|REGULAR MEETING OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NOVI
MONDAY, DECEMBER 7, 1998 AT 7:30 P.M.
COUNCIL CHAMBERS - NOVI CIVIC CENTER - 45175 W. TEN MILE ROAD
Mayor McLallen called the meeting to order at 7:40 p.m.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE:
ROLL CALL: Mayor McLallen, Mayor ProTem Crawford, Council Members DeRoche, Kramer, Lorenzo, Mutch, Schmid
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Mayor McLallen noted the request to schedule an Executive Session for December 21, 1998 following the Regular Meeting should be corrected to read December 7, 1998.
Councilwoman Lorenzo requested that Council add Proposed Changes to City Council Rules and Order of Business from December 1, 1997 as Item 1 and Quail Ridge Drainage in Northville Township as Item 2 under Mayor and Council Issues.
Mayor McLallen requested that Council add Update on Novi Road Construction Schedule as Item 3 under Mayor and Council Issues.
CM-98-12-379: Moved by Crawford, Seconded by Schmid, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Agenda as amended
Vote on CM-98-12-379: Yeas: McLallen, Crawford, DeRoche, Kramer, Lorenzo, Mutch, Schmid
1. The Novi Theaters - Pam Gagnon
Grace Wolfong advised she is before Council on behalf of the Friends of The Novi Theaters. Ms. Wolfong advised their volunteer organization was funded to help create partnerships between the Novi Theater and the community. Ms. Wolfong explained they are dedicated to enhance the theatrical experience of the participants and the audience at large. Ms. Wolfong reported they are also before Council to better acquaint the community with the theater and the impact it has on its participants.
Ms. Wolfong stated the Novi Theaters was founded in 1991 by Linda Wickert with three productions per year and one performing group. She continued by stating that the Novi Theaters has grown to eight productions per year with five performing groups in addition to the senior variety shows. Ms. Wolfong advised that the group was the recipient of the "Best Innovative Program" award by the State of Michigan in 1993. Ms. Wolfong then described the various performing groups.
Pam Gagnon read a letter from her son (Kirk Jones) who now attends Western Michigan University about his positive experience with the Novi Theaters.
Sue McCambridge advised Council about the positive influence the Novi Theaters has had on her two children.
Shelley Swankowski advised she is a costumer the Novi Theaters and a parent of two long-standing members. Ms. Swankowski discussed the many benefits and life long skills provided to the children by the Novi Theaters.
As a performer, Rebecca Grech described what the Novi Theater means to her.
Sarah Swankowski also described what the Novi Theater means to her.
Allison Welch, Agnes Welch and Dianaline Brennan described their positive experience with the "Senior Musical Variety Review."
Ms. Wolfong invited Council and the public to attend the Performance Plus Presentation of "A One Act Festival" on January 15, 16 and 17, 1999; "The Senior Variety Show" scheduled for December 11 and 13, 1998; and "The Wizard of Oz" scheduled for the first two weekends in March 1999. She added that the tryouts for "The Wizard of Oz" are scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday evening. Ms. Wolfong then thanked the city for its continued support.
Mayor McLallen thanked the participants of the Novi Theater for their valuable contribution to the community.
Andrew Mutch - 24541 Hampton Ct., stated he is before Council to discuss the Vista’s Consent Order. He explained before they approve the Consent Order, he would like to bring forward some details that they may have overlooked. Mr. Mutch advised the details could make a difference between a neo-traditional project and a neo-traditional marketing scheme. Mr. Mutch reported he is concerned that Singh is not going to permit fences in the front yards of the single family homes. He explained front yard fences are important on small lots for neo-traditional designs because they help define the homes and create private space. He then read: "Picket fences are required not only for their appeal, but also because they serve the critical role of defining the edge and maintaining the scale of the street. They project the human presence within the house to those passing on the street and their effect is ultimately is to encourage pedestrian traffic." Mr. Mutch believes the encouragement of pedestrian traffic is an important point. He explained fences help to create a sense of scale to the street and they also help define the small lots that are much smaller than the typical lots in Novi.
Mr. Mutch is also concerned about the town home section because many units do not have direct access to the sidewalk network. Mr. Mutch believes having that type of sidewalk network to provide pedestrian accessibility for those who wish to access the other areas of the development is important for a planned unit development.
In conclusion, Mr. Mutch added he believes it is somewhat unusual that a development of this scale has not provided any active recreational park area.
Bob Wilkins - 23803 Ripple Creek, advised he is before Council on behalf of the Willowbrook Community Association regarding the tentative preliminary plat and wetland‘s permit application for Willowbrook Subdivisions 2 and 3. Mr. Wilkins advised their association opposes the construction of a stub road from LeBost into Willowbrook Farms. He explained there are no sidewalks and the street serves as a playground and pedestrian path, and the introduction of additional traffic on that street would create a safety hazard. Mr. Wilkins continued by stating that the intersection at LeBost and Ten Mile is an existing traffic hazard and currently has one of the highest accident rates on the city’s police records. Mr. Wilkins believes additional cars will create the possibility for additional accidents. Further, Mr. Wilkins advised the school buses had to change their practice of entering the subdivision because it had been exceedingly dangerous for the buses to turn around on the cul-de-sac located on Coral Ridge and get back onto Ten Mile Road. Mr. Wilkins advised that he understands the basis for the stub ordinance and further understands the reasons it was enacted. However, Mr. Wilkins believes they are going back to a subdivision that nobody ever conceptualized what was going to happen forty years later. Mr. Wilkins believes Council has the authority to establish an emergency exit/entrance into that area by requiring a green area with a chain that will not permit ordinary traffic to pass through. He reminded Council that the subdivision will have three outlets onto Meadowbrook and Ten Mile Roads.
Dennis Suenkonis - 40890 W. Ten Mile Road, stated he is also a member of the Willowbrook Community Association. Mr. Suenkonis advised they have two other concerns in addition to the concerns raised by Mr. Wilkins. Mr. Suenkonis explained they have had flooding problems from the nearby creek because of the Willowbrook construction and they are concerned about the potential for other problems resulting from this construction.
CONSENT AGENDA (Approval/Removals)
Councilman Schmid removed Item D.
Councilwoman Lorenzo removed Item A. 1.
Mayor McLallen advised staff has requested that Council withdraw Item B. 2.
CM-98-12-380: Moved by DeRoche, Seconded by Crawford, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Consent Agenda as amended:
A. Approve Minutes of:
2. November 23, 1998 Regular City Council Meeting
3. November 30, 1998 Special City Council Meeting
B. Schedule Executive Session:
1. For Monday, December 21, 1998 at 7:00 P.M. for the purpose of Attorney’s Opinion, meeting to be held in the Council Chambers Annex
2. For Monday, December 21, 1998 to immediately follow the Regular Meeting, in the Council Chamber Annex, for the purpose of Property Acquisition - Removed
C. Approval of Ordinance No. 98-100.23 - An ordinance to amend Subpart 28-6 (4)e of the Novi Code of Ordinances to permit interior illuminated translucent channel letter signs and interior illuminated box signs on business walls having frontage on a major thoroughfare, and to provide certain sign permit application requirements - II Reading and Final Adoption
E. Approval of Change Order No. 4 for the Taft Road Extension, Bridge, Water Main, Sanitary Sewer & Wetland Mitigation Project (Willowbrook Rear Yard Drainage Improvements - SAD 150)
F. Approval of the Thompson Art Glass & Elegant Accents Studio, Inc. Relocation Claim and authorization of the $20,000 payment associated with the Crescent Boulevard Extension Project
G. Approval of resolution providing for the Release of Claim of Interest in parcels located in Section 15
H. Approval of 1998-99 Personal Property Contract between the City of Novi and Oakland County Equalization to provide for annual assessment of personal property.
I. Approval of Claims and Accounts - Warrant No. 531
A. Approve Minutes of:
1. November 23, 1998 Special Joint City Council & Parks and Recreation Commission Meeting
D. Approval of Massage Business License - Linda’s Hair and More, 24079 Meadowbrook Road
Vote on CM-98-12-380: Yeas: McLallen, Crawford, DeRoche, Kramer, Lorenzo, Mutch, Schmid
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION - Part I
1. Request for Adoption of Resolution, Re: Authorizing General Obligation Unlimited Tax Bonds, Series 1999 for the Police Headquarters
Councilman Schmid asked whether the city has received cost estimates for the project? Mr. Kriewall replied they updated the costs approximately sixty days prior to the election.
The Mayor noted this is a "not to exceed" bond.
CM-98-12-381: Moved by DeRoche, Seconded by Kramer, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To adopt Resolution, Re: Authorizing General Obligation Unlimited Tax Bonds, Series 1999 for the Police Headquarters
Vote on CM-98-12-381: Yeas: McLallen, Crawford, DeRoche, Kramer, Lorenzo, Mutch, Schmid
2. Request for approval of a Resolution, Re: Motorsports Hall of Fame Annual Fundraising Event
CM-98-12-382: Moved by Schmid, Seconded by DeRoche, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To adopt Resolution, Re: Motorsports Hall of Fame Annual Fundraising Event
Vote on CM-98-12-382: Yeas: McLallen, Crawford, DeRoche, Kramer, Lorenzo, Mutch, Schmid
3. Request for approval of Zoning Map Amendment 18.578 - An ordinance to rezone 2.0 acre property located in Section 23, at the southwest corner of Ten Mile and Meadowbrook Road from Local Business (B-1) to General Business
(B-3) or any other appropriate zoning district
Khanh Pham advised they notified the petitioner about Council’s directive to place this issue on the agenda of their next available meeting. However, Mr. Pham noted the petitioner was not in town and requested that this matter be placed on Council’s next agenda.
Mayor McLallen asked whether the ordinance requires that petitioner must be present? Mr. Watson advised the petitioner does not have to be present provided they notify them of the opportunity to be heard.
Mayor ProTem Crawford believes they should delay this matter as a courtesy to the applicant so that he can be present.
CM-98-12-383: Moved by Crawford, Seconded by Schmid, CARRIED: To delay Zoning Map Amendment 18.578 - An ordinance to rezone 2.0 acre property located in Section 23, at the southwest corner of Ten Mile and Meadowbrook Road from Local Business (B-1) to General Business (B-3) or any other appropriate zoning district no later than December 21, 1998
Councilman Schmid believes there is sufficient evidence that there was miscommunication between the Planning Department and the applicant and therefore, he believes the applicant should have the opportunity to present their argument at Council’s next meeting.
Councilwoman Mutch would agree to delay this matter only as a courtesy. However, she suggested that they change their procedures so that when a petitioner receives a written notification that they are scheduled for a particular agenda, that they must provide an acceptable reason in writing if they are unable to appear as scheduled.
Although Councilman DeRoche believes he has enough information to make a decision on this request, he agrees that the applicant should be present. Councilman DeRoche recommended that staff take on the additional expense of sending these items by express mail so that they can be certain they notify the applicant.
