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REGULAR MEETING OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NOVI
Mayor Clark called the meeting to order at 7:33 p.m.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
ROLL CALL Mayor Clark, Mayor Pro Tem Bononi – Absent/Excused, Council Members Capello, Csordas – Absent/Excused, Landry, Lorenzo*, Sanghvi
ALSO PRESENT Rick Helwig – City Manager
Craig Klaver – Chief Operating Officer
Gerald Fisher – City Attorney
Clay Pearson – Assistant City Manager
Kathy Smith-Roy – Finance Director
Brian Coburn – City Engineer
Glen Lemmon – City Assessor
Benny McCusker – Director of Public Works
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Member Landry said he had two additions to Mayor and Council Issues. His first addition, #2, was to discuss Council policy regarding requests by Council members of the City staff. His second item, #3, was to briefly discuss the traffic light at Beck Road and Ten Mile Road, specifically the left turn for west-bound Ten Mile Road.
Mayor Clark said he wished to add Mayor and Council Issues numbers 4 and 5. Number 4 was a sidewalk around the Civic Center, and #5 was a walk button for the signal in front of City Hall.
Member Capello wished to add #6, "no left turn" sign at the Library.
CM-03-07-205 Moved by Sanghvi, seconded by Landry; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the agenda as amended.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-07-205 Yeas: Clark, Capello, Landry, Sanghvi
Absent: Bononi, Csordas, Lorenzo
1. Proclamation – Recognition of Jeanne Clarke for volunteer service.
Mayor Clark stated that this proclamation was made with a mixture of sadness and pride, as Ms. Jeanne Clarke, whom this proclamation was to be presented to, had passed away unexpectedly. He said that if someone was to be called "the First Lady" of Novi, it would likely be Jeanne Clarke. The Mayor asked the audience to reflect on the recognition, as they reflected on a life of dedication and service to the community.
* Member Lorenzo arrived at 7:36 p.m.
2. Award of Municipal Finance Administrator certificate from the Association of Public Treasurers to Beverly Valente, Treasurer.
Kathy Smith-Roy noted that Ms. Valente has been with the City since January 3, 1989. As part of her promotion to City Treasurer in 2000, she assured administration that she would obtain certification as a Certified Municipal Finance Administrator, which she recently completed. Mayor Clark joined in Ms. Smith-Roy’s comments that the community was truly blessed to have dedicated, committed employees such as Ms. Valente.
3. Presentation of Music & Motor Fest July 24 – 27 – Bob McCann.
Mr. McCann noted that this year’s celebration would mark the 17th year of festivities. He said that the festival was managed and run by a number of hard-working, dedicated volunteers. The event will be held on Main Street in downtown Novi this year.
Member Landry wished to echo one of Mr. McCann’s comments. He noted that he had had the pleasure of serving on this committee for about 5 months, and said the volunteers for the event work extremely hard for no pay. Member Landry said the crew deserved "a ton of credit", and encouraged everyone to come out to the Music & Motor Fest.
Mayor Clark noted that Council had received several letters regarding the proposed SAD’s. Omar Aziz stated in a letter that he approves of the two Special Assessment Districts, so that his lot can become buildable. The city received an objection from Franklin Morandy, who asked how the SAD’s could be of direct benefit without knowing the cost of the projects. A communication from Sandra Weaver said that the projects were too costly and would remove equity from her house. Thomas J. Anan indicated his support because of the health and sanitary benefits of the SAD’s, as well as the aging of neighborhood well and septic systems. An objection was received from Gertrude A. Free on Sierra Drive, who felt the improvements were not needed and too costly.
A letter from Henry Lei supported the SAD’s, because they would improve the quality of life and the City’s image. A letter of approval was received from Catherine M. Chaczyk of Timberlane Drive, who said the SAD’s would improve the Pioneer Meadows subdivision.
1. Public Hearing on Revised Special Assessment District 162 – Pioneer Meadows
Sanitary Sewer Extension.
Greg Nelson, 25870 Strath Haven Drive, shared his neighbors’ concerns about the costs of the projects, but said the cost of not having the infrastructure installed is far greater than the cost to complete the SAD’s. He also mentioned that health risks would be minimized by completing the projects. He asked how many parcels were actually included within the SAD’s, as he had seen totals of both 69 and 73 parcels before. Mr. Nelson said that Benny McCusker had done an excellent job of working with residents to provide information. He said it would be nice to know if any lots would be exempt from the SAD’s. Mr. Nelson stated that he supported the SAD’s, and looked forward to benefiting from the services.
2. Public Hearing on Revised Special Assessment District 163 – Pioneer Meadows
Water Main Extension.
2. CITY MANAGER
Mr. Helwig said the City is delighted to have Fire Station #4 at Ten Mile Road and Wixom Road operational. He thanked Council for "staying the course" with administration during unfortunate delays in opening that facility. The burn tower will soon be completed and the training center is up and available.
4. ATTORNEY – Update on Landscape Ordinance
Mr. Fisher said he had been working on review of the Landscape Ordinance with the Planning Department. He noted that this is a very large ordinance, and his task is to narrow the document considerably. This means performing a thorough review of the ordinance, which takes several hours of concentrated time which he has not yet had. He apologized for not being able to yet return the document to Council, but said it would hopefully be forthcoming for the next meeting.
Mayor Clark said he appreciated Mr. Fisher’s comments, and agreed that Mr. Fisher had been busy with a number of other City issues requiring his attention.
Darlene Alexander, 26907 Gornada St., wished to speak on behalf of Community Cab. She said she would read 3 short letters because one of the writers was hospitalized, and one was legally blind.
The first letter was written by Ms. Alexander herself. She said Community Cab has been serving the Novi area for over 25 years. As a physically challenged citizen of Novi, she had used the cab since 1981 and on a regular basis for more than 3 years. The Community Cab staff is considerate, caring, and helpful. She relies on Community Cab not only for medical needs and banking, but also for her personal life. She can count on the company to get her home on time and to appointments safely. She can schedule a ride 3 to 6 months in advance and know that she will be taken there on time. If the weather will be bad, the company calls, as it does not want to jeopardize any passengers. Community Cab is an asset to the community, and the City needs the company to continue serving the community. There is an old saying, "if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it," which applies in this situation.
Another letter, from Marjorie Wolfe, 23571 Meeting Hall Lane, said she would be "terribly lost" without Community Cab. Her husband died of cancer in 1989, and she has since been alone. Someone recommended the Community Cab company to her in 1990, and she has used this service ever since. She uses the cabs for banking, shopping, doctor appointments, and other needed trips. As she is a physically challenged senior in Novi, she truly needs and relies on the service of Community Cab. They are reliable and caring.
The last letter was from Elaine Norman, 44863 North Hills Drive, who was in the hospital because of congestive heart failure. Ms. Norman said she had never driven, and uses Community Cab often. Her husband was in Harper Hospital before, and Community Cab would take her to the hospital regardless of what time it was. She said the company is dependable and reliable, and she can depend on them to get them where she needs to go. Over the years of their service, the company has become more like family to Ms. Norman. She said it was a relief to her children to know that the company’s service was available to her. Ms. Norman said it would be a terrible disservice to lose the Community Cab Company.
Ms. Alexander asked if the people who wrote the letters she had read would be notified of Council’s decision. Mayor Clark said that there would likely be communication in the Novi News.
State Representative Craig DeRoche provided a legislative update on matters in Lansing which affect the City of Novi. He thanked Mayor Clark for meeting him at the Beck Road interchange for an interview with National Public Radio. The interview was run for the better part of 2 days on 14 different public radio stations in Michigan. Representative DeRoche said that another item of consideration in Lansing was the Governor’s proposed revenue sharing cut. He was still on the City Council when the revenue sharing cuts started under Governor Engler. It seemed that it was easy for Governors to cut state revenues to cities and townships and counties, rather than taking this money away from other parts of the budget. In fairness to the Governor, she has proposed continuous cuts to almost all parts of the State government. Governor Granholm’s proposal was for a 3% across-the-board cut. He voted with his legislative colleagues last week to change this cut to use a more equitable distribution formula. Since 1946, cities such as Detroit received additional statutory revenue sharing to the point where some cities were receiving $1.12 to Detroit’s $4.00. The Legislature was able to pass the equitable rate cut, so that revenues were cut more fairly. This measure benefited cities such as Novi.
Representative DeRoche said the State House vote was very bipartisan in support to reinstate the Beck Road project and the other 33 road projects, with a vote of 104-3. His understanding is that the Governor’s office is now reconsidering all of the 34 projects, and is trying to find a middle ground with the State Legislature. He is confident that Beck Road is being given the highest priority, along with 6 or 7 other road projects, as these were already slated for construction during this year. The Legislature is recessed for the summer, and will return next week to balance the budget.
