|View Agenda for this meeting
REGULAR MEETING OF THE
COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NOVI
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
ROLL CALL: Mayor Clark – absent/excused, Mayor Pro Tem Bononi, Council Members Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi
ALSO PRESENT: Rick Helwig – City Manager
Clay Pearson – Assistant City Manager
Thomas Schultz – City Attorney
Nancy McClain – City Engineer
Randy Auler – Parks, Recreation and Forestry Director
Dave Evancoe – Planning Director
Kathy Smith-Roy – Finance Director
Doug Shaeffer – Police Chief
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Member Lorenzo asked to add three issues under Mayor and Council Issues, "Political Signs", "Status of Westmont Village Pavement Report", and "Wizinsky Concerns Regarding Loading Dock and Overnight Trucks."
Member Capello asked to add Item 4 under Mayor and Council Issues, "To request the City Attorney to prepare a report relative to Council’s ability to review litigious decisions of other Boards and City Commissions."
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi added two items for administration to address: "Resolution or Response of Letter from Simone Goode Regarding Sidewalks at Wixom Road between Delmont and Albatrose", "Response to Letter of Terry Frasier at Chateau Mobile Home Park, her letter of August 18th."
Member Sanghvi asked to speak about the presence of security blocks and barriers around the building, and replacing the parking spaces for the disabled in the front of the building.
CM-03-08-269 Moved Csordas, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the Agenda as amended.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-08-269 Yeas: Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi
PRESENTATIONS - None
1. Contract Special Assessment District No. 170 – Maybury-Tuscany-Singh extension of Sanitary Sewer in Section 32
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said this involves the construction of 13,903 lineal feet of 10-inch sanitary sewer in Sections 31 and 32, which will provide a direct benefit to 23 properties along Beck Road, Eight Mile Road, and Garfield Road. This would be an opportunity for Administration and the Applicant to comment.
Mr. Pearson said that Council saw an approved amendment to the Residential Unit Development (RUD) about 2 weeks ago for Maybury-Tuscany-Singh on the north side of Eight Mile, west of Wixom Road. The proposal is for the developers to create a Special Assessment District that would cause the funding for the off-site sanitary sewer improvements. There would be a payback arrangement that Council would see subsequent to this, if this is approved for the reimbursement of those fees.
Dean Gould, an attorney representing Maybury, said he was in attendance representing one of the three developers who are part of the proposed SAD 170. He said Mr. Galvin was in attendance representing Tuscany, and Mike Kahm, who represents Singh, has also had a lot of involvement with the SAD as well. He introduced Adriano Paciocco of Maybury, L.L.C., Rich Enrich of Maybury, L.L.C., Rick Hearth from Warner-Cantrell, who is the engineer for Maybury. This SAD evolved out of the preliminary approval of the project in 2001. In the original RUD agreement, the City agreed to finance the construction of the sanitary sewer extension. This sewer currently ends on Beck Road east of the Maybury parcel, and the developers propose to extend the sewer westerly through Maybury, through Tuscany, and ultimately through the Singh parcel. Maybury Estates has been approved for 106 units of single-family, residential site condominium project. The developers have final site plan approval, as he had mentioned at the last meeting. The Tuscany parcel is in the process of obtaining approvals for 58 single-family residential lots, and the Singh parcel is not yet in development but will ultimately be developed with single-family residential as well.
Mr. Gould said the proposed SAD will be constructed in three separate phases. Phase IA would run west from Beck Road into Maybury, and will be done immediately with the expectation that the phase will be completed by next spring. Phase IB would extend that sewer to the westerly boundary of the Maybury parcel. Tuscany would then extend the sewer to the west side of Garfield Road. Singh would then develop the sewer to the westerly boundary of its parcel. The developers have agreed with Mr. Fisher that each developer will, through using its own affiliate, be responsible for constructing the portion of the sewer located within and along the frontage of its own property. Maybury Park, L.L.C. will also bear the responsibility for the construction of the off-site sewer. There are several property owners who own land and live east of the Maybury parcel. He believes the SAD proposal is a win-win situation for the City and the developers, as well as the property owners along Eight Mile Road.
Mr. Gould said that when Maybury Park Estates was approved, the City obligated itself to finance the cost of expanding the sewer. During the discussions with members of the City staff, it became apparent that the City was concerned with trying to alleviate a burden on the people who live east of Maybury. The developers have agreed to essentially provide "exempt single family lots" which are those lots with homes that are zoned for single-family. Those people would receive one free tap into the sewer without having to pay anything. There are other properties, undeveloped at this point, that have been identified, called "parcels." Those would not necessarily receive a free tap, but would not have to tap in until they wanted to. If those parcel owners wished to tap in, or the exempt single family lots decided to tap in with more than the one free tap, then they would pay the availability fee at that time based on the recalculation of the amount that would be owed, and that is assuming that the SAD would be outstanding at the time they chose to tap in. What everyone seems to like about this is that it provided immediate financial relief to many property owners, and it also gave all of the property owners greater flexibility to determine when they tap in, versus a traditional SAD where the district would be created and they would be obligated from the start, whether or not they liked it. Each developer will designate an affiliate who will separately contract with the City with all the normal protections required. Property owners to the east of Maybury would not have to pay the availability fee, but would have to pay a tap-in fee like any other property owner.
Mr. Gould said the three developers have agreed that they will not convey title to any individual home buyers that would be subject to the SAD while the SAD was outstanding on their particular lot. The SAD would be paid off at the time of conveyance of the lot to the third-party home buyer. The cost of construction on all three phases will be carefully reviewed by City Engineers, who will make sure that they are comfortable with the costs. There is a check and balance inherent in the system, because as each party is agreeing to pay its proportion of the share, nobody wants to charge more than they can pay because they will ultimately be paying it. The City, through its normal processes, will have the right but not the obligation to complete the sewer should any of the developers fail to complete it. Mr. Fisher created an Exhibit C, in which he was specific to put in language stating that the City would not be legally obligated to construct this sewer. If the sewer was not built, the City could design and construct the sewer and add it to the roll, but would not have to.
Mr. Gould said this proposed SAD is truly an integration of the three developers’ desire and need to extend the sanitary sewer to their respective properties, with the City’s desire and need to shield itself from protracted financial and legal exposure, while also providing the property owners to the east with the ability to tap into the sanitary sewer with little financial exposure and allow them to control when they tap into the sewer. There is a strong public interest being served by approving this SAD. For these reasons, the developers respectfully request that the City Council approve this SAD along with the corresponding ordinance resolution, so that there is an SAD and a mechanism for the payback.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if the single SAD will cover all phases of the sanitary sewer construction project, which Mr. Gould answered was correct.
Ron Bush, 21565 Beck Road, noted that he owned one of the affected properties by the SAD. He said that as he understood it, the plans for the SAD are mostly approved, and this is the best way that he can see to get the pipes through. Mr. Bush said he supports the SAD.
Janet Kompo, Farmington Hills, said that she owns the property between Bellagio and Mr. Bush’s property, and expressed her support for program as the developers have proposed it.
1. SPECIAL/COMMITTEE - None
2. CITY MANAGER - Report by Clay Pearson: Response to Blackout Emergency
Mr. Pearson noted that the City of Novi and the entire Great Lakes region was affected by the recent power outage on Thursday, August 14th. This was an event that was large in scale for the region, but also as it affected Novi. Immediately, traffic signals were out in the City, causing major traffic jams and delays. Gasoline pumps were ineffective, and water was soon shut off. He was with some Council Members at the time at Fox Run Village, and they also did not know the duration or cause of the event. Following the Emergency Preparedness Plan that Council approved this summer, Chief Shaeffer immediately opened the emergency operations center for the City, which became the hub for all administrative reactions and planning for the event. He wished to emphasize the pre-planning that went into administration’s reaction. Mr. Helwig has always emphasized the importance of emergency preparedness in the City’s pre-planning. There was a mock disaster drill with a simulated tornado event, from which much was learned. Administration learned a great deal from this last event as well, and will continue to improve its approach and reaction to emergencies. They try to allow the professionals to do their jobs, whether they be police, fire, or public works. The event was a City-wide effort.
Mr. Pearson thanked the Mayor, City Council, and Mayor Pro Tem, who was with the Emergency Center for the entire event, but also the Novi community as a whole. People helped each other, and there was a "can do" attitude throughout everything that was pervasive and made a number of reactions easier and more effective. When administration convenes the Emergency Operations Center on the City’s behalf, they try to focus on at least 4 overriding themes: maintaining public safety and order; maintaining the emergency 911 response system; ensuring fire protection and EMS service, including water for the Fire Department; and maintain communication with Providence Hospital, Oakland County Emergency Management, and other agencies.
The second theme was care for the City’s citizens. Knowing that those were some of the hottest days of the year, and not knowing how long the outage would last, two comfort stations were established and administration worked with Novi Schools. Jim Koster and Dr. Lippe were fantastic in setting those up, and the first comfort stations were ready that night. A third station was opened at the Civic Center as soon as generator power was up and running, and those remained on for the duration of the power outage. Bottled water was distributed to people, since there was a bottled water order in effect. By last count, 25,000 bottles of water were distributed to the community. Public works trucks picked up water from a number of different facilities, and the City was very resourceful in getting those supplies. Porto-lets and fans were available, and each of the facilities had a generator going. City staff also stayed in touch with persons who were more vulnerable in that type of situation, not only those at Meadowbrook Commons Senior Center, but also some of the other senior facilities, as well as individual seniors who needed oxygen bottle refills and other medical supplies.
Mr. Pearson said the third item that was kept in mind at all times was communication with residents, which was made difficult with no power, no television service, and no telephone service. Flyers were distributed to neighborhood association leaders the first night, who were asked to distribute the information to residents. The reverse 911-telephone system was used with some effect, but the phone service was especially patchy. Cable television was used when it became operational.
The fourth element that the Center tried to maintain was fiscal discipline. They did what needed to be done, but kept records and wanted to make sure that there was accountability. Administration discussed items with elected leaders when making decisions about larger issues, particularly the generators. Representatives from the Finance and Treasury Department were present for record keeping, and these can also be submitted for reimbursement if and when those funds become available from federal emergency and disaster reimbursements.
With an event like this the City learned a number lessons, some big and some small. Some smaller things have already seen action, but there are some larger items that need additional study. Administration would like to move forward on some of those issues, including power supply. Some of the City facilities have their own generators, and those generally worked well. Some facilities do not, such as the Civic Center, and that issue should be examined. This became a beacon for community residents to keep in touch, as the Civic Center is centrally located and versatile in its design. Although expensive, administration would like to examine and analyze that issue, bring it to the City Manager, and then in turn to the Mayor and Council.
Mr. Pearson noted that the City communications system is another major lesson that was learned from the blackout. With telephones down and cellular phone services down, the City was able to get out into the field and stay in touch, but it encountered another layer of difficulty. He would like to look at backup radio systems, two-way communications that could be controlled by the City. Some people have been identified within the City who help with this. The City’s shelters were well-used, especially for bottled water distribution and acting as a point of contact. These kinds of emergencies are unpredictable in when they could strike, and the City needs to do more for pre-planning of shelters. A team has been identified a team that is well positioned to make suggestions and recommendations for Council.