As a courtesy, Councilwoman Lorenzo will support the motion, but she will not delay this matter any further than Council’s next meeting. In addition, Councilwoman Lorenzo also believes that they have a sufficient amount of information to make a decision this evening.
Mayor McLallen advised that she will not support the motion and noted that they denied this request in September. Further, the Mayor reminded Council that the petitioner’s attorney has asked for several delays and that the attorney has a local office.
Vote on CM-98-12-383: Yeas: Crawford, DeRoche, Kramer, Lorenzo, Mutch, Schmid
4. Request for approval of Preliminary Site Plan for JoAnns Etc./Kohls Addition SP 98-42, located west of Novi Road and south of Twelve Mile Road in the West Oaks II Shopping Center
Keith Blum advised he is the Director of Architecture and Design for Ramco-Gershenson and added they first came before Novi’s Council approximately two years ago for their first phase of renovating the look of West Oaks I. He continued by stating shortly after Circuit City opened for business, they came back before Council for another phase of renovation for an Office Max store, DSW and the renovation of the facade for the ½ Off Card Shop. Mr. Blum advised that tonight they want to bring forward the next phase of renovating and reinvesting in their shopping center at West Oaks II. Mr. Blum continued by stating that Kohls approached them approximately one year ago to advise them that they wanted to expand. Mr. Blum explained when they asked JoAnns whether they wanted to downsize or cancel their lease that much to their surprise, JoAnns wanted to stay and increase their size. Mr. Blum reported that their plan is to allow both retailers to expand.
Mike Woods, Architect for Richard Bowen & Associates explained their proposed renovation project for West Oaks II. Mr. Woods advised that the Kohls expansion is approximately 80 feet and noted it will not extend any further than what the rear of the center is currently at. Mr. Woods added they also introduced a new entry because the existing Kohls entry is at the side. Mr. Woods advised the renovation would bring the two story element together at the center of the easterly portion facing the easterly portion of the project and crescendos into the two new entrances. Further, Mr. Woods advised that it will also blend very well with the JoAnn, Etc. project.
Mayor McLallen understands they eliminated two current tenants. Mr. Blum agreed and explained Harmony House’s lease has expired and he is uncertain about whether Harmony House will remain in Novi. Mr. Blum then advised the second tenant is the Learning Tree and they are relocating them within West Oaks II.
Councilman Schmid understands they are bringing the front of the current JoAnn’s store forward. Mr. Woods advised they are bringing the line of Kohls further forward right where the store is currently at and pushing their entrance slightly forward.
Councilman Schmid asked how far back are they currently? Mr. Woods believes that would amount to approximately 80 feet.
Councilman Schmid understands that the remaining stores will still be set back approximately 80 feet; Mr. Blum advised that the Cherry Blossom will still be set back 80 feet.
Councilwoman Mutch asked how will this additional square footage for Kohls compare with their other stores? Mr. Blum advised the additional square footage would bring them more in line with their other stores.
Tom Peterson of Kohls interjected, their current prototype is 86,000 and they are developing a 95,000 square foot prototype that will bring this store up to that standard.
Councilman Kramer understands they will make the conceptual facade plan firm at final site plan approval; Mr. Woods agreed and added they will finalize it with respect to the comments made.
Councilman Kramer understands the blue depicted on the sketch indicates windows; Mr. Woods agreed. Councilman Kramer asked the petitioner to consider adding a third display window to break up the monotony of the wall.
Councilman Kramer understands there is currently a Kohls sign on the entrance to the north and that it will be moved to the new entrance. Mr. Blum advised that there is currently a sign on the east entrance facing Novi Road and understands they will move it to the new entrance.
Councilwoman Mutch asked whether the applicant proposes additional landscaping? Mr. Woods replied that they have introduced some planting, but it is not as extensive as what is currently planted. He explained they are keeping the canopy as a covered walkway and there is not much plant space with which to work.
Councilwoman Mutch believes trees and planter boxes help to provide a little separation between the road traffic and the pedestrian walkway; Mr. Woods agreed and added it helps with any grading problems.
Councilman Schmid advised that he read Ms. Lemke’s remarks closely. He continued by stating that it seems to him that as developments get older the landscaping has a tendency not to be planted as planned and if it is planted, it is not maintained and slowly disappears. Councilman Schmid asked whether there is a minimum amount of landscaping in a particular development that must be maintained? He explained they are eliminating a significant amount of landscaping because of the proposed plan to increase the square footage of this building. Ms. Lemke replied the current requirements are for a four foot green space adjacent to the building and noted Councilman Schmid was instrumental in getting that requirement through. Further, Ms. Lemke advised that any facade visible from a street should have 60% planted with plant materials. Ms. Lemke continued by stating that this particular development is older and therefore, it does not include those requirements. Ms. Lemke noted that one of her comments was that they would be looking for additional landscaping in planters in the hard urban-scape adjacent to those buildings at final site plan approval. Ms. Lemke added if they do not meet those requirements, then the petitioner must receive a variance from the ZBA. Councilman Schmid understands that an applicant must first prove there is a hardship to receive a variance.
Councilman Schmid understands that new projects on old development sites must meet current ordinances. Ms. Lemke advised that she has made several requests to the applicant that they have agreed to meet (i.e., additional landscaping along the walkway, additional islands in the front parking lot, and additional landscaping adjacent to the Cherry Blossom site). Ms. Lemke advised that the applicant has proposed much more landscaping than required at the rear of the development to screen the rear of the building and to provide an attractive entrance from that roadway.
Councilman Schmid asked whether the city is requiring more landscaping for new projects in existing projects that are redeveloped? Ms. Lemke replied that they are requiring more landscaping.
Councilman Schmid asked whether Ms. Lemke is satisfied with the proposed landscaping? Ms. Lemke is satisfied, but added that they must look more closely at the proposed landscaping during final site plan approval.
Councilman Schmid asked how large are the parking lot islands? Ms. Lemke advised that the ordinance requires that they be 8 feet wide. However, she noted that the city recommends as large of islands as they can get. Ms. Lemke added she believes the developer did a good job in the development of West Oaks I.
Councilman Schmid asked how is the landscaping maintained after the development is completed? Ms. Lemke advised that once there is an approved final site plan, her office inspects the final site plan and the landscaping is planted according to the final site plan. She continued by stating that the owner of the property is responsible for maintaining the landscaping according to the final site plan approval. Ms. Lemke advised they have issued violations and warning letters to bring those who have violated the requirement and the Building Department pursues legal means.
Councilwoman Lorenzo understands that the landscaping ordinance (Section 2509) requires a four foot area in front of a building for landscaping; Ms. Lemke agreed.
Councilwoman Lorenzo asked whether that requirement is deficient for this project? Ms. Lemke advised it is deficient and would require a ZBA ruling. Ms. Lemke is uncertain about whether the applicant is scheduled to appear before the ZBA.
Councilwoman Lorenzo understands that the applicant is doing "other things" to compensate for this deficiency. Ms. Lemke replied that they require the applicant to add plantings to the parking lot, but they do not require them to provide the court yard or the extra plant material behind the building. Ms. Lemke continued by stating the applicant can add extra plant material, planters or urban landscape material in front of the building to compensate for the deficiency.
Councilwoman Lorenzo shares the concerns of the other Council members regarding the necessity of sufficient landscaping to compensate for the deficiency of the four foot area in terms of the visual aspect of the project.
Councilwoman Lorenzo noted that the Planning & Community Development report indicated that Mr. Arroyo’s planning review no longer applied. Mr. Arroyo advised that comment refers to an item in his letter regarding the set back requirement. He explained because the building fronts upon Donelson Drive, the set back is treated as a front yard. Mr. Arroyo further advised that the project does not meet the current RC standard of 100 feet. Further, he recalled at the time the project came through and subsequent to the original development of this project, Donelson Drive was constructed. Mr. Arroyo advised because the applicant is not extending their rear wall (wall that fronts on Donelson Drive), he and Mr. Watson agree that they would not be in a position to request a ZBA variance to the set back requirement. Mr. Arroyo noted they made that finding after he submitted his review letter and he requested that the Planning Department mention that item no longer applied.
Concerning parking, Councilwoman Lorenzo understands the applicant has additional parking spaces than what is actually necessary; Mr. Arroyo agreed.
Councilwoman Lorenzo advised that she would rather land bank parking spaces and provide more green space in the interim in impervious areas than have black top or concrete and non-impervious areas. Mr. Arroyo agreed to the extent that they can do that. He continued by stating that there is a provision in the city’s parking standards that provides for landscaping islands in most locations and noted that the applicant is actually deficient in that area in that they do not have as many landscaped end islands as they should. Mr. Arroyo advised that they noted that deficiency in their traffic review dated October 26, 1998 and the applicant will add numerous additional landscaped end islands in front of the Kohls and JoAnn Etc. development.
Councilwoman Lorenzo understands they will be breaking up the pavement and putting in green space; Mr. Arroyo agreed and added they will see a reduction in the parking spaces from what is depicted in the current plan.
Councilwoman Mutch asked whether the current space in front of JoAnn’s and Harmony House was required? Councilwoman Mutch explained it seems as though a significant amount of space is being lost and this area was required as a part of the overall landscaping requirement for the site, she believes they would have to maintain at least that much landscaping in addition to whatever else they may have. Mr. Arroyo advised that the RC District has no minimum open space requirement, but there are landscape provisions that drive the requirements. He continued by stating that he does not see anything in the city’s PD or RC requirements that would have required that large open plaza. He believes it just happened to be a feature of the site plan that came before Council. Mr. Arroyo continued by stating that they will try to review the final site plan and try to bring the landscaping up to meet the city’s current standards as much as possible in front of the area that the applicant is expanding.
Ms. Lemke added this was one of the first plans she reviewed for the city and she advised that there were few landscape requirements at that time. She continued by stating this is one of the plans she has been waiting to come back in to review to request more plant materials in the parking islands at the end of the parking lot.
Councilwoman Mutch asked whether the design of the northern most parking lane is a function of the site or a result of the shape of the property? She explained it is difficult to get in and out of that area. Mr. Arroyo believes the reason they configured it in that way was to increase the nearby landscaped island and to provide a throat of the area for traffic coming into the intersection. He added that they can look into that further.
CM-98-12-384: Moved by Mutch, Seconded by Schmid, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Preliminary Site Plan for JoAnns Etc./Kohls Addition SP 98-42, located west of Novi Road and south of Twelve Mile Road in the West Oaks II Shopping Center subject to Council comments and consultants’ recommendations
Councilman Kramer asked whether this plan will come back before Council for final site plan approval? Mr. Arroyo replied it can come back before Council if action is taken to direct it back to them.
CM-98-12-385: Moved by Kramer, Seconded by Lorenzo, FAILED: To amend the main motion by requiring that the project be brought back before Council for final site plan approval
Mayor ProTem Crawford will not support the motion because he does not believe this project needs to come back before Council for further review.
Councilwoman Mutch would like the project to come back before Council for final site plan approval because of the nature of the comments made tonight. However, she continued by stating if staff can provide Council with what they would be approving and give Council the opportunity for further input, she believes it would be unnecessary for this project to come back before Council.