Member Lorenzo thanked Representative DeRoche for speaking to Council. She said that as issues regarding land use become available in written form, Council would very much appreciate these being passed on to the City, so that Council and administration can stay updated on bills and other matters at the State level regarding these issues. Representative DeRoche said he would gladly pass on this information.
Lori Larson, 42047 Chalet, said that Community Cab had been of excellent service to her, and did not want to see the company’s services taken away from the community. She said that Community Cab takes her to and from work every day. She has epilepsy, and needs to work to stay busy and keep her seizures under control. Without the company, she said she would be lost, and asked Council to allow the company to continue operating.
Wayne Hogan, 20923 Woodland Glen Dr., said that he has had terrible experiences using Community Cab. The service has proved that it needs to be in the City and should stay here, and the service should be usable as defined by City rules, as a 24 hour service. Mr. Hogan said that he had been told to call ABC cab when he called Community Cab before. He has been told by other persons with disabilities that they cannot get rides from Community Cab. He was happy to hear that some people have had good experiences with the company, but said that other people who are disabled have been turned down by the company before, and that their prices have gone up two times in the last contract. Mr. Hogan said that his experience with one driver at the company was verbally abusive, even though the contract requires 24 hour, courteous service. He asked that in order for Community Cab to be approved for subsidized service, that the cab driver with whom he had an unpleasant experience not be allowed to provide taxi services. Mr. Hogan said the subsidized taxi services were badly needed in Novi, but not with Community Cab.
CONSENT AGENDA (Approval/Removals)
Member Lorenzo asked to remove Item I.
CM-03-07-206 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Capello; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the Consent Agenda as amended.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-07-206 Yeas: Capello, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Clark
Absent: Bononi, Csordas
A. Approval of minutes:
June 9, 2003 - Special Meeting
June 16, 2003 - Regular meeting
June 24, 2003 - Special meeting
B. Schedule Executive Session immediately following meeting of July 7, 2003 to discuss property acquisition and pending litigation (Eldridge properties).
C. Consideration of renewing Taxi Cab Company license with one (1) cab for Mitsu Transportation doing business as Community Cab, 335 Second Street, South Lyon, MI 48178, subject to City Attorney recommendations.
D. Approval to award three-year contract for subsidized taxi service (STS) to Community Cab. (This STS provides subsidized cab rides for Novi residents age 55 and over as well as physically/mentally challenged non-senior residents.)
E. Approval of Resolution to create the Retiree Health Care Fund and adopt Public Act 149 of 1999, which allows the investment of this fund in accordance with the public employee retirement system investment act.
F. Approval of Discharge of Contract by Monkey Wrench Associates and refund original cost of $4,800 for sewer tap coupon number 1442-1447.
G. Approval of Authorizing Resolution for the Music and Motor Fest Car Cruise on July 27, 2003.
H. Approval of the 2003-2004 Winter Maintenance Agreement with the Road Commission for Oakland County for snow and ice removal operations on Novi Road, Ten Mile, and Grand River Avenue within the limits of the City of Novi.
J. Approval to award bid for Audio Visual Equipment – Fire Station #4 to Roscor Corp., the low bidder, in the amount of $5,849.00.
K. Approval of claims and accounts on Warrant No. 652.
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION – PART I
1. Approval of Resolution Number 7 - Special Assessment District 162 – Pioneer Meadows Sanitary Sewer Extension.
CM-03-07-207 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Landry; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve of Resolution Number 7 - Special Assessment District 162 – Pioneer Meadows Sanitary Sewer Extension
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-07-207 Yeas: Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Clark, Capello
Absent: Bononi, Csordas
2. Approval of Resolution Number 7 -Special Assessment District 163 – Pioneer Meadows Water Main Extension.
CM-03-07-208 Moved by Landry, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve of Resolution Number 7 -Special Assessment District 163 – Pioneer Meadows Water Main Extension
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-07-208 Yeas: Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Clark, Capello, Landry
Absent: Bononi, Csordas
3. Approval to award the contract for the Special Assessment District 162 and 163 – Pioneer Meadows Sanitary Sewer and Water Main Extension Projects to Thompson-McCully Company, in the amount of $725,581.11, which does not include road rehabilitation.
Mr. Helwig said administration’s plan is to recommend awards for this summer’s neighborhood roads repaving program at the next regular Council meeting, on July 21st. Included therein will be a recommended award covering the Pioneer Meadows roadway rehabilitation.
CM-03-07-209 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Sanghvi; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To award the contract for the Special Assessment District 162 and 163 – Pioneer Meadows Sanitary Sewer and Water Main Extension Projects to Thompson-McCully Company, in the amount of $725,581.11, which does not include road rehabilitation. The City of Novi shall reserve the right to cancel this agreement for 30 days.
Member Sanghvi asked what was meant by the statement "which does not include road rehabilitation." Mr. Helwig said this meant the reconstruction and repaving of roads. The roads in Pioneer Meadows were scheduled to be done this summer before the Special Assessment District might have Council’s review and approval. City Council felt it was unfair to burden the homeowners with the costs of road repair and repaving. Dr. Sanghvi asked why the statement was not referred to only as "road repair and repaving" instead of "road rehabilitation." Mr. Helwig said this was a good point, and would be considered.
Member Capello asked if the replacement of the driveway aprons would be included in the roadway work, or in the water main and sewer work. He said it makes sense to break up the prices, but it would not make sense to have one company working on the roads, and other companies working on the individual aprons. Mr. Helwig asked Mr. Coburn, who was sitting in for Ms. McClain at the meeting, to respond. Mr. Coburn said that with the project, the road contractor, Thompson-McCully, would make temporary repairs to the drive approaches as they are crossed for repairs to water and sanitary sewer, until such time as another contractor can come through and finish the work for the road repaving project.
Mayor Clark asked if all aprons that may have been disturbed by the water and sewer work would be replaced at the same time. Mr. Coburn said this was correct, as it was the most efficient way to contract the repairs. Member Capello said this was what he thought, but the wording of the bid made it appear that Thompson-McCully was doing the aprons along with the water main and sewer construction.
Member Capello noted that the cover sheet stated that the engineering plans had not yet been approved, and asked Mr. Coburn if he knew the status of the engineering plans for the roadway. Mr. Coburn said the City had received plans from JCK that included the water, sewer, and roadway. Administration has not yet approved the road paving plans. Mr. Helwig noted that Ayers, Lewis is doing the work, and administration is looking for Ms. McClain’s approval. Member Capello asked what work Ayers, Lewis was doing. Mr. Helwig answered that Ayers, Lewis is designing the roadway improvements in Pioneer Meadows. Member Capello said that the City had already paid JCK to do this work, and asked why Ayers, Lewis was being paid to redo the engineering work that JCK had already completed. Mr. Helwig said Ms. McClain had stated that the work that had been done by JCK was incomplete and could not be accepted. He said the award was made to Ayers, Lewis to do this work based on their proposal, and included drainage review and other elements that Ms. McClain felt were not satisfactorily done in the other work. Mr. Helwig said he understood that Member Capello felt this work was being overpriced and had already been done, and Ms. McClain’s opinion is that the work is necessary before the City can reach an acceptable plan and bidding for the work to be done.
Member Capello said his memory of what Ms. McClain said was that the engineering road work was almost completely done, and she had some minor modifications to send back to JCK, which she had not had time to do. He said he is still concerned that Ayers, Lewis would be paid to do work that JCK had already completed. He asked how much the City had paid JCK to do the design work on Pioneer Meadows Road. Mr. Helwig said he did not want to misspeak on the topic, but said it was a very small amount. Member Capello said that Ms. McClain had stated that the work was almost done to the point where it was about ready to go out for bids, which indicated that the work as almost completed. Mr. Helwig said that his recollection was that there were major omissions.
Mayor Clark asked Member Capello if he would mind bringing the information forward at the next meeting. Member Capello said he would like to discuss the issue at the first meeting in August. He said he would review the meeting where the discussion had taken place again. Mr. Helwig said he had read the minutes, as that discussion was an uncomfortable time for him, and said the information would come at the July 21st Council meeting with the neighborhood repaving recommendations. Member Capello said he would like the information at the first meeting in August, because he would not be at the meeting on July 21st. Mr. Helwig commented that in order to complete the program in September, depending on Council’s decision, administration would be seeking an award in July. Mayor Clark asked if there would be any problem providing this information to Member Capello. Mr. Helwig answered that it would definitely not be a problem. Mayor Clark said he recalled Ms. McClain’s comments that some things were not done to her satisfaction. He recalled an old saying, that "close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades." Mr. Helwig said he would communicate with Member Capello before July 21st so that he would have the information.
