View Agenda for this meeting

MONDAY, MAY 5, 2003 AT 7:30 P.M.

 Mayor Clark called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.


ROLL CALL Mayor Clark, Mayor Pro Tem Bononi, Council Members Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi

ALSO PRESENT: Craig Klaver – Chief Operating Officer

Gerald Fisher – City Attorney

Rick Helwig – City Manager

Dave Evancoe – City Planner

Doug Shaeffer – Policy Chief

Randy Auler – Director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry

Mr. Arroyo – Traffic Consultant

Nancy McClain – City Engineer

Cindy Uglow – Neighborhood Services




CM-03-05-127 Moved by Sanghvi, seconded by Csordas; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the agenda as presented.

Vote on CM-03-05-127 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi

Nays: None

Absent: Capello



Member Csordas reported that SWOCC’s new budget is $1.25 million. The

Commission’s budget was recommended by staff and approved. The old Southwest

Oakland Cable Commission (SWOCC) building was sold. SWOCC will be approaching

the city of Farmington Hills for a variance to their building. The budget included salary

increases of 3%, which is a typical increase of municipalities at this time.

SWOCC’s budget is on-line.

*Member Capello arrived at 7:37 p.m.






1. Recognition of the Novi Youth Assistance "Think Before You Drink" Poster Essay Contest winners, held in conjunction with the Alcohol Awareness Month

Mayor Clark read a proclamation for Novi Youth Assistance, recognizing four students from Novi Middle School for their participation in the fourth annual poster contest, "Think Before You Drink". 3rd place in the contest went to Gabrielle Torossian; 2nd place to Matt Belloni; and 1st place was a tie between Ashima Goyal and Katie Gafney.

2. Proclamation - 11th Annual Letter Carriers Food Drive - May 10, 2003

Mayor Clark read a proclamation declaring My 10, 2003, as Letter Carrier Food Drive Day, and encouraged all citizens of the community to participate in the food drive. He also indicated that the postal employees in Novi have done an outstanding job and are to be commended.

3. Proclamation for Athletes with Physical Disabilities Week, May 11-17, 2003

A third proclamation read by Mayor Clark to honor Athletes with Disabilities Week, May 11-17, 2003. Mayor Clark called upon community members join him in recognizing the outstanding contribution made by athletes with disabilities to our city, state and nation.

4. City Employee Service Pin recognition:

The final presentation was recognition of service for several city employees. All recognized employees were presented with City Employee Service Pins.

- Gilbert VanSickle, for 35 years of service with the City of Novi Fire Department

- Tim Loynes, for 30 years of service with the Department of Public Works;

- Jack Lewis, for 25 years of service with the City of Novi’s Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department;

- Zora Singer, for 25 years of service with the City of Novi’s Water and Sewer Department.


1. Public Hearing #2 for SAD 165 Connemara Hills Water Main

Anthony Tomasso, 21705 Kilrush, said his district showed overwhelming support for this Special Assessment District (SAD). His neighborhood has waited for action on their petition filed in June of 2002, as the first public hearing was not held until November, 2002. His district is waiting for an estimate of what hooking up to city water will cost, and would like to receive city water by the Fall of 2003 if possible. A preliminary estimate of $12,700 was calculated for the work, which his neighbors feel is acceptable, though they are not very concerned with the cost. There’s been an increase of 31% in consumer price indexing for homes since 1993, and hooking up to city water would have cost $8,038 at that time. Mr. Tomasso estimates the actual price will be close to the estimate. His neighborhood is now waiting on the engineering estimate. Since all the old JCK documents should be archived with the city, someone should be able to retrieve his information. He would like to see city water some time this year.

Linda Mulder, 21641 Kilrush Dr., noted it had been very stressful for the people in the SAD to continue waiting for city water connection. The SAD’s residents would like to know if anything can be done to move the process along, in order to achieve closure to the situation.

Mike Czarniecki, 45332 Byrne, stated that he and his neighbors have been actively speaking to homeowners with properties that are contiguous with SAD properties. He asked that Council consider, if the idea is proposed, adding parcels to the SAD.

2. Public Hearing for 2003-2004 Proposed Budget

Member Lorenzo asked if there was a budget presentation for the public. Mayor Clark said that it doesn’t make sense to have a public hearing the same night as the budget meeting, because there may be some input that the citizens want to give Council before Council completes its budget deliberations. In the past, Council has had a budget presentation and public comment session the same night. The public will still be able to comment that night, which is the 19th, but Council is also required by state law to pass a budget that evening.

Member Lorenzo agreed, but said it would have been helpful for the public to have had a presentation to respond to. In the event that there is no presentation tonight, she would like to hold the public hearing open through the next meeting, and at the next meeting hold a budget presentation to allow public response. Mayor Clark said to wait and see how much response Council received tonight.

John Locar, Penton Rise Ct., said that he lives along Meadowbrook Lake. Mr. Locar said that he and neighboring residents have been told for three or four years that the dredging of Meadowbrook Lake was on the budget docket. He expressed concern over the influx of silt into the northern end of the lake, and asked that the project be seriously considered for initiation during the 2003 fiscal year. Mayor Clark responded that the proposed dredging of Meadowbrook Lake "has, and will be, looked at long and hard", and is a serious consideration for starting in 2003.

Recessed at 8:01 p.m. for tornado warning

Reconvened at 8:05 p.m.

Member Lorenzo asked to continue the public response regarding the budget into the next meeting. Mayor Clark said the response would continue during audience participation. He said that all citizens who wished to be heard would be heard tonight. The Mayor noted that continuing the public comment session at the next meeting would require publishing notice of the second comment session. Member Capello noted his agreement with Mayor Clark to hold the entire public comment session only tonight.


1. City Manager

Mr. Klaver reported that Mr. Helwig is representing the Novi community at the Senate Transportation Committee at Oakland County Commissioner’s Auditorium, expressing Council’s concerns regarding the Governor’s proposed transportation planning changes for the Beck and Wixom Road interchanges along I-96.

2. Department Reports – none

3. Attorney

Mr. Fisher reported that litigation relating to zoning and environmental preservation, or "land takings", is very significant for the city. In 1998, the Michigan Supreme Court heard the largest state "takings" case for environmental preservation, K & K Construction vs. the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The Supreme Court decided favorably for the Michigan DNR, holding that questions needed to be addressed. The case was sent back to a lower trial court with the purposes of defining what land was involved and making an assessment, which the lower court has accomplished. At the conclusion of the lower court’s hearing, it awarded a judgment for the plaintiffs of $16,000,000. The case has been appealed to the Michigan Court of Appeals, and is pending in that Court. Mr. Fisher has been selected by the Michigan Municipal League and Michigan Township Association to file a brief on their behalf in the case. This is a very important case to watch, as it relates to both environmental preservation, and the general notion of "takings" law in this state.

The second item addressed by Mr. Fisher was the Maybury Park Residential Unit Development (RUD) and the Tuscany Reserve RUD, with specific reference to the sanitary sewer service for those developments. He said the Maybury Park RUD was approved with the idea that there would be a Special Assessment District (SAD) created to extend the sewer to that property to provide a permanent sanitary sewer solution. At the time of the Maybury RUD approval, no other developments were of interest that could conjunctively finance that type of sewer extension.

Mr. Fisher stated that the Tuscany Reserve RUD is going through the planning process at this point, and an RUD agreement is nearly ready for presentation to Council. In addition, there is property owned by the Singh Company further to the west. Singh has expressed interest in securing sanitary sewer service availability, though the company does not currently have a connection plan or a pipeline for the property. However, the city concluded that if a sewer extension would take place, it would be sensible to coordinate the financing of the project and not do a "piecemeal" job.

Mr. Fisher said that at a meeting with the city last week, the three site developers agreed that they would be willing to create a contract SAD, where the three developers together would pay 100% of the installment costs for the SAD. In conjunction with running that line, there would be approximately 100 single-family residences that would be passed and provided with public sewer availability. The three developers agreed that the residences would not have to pay anything toward the SAD. There is additional property along the route extension that would be served, but would not be included in the SAD as such. In order to serve these properties, the city would need to pass an ordinance and decide how much those properties would pay to connect to water and sewer lines. To the degree that tap-ins occurred during the installment period of the SAD, money would go towards funding the SAD, and would reduce the outstanding balance to the other parties. If the connection occurred after SAD completion, the money would revert to the city.

Mr. Fisher noted that these developers are also concerned about how the planning and development processes would be configured. They have proposed that bidding be done by having both the city and one developer prepare independent cost estimates. Following communication between the estimating developer and the other two developers, the involved parties would then reconcile the price, and one developer would complete the project construction. This would not constitute formal bidding, but given that the three developers are paying 100% of SAD costs, there is less exposure outstanding. Thus it is assumed that the capital cost of other people connecting to the lines would depend on the city’s cost estimate.

Mr. Fisher said the developers are also concerned about water service. Water pressure in the Tuscany Reserve area is often inadequate. Currently a project is underway to run a water main beneath I-96, and some benefit may accrue for the area. For the foreseeable future however, the city cannot make representations to affected property owners that water pressure will be adequate. Property owners are asking that attention be given to the issue. The long-term water pressure solution would be water storage facilities, though there is concern about elevated storage facilities. It is the administration’s intent, with Council’s approval, to proceed with further negotiations with the view of bringing back completed RUD amendments to Council for approval.

Member Lorenzo asked Mr. Fisher to explain the difference between a traditional SAD and a contract SAD. Mr. Fisher explained that with a traditional SAD, the city assessor and engineer devise a district area that would be served, which is proposed to Council for approval. Within that service district, all property owners would be made parties to the SAD, and would be obligated to make their fair-share financial contribution. A hearing process would be used to determine the necessity of the project, as well as the proportionate share of the project that each property owner would pay. At the conclusion of the process, Council would confirm the special assessment roll, and all property owners would be required to pay the assessment fee for a time period, possibly of 10-15 years.

While it is recommended to conduct at least one public hearing, Mr. Fisher said that a contract SAD uses a more contracted planning process. Rather than making all property owners in the area pay for installments regardless of their interest in connecting, only parties agreeing to connect are required to make payments during the course of the SAD.

Member Lorenzo asked if the contract is with the city, to which Mr. Fisher said yes. Member Lorenzo asked if all the easements needed for the Tuscany project are already purchased or donated. Mr. Fisher answered that he believes all needed easements have been obtained.

Member Lorenzo expressed concern over using a contract Special Assessment District, recalling that Sandstone was a contract SAD for street improvement which resulted in a breach of contract. When SAD 155, the Twelve Mile Road improvements for Fountain Walk, was being established, the city received an opinion from their general counsel at the time that if the matter was to be pursued, the city should not proceed with a contract assessment. She has concerns about entering into a contract with a developer and possibly creating a problem similar to the Sandstone issue.

Member Lorenzo has no problems with traditional SAD’s, which Council considered when Maybury came forward. She has objections to a contract SAD, especially because of the contractual agreement between parties, and noted her concern with the project timing, easements, delays, and anything that could potentially lead to litigation involving the city.

Member Lorenzo also expressed concern that the city may not be capable of making valid assurances for adequate water pressure to some residents. Council has not had the opportunity to examine the study or prioritize water pressure problems across the city. Priority should be given to existing residential units, not future housing. She believes the city should officially label water pressure issues and priorities as "under study" until further examination.