Mayor McLallen will not support the motion because she believes everyone has been very clear and the applicant has a reliable reputation in the community. She further believes that the staff has been highly sensitized within the last year to those projects that have failed to meet the expectations of this Council.
Councilman Schmid will not support the motion, although he supports the intent of the motion. He added that he also believes staff will review this project appropriately at final site plan approval.
Vote on CM-98-12-385: Yeas: Kramer, Lorenzo, Mutch
Nays: McLallen, Crawford, Schmid DeRoche
Vote on CM-98-12-384: Yeas: McLallen, Crawford, DeRoche, Kramer, Lorenzo, Mutch, Schmid
5. Request for approval of Tentative Preliminary Plat and Wetlands Permit application for Willowbrook Farm Subdivision #2 and #3, SP 97-45C, located north of Ten Mile Road and east of Meadowbrook Road and appeal of the Woodlands Permit subject to ZBA variance
Mike Kahm advised they appeared before the Planning Commission on November 3 at which time they gave a negative recommendation for the projects proposed preliminary plat. Mr. Kahm advised the proposal includes Phases 2 and 3 of Willowbrook Farm Subdivision. He noted that many lots for Phase 1 have been built out and reminded Council that it was somewhat of a controversial subdivision because of the concerns raised regarding access. Mr. Kahm added that they were required to provide for a barrier at Brenda Lane into Joseph Street for safety purposes until such time they could make a connection to Meadowbrook Road which will be accomplished by Phases 2 and 3. Mr. Kahm added that he believes the Planning Commission’s denial was based upon the fact that the applicant exceeded the forty five day approval period required by the city’s ordinance.
Mr. Kahm then referred to his December 2, 1998 letter and noted that the subdivision substantially conforms to all the city’s zoning and subdivision requirements. Mr. Kahm reported they originally submitted their plan for review in October 1997. Mr. Kahm explained they have been working diligently to try not only to meet the city’s ordinances, but also the city’s desire for responsible planning. Mr. Kahm advised they have saved an additional 102 trees and lost six lots in the process of trying to do what they thought was the right thing in a cooperative effort with the city’s consultants. He added two of those lots were lost because off-line storm water detention now serves the site entirely.
Mr. Kahm advised that the proposed configuration of the cul-de-sac meets all of the city’s zoning and subdivision requirements. However, he added that they were removing some additional woodlands in the extension of that cul-de-sac. He advised in the spirit of cooperation and trying to preserve as much of the natural habitat on the site as they could, they modeled Bradford of Novi where in Phase 4 of that subdivision they had a similar situation. He explained there were some woodlands located in an area where if they extended the cul-de-sac all the way in, they would have removed substantially more trees. He reminded Council that they went to the ZBA and asked for an enlargement of the front yard set back distance. He advised they are proposing to enlarge the set back to approximately 181 feet for the Willowbrook Farms’ cul-de-sac so that the lots will be in conformance with the front yard widths and the width of the lot at the throat of the cul-de-sac will meet the city’s requirements. Mr. Kahm explained this is the compromise for trying to preserve more of the natural woodlands and understory, and a better way of planning than to develop the cul-de-sac in the standard way. Mr. Kahm advised it also resulted in a width to depth ratio problem when they moved the cul-de-sac upward to make the lots deeper. Mr. Kahm noted that the lots do not meet the one to three width to depth ratio, so with this plan they are asking Council to give them a positive recommendation to the ZBA for the enlargement of the front yard setbacks for two of the lots so they will conform with the zoning ordinance and so that they can get a waiver on the one to three width to depth ratio. In addition, Mr. Kahm advised this also caused Lot 108 to be less than 144 feet deep. Mr. Kahm reminded Council that the city’s Subdivision Ordinance requires all lots that back to a major thoroughfare be at least 140 feet deep. Mr. Kahm advised Exhibit C of his letter indicates that although the lot does not meet the subdivision ordinance requirement of 140 feet deep because of the cul-de-sac bulb, they can comfortably construct a house on that site that is consistent with the other homes they are already building in the subdivision.
Mr. Kahm added there are 110 lots in Phases 2 and 3 which results in a density of two lots per acre and reminded Council that their zoning (R-4) allows as many as 3.3 lots per acre.
Mr. Kahm advised the two eyebrows were another concern raised by the Planning Commission and consultants. Mr. Kahm reported they took another look at the geometrics of these two eyebrows and advised that they can meet the standards required by the ordinance for U streets. Consequently, they are withdrawing their request for a variance.
Mr. Kahm advised that the neighbors to the south expressed concerns about through traffic on LeBost. Mr. Kahm explained they show that drive on their plat because the city’s Subdivision Ordinance requires them to do that. Mr. Kahm believes the neighbors have some legitimate concerns and therefore, they propose to construct a decorative berm at the interface of the two subdivisions that would provide only for pedestrian traffic only. Mr. Kahm noted the berm would be similar to the berm they constructed in Phase 1 at Brenda Lane (Exhibit E) of their project in response to mitigate the concerns of their easterly neighbors.
Mr. Kahm reported storm drainage is another area of concern. As a result of the off line detention, Mr. Kahm reported that they were able to configure a detention basin that would allow for a hundred year storm storage for 62% of the area of the subdivision. Mr. Kahm reminded Council that they only require them to store a ten year storm. Consequently, Mr. Kahm believes there will be a substantially greater amount of detention just because of the geometrics of the design of the subdivision than they are required to have and he hopes that will help mitigate some of the concerns of the residents to the south.
In conclusion, Mr. Kahm advised that they walked the site with Ms. Lemke, Mr. Bluhm and Ms. Weber twice to find ways to be responsible and save as many trees as they possible can. Mr. Kahm agreed there are quality woodlands on the site, but noted there is a delicate balance between environmental preservation and responsible development. Mr. Kahm added that he believes they have accomplished that. Mr. Kahm noted they have achieved a 61.15% preservation factor and in the process of the different design changes, he recalled Ms. Lemke felt strongly about pulling the houses out of the valley that Bishop Creek creates through this subdivision. Mr. Kahm reported they removed the lots from the valley area which would have created walkout lots in order to preserve that corridor and he believes they have done everything they could to provide feasible and prudent alternatives as required in the city’s woodland ordinance. Mr. Kahm then introduced Todd Holloway, President of Holloway Environmental Planning to give a brief overview of the woodland issues.
Mr. Holloway advised he is a registered landscape architect and a certified professional wetland scientist. Mr. Holloway advised he evaluated the property to determine what the core resource base of the project is today and how the core research base of the woodland, wetland and stream corridor system of Bishop Creek would look upon implementation of the plan that is currently before Council. Mr. Holloway reported he has prepared a graphic that summarizes all of the area that will remain in post development state. He noted the areas that they depict in white is the subdivision plan proper and those areas depicted in dark green are woodland area proposed to be preserved. Mr. Holloway reported the resource value that remains by removing the walkout lots and surrounding the valley wall system with development becomes consolidated into the central portion of the system. He explained that occurs from the top of the valley walls, inward where they have the ability for the ecological processes to continue through the soil moisture that is there, the protection and preservation of both woodlands and wetlands, and wildlife value. Mr. Holloway advised he has intended to demonstrate that the integrity of the core resource value will remain with the development proposal currently before Council because they will preserve it from the top of the slopes downward.
Councilman DeRoche asked for further clarification regarding the LeBost connection to the southerly subdivision. Mr. Kahm explained he was not making a decision; he was only offering a proposal in way to try to be sensitive to the concerns of the residents to the south who are concerned about through traffic. He then restated how they addressed a similar issue in Phase 1 of their project.
Councilman DeRoche understands that the petitioner will provide a landscaped berm. Mr. Kahm agreed and added that the subdivisions will still be interconnected via pedestrian traffic.
Councilman Schmid understands that the development still has three entrances even with the elimination of LeBost; Mr. Kahm agreed.
Councilman Schmid believes there is no problem with eliminating the LeBost access and there is justification to eliminate it based upon the type of road it is beyond the applicant’s subdivision.
Councilman Schmid believes the greater issue is with the wetland, woodlands and the number of homes in the subdivision. Councilman Schmid asked Mr. Holloway to point out where they are removing the 495 trees from the development. Mr. Holloway pointed out where the trees that are jurisdictionally protected under the ordinance as designated woodlands occur.
Councilman Schmid stated the number of trees they are removing is more extensive than he visualized. He asked whether Mr. Holloway is suggesting that they will save no trees? Mr. Holloway replied that saving those trees is very difficult. He explained some trees immediately along the lot lines where there is no grading or construction for the foundations of the buildings will be saved. However, he continued by stating it is difficult to save trees with the construction of underground utilities, sidewalks and driveways.
Councilman Schmid asked how old are the trees they are removing? Mr. Holloway replied the stand of trees are medium in age and vary in age from 6-8 years to 40-45 years.
Councilman Schmid asked how many trees are in the 25-45 year range? Mr. Holloway explained this was not as important an issue to him as the overall long term ecology of the site. He continued by stating he would estimate that approximately 50% fall in the 25-45 year range and would range from 18"-24" in diameter.
Mayor ProTem Crawford concurred there should be no vehicle connection on LeBost to the south because the current LeBost Drive is not constructed to withstand that kind of traffic. Mayor ProTem Crawford asked why should they even have the stub off Scarborough Lane? Mr. Kahm replied there are two reasons; it provides some level flexibility for the city in the future because it will need to be repaved at some point and because it is not desirable to have a street abutting someone’s back yard. Mayor ProTem Crawford would like to eliminate the stub because he believes they can configure a lot layout where the street would not abut someone’s yard or they could provide sufficient screening from the street. He continued by stating that he does not see any need to add a stub if they do not make a connection there.
Councilwoman Lorenzo asked whether they have considered the open space option on this property? Mr. Kahm replied that the open space option does not allow for changes in widths; it only allows for changes in depths. He continued by stating their concern is that these lots are already minimal in depth and if they squeeze them down further, they will have almost no backyards. In terms of planning, Mr. Kahm continued by stating that it does not provide anything because they are not gaining anything on the frontages of the lots.
Councilwoman Lorenzo asked whether they prepared a conceptual plan to come to that conclusion? Mr. Kahm replied the plan would not change because changes in frontages are what dictates changes in plans.
Councilwoman Lorenzo understands they would be pulling the lots further away from the woodlands. Mr. Kahm replied they would move them by a minimal degree.
Councilwoman Lorenzo recalled that there is some indication in the woodland ordinance that when there are no location alternatives, the optimal solution is to preserve them. Ms. Lemke agreed. Mr. Watson interjected, that language is found in Section 37-29, subpart 4 (Review Standards). He read: "The removal or relocation of trees shall be limited to those instances when necessary for the location of a structure or site improvements and when no feasible and prudent alternative location for the structure or improvements can be had without causing undo hardship."
