Township of Lawrence, MI
Van Buren County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
A. 
It is the purpose of this article to require site plan review approval for certain building structures and uses that can be expected to have a significant impact on natural resources, traffic patterns and the character of future development in the area.
B. 
The requirements contained in this article are intended to reduce the hazards to life and property due to fire, flooding, soil erosion, pollution, dust, fumes, noise vibrations, noxious odors and other hazards; and to promote and facilitate the adequate provision of a system of roads, streets and parking, sewage disposal, drainage, public education, recreation and other public requirements and to promote the harmonious relationship of uses through proper design.
A. 
Site plan review shall be required for:
(1) 
Special use permits, site condominium projects, and planned unit developments, mobile home parks, family accessory housing, multiple-family dwellings and private roads, commercial or industrial projects.
(2) 
All public and governmental facilities.
(3) 
All open space developments.
B. 
For uses requiring site plan review, all of the following activities shall be done only in accordance with a plan approved under this article:
(1) 
Any change to a building which would affect the approved off street parking, landscaping, or other site plan requirement. This includes, but is not limited to: construction, moving, external alteration, addition and change in use.
(2) 
The use of any building or land.
(3) 
The issuance of any permit for building, grading or occupancy.
A. 
Prior to approving a site plan submitted under this section, the Building Official and the Planning Commission shall request the review and recommendations of the County Drain Commissioner, the County Road Commission, the appropriate public health official, and any other appropriate technical reviews.
B. 
These additional reviews are not mandatory for detached single-family construction located in platted subdivisions.
A. 
Application. The owner or his designated agent shall file an application requesting site plan review with the Building Official on a special form designed for the purpose as approved by the Township Board. The application shall be accompanied by the appropriate fees as established by the Board of Trustees and the various agencies having jurisdiction.
B. 
Site plan. Each application for site plan review shall be accompanied by a site plan. The site plan shall consist of a scale drawing of not less than one inch equals 40 feet for parcels less than three acres and one inch equals 100 feet for parcels three acres or more. Twelve copies of the site plan shall be submitted to the Township. Additional copies may be required. The drawing shall also include:
(1) 
North arrow and property dimensions. The date prepared and the name and address of the preparer.
(2) 
Existing and proposed topography at contour levels of not more than two feet and site drainage plan.
(3) 
Zoning classifications of the subject property and all adjacent properties.
(4) 
Existing public and/or private rights-of-way and easements.
(5) 
Watercourses and water bodies, including surface drainageways within 500 feet of the subject property, and other requirements of Part 91, Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control, of Act 451 of 1994, the Natural Resources And Environmental Protection Act, MCLA §§ 324.9101 to 324.9123a.
[Amended 4-12-2018]
(6) 
Accurate location of abutting streets and proposed alignment of streets, drives, and easements serving the development.
(7) 
Accurate location and use of all existing and proposed structures and the intended uses thereof, lot lines, including setbacks from property lines, and dimensions.
(8) 
Location and design of parking areas in compliance with Article X.
(9) 
Location of water supply, wastewater systems, and all other utilities (existing and proposed).
(10) 
Proposed location of common open spaces and facilities, if applicable.
(11) 
Proposed location of accessory buildings and uses, including signs, air handlers, chillers, generators and other similar equipment.
(12) 
Proposed landscape plan and significant existing vegetation. Location, size, and type of existing plant materials to be saved or moved. Sections, elevations, plans and details of landscape elements such as berms, walls, ponds, retaining walls, and tree wells.
(13) 
Proposed location of refuse receptacles and feed storage containers. Location and method of screening of refuse receptacles and other such facilities and the landscape treatment of each.
(14) 
Recorded legal description and property tax ID number of the subject property.
C. 
Planning Commission review.
(1) 
The Planning Commission shall respond to the applicant within 60 days of the receipt of an application determined complete by the Building Official.
(2) 
The Planning Commission shall take action by majority vote to either approve, deny, or approve the site plan subject to compliance with certain modifications, timing limitations, or inspection requirements.
In reviewing an application for site plan review, the following standards shall apply:
A. 
The site shall be developed so as not to impede the normal and orderly development or improvement of surrounding property for uses permitted in this chapter.
B. 
All buildings or groups of buildings shall be so arranged to permit emergency vehicle access as recommended by the appropriate public safety agency.
C. 
Every structure or dwelling unit shall have access to a public street, walkway or other areas dedicated to common use or public way.
D. 