Mayor Clark asked Mr. Fisher to verify that if a contract is developed, it would provide that property owners in question would hold responsibility for guaranteeing that they have necessary easements in place, and that the city would face no liability; in addition, the property owners would be fully responsible for the cost of construction. Mr. Fisher answered that this would be correct. Mayor Clark asked for verification both that the city is making no representations to property owners, and that a hold harmless clause would be included in the contract. Mr. Fisher said that this was also correct. Mayor Clark expressed his support for contracts which require property owners who desire inclusion in the SAD to fund construction, rather than the city, He noted that the Fountain Walk development actually funded the improvements on Twelve Mile Road during recent months with an SAD, and that those developers paid for the road improvements by collecting SAD fees from tenants in that development. This SAD was entirely different than the Sandstone SAD, and a legal concern such as Sandstone will not be repeated with a proposal that Mr. Fisher and the administration may construct. He supports the concept, and looks forward to reviewing whatever contract is agreed upon by both the city and developers.

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi encouraged the administration to approach a contract SAD with "a great deal of skepticism." The contract is an "entangling alliance," which may drain a great deal of city resources. She supports examining any SAD that may be brought forward before Council, but one that involves only private party funding. Also, any large scale investment in the Detroit Water System "that does not have quantifiable numbers attached" should be approached with scrutiny. She noted that the city has experienced problems with water pressure improvements from the Detroit Water Board before, and thus should seek specific figures before engaging in contracts with that entity. She suggested that unless Council would have a proper discussion of an agenda item naming the issue, that Council not proceed any further with the topic.

Member Csordas agreed with Mayor Clark that a contract should be allowed which features developer financing of an SAD, allowing for improvements at little or no cost to the city. He noted that the I-96 waterline extension is essential for the city, because many homes in the southwestern part of the city suffer from very low water pressure in the summer. He asked for a brief status of the waterline extension in that portion of the city. Mr. Pearson answered that the project consists of a booster pump and water main crossing under I-96 from Twelve Mile Road to Grand River, where it will connect to an existing line. The city is currently acquiring properties, one from Detroit Edison and one from the Novi Expo Center. The water main may be under construction by the end of this year, and could possibly be completed by the end of 2004. Member Csordas asked if that extension would complete a loop in the city water main system, which would create a more stable water supply for the city. Mr. Pearson answered that this is the case, and that because the city is currently very dependent on one supply line, many residents may lose their city water supply temporarily if a problem were to arise with that supply main. Member Csordas said he would support an SAD which provides stability to the water supply, especially if private developers "are footing the bill."

Member Csordas noted that the three developers wanted to structure the SAD extension plans with a private contract. He also noted that single family properties lie along the noted extension area. He asked Mr. Pearson if these properties are of large size which can be split and developed. Mr. Pearson answered yes, and also said that a church which will be built in the area, Our Lady of Victory, may want to connect as well.

Member Csordas asked if connecting these developments would require an ordinance other than the city’s standard operating procedure. Mr. Fisher answered that the city would want to adopt an ordinance specifying the amount each property would be responsible to pay. Member Csordas inquired if an ordinance was already established which applied to the extension. Mr. Fisher said that he believes so, but needs to research the issue further. He wants the ordinance applied to be prudent and reliable. In addition, Mr. Klaver noted that the city should make property owner SAD contributions equitable so that all stakeholders are proportionately liable. Member Csordas agreed, and while he said less government involvement is better for drawing up a contract, he expressed support for Mr. Fisher’s idea. Mr. Fisher stated that the city does not wish to charge city customers arbitrary amounts of money, but instead wants to ensure that properly calculated prices are billed.

Member Capello expressed his support for developing a contract SAD. The Sandstone contract SAD was faulty for reasons pertaining to the administration of that SAD, not the method of using an SAD. The contract SAD will be less costly to both the city and developers, and will allow infrastructure development much more quickly. Member Capello asked Mr. Fisher if the developers would actually construct or supervise the construction of the improvements. Mr. Fisher answered that one of the developers would actually construct the improvements, but only after the city has made a careful cost analysis, and the other two developers have made costs analyses, and the two parties have reconciled their cost estimates with each other. Mr. Capello commented that contrary to Sandstone the three developers, Singh Development, Cambridge Homes, and Multi, are very reputable and have been in the city for a long time. He asked if monies collected from residents would go back to the builders that funded the sewer, to the city, or to some combination of the two. Mr. Fisher answered that if a payback ordinance were created, the properties would send fees to the private developer of an SAD if they enter into the water system during construction of that SAD, but would otherwise pay fees directly to the city. The SAD would be open about 15 years, so the city would receive whatever funds are accrued after the close of that 15-year-period. Member Capello wondered if the city is capable of negotiating an interest rate on the city’s financial infrastructure investment when drawing up a contract SAD with developers.

Member Landry said that he cannot announce his support for the contract SAD right now, simply because the contract doesn’t yet exist. However, he said that he definitely supports exploring the idea of creating a contract SAD. While there are certainly some potential risks to approach cautiously, the possible benefits of using a contract SAD, such as reduced city costs, certainly warrant looking into the issue more closely.

Member Sanghvi warned against developing a "phobia" of participating in contractual agreements. He compared the Sandstone experience with a car crash – although someone may have a car accident, they do not stop driving a car, and said that the city should not necessarily avoid other contract agreements. He supports the further investigation of a possible contract agreement with the three developers, for future consideration by Council.

Mr. Fisher thanked Council for a very thorough response. He asked for assurance from Council that the city should approach water issues with a normal course of action without any special representations or assurances to developers.

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi added that her overall concern with an SAD is how the city will use its resources. She is concerned with using the city’s time and resources to continue with this project, as opposed with something else. She also said that she is curious about the amount of city resources used in negotiations with developers. She would like to see a list of expenses pertaining to negotiations at the next Council meeting.


Karl Wizinsky, 26850 Wixom Road, spoke about the adoption of the landscape ordinance, specifically the landscape screening and buffer requirements between non-compatible uses. He wanted to share what he has learned by living next to the Target Store. He said that currently, the city of Novi has no ordinances to protect residents adjacent to commercial or industrial sites from truck noises and odors. According to records of a 2001 Planning Commission meeting, one Commissioner assured that Target would be held accountable for ordinance noise and odor requirements, even with a six-foot-tall berm along that store’s property. Mr. Wizinsky commented that licensed vehicles are exempt from noise standards in the city. He also said that representatives from Target had assured the Planning Commission at that 2001 meeting that no refrigerated trucks would be servicing the store.

Mr. Wizinsky said that truck drivers frequently sleep overnight at the Target store, leaving their trucks running during the night. Though a six-foot-tall berm was constructed, noise bounces off the berm and reflects toward his house. Several different types of trucks deliver goods to the store both late at night, and early in the morning. Refrigerated units are the noisiest of all servicing units and arrive at all hours. Trucks delivering take at least 20 minutes to drop off a trailer and pick up a new one. He would recommend strengthening these gaps in the ordinance, and listed his recommendations.

Mayor Clark asked Mr. Klaver to review the situation in light of representations made to the Planning Commission.

Andrew Mutch, 24542 Hampton Ct., spoke about amendments to the city’s Woodlands Ordinance, and its exemptions to farming activities. He noted that there had been a story in the Novi News about the destruction of regulated woodlands during farming activity. He felt it was important to revise the ordinance to prevent developers from circumventing it. The Woodlands Ordinance is intended to preserve the city’s woodlands and is also intended to benefit the city’s residents by contributing to, among other factors, increased property and environmental values. He asked Council to revise the ordinance to better protect Novi’s woodlands, and prevent developers from using the farming exemption as a loophole to avoid compliance.

CONSENT AGENDA (Approval/Removals)

CM-03-05-128 Moved by Capello, seconded by Landry; CARRIED

UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the balance of the consent agenda with exception of item D.


Mayor Pro Tem Bononi removed item D. Member Capello asked about an item on the Warrant, a request for 60 replacement holsters for $5, 268, which is almost $900 a holster. Police Chief Shaeffer said these are high-security holsters, which are intended to prevent a combatant suspect from obtaining the officer’s sidearm. In times past, a suspect has been able to shoot an officer with the officer’s own weapon, which these holsters should prevent.

(Background information for Consent Agenda items is available for review at the City Clerk’s Office)

A. Approve minutes of:

April 12, 2003 – Special meeting

April 21, 2003 – Regular meeting

B. Adoption of Resolution authorizing the 2003 Memorial Day Parade, Monday, May 26, 2003 from10:00 AM to 11:30 AM and submittal of Resolution to the Road Commission for Oakland County.

C. Award bid to Manage and Administer the FY 2003-2004 Community Development Block Grant Minor Home Repair Program to Oakland Livingston Human Service Agency, in the amount of $9,412.

E Approval of Ordinance Amendment No. 03-100.31 to amend Chapter 28, "Signs," of the City of Novi Code of Ordinances, to implement a misdemeanor penalty. 2nd Reading

F. Approval of Ordinance Amendment No. 03-100.32 to amend Chapter 28, "Signs," of the City of Novi Code of Ordinances, Section 28-6(2) A.3, to change the setback regulations applicable to Twelve Mile Road to reflect the widening of the roadway. 2nd Reading

G. Approval of Zoning Text Amendment 18.175 to Section 201 of the City of Novi Ordinance No. 97-18, as amended, to add to the definition of home occupation a limitation on the placement of signs visible through window areas suggesting or implying the existence of a home occupation. 2nd Reading

H. Approval of Ordinance 03-37.28; an Ordinance to amend the City of Novi Code of Ordinances, as amended, Chapter 34, Article II, Division 4, Subdivision XV, to establish the Beck West Corporate Park Water Main Extension and Service District and to provide for an availability fee for service. 2nd Reading.

I. Approval of Ordinance 03-28.46; an Ordinance to amend the City of Novi Code of Ordinances, as amended, Chapter 34, Article III, Division 3, Subdivision XXXI, to establish the Husky Sanitary Sewer Extension district and to provide for an availability fee for service. 2nd Reading.

J. Approval of Ordinance 03-28.47; an Ordinance to amend the City of Novi Code of Ordinances, as amended, Chapter 34, Article III, Division 3, Subdivision XXXII, to establish the Eleven Mile/Wixom and Beck Road Sanitary Service District and to provide for an availability fee. 2nd Reading

K. Approval of Resolution No. 2 for the West Lake Drive Water Main Extension – SAD 168 and setting the public hearing for June 2, 2003.

L. Approval of resolution No. 2 for the West Lake Drive Paving – SAD 169 and setting the public hearing for June 2, 2003.

M. Approval to award bid to Harmon Sign/Planet Neon, the low bidder, in the amount of $10,781.24. This is replacement signage for Heyn Properties, Spartan Concrete, Inc. and Wilkens Parts and Equipment, in conjunction with the Grand River Avenue Improvement Project.

O. Approval of budget amendment No. 2003-05 in the amount of $20,000 for

mosquito control. (Treatment will begin in May 2003)

P. Approval to award bid for a remanufactured (discounted) Steelcase furniture contract to Oakland Office Interior, the low qualified bidder, based on percentage discount pricing and hourly installation rate. (Only project currently pending is the new Fire Station No. 4)

Q. Approval of claims and accounts – Warrant No. 648

Roll Call Vote on CM-03-05-128 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi

Nays: None

Absent: None


2. Approval of Zoning Text Amendment 18.179 to amend Ordinance No. 97-18, as amended, the City of Novi Zoning Ordinance, Appendix A of the City of Novi Code of Ordinances, to create Section 2514, "Additional road design, building setback, and parking setback requirements for One-Family Clustering Option, Two-Family uses, Multiple-Family uses, and certain non-residential uses and developments," and to amend Section 2403, "One-Family Clustering Option," and to amend Section 2400 Schedule of Regulations, for related purposes. 2nd Reading.