Councilwoman Lorenzo’s point is that she believes they have a good woodland’s ordinance and she believes that they fail to enforce as it should be at times. She continued by stating that the ordinance basically states that the preservation of woodlands will take precedence over locational alternatives.
Ms. Lemke referred to Section 37-01 which states: "In this regard it is the intent of this chapter to protect the integrity of woodland’s area as a whole in recognition that woodlands serve as part of an ecosystem and to place priority on the preservation of woodlands, trees, woody vegetation and related natural resources over development when there are no locational alternatives."
Councilwoman Lorenzo understands that Ms. Lemke believes they are removing almost half the woodlands; Ms. Lemke agreed.
In addition, Councilwoman Lorenzo understands Ms. Lemke indicated that given the interconnection between the woodlands and the wetland and stream system, it would particularly have a negative effect due to sedimentation and run off, as well as the cooling effect and the temperature control that this has over the stream in terms of the trees and woodlands; Ms. Lemke agreed.
Councilwoman Lorenzo assumes Ms. Lemke has considered some alternatives as to possibly selectively removing additional lots that would increase the preservation and decrease the impact to the overall woodland/wetland ecosystem. Ms. Lemke replied that they have considered many scenarios and noted that Mr. Kahm was very willing to learn about this. Ms. Lemke continued by stating that she experienced a certain amount of frustration because there are no design options with which to work. Ms. Lemke advised she issued a strong denial and she wishes there was a mechanism for purchase of this property because it is a unique system. She explained it is already isolated and to take anything away from it further, weakens its viability.
Mayor McLallen asked whether the area depicted in white is under the control of Singh? Ms. Lemke advised that is an exception piece and is a key part of the system. She explained there are two upland areas and the remainder is wetlands. Ms. Lemke reported it is owned by one owner and she understands he plans to develop it into multi- parcels.
Ms. Lemke noted that the pink slashed areas depict the areas that will be removed, the dark green line depicts the edges of the woodland, there is a stream and the dark brown areas depict the already constructed sanitary sewer. She noted there are some very unstable soils in that area. Ms. Lemke pointed out the highest quality areas and noted that Lots 110 and 111 are good quality woodlands, but they are not high quality woodlands. Ms. Lemke has recommended that they eliminate the road connection (Clairmont Avenue) and that they remove Lots 93-100, Lots 114-118 and remove two lots in 70-73. Ms. Lemke does not want to negate the fact that the developer has already lost lots and that they have worked closely with the city on this issue. Further, she understands that there is a financial breaking point and the developer has reached that point. Ms. Lemke noted she is trying to preserve the area as a dual system that continues on the top of the banks as well as in the banks. She further noted this is not a primary wildlife habitat area, but restated it primarily functions as a woodlands/wetlands system.
Councilwoman Lorenzo understands that the plan thus far has not been an approvable plan; Ms. Lemke agreed that it is not an approvable plan based on the significance of the eco system in terms of the guidelines that she follows in the ordinance.
Councilwoman Lorenzo understands that 62% of the site will store one hundred year storm flows within the detention areas; Mr. Bluhm agreed.
Councilwoman Lorenzo asked what will happen with the remainder 38% in terms of one hundred year flows? Mr. Bluhm reminded Council that the requirement is for ten year storage and therefore, they believe the developer has gone beyond the city’s requirement. He noted this is especially desirable in the down stream area where they have experienced flooding in the past. Mr. Bluhm then explained once they go beyond a ten year storm and the site experiences a significant rain fall event, the ground does not absorb the rain fall and experiences almost 100% runoff in a pre-development condition,. He continued by stating this would be similar to a paved area which they are proposing with the development of the site. Mr. Bluhm advised the runoff rates experienced in pre-development conditions (grass and trees) are very similar to the runoff rates experienced with development (roofs and paving areas) because they do not have that percolation into the soils any longer. Consequently from that perspective, Mr. Bluhm advised the differences are fairly negligible once they get beyond a ten year storm. Mr. Bluhm added that detaining a ten year storm is critical because that is the point where the peculations in the soils play more of a factor and is more critical to detain.
Councilwoman Lorenzo asked whether Bishop Creek will see an increase in elevation during one hundred year storm flows? Mr. Bluhm replied they cannot say there will be no effect, but they would categorize the effect to be negligible. He continued by stating if they were to store to a ten year event throughout the whole site, they would be negligible. However, because they are storing to a hundred year event on 62% of the site, it decreases it that much more.
Councilwoman Lorenzo asked whether it is going to be negligible for the homes adjacent to the creek and the wetlands, and also to the downstream residents? Councilwoman Lorenzo believes what may be negligible to one person, may not be negligible to another. By negligible, Mr. Bluhm means they would be no more harmful than the current condition and the increases would be kept to less than a tenth of a foot. He explained they would see no perceptible change and no flooding in the homes where flooding does not currently occur.
Councilwoman Lorenzo asked whether the homes currently abutting the creek and wetlands are located in a flood plain? Mr. Bluhm replied there is a flood plain associated with Bishop Creek and he believes some lots actually contain flood plains.
Councilwoman Lorenzo asked whether the elevation of the flood plain will increase? Mr. Bluhm restated that he would probably categorize it as non-harmful.
Councilwoman Lorenzo understands that they do not know what that number is. From a technical and engineering point of view, Mr. Bluhm advised it would be very difficult to come up with that number. He added that all of the models prepared by the MDEQ would indicate that level would be kept to a tenth of a foot or less.
Councilwoman Lorenzo asked what effect would the removal of the trees have on the temperature of the creek? Although he is not an expert, Mr. Bluhm could not argue that they would not experience some change in the climatic temperatures of the storm water flow into the creek.
Councilwoman Lorenzo noted that there seems to be some discrepancy between the FEMA flood plain and some type of revised flood plain study. Mr. Bluhm replied when the applicant’s engineer prepared the topography study and the initial submittals to the MDEQ, they noticed that the original modeling of the flood plain by the state to define the elevations was in error to the applicant’s benefit. Mr. Bluhm explained the flood plains were actually lower than the elevations that the maps showed. Mr. Bluhm advised they are currently going through a process where they are preparing a Letter of Map Amendment through the state and through the federal FEMA program to correct the maps.
Councilwoman Lorenzo cannot support this subdivision in its current form and would request that the applicant look at some of the alternatives suggested by Ms. Lemke in order to reduce the woodland impact.
Councilman Kramer questioned the line with the x on the plat drawings that tends to appear on the rear lot lines. George Norberg of Seiber Keast advised that depicts the siltation fence and delineates preserved and non-preserved woodlands.
Councilman Kramer asked where are the location of the utilities? Mr. Norberg replied that the sanitary water and storm as well as the public utilities are located along the front yards.
Councilman Kramer understands there are no rear yard utilities; Mr. Norberg agreed and added they call for a drainage easement, but that is standard and there is disturbance in that area.
Councilman Kramer asked whether this design represents the best of what they learned from the other two subdivisions (Timber Ridge 1 & 2) built in woodlands? Ms. Lemke replied that she and Mr. Bluhm were just discussing this and because there are 30 foot setbacks in R-4, this may be one of the cases where requesting a variance to construct some of the utilities under the roads may be applicable.
Councilman Kramer asked at what stage of the plat do they include that detail? Mr. Bluhm expects that they could evaluate part of the storm sewer for construction under the road. He continued by stating that issue could be addressed at this time and revise any utility locations before final preliminary plat approval.
Councilman Kramer understands there are a substantial number of lots that have heavily impinged on the woodlands and they have the potential to save additional trees by applying these designs; Ms. Lemke agreed.
Councilman Kramer stated it was not apparent there are any single key areas that encroach into the woodland area on which they could focus. Ms. Lemke advised there are basically three areas that follow the stream and agreed those are not the only areas.
For the areas that intrude into the woodlands, Councilman Kramer would highly encourage that they apply their Timber Ridge experience and bring forth the engineering detail that saves additional woodlands.
Regarding the LeBost connection, Councilman Kramer agreed it is not conducive for through traffic.
If they do not move forward with a full connection, Mr. Arroyo would recommend that they maintain an emergency connection with a gate at a minimum. Mr. Arroyo explained LeBost is currently an excessively long roadway (approximately 1200 feet), and if LeBost
and Ten Mile Road were blocked, this emergency connection would enhance the safety of the residents along LeBost.
If they approve the tentative preliminary plat, Councilman Kramer understands this project will still come back before Council for further review. Mr. Watson advised the plan will come back before Council for final preliminary plat approval.
Even without a woodland ordinance, Councilman DeRoche believes they would have debated this issue anyway because of the significant amount of lost woodlands. Further, Councilman DeRoche believes this is a fairly responsible and reasonable attempt to construct a quality development by proposing a lower density and an attempt to address the concerns regarding the effect of the lowlands and the creek. Therefore, Councilman DeRoche stated he can support this project and he hopes to see further changes between now and final preliminary plat approval.
CM-98-12-386: Moved by DeRoche, Seconded by Kramer, CARRIED: To approve Tentative Preliminary Plat and Wetlands Permit application for Willowbrook Farms Subdivision #2 and #3, SP 97-45C, located north of Ten Mile Road and east of Meadowbrook Road and appeal of the Woodlands Permit subject to ZBA variance, and subject to waiving the requirement to provide a connection to LeBost in lieu of an emergency gate per consultant’s recommendation, subject to utilities constructed in the road right-of-way where feasible in order to preserve trees, subject to eliminating no less than 2 and no more than 5 lots to preserve trees and brought forward with final preliminary plat, subject to tonight’s comments, subject to consultants’ recommendations and subject to those items outlined in Mr. Kahm’s December 2, 1998 letter
Mayor ProTem Crawford is unclear about the LeBost emergency connection. Mr. Arroyo advised that the road right-of-way is 60 feet, but they would only need 18 feet for an emergency access.
Mayor ProTem Crawford would rather see an emergency connection than a stub that leads to nowhere. Mr. Arroyo advised they make sure the requirements of the ordinance are met at the final engineering level.
Mayor ProTem Crawford understands that it could involve losing a lot (Lot 51). Mr. Arroyo disagreed, and advised they could bring the road down and then turn it into an emergency access.
Mayor ProTem Crawford understands Ms. Lemke suggested that they eliminate Lots 93-100 and 114-118 and asked whether there are other alternatives to eliminating all of those lots. Ms. Lemke replied that she does not want to eliminate all those lots. She explained her recommendation is to remove any 5-6 lots from those particular lots. She would suggest removing one or two lots from Lots 70-73 and then remove the remainder from the other two ranges.
Mayor ProTem Crawford suggested that they remove Lots 114-118. Ms. Lemke believes the removal of those particular lots would be the best choice because of the quality of the woodlands in that area.
Mayor ProTem Crawford asked whether the applicant would consider removing those lots.
Mr. Kahm believes asking to remove all five lots is somewhat punitive and wondered whether Council could support the plan if they removed some of those lots.
Mayor ProTem Crawford asked if this issue is something that could come back at the next step. Mr. Watson believes Council could direct the applicant to work with Ms. Lemke on a plan by eliminating whatever number of lots that would be most advantageous to preserving the trees.
