Salted with Sharks

Planning Commission Hearings on “Apartments” Definition and Putney’s Special Use Permit Application

In Community Alert, Gov't Watch, Infrastructure and Planning, On and off the Apron, Uncategorized on April 12, 2013 at 12:39 am

By Emily Votruba

Next Tuesday, April 16, beginning at 7 pm, the Elberta Planning Commission will hold two public hearings at the Elberta Library (704 Frankfort Avenue).

The public is asked to consider the Commission’s proposed definition of “apartments.” If approved by the commission and the village council, this definition will be added to the zoning ordinance. The commission also proposes to make “apartments” permissible as a special use in the C-1 Commercial District.

The proposed definition of apartments to be discussed Tuesday, April 16. Obtained on April 11 from the Village Office.

The proposed definition of apartments to be discussed Tuesday, April 16. Obtained on April 11 from the Village Office.

The proposed definition: “A unit with one or more rooms having a private bath(s), and private kitchen facilities. An independent, self-contained unit used for residential purposes in a building containing three (3) or more said units.”

The C-1 Commercial District is roughly contiguous with the former Bay Valley Inn property. The map below appeared in the 2008-13 Park and Recreation Plan, which was compiled with the help of the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments. The official zoning map of the Village is being updated and was not available at post time.

Zoning Map

The second hearing concerns Loy Putney’s special use permit application to create “apartments” in the C-1 Commercial District at the old Bay Valley Inn property, which he purchased in March 2012.

Mr. Putney’s site plan review application, special use permit application, and site plan appear below. The application was obtained today from Ken Bonney, Village Zoning Administrator. You’ll see that Mr. Putney applied for “apartments,” as a special use in the C-1 District.

application for site plan review application for special use permit

Mr. Putney’s site plan drawings for what he proposes to call the Elberta School Apartments can be viewed here: Site Plan for Elberta School Apartments.

Loy Putney brought a lawsuit against the Village board of trustees last year alleging racial bias in the denial of the land use and special use permits he submitted to create agricultural labor housing in the Bay Valley Inn Property.

On January 9, Judge James Batzer dismissed the racial bias claim and upheld the Elberta Zoning Board of Appeals’ June decision to deny Putney’s initial land-use permit application, as labor housing is not a use covered by our zoning. The Judge also found that the zoning ordinance has to be made available immediately, either printed off the computer or in hard copy for a reasonable photocopying fee, to whomever requests it.

Judge Batzer indicated that if Putney went on to apply for “apartments,” any conditions imposed on that subsequent permit application should be reasonable, and that the Village should strictly follow the timeframe for response outlined in the ordinance.

After the ruling, Village attorney Ed Roy, reached by phone, made the following comment: “The Village is pleased that the Judge agreed with the Village’s position, that both the zoning administrator and the ZBA did their job correctly. The Village is saddened by the fact that Village residents incurred tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees in what should have been a simple matter.” Ψ

Ruling by Judge James Batzer in Loy F. Putney v. Village of Elberta

 

 

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