Throughout the events, the City had a good emergency run-through on many different levels of the organization, and the City was well represented. Council and the community have been very supportive, and this is appreciated. City staff was fantastic, as many people chipped in outside of their traditional job descriptions. On behalf of the Manager and Chief Shaeffer and himself, he thanked everyone for their reaction and participation.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi thanked Mr. Pearson. As a representative of the second-stringer team, since she was substituting for Mayor Clark and City Manager Helwig was out of town, she and Mr. Pearson were tested during the events. It was quite an exercise in discipline and professional demonstration of knowledge and skill, but also a measure of devotion by the employees of the City and everyone who volunteered. She learned that generators are needed, not only for facilities, but also to operate the sanitary sewer system. That item is being studied right now for specification and cost so that if the City is again faced with such an emergency, those particular things won’t have to be dealt with. She hoped Council would give those items favorable consideration when they come along, and thanked everyone for going the extra mile to protect the health, safety and welfare of Novi.
Member Sanghvi agreed whole-heartedly that the City came through "with flying colors." The experience took him back to his childhood, as that was how he used to live at the time, without electricity or water. Everything went very well. Dr. Sanghvi noted that when he grew up, mobile Public Announcement systems were used so that people would drive through neighborhoods and make announcements about comfort stations and such, so that people could hear about this from their own homes. He suggested looking into that type of communication. This event happened at about 4:10 p.m. on that evening, and traffic was bumper to bumper on all major streets. He asked why police did not stop at major crossroads and direct traffic, and said it was very lucky that the City did not see more accidents. People were incredibly good-natured in bad times, which restored his faith in the human race.
Member Capello commented that from discussions prior to the meeting, he understood that Mr. Helwig instructed Mr. Pearson to put the three committees together and begin the study, which Mr. Helwig said was correct. Member Capello asked if the High School has a radio station with off-site broadcasting capability. Mr. Helwig said the committees would be talking with several partners, including the Community Schools, and would ensure that there is coverage throughout the community. Member Capello noted that if at least one off-site radio was working, it could have picked up at least the minimal communication from WJR Radio. He asked Mr. Pearson if the City had received the bill from Caterpillar yet for the leased generators, and Mr. Pearson replied he did not believe this was received yet. Member Capello said he thought that leasing generators was very expensive, and said Mr. Pearson thought he could get a reduced price for the City. Some of his clients have leased construction equipment long after they had expected to, and CAT has offered to apply that lease price towards the purchase of a generator. He suggested that as the study is done, both the lease and the purchase of generators should be examined together.
Member Csordas asked who is in charge at the City for maintaining the phone system. Mr. Helwig said this is done through the Finance Department, and the Purchasing Manager oversees the maintenance of the City’s phone network. Member Csordas asked if this person has experience maintaining phone systems. Mr. Helwig said the City does not have a Central Services Department, so those functions are resting in other departments.
3. DEPARTMENTAL - None
4. ATTORNEY - None
Richard Atto asked to speak about the proposed Gateway East District. Should there be a convening of a Council committee to discuss the item, he wished to volunteer his time to work with the committee.
Anna Wilson, 42028 Loganberry, said she was present to represent some of the seniors of the town. They are concerned because the front door of the Civic Center which faces Ten Mile Road has been closed off, and barricades were installed. Some of the seniors have a very difficult time walking all the way from the parking lot to the building. Some people have filled out many suggestion cards asking the City to remove the barricades and open the front doors again. Many seniors come to the building in wheelchairs, and a number come on buses, but still must walk the distance from the drop-off area to the building. Some of her players have offered to help move the barricades if the City needs. She asked Council to consider removing the barricades for the seniors.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked Mr. Helwig to comment on the barricades, as she presumed this was a public safety issue. Mr. Helwig said he empathized with Ms. Wilson’s concerns. The City has looked at the issue many times. Nothing that the City can do is entirely fool-proof at preventing a disaster of any type, but it has been strongly encouraged by the Office of Homeland Security that public gathering places move their perimeters as far away from buildings as possible, for concerns about certain unidentified vehicles getting too close to the buildings. The possibility of something happening in America will be with the country for a long, long time. Chief Shaeffer is constantly reviewing how to best handle this and achieve Council’s concerns about customer service, friendliness, and so forth. Administration strongly recommends the continuation of the road closure, which is often used as a through-road, and the City constantly explores ways to facilitate handicap parking closer to the building. Possibilities are also being considered to modify the curb cuts immediately adjacent on the south side, so that the City would meet the spacing requirements for opening doors safely, and there would not be traffic going by. However, it is recommended that the road continue to be closed, as it could be very easily accessible for wrong doers. It helps everyone familiar with the surroundings see if something is doing something inappropriate, which is what the Police are trying to do.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi commented that both protecting everyone’s safety and yet ensuring maximum accessibility to the Civic Center did not sound like an easy job. She asked if the City’s Traffic Engineer had participated in discussions pertaining to the building security measures and accessibility. Mr. Helwig said the City had not yet gone to the Traffic Engineer. They are trying to do something to bring parking which was lost on the north side of the building to the south side. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if he could take another look at the item in order to try and address residents’ concerns, and asked for a brief report at the next Council meeting.
Clarence Wilson 42028 Loganberry, wished to speak about the closing of the street on the north side of the building. For anyone to expect a terrorist attack at Novi is far-fetched, as Novi is hard to even find on a map. If someone wanted to circumvent those barriers, they would just need to drive over the curb and on the grass. He said that the road and parking lot were for the facility of seniors, but the City has taken that away, and asked how long it would be until the road is opened. To live in an atmosphere of fear is wrong. He has more fear of getting onto the expressway than of anything happening to the Civic Center. If that road remains closed then the ‘bad guys’ have won without even showing up.
Mario Nesr Fundarski, 43185 Citation, asked to speak about an issue close to his heart, voter participation in the political process. He provided the City Clerk with his idea for a voter registration plan, and how to get people more involved with the system. There are 3 candidates for Mayor of Novi, and 5 candidates for the City Council. There need to be more people registered to vote and participating in our political system. He suggested that when students turn 18 years old at the High School, a program could be established in which they are given recognition for registering to vote. Many citizens don’t know the U.S. Constitution well, and it would be a good idea to provide those voters with a copy of the document. He said there should be voter registration tables at large City public functions, such as the recent Music and Motor Fest. There would be nothing wrong with manning tables, run by the City Clerk, with volunteers to register people to vote. The City has a great senior citizen population, and many of those seniors would love to volunteer to staff those tables and register people to vote. Real estate professionals could insert a voter registration card into closing packages when people purchase a home in Novi. Condominium and apartment complexes could also include voter registration applications in packets to people who purchase or rent those units. He said that there are many people in the City who cannot yet vote, but will be able to soon. When those people register, they should possibly be given a certificate. His final suggestion was to register people to vote before high school sporting events, such as football games.
CONSENT AGENDA (Approval/Removals)
Member Lorenzo asked to remove one item on the Approval of Claims and Accounts Warrant #655, Item G, the amount for Angelo Iafrate for the 2002 neighborhood street repaving.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked why there were not warrant numbers on the document that made items easier to identify.
Member Sanghvi asked to speak about the way the minutes are recorded, but did not wish to remove the August 6th or August 11th minutes from the Consent Agenda.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked to remove Item C for discussion.
CM-03-08-270 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Csordas; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the Consent Agenda as Amended
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-08-270 Yeas: Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Bononi
CONSENT AGENDA: (Background information for Consent Agenda items is available for review at the City Clerk’s Office)
A. Approve Minutes of:
B. Approval of South Lake Drive License Agreements for the placement of conduit pipe under South Lake Drive.
D. Approval to apply for and accept, over the Internet, the 2003 Local Law Enforcement Block Grant.
E. Approval of Zoning Text Amendment 18.181, to amend the Zoning Ordinance for the purpose of creating a new Article 27, "Special Accommodation Use." 2nd Reading
F. Approval of Final Pay Estimate No. 15 for the Police Building Addition Project in the amount of $22,112.40, with Project Control Systems, Inc.
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION – Part I
1. Consideration Zoning Map Amendment 18.626, request from Alan and Kathy Bond, as the applicant on behalf of three property owners, to rezone the subject properties located in Section 18 on the west side of Wixom Road and south of Grand River Avenue, from R-1 (One Family Residential) to B-2 (Community Business).
Mr. Helwig said that this item came to Council with a positive recommendation from the Planning Commission.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi noted that there was a Planning Commission recommendation to approve the request, and a Planning Department recommendation to deny the request.
Alan and Kathy Bond, 27047 Wixom Road, said the application is under their names, but also encompasses the property of Richard Herbel and the Walsh family. Their situation is that two years ago, the property owners had "nice, quiet parcels on a nice, quiet street." In the past two years, the Novi Promenade has been developed directly across the street, and the view out of their front window is the side wall of the Target store. Also, though they welcome the Catholic Central High School development to the City of Novi, it is going to encircle their properties. They feel that the noise, traffic, light pollution and other factors from those two developments have rendered their properties less than desirable for residential use. Rezoning the properties to a commercial designation would allow the property owners to recoup the property values that they feel they have lost because their properties are no longer desirable as residences.
Mr. and Mrs. Bond said there are three reasons that they hope Council considers their request. The rezoning is good for the City of Novi, as businesses would move into their lots. The property is just down the road from the Island Lake subdivisions, and whatever businesses would locate on their lots would be able to service not only those subdivisions, but also the Catholic Central community. Any business that would move in would be subject to Council’s approval. Should Council grant their request to rezone, they will put the property up for sale, and any developer would have to come before the City to have the suitability of their business determined. Finally, the rezoning is good for the property owners. It allows them to get on with their lives, to sell, to move elsewhere in the City, and to have some resolution to what has been a long process.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said that normally accompanying a request to change zoning from R-1 to B-2 is language that suggests any other applicable zone. She asked why that language was not present on the proposal. Mr. Schultz said he was not aware of any reason. He said that if the language is limited to B-2, then that was what Council was considering. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked Mr. Schultz to ask Mr. Evancoe that question, so that Council could know if it was restricted to rezoning to the one category, B-2.
Member Landry said he read the proposal several times, and noted that the decision was not easy. He could not support the zoning change. The property is master planned OS-1, so this would be a rezoning against the master plan. There was a recent citizens survey, and that survey indicated that citizens are opposed to commercial strips expanding in the City not on major thoroughfares. There is no other commercial land on Wixom Road other than the Target store, which was a unique consent judgment. Just because that was a consent judgment does not mean that the City should start developing Wixom Road as commercial. OS-1 is designed to be a transitional use, and that is what the property is master planned at. If the property is rezoned as B-2, it will become a strip mall. He understands any property owner wanting to maximize their property, as he would do the same. However, Council has a larger obligation, and it is against the City’s master plan. He would have no problem rezoning the property to OS-1, as giving the property owners a chance to put the land up for sale as OS-1 property is consistent with the master plan. Member Landry said he would fully support rezoning the parcels to OS-1, but could not support the rezoning to B-2.