Mr. Fisher said the project was being moved forward quickly, and the SAD projects allow property owners to object and file Michigan Tax Tribunal cases within 30 days. Since this will be a bonded situation, the City needs to reserve its rights in the event that an action is commenced that could create jeopardy. He suggested that Council reserve the City’s rights under the evening’s action for at least 30 days, to allow administration assurance that there is no jeopardy. Mayor Clark asked Mr. Fisher if he was recommending that Council not vote on the item. Mr. Fisher said it was ok to go ahead with the approval, but as part of the approval should reserve the right for 30 days to cancel. Member Lorenzo said she would add this to her motion, and Dr. Sanghvi seconded the amendment.
Mayor Clark pointed out that the vote is very important for the people in Pioneer Meadows, who have waited a long time for the SAD’s. He understands that some people suppor the SAD’s, and some do not, but all should find that the SAD’s will only cause their property values to be enhanced. People look for city services these days, including sewer and water.
Member Sanghvi asked if he was correct in understanding that the road would be dug up once, install water and sewer lines, be repaired, and then be dug up again in the future to repave the road again. Mayor Clark said this was not correct. Mr. Helwig said that the repaving would be coordinated closely with the water and sewer work so that the repaving would only be done once, after the water and sewer work is completed. Dr. Sanghvi said that Mr. Helwig had said the road repaving would only be temporary patchwork. Mayor Clark said Mr. Helwig was only referring to the driveway aprons, so that people could access their driveways. Member Sanghvi said that Mr. Helwig had requested additional money for temporary repair of the road. Mr. Helwig said the water and sewer work would be done first. What Mr. Coburn had referred to were the driveway aprons, which would have temporary surfaces, which do not apply to the roadwork. The roadwork would be completed all at once, following completion of the water and sewer utility work.
Member Capello asked to have Ms. McClain’s review letter on JCK’s engineering work for the road in Pioneer Meadows faxed to his office the next morning. Mr. Helwig said that assuming the document was available, it would be sent to him.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-07-209 Yeas: Sanghvi, Clark, Capello, Landry, Lorenzo
Absent: Bononi, Csordas
4. Consideration of the request of Catholic Central High School, located on the west side of Wixom Road and south of Grand River Avenue, for approval of an extended replanting period and alternative form of financial guarantee for replacement woodland trees, under Section 37-30 of the City of Novi Code of Ordinances.
Mr. Fisher said this matter came to Council from the Planning Commission. The ordinance was deliberated and adopted by Council at the same time it was before the Planning Commission. Essentially, the issues for the meeting were establishing a time period for replanting, and responding to the request for an alternate form of bonding arrangement. The bonding arrangement would a rolling bond that would go from year to year and coincide with the replanting obligation. Mr. Fisher indicated in his materials submitted to Council that he had a number of comments regarding the bond. The bond should be a performance bond, not a maintenance bond. He suggested that any motion adopted by Council be subject to administration’s approval of the bond.
Mayor Clark asked Mr. Fisher if he would feel more comfortable if the bond was termed a "performance bond," which Mr. Fisher answered he would. Mayor Clark said he understood from Mr. Fisher’s comments that in terms of the bond guarantee, there would be sufficient money set aside at all times to ensure that all the trees in question would be planted. Mr. Fisher clarified that he meant all the trees for the following period of time. Mayor Clark asked if this would roll over and be renewed each year, which Mr. Fisher said was correct. Mayor Clark said that he understood that this was before the Planning Commission supported the measure, 8-0, which Mr. Fisher said was also his understanding. Mayor Clark noted that there was one question raised which was supported by the Planning Commission: the non-replacement of ash trees, given the problem of the emerald ash borer.
Tom Ryan presented himself to Council as the attorney for Catholic Central High School, and noted that his offices are located at 2055 Orchard Lake Road in Sylvan Lake, Michigan, 48320. He said that the school was happily represented before Council on the final two issues of the process. As stated by Mr. Fisher, Mr. Ryan said he would make the suggestion that the bond be called a "performance and guarantee bond." Mr. Ryan also added that the school would like 9 years to replace trees on the site. He stated that the idea behind the performance and guarantee bond was to take the number of trees to be replaced each year and multiply this by the City’s estimated cost of each tree, or $325. He said the school respectfully requested that Council allow Catholic Central to follow the proposed schedule to replace the 2,531 trees over 9 years, and the school will come up with a performance and guarantee bond acceptable to the City Attorney based upon the number of trees each year multiplied by $325 per tree, which would cover the 2 year warranty period. This bond would expire in the year 2016, when the last planting is done in 2014. The school sought two things: a 9 year replacement time period; and the ability to fund the work as the performance and guarantee bond is outlined.
Member Lorenzo asked Mr. Ryan asked if the rate of inflation was being considered when determining the value and cost of tree replacement, since the trees will not have the same value in 10 years that they have today. She said that she had no problem with a rolling bond, but it should be adjusted for the going rate at the time that the trees are being replanted. Mr. Ryan answered that the trees themselves only cost about $225 to $250, with the rest of the cost allotted for labor. Since the school is using free student labor, the City should be well covered on inflation. Member Lorenzo said she understood and noted that the City also hoped that the school was able to use student labor, but said the school’s student labor was not guaranteed for the bond.
Mayor Clark said it was his understanding that there would have to be a sufficient amount of money in the bond to cover the trees for any given year between years 2 and 9 of the replacement time period. Mr. Fisher said this was correct, but agreed with Member Lorenzo that the tree cost was considered fixed. Mayor Clark asked if the bond could provide that, in the event that at some time during the replacement period the cost of trees would exceed the $325, the bond would be adjusted so that it could be guaranteed that the money would be there. Mr. Fisher said it could, as along as the City had a backup arrangement so that any disagreement could be settled without spending much money. Mr. Ryan apologized to Mayor Clark, and said he had misspoken earlier: the City’s estimated cost of the replacement trees was $100 each, with $225 for labor. He said that considering the estimated cost of labor, which would be free by using students, the City should be well protected.
Larry De Brincat from Vilican-Leman said it would be very difficult to anticipate what the cost of trees would be in the future. If looking backwards at how trees have increased in cost over the past several years, this would not be equitable either. Because of the emerald ash borer, nurseries have lost a considerable number of trees that they would normally be able to sell at the 2 ½ inch caliper size. There has also been a much greater demand put on other trees of this 2 ½ inch caliper size as well. Right now, there is a shortage of trees of this caliper size, so the cost of these trees has increased. Using the last few years as a projection for the future may be weighted too heavily in respect to how much trees may cost in 10 years. Member Lorenzo said she understood, and this was why she had a problem with using a fixed cost estimate amount for the trees to be planted in the future. She said her point was simply that there should be language in the performance and maintenance bond that addresses the adjustment each year, and perhaps the City’s woodlands consultant could examine the bond figures every year and determine if there should be those adjustments. Mr. Fisher said that the City, from time to time, adopts a resolution setting this cost city-wide for purposes such as this. If the City can abide by the resolution of city-wide application, this would work.
CM-03-07-210 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Sanghvi; MOTION CARRIED: To approve the request of Catholic Central High School, located on the west side of Wixom Road and south of Grand River Avenue, for approval of an extended replanting period of 9 years and alternative form of financial guarantee for replacement woodland trees under Section 37-30 of the City of Novi Code of Ordinances, in the form of a Performance and Maintenance Bond which will include language for yearly adjustments that is subject to approval of the City Administration.
Mayor Clark asked Mr. Ryan if he had any objections to the motion, which Mr. Ryan said he did not.
Member Landry asked Mr. Ryan if, when all is said and done, Catholic Central would replace every tree that the City is asking it to replace. Mr. Ryan answered that except for the ash trees, this was correct. Member Landry noted that the City was not asking the school to replace the ash trees. Member Landry thanked Mr. Ryan.
Member Capello asked what these bonds would cost Catholic Central on an annual basis. Mr. Ryan said the school was not certain yet how much these bonds would cost, but it would be a less costly arrangement than paying for the full duration of the total project. Member Capello said he understood this, but asked if Mr. Ryan had even a "ballpark clue" of what the school would pay for the $75,000 bond. Mr. Ryan said the issue was kind of an insurance policy situation versus a bond issue. He said the cost would probably be about $8,000 to $10,000 annually.
