6520 Center Street, PO Box 68
Ellsworth, Michigan 49729
Phone: 231-588-6126
Email: bankstownship@bankstownship.net

Planning Commission July 2019

Banks Township Planning Commission

Regular Meeting Minutes
July 9, 2019
6:00 p.m.

  1. Call to Order: 6:00 by Chmn Miles
  2. Roll/ Recognition of visitors:
    1. Present: Austin, Cooper Diebold, Miles, Wieland
    2. Absent:
    3. Also present: Karner, Shooks, Muladore, Tom Mann, Peter Wendling, Jeff Lipshaw, Ed Niepoth, Roxann Dean, Nolan Harwood, Brianna Grinage, Dennis Snarey, Beth Bentley, David McClean, Candace Hoeksema, Brandie Heeres, Erin Heeres, Fred Hoeksema, Robert Russell, Cathy Russell, Travis Chellis, Lacey McLean, Wendy Sutherland, Nicholas Gates, Rick Sutherland, Richard Hoffman, Tom Wynsma, Marietta Heeres, Wayne Heeres.
  3. Approval of Minutes: MMS by Cooper, Diebold, to approve minutes of June 11, 2019 Meeting. MC
  4. Public Hearings:
    1. Amendment to Article IV Section 4.28 Marijuana Establishments. Consultant Karner gave a brief overview of the language
      1. Public Comment opened at 6:04. No Comments. Public Comment closed at 6:05. MMS by Austin, Cooper to accept the amendment as presented. MC
    2. Minimum lot size for agricultural zoning district – Article VI Section. Consultant Karner gave the reason for the changes.
      1. Public Comment opened at 6:07. There were no comments. Public comment closed at 6.08. MMS by Wieland, Diebold to accept the amendment as presented. MC
    3. 2019 Proposed Master Plan: Consultant Karner highlighted important changes in the master plan. It has been on the Township website for the required number of days, and have had positive comments on the website.
      Public comment opened at 6:18 P.M. No comments. Public comment closed at 6:19. Claire had a document prepared for the Commission to move forward. MMS by Diebold, Austin to accept the revised Master plan. Roll Call vote: Cooper, Yes; Austin, yes; Diebold, Yes; Wieland, yes; Miles, yes. MC unanimously
  5. Reports:
    1. Zoning Board of Appeals: None
    2. Zoning Administrator: Dave Muladore
      1. Question about using a tree stump as cornerstone for a shed. No permit needed
      2. Brinkers Rd Building Permit requested for a pole barn. Land would have to be filled before building could be build, so more information will be needed.
      3. Question on division of and existing lot. It will have to come before the Township Board, because it would be a 3 way split.
    3. Township Board representative: Cooper highlighted Board minutes
    4. Planning Consultant: Claire Karner: Nothing further.
  6. Announcements/correspondence: Don summarized letters received on the Drumlin Hills project
  7. Public comment: 6:30 p.m.
    1. Travis Chellis: Moto cross is a sport. Biggest problem in the township is that there is not enough for kids to do today. Yes, there is traffic, but it is a huge family event.
    2. Roxanne Dean. I am a 4th generation moto cross racer. We travel all over, seeing the same families. Moto cross brings a lot of dollars to a town.
    3. Lace: I have a troubled son who wants to be involved. Kids don’t have enough to do. My job is to keep kids out of trouble. This is a way to bring in new people.
    4. Truman: East Jordan : nothing gets me more excited than M/C I spend a lot of money. Lots of travel, and a home town track would be amazing. It would bring positive things to a community.
    5. Nick Gates: I’m from Wolverine. How many kids ride bikes in town? Why not provide an enclosed area for them to ride, instead of scraping kids off the roads. It brings good things. I’ve seen the ugly side, as a paramedic.
    6. Brandi Heeres: I am from Atwood. we have collected comments from 20 businesses in Banks Township, and 600 signatures in favor of this project.
    7. Rick: I live on Byers Rd, just near the track. Noise is not an issue. Traffic is not an issue.
    8. Comments closed at 6:43.
  8. Response and comment from commissioners:
    1. Don: because it is in an Agricultural zone, it is not a permitted use according to the ordinance. The owners have been advised of the procedure they can initiate to request a change to the Zoning Ordinance, whereby the Ag Zone could allow such use via special approval. If that change were made, the owners can then apply for a special use permit.
    2. Peter Wendling: The right to build a track is not allowed in Ag, but is allowed in C/R. related or similar uses by special permit. Anyone can request a change in the Zoning Ordinance. The Township Board is the governing body. Zoning Ordinance change is a lengthy procedure.
  9. Old Business:
    1. Short Term Rentals & Zoning Ordinance Proposal to accompany STR PPO – Reschedule Public Hearing: Township Board is going to be taking up the issue of the PPO, then the PC will decide what to do.
    2. Article IV General Provisions – Section 4.04: Accessory Buildings – Update on Township Board Action: tabled until July mtg
    3. By Laws Review: Request delay until Don returns from vacation.
  10. New Business: none
  11. Public comment: Questions about the Short Term Rental issue were answered by Tom Mann and Peter Wendling.
  12. Next Meeting: August 13, 2019
  13. Adjournment: MMS by Diebold, Austin to adjourn at 7:00 p.m. MC

Joni Wieland, sec’y | Irene Shooks, rec/sec

Attachment: letters received and summarized:

Correspondence regarding Drumlin Hills MX track:

Harry Drinkwine | 9289 Church Rd.

Brian LaRue | cottage @ 8938 Church Rd.

Phil and Laura Edwards | 9173 Church Rd.

Robert and Cathy Russell | 10033 Church Rd.

Jeffery M. Lipshaw, attorney | representing Church Rd. area residents


  1. Object to the facility
  2. Concerns for noise pollution, traffic levels and safety, effect of large crowds, water pollution, air pollution, wildlife conservation, effect on property values and adverse effect the quality of life for those in the vicinity of the track.
  3. Violation of BT ZO 6.01.1, 6.01.2, and 6.01.3
  4. Motocross track is not permitted in the Agricultural Zone
  5. BTPC should enforce the zoning ordinance

Other items included in the letters – Michigan court cases regarding tracks in Ag zones and references to issues related to such tracks that came from the internet