Member Sanghvi said this was a sticky situation. The City Planning Department has recommended one thing, and the Planning Commission has come up with a different recommendation. He quoted the minutes of the Master Plan and Zoning Committee meeting of Wednesday, April 23, 2003, "in the matter of the rezoning request of three properties on Wixom Road near Catholic Central, … that the parcels be recommended to the Planning Commission to be rezoned from single family residential to B-2 community business, and that the master plan remain as it is currently designed, and be changed to be consistent with the proposed rezoning at such time as the master plan is updated in total." He said he was quoting this because at some point in time, it was contemplated to change the master plan to fit into this recommendation of the Planning Commission. If Council believes that the master plan is not cast in stone, and that it is a living and developing organism, then this is one side of the story. The other side of the story is the current master plan and the recommendations of the Planning Department. Council needs to take into consideration the thinking behind the recommendation to rezone to B-2. He questioned whether rezoning the parcels to B-2 would make a substantial difference in the area. Looking at what is already developed on the west side of the street, there is no other place left to bring commercial development onto the street. Accommodating the wishes of the property owners, accommodating the intentions of the master plan, and considering the recommendations of the Planning Commission, he has no difficulty in supporting the change to B-2.
Member Lorenzo said that she typically tries to support the master plan for land use, but said the master plan has to also reflect reality. Unfortunately, the reality is that the Promenade development is immediately across the street from this parcel. She would like to have seen those parcels developed as I-1, because that would have generated less traffic but more tax revenue for the City. Unfortunately, litigation took place and Council had decided to agree to a consent judgment, and the Promenade now stands. The other reality is that the corner piece is also zoned B-2, a rezoning that she supported years ago because she thought that the west end of town might duplicate West Market Square on Grand River. In theory, she would agree with Member Landry that the parcels should be rezoned to OS-1. OS-1 would be a low traffic generator and provide more tax base for the City. Unfortunately, that would almost be "spot zoning" at this point, because the City does not have any OS-1 property surrounding the parcels. At one time, OST was planned for the site at Catholic Central, and would have provided a nice tax base with a low traffic generator. She has concerns about B-2 because of the particular uses allowed. A restaurant could function there, but she questioned how this would affect residents in Island Lake and along Wixom Road.
Member Lorenzo said she was still undecided about the matter. B-1 would allow retail commodities such as groceries, drug stores, dry cleaners, banks, medical offices, and instructional centers for art and music. She believed that under R-1 zoning, as a special land use, the City allowed day care centers. She asked if the City allowed day care centers in R-1 to R-4 zoning, as a special land use, and Mr. Schultz answered that he believed this was correct. Member Lorenzo said that if Council left the parcels alone, the owners could go forward to the Planning Commission under a special land use for a day care center. Mr. Schultz said there are other uses that would be special land uses, including the day care center. Member Lorenzo asked if day care centers are currently allowed under B-1 zoning, which Mr. Schultz replied that they are not, but are under B-2. Member Lorenzo said she did not want to mention it because it is not technically a Council policy, but Council has entertained and approved special development agreements, along with rezoning applications. She said she did not want to accept simply anything as a development on the parcels. If Council were simply considering a day care center for the site, it could go through R-1 zoning and be brought to the Planning Commission. If less intense retail were considered, it would be B-1. She said she is inclined to either keep the site as R-1, or possibly a B-1. She might make a motion to support B-1 zoning, but wanted to wait and see if that option is available to Council.
Member Csordas noted that City staff clearly does not recommend the motion, and he agreed with Member Landry that Council should not set precedent and move away from the master plan, which would open the City up to larger developments through precedence. An application for something that would go on the property is not Council’s business, and is not something that it can speculate on. He said he saw many similarities between OS-1 zoning, which is recommended by the Planning Department, and B-2, which is recommended by the Planning Commission. OS-1 zoning would remove a number of uses which people would not like to see there, such as gasoline stations, etcetera. He said OS-1 would be very similar zoning as opposed to the request for B-2.
Member Csordas asked Mr. Schultz why the Planning Commission waived the traffic impact study for the parcels. Mr. Schultz said there was contemplation that the property owners, being single family property owners, merited some consideration. Member Csordas said that his position on the item was to authorize rezoning, but follow the recommendation of the Planning Department to rezone the parcel to OS-1, as this remains consistent with the master plan.
Member Capello commented that this has always been a difficult piece of property. He has discussed the future use of the property with Mrs. Bond when he served on the Planning Commission. To the south of the property, there are $500,000 to $1 million homes being constructed. To the west, a $30 million Catholic Central campus is going in. To the north is Cadillac Asphalt. To the east is the Target store. The site is also unique because in a normal economic environment, the developer of the parcel to the west would have purchased the parcels in question, wanting the Wixom Road frontage. Since that land was donated, Catholic Central did not need the frontage, which left the property owners there.
Member Capello said he would not be in favor of B-1 zoning because any retail center of a 4-acre size would have a difficult enough problem on Wixom Road, and to limit the uses to B-1 would likely cause that center to fail. However, he agreed with Member Csordas that the site should not be zoned to B-2, inconsistent with the master plan. He said he did not understand why the Planning Commission recommended rezoning and did not send the item back to the Master Plan and Zoning Committee first to change the master plan. He asked Mr. Bond how he came up with the proposal to rezone for B-2. Mr. Bond said that when the parcel owners came into the situation, they had no idea of what would be an appropriate zoning designation for the property. A pre-application meeting is required with a member of the City Planning Department. Mr. Herbel, Mr. Bond and his wife met with Tim Schmitt of the City’s Planning Department in February, where Mr. Schmitt brought forward the suggestion of B-2 to allow for maximum flexibility. Mr. Bond said he was perplexed why Mr. Schmitt later recommended against the B-2 zoning in his initial report. He said they had little experience in such matters when his ordeal began, though he has much more now. The parcel owners also had a sub-committee meeting with members of the Planning Commission prior to the hearing, who also supposed that B-2 would be an appropriate designation for the property. The parcel owners simply accepted the recommendations of those people.
Mr. Bond said he appreciated that Council took time to read through the information on their proposal, and understood their concerns. The Bond’s concern is that R-1 is simply not feasible for them, as it does not serve the City or the property owners. Although OST is what the property was zoned as on the master plan, the parcel owners were told that because of a boundary commission, through which to change the master plan one must have the consent of the surrounding communities, that it would be appropriate to rezone and change the master plan at a later point in time. Mr. Bond apologized if he did not understand the item correctly, but said this is what they were told. The property owners have been relying on the advice of others who they thought were experts. There is great deal of OS property in the area that sits vacant, and the owners don’t feel that zoning would be advantageous to anyone. They agree that the area is transitional; however, there is no other place to put retail. There is a natural barrier at the southern part of his property and the Novi Promenade. If Council is concerned with limiting the types of businesses to locate on his property, the owners would be delighted with a B-1 designation. The owners are willing to compromise.
Member Capello asked Mr. Bond if he had any immediate plans for the property. Mr. Bond said they have no plans to develop the land, and they have no idea what someone would want to develop on the site. They simply want to put the property up for sale and purchase another home elsewhere in the City of Novi. Member Capello asked if Mr. Bond would mind if Council tabled the item, in order to consider some other alternative zonings for the parcels. Mr. Bond said the owners would always be interested in alternatives, and if tabling the item would help then they would not mind. Member Capello commented that he was not trying to be bureaucratic, but simply needed more time to consider the issue. Mr. Bond said that the issue has been handled by the City since January or February, so they could wait a little longer. The rezoning is extremely important to the owners; it is literally their lives that have been put on hold, waiting for a resolution to their problem.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi reminded Council that potential uses should not be part of the discussion, other than permitted uses. What the applicant would like to do as part of the rezoning is certainly interesting, but not part of Council’s decision. It could be part of Council’s deliberations should it choose to look at the matter from the standpoint of postponement, because there was not enough information available at the meeting for Council. She understood what Mr. Bond was saying, but this was not the question that Council was asked to consider. Member Capello said he disagreed, but would make a motion to table the item anyways.
CM-03-07-271 Moved by Capello, seconded by Landry; MOTION CARRIED: To postpone consideration of Zoning Map Amendment 18.626, request from Alan and Kathy Bond, as the applicant on behalf of three property owners, to rezone the subject properties located in Section 18 on the west side of Wixom Road and south of Grand River Avenue, from R-1 (One Family Residential) to B-2 (Community Business), for a period of 4 weeks.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked Mr. Schultz whether or not he had an answer to her question about the public advertisement. Mr. Schultz said the file was still being examined, and he could have a response in a few moments.
Member Sanghvi commented that at some point in time one has to make decisions. Putting off the item will not change the facts of where the property is located, what surrounds the parcels, what is across the street, or what is down the street. These facts would not change by postponing the item for 4 weeks. He firmly believes that he does not have time to wait for things to happen. Council needs to make things happen, make the decisions, and live with them. If there was any dire need to postpone the issue, there is no virtue in delaying decisions, because the issues would remain the same in the future. The issues are not likely to change very much, and Council might as well decide at the present time whether or not the proposal shall or shall not pass. Dr. Sanghvi said postponing the issue would not solve anything.
Member Landry said that if he had to vote on whether to rezone the property to B-2, he would vote no for the reasons which he stated earlier. He was willing to give the proposal an additional look, and was willing to step back and reconsider it because both Mr. Bond and the City deserve it. He said he would support the motion to postpone the item so that Council could take a closer look and the decision could be made properly.
Mr. Schultz apologized to Council, and said the Planning staff was not able to identify and put its hands on the public hearing notice. The public hearings on rezoning are held at the Planning Commission level, and they could not find records of a second public hearing. This makes a major difference in what kind of notice the public was given at the Planning Commission level. In the absence of being able to say that there was a broad indication for rezoning to some other parcel designation, he advised Council that it would be "on thin ice."
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if because there was no original motion regarding the stated R-1 to B-2 zoning change, but there was a motion on the floor to postpone the issue, whether Council could do this, and Mr. Schultz replied that it could. The Mayor Pro Tem said that the Planning Department was "right on" on the rezoning issue for these parcels. It is a very unfortunate circumstance that the usage of the property across the road was dictated by a court, but that is what the City must deal with. This does not mean that Council should decide to entertain a domino effect regarding businesses of high intensity, which B-2 uses are. Contrary to the statement that the City can approve or deny any uses that are brought forward, this can only be done if the proposals brought forward do not meet the City’s requirements. If, for example, a full-service gasoline station was brought forward in B-2, and that proposal met all of the requirements of the City of Novi, Council would have a very difficult time turning down that use. The zoning proposal from the Planning Department with the charts showing the proposed uses that could be achieved under OS-1 is not spot zoning. On the contrary, OS-1 would provide a very real transition from what exists and what is likely to exist in the area. Her biggest consideration is that B-1 and B-2 are not consistent or compatible with permitted uses in abutting single-family zones.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said there was another comment made about the so-called "neat-knick" attitude of requiring the parcel owners to come forward with a master plan amendment. This is nice and would make some mapping and planning considerations easier, but this is not needed. Council could simply propose a zoning change if wanted. If the City then wants to amend the master plan to make this consistent then this is fine, but that is not an effort that Mr. Bond needs to take on if he does not wish to. She said she would be looking to support the OS-1 transition, but would not support either B-1 or B-2 usage.