Mayor ProTem Crawford asked whether he had to amend the motion to eliminate two or three lots.
Councilman DeRoche understands they would eliminate no less than two and no more than five lots; Mayor ProTem Crawford agreed.
Councilman DeRoche would agree to include that condition in his motion.
Although Councilman Schmid believes they are making headway, he believes they are not there yet. He explained they are eliminating an extensive number of mature trees and to suggest that this is a good subdivision, is a wrong approach. Further, Councilman Schmid suggested that the city develop a requirement where an applicant should submit a financial document that could verify the breaking point of a project. Although Councilman Schmid believes Singh is a quality developer, he believes they are being too hastily in allowing this subdivision to move forward because of the number of homes and because of the extensive removal of trees. He continued by stating he is confident that Mr. Singh and Mr. Kahm would accommodate a greater reduction in lots if it can be shown that they are eliminating substantial trees from this subdivision. Councilman Schmid added that he does not believe someone can develop a piece of property just because they purchased it. He explained they can only develop what the ordinance provides they can develop.
Councilman Schmid suggested that they ask the developer what they can do in terms of eliminating lots and that Ms. Lemke should suggest a minimum number of lots that they should eliminate based upon the preservation of the woodlands. Ms. Lemke restated she has submitted a very serious denial and she did not mean to get into a bidding negotiation. However, she noted that the elimination of any number of lots would be an improvement, but ideally she would recommend that they eliminate a minimum of ten lots and closer to twenty lots. She noted that she has already discussed this with Mr. Kahm.
Councilman Schmid would like to know at what point would they know this is a good project. Looking at this project strictly from the benefit to its natural resources, Ms. Lemke would recommend eliminating a minimum of ten and a maximum of twenty lots.
Councilman Schmid asked whether the petitioner can reasonably define what will make this project financially feasible. With all due respect, Mr. Kahm believes they must look at how this piece of property fits in Novi. He explained there is light industrial zoning to the north, an existing subdivision to the east and south, and Meadowbrook Road is to the west. He noted the area is fully developed to the west of Meadowbrook Road. Consequently, the area they are developing is an isolated pocket of residential land and reminded Council that the negotiation to purchase the property was difficult. Further, Mr. Kahm agrees that the woodlands on the site are of high quality, but the fact remains it is an isolated woodland area that remained undeveloped because the property was not reasonably on the market until recently. Mr. Kahm believes they have tried to preserve quite a bit of the woodland and he is willing to come up with a reasonable compromise. However, he would ask that they not remove lots for the sake of removing lots. He advised that they have to look at what the market is for these particular sized lots and noted they are the smallest lots in Novi. Consequently, they would sell these homes to a first or second time home buyer and they are trying to keep their prices in the $275,000-$300,000 range. He reminded Council that the price of the land dictates the price of the home and this particular piece of property was very expensive because Novi is a desirable place to live. Mr. Kahm advised they are willing to remove lots in areas where there are substantial trees, but noted as they developed their plan they went lot by lot to try to find the best way to preserve every significant tree they could (i.e., Lot 114).
Councilman Schmid asked if Mr. Kahm is willing to work with Ms. Lemke in trying to preserve the woodlands? Mr. Kahm is willing to work with Ms. Lemke, but he reminded Council this is a gray area and he is somewhat frustrated that his fourteen months of effort are somewhat for nil. He continued by stating if they were to proceed, he would respectfully request that they zero in on some specific number and because he has walked the site, he knows the areas where he could remove a couple of lots because there is an attractive stand of beech trees.
Councilwoman Mutch understands the concern is not about specific lots, but about certain areas that they would like to see protected. Ms. Lemke believes the key word is area and agreed it is not concern for a tree or for a stand of trees. She continued by stating that if she could not get an area of woodlands, then she was looking for a grouping of trees that would have a good understory around them because they are trying to preserve areas so that the woodland system keeps regenerating.
Councilwoman Mutch asked whether addressing this particular problem by not limiting it to numbers or certain lots would be more effective. She suggested they could then meet with the applicant and identify those areas so they can reconfigure lots. Ms. Lemke would agree to that approach if it were a different piece of land. However, she noted that the site is already tight and she believes the best approach would be to identify the areas of concern by providing the lot numbers.
Councilwoman Mutch believes there may be an area that spans more than one lot and consequently, two lots would be removed. Councilwoman Mutch’s point is that the petitioner may have a way of reconfiguring the ten to twenty lots of concern in a way that he would still result with a number closer to ten or twenty rather than arbitrarily eliminating entire lots. Ms. Lemke believes the only way the applicant could do that would be to combine lots. She added that the applicant has already reconfigured and lost lots for that.
Councilwoman Mutch asked whether there is a benefit to having that flexibility? Mr. Kahm agreed he has already done that, but noted if they could agree on a reasonable number, then he would be willing to work with Ms. Lemke and select where those areas should be lost to preserve the woodlands to the highest benefit. Mr. Kahm asked whether Council would permit them to come back with that change at the time of final preliminary plat approval.
Councilwoman Mutch is trying to determine whether she will vote for a restrictive amendment to this motion that states somewhere between 2 and 5 lots will be lost.
Mr. Kahm restated that Ms. Lemke is concerned about three specific areas (Lots 93-100, Lots 70-73 and Lots 114-118) Mr. Kahm questions the benefit they will achieve with the elimination of lots in the range of Lots 93-100 because the woodlands are at the rear of those lots. Regarding Lots 70-73, Mr. Kahm advised they have a functional geometric problem with those lots and explained if they pull the cul-de-sac any further down, it will not be a functional cul-de-sac because the bulb will be on Scarborough Lane. Mr. Kahm believes they can be more flexible with Lots 114-118 and that they can selectively remove some lots and save a more premium stand of trees because of the way it is configured.
Mayor McLallen restated the motion.
Councilwoman Mutch noted that does not want to include Ms. Lemke’s comment about closing the northerly road that enters from Meadowbrook in the motion. Although Ms. Lemke believes this alternative would have a positive impact, she noted that condition is not included in her written recommendation.
CM-98-12-387: Moved by Schmid, Seconded by Lorenzo, FAILED: To amend the motion to state, a minimum of 2 lots with a maximum to be determined and not to exceed 10 lots
Mayor ProTem Crawford will not support the motion because he believes it only increases the possibility by five lots and he believes that number is unrealistic.
Vote on CM-98-12-387: Yeas: DeRoche, Lorenzo, Schmid
Nays: Mutch, McLallen, Kramer, Crawford
Mayor ProTem Crawford called the question.
Mayor McLallen asked whether there is any debate on calling the question. Mr. Watson advised there must be a motion voted upon. He explained calling the question is essentially a motion to end debate and would require a second and passed with a two third majority vote without debate.
Mayor ProTem Crawford moved to call the question.
CM-98-12-388: Moved by Crawford, Seconded by DeRoche, FAILED: To call the question
Vote on CM-98-12-388: Yeas: McLallen, Crawford, DeRoche, Mutch
Nays: Lorenzo, Schmid, Kramer
Mayor McLallen noted the motion failed because there was not the required two thirds vote.
Mayor McLallen is concerned because they have ordinances under which they develop land and this particular land was proposed to be developed under R-4 or any of the city’s other options. Mayor McLallen understands the only options applicable to this site are the Woodland Preservation Option and the Open Space Option. Mayor McLallen noted that the Open Space Option did not achieve the goal of greater preservation of environmental features and it merely reconfigured lots. The Mayor asked whether the other option was applicable to this site? Mr. Arroyo advised that the Open Space Option would only permit them to reduce the area of the lot from 10,000 to 9,000 and not the lot width.
Mr. Arroyo then asked Ms. Lemke whether the site meets the requirements for the preservation of the minimum percentages for woodlands and other features as specified. Ms. Lemke replied that the Preservation Option requires an 80 acre minimum. Consequently, she reported this site would not qualify because it would not meet that requirement.
Mayor McLallen understands that only the R-4 zoning was applicable to this property. She continued by stating they require roads, setbacks and utilities under the R-4 zoning and whether they like it or not, this land traversed a major water body and an intact wooded eco system. Mayor McLallen referred to the woodland ordinance and restated that the woodland’s ordinance is for the protection of the woodlands and by that they are all seeking to preserve the largest system, not individual trees. She continued by stating that the mechanism that allows the removal of trees suggests there is no other acceptable option.
Mr. Watson advised that particular provision talks about the removal or the relocation of trees and limits it to two different situations. He explained the first is when it is necessary for the location of a structure or site improvements and when they can have no feasible or prudent alternative location of the structure or improvements without causing undo hardship. In other words, Mr. Watson understands if there is an alternate location that would not take out the trees they would have to ask whether relocating would cause a hardship. Mr. Watson advised the other instance is for trees that are dead, diseased, injured, or in danger of falling too close to a proposed structure.
Mayor McLallen was referring to the first situation. She explained the only option they have is R-4 zoning which requires a certain width for streets and access at multiple points on public roads. The Mayor then asked if there was another way to design a street system that did not violate the core corridor? Mr. Arroyo believes the proposed access plan is reasonable and to eliminate the southerly access basically means that they will only have one external point. He continued by stating the only other point of access would then be through an existing subdivision and his preference would be that it remains that way. Mr. Arroyo advised if they eliminated the southerly access and still have the emergency access through LeBost, at least the subdivision would be served by a secondary access. Mr. Arroyo continued by stating there is a potential way where they could actually cut off the access to the south and still make the subdivision functional. However, he believes the access system they proposed is preferable to eliminating that access.
Mayor McLallen’s point is that they have limited themselves in this community and put themselves at odds with their goal of maintaining environmental features with the inflexibility of their zoning ordinances. She explained they have no other opportunities except the very intense negotiating that occurred tonight and she does not believe that is how the city should run itself. She believes if they are truly committed in protecting their woodlands and environmental features, then they need to develop ordinances that provide for that and provide for certain flexibility. She continued by stating the applicant’s should not have to spend the time this applicant has spent on a plan that is no closer a solution by Council. She reminded Council that they have reached a compromise that still is not over and her point is that she believes this Council must look at other mechanisms besides the rigidity of the R-4 and RA zoning.
Councilwoman Lorenzo will support the motion because it promotes the elimination of several lots in order to preserve more of the woodlands. However, she noted whether she will support the final plat will depend upon how much preservation has been achieved.
Councilman Schmid recalled that the Mayor has expressed her opinion similarly on other issues for other developments and he totally disagrees with her comments. He believes the purpose of the city and the purpose of Council should be to protect the environment as much as possible. He also believes that the woodland’s ordinance has more effectiveness than suggested by the Mayor. He explained that the ordinance suggests that they preserve trees unless it presents a hardship on a developer. He continued by asking what is the hardship and if there is no hardship, then they should save as much of the woodlands and wetlands as possible. He stated just because a developer buys a piece of land, he does not believe the intent of the city or the ordinance is to permit that developer to remove all the woodlands. Further, he believes they should negotiate these things and that they have done that successfully on several occasions.