Appropriate measures shall be taken to ensure that the addition or removal of surface waters will not adversely affect neighboring properties or the county storm drainage system.
E. 
Provisions shall be made for the construction of storm sewer facilities, including grading, gutters, piping and treatment of turf, to handle stormwater and prevent erosion and the formation of dust. Surface water on all paved areas shall be collected at intervals so that it will not obstruct the flow of vehicle or pedestrian traffic or create puddles in paved areas.
F. 
Secondary containment for aboveground areas where hazardous substances are stored or used shall be provided and shall be sufficient to store the substance for the maximum anticipated period of time necessary for the recovery of any released substances.
G. 
General purpose floor drains shall only be allowed if they are approved by the responsible agency for connection to a public sewer system, an on-site closed holding tank (not a septic system), or regulated through a State of Michigan groundwater discharge permit.
H. 
State and federal agency requirements for storage, spill prevention, record keeping, emergency response, transport and disposal of hazardous substances shall be met. No discharges to groundwater, including direct and indirect discharges, shall be allowed without permits and written approvals.
I. 
All refuse receptacles shall be screened from casual view from the public rights-of-way and adjoining land uses. Full opaque screening shall be required in accordance with Article IX of this chapter.
J. 
Motor vehicles access. All points of entrance or exit for motor vehicles shall be no closer than 30 feet from the intersection of the right-of-way lines of two streets and not closer than 10 feet from an adjacent property line. The minimum driveway width at the curbline shall be 30 feet. The minimum width of access drive shall be 16 feet. The angle of intersection of the center line of any driveway with the center line of the street shall be no less than 60° unless separate acceleration and deceleration lanes are provided.
K. 
Landscape requirements of § 1-8.6.
A. 
Intent. It is the intent of this section to require landscape buffers and screening to reduce negative effects between incompatible land uses,: and to enhance aesthetic qualities, character, privacy, and land values in the Township. Landscape plans shall preserve, to the extent possible, the existing vegetation on the site.
B. 
General landscape development standards.
(1) 
Landscaping and landscape elements shall be planted, and earth moving or grading performed, in a sound, workmanship like manner and according to accepted good planting and grading procedures.
(2) 
The owner of property required to be landscaped by this section shall maintain such landscaping in a reasonably healthy condition, free from refuse and debris.
C. 
Buffer zone requirements.
(1) 
A buffer zone shall be required on the subject parcel between zoning districts as indicated in Table 8.1.
(2) 
A buffer zone shall be required on the subject parcel even if the adjacent parcel is unimproved land.
(3) 
When any developed parcel requiring a buffer zone changes to a more intense land use or a special land use approval and/or site plan review is required, the buffer shall comply with the buffer zone matrix (Table 8.1), and buffer zone development standards set forth in this section.
(4) 
If existing conditions are such that a parcel cannot comply with the buffer zone standards, then the Planning Commission shall determine the character of the buffer based on the following criteria:
(a) 
Traffic impacts.
(b) 
Increased building and parking lot coverage.
(c) 
Increased outdoor sales, display, or manufacturing area.
(d) 
Physical characteristics of the site and surrounding area such as topography, vegetation, etc.
(e) 
Visual, noise, and air pollution.
(f) 
Health, safety, and welfare of the Township.
(g) 
Additional dwelling units and resulting density (residential development).
(5) 
If two zoning districts requiring a buffer zone are separated by a thoroughfare, the design of the buffer zone shall be determined by the Planning Commission based on the criteria contained in § 1-8.6C.
Table 8.1
Landscape Buffers Matrix
Adjacent Zone of Adjoining Property
Subject Zone
A-1
R-1
R-2
R-3
R-4
O-1
C-1
I-1
A-1
R-1
R-2
R-3
C
C
C
R-4
B
B
B
B
O-1
B
B
B
C
C
C-1
B
B
B
B
B
C
I-1
A
A
A
A
A
B
B
NOTE: Read from Subject Zone across to Adjacent Zone. Subject Zone is the property being developed.
BUFFER ZONES:
A - Buffer Zone Level A
30 feet
B - Buffer Zone Level B
20 feet
C - Buffer Zone Level C
10 feet
No buffer zone required
D. 
Buffer zone development standards. Required buffer zones shall comply with the following standards:
(1) 
Buffer Zones Level A.
(a) 
Minimum width of 30 feet.
(b) 
The buffer zone shall consist of landscape material, screen walls, berm, fence, or combination of these elements.