Member Capello said he understands when the City has private enterprises and companies coming into the City and constructing a spec building but not being sure what will happen to that building in the future. Catholic Central will have only one location when it moves, as the school will sell their Redford location. He commented that he believed the school was moving to Novi to stay as a permanent location. Member Capello said he did not see why the City was requiring any kind of surety guarantee on the bond, as $8,000 to $10,000 could be put into education. If the City only had a personal guarantee that the trees would be replaced, he would be satisfied. He said he doubted that the City would ever have a problem that would require suing Catholic Central to have the trees replaced, and said the school can live up to its word. Member Capello asked Mr. Fisher if there was anything in the City’s ordinance that would prevent the City accepting a personal guarantee as opposed to a surety bond guarantee. Mr. Fisher said he was not aware of anything, as the ordinance adopted authorized an alternative format for the bond. Member Capello asked if the City could accept a personal guarantee. Mr. Fisher answered that if Council supported this, the personal guarantee could be accepted. Member Capello said he had no problem getting a personal guarantee from the Order of St. Basil, and asked Mr. Ryan how long the Order had been in existence, which Mr. Ryan said was since 1822. Mr. Ryan said that the school definitely intends the Novi site to be its permanent home. Member Capello asked for a friendly amendment to require a personal guarantee from the Order of St. Basil CSB/Detroit Catholic Central High School that the school will live up to the City’s tree planting schedule, instead of a surety guarantee.
Member Lorenzo said she would not feel comfortable accepting the friendly amendment, because this is not an issue of accepting someone’s personal word, but is instead a matter of process, consistency, and fundamental fairness across the board. The City has come a long way in discussions with the school during the past months, and the school and City are both getting what they want. In addition, the City is being consistent across the board with other developers and private interests in Novi. Everyone’s word is their bond, but the City has ordinances and requirements for financial guarantees to protect the best interests of Novi across the board. She said she wants to be consistent in process and how people are treated. The City is not yet at the point where it can simply accept somebody’s word in lieu of a guarantee. She said that Member Capello is concerned about lawsuits in the City, and other companies that have been in business for a long time may want similar treatment. She said she has concerns about treating different businesses and people differently.
Member Capello said the ordinance that Catholic Central is coming under is not an ordinance that any corporation can come under, but is instead an ordinance under which a school can ask for relief under the City’s tree ordinance. In asking for this relief, the school can ask the City to accept a different guarantee than a business or corporation could ask for. He said he has no problem with a company trying to fit into the ordinance and sue the City. He would not vote in favor of the motion. Catholic Central deserves a personal guarantee, and the $8,000 to $10,000 could be put towards education instead of being given to an insurance company.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-07-210 Yeas: Clark, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi
Absent: Bononi, Csordas
Father Richard Elmer of Catholic Central High School thanked Council and administration for making the school’s relocation to Novi a complete success. He assured the City that the school will be good citizens in Novi.
5. Approval of Resolution Number 5 - Special Assessment District 165 – Connemara Hills limited Water Main Extension, directing the City Assessor to prepare the Special Assessment Roll and to file the roll with the City Clerk for presentation to City Council.
CM-03-07-211 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Sanghvi; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Resolution Number 5 - Special Assessment District 165 – Connemara Hills limited Water Main Extension, directing the City Assessor to prepare the Special Assessment Roll and to file the roll with the City Clerk for presentation to City Council.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-07-211 Yeas: Capello, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Clark
Absent: Bononi, Csordas
6. Approval to award the contract for Design Engineering Services and Construction Contract Administration for Special Assessment Districts 168 and 169 to Anderson, Eckstein and Westrick, Inc., in the amount of $50,240.50.
CM-03-07-212 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Landry; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve to award the contract for Design Engineering Services and Construction Contract Administration for Special Assessment Districts 168 and 169 to Anderson, Eckstein and Westrick, Inc., in the amount of $50,240.50.
Member Capello said that in the neighborhood roads program, the Engineering Department had concerns over not giving the contract to the lowest bidder because of concerns over the number of man-hours they were putting into the project. He said he was looking at this item and trying to use the same rationale. On the water main, AEW was allocating 241 hours, compared to the next-lowest bidder at 531 hours, and the highest bidder at 892. He asked if the department asked AEW how it could get the job done with only 241 hours allotted, compared to the other bidders. Mr. Coburn responded that when the bids were opened and the hours and costs were analyzed, he contacted AEW and notified the company that their bid was about half the cost of the others, and asked if the company was comfortable with this. AEW called him back and notified him that the company was comfortable. It appears that the company included enough time to accomplish the tasks in the matter that they need to. Member Capello said that if there was only a 20% difference in figures there wouldn’t be much concern, but this was a much greater disparity. He asked Mr. Coburn if he knew why the other bids were so high. Mr. Coburn said he did not know. Member Capello asked Mr. Coburn if he knew what the other companies would do that AEW was not going to do. Mr. Coburn said he assumed that the companies added time in other areas. Looking at the hours that AEW bid for, it seemed clear to him and Ms. McClain that their hour estimate was accurate for the amount of time needed to do the work. Member Capello asked who would pay if AEW were to come back to the City and asked for any change orders and the City approved these, if these would fall under the SAD or if the City would pay for the changes. Mr. Coburn said the contract as set up would be not-to-exceed for engineering services. AEW is comfortable with their costs on a not-to-exceed basis. Unless there was an unforeseen condition, the company should not return to the City for any changes. Member Capello thanked Mr. Coburn.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-07-212 Yeas: Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Clark, Capello
Absent: Bononi, Csordas
7. Consideration of request from CEC Entertainment, Inc. to transfer location of 2003 12 months Resort Tavern licensed business from 3108 NW Alpine, Walker, MI 49504, Kent County to 44275 Twelve Mile (Chuck E. Cheese’s) Novi, MI, Oakland County.
CM-03-07-213 Moved by Capello, seconded by Landry; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve request from CEC Entertainment, Inc. to transfer location of 2003 12 months Resort Tavern licensed business from 3108 NW Alpine, Walker, MI 49504, Kent County to 44275 Twelve Mile (Chuck E. Cheese’s) Novi, MI, Oakland County.
Member Capello asked Mr. Fisher why this was only a Beer/Wine licensed business instead of a Class C license, as he thought all licenses were Class C’s now. Mr. Fisher said the resort-type license is a very specialized arrangement.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-07-213 Yeas: Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Clark, Capello, Landry
Absent: Bononi, Csordas
8. Approval of the Disaster Preparedness Plan and the Agreement with the Oakland County Emergency Response and Preparedness Office.
CM-03-07-214 Moved by Landry, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the Disaster Preparedness Plan and the Agreement with the Oakland County Emergency Response and Preparedness Office.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-07-214 Yeas: Sanghvi, Clark, Capello, Landry, Lorenzo
Absent: Bononi, Csordas
Robert Carson said he represented Singh Development for a limited partnership. He said that Council would have before them consideration of a development agreement that has been drafted and commented upon. The document was drafted by Council for the City and commented upon by Singh. There are some differences with respect to the agreements, which Mr. Carson said he would like to address. The reason for the changes being made at this time is that it is the position of Singh that any issues that may come up with respect to this development be raised initially, before an agreement is signed. Singh wants to be as open as possible with the City about any issues involved. This is what took so long in coming back to Council, since it was originally approved conceptually by Council. At this point in time, it is his understanding based upon the minutes that the use, conceptually, was approved subject to a development agreement, the use being multiple in that area. On the other hand, what was required was to have the use be restricted for "for sale" condominium units. What he brought before Council was that if, due to soil conditions or market conditions, there is not acceptance for a "for sale" product, Singh does not want to change in any way the type of product that it is willing to commit and be bound to build. They are large, high-end, luxury units that would be suitable for sale if conditions permit, or be suitable for high-end renters. Singh is willing to commit to these units in great detail from an architectural standpoint, both as to size, amenities, and improvements. All of the units would have 2-car attached garages, all would be large, all would meet the architectural standards of a very high-end development. All of the developments would be of the same or higher product than Council envisioned. Singh has concerns with the product being a "for sale" product, at least initially. The concerns are two-fold. One relates to the soil conditions on the property. Singh has done extensive work in regards to the soil conditions, and this property has tremendous soil problems, not the least of which were caused by the large amount of peat that was removed from where the mall is located. There were one million yards of peat removed and put onto this site. Therefore, if someone is going to build, they do not want to build a "for sale" product, because it would not be desirable to have people move in and have large settling problems, which are anticipated for a number of years, then have a problem with a condominium association with disappointed or disgruntled owners. If the product were leased, Singh could have its own people own it, maintain it to the highest standards, correct those settling problems which can only occur over time and not in the first year, and then have a very high-end product immaculately maintained. The level of maintenance on Market Street, which was developed by the same group, shows the level of care. Another item which remains of concern to the Council is what this means to the City of Novi if the product is developed as a "for lease" product instead of as a "for sale" product. With respect to OST, Novi had envisioned that that type of product would be a tax revenue generator and a low service demander so that there would be a net positive. If the product were a "for rent" product instead of a "for sale" product, it would mean more revenue for the City of Novi and to the school district. The OST product is not in demand, particularly for this specific property, and the property will lie fallow if it remains OST. There is OST product that is built and on major thoroughfares that is not leased, in substantial square footage amounts. There is OST zoned property on major thoroughfares with great visibility which is not being developed because there is no market demand for it. Singh does not anticipate market demand, and they had submitted to Council evidence from brokers and third parties that this product will not be developed. The City would not have an income stream for years to come, if ever. Therefore, it is a benefit to take what is in demand now. If the product was owned and a leased, high-end product, instead of for-sale product, the first benefit is that the homestead exemption is not applicable, and there is in excess of a $111,000 difference in tax revenue generated on a current basis; a 25% increase, because there would not be a homestead exemption. This property would be able to be valued at least equal to Market Street, and at a very significant amount. That kind of revenue generator is appropriate. He said that if Council was willing to consider the use and wants high-end product, and the developer is willing to build the exact same product, there would be the same use, a higher income stream, and a more immediate cash flow to the City. He said that he believed Singh had built more tax base of high end product in the City of Novi than any other developer, all of which has been a credit to the City and to Novi. He asked Council what it would want Singh to do with the product if it was built and stood vacant, which he said was to occupy it with a high-end tenant.