Mr. Helwig said the feeling is that the City Clerk, with some research, could locate the public notice as it was advertised in the Novi News. If Council wished to pursue the discussion of other alternatives, the City Clerk may be able to do this. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said that with a motion on the table to postpone, that would not necessitate her doing that research at this point, but perhaps she would wish to do that when the matter comes before Council. In particular, if the applicant would like to continue to come forward with a B-2 proposal then Council should have that as well.
Member Csordas noted that Mr. Bond had mentioned that there are a number of parcels in the City zoned OST which remain there. He said there is a difference between OST and OS-1, which is being recommended, so the owners would not be competing with the other OST zoning in the City. Member Csordas asked Mr. Helwig to research if someone from the Planning Department recommended a particular zoning to somebody that was looking for direction, but then came back and recommended something other than that. He said he was not making accusations, but would like some clarity on the issue.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-08-271 Yeas: Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Bononi, Capello
Mr. Bond said something that was not mentioned in Council’s discussion was a safety issue. As Council reviews the item in the next 4 weeks, it should be aware that Target is the only "big box" store in that area right now, but there are potential entrances for many more stores. There could be residents along Wixom Road with little children, and traffic is going to increase considerably. When thinking of "reality" and what the real use of the parcels will be, the property will be some kind of business eventually. Putting a delay on the property is not really reality, because a person purchasing a home will not choose their spot to build a home.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said what is hoped is that with the different positions that Mr. Bond had heard from Council, that "reality" can perhaps move on to a compromised position for what he is looking for. She told Mr. Bond to feel free to contact the City Planning Department regarding any questions or needs that he might have. Mr. Bond asked if the owners should make any suggestions that they may have to the Planning Department. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi instructed him to contact Mr. Evancoe.
2. Consideration of Agreement for the Finance of Sanitary Sewer Improvements and Creation of Special Assessments on Properties, Special Assessment District No. 170, Maybury-Tuscany-Singh extension of Sanitary Sewer in Section 32.
Member Capello noted that at the past meeting there was consideration of the RUD agreement for Maybury Park, followed by the SAD. Because he had represented Maybury Park in negotiations of the RUD agreement with the City, he recused himself from voting on that issue. In the meantime, he had asked Mr. Fisher if he needed to recuse himself from voting on the SAD, something that he did not take part in the negotiations of. Member Capello asked Mr. Schultz if Mr. Fisher had given him a report on this question. Mr. Schultz answered that he had not. Member Capello said that given this, he would ask to again recuse himself, pending Mr. Fisher’s opinion.
CM-03-08-272 Moved by Landry, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To allow Member Capello to abstain from participation with the Special Assessment District 170, pending an opinion from the City Attorney regarding his involvement on the item.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-08-272 Yeas: Bononi, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi
Dean Gould, representing Maybury Park, LLC, said that representatives from all three developers were present at the meeting.
Member Lorenzo said she viewed this item, the first amendment to the Maybury Park Estates Development Agreement, which was approved 2 weeks ago, is interconnected with the evening’s request for the SAD sanitary sewer improvements. The two outstanding issues with the Maybury RUD, prior to this item coming to Council, were storm water management and public water service. The third outstanding item, which was the sanitary sewer as it was contemplated in the original RUD, was for the Maybury developer to construct temporary sanitary sewer facilities. The RUD first amendment, which came to Council two weeks ago, had two reasons for coming forward to Council: Northville Township water is unavailable; and potential for the financing of the sanitary sewer SAD. One of the concerns which she did not feel was addressed in the first amendment to the SAD was the availability of water service. Since Northville Township water is unavailable, she asked how the water would be provided to the residents of Maybury. The RUD amendment speaks of a report being submitted to the City regarding whether or not individual or community wells would be available. In order to contemplate the agreement, she would be looking for the concurrence and a statement from the City Engineering Department that this report was received, and that the conclusion was that water service would be available by community or individual wells, and that the City Engineers concur with this.
Member Lorenzo noted that her second concern for the site was storm water management. Storm water management, by virtue of the agreement, should have been reviewed by the Planning Commission. However, the amended agreement, on page 3 B, speaks to having an approved final site plan for Phase I, subject to the terms of the SAD agreement being approved. This is how she sees that the two are connected, because the final site plan and the SAD are concurrent according to the amended agreement. Under the storm water management portion of the amended agreement, it speaks to how the storm water management will be achieved, outlets into Northville Township, Northville Township accepting the flows, and the downstream capacity to receive the waters. Council has not received the storm water plan, so she does not know whether it will be a series of basins, how the water will be controlled on the Maybury property, whether the downstream has capacity, whether or not the 100-year storms will be controlled on-site, whether or not the plan is to discharge them downstream, or what the impacts downstream are going to be. In order to approve the financing agreement, she wants to be comfortable with what the storm water management plan is, and that it is acceptable to the City Engineers.
Member Lorenzo said that in some areas of the RUD amendment and the SAD agreement, the documents mention all costs including the design, construction and financing; in some areas legal, easements and administrative costs are discussed; and in some areas, these items are not mentioned. She asked for consistency from one paragraph to another, because if 100% of the costs are any legal costs that the City has in this, in reviewing documents or any legal cost that would be associated with this, any cost from purchases of easements, all of the administrative costs of the City, and the design, construction and financing costs. There are inconsistencies and discrepancies between the two documents, and paragraphs within those.
Member Lorenzo said that she failed to mention a very significant point on storm water management, which she objected to in the agreement that was approved two weeks ago. There was language added that spoke to the homeowners’ association being responsible for any maintenance and construction, if needed, of on-site facilities within Maybury Park. To her knowledge, that has never been a policy of the City or Council, and she has no intention of making it a policy. Homeowners should not be responsible for constructing storm water facilities, so the language about "construction, if needed" would have to be removed from the document.
In terms of the SAD and who would pay for it, Member Lorenzo said she found discrepancies and inconsistencies, in that actual lot owners would not be responsible sometime in the future for the SAD. Page 12 of the RUD amendment states that "Lots or units in Maybury Park specially benefited would accordingly pay an assessment." If lots are not going to pay an assessment, then it needs to be ensured that lots won’t pay an assessment, so that language needs to be cleaned up in both documents. The SAD document mentions owners of record, which is inconsistent from the other document. She wants to make sure that future property owners and home owners in the City will not be paying any assessment.
Member Lorenzo said the last of her concerns with the actual SAD was that the City not be obligated to any construction timetable. She did read Exhibit C; however, Exhibit C does not make her feel confident. While there may be a footnote stating that such date shall not create an obligation of the City, she is reminded of Sandstone and the situation where the City entered into a contract to build a road and to open a road, and there was no timetable in that agreement. Yet, the judge who found in favor of the Sandstone partners said a reasonable timeframe was 2 years. Her feeling is that if the City is going to provide an alternative to Mr. Paciocco following through with his commitment for the SAD, the contract should be voided, and a straight SAD arrangement should be used. Mr. Schultz said that if this was Council’s intent, then the language of both Exhibit C and the SAD would need to be changed. The clear intent, as drafted, is that the City does not have the obligation, and has the ability to perform the work. The issue that Member Lorenzo pointed out can be addressed with some additional language that removes this from speculation. Member Lorenzo said she would want the City to be out of the contract part at that point so that there is no contract with the developers if this were the case. She believes that Mr. Paciocco will follow through, and it is to his and others’ advantage to do that, but the changes would give her the comfort level of not needing to second-guess what a judge could do in a circumstance. She has no problem going forward on a traditional SAD, but she is simply concerned because the City is entering into a contract. She does not want to repeat the Sandstone ordeal. Any time the City enters into a contract, she would rather be safer than sorry.
Member Lorenzo listed her concerns about the agreement: getting the City out of the contract; being provided with all of the storm water information; being provided with the information regarding how water service will be delivered to the site; removing any responsibility of homeowners’ associations for constructing any on-site facilities; and clarifying that no units or homebuyers will be responsible for the SAD.
Member Csordas asked how many votes were required to pass the agreement during the evening, which Mr. Schultz said was 5 votes. Member Csordas noted that only five members would be voting on the item, so the vote would need to be unanimous.
Member Csordas said that in terms of the financial obligation, this is a great joint cooperation effort between public and private entities. These utilities are being provided to a part of the City at no cost to the City, which is clearly a win-win situation. He was pleased that along Beck Road, single-family lots will not be required to pay the "full ride" for the construction, which is a benefit for whoever owns those properties. It appeared to him that all phases would be designed and engineered by each of the developers in cooperation with the City Engineers. This is another positive to the agreement, because the City is providing that service, is providing the infrastructure, has good cooperation, and the developers will clearly be able to get the best pricing for what is being done. He noted in the letter that the City will not be obligated for any or part of the construction, and Mr. Schultz said that this was the contemplation of the agreement.
Member Csordas asked for an explanation of language in the bottom paragraph of the item’s cover letter, "Please note that language has been included in the Agreement for the purpose of avoiding a duplication of the "Sandstone" lawsuit on the ground that the SAD is being established by ‘agreement.’ The language avoids money damage suits unless such a suit could have been brought if the SAD had been established in the customary fashion under the Ordinance Code." Mr. Schultz noted that Mr. Fisher had taken more-than-usual care to insulate the City from the kind of money contract damages that weigh so heavily on everybody’s minds. The developers have agreed to the language that has been negotiated, and was insisted upon by Mr. Fisher, that insulates challenges with regard to whether or not the SAD is fair and constitutional and gives an appropriate benefit to the property, all of the things that must be in place in order for the contract to be enforceable. These items have been addressed, and there has been an agreement by the developers to waive certain claims, including money damages claims for most things. The motion sheet points this out because Council needs to know that care has been taken to not put the Council into the situation that it has been in with other SAD’s. Member Csordas noted that the City has had very expensive lessons, which is why he wanted to make sure that the City Attorneys were very comfortable in their recommendations.
Member Csordas asked Mr. Gould to address the issue of water supply. Mr. Gould said that when the RUD was originally approved, there was a provision for temporary wells until public water is available. The information was provided to the City last September, and in December of last year, the Oakland County Health Department approved the ground water for the installation of wells. All of those requirements have been satisfied, and the intention would be, as stated in the RUD agreement and as incorporated in the master deed, that temporary wells would be made available, and at such time as public water is available the co-owners would be required to abandon those wells and hook into the public water system. Member Csordas asked if these would be individual wells, rather than a community well, which Mr. Gould replied was correct.
Member Csordas asked Mr. Gould to address the storm water issue. Mr. Gould said that based on the meetings that he has attended and the conversations that he has had, it is his understanding that in order for Maybury to receive final site plan approval on its Phase I development, there was a tremendous amount of review, calculation, and communication between JCK, the City Engineer, and the developer’s engineers regarding storm water calculations and making sure that the site was appropriately designed to hold storm water. There have been substantial discussions with the Township of Northville, and the developer is voluntarily doing some off-site improvements on the homeowner’s property who lives in Northville Township across Eight Mile Road. This was done with the concurrence of Mr. Weaver and Northville Township representatives, who have been intimately involved in the agreement. Member Csordas said this was an excellent solution between public and private sectors. He recommended that the issue be tabled because it requires 5 votes, and he would like to hear what Mr. Fisher has to say about Member Capello’s participation in voting, and the Mayor is also quite interested in the subject.