(c) 
The buffer zone shall also contain a landscape screen of at least 10 feet in width, consisting of appropriate landscape material to mitigate the impact of noise, dust and glare on adjacent property.
(d) 
The landscape material, berm, screen wall or fence shall be located as close as possible to the property line of adjacent property.
(e) 
The buffer zone shall contain a three-foot-high screen comprised of plant material, berms, screen walls or fences, or any combination of these elements.
(f) 
All areas outside of the planting beds shall be covered with grass or other appropriate ground cover.
(2) 
Buffer Zone Level B.
(a) 
Minimum width of 20 feet.
(b) 
The buffer zone shall consist of landscape material, screen walls, berm, fence, or combination of these elements.
(c) 
The buffer zone shall also contain a landscape screen of at least 10 feet in width consisting of landscape material to mitigate the impact of noise, dust and glare on adjacent property.
(d) 
The landscape material, berm, screen wall or fence shall be located as close as possible to the property line of adjacent property.
(e) 
All areas outside of the planting beds shall be covered with grass or other appropriate ground cover.
(3) 
Buffer Zone Level C.
(a) 
Minimum width of 10 feet.
(b) 
All areas outside of the planting beds shall be covered with grass or other appropriate ground cover.
(c) 
All applicable standards in this article.
E. 
Minimum standards for berms.
(1) 
Berms shall be constructed so as not to erode (see Figure 8-1).
(2) 
Berms shall be constructed in such a manner so as not to alter on-site drainage patterns or on adjacent properties or obstruct vision for reasons of safety, ingress or egress.
(3) 
If a berm is constructed with a retaining wall or by terracing, the earthen slope shall face the exterior of the site (see Figure 4-2).
(4) 
Berms shall not encroach into the clear vision areas at intersections or driveways and property line intersections.
F. 
Minimum standards for screen walls and fences.
(1) 
All screen walls and fences shall be constructed with new, durable, weather-resistant and easily maintainable materials. Barbed-wire fences are not permitted.
(2) 
The screen wall or fence may be constructed with openings that do not exceed 20% of the wall surface. The openings shall not reduce the intended obscuring effect of the walls.
(3) 
Screen walls or fences shall not be constructed so as to alter drainage on site or adjacent properties or obstruct vision for reasons of safety, ingress, or egress.
(4) 
All fences, screens, walls, or structural screens shall be erected no higher than 12 feet nor higher than four feet within the required front setback.
(5) 
No screen wall, fence or structural screen shall be constructed or erected in the clear vision area for reason of safety, ingress, or egress.
(6) 
Detention/retention areas shall be permitted within the buffer zones, provided they do not hamper the screening intent of the buffer or jeopardize the survival of the plant materials. Fencing may be required by the Planning Commission if it is determined to be in the interest of public safety.
(7) 
Solid waste dumpsters and recycling containers may be installed in the buffer zones, provided they are shielded by a continuous, opaque screen at least six feet high. The screen may be comprised of berming, plant material, screen walls or fences or any combination of these elements. All fences, walls, structural screens and gates of refuse receptacle enclosures shall meet the requirements of Article IX of this chapter.
G. 
Street parking landscape development standards. Parking lot landscape areas shall comply with the following standards:
(1) 
All landscaped areas shall be covered by grass, shredded bark, mulch, stone, or a living ground cover.
(2) 
The Planning Commission shall approve the location of off-street parking landscaping using the following criteria: Landscaping shall be installed such that, when mature, it does not obscure traffic signs, fire hydrants, lighting, drainage patterns on site or adjacent properties, or obstruct vision for reason of safety, ingress, or egress (see Figure 8-3).
(3) 
In no case shall any buffer zone be considered as part of the off-street parking landscaped area.
A. 
An approved site plan may be modified only by resubmission accompanied by the payment of an additional fee as prescribed in the Schedule of Fees adopted by the Township Board of Trustees.
B. 
Approval of a site plan is valid for a period of 12 months. If actual physical construction or improvements on a site plan has not commenced during this period, the approval of the site plan shall be null and void, unless extended by the Planning Commission.
The decision of the Planning Commission is final, except when it is alleged that the decision is inconsistent with the provisions of this chapter or that there was an error of fact involved in the decision. In such cases, the applicant may file an appeal with the Township Zoning Board of Appeals. The Zoning Board of Appeals shall review the matter and take action to sustain, reverse, or remand the decision of the Planning Commission.