CM-03-05-129 Moved by Landry, seconded by Csordas; MOTION CARRIED: To approve of Zoning Text Amendment 18.179 to amend Ordinance No. 97-18, as amended, the City of Novi Zoning Ordinance, Appendix A of the City of Novi Code of Ordinances, to create Section 2514, "Additional road design, building setback, and parking setback requirements for One-Family Clustering Option, Two-Family uses, Multiple-Family uses, and certain non-residential uses and developments," and to amend Section 2403, "One-Family Clustering Option," and to amend Section 2400 Schedule of Regulations, for related purposes.


Member Csordas commended the Planning Commission for developing an "interim road policy", and for taking a pro-active stance regarding their road policy.

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi expressed concern with potentially altering the visual characteristics of the Novi community by amending the current zoning ordinance, especially involving parking arrangements in new developments. She agrees that on-street parking can be appropriate and even necessary, but she has reservations with a departure from the city’s current appearance, and what citizens expect it to look like. If street parking has become a necessity for the city, then ordinance requirements of building locations and setbacks should be reexamined. She feels that modifying the zoning ordinance could lead to a "jungle look" for parts of the city. She is also concerned about the ordinance not addressing screening and protection issues, especially regarding a cluster option single family development that would perhaps abut a traditional subdivision. In such a circumstance, a parking lot could lie just ten feet away from that property line.

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi noted her concerns with compatibility and adjacency issues. Unlike Member Csordas, she is concerned with the Planning Commission making ordinance-creating decisions when such ordinance decisions rest with Council. She asked what might occur if this policy was put in place regarding a decision that was appealed. Other applicants might demand the same consideration, and the city would be at risk in having created non-conformity. She is also concerned about the 24 vs. 28 foot aisle width proposal. In some areas of town, overnight parking and snow removal situations are problems. The location of parking areas, with regard to adjacency issues, is a concern that needs to be addressed.

Roll Call Vote on CM-03-05-129 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Sanghvi

Nays: Lorenzo

Absent: None

3. Approval of Resolution - Support of the State of Michigan fulfilling its commitment to complete the I-96 and Beck Road Interchange Reconstruction.

CM-03-05-130 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Csordas; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve of Resolution - Support of the State of Michigan fulfilling its commitment to complete the I-96 and Beck Road Interchange Reconstruction.


Roll Call Vote on CM-03-05-130 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi

Nays: None

Absent: None

4. Approval of Memorandum of Understanding for entry of Consent Judgment, under agreement dated June 25, 2002. (Sandstone)

CM-03-05-131 Moved by Csordas, seconded by Clark; MOTION CARRIED: Motion to support changes proposed by Member Landry, in their entire content, to the agreement between Sandstone and the City of Novi, including: sending a remediation crew only after determining which specific parcel of property will be provided to Sandstone; and that Sandstone shall be required to replace any trees removed from the property, should the company not be awarded the parcel by HUD. In addition, the third paragraph on Page 2 of Section 2 of the agreement shall be removed.


Mr. Fisher asked Council whether it would like a summary of the memorandum, which Mayor Clark answered would be in order. Mr. Fisher said the memorandum is intended to address the city's currently outstanding issues that we have, and implement with regard to an agreement and consent judgment, entered pursuant to that agreement in June of last year. The memo has been agreed upon by Sandstone, and the city has worked out this matter as part of the implementation of the complex agreement and judgment. Some of the very important issues involved in that settlement have been implemented already. With one exception, the city representatives have not negotiated in this matter. Any new provisions were concepts that Mr. Fisher asked to submit to Council for decision making.

Mr. Fisher stated that several relevant items were under attention. The items of relevance are:

1. An item built into the Sandstone agreement was an attempt to resolve deed restrictions on certain properties, certain claims, and potential claims of deed restrictions. The city was provided with a period of 6 months to clear those deed restrictions. If the city was unable to clear the title, Sandstone would have a 2 year period within which to make an election to select either 4.8 or 9.6 acres of land on the north side of the property. The city has recognized that the land cannot be cleared within the allowed time period. Sandstone would like the city to withdraw any efforts made towards clearing these deeds. Sandstone is willing to make an election of 9.6 acres of property from the city. To the extent that Sandstone develops its commercial component, likely on Twelve Mile Road, the 9.6 acres or a proportional amount would be returned to the city. Based upon a configuration of the land adjacent to Dixon Road that is of interest to Sandstone, the appropriate parcel would be 9.4101 acres, and Sandstone has agreed to accept 9.4101 acres in full satisfaction of the 9.6 acres provision, with the understanding that if Sandstone must return property to the city as a result of building the commercial component of a development, they would be credited the difference, which is .189 acres, as part of their first obligation to re-convey to the city.

2. Part 2 relates to a five acre parcel of land that the city purchased in part with the benefit of Community Development Block Grant funds. It is a long, narrow 5-acre parcel on Twelve Mile Road, roughly 170 feet wide and 1200 feet deep. That property is being retained by the city as part of the agreement, largely because the land was financed with Community Development Block Grant funds. In the northeast portion of the property that Sandstone will receive as a result of the election of 9.6 acres, the land is forested and has other attributes that make it very desirable for city ownership. The idea of a land exchange has come forward, whereby Sandstone would take 4.3 acres of the so-called Block Grant property, and the city would take 4.3 acres of the property immediately adjacent to its park and add this to the park. With required U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) approval of the exchange, the city would enhance the park by incorporating immediately accessible land right next to the park and would avoid destruction of this forested parcel of property. In comparison, the so-called block grant property is only lightly forested. If HUD approves this arrangement, the park would be made more functional and accessible for residents. Other minor provisions that relate to clearing the plan are set out. Another important provision relates to the application period for the Block Grant funds, but also the idea that Sandstone would be waiting on its development plans for a determination approval, and the extent to which it would be giving properties back to the city as a result of building the commercial component. As a result of that provision, Sandstone proposed certain modifications of the agreement to the city. They proposed reducing a setback in the northerly part of the property, from a 50 foot setback to a 25 foot setback, and proposed to reduce the density on the property from 15 units per acre to 14 units per acre. Negotiations yielded that rather than 14 units per acre, density of the site would be 13.5 units per acre. This change is the item for Council to consider as a modification of the agreement: to change that northerly setback from 50 to 25; and to reduce the overall density on the property from 15 units per acre to 13.5 units per acre.

3. Part three of this arrangement involves what is considered in the agreement to be the post remediation grading plan. The city was obligated to remediate two historic orchard sites on that property, one to the west of the site, one to the northeast. At the conclusion of the remediation, the city’s obligation is to re-grade, bring dirt in, reestablish the grades on the property, then bring topsoil back in and reseed the site in order to stabilize the property to prevent storm water erosion. Sandstone determined that if the city undertook all of its regarded efforts, Sandstone would have to undo some prior city efforts on the site following its own master re-grading. The proposal before Council is that the city would essentially pay to Sandstone the amount that it had budgeted for topsoil, seeding and mulching, and Sandstone would release the city from its obligation to do any of that work, and also assume all the risks of completing that job.

4. Part four relates to two arbitrations that were started by Sandstone in connection with the remediation process. Both of those arbitrations would be dismissed as part of this arrangement. If Sandstone will develop the property, their intention is to pursue a clearance of the balance of the land so that they can grade it – it is a rolling parcel of property that would require balancing. In that regard, it would be clarified that it would be Sandstone’s obligation to do that, and the city would not have any obligation in that regard. Also, it would be clarified that Sandstone would be obligated to apply for, and secure, all required permits and approvals for such actions, including all customary review procedures for any tree clearing for woodlands, and Sandstone would be required to have a tree survey prepared. The survey will be prepared soon if it isn’t done already. Sandstone is obligated to comply with tree replacement rules. This agreement sets forth an understanding as to how the city ordinances have been administered in the past, and how they would continue to be administered.

5. Finally, there is a provision relating to an interpretation of drive-through facilities provided for in the agreement. Where drive-through facilities are provided, the language of the agreement contemplated a drive-through with up to two lanes if space was available. The city’s ordinance does not contain that limitation, and Sandstone wants to be treated as permitted under the ordinance. This interpretation, if approved by Council, would accomplish this.

Member Landry stated his satisfaction with the achieved degree of closure to the Sandstone experience. The city has decided to abandon the pursuit of discharging deed restrictions, and under the agreement Novi must provide Sandstone with 9 acres of land, to which he has no objections. If the city receives HUD approval for a land swap with Sandstone, holding an additional 4.3 acres of city parkland would be far more beneficial for city residents than 4.3 acres in the middle of a Sandstone development. Member Landry said he supports the proposed decreased development density exchange for a 25-foot setback reduction on the north side of the property, which is the smallest perimeter area of the entire property.

Member Landry said that the city should be content to only pay the already-budgeted $113,650 cost for post-remediation grading, seeding and mulching. He supports Item 5 of the proposal, the clarification of how Sandstone obtains city approval for grubbing and clearing. He also supports allowing a four-lane drive-through facility at the development, as a reputable banking institution will want a four-lane facility. Finally, Member Landry expressed his strong support for dismissing the Sandstone arbitrations, which Sandstone has proposed to withdraw.

Member Landry stated two recommended changes to empower Mr. Fisher to pursue. First, given the city’s obligation to provide nine acres of property to Sandstone at the Twelve Mile Road site, the city is likewise required to provide remediation service on the entire parcel. However, if the city will receive half of this land back through a swap, remediating the property twice would waste city resources. He suggested that the city only plan remediation of the site after determining the final property transactions and boundaries. He suggested this change be inserted on page 4 of the memorandum. His only other suggested change to Council was to require Sandstone to replace any trees that may be removed on the property, should HUD not approve a land swap. Mr. Fisher replied that this requirement is somewhat implicit with the tree replacement provision, but that clarification would be needed to require tree replacement on the specific property. Member Landry said he would support the memorandum of understanding with these two amendments.

Mayor Clark asked Mr. Fisher if modifying the document would present a problem, given that Sandstone had already authorized the memorandum for presentation to Council. Mr. Fisher answered that he could not guarantee that Sandstone would sign the document with the noted changes, nor could he say that they would not.

Member Sanghvi compared the Sandstone experience to a cancer: it started as a little boil, but has become malignant. When a malignancy is found, it is cut out of a patient, and an amount of healthy tissue is placed between the cancers to prevent them from killing the patient. He said that the Sandstone situation is similar; he has no hesitation in bringing closure to the issue. He advised closing the issue for good, and moving on with city affairs.

Member Capello asked to address the Block Grant parcel. He asked if anyone knew the cost of purchasing the parcel, rather than completing the exchange. Mr. Fisher answered that although only a portion of the property was purchased with Block Grant monies, based on HUD regulations, repayment must be made in proportion with fair market value rather than the amount that was borrowed. He said that whatever the price, it would be "more than the city would want to pay." Member Capello asked if regardless of how much money was borrowed, the city would have to pay the property’s market value and no cap would exist on the balance of the loan. Mr. Fisher answered that was correct, and at this time would be a significant burden.

Member Capello asked if this piece of property is protected woodlands. Mr. Fisher answered that he assumes there are protected trees on the property. Member Capello said that if there are not protected trees on the parcel, then the city would need some other provision other than just compliance with the woodland ordinance for replacement. Mr. Fisher commented that whether or not the ordinance technically applied, he believed that the ordinance’s woodlands formula will still apply to the site. Member Capello noted that the city would benefit by passing on the cost of final grading and seeding, but Sandstone would also benefit because the company receives the cost that the city had budgeted for grading and seeding, but also saves money by not undoing the city’s grading and seeding job. He said a more proper compensation level would be whatever amount the city had budgeted for this, minus Sandstone’s cost of undoing whatever work would have been done by the city. Mr. Fisher answered that this would be difficult to negotiate with Sandstone, as the current figures noted in the memorandum were negotiated between the city and Sandstone.