Member Csordas asked if Council was operating under any time restraint where it would deny the petitioner their rights to an answer during the evening. Mr. Schultz said he felt it would be appropriate to ask the developer if there are time constraints that they need the City to be aware of. Mr. Galvin said that there is some urgency on Maybury, L.L.C.’s part to getting the agreement done, but understood the need to table the item for the September 8th Council meeting. He asked to point out to Council that in the RUD amendment that was approved, Maybury agreed to allow the process to go forward with the expectation that by no later than October 1st, the contract SAD would be approved, or at that point Maybury would reserve the right to seek a traditional SAD. He did not object to the tabling for the September 8th meeting, and said he believed he spoke for the other two developers as well.
Member Csordas asked Mr. Helwig if he knew approximately what would be on the next meeting’s agenda. Mr. Helwig replied that he anticipated a very full agenda for that meeting. He did not know whether the Gateway item would be on that agenda, and depending on what was accomplished at this meeting, there could be a number of tabled items coming back in that next meeting. However, staff will put together whatever agenda is necessary to get things accomplished.
CM-03-08-273 Moved by Csordas, seconded by Sanghvi; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To postpone consideration of Agreement for the Finance of Sanitary Sewer Improvements and Creation of Special Assessments on Properties, Special Assessment District No. 170, Maybury-Tuscany-Singh extension of Sanitary Sewer in Section 32, until the next Council meeting of September 8th, 2003.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said there were four critical components that the applicant knew, presented in good faith, came to the City, but did not present to Council. That is the reason that Council and the developers were spending so much time reviewing items.
The Mayor Pro Tem said she was looking for certain conditions: approval by the Oakland County Health Department, which Mr. Gould already addressed; that the storm water management plan shall include the Engineering calculations; a written statement of what storm event the system is designed for; correspondence from Northville Township about the sufficiency of the existing culvert; a confirmation that sanitary sewer easement costs shall be included in the SAD; confirmation that the applicant will pay assessment costs; a language amendment to show that financial guarantees shall be required for all public improvements; a list of any additional off-site improvements to be included with the list on page 9, number XIII of the agreement; and confirmation of the actual cost of the SAD. She said she would be looking very carefully at the Northville Township response regarding the existing culvert or an enhanced culvert.
Member Landry said that it would only be fair to give the applicant the largest-possible deciding body on the vote which requires 5 votes of approval. For this reason, he favored postponing the item until the Mayor is also in attendance. Also, the applicant should be given the chance to provide the requested information for the next meeting.
Member Lorenzo asked if the applicant was agreeable to all of the conditions set forth during the meeting for additional information. Mr. Gould answered generally yes, though he wished to clarify two or three things that were said. He said that the developers held meetings with Ms. McClain and Victoria from JCK where very specific improvements were agreed to. Those improvements were discussed and negotiated with Mr. Weaver at Northville Township, and the affected property owner. Those improvements primarily relate to repairing the culvert, repairing the weir, cleaning out the pond, and doing some cleanup work on some willow trees. He did not want it to be stated on record that the developers said "whatever they want, we will do." Whatever is reasonable and makes sense, the developers will agree to, and they have agreed to the items he outlined. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi believed she had said "all necessary improvements to accommodate the flow", which she felt was very specific. She said she would not ask the developer to do anything outside the parameter, but if he was discussing Northville Township’s approval, and the developer was agreeing to make those improvements to accommodate that, then she was satisfied.
Mr. Gould said there was a letter from the developer that he had been asked to provide to the City Clerk, which would then be provided to Council, on which the developer agrees to support certain changes to the first amended RUD that was approved at the August 11th meeting that he believed would accommodate Member Lorenzo’s concerns. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked Mr. Gould to provide this letter to the Clerk, so Mr. Schultz could determine if this was the appropriate means with which to incorporate the considerations, which Mr. Gould agreed to. He said that at the August 11th meeting, someone had asked Mr. Fisher a specific question about the costs of this SAD. He assured Council that all the costs, including the City’s legal costs, would be rolled into the cost of the SAD. He said that if there is wording that needs to be worked out to make Council more comfortable, the developers are certainly willing to do that. In concept, the two sides are in agreement.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said that with regard to costs, this was understood. Many members of Council worry that if things go awry in the final analysis, the full faith and credit of the citizens of Novi are responsible for SAD’s and whatever financial vehicles are used to pay the bills. Mr. Gould said this was why the developers believed very fervently that this contract SAD puts the City in a much better situation.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said that this would provide an opportunity for everyone to bring the information forward that is needed to provide a fine contract which, in her view, promotes good business and protects the City of Novi and its citizens.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-08-273 Yeas: Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Bononi, Csordas
Council recessed at 9:46 p.m.
Council reconvened at 10:01 p.m.
3. Consideration of request from the Novi Group No. 2 LLC for a variance from the Woodlands Protection Ordinance for Bristol Corners North and Bristol Corners South, located east of West Park Drive at South Lake Drive.
Arnold Serlin, a representative of the Novi Group #2, said the Group was before Council for a situation that has existed for the past two and a half years. The Group was before Council in November of 2000 for a similar variance, which was granted by the Council at that time. The character of West Park Drive, or at that time West Road, has changed dramatically over the past three or four years since the extension of Taft Road was installed and West Park Drive was included in that extension. Traffic on West Park Drive has increased dramatically. The traffic signal at West Park and South Lake Drives has changed the complexion of that part of the City, and this has impacted the Group’s development. When they purchased the property, it was semi-rural. Traffic, intensity and noise were low at the time. In order for the Group to market the lots which back up to the road, the Group has chosen to install large approximately 18-foot evergreen trees for screening where the grade on the subdivision side was not sufficient enough to provide what the developer felt was a proper screen. The Council at that time felt that this was a "classic hardship", and "a practical difficulty" that was not of the Group’s doing. Council saw fit to grant a variance from the requirements of the woodland protection ordinance that allowed the Group to count the large evergreen trees as replacement trees on a three-to-one count. Mr. Serlin said the Group was seeking the same variance at the evening’s meeting, as if anything, conditions have become more intense during the past couple of years. He said the evergreens provide significant screening, protecting the homes which back up to the road.
CM-03-07-274 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Csordas; MOTION CARRIED: To approve request from the Novi Group No. 2 LLC for a variance from the Woodlands Protection Ordinance for Bristol Corners North and Bristol Corners South, located east of West Park Drive at South Lake Drive
Member Landry said he did not support the motion. His understanding is that variances are to be granted if the proposed would not substantially deviate from what is required, and would not be contrary to the overall purpose. What is being considered is replacing trees which would provide wildlife habitat, and his understanding is that evergreens do not support the same type of wildlife habitat that the trees which are taken down do. He understands marketability of the property, but that is separate from the purpose of replacing the trees. It may do a great job of screening the property and make it more marketable, but he is concerned with the woodlands protection ordinance, which requires the same type of wildlife habitat to be provided. From what he has seen from administration, the evergreens would not provide this habitat, so he could not support the motion.
Member Sanghvi said he was at the site during the afternoon, and the trees which were already planted were doing a more-than-adequate job of screening. It is not possible to replace the exact types of trees on a site that used to be there for wildlife habitat. What is gone is gone, and there is no easy way of replacing it. Once homes and roads are constructed on a site, all that can be asked to is replace the trees in the best possible manner. He said he saw that this was being done, and had no trouble supporting the motion.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-08-274 Yeas: Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Bononi, Capello, Csordas
4. Consideration of request from the Novi Group No. 2 LLC for a waiver of the sidewalk ordinance along the north right-of-way line of Bristol Corners North Subdivision.
Mr. Serlin called this "an impossible" situation, one which needs official sanction by City Council. The sidewalk along South Lake Court, which is the north side of the north subdivision, Bristol Corners North, is impossible to install. There was a storm sewer installed by the City to relieve the storm conditions that existed on the west side of West Park Drive. That storm sewer lies immediately below where the sidewalk would be installed. Initially the storm sewer was designed to be totally closed to its outlet, which is in the wetlands beyond the developed part of the subdivision. The fall of the land was not sufficient to allow that storm sewer to be buried the entire length of its course. As a result it stops and becomes an open ditch, and a large outlet structure exists there. If the Group did put in a sidewalk, it would not really go anywhere. There is no connection to the east, and there would not be anyone to use it since there are only three or four houses on South Lake Court. The Group has a connection inside its development which is private property and connects the property through a nature trail through the woods and the wetlands to the lakeside. The sidewalk would serve no purpose, even if it could be in practically, which it could not.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked the City Engineer to make a statement that construction of whether a sidewalk in this location is feasible or not.
Ms. McClain said construction of the sidewalk along the western portion of the road is feasible. However, there is a small section which does not connect to anything which would pose a problem. The north side of the road of South Lake Court is where all of the residences are that front South Lake Court. That is the side which would be most useful to have a sidewalk on in the future. To the east of the cul-de-sac with the ditch, it is not practical to build a sidewalk. Further east there is a wetland area, so the sidewalk would not have extended there. In lieu of building one yard’s length of sidewalk, the builder has requested a variance from placing one at all on the south side.
Member Sanghvi said that on West Lake Drive there is a place where people go to the lake. The north side of the street is absolutely clear, and there is no reason why a sidewalk cannot be built there leading all the way to the lakefront. This is a great opportunity to build a sidewalk on the north side of the street, not just along the edge of this particular property. He said he did not see why it could not be done.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she might look to see Dr. Sanghvi bring that item forward on another agenda.
Member Lorenzo said she would appreciate seeing the photograph, as it might provide a better feel of the situation. She asked if there is not a sidewalk on West Park Drive, and Mr. Serlin said there is. She asked if people would be able to walk from this situation to West Park Drive. Mr. Serlin said they would not. Member Lorenzo asked if it would be possible to build a boardwalk instead of a sidewalk. Mr. Serlin said a boardwalk certainly could be built, but he was not sure who would actually use it. The Group’s subdivision sidewalk does not connect to that sidewalk. The only people who would use it would be the people on the north side of South Lake Court. The Group does not care to promote access along that side of the street because it would give the public access to the lakefront, which is private property. This would invite liability issues that would create a problem for the subdivision. They do have an interior circulation pattern for the subdivision, which also includes a gazebo, tennis courts, a tot lot, and wetlands with a boardwalk that connects the subdivision to its lake frontage, which is owned by the subdivision. Member Lorenzo said she understood this, but the ordinance requires all developers to place sidewalks. In this case she understands if a sidewalk cannot be placed, but there are alternatives such as a boardwalk, and the explanation that the public should not traverse the area is not a reasonable explanation to Council for the ordinance requirement. The ordinance says that is a public place and there should be public sidewalks so that people in or outside the subdivision can walk upon it. Mr. Serlin said he appreciated this, but the sidewalk would connect to nothing in the east, as it stops at the lake. Member Lorenzo said there may be people in and outside of the subdivision that like to walk to the lake.
