JOINT MEETING OF THE CITY COUNCIL AND PARKS & RECREATION COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF NOVI
MONDAY, OCTOBER 7, 1996 - 6:30 P.M.
PARKS & RECREATION ACTIVITIES ROOM
NOVI CIVIC CENTER - 45175 W. TEN MILE ROAD
Mayor McLallen called the meeting to order at 6:30 P.M..
ROLL CALL: Mayor McLallen, Mayor Pro Tem Crawford, Council Members Cassis, Clark, Mitzel, Mutch, Schmid
PARKS & RECREATION
ROLL CALL: Chairman Pheiffer, Members Atiyeh, Colligan, Koneda, Racey, Shaw, Staab
ALSO PRESENT: City Manager Edward Kriewall, Deputy City Clerk Nancy Reutter
PURPOSE OF MEETING
Review of the North Novi Master Plan Recommendation
Mayor McLallen explained this is a joint meeting and the purpose of the meeting is to get an update on the status of the North Novi Master Plan, to discuss the planning that has gone into this plan and how the Parks & Recreation Commission came to their conclusions. Mayor McLallen further explained they are expecting a recommendation from Council about which plan to move forward with.
Chairman Pheiffer said they are looking for the next steps from City Council. He explained after they used the millage money and secured the land, they understood that the next step would be to get on the Master Plan. Chairman Pheiffer advised they began by using the needs assessment and the input they had gotten through their programming channels and so forth. They then held a brainstorming session of all the things that could possibly go on the property and compiled a list without determining if it fit the land or if there was really a need. They then took a couple of weeks to review the list, deleted what did not fit and regrouped what was left by similar activities that they thought would be appropriate. They then tried to eliminate some activities from it and assign some numbers. They identified them with different ranks and "givens" and "wants" values. The number value showed how well the different groups fit their wants. Surprisingly, they were able to eliminate some "wants" groups that did not meet what they considered to be essential for the "givens." He reported there was not that much of a gap in the rating number system from bottom to top for the remaining groups. At the same time, they also issued bids and when they reviewed the quotes, they made a recommendation to Council to contract Lee Thurston, Lead Architect for Vernon & Associates and Council supported their recommendation. Chairman Pheiffer advised they are pleased with the product they have gotten from Vernon & Associates. In addition, they have met a number of times to fine tune the concepts and they have reduced their list to four or five. He said they used the best from both lists and developed a single concept of which one included the golf course and one did not. The last thing they did was to see if there was a consensus of the Commission as to whether they preferred the plan with or without the golf course and he reported the majority favored the golf course. Chairman Pheiffer said the Commission has carried this phase as far as they can by identifying two concepts and their preference. Further, since the Commission as well as the Council assigns the Master Plan for Parks & Recreation, he would like to get a consensus between the two bodies. They are presenting these two concepts tonight to get an opinion and recommend that Council hold a Public Hearing because that seems to be the weakest spot of the analysis. He said they are not getting as much public input as they would like to on this matter. He then introduced Lee Thurston and asked her to present the Park Master Plan alternatives.
1. Presentation of Park Master Plan Alternatives
Ms. Thurston said Chairman Pheiffer already fully explained the process they used to get to where they are today and she will briefly describe the plans. She explained there are two plans and they are strictly a Recreation Master Plan. For those who have not walked the site, she would like to stress it is a wonderful piece of property and the City did well by acquiring it.
Ms Thurston said the central portion of the site is primarily wetland and it has been one of their biggest constraints to work with. They would like to create a picnic area, flexible open space, spaces for informal ballfields and soccer fields in the northwest portion of the site where the water treatment plant is. She advised that they melded ideas from the various conceptual plans and came up with more of an informal, open field, prairie type area as well as a more manicured turf.
Ms. Thurston said group activities are concentrated on the southern end of the site along Twelve Mile Road and these more active functions are concentrated in the open areas of the site. The set goal of the Recreation Master Plan is to completely preserve the trail system. They proposed a nature center for the south end that would have flexibility to it depending on what kind of building functions they need. They also plan to construct an open air amphitheatre and there is space planned for playgrounds, basketball, and tennis courts, but they did not specify a particular type of activity to one spot. Instead they tried to use the Commission’s preference for flexibility. She added there was a corner of the site which was acquired last that has been dedicated for a reserved future use. She also said all of the picnic areas will include shelters and there will be areas for court games, picnic shelters, and green space at Twelve ˝ Mile but there is nothing else proposed for that area other than the identified pedestrian entrance from Lakeshore Park.