Member Capello then noted that in Item 5 of the memorandum, it is written that Sandstone must comply with the city code and/or regulations, but other additional conditions are listed. Mr. Fisher answered that some of the other processes are customs in the city of how things are done under the ordinances. Rather than creating ambiguity, there was a desire to clarify the processes and avoid possible arbitration. Member Capello inquired if this meant ambiguity over the city’s ordinances. Mr. Fisher answered that ambiguity referred to how the ordinances should be implemented. Member Capello asked if Sandstone is getting treatment outside of the ordinance with the additional provisions. Mr. Fisher answered that the city didn’t consider these provisions to be outside of the ordinance, in the sense that the document simply determines how the ordinance is administered. Member Capello then commented that under Subsection 1, he desired language indicating "at their cost and expense." He wants all the clearing and grubbing to be at Sandstone’s expense. He commended Mr. Fisher and his staff for bringing closure to the Sandstone issue.

Member Lorenzo asked for clarification on a definition of the property to the north of the site, and inquired if this is adjacent to the park, which Mr. Fisher showed. She has concerns with regards to the woodlands interpretation, concerns with clearing and grubbing the Block Grant property prior to finalizing a deal, and concerns about devaluing the property. She also has concerns with some of the language involving the pursuit of the exchange, including the phrase, "the parties have also recognized that in view of the delay in finalizing the configuration and location of the land that will ultimately be owned by Sandstone due to the pursuit of the land exchanges contemplated herein, Sandstone will not be able to plan and/or market the use and sale of the property it is to require from the city as contemplated." Member Lorenzo said she has not recognized this, and does not understand why there would be a delay. She said she would not agree to the memorandum, simply because of this language. From her point of view, citing a delay by the city is not truthful. She believed that Sandstone was the entity that wanted the swap.

Member Lorenzo asked why it wasn’t included in the memo that Sandstone wanted the particular parcel, and that any delay was "their delay, not ours." She does not see a correlation between the delay, and "Sandstone is willing to give up a certain amount of density, provided that the city reduces the northerly setback." Mr. Fisher said that this was a preliminary paragraph that could be removed if so desired. Member Lorenzo expressed that she would like the paragraph taken out. She also expressed concern with the lack of time that Council has had to review the memorandum. Mr. Fisher said that the administration had made every possible effort to get the memorandum out in an earlier packet. The deadline is self-created by the city, because the city has a July deadline to finish the grading of the site. Member Lorenzo said she would have appreciated a public discussion regarding the memorandum before finalizing negotiations for the document, and said that future negotiations should be brought to Council earlier if possible. Mr. Fisher said that his staff was sensitive to these issues, and that the document was brought to Council as soon as possible.

Member Lorenzo then asked what the deadlines are for the remediation of the property in question. Mr. Fisher answered that the deadlines are subject to modifications that Member Landry has proposed, but deadlines are July 24, 2004. Mr. Fisher said that if Member Landry’s proposal is accepted, then the deadline would be extended while HUD considers the land exchange. Member Lorenzo asked if, given that the memorandum states "In the event that HUD approval has not been obtained by 12-31", the city is scrapping the plan. Mr. Fisher answered that only Sandstone has the option to scrap the plan. Member Lorenzo asked why the city doesn’t have this ability. Mr. Fisher answered that this was the proposal that Sandstone made. Member Lorenzo said she doesn’t understand why both parties didn’t have that option, and asked Mr. Fisher what the thought-process is in the meetings, and why Sandstone wants the decision to be "one sided". Mr. Fisher answered that Sandstone proposed this in this manner because the city doesn’t care what amount of time it takes. He said Member Landry’s proposal would ask that the deadline be extended for remediation. Member Lorenzo asked then if this would be a beneficial clause to add, to request more time. She said that a proposed deadline extension date should also be proposed in the document, as it will be used quite frequently. She said she will only agree to the document tonight subject to the changes proposed.

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said that she understood Sandstone to have concerns regarding the city completing the grading of the original property, and was also looking to establish the final finished grades and topography desired on that site. She asked for a description of Sandstone’s ultimate grading plan. She also asked if the plan radically departs from the existing topography, and who would review and approve the grading plan. Mr. Fisher answered that he did not know what extent the final grading would depart from the existing topography, as this would be submitted as part of that land improvement application, as well as other things that are covered under city ordinances and regulations. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi then asked if it was possible that what would be proposed would be a complete obliteration of natural features, i.e. topography, that "we could end up with one of those table-top sites like you see when you drive through on some Interstates." Mr. Fisher said he’s sure they would want to level or balance the site to some significant degree, as it has a large amount of rolling topography.

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked who would approve the grading plan. Mr. Fisher answered that he hasn’t studied that part in detail, but he assumes the city’s Building Department would, along with the city’s engineer and planners. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if an administrative approval, rather than a grading plan, would relate to what is built at the site. Mr. Fisher answered that he believes an administrative review would be used. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi commented that using administrative review would put "a whole different complexion on allowing them to do the grading." She is concerned about drainage patterns on the land, and would not approve of an administrative grading approval. She is also concerned about the necessity to be looking, in any memorandum of understanding, at reductions of building setbacks to 25 feet, and reductions of density from 14 to 13.5 units per acre.

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi expressed displeasure with "quibbling over 0.189 acres in a $70+ million dollar lawsuit." She also was dissatisfied with Council debating a memorandum that is already signed by a party. In the interest of moving the Sandstone case, she would be interested in supporting the memorandum of understanding, but does not support Sandstone’s sole approval of a grading plan. The city of Novi must live with alterations to the property’s topography forever, even though Sandstone may not have to. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi is seeking closure to the Sandstone issue, but noted that the city doesn’t seem to show interest in saving either the taxpayer’s money or time. She would like to see these matters resolved, and she would like to see how Mr. Fisher supposes that administration and Council can assure that the grading plan receive a full city review, not only an administrative review. Mr. Fisher said that the reason why the document was presented to Council with the understanding that Sandstone had signed it was to make sure that Council had a final document outlining what Sandstone would agree to. Mr. Fisher commented that Sandstone would have a "large" issue with Council, not the Planning Commission, determining process for the case. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she brought these issues forward because a grading plan of such magnitude has interest with regard to public review and observation. She would hope that with regard to the other items, Council has either compromised or come to a consensus, and that these should not be an overwhelming point with regard to Sandstone. She is strongly interested in seeing that brought forward.

Member Csordas thanked Mr. Fisher for answering his questions prior to the meeting, and he appreciates Mr. Fisher’s time and help. He is glad to see "common sense" in the memorandum of understanding, and concurs with Member Landry that simply compensating Sandstone with the budgeted grading, seeding and mulching money is easy and safe, and makes common sense. He doesn’t know what difference the clause makes, regarding Sandstone’s ability to terminate the contract without HUD’s approval by 12/31/03, and agrees with Mr. Fisher. He doesn’t want to jeopardize anything that’s happened in the past regarding the purchase of the property.

Mayor Clark expressed his support for Mr. Fisher’s comment that Sandstone presented a proposed memorandum of understanding that bore a signature. He wants this to be over, once and for all. One of the community’s criticisms has been that every time something was potentially agreed upon in the case, the proposal has gone back to Sandstone and has been changed. Now, Sandstone has come to the city and presented a signed proposal. He asked, "How many times does this community have to be hit by lightning before it gets our attention." The Mayor continued, "Once ought to be enough. $75 million and we were able to work this thing out. We’re getting rid of two potential arbitrations. Do we know if we go through with those, what it might cost us? Do you want to put the citizens of this city at risk again? Enough is enough. We’re getting reduced density that everyone complained about during negotiations. They’re assuming the responsibility of grading, and if there are cost overruns they’re (Sandstone’s) problems. We’re getting the additional acreage at the northern portion of the property which gives us more forested land adjacent to our park, rather than a piece of property that’s in the middle of their project, which for all intensive purposes would be useless to this community."

Mayor Clark also said he has "no problem" with the grading proposal as well. He said that Council should be very proud of the caliber and dedication of the city’s employees, and should trust their judgment. As long as the Sandstone development will not create runoff problems, water problems or sedimentation problems, and as long as the site’s grading is in line with city ordinances, he approves. He wants the case off the back of the city once and for all. The Mayor commented that Mr. Fisher has done an excellent job in handling this situation, and Council should be very proud that he’s represented the community. He supports the proposals made by Member Landry in hopes of finalizing the Sandstone issue.

Member Capello asked Mr. Fisher if there had been an agreement reached by both parties regarding a post-remediation grading plan. Mr. Fisher answered that the grading plan that the city would have implemented on the historic orchard sites was agreed upon. The grading that was covered in Section 5 of the agreement addresses the site as a whole. Member Capello asked if the portion has been agreed to, but that the balance is being left to administration to decide upon. Mr. Fisher answered that the Section actually addresses the whole site. Sandstone’s plan relating to the orchard sites would differ from the city’s plan. Member Capello asked if the post-remediation grading plan that’s been agreed to is no longer agreed to. Mr. Fisher answered that the city’s plan would have been done had the city done the grading, but because Sandstone would be grading the site the company would be following its own plan. He is not certain if Sandstone’s plan has been finalized and approved by the city. Member Capello asked if before this proposed agreement, the city would have been required to further provide an additional .189 acres of land to Sandstone, which Mr. Fisher answered was correct. Member Capello thanked Mr. Fisher for his hard work in handling the Sandstone case.

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi took respectful exception to the inference that anyone who disagrees with other members at the table becomes a "micro-manager". She said that this indictment is unfair. To presume that someone’s years of service equate an automatic approval of what they do is also very inequitable. She said that, "We’re only as good as our last deal, and how much we’re able to improve what we do every day is how we gain merit." Her objections have nothing to do with trusting people in-house, but rather with sharing information with people in the community who are footing the bill. She said, "Being outflanked is not necessarily being thrilled with what you’ve got. It takes a lot of strength to negotiate from strength." She takes exception to some of the remarks that were made, as she wants to represent people in the community first and foremost. Sharing as much information as possible is her goal.

Member Sanghvi asked Mr. Fisher if there was any mention about not having to abide by city rules and regulations when the agreement was reached over the land in a consent judgment. Mr. Fisher answered that the agreement is written so that Sandstone must abide by city rules and regulations with the exceptions of the provisions contained in the agreement that would supercede certain ordinance provisions. Member Sanghvi said, "So by and large, I think we are more or less pre-supposing a problem which may or may not exist, and trying to solve it." Mr. Fisher answered that the city informed Sandstone of ordinance provisions, and Sandstone asked for those in writing. Member Sanghvi said that this is a game of chess, and the city wants to be two moves ahead. The city has reached a point where it should stop before the two sides reach a stalemate.

Member Lorenzo said she agrees with the Mayor that the city should not play with fire, which is why she maintains that the city should remove the third paragraph on page 2 of Section 2 of the agreement. She recalled an adage, that people who don’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it. If the city is not going to be condemned to repeat history, it should remove that section, which is also what she was referring to when she earlier suggested not entering into a contract agreement. Mr. Fisher stated that this passage would not be controversial to remove. Member Lorenzo asked Member Csordas to include this as a friendly amendment of removing that paragraph. Member Csordas asked Member Lorenzo to repeat the passage in question. Member Lorenzo read the passage aloud: "(The parties have also recognized that in view of the delay in finalizing the exchange, Sandstone will not be able to plan or market the use of their land.") Member Csordas accepted this proposal.

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked to add an amendment as well, that the grading plan be brought to the Council and have full city review of the potential grading plan. Member Csordas said that he would respectfully decline adding this amendment.