Wayne Hogan, 20923 Woodland Glen Dr., said he could see from some of a document that he had received from Randy Auler there would be a performance issue in the contract with the way it was written. The gravity of the situation was not taken into consideration, as the matter is already on the way to the Department of Justice. He said the new Providence Hospital donated van that was recently purchased does not have a fold-out stair on it. Mr. Hogan said he realized that the City wanted to get the van as cheap as possible and still have a wheelchair lift on it, but a reason that some seniors do not want to use the vans is that they cannot step up into those vans, so the vans need to have a fold-out step when the doors open. Some seniors have disabilities and hip problems that greatly prohibit them from making the step up into those vans. Mr. Hogan asked that the vans be retrofitted with the fold-out step if at all possible.
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION – PART II
9. Consideration of Development Agreement required in order to finalize Zoning Map Amendment 18.605, based upon the request of Singh IV Limited Partnership to rezone approximately 38.62 acres located in Section 14, south of Twelve Mile Road and west of Meadowbrook Road from OST (Office Service Technology) to RM-2 (High Density, Mid-Rise Multiple Family) or any other appropriate zoning.
Member Landry said this item, the development agreement, and its content as it came before Council, was extremely disappointing. He said Singh was coming back to Council having completely changed their commitment, which was very disappointing to him. The peat was discussed when he was on the Planning Commission, and the move to rezone the property started several years ago. He said he was not interested in developing the City of Novi in the next 5 years, but is rather interested in developing the City of Novi properly in the next 25 years. He said it was extremely disappointing that Singh has made a major change in position.
CM-03-07-215 Moved by Landry, seconded by Lorenzo; MOTION TABLED: Motion to reject the Development Agreement required in order to finalize Zoning Map Amendment 18.605, based upon the request of Singh IV Limited Partnership to rezone approximately 38.62 acres located in Section 14, south of Twelve Mile Road and west of Meadowbrook Road from OST (Office Service Technology) to RM-2 (High Density, Mid-Rise Multiple Family) or any other appropriate zoning.
Member Lorenzo said she agreed with everything that Member Landry said. She did not think this was the best business decision for the City of Novi. The Planning Commission is currently updating the master plan. When the master plan was last updated in 1999, OST was established for the property. Whether OST is still reasonable for the site may be a question mark for the City that should be answered by the Planning Commission as an update to the master plan. The site should certainly not be built as multiples for rent. She said she would even consider commercial development for the site, as this would still bring the City revenue but would not bring the same demands of a residential development. She said that she would have expected to consider the Development Agreement that Mr. Fisher had drafted at the meeting, but not a modified Agreement by Singh. She did not see anything in this motion about negotiating, as what was required was to draft what the commitment was. She did not appreciate that the draft was commented on again. Member Lorenzo said she could not agree on anything except what Council had agreed upon in December of 2002.
Member Lorenzo asked Mr. Fisher if Council had an opportunity to not only deny the Development Agreement, but also to approve his draft. Mr. Fisher said Council could not, unless the applicant indicated that it agreed with that draft. Under those circumstances, the draft would not be an agreement. Member Lorenzo asked if Council was not meeting its end of the agreement by doing this. Mr. Fisher said Council’s responsibility for the agreement was to work out a Development Agreement that was satisfactory. Member Lorenzo said this was not what the original motion said. Mr. Fisher said it is implicit that an agreement must be mutually satisfactory between the two sides. Member Lorenzo commented that there was an agreement that was verbally agreed to, and she had thought that Mr. Fisher had been directed to put that in writing and bring it back to Council. She said that she did not want to renege on the agreement on behalf of Council, because Council should agree to what was originally agreed upon. If the developer wants to renege on their part, they can simply not sign the agreement. She would like to sign Council’s part and return it to the developer. Mr. Fisher said that any motion that was made could contain the point that Council is prepared to sign the December, 2002 draft of the agreement, but recognizing that the applicant is not prepared to do so. Member Lorenzo asked for this friendly amendment to be added to the motion. She said she has no problem with the quality of Singh development, which is their reputation. In 2002, the average apartment unit generated $2,224.12, with approximately $450 toward the City. In other words, the average apartment unit provides the City with $450. In comparison, the average 2002 homestead property in Novi had a market value of $270,000 generated approximately $5,200 in property taxes. She said that while Singh might be discussing high-end apartments, the value to the City of high-end residential developments would still be even greater. Member Lorenzo commented that every time the City adds people but subtracts high-end generators like OST and commercial and industrial, a disservice is done to the community’s future.
Member Sanghvi noted that he was not at the Council meeting in December, 2002 when the item was originally discussed. The decision was already made to change this into some kind of residential development from OST. The basic pertinent change being discussed in this agreement is whether the facility is owner occupied or a rental property. The key issue is whether there is a phenomenal difference between a property that is owner occupied and one that is rented. Since Council already had agreed to allow Singh to build condominiums on the site, the question is whether those will be rented or not. He said he would like to see what the effect would be on the City’s tax base. The change will not be in the type of property so much as it will be in the amount of money that the City will see from the use. Dr. Sanghvi noted that someone who owns an apartment pays property taxes on the apartment, as would an occupant who owned a condominium. He questioned the difference in revenue for the City from the two types of development, since either type would still be owned by someone. He asked administration what the difference in revenue would be.
Mr. Lemmon said he believed the development is slated for about 200 units. The difference between an owner occupied property and one that is for rent is that a for-rent property is designed to produce income, which is subject to a number of different factors, including vacancy rates, maintenance costs, and others. There are several different factors with a property that is for rent that are not found with owner occupied properties. Dr. Sanghvi said he understood this, but wanted to know specific numbers. Mr. Lemmon said he would need to know what the lease rates would be for the properties, but assuming 200 units and a value of $250,000 a unit if owner occupied, the total property value would be about $50,000,000 for the entire project. If the property was income producing, factors such as potential gross income, vacancies, and expenses would have to be considered. He said that without that information he could not make an accurate estimate on the properties. Member Sanghvi said that on one hand, the attorney from Singh said the rental properties would actually increase the City’s income, and on the other hand the City’s numbers seem to show the opposite. Mr. Lemmon said that either owner occupied or income producing development will produce more revenue for the City than the land currently is in its undeveloped state. Member Sanghvi asked Mr. Lemmon if he had enough information to say which type of property would produce greater revenue for the City, which Mr. Lemmon answered he did not.
Mr. Carson asked Mr. Lemmon to verify that the homestead exemption would not be applicable to a rental property, but would be applicable to owner occupied properties. Mr. Lemmon said this was correct. Mr. Carson said this would reduce taxes by about 25% if the property was owner occupied with the homestead exemption. Mr. Lemmon said he could not agree with this. Mr. Fisher said that rather than having an examination of this sort, an alternative could be to table the matter and allow Mr. Lemmon to perform an analysis and bring this information back before Council. The other aspect was that while Council had focused on the revenue aspect of the development, other factors of pertinence would not hurt to be on the record, including the City’s providing of a variety of housing types for people coming into Novi. The City has a disproportionately higher number of rental facilities available. The City also has a disproportionately high number of mobile home units. If the item were tabled, Council could complete the record with all of these issues. Member Sanghvi said he would have no problem with this.
