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Planning Commission Meeting Minutes 10/19/04.
Hideaway Woods #5 Final Pre-Plat Approval.
Commissioner Hayes stated that this is approximately a 10 acre subdivision that has approximately six areas platted for development. It is zoned R1—single-family residential with approximately ½ acre lots. It is an extension of the other Hideaway Woods. Originally, McKenna recommended we table the issue because all conditions had not been met, but the developer did submit the needed information the night of the meeting, so the Commission moved forward with recommending to the Board a preliminary plat approval as long as the information submitted met any outstanding conditions. McKenna’s letter dated November 5, 2004, states they have met the conditions with the exception of two. The two conditions are the relocation of a side street tree to the front of lot 40 and the restoration of the “T” turn-a-around.
Carl McIntosh, Hideaway Woods’ Developer, assured that the turn-a-round would be adjusted as directed by the road commission. However, he was disappointed that the trees have to be moved. Otherwise, he had no additional comments.
Trustee Kraft made a motion that the Board adopts the Planning Commission’s recommendations with the two conditions presented in the McKenna letter dated 11/5/04. Trustee Wright seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
Pebblebrook Petition—Burn Petition.
Supervisor Martin indicated that a petition has been received that consists of ninety-nine signatures requesting that Pebblebrook Estates, Pebblebrook No. 2, 3, 4 and 5, and Pebblebrook Place become consistent with Williamstown Township and remove the restrictions placed on these areas to allow the burning of campfires. In addition to the signed petitions, Supervisor Martin has received approximately 15 emails, phone calls or letters of opposition to this petition.
Supervisor Martin stated that the burn ordinance allows the board to make a change if any advisory petitions are presented regardless of the number in support or opposition to the petition.
Supervisor Martin opened the floor for public discussion to anyone who has not already contacted the Township and/or had any new information to offer.
Bob Pendergast--230 Cinnabar Circle: Submitted and read letter support.
George Durak—116 Feldspar Drive: Stated that fifteen years ago there was nothing secret about the Pebblebrook burning ban because there were many public meetings regarding this ordinance. Mr. Durak question if the petition was 99 signatures or 99 households? Supervisor Martin indicated it was 99 households. In his opinion, there are three problems: polluting the air; increase of fire potential; and loud parties. He believes that if the burning ban is lifted, it will change the entire make-up of the subdivision. Mr. Durak also offered additional opposition from Don Wake (letter not received by the Board) and Ivan Woodhams—130 Feldspar Drive (letter to be forwarded).
Brian DeRath--4708 Sandstone Drive: Stated that both sides have very valid points and this has become a very personal issue. He noted that when they brought the petition forward, he respected his neighbors. However, he believes in the neighborhood and felt that the data should be presented to the Board for decision. He will respect and abide by the Board’s decision.
Jean Eggemeyer--35 E. Newman Road: As witness to social campfires in the neighborhood, she can testify that a house, not within the neighborhood, but close in proximity, has had social occasions that don’t begin until 9:30 or 10:00 pm. because of the long summer days. She is disturbed by the noise and smoke. She stated that you cannot mandate responsibility and consideration and that there are many who would not violate a new ordinance, but there are many who would. Therefore, she is in opposition.
William Nowland--248 E. Newman Road: In support of the petition. He stated that regardless of fire pits, parties are going to happen. Kids, young adults, or other adults do not matter—“wisdom comes from who you are.” He also stated that when there is an ordinance, you can call and report violators. He also noted that air quality couldn’t be considered because there are household fireplaces that could be contributing to the air quality.
Gary Gillespie—4701 Jadestone: Stated that by signing a petition granting the right to burn may not necessarily mean they understand the consequences of that signature. Mr. Gillespie went on to read a letter of his concerns which was given to the Board.
Juan Juarez--207 E. Newman Road.: In support of petition. He questioned the total number of households in Pebblebrook and wanted to know of those households, what was the process for originally creating the ban? For example, was it a majority of those households in favor of the ban or was it a smaller majority of those households? Was there a petition? Was there a clear understanding of the majority and minority’s opinion? Mr. Durak responded that there were five public meetings held and the decision was based on those that attended the meetings not necessarily every household. Mr. Juarez when on to state that in his opinion leaf burning is of a concern, but the petition clearly states campfires and not leaves. His experience in talking with his neighbors is that of surprise that they can’t have campfires
John Jones--211 Cinnabar Circle: In support of petition. Mr. Jones has researched and learned that you can monitor smoke level. He suggests a monitor could be conducted. If there is a problem, then even household fireplaces should be banned.
Christopher Cleveland--4696 Sandstone Drive: In support of petition. Her husband has asthma and he does not see campfires as a concern. In her opinion, property owners have rights and this should be treated as a democracy. Articles can always be found in support or opposition to your position. In her opinion, property value cannot be considered.
Elaine Gillespie---4701 Jadestone: Opposes the petition. Read letter (not given to Board). Ms. Gillespie has personal experience of a home fire and the response of the Williamston Fire Dept. They did not have enough water and had to drain water from a pond.
Heather DeRath--4708 Sandstone Drive: Ms. DeRath stated, for the record, that it is her understanding that the Gillespie’s house fire was not due to campfire, but a chimney fire.
Calvin Betts--4695 Rocky Hill: In support of petition. He helped obtain signatures. In his opinion, everyone that signed the petition thoroughly understood what they were signing and those who were not in agreement did not sign.