Roll Call Vote on CM-03-05-131 Yeas: Clark, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi

Nays: Bononi

Absent: None

4. Discussion of recommendation from Birchler Arroyo, traffic consultant, for prohibiting left turns from Clark Street to Grand River Avenue (No closure of Clark Street and no turn restriction from Grand River Avenue).

CM-03-05-132 Moved by Csordas, seconded by Capello; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To adhere to recommendation from Birchler Arroyo, traffic consultant, for prohibiting left turns from Clark Street to Grand River Avenue (No closure of Clark Street and no turn restriction from Grand River Avenue).


Member Sanghvi asked why the city needs to make a decision on the intersection right now, instead of evaluating the situation after Grand River has been functioning for two or three years. Mr. Arroyo said the recommendation is being brought forth because the current intersection site distance does not meet the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials’ (ASHTO’s) standards for a left turn maneuver from north-bound Clark to turn left, west-bound, onto Grand River. What this means is that if a car is heading west-bound on Grand River past the reconstructed bridge, the car would be required to slow down greatly in order to allow another car to turn left onto Grand River from Clark Street. The intent is to reduce the variation in speeds on the road, in order to reduce the number of accidents that would occur otherwise. This is why he is recommending that "no left turn" signs be posted at this location. Member Sanghvi then asked why it wouldn’t be wiser to add a traffic island on Grand River at this area. Mr. Arroyo answered that other options do exist, but these have implications. For example, if an island were added at the location, old Grand River would need to be closed at Clark Street, which provides for less traffic flow and less choices for people in that area. Based on a number of factors, he is recommending the proposed "no left turn" signs, as the approach has the least negative impact on traffic circulation in that region, but also provides the most appropriate warning. The city is likely going to have some people violating the signs. Luckily, this is mostly a residential area, which will make the signs more effective.

Member Csordas asked to clarify that he made a motion supporting turn prohibition, and that he also agrees with Mr. Arroyo’s Item 3 recommendation that the signs be re-evaluated one year after implementation.

Member Sanghvi asked to add an amendment that the sign can be revisited in 3-years time. Mayor Clark asked Mr. Arroyo for his recommended re-evaluation date. Mr. Arroyo answered one year after Grand River has been improved and the signs have been installed.

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked Mr. Arroyo to reiterate for the record if this turn prohibition advance signing alternative is the successful notion that this will allow westbound turns onto Clark from Grand River. Mr. Arroyo answered that this turn would be allowed. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said that she has reservations about the proposed signs, but that she supports the recommendation with hopes that her reservations are wrong.

Roll Call Vote on CM-03-05-132 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi

Nays: None

Absent: None

Recessed at 10:13 p.m.

Reconvened at 10:35 p.m.

5. Approval of Ordinance No. 03-18.172 to amend Ordinance 97-18, as amended, the City of Novi Zoning Ordinance, as codified in Appendix A, Zoning Ordinance, of the City’s Code of Ordinances, Section 2509, Landscape Standards: Obscuring Earth Berms and Walls, Rights-of-Way Buffers; and Interior and Exterior Landscape Plantings in order to update and revise the entire section. 1st Reading.

CM-03-05-133 Moved by Bononi, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve of Ordinance No. 03-18.172 to amend Ordinance 97-18, as amended, the City of Novi Zoning Ordinance, as codified in Appendix A, Zoning Ordinance, of the City’s Code of Ordinances, Section 2509, Landscape Standards: Obscuring Earth Berms and Walls, Rights-of-Way Buffers; and Interior and Exterior Landscape Plantings in order to update and revise the entire section. 1st Reading.


Mr. Evancoe spoke about the city’s landscape ordinance, using a computer presentation. This ordinance has been reviewed by the Ordinance Review Committee, as well as the Planning Commission. The city has received input from landscape architects and landscape contractors regarding the ordinance, and even had a representative of the Michigan Nurseryman’s Association testify at a Planning Commission meeting. He stated that there are many benefits reaped from landscaping. Landscaping enhances the aesthetics of our community, as well as the environment in many ways. It helps to control sediment runoff, heat and glare in parking lots, and provides many other benefits. It enhances the overall quality of life of our citizens. Studies have shown that landscaping enhances the value of property. It enhances the image of Novi as a desirable place in which to live and work.

Mr. Evancoe asked to discuss the goal of ordinance revision, and the driving process behind it. One goal was to clarify inconsistencies that were found in the existing landscape ordinance. Another goal was to raise landscaping standards wherever needed. He noted that the landscape ordinance has not been recently revised. The city wants to provide more flexibility to encourage creative site designs, and improve buffering requirements between residential and non-residential land uses. The city wanted to improve parking lot landscaping by requiring the dispersal of parking islands throughout parking lots. In addition, the required number of parking lot trees is increased in the proposed ordinance. The city wants to ensure that continued maintenance is adhered to, as the best landscape designs and installations are of little value with poor maintenance. Finally, the ordinance encourages native plantings. The proposed ordinance does not exclusively require native plantings, but the city intends to encourage the use of native species to developers.

Mr. Evancoe noted that some significant changes in the new landscape ordinance involve screening and buffering between residential and non-residential land uses.

One change modified the required berm height between shopping centers and residential properties. This has been changed from the 6-foot height currently required to 8-10 feet. This change would not only apply to shopping centers, but also to some other sites as well. In addition, the ordinance offers flexible clarification of issues regarding berm heights, so that a maximum height can be achieved. Currently, the berm height is measured at the property line, regardless of any other factors. Finally, the city wanted to grant flexibility to developers, in order to consider creative alternatives and solutions to landscaping issues.

Mr. Evancoe said that there were several key changes regarding right-of-way greenbelts. The width of greenbelts would vary by zoning district based on building and parking setbacks, as opposed to the more rigid requirement that they need to be 20 feet wide everywhere. Secondly, berms are required to have a more natural form, both horizontally and vertically. This is accomplished in this ordinance by providing for wider greenbelts. City planners asked for greenbelts to be wider to accommodate berms that can undulate horizontally and vertically, and the ordinance adjusts the required berm height. Flexibility was added within the ordinance to deal with unique situations.

Parking lot landscaping received a significant amount of discussion at the Planning Commission level, with some excellent suggestions from the Commission that have been incorporated in the ordinance. One of these is an increase in the width of islands to 10 feet, as opposed to the previous 8 feet. This modification gives trees more room to grow. Also, creative parking lot designs are encouraged. Most importantly, parking islands will be dispersed throughout parking lots to avoid "seas of asphalt". The city accomplished this by requiring a parking island for every 15 parking spaces in a row. This number was suggested by the Planning Commission, and was also tested. The number of parking lot trees required has been increased by about 33%, which is due to discussion that took place during the process. Parking lots are usually viewed as a problem in many communities, so there was a desire to provide more shade, and a greater reduction of heat, glare and other by-product.

Another change in the ordinance, at the request of the Parks and Recreation Department, particularly the Forester, is to have developers install street trees. Currently, both the city and developers install street trees for new developments, and administration believes it would be better to require developers to install these trees. Financial guarantees have been increased slightly to better reflect city costs to install trees, and the plant material guarantee has been extended for an additional 2 years for replacements. What this says is that if a developer puts in a street tree, it’s guaranteed for 2 years. But if that tree dies and needs replacements, then a new 2 year guarantee would kick in at that point to make sure that the replacement also lives. Some other features of the ordinance include providing credits for planting larger trees. The prohibited material list has been expanded because of better knowledge of invasive plants. Plant material sizes have been increased in some instances, but some flexibility has been granted so that if larger materials required by ordinance are not available, a developer would be allowed to use smaller material if it can be demonstrated that required-size plant materials are not available. Nursery materials have been depleted in the country from the economic boom of the 1990’s, and it can be very, very difficult to find sizeable plant materials. Often, developers must purchase plant materials from other states to meet size requirements, and they are then buying materials that may not be hardy in our region.

Landscape definitions were provided within the ordinance which aid in clarification. The ordinance also requires that plants be prepared and stamped by a registered landscape architect. This will improve the quality of design throughout the community.

There are certain actions requested of Council regarding the landscaping ordinance. Ultimately, administration will be seeking an approval of the ordinance, which would include the ordinance text itself, the street tree list, the berming diagrams, the parking lot diagrams, and the planting details. Secondly, administration requests that Council approve certain motions pertaining to the following: suggested plant material list, the site maintenance agreement, and the implementation guidelines.

Member Lorenzo said she was sensitive to a few items in the proposed ordinance. She gave credit to former city employees Linda Lemke and Lauren McGuire for their contributions towards the document. Times of planting and financial guarantees are the issues that she has concerns about. She asks those working on the ordinance to investigate where the city can improve on the situation and make things less administratively burdensome. She quoted page 25, section 10, letter B of the proposed ordinance, "Time of planting: all plant materials shall be installed between March 15 and November 15. All installed landscapes, including plant materials, mulch, staking, irrigation and sodding, must be installed and inspected by the city prior to issuance of a temporary certificate of occupancy". She asked if this applied to all landscapes. She noted the large number of headings and categories in the document. She is concerned about the timing of every kind of installation mentioned in the ordinance.

Member Lorenzo continued the above passage, "At that time a financial guarantee of one and a half times the cost of any deficiencies will be held until an inspection occurs for a final certificate of occupancy." She noted that sometimes there are several different certificates of temporary occupancy. From what she understands there is no timeline as to when a temporary certificate of occupancy can not be renewed again. She believes the city needs to examine this section more carefully. The city shouldn’t provide developers with more time than they really need, so this paragraph needs to be tightened up. Also, she did not understand a passage, "in order to receive a final certificate of occupancy, the deficiencies must be addressed within 30 days during the March – November 15 occupancy. She inquired when the 30 day period began. She doesn’t understand what this time period is referring to. Also, Mr. Wizinsky brought to Council’s attention a very telling, short-sightedness in the city’s ordinance with regards to at least B2, B3, and RC developments. She said that the berm requirements could be increased to 10-15 feet, for at least the B2, B3, and RC zones.

Member Sanghvi said he is very glad that the city is doing something about the landscaping ordinance, which has needed improvement for a while. His only concern is that developers will choose the lowest height of the available berm height range. His suggestion is that giving less choice would be better, and he would advise just giving one required height. He is also glad that the city is changing the system of measurements of height. He asked from what height a berm would be measured from. Member Sanghvi also said that the city already has too much parking, and suggested encouraging green spaces in lieu of parking lot construction. He advised making the ordinance more reasonable from the residential, industrial and commercial point of views. He said that if the city continues to grow, it will reach a point where it can’t survive without increasing taxes. Let’s be friendly to everyone, including the environment, and take all these things into consideration.

Member Csordas asked for a definition of "incentive" in the phrase, "incentive provided for preserving non-regulated existing trees." Mr. Evancoe answered that the incentive is a credit for planting a certain number of new trees. Member Csordas said that "non-regulated existing trees" were included in the new ordinance. He asked Mr. Evancoe for the difference between non-regulated and regulated trees. Mr. Evancoe answered that regulated trees would fall under the woodlands ordinance, with separate provisions for how those trees are handled. Non-regulated trees are those are trees that currently do not fall under the ordinance, and there are currently no incentives provided to developers to protect them. Member Csordas asked if non-regulated trees would be considered regulated trees. Mr. Evancoe answered no, but that this is a way of rewarding developers for saving non-regulated trees. Member Csordas asked Mr. Evancoe to clarify and expand upon incentives for planting larger trees. Mr. Evancoe said this has to do with caliper (diameter) size of trees. The document says that planting a taller tree may compensate for planting two smaller trees that might conform to the ordinance. Member Csordas asked Mr. Evancoe to expand on the doubling of minimum required landscape space in a parking lot. Mr. Evancoe replied that this has to do with the amount of area that an island in a parking lot must have in square footage. Essentially, the minimum size of a parking island must now be 300 square feet, instead of 150 square feet. The new requirements don’t require more parking island space, but they do require larger parking islands. Member Csordas asked if parking lots would not lose or gain parking spaces, but would just have larger islands. Mr. Evancoe answered that this was correct, but they must be dispersed throughout the parking lot more than previously. Member Csordas asked if practically speaking, islands would have to be larger and more numerous. Mr. Evancoe replied not necessarily, but that they have to be larger and they have to be within the parking lot. A developer can’t take the square footage requirement of an island and put it all around the outside of a parking lot anymore.