Mr. Serlin said that they can do this through the interior of the subdivision, as this provision was made. It is impossible to put a sidewalk where the sewer outlet is, as it is deep and physically impossible to traverse. The outlet will carry torrents of water when there is a heavy storm. This particular sidewalk which ends at the lake, provides no connection to anything else one it gets to the lake, and is an impractical solution to a problem that can be eliminated by not installing it. This is a condition which is impractical, which is why the variance was requested.
Member Lorenzo asked Mr. Schultz if there if Council could require a boardwalk instead of the sidewalk. Mr. Schultz said Council’s decision was whether the applicant had made his case for relief from the sidewalk requirement. Mr. Schultz said Ms. McClain might be better to describe what may be required by the ordinance from a design standpoint. Member Lorenzo said she was asking if Council could legally require the boardwalk as opposed to a sidewalk. Mr. Schultz said his answer would depend on Ms. McClain’s comment on how a sidewalk would be built there and what the construction would be.
Ms. McClain displayed a visual aid showing where a sidewalk could and could not be built. During the plan review and approval for this project, it was determined that the sidewalk should extend to the wetland. This was prior to the construction and plans for the storm sewer. A boardwalk could be built across the disconnected area. That was not part of the site plan approval, and she did not believe it had been contemplated to continue the sidewalk with a boardwalk to the end. Mr. Schultz said he would need more time to review the design and construction standards and the subdivision ordinance to see if Council could impose that additional requirement on the property owner.
Member Lorenzo said she would like Mr. Schultz to conduct this review, because she would like to see a boardwalk constructed through the area if possible, and this is what has been done around town. A boardwalk was used to connect Ten Mile Road to Novi Road. When the City encounters a difficult situation for a sidewalk, it builds a boardwalk. She did not know if this was a standard alternative, but said she would like to postpone the matter until Council could receive a definitive answer on the item.
Member Landry said he did not have a problem granting the variance. There was a practical hardship with building the sidewalk, and he was convinced that no one would use it. There is a sidewalk within a few feet of it to the north that would be available for people. He repeated his support for the variance.
Member Capello asked Ms. McClain if he understood her correctly that in the site plan that was approved there was no type of sidewalk or boardwalk running easterly towards the lake, down to West Lake Road. Ms. McClain said this was correct. Typically, the City has given variances when a sidewalk would run across a wetland for minor streets. For major streets such as Ten Mile and Beck Road, boardwalks were built, typically on the bike path side. However, minor roads do not usually have these boardwalks constructed. Member Capello asked if this was a variance granted through approval process or through the administrative review process. Ms. McClain said it was part of the site plan review process that determined the sidewalk would not need extension, but she was not certain of this. Member Capello asked if there was any right-of-way remaining along South Lake Court on which a sidewalk could be constructed. Ms. McClain said the right-of-way for South Lake Court is a 66-foot-wide right-of-way which lead her to believe that there should be enough room on the north side to construct one to the City’s standard, which is 1 foot off the back of the right-of-way. This would also fall true on the south side. The wetland enters the right-of-way in the eastern area.
Member Capello said he normally does not want to grant any variances for any sidewalks because if there are too many sidewalk gaps that are difficult to fill. If the sidewalk was only required to be constructed halfway down to West Lake Road, then he agreed that it "went nowhere." Member Capello said he did not understand why the continuation of the sidewalk was waived, even if the City could put it on the north side of the road.
Member Csordas said he would support the variance, and agreed with Member Capello. He said that the City has a lot of sidewalks that "go to nowhere" with little opportunity for them ever to lead someplace. Another concern of his was the equipment that would be required to get into the wetland to install the boardwalk. If a boardwalk was installed in the wetland, it might provide an opportunity for people to degrade the area as well. He said he supported the variance for the sidewalk in this situation.
CM-03-08-275 Moved by Csordas, seconded by Landry; MOTION CARRIED: To approve request from the Novi Group No. 2 LLC for a waiver of the sidewalk ordinance along the north right-of-way line of Bristol Corners North Subdivision
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said her biggest concern with the item was that there was no engineering report for Council that could have made discussion more efficient and shorter. In the future, she would look for an engineering report and recommendation to be added. She said she would support the motion with regard to that particular sidewalk and where it is going. She receives many complaints from citizens who do not understand why small segments of sidewalks are installed that will likely not be connected soon. In this situation, she was convinced that this would be an instance to support a variance.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-08-275 Yeas: Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry
Nays: Sanghvi, Lorenzo
5. Approval to award bid to D & J Lawn and Snow, Inc., the low bidder, for the Community Sports Park baseball field improvement project, in the amount of $113,255.45.
CM-03-08-276 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Capello; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve bid to D & J Lawn and Snow, Inc., the low bidder, for the Community Sports Park baseball field improvement project, in the amount of $113,255.45.
Member Csordas asked if there were competitive bids taken for this project. Mr. Helwig answered that there were 8 bids submitted, and administration was recommending the lowest bidder with 3 alternates. Member Csordas asked where the funding for the project would come from. Mr. Helwig said this item was in the 2002-2003 budget. It is one of the Council goals to complete the Community Sports Park budgeted improvements as soon as possible.
Member Lorenzo asked when the completion date would be for the project. Mr. Auler said the goal is to begin construction as soon as possible. Member Lorenzo asked what is the bidder’s obligation. Mr. Auler said the bidder would begin in September and be completed no later than May. The field will not be available for use next year because the seed will need one year to take hold before exposure from sporting events.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said one of the comments included in the material was that the low bidder did not have specific experience with constructing such a field. However, Council had a letter from M.C. Smith Associates Architectural Group recommending the bidder despite their lack of experience. She noted a comment that the Architectural Group would oversee the construction of the field. She asked if there would be additional cost from the architectural firm for this oversight. Mr. Auler said there would not be additional costs. Part of the original contract was for M.C. Smith Associates to serve in the capacity of construction observation along with department staff. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she expected the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department would provide some direction to M.C. Smith and Associates to ensure that the job is well done. Mr. Auler said the firm has not built an athletic facility, but has extensive experience in irrigation, earth work, and seeding, which is why they were chosen.
Member Capello noted that D & J Lawn and Snow was the lowest bidder by a significant amount. He asked Mr. Auler if he knew why there was such a disparity in the bid amounts. Mr. Auler said the firm was questioned extensively and was told to check their numbers several times to make sure that the project could be done for the cost that was quoted. The firm ensured the City that it could. Member Capello asked if the company had posted the bid bond, which Mr. Auler said they had. Member Capello asked Mr. Auler if he was certain that the company could get a performance bond, and Mr. Auler said they could.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-08-276 Yeas: Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi
6. Approval of contract for the asphalt portion of 2003 Neighborhood Road Repaving Program to Oakland Excavating Company, the low bidder, in the amount of $515,121.65.
CM-03-08-277 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Sanghvi; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve contract for the asphalt portion of 2003 Neighborhood Road Repaving Program to Oakland Excavating Company, the low bidder, in the amount of $515,121.65.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-08-277 Yeas: Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Bononi
7. Approval of contract for the concrete portion of 2003 Neighborhood Road Repaving Program to Tiseo Brothers, Inc., the low bidder, in the amount of $604,711.00.
CM-03-08-278 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Sanghvi; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve contract for the concrete portion of 2003 Neighborhood Road Repaving Program to Tiseo Brothers, Inc., the low bidder, in the amount of $604,711.00.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked Ms. McClain if any of the road projects require a new base. Ms. McClain said all of the concrete work will need a new base.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-08-278 Yeas: Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Bononi, Capello
8. Consideration of the request from Irish Beer Works, Inc. to transfer ownership of 2002 Class C licensed business with dance permit, located in escrow at 18100 W. Ten Mile, Southfield, MI 48075, Oakland County, from The Golden Mushroom, Inc.; transfer location to 42875 Grand River, Novi, MI 48375, Oakland County; and request a New Entertainment Permit. (Gus O’Connor’s)
CM-03-08-279 Moved by Sanghvi, seconded by Capello; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve request from Irish Beer Works, Inc. to transfer ownership of 2002 Class C licensed business with dance permit, located in escrow at 18100 W. Ten Mile, Southfield, MI 48075, Oakland County, from The Golden Mushroom, Inc.; transfer location to 42875 Grand River, Novi, MI 48375, Oakland County; and request a New Entertainment Permit. (Gus O’Connor’s)
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she was interested in the percentage of profits generated at the applicant’s business that they project from food and drinks, because it was stated in the supporting paperwork that this was unknown. Kellie Allen was in attendance with Ed Smith, the sole owner of Irish Beer Works, which is the company that would be doing business as "Gus O’Connor’s." She apologized if the percentage was stated as "unknown" in the local application, but she believed the anticipated profit breakdown was 70% from food, 30% from alcohol. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said there was a statement in the paperwork that there was not yet a menu, as this was not prepared yet. Ms. Allen said the Clerk was provided with a menu, which is a non-exact prototype of the menu that will be used. The food will be authentic Irish fare. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked what the price range of the drinks would be. Mr. Smith said these would range from $3.50 to $8. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi noted that any approval given by Council does not carry signage approval, so the applicants would need to see other departments for that.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-08-279 Yeas: Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Bononi, Capello, Csordas
9. Resolution authorizing issuance of General Obligation Refunding bonds, Series 2003.
CM-03-08-280 Moved by Sanghvi, seconded by Csordas; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve resolution authorizing issuance of General Obligation Refunding bonds, Series 2003.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-08-280 Yeas: Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry
10. Approval of First Quarter Budget amendment.
CM-03-08-281 Moved by Landry, seconded by Capello; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve First Quarter Budget amendment.
Mr. Helwig said that in conservations from the day with Member Lorenzo and Finance Director Kathy Smith-Roy, a rollover item that was unnecessarily included was caught. The fund balance, as of June 30th, increased by $32,100. It was a portion of the Growth Management Development Fund that was unnecessary to be rolled over.
Member Csordas asked what "personnel services" under City Manager/Finance/Information Technology was. Mr. Helwig said these were the salary increases that were administered and effective July 1 out of budgeted dollars from the prior year’s budget.
Member Lorenzo said she would support the amendment, but wished to place the appropriate parties on notice that the administrative performance increases were overly generous, but not for anyone in particular. In these economic times, corporations are giving between 3% and 3.5% raises, and the City should be in line with this, if not far from it. She said she was concerned that the City did not have the type of financing needed to give those types of generous awards at this time.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked Mr. Helwig what the range of salary increases was. Mr. Helwig said a pay guide of 2% for a "fair" rating to a 5% increase for "exceptional" ratings. The average increase for administrative staff of fifty-some members was 3.72%. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if these increases were granted as a result of performance evaluation. Mr. Helwig said this was correct, that a strict pay-for-performance system was used.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-08-281 Yeas: Sanghvi, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo
Karl Wizinksy, 26850 Wixom Road, wished to add one more comment to the sidewalk discussion of Item #3. He noted that Council had also received letters from his neighbors on Wixom Road. Right now the east side of Wixom Road, where Toll Brothers is, south of Eleven Mile to Grand River is complete with the exception of two parcels: the Wizinsky parcel, and the City parcel. About two years ago, he spoke with Clay Pearson about the City’s sidewalk in front of the wetlands/woodlands/park area around Deerfield, and the retention ponds immediately west of Deerfield. The City has developed much of their property there but never installed the sidewalks, and this should be included in a budget in the near future.