Councilwoman Mutch restated that they have had major debates where they have tried to redesign a development plan around preservation issues. She continued by stating that when the city staff and consultants have made the effort, and spent the tax dollars to identify these areas that are of such high priority in terms of preservation, she asked why are they not providing the leadership in the community to persuade the community to acquire these properties so that they do not have to worry about how they are going to be developed and what kind of compromises they have to make. She believes if the city had acquired this area, it would have been a wonderful green space area for this part of the city. Therefore, she is once again reminding Council that if these things are important to them, then they should be more pro-active in a real preservation effort.
Mayor McLallen restated the motion.
Mr. Kahm asked whether those items outlined in his December 2, 1998 letter are included in the motion? Councilman DeRoche understands those items are acceptable to the consultants and would agree to make them a part of his motion.
Vote on CM-98-12-386: Yeas: Crawford, DeRoche, Kramer, Lorenzo, Mutch
Nays: McLallen, Schmid
Darryl Phelps - 48763 Pebble Lane, understands there were lower bids received for Item 7 under Matters for Council Action - Part II.
Mayor McLallen advised Council is discussing this matter this evening and noted that Mr. Kapelczak from JCK & Associates can speak with Mr. Phelps about this matter during Council’s break.
BREAK from 11:20 p.m. until 11:35 p.m.
Mayor McLallen advised there is a consensus of Council to move Item 7 before Item 6.
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION - Part II
7. Award bid for Eleven Mile/Wixom Sanitary Sewer Extension, Eleven Mile/Wixom Water Main, Beck Road Sanitary Sewer Extension and Eleven Mile/Beck Road Intersection Improvements to the lowest responsive bidder, D.O.C. Contracting, Inc., in the amount of $2,148,146.00, contingent upon receipt of permits and easements/rights-of-way for each individual project and authorization for the engineers to issue individual project notices to proceed and the Finance Director to transfer woodland replacement costs from the construction accounts to the tree account
Councilman Schmid is concerned about the limited number of right-of-ways acquisitions. He explained if they go out to bid without the needed right-of-ways, it may affect the cost. Councilman Schmid asked why have they not acquired the right-of-ways? Mr. Potter advised that the Fisher’s signed an easement for the sanitary sewer this morning that would be constructed along the north side of their parcel. He continued by stating that the next easement would be Providence Hospital who has given a verbal indication that they are going to execute that easement. Finally, Mr. Potter reported the permit for the portion of the sanitary sewer proposed to be constructed through a wetland has been denied by MDEQ and they have requested revisions. Mr. Potter advised that they do not anticipate problems because the city owns the property north of where they are proposing to realign the sewer. Mr. Potter advised there is every indication that they will meet the commitments the city has made in getting sanitary sewer service to the school. Regarding the water main, Mr. Potter advised the Ward’s property is in condemnation and they expect to have possession within thirty to forty days. Further, he advised there was another property off Wixom Road that they expect to have within the next couple of days and this would allow them to connect the school to water from Grand River Avenue. Mr. Potter advised if they award this contract, they would issue a limited notice to proceed and when they acquire the final easements they will connect them.
Councilman Schmid understands that they have settled the cost for the easements. Mr. Potter agreed, but added that sanitary sewer is proposed to be extended south of the existing sewer man hole (south along Beck Road and south of Eleven Mile Road).
Councilman Schmid understands those were some of the easements they should have received months ago because there was an indication that some of those individuals wanted to extend the sewer; Mr. Potter agreed.
Councilman Schmid asked what is the alternative if they do the contract and Eleven Mile does not come through? In regard to the sewer along Beck Road, Mr. Nowicki advised if they cannot acquire the necessary easements, they are prepared to recommend deleting that particular phase of the project.
CM-98-12-389: Moved by Schmid, Seconded by Crawford, CARRIED: To award bid for Eleven Mile/Wixom Sanitary Sewer Extension, Eleven Mile/Wixom Water Main, Beck Road Sanitary Sewer Extension and Eleven Mile/Beck Road Intersection Improvements to the lowest responsive bidder, D.O.C. Contracting, Inc., in the amount of $2,148,146.00, contingent upon receipt of permits and easements/rights-of-way for each individual project and authorization for the engineers to issue individual project notices to proceed and the Finance Director to transfer woodland replacement costs from the construction accounts to the tree account
Mayor McLallen noted there was a fax before them this evening from the DeAngelo Landscape Company. She advised they were the low bidder, but were not they were not awarded the bid because they did not attend the required pre-bid meeting.
Councilman DeRoche believes it is a sufficient reason to disqualify a bidder if they do not comply with the rules of the bidding process. However, Councilman DeRoche would like the city to reconsider rebidding this for a variety of reasons based upon the information in their packet.
Roll Call Vote on CM-98-12-389: Yeas: McLallen, Crawford, Kramer, Mutch
Nays: DeRoche, Lorenzo, Schmid
6. Request for approval of Consent Order to amend the Vistas PUD area plan and to allow for the development of Phases 8 & 9 by Fram Building Group as town homes and of Phases 6, 7, 15 & 16 by the Singh Development, Inc. as single family homes and site-condos
Mr. Watson advised Council has a Consent Order and a proposed amendment to the area plan agreement to permit revisions to the Vistas area plan to allow the Singh proposal and the Fram proposal before them. Mr. Watson added the petitioner has listed the rest of the documentation as exhibits which in essence would approve the preliminary plat for the Fram proposal, the preliminary plat for the Ravines project and the tentative preliminary plat for the other Tollgate project along with the other respective plans that are pertinent to those approvals (i.e., wetlands, woodlands, soil erosion, etc.).
Councilman Schmid would like further clarification about what brought them to this stage regarding the Consent Order? Mr. Watson advised these individuals are connected to Sandstone only to the extent that they are attempting to purchase portions of the land from Sandstone to construct it in the manner that Council sees before them. Mr. Watson advised the reason it is before Council in the form of a Consent Order was primarily for convenience. He explained they have discussed this matter previously with Council and it was either a question of going all the way through the entire PUD amendment process and actually having the amendment before Council. He continued by stating that doing it by Consent Order was simply so these applicants could come directly before Council, put together a package and then submit that to the seller of the property.
Councilman Schmid understands the lawsuit between Sandstone and the City of Novi is still pending and asked whether this Consent Order will affect that suit? Mr. Watson advised one thing Sandstone is claiming is complete loss of their property as a result of what has happened over the years in that they claim they have been precluded from developing the property. Mr. Watson advised the Consent Order has a tangential effect on that because if this moves forward, a portion of the property is obviously being developed and by those sales going through, they are receiving a revenue as a result. Mr. Watson advised there is a general impact on it, but they will not dismiss the lawsuit because of this.
Councilman Schmid understands they are going through this as a result of the Vistas suing the City of Novi and the petitioners are purchasing property from the Vistas. Mr. Watson would not say this proposal is a direct result of the lawsuit; this proposal is a result of the fact that they are attempting to liquidate their property.
Councilman Schmid reminded Council that he originally voted against the project because he believed it was a poor project and now it has proven to be a poor project.
Councilman Schmid asked what is the total increase or decrease in the number of residences in the entire project? Mr. Arroyo replied the number of dwelling units is decreasing from 1,119 to 936.
Councilman Schmid asked how many phases are in the total project? Mr. Arroyo believes there are sixteen phases.
Of the total sixteen phases, Councilman Schmid asked how many will be built? Mr. Arroyo replied it is somewhat complicated because they are taking units away from some phases and shifting them to increase density. Mr. Arroyo referred to his December 4, 1998 letter and noted that the table shows what they have previously proposed and what is currently proposed by phase.
Councilman Schmid thought there was land still available for sale. Mr. Arroyo advised they are asking for changes for a certain portion of the project, but what they are effectively doing is amending the entire area plan. He explained there are some portions of the previously approved area plan that will remain the same (i.e., residential portion on the west side of Novi Road, Phase I, Brownstones phase). Mr. Arroyo advised the area that this proposal is changing is east of Novi Road and is a residential component.
Councilman Schmid asked whether this is all of the land they own? Mr. Arroyo replied this includes all of the land in the original Vistas project.
Councilman Schmid will not support this request.
Councilwoman Lorenzo recalled Ms. Lemke rendered a negative recommendation and asked whether her recommendation still stands. Ms. Lemke replied her recommendation still stands.
Councilwoman Lorenzo asked whether there have been any changes made to the plan since they last saw it (i.e., movement in the area of the cul-de-sac)? Ms. Lemke replied there have been no changes made.
Councilwoman Lorenzo asked how many additional acres of woodlands will be lost to this development over the original Vistas PUD? Ms. Lemke is uncertain. Mr. Kahm interjected, four acres.
Councilwoman Lorenzo recalled there was an indication from Council that they would like to see additional lots removed from the cul-de-sac areas and asked Mr. Kahm to explain why that issue has not been addressed? Mr. Kahm understood that there was a recommendation to consider combining lots for some purchasers who may want to build a larger home in a more desirable portion of the subdivision at the end of the cul-de-sac and he recalled that they would be more than amenable to that possibility. Mr. Kahm further understands that would not affect the layout of the subdivision, but it would be something that they could consider because there is nothing wrong with someone buying more than one lot and making it more into an estate lot with a larger home.
Councilwoman Lorenzo asked whether the petitioner would consider removing lots around the cul-de-sac areas to parallel this with the original Vistas and the no-load road in terms of what the ultimate preservation was. Mr. Kahm reminded Council that the proposed water main connection near the no-load road is no longer necessary. However, he noted they are still going to provide for an easement, but they will not build it. Consequently, there now is a preservation of a corridor that originally had a road through it and that will mitigate what they are doing to some extent. Mr. Kahm restated he was under the impression the layout they presented at their last meeting was the one that Council was reasonably comfortable with. Councilwoman Lorenzo thought the petitioner was going to rework some of the ideas brought forward at that meeting.
Councilwoman Lorenzo cannot support this request for several reasons and one reason is the woodland issue. Councilwoman Lorenzo recalled at their initial meeting the petitioner said something to the effect that he was not looking to make a lot of money on this project given the many projects that Singh has profited from in Novi. In terms of the woodland situation, Councilwoman Lorenzo is concerned that they are going backwards. She is also concerned about the process that got all of them to this point because there were concerns raised by Council about certain details that were said could be worked out later and now that they are at this point, these details (i.e., woodlands, storm water, wetlands, etc.) are not worked out. Councilwoman Lorenzo was looking toward at least considering this project in conjunction with at least the same amount of preservation that they were looking at in the Vistas PUD. Further, whereas a PUD allows flexibility, Councilwoman Lorenzo does not believe they should be accepting less than the previous plan and that they should be looking at more benefits for the city as they consider a PUD because it is a contract between the property owners, the applicants and the City of Novi. In terms of exceptions to ordinances, Councilwoman Lorenzo does not support exceptions to the ordinances and believes they should look at higher standards rather than fewer standards in PUD situations.
