BERRIEN SPRINGS — A local couple needs to provide more information about the soccer training facility they want to open on M-139 before Oronoko Township Planning Commissioners will act.
Commissioners postponed action Tuesday on the request from Bindy and Octavio Latino for a special use permit to operate their proposed facility. The special use permit is needed to operate a recreational facility because the property is zoned residential.
Despite being zoned residential, the property has a history of commercial use, including being home to the Weimer Septic Tank Company. It is south of the Two by Two Animal Hospital and the Twin Springs gravel mining operation on M-139 on the north side of the township.
The Latinos made their case to commissioners at Tuesday’s meeting. They said they want to use one of the buildings on the site that is 26 by 60 feet to train individual soccer players. While they talked of possibly marking out an outdoor soccer field, they said the primary focus will be on giving individual one-on-one training.
Commissioners had a number of questions about the project and decided to postpone action rather than turn it down and make the couple wait for a year before coming back.
Commission Vice Chairman Eric Stoub listed a number of questions and concerns that he wants the couple to address before returning. For example, he wants them to submit a more detailed site plan that shows the building will meet handicapped requirements, clean up debris on the site, and build fences and trees along the property borders.
“In general, we’re supportive of what you want to do, but we want more specifics to bring it to closure,” Stoub said.
The Latinos did agree to some preliminary conditions mentioned by the planning commission, including hours of operation. The soccer facility potentially will be able to be open from 3-9 p.m. Sunday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday.
Also Tuesday, commissioners set May 7 for a public hearing on an updated earth solids ordinance. A commission subcommittee has been meeting for several months, including meetings with gravel mine owners and operators to review what needs to be changed in the ordinance.
Commissioners reviewed a draft of the new ordinance at the March meeting and also received comments from three owners/operators in the audience. Tuesday, Stoub asked commissioners as well as owners and operators to review the ordinance final draft over the next month.
Changes to the ordinance include new and revised definitions of earth solids, processing, ownership, operating plans and other terms as well as rules regarding grandfathering of existing operations, performance bonds and guarantees required and reclamation plans.
The proposed revised ordinance would allow owners and operators to request short-term permit changes such as a short-term expansion of hours. The screening and washing of mined materials could move along with the operation as long as it is not in the line of sight from the first story of nearby homes.