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION – Part II
11. 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. 2nd Reading and resolution adopting the Landscape Design Manual.
CM-03-08-282 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Sanghvi; MOTION CARRIED: To approve 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. 2nd Reading and resolution adopting the Landscape Design Manual.
Member Csordas said he appreciated all of the effort from the Ordinance Review Committee, as it a difficult job to compile something like this. He said he could not support the motion for reasons that he had stated before. The City has an ordinance that it wanted to address, but it had an existing ordinance that could have been tweaked to accomplish the same things. The old ordinance was 24 pages long and could have been tweaked. The new ordinance is a 38-page landscape design manual, including graphics and a 28-page ordinance, so the document is 66 pages long. He understood the reasons for breaking both of those apart, and he also appreciated the efforts to obtain the other ordinances that he had requested. He had briefly reviewed those ordinances from other cities, and noticed that Bloomfield Hills has a very strict and respected landscape and open space ordinance that is 6 pages long. Canton’s ordinance is a total of 18 pages long. A number of other ordinances were 10 or 13 pages long. Northville’s ordinance was only 3 pages long. He said his point was that a good ordinance, which needed some tweaking, was almost doubled in size. Member Csordas noted that he meant no disrespect to the very hard work that was put forth by the Committee, but the ordinance seemed over-regulating. He said the ordinance was very hard to understand, and he would like to see more "lay-person" language used in the future. He said he could not support the document because the existing ordinance is sufficient, and could have obtained the same results with only some tweaking.
Member Landry remarked that the ordinance provides that no bay of parking greater than 15 spaces in length shall be provided unless a landscape island is also provided. He referred to the design manual’s four examples of parking lot configurations. Example #2 has 24 spaces, and he asked if this would meet the requirements because there is a very long peninsula adjacent to those spaces. Mr. Evancoe said this was correct. Member Landry asked if Example #1 would also meet the requirements, which Mr. Evancoe said was correct. Member Landry said Example #4 has no peninsula, but just has the parking islands. The configuration given in that example is 10 linear spaces, and he asked if this example could be stretched to 15 spaces and still meet the requirements. Mr. Evancoe said this was absolutely correct. Example #4 shows slightly more than what the City’s requirements are.
Member Landry said that at the last meeting where this item was discussed, he expressed some concern that the trees in parking lots might create a visual obstruction to someone coming down a drive isle. He said he thought the Traffic Engineer was going to look into this and submit an opinion. Mr. Evancoe said he would make sure that the Traffic Engineer looked into that, but said that as a landscape architect, evergreen trees or tall shrubs create obstructions. The existence of deciduous shade trees with their narrow trunks is not considered an obstacle to vision as long as the branches are maintained and trimmed properly.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she shared the concern about the length of the document, and she shares the concern about the general length of the zoning ordinance. There was a great deal of work devoted to the landscape ordinance, and she was pleased to have participated in it. The overlying concern is what the City’s landscaping is supposed to look like, and the same problems reoccur over and over again. The revised ordinance was compiled to encourage creativity, and most landscape professionals will not have a difficult time interpreting the language. For the majority of proposals that come before the City, there are very sophisticated persons representing those who need to create landscaping plans. Mr. Evancoe said he agreed, and pointed out that the City is requiring the seal of a registered landscape architect on landscape plans so that it is assured that landscape professionals will read the ordinance and make those decisions. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said that at the point that committees are working an ordinance, she encouraged Council Members to make proposals about their opinions, particularly to the Ordinance Review Committee.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-8-282 Yeas: Bononi, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi
Nays: Capello, Csordas
12. Approval of Ordinance 03-45.27 an Ordinance 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.
CM-03-08-283 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Sanghvi; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Ordinance 03-45.27 an Ordinance 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. 2nd Reading.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-08-283 Yeas: Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Bononi
13. Consideration of Agreements requested by Providence Hospital for Utility Payback Waiver related to Special Assessment District No. 83 and Special Assessment District No. 93 reimbursement payable to Providence Hospital.
CM-03-08-284 Moved by Csordas, seconded by Sanghvi; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Agreements requested by Providence Hospital for Utility Payback Waiver related to Special Assessment District No. 83 and Special Assessment District No. 93 reimbursement payable to Providence Hospital.
Member Lorenzo said she was pleased to see an administrative fee, but asked how the $750 per agreement was reached. Mr. Pearson said this number was based upon the seven agreements that would approximate future administrative and legal costs. He said there may not have been an exact precedent or formula for that fee, as there had never been that type of request before of the City. Member Lorenzo said it is important to have consistency. She said that the City needs an explanation in how it calculates its numbers. Mr. Pearson said the fee calculation represents administration’s best estimate of cost, based upon what Mr. Fisher has expended and what administration estimates will be expended. There is no precedent for this in the City, so this would be setting the benchmark to work from.
Member Lorenzo noted that administrative costs are being included in other SAD’s like SAD 170, and said she was thus curious how the $750 administrative cost was arrived at. Ms. Smith-Roy said this was primarily derived from an estimate that Mr. Fisher had provided based on the total cost, slightly over $5,000. That amount was divided amongst the 7 agreements, and $750 is the proportional share to each of those agreements. The administrative fees were maintained for connection charges, so those were not waived.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if there was a particular circumstance or arrangement that predicated this request. Ms. Smith-Roy said a developer approached the City and asked if the City could do something. The developer approached Providence Hospital, and they then approached the City with this proposal.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-08-284 Yeas: Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Bononi, Capello
14. Approval to award the contract to Farrow Group, the low bidder, in the amount of $16,900 for demolition of City-owned building at 43726 Grand River Avenue.
CM-03-08-285 Moved by Sanghvi, seconded by Csordas; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve contract to Farrow Group, the low bidder, in the amount of $16,900 for demolition of City-owned building at 43726 Grand River Avenue.
Member Lorenzo said the cover sheet indicated that the condition of the building required maintenance for roof foundation utilities. She asked if this was becoming a dangerous building. Mr. Helwig said it was an eyesore and was becoming a cost-prohibitive building. Member Lorenzo asked if it would have cost more than the $16,900 to fix it, and Mr. Helwig said it most definitely would have. He toured the building some time ago, and they deliberately waited until movement started on Grand River Avenue to bring it forward.
Member Lorenzo said she would be looking for, at another meeting, what the City would do with the property in the future, what the appraised value of the lot is, and other information. Mr. Helwig said the area is an interesting oasis of open space on Grand River Avenue, and the building happens to be in the front.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if this item was budgeted for. Mr. Helwig answered that it was.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-08-285 Yeas: Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Bononi, Capello, Csordas
CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS FOR COUNCIL ACTION: (Consent Agenda items, which have been removed for discussion and/or action)
Member Sanghvi asked why the City was not using verbatim reporting for Council proceedings, like the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Planning Commission are doing, rather than having an edited version provided by the City Clerk.
Member Landry said he believed cost was the factor. His understanding was that the only reason the Planning Commission used verbatim minutes was that they had to get something done with a very short lead time, but this would be much more expensive than what the City Clerk is doing.
Member Sanghvi asked Mr. Schultz how important the City Council minutes are as a legal document. Mr. Schultz said that typically, city councils do not use verbatim minutes. From a legal standpoint, this is a two-edged sword. Sometimes verbatim transcript may be desired, sometimes the opposite of that may be desired. What Novi does, with its minutes prepared by the City Clerk’s office, is very much in line with what other communities do, and perhaps even has some more information than some other communities. Many minutes have been reviewed during the past few years, and he is very comfortable with their thoroughness. They have certainly worked for administration for the issues that have arisen. If there was an issue that needed verbatim minutes, it would be stated up front.
C. Approval of request from Post Bar Novi, 42875 Grand River, Suite 104, for an Arcade License with seven (7) machines.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if those arcade machines have violence warnings on them. She said she asked the question because she has seen video arcades that have very prominently-placed warnings across the top of a video game that suggests the game has very violent content, and that people under a certain age should not be using them. The Post Bar is an adult location, but she was still interested in knowing. Chief Shaeffer said he did not know the answer to the question because he did not know the types of video games that the Post Bar was proposing. He presumed that the games would be suitable for most ages, but could not be certain. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked to pass this on to Ordinance Review, or to obtain Mr. Schultz’s or Mr. Fisher’s input regarding a designation of what those arcade games consist of. Mr. Schultz said that Council could craft language that would fall within a regulation permitted by it.
CM-03-08-286 Moved by Sanghvi, seconded by Landry; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To pass Item C, Approval of request from Post Bar Novi, 42875 Grand River, Suite 104, for an Arcade License with seven (7) machines, to the Ordinance Review Committee for designation of what material those arcade games shall consist of.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-08-286 Yeas: Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry
G. Approval of Claims and Accounts – Warrant No. 655
Member Lorenzo said she pulled the budget item for Angelo Iafrate for the 2002 road improvements because her neighbor mentioned that she felt there was premature cracking, particularly at the edge of the street. She lives at the last house on the south side of the street before Bradford of Novi. Member Lorenzo asked someone to examine the issue. The neighbor said she had seen the problem all along the road at the edges. Member Lorenzo asked someone to examine the condition of the road before all money was paid to ensure there was no premature wearing.
Mr. Helwig said the item could be held pending its review, as it did not require processing that evening.
CM-03-08-287 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Sanghvi, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Claims and Accounts – Warrant No. 655, except the budget item for Angelo Iafrate for 2002 road improvements.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-08-287 Yeas: Sanghvi, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo
MAYOR AND COUNCIL ISSUES
1. Political Signs – Member Lorenzo
Member Lorenzo noted that the City is in an election mode, and she felt it was timely to clarify what the City’s ordinance is regarding regulation of political signs. She believed that the City regulates the size of signs, the placement of signs, and the time of placement of the signs. It appeared to her that Member Csordas is of the opinion that if a candidate is sponsoring an event, one can place a political sign at that event. She said it was her interpretation that a political sign is a political sign, and it cannot be placed in the City of Novi more than 30 days before the election. It was her interpretation that if she was going to sponsor a business or a hole at a golf course, she could note that it was sponsored by Laura Lorenzo, but she could not promote Lorenzo for City Council or any other office.
Mr. Schultz said he was not trying to deflect the question, but that this was a very specific question, and he wanted to give the item a very specific response. Member Lorenzo asked for the response before the next Council meeting.
Member Lorenzo said that with regard to the sign that was placed at the Music and Motor Fest, she questioned whether the sign met the size requirements under the ordinance, or if it violated any other ordinance requirements. She also asked who the sign was approved by, as the Novi News article quoted Mr. Fisher as saying that he never rendered an opinion, but Member Csordas said he asked the City Attorney and received an ok. She said it is important that all candidates are on a level playing field in this situation, and information to one candidate should be information to all. Mr. Schultz said his office would make the appropriate inquiries and if Council wished would put that in writing in a response.