Ms. Thurston reported what really pulls the various sites together is the three different kinds of trail systems. One type is a bike/pedestrian connection which will travel from Twelve Mile to Lakeshore Park. There are also nature trails which will primarily consist of an "at grade" boardwalk to provide access to special areas. The major multipurpose trail system will be a combination of natural surface and woodchips and where erosion is a problem, there will be more of a sidewalk. When it comes time to do a detailed plan, there needs to be some further studies made so that they can protect the sensitive habitats, yet still have access to them. Ms. Thurston explained there are multipurpose trails literally throughout the site which will connect all the different areas.
Ms. Thurston explained she would quickly run through the golf course option. She advised after they looked at several different golf course options and considered the pros and cons, the Commission is recommending they go with an eighteen hole course with a club house off Twelve Mile Road. She said the irrigation pond in both plans can be used for ice skating in the winter and there will be cross country skiing and sledding on the golf course. In addition, there are nature trails, viewing opportunities, and nature study areas. Further, in the central portion of the site, there will be multipurpose trails which will include activities like biking, cross country skiing, and nature study.
Mr. Davis added that the costs in the packet are very preliminary.
Councilman Clark asked if they reduced their options to three? Mr. Davis replied they were actually down to four plans. Two were strictly recreational use master plans and two were a combination recreational uses with golf courses. The difference was one had an eighteen hole golf course.
Councilman Schmid asked how do they propose to pay for either proposal? Mr. Davis replied they have not determined that yet. Further, he won’t speak for the Commission but there has been some general conversation that the next step should be the implementation. They also need to decide what type of golf course they would construct. If it is a city initiated course, they can look at bonds or partnerships with the private sector as funding sources.
Councilman Schmid asked if they have determined the size of the club house or banquet hall? Ms. Thurston said it will be a multi-level structure and could be 4,000 square feet more or less. Further, they can probably go as high as 10,000 square feet.
Councilman Schmid asked what is the total acreage? Mr. Davis replied there is approximately 500 acres.
Councilman Mitzel asked how will they factor Taft Road in? Mr. Davis replied that he believes they have the latest version of the road location from JCK and it still has to be determined. For now, they left an open space for the road and then they will determine if there are some practical uses.
Councilman Mitzel said they acquired some of the land through road funds and storm water funds. Although he knows it all comes from the same pot of money, he thought they were dedicated for different uses. Mr. Kriewall replied they have already sorted out some of it because some of the wetlands have been attributed to the storm water management funds.
Councilman Mitzel said this is the month that they have to make the decision about a site for the ice rink and this is one site that they have in their pocket. Councilman Mitzel suggested if they choose this spot they could have shared parking and the use of the clubhouse and banquet facilities.
Ms. Thurston said there is the capability of designing that together.
Mr. Davis said there probably is not enough room to construct the ice arena and the joint facility.
Councilman Mitzel said many different components are involved and he hopes it is the Commission’s plan not to try to do it as one giant project. He suggested that they prioritize these in the order of ease of being able to be built and funded. He sees no reason why they should hold off on the construction of the multipurpose trail or the sledding and cross country skiing because they would basically require volunteer work at a very low cost. He then suggested that some of the major features such as the amphitheatre or golf course could be later phases and may involve an actual ballot election.
Chairman Pheiffer said the purpose of tonight’s meeting is to decide what they’re going to do and how they’re going to do it.
Councilwoman Mutch asked if they are thinking in terms of a constructed facility or something that would take advantage of the natural topography for the conceptualized amphitheatre? Mr. Davis said they’re trying to use the topography as best as they can.
Councilwoman Mutch said there are considerably fewer trails on Plan 3 because of the golf course, etc., but is there any possibility of having more mileage in terms of trails? She suggested that they could construct a one lane trail.