Mayor Clark said he was one of the people who originally supported the development in December, and agreed with Member Landry and Member Lorenzo, saying he was deeply disappointed and disturbed. This discussion is not about the quality of product that Singh produces. Singh has been in the area for a long, long time. Mayor Clark said he could not believe that Singh Development Company did not do due diligence before it bought the property and knew the soil conditions of the site. The company knew that the mall was there, and knew what the history of the area was in terms of soil excavations and peat and related problems. He said he could not believe that market conditions had changed very much since the last time the item was discussed. Mayor Clark commented that he was disturbed to hear Singh’s desire to have renters instead of condominium owners because of the soil settling problems on the site. If the settling becomes too bad, the renters will simply leave, and the developer will sell off the project, leaving the community with the problem. Mayor Clark said this was not the Singh Development Company that he had supported in the past because he knows the company’s quality of work, and was very, very disappointed. He noted his concern that Singh had made a commitment that the City was willing to support, based upon the company’s statement that it would produce owner occupied condominiums that the City would be proud of. Mayor Clark said he could not believe that Singh did not know the soil conditions of the property before the land was purchased. He said it was his impression that the approval given by Council was contingent upon the Development Agreement being brought back, and that the finalization of the zoning map amendment was contingent upon that agreement. He asked Mr. Fisher if an agreement is not arrived at between the two parties, the property would continue to be zoned OST. Mr. Fisher said this was correct. Mayor Clark said Singh Development would be free to come back at a later date if it wished to reconsider the matter. He said that though he supported the item initially, he could not support it that evening.
Member Capello said Mr. Fisher made a good point and Council had gotten slightly off track in only considering the economics of the development. He said he recalled comparing OST to residential use of the property originally, and Council was concerned about the income to the City, the tax base, and the burden to the City between OST and residential. He commented that Mr. Fisher was correct to say that Novi has an abundance of apartments, especially on the high-end. What enticed Council to even look at the project is that the City is lacking in attached condominiums for sale. Member Capello asked Member Landry to explain the motion, because he was not sure if the project or just the Development Agreement was being denied. Member Landry said he moved to not approve this Development Agreement. Member Capello said he would not want to approve the Development Agreement that Singh did not agree to, because both sides have to agree on the contract. Unless both sides are happy, there will not be an Agreement that is worth anything. He said he would prefer to table the item and give Singh no more than 30 days to come back to Council to see if there was something that both sides could agree on. He said that simply denying the agreement may take it right off the agenda, whereas tabling the issue gives Singh another opportunity to reach a compromise with the City. He said he agreed with Singh that OST may not be a workable type of use in that area.
CM-03-07-216 Moved by Capello, seconded by Sanghvi; MOTION CARRIED: To table for no more than 45 days the Development Agreement required in order to finalize Zoning Map Amendment 18.605, based upon the request of Singh IV Limited Partnership to rezone approximately 38.62 acres located in Section 14, south of Twelve Mile Road and west of Meadowbrook Road from OST (Office Service Technology) to RM-2 (High Density, Mid-Rise Multiple Family) or any other appropriate zoning.
Member Lorenzo said she would not agree to table the issue, because the City remained committed to what it originally committed to. Council gave Singh 50 days, then an additional 90 days. She said the issue should have been before Council in May. She said she did not see the point in tabling the issue, because in principle, the denial sends a stronger message. As the Mayor had pointed out, Singh can return to Council and ask for reconsideration, which she would prefer to do. Council is trying to do the right thing by abiding with the agreement that the majority of Council agreed to.
Member Landry wished to echo the comments of Member Capello. Though he focused on his disappointment over the change and the commitment, he thought Member Capello appropriately emphasized the rationale that was stated in December. The City has a disproportionate number of rentals, which is the basis of the City’s willingness to entertain the originally proposed changes. He said there are other aspects of the proposed Development Agreement that he could vote to agree on, such as deletion of the limitation on the maximum number of units, deletion of the obligation to use "Best Management Practice" with regard to wetland, storm water, and soil erosion requirements and measures, the deletion of a practical remedy in the event of a violation of the Agreement by the property owner, all aspects which he would like to see these aspects in this Development Agreement because they serve the best interests of the City. However, while he opposed the rezoning of the property from OST, he was prepared to vote to approve this had it been the same as discussed in December. He said he supported the motion to table the item to give Singh one last chance.
Mayor Clark said he joined in the comments made by Member Landry regarding the other conditions, saying that without those conditions also being included he could not support the agreement. He noted that he supported tabling the item as well.
Member Sanghvi suggested trying to do something beneficial to both parties with the item. He understood that people were unhappy with specific parts of the modified agreement. Dr. Sanghvi said the City should provide room for negotiations by tabling the item instead of closing the door and forgetting the development.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-07-216 Yeas: Clark, Capello, Landry, Sanghvi
Absent: Bononi, Csordas
Council recessed at 9:39 p.m.
Council reconvened at 9:54 p.m.
10. Approval of Ordinance Number 03-171 Requiring the Payment of Monies to Reimburse the City for Review Fees. 2nd Reading. Also includes Adoption of Resolution establishing Fee Schedule.
CM-03-07-217 Moved by Sanghvi, seconded by Capello; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Ordinance Number 03-171 Requiring the Payment of Monies to Reimburse the City for Review Fees. 2nd Reading. Also includes Adoption of Resolution establishing Fee Schedule
Member Lorenzo asked why Ordinance 03-171 required that an applicant pay additional amounts into escrow for further reviews if the amount paid for any review under paragraphs 3 and 4 of the ordinance was insufficient by more than 10%, instead of if the amount is simply insufficient. Mr. Fisher said this was inserted so that the City had an estimate to start with. Member Lorenzo said she was concerned that the City would have to pay the fees for reviews that should be paid by another party. Mr. Fisher said that in paragraph #3 of the ordinance, it is established that if a fee is received that is greater than the cost of the service, the extra fee is not returned, and thus there will be instances where the City actually will make more money than the cost of the service. On the other hand, if the service will cost much more than the received fee, the City can get an estimate and recover the additional costs. Mr. Fisher said his thought was that the costs balance out. Member Lorenzo asked why the City would not reimburse an applicant. Mr. Fisher responded that returning small over-payments would be a "financing nightmare." Member Lorenzo asked if the administrative costs are included in the establishment of the fee, and how this fee is determined. Mr. Fisher answered that the fixed fee amounts did not include the administrative time, but rather was based upon a 6 month analysis of his bills that related to each of these subject areas. Member Lorenzo asked why administrative costs should not also be included in the fees. She said she was looking for total reimbursement on behalf of the City. She said she did not want the City to have to cover additional consultant costs that are above the fixed rate charged by the City. Mr. Fisher said this was the entire purpose of paragraph #5. Member Lorenzo commented that the ordinance says the payment must be greater than 10% under the actual cost to collect additional payments from the applicant, and said she would like to see any differences in underpayments collected, even of $1. Mr. Fisher said this would require the expenditure of time to calculate these underpayments, to go after and collect additional payments, to escrow, and other tasks. Member Lorenzo suggested changing the 10% or greater underpayment rule to instead read a fixed dollar amount, because the percentage could mean a lot of money. She said she understood the idea that an underpayment could cost more to collect than the underpayment itself was worth, but she would like to see all available costs recouped. Mr. Fisher said one possibility would be to see what the administrative burden is and to see what happens with administration, how often there is an overage, and then later amend the ordinance when the City has a track record. Member Lorenzo said the track record means the City is losing money. Mr. Fisher said the track record may indicate that the City is making money also. Member Sanghvi suggested "running on the safe side" to make sure the City does not lose any money.
Mayor Clark said he could support the motion in its present form, and recalled reading a study conducted several years ago that found that the average cost to send out a letter from a law firm is between $22 and $25. He said he had just received a balanced billing for a medical bill for $0.56, and noted that the cost of sending this bill was likely greater than the $0.56 sought to collect.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-07-217 Yeas: Capello, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Clark
Absent: Bononi, Csordas
11. Approval of water main easements being granted by TBON, LLC along the western property line of the future Novi Expo Center site on Grand River Avenue for the I-96 Water Main Crossing and booster pump station project, a 20-foot permanent water main easement for compensation of $39,950 and the conditions listed in Exhibit B and a temporary construction easement for compensation of $12,650.
CM-03-07-218 Moved by Landry, seconded by Capello; MOTION CARRIED: To approve water main easements being granted by TBON, LLC along the western property line of the future Novi Expo Center site on Grand River Avenue for the I-96 Water Main Crossing and booster pump station project, a 20-foot permanent water main easement for compensation of $39,950 and the conditions listed in Exhibit B and a temporary construction easement for compensation of $12,650.
