Mr. Doug Piggott , engineer with Rowe, Inc. provided history on some of the changes and reasons for the changes in the zoning ordinance adopted by the City in 1994.
Mr. Piggott stated that he researched changes made to Appendix A, specifically as it relates to footnote (f) and whether or not those changes might shed any light on the interpretation of the definition of unit versus dwelling unit, etc.
distributed text from the public hearing that was held prior to the adoption of the zoning ordinance.
Mr. Piggott stated that in a cursory reading of the ordinance, that he believes unit meant dwelling unit, but he doesn't recall any specific discussion by the Planning Commission about the difference in those two terms.
believes that there was no conscious decision on the part of the Planning Commission
to leave those two terms in the ordinance as separate and distinct and feeling that they were not interchangeable.
also stated that the provision in the R3-A district allowing for specialized housing for the elderly was taken directly from the recommendations of WBDC who had prepared the City Future Land Use Plan which the zoning ordinance update was based on.
Attorney Henneke asked Mr. Piggott at the time the ordinance was drafted what the term dwelling unit was intended or defined as essentially.
responded that there was no specific discussion by the Planning Commission
as to what the term dwelling unit means.
The definition being used for dwelling unit, at the time, was a unit with kitchen and bath facilities, which is the standard definition in planning terms.
Mrs. Cook asked Mr. Piggott
how this facility would differ from a boarding house.
responded that there is some latitude provided in the R-3A district for facilities that are intended to provide specialized housing for the elderly that may have the characteristics of a boarding or rooming house.
Depending on what the applicant is proposing with regard to who would be using this facility, that might provide for such a facility even if they otherwise took on the characteristic of a rooming or boarding house.
Mr. Kozan asked Mr. Piggott's
opinion about, in the State of Michigan, if there is adequate attention paid to defining senior facilities, either as independent living, convalescent care, etc., and the facilities that each one should contain.
felt that it is a nightmare; there are so many different types of definitions for different facilities that overlap.
It is very difficult for a community to define by what they mean by this term versus that.
The only time there is any kind of certainty is when the terms used are defined by state law.
Mr. O'Callaghan asked Mr. Piggott
if it was his opinion that dwelling unit, as in the proposed project, is defined by state law.
responded that in the very beginning of the zoning ordinance it states that any term that is not otherwise defined is used as in the housing code.
was unable to answer that question with any professional expertise.
As Mr. Piggott said, when the Planning Commission was putting together the zoning ordinance, they may have been thinking that a good developer may want to come in, want to develop this property.
If it's a good developer and he is going to do it right, then the dwelling unit, as defined by the BOCA code and as it was set up in the original law, should be the way it is.