Mr. Kahm wants to make sure they keep this in perspective. He explained when they proposed their development, one thing they had concerns about was the area plan that was approved as part of the current PUD which from an engineering perspective would require massive disturbance with the natural features in this project and not just within the preserved areas. He explained there is no way they can provide fifty foot lots in that configuration without a huge amount of earth work. Mr. Kahm stated they saw an opportunity to propose a development that was more in keeping with the substantial number of natural features of the site. Therefore, Mr. Kahm believes their plan addresses all of those issues and he further believes they prevented Hughlan from doing any further clearing on their property in order to preserve the natural features of the site. He continued by stating they are accomplishing that by proposing larger lots, they have proposed fewer lots and they are enhancing the wetland they are using for storm water management. Mr. Kahm believes their overall plan is keeping with the overall neo-traditional concept and offering quality homes on larger lots. Mr. Kahm restated they have invested many hours into working on these plans to try to get them to the point they are today and the plans have a substantial amount of detail commensurate with any other project in the city. In fact, Mr. Kahm believes their plan exceeds the detail of plans in other cases.
Councilwoman Lorenzo is concerned about the wetland issue and she has never heard one presentation that indicates that using natural wetland for storm water detention is beneficial. In fact, Councilwoman Lorenzo reported that she recently attended a conference where a paper entitled "The Ecology and Culture of Water" was presented that included data from over a dozen studies that concluded such retention is detrimental. Consequently, Councilwoman Lorenzo is not comfortable at this point that they have any documentation or predictability about what changes will occur in that wetland beyond allowing water to flow through it. She added she is particularly concerned about the change in the species and the perimeter species. Further, Councilwoman Lorenzo reported that the studies indicate changes in pH balance and the effect that has on the aquatic life within a system. Because there are no definitive answers to what those changes are going to be, Councilwoman Lorenzo believes they are asking them to approve a wetland application prematurely. She continued by stating she is very concerned about how they treat their wetlands and their woodlands because it appears as though they always seem to be compromised. Consequently, until they know what the effects will be, she will not support this project.
Councilman DeRoche is also concerned and he does not believe that they need to restate the hours of discussions from their executive sessions. Councilman DeRoche believes the city is a very serious situation and involved in a very serious lawsuit. Further, it is Councilman DeRoche’s opinion that this proposal is at least one hundred times better than the proposals that they already approved for the existing developer. Councilman DeRoche continued by stating that some people would say that the developer has the city where they want them. However, he would disagree unless they are talking about the original PUD that they approved. Councilman DeRoche explained he believes it was the first PUD that got them into this situation and restated he believes this proposal is an incredibly better situation. He reminded Council there are many things that cannot be included in an ordinance, but should be addressed from a practical standpoint. He noted one example is how Singh addressed the mass grading issue. He explained they wanted to avoid a mass grading and they addressed that by actually engineering the houses into the natural slopes of the topography. Councilman DeRoche believes the natural beauty of this site will be brought out much more with this project than it would from the other one. In terms of the wetlands, Councilman DeRoche would agree that they might not have as much information as they would like to have, but he still believes they are getting a dramatically better development and a better situation for the city in comparison with what they have already approved.
Councilman Kramer asked Mr. Arroyo to assess Singh’s December 3, 1998 letter that was written in response to the consultant’s letters (i.e., allowable percentage for front entry garages, lot lines and orientation regarding lots 18 and 21). Mr. Arroyo stated the basis for his recommendation about the number of front entry garages was dependent upon concerns raised by Council in other discussions. Secondly, Mr. Arroyo advised most of the products the petitioner is offering in terms of building elevations are not front entry garages and they are still trying to create a project that is somewhat unique. Mr. Arroyo continued by stating that he believes one element currently approved for Vistas is the fact that there is a significant reduction in front entry garages through the alley system. He explained they are eliminating a number of the alleys with the new plan because they are essentially removing them from the portion east of Novi Road. Mr. Arroyo stated 15% may not be the magic number, but he believes if they leave it open, they could result with a substantial percentage of lots being developed with front entry garages.
Mr. Arroyo’s position on Lots 18 and 21 is that those are essentially corner lots and if this were a corner lot in any other subdivision, they would require a minimum amount of frontage on both roadways. Mr. Arroyo advised they are not providing a minimum amount of frontage; they are going down to a minimum lot width of 65 feet. In Mr. Arroyo’s opinion, he believes they should be providing 65 feet on both roadways where those corner lots are positioned.
Councilman Kramer believes they are proposing to resolve this issue by the placement of the house at the time that they prepare their plat plans. Mr. Arroyo understands they are referencing the issues about the safety of the driveways in close proximity to the intersection and the petitioner is saying they will try to address that through the placement of the houses. Mr. Arroyo reported the other is just the appearance of the corner lots as they drive through. He explained if they approve this as proposed, it will look very different from any other corner lot anywhere in the city. He noted that most corner lots essentially have an equal frontage on both roadways and these are the only exceptions that he can find and he does not believe it makes sense to be inconsistent just in these two cases.
Councilman Kramer asked whether the developer would be willing to commit a percentage of front entry garages realizing the city is not looking to have a majority of those kinds of garages. Mr. Kahm advised they are not interested in having a large number of front entry garages either. He explained the reason they introduced the front entry designs originally was that this site has sloping topography and it is going to be difficult to make a side entry garage work in some instances. Councilman Kramer understands that, but asked if he is willing to agree to a reasonable limit on the number of front entry garages. Mr. Kahm advised that 50% of the lots in this subdivision are conceivable walkout lots, but he does not believe every one of that number will be a front entry garage. Mr. Kahm noted that the front entry garages are in accordance with the current PUD agreement. Councilman Kramer reminded Mr. Kahm that during their discussions they had hoped to eliminate the front entry garages on the narrower lots. He restated the question is to what extent is the developer willing to commit to limiting front entry garages. Mr. Kahm stated their concern was that they trying not to get into a position where they tell the market what it wants. He explained they can design many things that they believe may be aesthetically pleasing and attractive, but they also do not want to build a hard-to-sell item. Councilman Kramer would be more comfortable if they could cap the number somewhere below 50% as a starting point. Mr. Kahm asked whether Council is comfortable with 50%.
The Mayor believes Councilman Kramer is uncomfortable with 50% and noted that Mr. Arroyo suggested 15%.
Mr. Kahm proposed 40% with the caveat that they can come back before Council if they need to. Mr. Kramer would agree to 40% and noted this conversation is on the record.
Councilman Kramer asked whether the designs of Lots 18 and 21 are adjustable to satisfy Mr. Arroyo’s concerns. Mr. Kahm advised they are uncertain about the concerns raised regarding Lots 18 and 21. He explained that they believe these two lots would function equally as well as the rest of the lots around the circle. He noted they are unique because they front not only on the finger road, but they also front on the circle.
Councilman Kramer understands the homes are depicted as facing radially or approximately to the point of the land; Mr. Kahm agreed. Councilman Kramer understands they are not honoring that as a corner lot in the orientation of the house; Mr. Kahm agreed. Councilman Kramer stated that he does not have a problem with that and believes it is reasonable.
Councilman Kramer reminded Council that there was a comment made by Andrew Mutch during Audience Participation regarding fences. Councilman Kramer understands the ordinance does permit front yard fences. Mr. Watson recalled that the zoning ordinance would require fences to be the same set back as a house under normal circumstances. He continued by stating that they permitted fences under the original PUD.
Councilman Kramer understands that element that was in the original PUD and asked whether they have precluded it from this agreement or is it just not mentioned in this agreement. Mr. Kahm advised they have precluded it in one of the architectural standards presented in the amended area plan. Councilman Kramer understands it is the petitioner’s intention to exclude the front yard fences; Mr. Kahm agreed and added they will allow them in the rear. Although he understands Mr. Mutch’s point, he stated the reason for eliminating the front yard fences is that those types of homes and architecture did not have them.
Councilman Kramer asked Ms. Lemke to comment on excess street trees required landscaping and tree for tree replacement. Ms. Lemke advised that when she objected to the design alternatives, it went beyond the cul-de-sacs. She added it was also suggested that they combine lots and look at utilities. Ms. Lemke noted she commented in her letter that since there is a 20 foot set back waiver for the lots having significant woodlands, that putting the utilities under the road would not provide an additional savings. Ms. Lemke continued by stating her objection regarding the street tree replacement was based on the proposal that evergreens are proposed at one to one and currently Section 37 A, B allows evergreen trees at two to one replacement. She noted the burden of replacement would be placed directly on the homeowner and although the homeowner does take an interest in it, the homeowner can change and the new owner could change the landscaping. Further, the inspection process would involve dealing with each individual homeowner and Ms. Lemke believes the process would become more complicated. Ms. Lemke added that species delineation would become more complex.
Councilman Kramer asked what would Ms. Lemke’s recommendation be for the use of those trees? Ms. Lemke would recommend that it should be per current replacement and that they should be placed adjacent to disturbed regulated woodlands or they should put them on other areas around the site (i.e., the round about area, by Wetland B, planted on another piece of property owned by the developer or the dollar amounts be placed into the city’s tree fund).
With respect to tree replacements, Mr. Kahm stated if they are going to be planting more street trees than is required by ordinance, they would ask why couldn’t they get credit for that toward their woodland replacements. He noted they have done that in other cities.
Councilman Kramer advised that Mr. Kahm has heard Ms. Lemke’s argument and asked whether he has further comment. Mr. Kahm replied that the city plants street trees based on whatever the ordinance calls for so there will never be a situation where they will plant more trees than the ordinance calls for because there is already a built in mechanism.
Councilman Kramer understands that, but Ms. Lemke has requested that they plant the trees in the woodlands. Mr. Kahm believes the ordinance provides for replacement of trees in the areas where they are removing them. Mr. Kahm advised there is no place to plant trees in open space woodlands because it is already wooded. Mr. Kahm reported they are already following this system in Beckenham and Willowbrook Phase I. Mr. Kahm advised they are willing to pay the inspection fees, but he asked why can’t they put the trees back where they are taking them from and it is working for them in other communities. With respect to the evergreens, Mr. Kahm noted they do have two evergreens that count as one tree.
Councilman Kramer does not want to engage in a debate at this time, but would like to include language in the motion that this issue needs to be resolved to some mutual satisfaction.
Councilman Kramer asked the petitioner to comment on the statement made about the town homes not having access to the sidewalks. Doug Stratton replied they have met with Mr. Arroyo and they have come to an agreement. He then noted the proposed sidewalks on the plan.
Councilman Kramer asked whether Mr. Arroyo believes the plan is acceptable. Mr. Arroyo advised they have attempted to be consistent with what has already been approved with the Brownstone phase. He noted that the PUD ordinance does not specifically state that there must be a sidewalk in the multiple family section in front of every unit. He explained it states that they must provide for an internal network that connects.
Councilman Kramer understands it is Mr. Arroyo’s opinion that the sidewalk layout has reasonable access; Mr. Arroyo agreed it is reasonable and consistent.