Member Lorenzo said she had serious concerns about this item. She stated that she understood the City’s obligation to pay fair market value for easements, which are being done to a degree. She was concerned about why the City would spend approximately an additional $4,000 for the 8-inch water main tees and valves, and said she was curious if this was a benefit to the City or to the applicant. She commented that if the tees and valves were a benefit to one party or another, then perhaps that party should pay for them, or if the items are a benefit to both parties than perhaps the costs should be split in half. Member Lorenzo said she had spoken with Mr. McCusker earlier in the day, and he had indicated to her that approximately $4,000 would be the cost for the water main tees and valves. Member Lorenzo asked if this was standard and done for everybody. Mr. Fisher said it was his understanding that this was correct. Member Lorenzo asked if this was consistent, and said she would still have questions as to who would benefit. Mr. Fisher answered that to some degree the tees and valves benefit the property owner, and to some extent they benefit the City. Member Lorenzo said the listed reason for the improvements was to eliminate complications, and the document did not mention that this was standard format. Member Lorenzo asked Mr. McCusker if it was standard to compensate for easements. Mr. McCusker said that when water service is extended, tees must be installed on a large piece of main or else the main must be shut down at some time and have additional equipment installed, which is undesirable, especially on a 24-inch main. Member Lorenzo commented that this sounded standard for this type of application, which Mr. McCusker answered was correct. Member Lorenzo asked if this would protect the City from liability in terms of problems that could occur. Mr. McCusker said that having to shut down a service district in the future and reducing the amount of pressure to draw into the main could cause serious problems very quickly. Member Lorenzo asked if because this particular route was being used, the City would also have to pay roughly an additional $60,000 to balance the Expo Center property. Mr. McCusker said there was some land balancing to do, as there is an elevation difference from West Park Drive down to the Expo Center of several feet, so there is land balancing and grubbing that must be done across the property to where the Grand River feed will be located. Member Lorenzo asked if this was included in the estimate that was provided by JCK in April. Mr. McCusker answered that he believed this was included in both estimates. Member Lorenzo said she did not see any item in the $60,000 listed anywhere. Mr. McCusker said the overall plans showed the elevation difference, and the cost was configured by cubic yard. Member Lorenzo said she was referencing an April 22, 2003 letter from JCK to Nancy McClain which discussed two potential alternates for the I-96 crossing, with two estimates for each alternate. The cost for the alternate being discussed at the moment was $471,250, but she did not see an item for the $60,000. Mr. McCusker said there was likely a line item for mitigation, which Member Lorenzo said was for $10,000. Member Lorenzo asked if Mr. McCusker was saying the cost was cumulatively $60,000, which Mr. McCusker answered was correct. He said the other route had about 1500 additional feet of pipe to lay, which was an additional cost. Member Lorenzo asked why the other alternative was not being used. Mr. McCusker said the City had made a commitment to Mr. Bowman in the beginning, and if the City were to use another plan then he would also have to go through review again and figure out where his water connection would be.
Member Lorenzo asked why this route was being used instead of the other route. Mr. Pearson said the other route was investigated, but the chosen route is the most direct, involves half as many property owners, and also does not involve working around or with the Beck/I-96 interchange. Member Lorenzo asked if anyone had actually made a commitment to Mr. Bowman, because she thought Mr. Bowman already had water service from another source. Mr. Pearson said the site plan was approved with this connection to the western property line, and could just as well work with Grand River Avenue. He said the City does not have a commitment with Mr. Bowman.
Member Lorenzo said she understood the stipulation in the proposal that the City must commence the project within 6 months of the date of the easement and complete the project within 12 months of the date of the easement. If the installation is not complete within 12 months from the date of the easement, an additional consideration of $3,193 per month will be owed. She asked if Council agreed to this. Mr. Fisher said the City had not agreed to anything without Council approval. Member Lorenzo asked why the City would want to agree to this, why it would want a time limit. Mr. Fisher said he assumed it was to make sure that the installation was completed and that the deal worked. His assumption was that Mr. Bowman has a timetable for himself. Member Lorenzo commented that Sandstone also had a timetable. Mr. Fisher said the significant difference was that the extra amount that the City would pay was quantified in a very specific amount, and that this was not a lawsuit situation. Member Lorenzo said she was concerned that this item could lead to a lawsuit. She said there should be a provision in the document that indemnified the City from litigation for damages.
Mayor Clark asked Mr. Fisher if this was considered liquidated damages. Mr. Fisher answered that this was effectively a liquidated damage clause. This is an arrangement complete unto itself, in the sense that the City has a timetable and specifically noted payments that must be made if the timetable is not met. Member Lorenzo commented that Mr. Bowman has a timetable and is giving the City a timetable that may not be met. She noted that the City still needs to acquire a Detroit Edison easement, which has taken a long time to get in the past. Given the consideration that this and other Councils have given Mr. Bowman, particularly with an 8 year tax abatement for about $300,000 in 2001 dollars, she said she would have expected the applicant to "do the right thing" and donate the land for $1. She stated that she would only be agreeable to the $56,600, but not to the timetable.
Mr. Pearson said the $3,193 per month to be owed would essentially be rent for a temporary construction easement to be on and working on Mr. Bowman’s property, which is also standard with temporary construction easements. An example was with Providence Hospital, when it gave land to the State for the Beck Road/I-96 interchange. This land donation also had a time frame. Property owners need to know time frames.
Member Lorenzo said she would not be agreeable to the timetable, because this would be a bad business decision. She said the City owes Mr. Bowman fair compensation for the easements, but given the generosity of the City he should have donated the land for $1.
Member Capello asked Mr. Pearson if the temporary construction easement is based upon periodic use of the property, which Mr. Pearson said was correct. Member Capello asked Mr. Pearson if essentially the $3,193 a month would simply be rent to use the property if the City went over its 12-month easement period, which Mr. Pearson answered was correct, and that the rent was quantified up front for the City. Member Capello said he saw no unreasonableness in this, because the City will be paying for the easement for the first 12 months, and will continue to pay an amount per month after the 12-month easement period.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-07-218 Yeas: Landry, Sanghvi, Clark, Capello
Absent: Bononi, Csordas
Member Lorenzo asked if the measure needed all 5 votes to pass. Mr. Fisher said he had asked this question earlier, and apparently the money had been budgeted and allocated for the easement.
12. Approval of the change order from Sunset Excavating Company for clearing and grubbing in the amount of $35,190, and approval of proposal from HLA & Associates for environmental sampling for initial services necessary prior to the remediation of parcel "C" (5.1 acres), in the amount of $4,500, pursuant to the Sandstone Memorandum of Understanding.
CM-03-07-219 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Sanghvi; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve change order from Sunset Excavating Company for clearing and grubbing in the amount of $35,190, and approval of proposal from HLA & Associates for environmental sampling for initial services necessary prior to the remediation of parcel "C" (5.1 acres), in the amount of $4,500, pursuant to the Sandstone Memorandum of Understanding, and subject to approval by administration of the City of Novi.
Mr. Fisher asked Council to make a proviso on the motion that the bond for this project is to be approved by administration. Member Lorenzo said she would be agreeable to this.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-07-219 Yeas: Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Clark, Capello, Landry
Absent: Bononi, Csordas
13. Approval to award bid for one (1) Multi-Track (Skid Steer) to Michigan Skid Loader, Inc. in the amount of $49,789.
CM-03-07-220 Moved by Sanghvi, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To award bid for one (1) Multi-Track (Skid Steer) to Michigan Skid Loader, Inc. in the amount of $49,789
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-07-220 Yeas: Sanghvi, Clark, Capello, Landry, Lorenzo
Absent: Bononi, Csordas
CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS FOR COUNCIL ACTION (Consent Agenda items, which have been removed for discussion and/or action)
I. Consideration of request from Woods of Novi Homeowners Association for a Street
Name Sign Agreement that would allow street name signs currently in place to remain.
Member Lorenzo asked Mr. Fisher if he had reviewed the document. Mr. Fisher said he had not personally reviewed the document. Member Lorenzo asked if anyone in his office had looked at the item, which Mr. Fisher responded that Mr. Schultz had examined the document. Member Lorenzo said she had two questions about the document. Paragraph 2 of the request stated that "any signs placed in the right of way pursuant to this agreements shall be the height, size, and design specified by the most recent addition of the Michigan Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices as amended. All signs and their support shall conform to the applicable city, state, and federal standards with respect to safety, including location. With the consent of the Department of Public Works, signs may deviate from standards unrelated to safety." Member Lorenzo asked what would be deviated from in this case. Mr. McCusker said the reflective sign face plates are for night visibility. Newer upscale subdivisions have installed very decorative signs. It costs about $77 for the City to replace one of its posts and signs, but the decorative signs and posts in some subdivisions cost in excess of $1000 to replace. These signs are not covered under code enforcement, but are rather strictly street name signs or of similar nature. If a sign has a command sign, the face plates must be reflective and meet all code requirements. Member Lorenzo asked if the Woods of Novi signs are reflective at night. Mr. McCusker answered that most are, though a few in the back of the subdivision are not, and the City has spoken with the subdivision homeowners association to make sure they are visible at night. Member Lorenzo said she is more concerned about safety issues, such as police and fire vehicles being able to see the signs at night. Mr. McCusker said that most police cars, emergency vehicles and DPW vehicles have GIS systems installed that allow them to follow maps of roads around Novi, so the street signs are not essential for these vehicles to navigate. For outside agencies there may be a problem, though. Member Lorenzo expressed concern about someone trying to navigate through the streets who may be unfamiliar with the neighborhood. Mr. McCusker said most neighbors have lighting that makes signs and numbers visible. Member Lorenzo commented that if signs are reflective at night for safety reasons, then not requiring signs to be reflective is deviating from safety requirements. She said she would not agree to the replacement of signs with others that are not reflective, because this would be deviating from safety. Mr. McCusker said that the Michigan Uniform Traffic Control manual states that only command signs must be reflective, and individual street name signs are not required to be reflective. Member Lorenzo noted that this is a City requirement, which Mr. McCusker indicated was correct.