Member Csordas asked who must comply with the ordinance. He inquired what state or process a developer must be in or past to have to comply with this. Mr. Evancoe answered, "In the event that a development has reached final site plan approval, the new landscaping requirements don’t apply. In the event that a development has received preliminary site plan approval prior to this new ordinance going into effect, it shall be reviewed for compliance with the new ordinance to the extent feasible without having to redesign the whole development." Member Csordas asked who determines what the extent feasible is. Mr. Evancoe replied that this would be a determination by the city landscape architect. Member Csordas questioned whether an attorney would have to determine what the extent feasible is. Mr. Evancoe said that the city tried to mimic the way the new storm water ordinance was implemented. These strategies are basically the exact same strategies used for that ordinance. The idea is that we would work with an applicant and try to get them to meet as much of the new ordinance requirements as they can, but would not make them completely redesign their development.

Member Csordas asked Mr. Evancoe to heed the warning and relay to the Planning commission that Council does not want to create litigation and force things, but that it sounds like the Commission has thought this ordinance out practically. Please apply common sense and be practical. He then asked a question of whether the Planning Commission has a court reporter recording meeting minutes. Mr. Evancoe answered that the Commission previously had a steno clerk who took a job with her church in November. In the interim, they hired a firm out of Detroit to do the minutes while the Commission searched for a replacement. The Commission now has a steno clerk who’s doing a fantastic job, but is not doing verbatim minutes anymore. Member Csordas asked what hiring a private firm to record minutes cost. Mr. Evancoe answered that it was fairly costly but gave the Commission motivation to find a replacement as soon as possible. The costs came out of the Planning Department budget. The meetings continued to be held even though the Commission didn’t have an employee to take minutes. The Planning Commission is glad that that relationship is over so that we can get back to the kind of minutes desired. Member Csordas commented that with all due respect, he would like to know what the hourly cost of this was.

Member Capello had anticipated that the new landscape ordinance would be less cumbersome and more streamlined. In general terms, provisions that he’s not comfortable with are provisions that specifically state that using any replacement trees under the woodland protection or wetlands act for landscaping purposes or street trees is not allowed. He questioned the ordinance’s tree replacement policy. The city was trying to use its woodlands replacement trees to replace street trees for the city at the last budget meeting he attended. If the city should be allowed to use its woodlands replacement trees to replace street trees, this policy should apply universally to the ordinance. He asked why, if the ordinance contains financial guarantees, it is very concerned with developer treatment of temporary trees.

Member Capello noted that he is bothered by berm requirements in the ordinance. He thought the city was coming around to a point where people were tired of seeing berms along every road, and thought the city would encourage alternatives to these berms. He doesn’t see a rational basis for requiring a berm by the Expo Center to be 8-10 feet, and a berm at and industrial area to be 10-15 feet. Normally we see in industrial buildings and the Expo building that berms are set far back enough from the road that you necessarily don’t need the bigger berms.

Member Capello said that in measuring the height of a berm, one could end up 40 feet tall. There’s nothing to limit the berm based on the topography between the developed site and the adjoining site. The intent of the parking lot subsection is to reduce impervious surfaces; yet, what has been done is increase the size of the parking islands, put islands every fifteen cars, requiring the same amount of parking spaces for the automobiles. This is just increasing the sizes of parking lots. By putting trees and islands in the middle of parking lots, the size of lots will increase, not decrease. Further, the ordinance discusses encouraging walkways in these islands, which means putting impervious surfaces on islands which are designed to be non-impervious. He hopes that drainage can go across the surface of a parking lot, and that the city will not require independent underground drainage from each island to a catch basin in the parking lot. By putting all these additional islands in a parking lot, the ordinance creates a huge cost for maintenance and irrigation on these islands. When you pull into a parking lot, you plan to park your car as close to a building as you can, which these islands make it more difficult to do. He would like to see the landscaping requirements for the TC1, TC and Gateway district taken out of the ordinance. He inquired if the city used to have a street tree maintenance fee in the past, or if this is something new. Mr. Evancoe answered that the city has had a street tree maintenance fee, but it’s only been $25 per tree. Member Capello said that the ordinance states "the guarantee will not be reduced and no final Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) will be granted until the trees have been planted and approved." He inquired if this meant after the 2 year wait period, or as soon as the trees are planted. Mr. Evancoe said he agreed with both Member Capello’s and Member Lorenzo’s concerns that perhaps this particular section should be revisited during the period between the 1st and 2nd readings.

Mr. Evancoe asked for a chance to respond to some earlier comments for clarification purposes. With regard to the berming, along the roadways, the highest berm that is being required is 4 feet in height. The 10-15 foot height is the berm that would be required for a property adjacent to residential land, which is likely to be on the side or rear of a property, but along the thoroughfares no more than 4 feet in height. With regard to the parking lots, he agreed that parking lots would become bigger, but would compensate with additional greenspace. The idea of sidewalks is just a suggestion, but not a requirement.

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked Mr. Fisher if he’d looked at the ordinance. Mr. Fisher answered that the ordinance has been moved along with the assistance of Tom Schulz. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if the ordinance is in condition right now for codification, because it seems there is some duplicative material in here that could be tightened up. Mr. Fisher said he would pass that along between the 1st and 2nd reading. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she had a comment with regard to the discussion that previously ensued with regard to how islands literally break up parking areas. She believes that it’s universally thought of in planning and landscape architectural areas that including additional parking lot island plantings substantially changes the temperature of the water that runs off that site. The islands substantially change the temperature of that pavement because of tree canopy. In some parts of the U.S., tree canopy is measured in percentage. The goal is to keep the pavement cool, keep the water that runs off that pavement cool, as it discharges hot water on a summer’s day into a catch basin, which affects life in that stream. Mr. Evancoe agreed. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi noted that from the standpoint of making areas that have large parking areas human in scale, she can’t think of anything nicer than being able to see some green space in a sea of parking area. She compared some tree-less parking areas around town on a hot summer day to a lunarscape.

The Mayor Pro Tem said that including diagrams in the ordinance about nursery practices and best management practices is critical, especially because of this area’s soils. The likelihood that plant specimens will survive is only going to be aided by proper planting and handling. Mr. Evancoe agreed, and said that contractors that have moved to this area from southern California, where they have a completely different world of how landscaping is done. Without instructions on how to do it, there is no guarantee for proper specimen care. This way there is a reference to gauge inspections against. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi noted that this reference is very important. She said that having those generally accepted landscaping practices that are A.L.A. and Dept of Agriculture accepted is the way to go.

Member Landry wished to follow up on the comments made by Mr. Wizinsky. He made those comments in a very excellent and organized fashion. His suggestion about increasing the berm height was a good one. To some extent, it has been addressed here in two ways: it has been raised from 8-10 feet, and the height from which it is measured has been raised. He asked Council to consider whether perhaps that height should be increased further, to 10-12 feet or such. He wondered if Mr. Wizinsky’s concerns are met by the two contingencies above. He asked if it was correct that the reason for setting berm heights at an alternative height is that the developer would theoretically always choose the lower height, but the Commission wants to give the city the ability to require the higher height? Mr. Evancoe answered that this was basically correct. In the proposed language, there is some flexibility granted so that, if for example, the closest structure was a long distance away and because of that was 40-50 feet higher than the commercial site, the developer could easily argue to the Planning Commission that this is creating an impractical situation and they can address that with this language.

Member Landry said his other concern is that the higher the city requires a berm, the wider the berm has to be to sustain the height. Mr. Evancoe said this is correct. This is not always a big problem on large sites, but can be a very difficult situation on smaller sites. Not only does the Planning Commission have the ability to grant relief under this proposed ordinance, but there’s always the ZBA route as well. The higher the city requires berms, the wider they need to be, and the more appeals the city will see from smaller sites. Member Landry asked Mr. Evancoe’s opinion in how this ordinance addresses Mr. Wizinksy’s concerns. Mr. Evancoe answered that it addresses one of his concerns, maybe more than once. It requires a higher berm, which adds up to 4 feet additional height to the berm. The way that it’s measured could raise it even more, so it goes a long way towards addressing his concerns. Member Landry asked for an analysis of how high the berm adjacent to the Target is between Mr. Wizinsky’s house and the Target store, and how high it would have to be under this ordinance. Mr. Evancoe said it’s 6 feet high right now as measured from the parking lot, but he would like to do some more research before answering further questions.

Member Lorenzo commented that she appreciates adding landscaping and trees to parking lots in order to prevent them from being completely barren, such as at some stadium complexes.

Member Sanghvi asked how much impervious surface area would increase by introducing these islands to keep the same number of parking spots at the same time. Mr. Evancoe answered that the ordinance would not increase the amount of paved surface at all by doing this. It would simply expand out the area that it takes, compensates this with additional greenspace. Essentially, requirements bring greenspace from outside the parking lot and bringing it inside the parking lot. The total square footage is not altered.


Roll Call Vote on CM-03-05-133 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi

Nays: None

Absent: None

Approval of Ordinance No. 03-45.27 to amend Appendix C, Subdivision Ordinance, of the City of Novi Code of Ordinances for the purpose of conforming the ordinance to amendments made to the landscaping provisions of the City’s Zoning Ordinance relating to trees and plantings within subdivisions. 1st Reading.

CM-03-05-134 Moved by Bononi, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve of Ordinance No. 03-45.27 to amend Appendix C, Subdivision Ordinance, of the City of Novi Code of Ordinances for the purpose of conforming the ordinance to amendments made to the landscaping provisions of the City’s Zoning Ordinance relating to trees and plantings within subdivisions.


Member Lorenzo asked for clarification on an item. Letter D is unchanged, but letter D refers to planting by Department of Public Services, which we are no longer doing, so this should be eliminated. Mr. Evancoe said letter D refers to Capital letter D, which is about manmade bodies of water and reservoirs.

Roll Call Vote on CM-03-05-134 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi

Nays: None

Absent: None


Kellie Hallaron 30361 Balfour Dr., lives adjacent to Beck North corporate park. They’ve been concerned about woodland removal adjacent to their lot. Regulated woodlands were removed due to farming in April of 2002. She displayed an aerial map before June 2000 and after June 2002. She pointed out the location of their home. She stated the developer filled in a wetland, which has negatively impacted their home since there were woodlands there. She can now see clear through to Beck Road from her home. Because of farming exemptions, the woodland ordinances do not apply. She asked why a permit wasn’t obtained, what type of violation occurred, and what the penalty is for violation. No planting occurred until late September and it doesn’t appear any type of crop is growing there, except tree stumps and rocks. A road is proposed directly behind their home. She asked if a permit would have been granted had the developer followed the ordinance. She also questioned if a permit was granted, would the woodlands have been removed. She felt the violation occurred even if the developer stated it was farming. She asked who was monitoring the situation.




7. Approval of Ordinance 03-103.9 amending Section 12-48 "Lawn Installation Following Certificate of Occupancy" to add verbiage that it shall be unlawful to change approved grade. 1st Reading.