Supervisor Martin thanked the residents for their input and indicated that all testimony, reports from environmental organizations, as well as NIESA will be considered when reviewing this petition.
Trustee Kraft believes we need to consider a change in this ordinance in consideration of all those that came out to express their opinions and to have the involvement of the fire chief would be valuable. He offered that the Planning Commission should also review the petition. He believes the Board should take some time to debate this issue.
Clerk Zaban suggested that a committee comprised of supporters and opponents along with the Board could convene to resolve this issue.
Treasurer Fink suggested that many communities control fires. There are also other considerations, such as the county, that may need to be considered.
Ms. DeRath asked for clarification regarding why the Board wouldn’t make a decision tonight because isn’t it ultimately their decision? Supervisor Martin responded that the Board will ultimately make the decision, but because of the amount of information that there is to consider, it may be in the Board’s best interest to take some time to consider the petition. The board has options: it can accept the petition as is; it can impose conditions to the petition; or it can deny the petition.
Ms. DeRath also asked the definition of an outdoor grill. Supervisor Martin read the ordinance and definition of an outdoor grill.
The public hearing concluded with the Board agreeing to develop a committee to review the petition. Supervisor Martin asked anyone interested in serving on the committee to contact her by phone or in writing. The Board is reluctant to set a timeline. However, Supervisor Martin believes that with a mediator along with other opinion from the fire chief and the county, a decision can be made in a timely manner.
Mr. Joel Raddatz, Superintendent Williamston Community Schools.
Mr. Raddatz presented information on the upcoming school bond election. The school district has taken the last 18 months to review the input from the last bond that was defeated. Their focus is on a need for new athletic facilities and the location of those facilities; growth and the number of classrooms; and taxes. This proposal is different in four primary areas: there will be no construction on Sherwood Road for new athletic facilities; there will be no 5/6 building; no new bus barn; and there is no need for an increase in the school mileage rate to pay for this. The current mileage will be extended for five years. Mr. Raddatz distributed a flier of the key points and encouraged everyone to vote on December 6, 2004.
Williamstown Estates—Burn Petition.
Supervisor Martin received a petition from Williamstown Estates’ Subdivision Association requesting the restricted burn dates to be lifted from their subdivision. They are requesting that the burn restrictions be the same as other RE zoning.
Supervisor Martin asked Mr. Kurt Guter, Association Representative, how the residents of the subdivision were notified of the petition? Mr. Guter responded that on October 10, 2004, at their annual homeowners meeting, which was attended by 19 of the 25 residents, the petition was presented and signatures were obtained. The few that didn’t sign do not live in the area or are senior citizens who were not interested. There was not one person who opposed the petition. The subdivision is asking for this change because of safety and appearance. Because of the current limited burn dates and the amount of brush to be burned, the size of the fires can be large and safety is a concern. They would also like to request controlled burns to enhance wild flower growth.
Supervisor Martin opened the floor to public comment.
Todd Bashore--4040 Warbler Way: In support of petition. As an example of how brush accumulates, Mr. Bashore noted that some of the current burn restriction dates fall on a holiday, such as July 4, so many can’t burn because of other obligations.
Jim Genova--1477 Osprey Way: In support of petition. Talked about other examples and reasons you may not be able to burn on restricted dates, such as windstorms.
Jim Lynch—1540 Osprey Way: In support of petition. Stated that he lives in the middle of a pine tree forest and windfall causes lots of brush that takes a long time to burn. The current burn restrictions make it even harder for him to burn the accumulated brush.
Don Cooper—1501 Osprey Way: In support of petition. He supported Mr. Genova’s postion on how weather conditions limit burning on restricted dates.
Supervisor Martin asked if the Association had thought about how the burn ordinance protects those who are offended by the smoke? For example, with the current restrictions, residents who are offended by the smoke can plan for those days because they are designated. Supervisor Martin also asked if the association had considered the 425 plan and the concentration of homes that will come in around them? Mr. Guter responded that the abundance of brush comes with this being new development. For example when you move in, you need to burn regularly. Once you get on top of it, you are going to burn a lot less. Therefore, future burning most likely will not be a problem.
Trustee Kraft and Clerk Zaban were in favor of lifting the burn. McKenna reviewed the petition and also supported the petition.
Trustee Kraft made a motion to amend the burning ordinance by making a change in 4a and 4b of the Williamstown Township Burn Ordinance: 4a would be changed to read “except Williamstown Estates” and 4b would be changed to add the words “and Williamstown Estates” after RR districts. Treasurer Fink seconded the motion and it passed unanimously by roll call.
Roll Call Vote: Trustee Kraft Yes; Trustee Wright Yes; Treasurer Fink Yes; Supervisor Martin Yes; Clerk Zaban Yes.
This change will be mailed to every resident of the subdivision and all residents within 500 feet. The change will become effective 15 days after publication.
Supervisor Martin indicated that Kurt Guter and Dale Fulton are up for reappointment. Dale Fulton is going to retire from his position. Kurt Guter has requested reappointment. Daniel Kraft has requested an appointment to the ZBA. No other request for appointment have been received.
Trustee Wright made a motion that Daniel Kraft be appointed to the ZBA and Kurt Guter be reappointed. Supervisor Martin seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.