Ms. Thurston doesn’t recall Plan 3, but in the final version she would agree with Councilwoman Mutch. She said they may want to develop more nature trails, but that is more expensive construction because of the wetlands and woodlands.
Mayor McLallen said the primary issue is which plan should the Parks & Recreation Commission take to the next level? She added implementation will be beyond that.
Councilwoman Mutch would compromise what she previously thought by supporting Plan 3. Further, she is not sure that she would support another Public Hearing, but she is sure they will hear from the public.
Mayor ProTem Crawford said Councilman Mitzel was correct that Council has to decide soon about the ice arena. He pointed out that they do have another possible site at Wixom and Eleven Mile Road. It is his opinion that it is a far better site for an ice arena than this site. He added that they are also looking at other possible sites. Mayor ProTem Crawford reminded Council that they are here tonight to decide between these two plans and he strongly concurs with Plan 3 because it is a compromise that allows total use of the site. Further, he views the ice arena as a revenue producer because there is a need for this service. He added that he does not believe they need another Public Hearing because they’ve had a lot of public input and there will still be many opportunities for the public to provide input.
Councilwoman Cassis said that predicting what the public will buy in to is hard. She doesn’t think there is another need for a Public Hearing, but whatever they do they must put this out for a vote of the people in terms of the finance situation. She thinks that is how they will get an answer about public support. There is a concern about the golf course competing with the private sector and she knows within the five-ten mile area there are many private golf courses available. The people she has spoken with about the recreational needs of the City never suggested that they would like a golf course. Further, the real need seems to be for ball fields, soccer fields, tennis courts and a public pool.
Mayor McLallen asked if Councilwoman Cassis has a choice at this point in terms of what the Parks & Recreation Commission is looking for from Council tonight? Councilwoman Cassis replied she would lean more toward Plan 1 because based upon what she has heard, there is no public support for a golf course. Councilwoman Cassis said they may want to offer more than one plan to the public because they all have different price tags. She would like to see both plans, including their cost presented to the public and let them make that ultimate choice.
Councilman Mitzel supports the Plan 3 planning concept.
Councilman Clark is not opposed to a golf course, but he is concerned about the cost and how they will pay for it. Therefore, he supports Councilwoman’s Cassis’ comment that the two plans go to a vote of the people.
Councilman Schmid has always supported the golf course because they add positive attributes to any quality community. Additionally, he has yet to talk to any city or county official that does not suggest that a golf course will generate revenues which would help pay for many of the other amenities the plan is proposing. He doesn’t necessarily agree that Novi residents are not looking at golf courses and therefore, he supports Plan 3. Further, from a community standpoint, it is a great benefit to combine them on the 500 acres. It is not written in stone that this project has to be financed through taxes. They could use revenue sharing bonds or they could split the project. One could be under revenue sharing and they could fund the other under a bonding issue.
Mayor McLallen said they are in a planning initiative and she thinks some of the major issues are; what are the time frames, what are the plans and the question of revenue for both. The issue before these bodies is to begin to steward what is a jewel and asset for the community. Mayor McLallen is recommending Concept 3 because she believes it allows them maximum flexibility. Further, the citizens are going to ultimately decide whether funding mechanisms are available to bring it forth. Mayor McLallen thanked the Parks & Recreation Commission and believes they got what they came for, which is direction.
2. Schedule Joint Meeting on Thursday, January 9, 1997 - Consensus of Parks & Recreation Commission and Council on City Projects
Chairman Pheiffer said they are glad for the opinions they have received. He added that they would like to discuss a future joint meeting. He explained one thing they included in their meeting summaries is a listing of all of the projects they are involved in. They assigned a priority and status for each of the project, but they have not received any Council feedback and he would like to schedule another meeting to discuss each of them.
CM-96-10-350: Moved by Mutch, Seconded by Clark, MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To schedule a joint meeting on Thursday, January 9, 1997 - Consensus of Parks & Recreation Commission and Council on City Projects.
Vote on CM-96-10-350: Yeas: McLallen, Crawford, Cassis, Clark, Mitzel, Mutch, Schmid
There being no further business before City Council, the meeting was adjourned at 7:30 P.M..
Mayor Deputy City Clerk
Transcribed by Barbara Holmes
Date Approved: October 21, 1996