CM-03-05-135 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Sanghvi; MOTION CARRIED: To approve Ordinance 03-103.9 amending Section 12-48 "Lawn Installation Following Certificate of Occupancy" to add verbiage that it shall be unlawful to change approved grade. 1st Reading.


Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she agrees that the city should not be able to change grades that have been approved. Her concern is that the grade executed and the grade approved may not necessarily be one and the same, and that after a final grading approval is given, it should indeed relate to the approved plan. Ms. Uglow said the grade is approved by in house or consultant engineers. You cannot get your C of O without an approved grade. The engineers shoot the grade. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she is trying to give folks the ability to know that the city has an established practice where spot elevations are taken to make sure that the land was graded to the approved grading plan. When the city does that, somebody somewhere is saying that lot will drain, and the person accepting this is not able to change it. She is concerned with that not having been made clear with regard to that regulation. The city has drainage disasters all around town, and if we are making a regulation to tell folks that they cannot change the grade of their property, then we ought to give them the correct grade. Ms. Uglow said for the C of O, I trust that people are receiving a true final grade according to site plan. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said by the time we come back to 2nd reading, it would be great to have a copy of the policy that we use to do final grading inspection. Ms. Uglow agreed

Member Capello liked the language of the old ordinance much better than the language of the new ordinance with regards to drainage and flood damage prevention. The old ordinance just said straight forward it shall be unlawful to change the existing or natural drainage of land in the city as to obstruct impede, accelerate, channel or concentrate the flow of rain or surface waters onto or from the lands of another. We just want to make sure that we aren’t going to change the grade on our property so that it affects our neighbors. Ms. Uglow replied that they are changing the grade with the extensive landscaping of berming, decorative retaining walls, and railroad ties. The old ordinance is a given fact, but now residents are changing the grade through extensive landscaping so that’s what we’re addressing. Member Capello said, "So the old ordinance applies, it says that you can put up a railroad tie as long as you don’t affect the drainage on your neighbor’s property." Ms. Uglow replied that they are affecting it. Member Capello: said that they must be violating the ordinance. Ms. Uglow said they have been, but it’s not specifically stated as in the new version. Member Capello said he thinks the new one is too wishy-washy in general, and the old one is to the point. Don’t affect your neighbor’s property.

Roll Call Vote on CM-03-05-135 Yeas: Clark, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Sanghvi

Nays: Bononi, Lorenzo

Absent: None

8. Approval of Ordinance No. 03-170, an ordinance to establish a new Chapter 29.5, "Telecommunications," relating to permits for telecommunications companies to use public rights-of-way pursuant to Act 48 of 2002. (Metro Act). 1st and 2nd Reading.

CM-03-05-136 Moved by Landry, seconded by Csordas; MOTION CARRIED: To approve Ordinance No. 03-170, an ordinance to establish a new Chapter 29.5, "Telecommunications," relating to permits for telecommunications companies to use public rights-of-way pursuant to Act 48 of 2002. (Metro Act) 1st and 2nd Reading.


Mayor Clark stated that the reason for considering this amendment is that if this ordinance is adopted by May 9, the city of Novi will be in line to share in the first distribution of revenue generated from the metro act.

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi had concerns about the amount of "pool of monies" that are available to municipalities. As she understands, the info was given to Council for discussion about a remuneration of .05 cents per linear foot, or 2,640 cents a mile. Hopefully that will pay for the city’s legal fees, but doesn’t seem like very much. Her other reservation is that neighborhoods will be affected by this depending on the routing. The city shouldn’t make the presumption that the city manager alone will review these. She believes that it’s very important so that the people in the neighborhoods can know how the streets and roadways that they live on will be affected, that these applications come to the city Council. If Council wants to designate the city manager to review that that’s fine, but she thinks it’s highly important that these matters come to Council’s table as a matter of communications. She says that because she lives off of Taft Road and the work that was done on the westerly side of Taft with regard to restoration, and her neighbors have wintered over an incredible mess of no erosion and sedimentation control. She believes that with regards to who is reviewing all of this stuff, the situation needs to be monitored. It’s certainly not a just compensation of 5 cents a linear foot to wind up with a mess like the city has out on Taft road. So those are the two things that she would be interested in: communicating with the neighborhoods with what’s going on, and actually that we can hope for some sort of restoration. Restoration is not even mentioned in any of that language. The matter is coming as a communication to Council, and if Council wishes to direct the city manager to handle the review that’s fine. As long as it’s publicly noted and people have the opportunity to hear an explanation from this table.

Member Capello understands that this has to be passed by May 9. He recalled that a few weeks ago, Mr. Fisher chastised him when he tried to get 1st and 2nd reading of an ordinance accomplished at one time. He asked if it Is legal to do both at the same time, or if it is the city’s policy to schedule the hearings separately. Mr. Fisher answered that it’s her opinion that it’s legal to do, but it has been this Council’s policy to do 1st and 2nd reading very consistently.



Roll Call Vote on CM-03-05-136 Yeas: Clark, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Sanghvi

Nays: Bononi, Lorenzo

Absent: None


9. Approval of Budget Amendment No. 2003-04 in the amount of $1,100.00 (Meadowbrook Commons)

CM-03-05-137 Moved by Bononi, seconded by Csordas; MOTION CARRIED: To approve Budget Amendment No. 2003-04 in the amount of $1,100.00 (Meadowbrook Commons).


Roll Call Vote on CM-03-05-137 Yeas: Clark, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Sanghvi

Nays: Bononi, Lorenzo

Absent: None

10. Consideration of Novi Parks, Recreation and Forestry Commission recommendation to accept donation of 16 acres of land for park purposes, located east of West Park Drive and south of South Lake Drive. (Donation is from Mark Jacobson & Associates, Inc.)

CM-03-05-138 Moved by Landry, seconded by Capello; MOTION CARRIED: To approve Novi Parks, Recreation and Forestry Commission recommendation to accept donation of 16 acres of land for park purposes, located east of West Park Drive and south of South Lake Drive. (Donation is from Mark Jacobson & Associates, Inc.)


Member Capello noted that the listed value of the property in question is $84,600. He also noted that the tax revenue from the property is $4,230. He asked how much of this revenue is directed back to the city. Mr. Helwig answered that a small amount of this is received by the city, totaling only in the hundreds of dollars.

Member Csordas said he understands that this land is contiguous with some wetlands in that area. He asked if anyone had inspected the property before the meeting. Mr. Auler answered that Tilton and Associates, Inc., reviewed the property and the previous environmental phase I assessment information that the city had available, and they indicated that this is a high quality wetlands, with no observation of anything that could be detrimental to the city.

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked Mr. Auler if the city has not conducted a Phase 1 Environmental Assessment. Mr. Auler answered that the city has reviewed only the information that it has available, but has not hired a firm to do the environmental Phase 1 assessment. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said her impression that it is Council practice not to accept property until the city has conducted its own Phase 1 Assessment. Mr. Fisher indicated that he recommended conducting the assessment before accepting the land. She asked what other lands have the possibility, which are not developed at this point, to drain into these wetlands. In other words, we would be receiving storm water from other developments. Who else would have the benefit to drain into this area? Does Ms. McClain have an answer for that? Will this wetland be impacted by development anywhere around it. Ms. McClain answered that it shouldn’t, because the location of this wetland is on the flow down from Walled Lake. The area to the west does not drain across and into this area. The area to the north of South Lake drains in through Walled Lake so it naturally drains through this, but is no additional drainage that will feed through the wetland. She can’t see that there is anything that is planned that would drain into the area. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked how the city gets access to the site. She interpreted the site to be landlocked. She also heard mention of gaining access through a walkway. Ms. McClain answered that there would be a walkway in the area. In addition, Pennington Drive comes in along the edge of the property, and is proposed to be a public road. Also, the city has a new bike path which would be going into the area. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi is concerned with a lack of access to the site. She asked Mr. Fisher for his opinion. Mr. Fisher answered he believed the city had completed an analysis of the site and does have access to it. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she would like to see access marked on the map. Ms. McClain said that property is contiguous to additional city property to the south and to the west. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said that if the city wanted to have access to it from South Lake Drive, it’s all private property up there. Ms. McClain said an easement could be acquired to access the area if needed, but the site is contiguous with other city property. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if the city had legal access to the right-of-way along the northern boundary of the property. Ms. McClain said that the property does not touch the right-of-way, but comes very close. She said that by acquiring an easement, the property could access the right-of-way. She said the right-of-way on Pennington is not contiguous, but there are only 20-25 feet between the property and the road. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi noted that the city is being asked to accept the property, and said it would be important to have the accessibility information before accepting the parcel. Ms. McClain reiterated that the property is accessible via other city-owned property contiguous to the parcel in question. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she is considering the contingency of not wishing to access the parcel via those other lots, but rather from the northern boundary.

The Mayor Pro Tem noted that Dr. Tilton’s letter, dated January 31st, states that there is debris from sewer construction there which is evident near manholes. She asked if the grantor would clean this up before donating the property. Mr. Auler said that DPW could possibly remove some of the noted debris in conjunction with the grantor, and that this matter had been discussed internally. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi restated her concern with having a city-sponsored Phase 1 Environmental Assessment. She stated her desire to add an amendment to the motion, that a phase 1 environmental assessment shall be reviewed to the satisfaction of Mr. Fisher, and a clean-up of the existing debris by the applicant. She is satisfied with the motion if the city’s engineers are satisfied that the property can be sufficiently accessed from the southern border of the property, but expressed doubt over this access.

Member Landry asked if it was correct that Dr. Tilton "walked" the site. Mr. Auler answered that this was correct, and that he and his staff have also walked the site. Member Landry asked for verification that two prior Environmental Phase 1 Assessments were reviewed, from 1994 and 1996. Mr. Auler answered that this was correct. Member Landry asked if Dr. Tilton is satisfied that there are no environmental problems "lurking" on the site. Mr. Auler answered that this was correct. Member Landry asked how much a Phase 1 Environmental Assessment would cost the city to conduct. Mr. Fisher answered that, while he couldn’t give a cost estimate of the assessment, he said that a number of components of the assessment had already been completed. He said that if a Phase 1 Assessment were conducted, some of the steps could simply be verified from prior Phase 1 Assessments. Member Landry asked for an approximate cost. Mr. Fisher answered that the cost would likely total "a couple thousand dollars." Member Landry asked for verification that the city has access to the property from the south, to which Mr. Auler answered yes. Member Landry stated that he would respectfully not accept the proposed amendment.

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi noted that she took very serious issue with the amendment rejection, as Mr. Fisher has recommended to have a Phase 1 Assessment completed to protect the city. The city has always required Phase 1 Evaluations with regard to properties that the city has accepted. She has the utmost respect for Dr. Tilton, and her opinion only reflects Council’s past procedures regarding property donations. This is a business practice. If we start varying from business practices that protect our interests, then this isn’t a lot to expect. This is a gift. We should be doing business according to the rules we have established, to protect not only our interests, but also the future interests of the city with regard to any eventualities that may be determined with this property.

Member Landry said he doesn’t have a problem with business practices, and the ultimate goal should be to make a smart business practice. To his mind, a smart business practice involves not spending money that doesn’t need to be spent. If the city has the equivalent of the information that it needs for the property, it doesn’t need to spend money just because it spent money in the past. He is satisfied with current information on the property.