Member Lorenzo asked Mr. Fisher if the City is deviating from safety by allowing non-reflective signs. Mr. Fisher said that to some degree, the issue compares "apples and oranges." If the matter is safety, the agreement does not allow this deviation. This is not a matter of the agreement, but rather how the agreement is being implemented. Member Lorenzo asked if it is not the City’s standard that all signs must be reflective. Mr. McCusker responded that this is the City’s standard for command signs. Member Lorenzo asked if the City has standards for street signs, which Mr. McCusker answered the City does not. Member Lorenzo asked why the City has an agreement if there are no standards for street signs. Mr. McCusker said the agreement is in place in case the signs are run over or destroyed, so that replacement is the responsibility of the subdivision and not the City. Member Lorenzo asked if the agreement was only in effect because the signs are placed in the City’s right of way. Mr. McCusker responded that the signs are placed in the right of way at standard height. Member Lorenzo said that if this was the case, she supported the item. She said she had assumed that there was safety standard for all signs in the City. Mr. McCusker said there is a standard for all City-purchased signs. Member Lorenzo said she would agree to the item on these terms.
Member Capello asked if the City dictates street signs for condominiums with private roads. Mr. McCusker said that the part of the site plan includes sign placement, though the City does not dictate design or coloring, other than for command signs on through-streets. Member Capello asked if the same policies applied to apartments. Mr. McCusker said he had not had an opportunity to deal with apartments in the City, but believed that if the apartment harbored a through-street or main street then standard command signs would also be required. Member Capello asked if the City would govern the street signs, which Mr. McCusker said the City would not. Member Capello asked for someone to research sign issues in Central Park, where he believed the City of New York was having sign problems as well.
Member Lorenzo said she would move to approve the item, given that the City does not have any standards for street signs with regard to safety issues.
CM-03-07-221 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Capello; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve request from Woods of Novi Homeowners Association for a Street Name Sign Agreement that would allow street name signs currently in place to remain.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-07-221 Yeas: Clark, Capello, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi
Absent: Bononi, Csordas
MAYOR AND COUNCIL ISSUES
1. Set date for executive session for annual performance evaluations for City Clerk and City Manager - Mayor Clark
Mayor Clark said he would like to hold this session on a regular night without a scheduled Council meeting. Council decided to hold the executive session at 7 p.m. on July 17.
2. Council policy regarding requests by Council members of the City staff – Member Landry
Member Landry said this was related to Item #10 on the evening’s agenda, about being concerned with the amount of time that the City’s attorney and staff are asked to give on some items. He said he has noticed that with all of the items he sees in his weekly information packet requested by Council members, and believes that the Council should have a policy directive that requires Council to vote on any individual Council member requests for information or investigations. He said that no Council member should be able to make the City staff work for hours and hours to produce an individual report. Member Landry requested that Council have a policy that before any individual Council members request reports or other information other than routine questions for City staff, the requests be raised at Council and approved.
CM-03-07-222 Moved by Landry, seconded by Capello; MOTION CARRIED: To create a Council policy requiring Council approval of individual Council member non-routine requests for information or investigations by City staff.
Member Lorenzo asked for a definition of "routine." Member Landry said this meant an item that could be answered within 5 to 10 minutes. Member Lorenzo said she would not support this item, because individual Council members have a right to information in order to properly do their job. She did not believe a Council meeting is necessary in order to obtain a piece of information. By charter, every Council member has the right to request information from the City staff. She said she attempts to be very cognizant in her requests for information, as exemplified by her request that Mr. Fisher not call her with information, in order to save the City money. She said she had a right to information for use at Council meetings, such as the report on mobile homes that she had requested for the evening’s meeting. If she had not been able to obtain this information, she would not have been able to present the information at the evening’s Council meeting as an argument for a particular case. She said she wants to be well-informed. She said that no Council member should hamper another Council member’s job performance.
Member Sanghvi said he agreed 100% with Member Lorenzo’s comments. It would be an infringement of his personal rights to ask a person in Novi about any issue that he may deal with in reference to, or for the benefit of his constituents. He said the policy would not be acceptable.
Mayor Clark said that nobody was preventing a Council member from contacting a member of the administration to get an answer to a question. What would be avoided is tying up hours and hours of staff time to produce reports when the issue could be raised at a Council meeting so that the community could also be aware of the issue. In some instances there may be an answer to that question at the meeting, which would also save staff time. He said that on one hand, Council is wasting too much staff time and money on producing reports, and while individual Council members have the right to information, each request takes a staff member away from their primary task and is an ineffective use of staff and taxpayer dollars. He said an issue can simply be brought up at a Council meeting, and if an issue is especially critical then everyone will get the report at the same time, and a great deal of staff time and effort will be saved.
Member Sanghvi said he understood Mayor Clark’s points, and these were well-taken, but said this is the price that must be paid for democracy.
Member Lorenzo said she did not want to have to ask permission to receive information. She was elected by the constituents of the City of Novi. Council members do not answer to each other – they answer to the constituents. She noted that Council brings up issues under Mayor & Council Issues, and that this is where long, detailed reports or investigations are requested. She said that Council approval for information requests is not in the City’s charter, and the constituents would not approve either.
Member Landry said he was well aware of the obligation that all Council members have to the voters of the City. He said he was not suggesting a "Mother, may I" situation. He said that the two to four reports requested week after week and the tying up of staff for several hours every day on the telephone by Council members is not proper conduct. He said that if someone were to request a report like the one requested for the evening’s meeting, he would surely have approved this. However, the requests for information have "gone overboard." Staff has complained about the requests, they deserve better treatment than they are currently given, and somebody has to put this in check. This is why he raised the issue. He said he is not trying to quell a minority, but staff deserves to do its job without being told by Council members to spend several hours every week performing research for those individual members. If Council believes the issue is appropriate enough, it can provide approval to the item.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-07-222 Yeas: Capello, Landry, Clark
Nays: Lorenzo, Sanghvi
Absent: Bononi, Csordas
3. Traffic light at Beck Road and Ten Mile Road – Member Landry
Member Landry said that the left turn signal on west-bound Ten Mile Road to turn onto Beck is obstructed by what appears to be a telephone pole. Mr. Helwig said that administration is aware of the item, and said there is a pole at the southwest corner of the intersection that must be removed by the utility, as there also was on the northeast corner. Member Landry thanked Mr. Helwig.
4. Sidewalk around Civic Center – Mayor Clark
Mayor Clark said he had spoken with two young ladies before the meeting who provided him with some good suggestions. One was that while there is a sidewalk that runs along Ten Mile in front of the Civic Center, there is no sidewalk leading to the Civic Center, and people must ride bikes on the drive in order to reach the building. He suggested that a sidewalk or bike path that ran from Ten Mile to the back of the Civic Center would be a good idea to enhance safety.
5. Walk button with signal in front of Civic Center
Mayor Clark said this idea was also proposed by the same two young ladies, who asked for a walk button at the light in front of City Hall so that they could safely access the library. Mr. Helwig said Mr. Pearson has been working on this item with the Road Commission. Mayor Clark said he knew that lights are not under the City’s control, but anything that could be done would be appreciated. Mr. Pearson said that the Road Commission had awarded a contract for several lights after requests and pressure from administration and the walk signal is the first light on that list. The signal should be up before school starts in the fall.
6. Discussion of "No Left Turn" light at the library exit to Ten Mile Road
Member Capello said he was curious if there was a safety reason for why the City could install a temporary "no left turn" sign for traffic leaving the library and turning onto Ten Mile Road, perhaps from 7 a.m. until 9:30 a.m., during the time when the high school gets out for the day, and then again from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. He commented that several residents who live on Glenda had informed him that the traffic turning left onto Ten Mile from the library creates a dangerous traffic situation in the area. Member Capello asked if there was a reason that the City should not install the sign.
Mr. Helwig said the issue was in the process of being analyzed. Mr. Pearson said he had requested the information for the following Thursday, but had not yet received the information. Mr. Helwig noted that the Traffic Consultant was aiding administration with the matter, and he said administration would try to have information from Mr. Arroyo by the following Thursday. Member Capello thanked Mr. Helwig and Mr. Pearson.
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION - None
There being no further business to come before the Council, the meeting was adjourned at 10:43 p.m.
Richard J. Clark, Mayor Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk
Transcribed by: Steve King
Date approved: July 21, 2003