updated Rules and Procedures for the Van Buren Township Planning Commission have been sent back to the drawing board again to make sure the document exactly the way it should be before approval.
The Rules and Procedures, last updated in 2008, were updated most recently on Oct. 24. The update put the vice chairman (currently Donald Boynton) in charge of keeping order in the meetings and keeping track of time as a “sergeant at arms”. That title was later removed.
The update came about after chairwoman Carol Thompson had to call the police on audience member John Delaney who she determined was out of order.
The wording on the role of the township supervisor also was changed.
It is required that the township board approve the Rules and Procedures before implementation and, at a recent meeting, the township board thought it wasn’t quite right and sent the update back to the commission for changes.
At the Jan. 9 meeting of the Planning Commission, Terry Carroll, Director of Planning and Economic Development, presented a newer version crafted by township attorney Patrick McCauley that “takes care of the problem of what happens when the vice chairperson deems someone’s behavior a problem and the chairperson doesn’t.” It also took care of the issues involving the township supervisor’s role on the planning commission.
But, Carroll said, Commission Secretary Bryon Kelley called earlier that day to say there is a problem with Article III, Section 5 which says the secretary shall sign all approved site plans and that hasn’t been done for some time. Kelley was absent because his child was ill.
Commissioner Kenneth Guenther also checked to make sure the wording “newspaper of general circulation within Van Buren Township” referred to the approved newspaper of record. He was assured it did.
The document will be updated and return to the commission for approval and then sent back to the township board, hopefully to be approved.
In other business at the Jan. 9 meeting, the commission:
• Approved the final site plan for the addition of a second, side-by-side, drive-up order lane for the McDonald’s at 2193 Rawsonville Road. The plans include two sites for trailer or RV parking, since the site is less than a half mile from the freeway. McDonald’s also is proposing the use of catch basin inserts that filter the stormwater runoff before it enters Belleville Lake. This is the first project that has proposed the use of catch basin inserts to provide some form of storm water quality improvement and Carroll said the township is very interested to see how the inserts perform over time. Carroll said McDonald’s was being used as a guinea pig and future businesses might be required to use them, too;
• Discussed discontinuing work on the former Abandoned Structures ordinance since it requires a lot of effort to make it ready for approval by the township board and may no longer be necessary. Carroll said the problem has really subsided and become more manageable as the number of vacant houses has dwindled significantly in the past months. “Also, it will be very difficult to enforce many of the provisions of this ordinance language without additional staff and I don’t see that happening any time soon,” Carroll wrote in a memo. “I do not think that there is a need for such an amendment at this time …” Sally Hodges, planning consultant from McKenna Associates, said Plymouth enacted an ordinance two years ago and she would be happy to contact them to find out about it. Carroll said he knows their consultant and could get the information; and
• Heard Delaney say special land uses and PRDs have no expiration dates and the consultants should have found that out instead of him. Hodges said special use approvals and PRDs require site plans and the site plans have expiration dates. Delaney asked if the Hoosier project has expired and Hodges said, “No.”
By Rosemary K. Otzman