Member Lorenzo asked if the wetland in the property is currently being used for storm water drainage. Is Bristol Corners using the site for spare storm water detention? Is this part of a storm water detention basin management plan? She asked if there is a possibility that the city will face a "maintenance situation" with the property, with regards to a culvert, discharge, or something of that nature. Ms. McClain said that the wetland is not a formalized basin. There is outflow to the site, which like much of the area in north Novi Park, is currently listed for regional detention basin. Other areas up there have provided water that flows into that overall wetland system. So, specifically, this piece of property is not being used as a basin, but is included in a wetlands system that is being used by some developments as a detention flow-through area. Member Lorenzo asked if any pipes fed into the area. Ms. McClain answered that she doesn’t believe there are any pipes feeding the site. There is, at South Lake Drive, the outlet from Walled Lake that feeds the site. The property does take water for detention, but is not a formalized basin. Member Lorenzo asked if the discharge to the property feeds across South Lake Drive. Ms. McClain said the flow feeds under South Lake Drive. The culverts are being maintained and replaced. Member Lorenzo asked if any of the lots from Bristol Corners discharged into the wetland. Ms. McClain answered that some overland runoff does feed into the site, but nothing by pipe.

Member Lorenzo asked for a confirmation from the city’s Engineering Department that the site is not a designated detention basin on the Bristol Corners site plan before agreeing to the motion.

CM-03-05-139 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Bononi; MOTION FAILED: Motion to amend the main motion: to include the Phase 1 Evaluation, to include the removal of debris by the applicant, and a confirmation by the Engineering Department that the site is not a designated storm water basin.


Member Sanghvi said that the city needs to ensure that everything is ok with the property. Judging by the comments of city employees, the proposition appears very favorable to the city, apart from debris removal. With the provision that the site is acceptable, Council has no reason not to accept the donation.

Mayor Clark read from paragraph 3 of Dr. Tilton’s report: "Tilton and Associates, Inc., inspected the regulated wetland areas on Tuesday, January 28, 2003, and identified a number of positive features. From a wetland perspective, the property consists of a high-quality wetlands system that is uncommon in southeast Michigan." The Mayor said this report made no hint that the site is being used as a storm water detention basin. He continued: First of all, the system has excellent structure which includes a variety of wetland types consisting of forested, scrub/shrub, emergent and open water that are all interspersed across the property. There is a lack of any invasive species and there’s no evidence of any initial establishment of invasive species. Secondly, the majority of the property is undisturbed." He said that he is satisfied with the property as it is.

Member Capello said he doesn’t know of any business practices in the city that would prevent the city from accepting the property. Two Phase 1 Environmental Assessments were done in 1994, and one was done in 1996; our expert also walked the property recently. If the city paid for another environmental assessment, the only difference that the new assessment would find would be a change in use or title from that listed on the 1996 assessment. Phase 1 Environmental Assessments are prepared to determine if a previous use of the property could have resulted in some buried, environmental condition on the property. Since nothing has happened to the property since 1996, the only damage that could have occurred to the property since that year would be something visibly evident, which Dr. Tilton has already noted. Thus, it makes no sense to fund another Phase 1 Environmental Assessment.

Member Capello said that the city clearly has access from two of its own properties, so he doesn’t see access causing a problem. He can’t support a motion to amend that would require the city to pay for an additional Phase 1 Environmental Assessment. He feels that the city’s Department of Public Works or Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department could easily perform any necessary cleanup on the site, and that it would be insulting to require the generous benefactor and require the company to clean up the site before donating it. The city can easily clean the site up for little or no cost.

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked Mr. Fisher if the grantor would receive a tax write-off for the land donation, which Mr. Fisher answered was correct. She said that Mr. Fisher recommended doing a Phase 1 Assessment, and asked Mr. Fisher if he still believed it is in the city’s interests to carry out the Evaluation. Mr. Fisher answered that he recommends the Evaluation because the city would not be liable for cleanup costs on the site, should there be any. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she believes that the firm offering to donate the land represents the Sandstone Company. She suggested that the city investigate whether the wetland functions as a "storm water wetland", which collects storm water drainage from overland storm water runoff.

Roll Call Vote on CM-03-05-139 Yeas: Bononi, Lorenzo

Nays: Clark, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Sanghvi

Absent: None

Roll Call Vote on CM-03-05-138 Yeas: Clark, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Sanghvi

Nays: Bononi, Lorenzo

Absent: None

12. Authorization to prepare a 2-year Professional Services Agreement with Vilican- Leman Associates, Inc. for Woodland Consulting Services (Consultant Review Committee recommendation).

CM-03-05-140 Moved by Bononi, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To authorize the preparation of a 2-year Professional Services Agreement with Vilican - Leman Associates, Inc. for Woodland Consulting Services (Consultant Review Committee recommendation).


Member Capello expressed concern regarding the proposed fee structure by Vilican-Leman Associates, Inc. He feels that the fees are not in line with the services to be performed by the company.

Roll Call Vote on CM-03-05-140 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi

Nays: None

Absent: None

CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS FOR COUNCIL ACTION (Consent Agenda items, which have been removed for discussion and/or action)

D. Approval of Ordinance No. 03-125.15, an Ordinance to provide for the appointment of citizens to the Woodlands Review Board in place of City personnel, so that City personnel are not hearing the appeal of their own decisions made in the course of their usual duties and they are available to the Woodlands Review Board as a professional resource, and to provide for a greater scope of notification to neighboring property owners prior to a determination on a use permit application by the Woodlands Review Board. 2nd Reading.

CM-03-05-141 Moved by Capello, seconded by Lorenzo. APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY: Motion to prove the second reading of Ordinance 03-125.15, amend Chapter 37, Article II, Section 37-30(b) and (c), of the Novi Code of Ordinances


Mayor Clark noted that Item D of the Consent Agenda was removed at the request of Mayor Pro Tem Bononi. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said that she is interested in, as per agreeing opinion from Mr. Fisher, including a Planning Commissioner designated by the Planning Commission as a non-voting liaison to the Woodlands Review Board. Such liaison should not be deemed to be an official member, or even ex-officio member of the Woodlands Review Board. She said that the Planning Commission member’s input is significant to the Woodlands Review Board, especially with the upcoming appointment of a new member to the Board. The Planning Commission also oversees the issuance of woodland permits. The Woodlands Review Board may be able to use the Planning Commission’s expertise in answering application questions not covered by standard site plan approvals. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi inquired if administration is considering a specific individual for the liaison position, and what department they would represent. Mr. Klaver answered that a building official or deputy building official, and a forester would fill the position.

Member Capello said he’d prefer not to see a Planning Commission member involved with the Woodlands Review Board, but would rather see the Planning Commission remain separate from the Board. By putting a Planning Commissioner on the board, he/she might exert too much influence on other members, who should act independently.

Mayor Clark commented that, as Mr. Fisher indicated, the Planning Commission member would be a non-voting member of the Board who could express their opinion, but would not exert any undue influence on citizens. He doesn’t have a problem with having a Planning Commissioner there to offer insight. He has not seen Planning Commissioners influencing other citizens in city affairs too much before. There are very qualified citizen members on boards and commissions, so including a Planning Commissioner on the Woodlands Review Board would not cause a problem.

Member Landry asked how the Planning Commission liaison would operate in conjunction with the Woodland Review Board. He asked if the liaison would sit at the same table with the board, or with the audience. His understanding is that a forester and building official would be available in the audience, should they be needed by the board for questions. He supports a Planning Commissioner participating in this format with the board. He is concerned that Council will indirectly violate a statute which says the Planning Commissioner cannot be a member of any other board. If the Planning Commissioner will simply be in the audience, he supports the idea. He asked what the liaison would "do in real life?" Mr. Fisher answered that the liaison would do whatever Council instructs that person to do. Unless designated otherwise, the board liaison sits at the table with the functioning board. Member Landry asked if the forester and the building official would also be sitting at the table. Mr. Helwig answered that the officials would participate to offer expertise and answer questions, but their sitting arrangements are not important to staff. Member Landry expressed concern about skirting the ordinance, and does not want the Planning Commissioner to be equivalent to a Woodland Review Board member.

Member Sanghvi said he believes that if possible, one person should not be doing two jobs. He asked why, with all the qualified volunteers available, someone else is not utilized to do the same type of function. He said that many other former Planning Commissioners may be available to assist on the Woodland Review Board. It is not a good idea to have the Commissioner working on the board, sitting with members. There is no reason why a former Planning Commissioner can’t act as an advisor.

Roll Call Vote on CM-03-05-141 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi

Nays: None

Absent: None




1. Amendments to Woodlands Ordinance relative to farming exemptions – Mayor Pro Tem Bononi.

CM-03-05-142 Moved by Bononi, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: Motion to authorize Mr. Fisher to examine potential amendments to farming exemptions included in the city’s Woodlands Ordinance, including a clearer definition of farming exemptions, and other procedural modifications to the farming exemption administrative process.


Mayor Pro Tem Bononi expressed concern regarding farming exemptions included in the Woodlands Ordinance. She received information recently regarding the subject, and Mr. Fisher alluded to some points in an opinion delivered on the subject. She is looking for changes/amendments to the existing woodlands regulation that defines what the farming exemption actually is: that an application to claim a farming exemption is required; that the application requires a planting plan, and approximate dates of planting; that in the event that crops are not planted, the process that ensues is clarified. In other words, if woodlands regulations are circumvented and land is cleared but crops have not been planted, a penalty may by enforced. At the point that an application to claim the farming exemption is made, the applicant should submit existing material to show specifically where the woodlands and/or wetlands are being removed from. In the event that crops are not planted and a subsequent development proposal ensues, that woodlands and wetlands would either be replaced and/or remediated. In a letter provided by Mr. Fisher, these elements could be included in the city’s woodlands regulations.

Mr. Fisher stated that, generally speaking, what Mayor Pro Tem Bononi is referring to is an orderly procedure to ensure that if an exemption is legitimately claimed, the city has a review process; also, in the event a claim is made but not carried through, the city holds remediation abilities. He doesn’t see why all of the suggested amendments cannot be added to the Woodlands Ordinance.

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked what the best process would be to examine the suggested amendments, and how to follow through with them. Mr. Fisher suggested writing an amendment, submitting it to Council, and allowing Council to move forward with the item or submitting it for ordinance review.

Member Sanghvi commented that penalties must accompany any rules that are created. He said he would like to see significant penalties for violation of the farming exemption.

Member Lorenzo asked if, with regards to the lack of farming that has occurred on the north end of Beck Road, there is any way to document whether the crops actually grown correspond with whatever crop is listed on the exemption application, or if harvesting dates are also certifiable.

Member Capello asked Mr. Fisher to provide Council with a copy of the state statute regarding farming exemption regulations. Mr. Fisher answered that unlike wetlands, there is not state statute that governs farming exemptions. The Right to Farm Act is applicable to governing these exemptions, and he would provide this to Council.

Roll Call Vote on CM-03-05-142 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi

Nays: None

Absent: None


Wayne Hogan, 20923 Woodland Glen Dr., attended the Oakland County meeting regarding the Senate Transportation Committee. He stated that the city has an overburdened senior transportation outfit at Meadowbrook Commons, and has no public transportation availability from para-transit or SMART buses, as no bus routes come through Novi. A city is required to be within ¾ mile of fixed-route bus stop to qualify for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) transportation buses. He said that Novi has not shown appropriate response in addressing public transportation. He would like to see financial information to properly advocate for projects. He noted it took him 15 minutes to travel 1 mile on Ten Mile Road, and that safety issues arise when a person could not get to Providence if there was an emergency. He stated that a number of Novi road projects have laid a foundation for public transportation in the area. He has had a problem with some misquotes in Audience Participation, and he asked for clarification or editing of his quotes.

ADJOURNMENT 12:41 a.m.


_______________________________ _________________________________

Richard J. Clark, Mayor Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk



Transcribed by: Steve King


Date approved: May 19, 2003