Councilman Kramer added Ms. Lemke indicated that Singh has looked at constructing the utilities in the right-of-way and that because of set backs that may not be a beneficial design. Councilman Kramer stated that he would still encourage taking advantage of opportunities to minimize intrusion by the detailed engineering placement of those utilities.
Councilwoman Mutch asked how much green space will be left once they make the changes proposed by the petitioner? Mr. Arroyo does not have an exact number in terms of the comparison with the original plan. However, he advised he does have numbers regarding related to lot coverage and floor area ratio. Mr. Arroyo reported the ordinance has a maximum lot coverage of 25% and this proposal is under 10%. Mr. Arroyo advised that the floor area ratio shall not exceed 35% according to the ordinance and this proposal is just under 16%. However, he restated that he does not have the exact numbers of open space for this project versus the approved.
Councilwoman Mutch understands there is more space around the built environment because they are covering less space, it is less densely developed and there are fewer units. Mr. Arroyo restated that he is unable to give an exact answer because although they are not building as many units, he believes these units are larger than the units originally approved. However, he noted in terms of coverage versus the ordinance standards, they are substantially below maximum.
Councilwoman Mutch asked whether they have provided a space the residents can go to outside their own yard? Mr. Arroyo understands many of the preservation areas are going to be walkable to some extent, but would ask the petitioner to comment. He then referred Council to Tab 1 of the Singh binder which shows the proposed Phasing Plan Revisions. He noted they show Open Space on the bottom column and the last two columns compare the existing plan with the proposed plan. Mr. Arroyo reported the total preservation area is 62 acres under the previous plan and is 62 acres under the current plan. He continued by stating that open space is shown as 10 acres under both plans.
According to the subdivision plan, Mr. Holloway noted because of the amount of green space and the central curvilinear road system, the residents never have to travel far to access any portion of the green space. He added Meadowbrook Elementary is located just north of this project and active recreation is also available there.
Councilwoman Mutch noted a large selling point for this project was the green space areas.
CM-98-12-390: Moved by Mutch, Seconded by DeRoche, CARRIED: To approve the Consent Order, to approve the Vistas PUD agreement amendment, the Meadowbrook amendment to area plan, the Tollgate amendment to area plan, the plans listed within those documents, subject to all of the consultants conditions, except for Ms. Lemke’s recommendations for design alternatives within the Tollgate subdivisions and except for Mr. Arroyo’s recommendations regarding the side lot lines of Lots 18 and 21, and with a 40% limitation on front entry garages, and with Singh to return with a woodland replacement plan prior to final site plan or final plat approval with regard to the Tollgate project
Mr. Kahm is somewhat confused. He explained woodland replacement is a huge issue and he wants to make certain that the motion permits them to plant trees on lots.
Councilman Kramer replied the motion permits him to resolve the issue with Ms. Lemke.
Mr. Kahm restated that is a huge issue and it may impact the feasibility of their project. Councilman Kramer stated it appeared that they were unable to resolve this issue this evening and the petitioner may like to bring it back for further discussion because it seems Council is unprepared to discuss the whole detail tonight.
Mr. Kahm understood they were given the opportunity to work out just the mechanics. The Mayor believes that was the direction that was given in that the petitioner should work out what they can prior to final site plan and final plat.
Mr. Watson added that the petitioner can come back with a tree replacement plan any time prior to final site plan approval and final plat approval with respect to the Tollgate project.
Mr. Kahm stated if they come back with a mechanism to show how the trees will
Mr. Watson advised that each subdivision will come back for final plat approval and the site condo will come back for final site plan approval.
The Mayor noted that the petitioner will have another opportunity to come back before Council and refine those issues.
Mr. Kahm understands that he can come back before Council to address this same issue; Mayor McLallen and Mr. Watson agreed.
Councilman Schmid will not support the motion and his position is no reflection on the developer or his proposal. Councilman Schmid advised that he believes this development is far superior to the Vistas row house that was destined to fail. Councilman Schmid would prefer to go back to the original zoning (RA with 1 acre lots) because he believes it would be more desirable for this location.
Vote on CM-98-12-390: Yeas: McLallen, Crawford, DeRoche, Kramer, Mutch
Nays: Lorenzo, Schmid
CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS FOR COUNCIL ACTION: (Items listed on the Consent Agenda which have been removed for discussion and/or action)
A. Approve Minutes of:
1. November 23, 1998 Special Joint City Council & Parks and Recreation Commission Meeting
Councilwoman Lorenzo referred to the fourth sentence in paragraph 5 on Page 6 and she advised that it should read: ". . . they will likely see a referendum based upon the community’s concern."
CM-98-12-391: Moved by Lorenzo, Seconded by DeRoche, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve minutes of November 23, 1998 Special Joint City Council & Parks and Recreation Commission Meeting as corrected
Mayor ProTem Crawford understands the motion directs the City Clerk to review the record; Councilwoman Lorenzo agreed.
Vote on CM-98-12-391: Yeas: McLallen, Crawford, DeRoche, Kramer, Lorenzo, Mutch, Schmid
D. Approval of Massage Business License - Linda’s Hair and More, 24079 Meadowbrook Road
Councilman Schmid was alarmed to see a massage parlor approval on the Consent Agenda because they have been a controversial issue over the past several years.
Councilman Schmid asked whether there is a limit for the number of massage parlors that can be built in Novi? Further, Councilman Schmid asked Mr. Arroyo what are the restrictions and did he review this project? Mr. Arroyo replied he did not review the project.
Mayor McLallen advised this is a license for an existing business and is adding the ability for a licensed masseuse to give massages within an existing building per the city’s regulations.
Councilman Schmid understands that and asked whether there are any requirements to have a license to add a massage parlor to an existing business? Mr. Arroyo understands Councilman Schmid is referring to a state licensing requirement and he is unable to answer that question. However, he noted from a use perspective they would be able to do that if it is consistent with the uses that are allowed in the district. Further, assuming it is not adult oriented, Mr. Arroyo advised that it will not require special approval from a use standpoint. Mr. Arroyo understands there is a license requirement and he does not know whether the city has its own license requirement for a massage business because he is normally not involved with that provision.
Mr. Watson advised that the city does have a licensing requirement which is what this application is. He continued by stating that the state had provisions in the occupation code to license the actual masseuses at one time. However, based upon a Court of Appeals case that precluded local regulation because of that state regulation, they removed it from the state licensing provision. Therefore, Mr. Watson understands the state no longer licenses the actual masseuses and he restated there are local licenses required.
Councilman Schmid asked whether there are restrictions and requirements in terms of what a building must have in order to conduct a massage operation? Mr. Watson replied there is a section in the code that addresses massage operations.
Councilman Schmid asked whether the Planning Department should review these kinds of operations as opposed to the Building Department? Mr. Arroyo cannot answer that question. Mr. Watson advised it would go through the Planning Department if site plan approval was needed for the site. Otherwise, Mr. Watson added that the Building Department would review any change of use from a zoning perspective.
Councilman Schmid may propose that they look more closely at the ordinance to determine whether the city should limit the number massage parlors in Novi.
CM-98-12-392: Moved by Schmid, Seconded by Crawford, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Massage Business License - Linda’s Hair and More, 24079 Meadowbrook Road
Councilwoman Mutch asked whether a business which only provides that kind of service be more properly identified as a massage parlor or a massage business as opposed to another business that has something else as its primary function that provides that as a service? Councilwoman Mutch explained that she can understand that they do not want a proliferation of businesses that engage only in that service, but it seems that there are many health centers and beauty salons that want to provide that as extra service. Mr. Watson understands the distinction Councilwoman Mutch is making and advised that the city does not get involved in the semantics of it. He continued by stating if the activity is going on at all, they must go through the licensing process.
Councilwoman Mutch believes that is acceptable in terms of licensing, but she is talking about the other issues raised by Councilman Schmid in regard to Planning Department or consultant review. No matter who is applying for the license, Mr. Watson advised that the application is reviewed by the Police and the Building Departments, and the Planning Department only reviews the application if it needs to go through the site plan process.
Councilwoman Mutch understands that Councilman Schmid was suggesting that they may need to be reviewed by the Planning Department? Councilman Schmid was asking whether that was true and that discussion should take place on another night.
Vote on CM-98-12-392: Yeas: McLallen, Crawford, DeRoche, Kramer, Lorenzo, Mutch, Schmid
COMMITTEE REPORTS - None
MAYOR AND COUNCIL ISSUES
1. Proposed Changes to City Council Rules and Order of Business from December 1, 1997 - Lorenzo
Councilwoman Lorenzo noted this is still an outstanding item on the Council Project Tracking Form.
Mayor McLallen advised that the members of this committee will make every effort to meet within the next fourteen days and provide a report to Council.
2. Quail Ridge Drainage in Northville Township - Lorenzo
Councilwoman Lorenzo advised that there was an article in the newspaper regarding this issue and requested that Mr. Nowicki provide an update.
Mayor McLallen advised there is a consensus of Council to direct staff to provide this report.
3. Update on Novi’s Road Construction Schedule - McLallen
Mayor McLallen reported she attended a meeting this morning (with MDOT, Oakland County Road Commission and City of Novi) about the Beck Road interchange and she asked whether there is a Council consensus to direct staff to designate an individual to provide Council with monthly updates on the coordination of all of the road projects coming forward in the upcoming year. Mayor McLallen advised it was apparent at this meeting that they must take responsibility for the coordination of these projects within the city.
Mayor McLallen reported the operational date for the Beck Road interchange is scheduled for 2002, the bridge is scheduled for spring 1999 and the construction of the five lanes on Grand River Avenue will begin in 1999.
Mr. Kriewall advised one reason for today’s road meeting was that the Road Commission had not yet officially committed to delivering the five lane widening between Beck and Wixom Roads. Mr. Kriewall reported Theresa Gillis advised them at an earlier meeting this morning that they are committed to this project at this point in time. Mr. Kriewall continued by stating that the other was the timing of MDOT and their progress with this entire program. Mr. Kriewall reported that their environmental assessment is being printed and they are scheduling a hearing in late January or early February on this assessment. From that point on, Mr. Kriewall advised if there is a finding that there is no significant impact, they can go into final design on this project. Mr. Kriewall added that MDOT indicated this is a continuing high priority and they are committed to building this project quickly.
ATTORNEY’S REPORTS - None
1. Letter from Senator Dick Posthumus to Tonni Bartholomew, Re: SB1181
2. Letter from Patsy Schreer to City Council, Re: Closing of Chapman Drive
3. Letter from Ten Mile Task Force to City Council, Re: Formal Response to September 30, 1998 Ten Mile Task Force Challenge
4. Letter from James Korte to Judge Dennis N. Powers, Re: Case #98-007396-CM
5. Letter from Economic Development Corporation, Re: Recommendation on City initiated rezoning for the OST District
There being no further business before City Council, the meeting was adjourned at 1:20 a.m.
Mayor City Clerk
Date Approved: December 21, 1998