CM-03-08-288 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Sanghvi; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To request information from the City Attorney about the future placement of political signs, including what kinds of signs may be placed prior to an election, when those signs may be placed, and size requirements for those signs.
Member Capello said he was not sure what information Member Lorenzo was requesting. He asked her to explain her request in more detail.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked Mr. Schultz if he understood what information he was requested to bring forth. Mr. Schultz said his understanding was for a general discussion of what kinds of signs can be placed, and to make an inquiry into the particular sign that was being referenced. He said he was unaware of what that sign was, but would research the issue to come to some kind of determination.
Member Lorenzo said she would like to know whether a sponsorship for a sign that is placed more than 30 days before an election could be in one’s personal name, or if it could be a "political sign." She said Member Csordas’ interpretation of the ordinance was that because his sign was a sponsorship, it was different than a political sign. She said her other question was whether a sign could be placed more than 30 days before an election on private property. She also asked for clarification on the specifics of a sign, such as the allowed size.
Member Csordas said he was misquoted in the Novi News.
Mr. Schultz said this was sufficient direction for his office.
Member Sanghvi said another question was whether the Music and Motor Fest had any kind of exemption from the sign ordinance.
Member Capello said that with the "sponsorship" of signs, there is a barrage of different types of language. The typical mayoral candidate sign that will be seen during the next few months is one kind of political sign. He questioned whether a sponsorship by "Kim Capello for Novi City Council" would be a political sign. A sponsorship golf hole of "Kim Capello, Candidate for City Council" may or may not be a political sign. He asked Mr. Schultz to examine these different types of options. It should be taken into account that the sign was on private property not visible to the general public. He said his only problem with Member Lorenzo’s proposed motion was the request of the City Attorney to render an opinion on an inquiry on a specific act of a specific candidate. It would be fine to ask for general information for the future placement of signs, but he would not agree to have this Council, prior to an election, inquiry the conduct of any specific Council Member.
Mr. Schultz said he basically agreed with Member Capello. His expectation was that the opinion letter would be a typical general opinion letter without a specific conclusion as to whether a violation occurred or not. Member Lorenzo said this would be fine.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-08-288 Yeas: Sanghvi, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo
2. Status of Westmont Village – Member Lorenzo
Member Lorenzo asked the status of the Westmont Village Pavement Report that was due at the beginning of June. Mr. Helwig said the revised due date for the document was August 29th. There was a meeting scheduled with the consultant, the City Engineer and the City Attorney for the Wednesday of that week to galvanize the Phase I information before the report was released. Administration’s intent is to obtain direction from Council on September 8th. This would be a discussion item, and is very dependant upon the quality of product that would be obtained during the week. Member Lorenzo said her concern involved communication. It was relayed to Council through an email that an explanation for the delay in receiving the report was that the consultant was having difficulty obtaining information that was needed. She said she wanted to know who was delaying providing information to the consultant. This was a communication issue because if the consultant had conveyed that to Council, Council could have applied pressure to the person or persons delaying the information.
3. Wizinsky Concerns Regarding Loading Dock and Overnight Trucks – Member Lorenzo
Member Lorenzo said she was looking for a legal opinion about whether or not the loading dock at the Target store is in violation of the City’s ordinance, whether it is in violation of Planning Commission approval, and whether it is in violation of the consent judgment. Regarding trucks parked overnight, Member Lorenzo asked for research whether a truck that is not delivering or receiving goods is allowed to park and sleep at the site overnight.
Mr. Helwig said he had talked with Mr. Fisher at length about these matters. Mr. Fisher has provided some answers, not in writing, that the City has authority in these areas. There was supposed to have been an important meeting at 1:30 that day with the Target officials from Minneapolis, who were also in town as a result of the deposition process. They called at 1:30 and said the deposition would take all day, so administration would reconvene the next day via phone. The City has been positioning its communications with Target that the company must be responsive to a list of issues that have been discussed with the Wizinsky’s. Target had told administration that berm work and screening wall work would begin in August, but August is almost over. He said he would have more to report about the item in the future.
Member Lorenzo said she wanted to make it clear that she wants to do whatever is needed to correct the situation. If that means placing a stop order at the property, not issuing a final certificate of occupancy, or whatever the City can do. Target has been given a lot of leeway, and the situation needs to be taken control of, one way or another.
4. Council’s Ability to Review Litigation Decisions of other Boards and Commissions – Member Capello
Member Capello said he would ask Council to ask the City Attorney to prepare a report for it to advise Council of its abilities to review decisions of other Boards and Commission that could lead to litigation, and if Council lacks that authority, what it could do to amend the Ordinance to give it that authority, perhaps some type of appeal process. He said the Beck North situation, and the situation that the City could find itself in within the next 60 or 90 days, brought this to mind.
CM-03-08-289 Moved by Capello, seconded by Csordas; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To direct the City Attorney to investigate and prepare a report of Council’s ability to review the litigious decisions of other boards and commissions and make a recommendation for amendments to the City Ordinance to provide Council with this authority.
Mayor Pro Tem asked Member Capello if by "litigation" decisions, he meant "litigious" decisions, which he replied was correct.
Mr. Schultz said he understood Member Capello’s request as for another informative opinion to Council about its authority to review decisions, if any, of other boards and commissions. If there is no authority, to advise Council as to how this authority could be given to Council. He said he could not comment at that moment about what the opinion or recommendation would say, but he understood the inquiry.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked why Council would want to do this. Mr. Schultz said he did not have a comment about this, as it was Council’s prerogative to make the inquiry.
Member Landry said he had no problem directing the City Attorney to provide Council with the requested opinion. It should be readily available information as to whether City Council can overrule a ZBA or Planning Commission. It would be educational for both Council and the public to recognize exactly what each body’s effective roles are. He said he would support the motion, as it would be interesting and informative for everyone to know this opinion.
Member Sanghvi commented that Council has taken this position in the past. Council sent a directive to the ZBA to give their opinion about a decision. It would be nice to know Council’s authority, because when he was on the ZBA, many of the members of the ZBA felt insulted by this directive from Council. If the ZBA is the "Supreme Court" of Novi, then Council’s sending a directive was not in order. He said he would also like to know the City Attorney’s opinion.
Mr. Schultz said he knew what Dr. Sanghvi was referring to, and understood the sentiment. He said it needed to be made clear that from a legal perspective, what Council had done was not a directive to the ZBA in the sense that was being implied. Member Sanghvi asked Mr. Schultz what he would have called Council’s action towards the ZBA, other than a directive. Mr. Schultz said he understood Dr. Sanghvi’s sentiment.
Member Lorenzo said she had no problem supporting the motion if it was simply a position of law that is well versed. She remarked that the process is what will happen in the Northern Equities Case, an appeal to Council. There is a woodlands appeal and a wetlands appeal. The vehicle which Council currently uses is an appeal.
Member Capello said his point was that it is not an appeal to the Council, but the matter would rather go to the ZBA, and from there it would go to litigation. Since Council is the ultimate decision-making body in the City, he would like to have some control over those types of situations before they end up in court, and before the City spends large sums of money on litigation.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said the question was well stated from a standpoint of legal interpretation and response. She said active oversight of other boards and commissions is a concern that Council must examine very, very carefully. The Zoning Board of Appeals has Mr. Schultz on site to recommend their actions when he feels this is warranted, as does the Planning Commission. She holds him to this responsibility. If he sees concerns, she would also expect to hear this from him. She hoped the interpretation which Council would receive would put this item to rest.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-08-289 Yeas: Sanghvi, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo
5. Resolution or Response of Letter from Simone Goode Regarding Sidewalks at Wixom Road between Delmont and Albatrose – Mayor Pro Tem Bononi
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked for a response to Simone Goode of 25530 Wixom Road, who requested a sidewalk. The Mayor Pro Tem asked if no sidewalks were required at the site at any time until now, if the placement of the sidewalks would require obtaining an easement from the existing property owners, and who would maintain the sidewalks if the City installed these.
Mr. Helwig said administration did not have answers to those questions yet. Inquiries such as this are being considered and provided to Council, so that it can see community needs when determining the next year’s budget.
6. Response to Letter of Terry Frasier at Chateau Mobile Home Park, her letter of August 18th – Mayor Pro Tem Bononi
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said this was a similar inquiry. There are consumer protection issues involved with the Home Park, but Ms. Frasier had written Mayor Clark on August 18th, asking if Council could provide assistance to her.
Mr. Pearson said the City has not yet formally responded to the homeowner’s association letter from the past week. There had been meetings with MDEQ officials and contacts with Grove Industry and Consumer Standards, which regulates mobile homes. The City would be in a better position in coming days to respond to the letter.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi suggested that when those letters are transferred to Council after being received, the paperwork be stamped with a note that administration is addressing it. That way, Council can inform citizens that their concerns are being addressed, and that their requests are not being ignored.
7. Presence of Security Blocks and Barriers around the Civic Center – Member Sanghvi
Dr. Sanghvi said he did not understand why the City has security barriers installed in the first place. He asked why the Novi City Hall is a target for any terrorist attack, as compared to the other City Halls in neighboring communities. He asked how many other communities have reacted the way that Novi has. Member Sanghvi said that if other communities have not installed similar barriers, he would like an explanation for why Novi has, and how long those would continue to stand. If the barriers are a long-term fixture, he would like to know what arrangements would be made to accommodate additional handicap parking close to the building. Soon, winter will be upon everyone and it will be necessary for handicapped persons to park closer to the building. He questioned whether the security blocks would be necessary indefinitely, and said it baffled him why they were installed in the first place.
Mr. Helwig said he was sorry to report a finding by people who were dedicated to public safety and the prevention of criminal activity, but administration did not subscribe that terrorist attacks such as those of Oklahoma City and other places, as well as other criminal activity, could not happen here in Novi. Administration feels that for the indefinite future, those barriers are very modest adjustments and safeguards. The City has been in communication throughout the region. Administration has not suggested installing metal detectors for City Hall as has occurred in the region, has not suggested a major expenditure of funds for redesigning the City grounds and facilities, and has tried to incorporate very modest types of prevention elements that help everyone to be more vigilant. He noted that Dr. Sanghvi had earlier commented that someone could drive on the grass, which is absolutely true. If someone drives on the grass, they would be much more noticed and dealt with than the more wide-open system that was in place earlier. The City subscribes to the belief that an attack could happen in Novi. Symbols of democracy are under attack around the globe, and citizens must be vigilant. Modest alterations have been made to prevent whatever can be prevented.
Dr. Sanghvi said he still had questions about how long those barriers would remain in place, and what would be done about lost handicap parking. He said a timeframe and plan were needed for addressing those security concerns.
Mr. Helwig remarked that the City is looking for alternative means to accommodate handicap parking closer to the Civic Center. He had committed to a report for the next meeting at the request of the Mayor Pro Tem. He said the barriers are for the indefinite future, and many winters.
Member Sanghvi said that, for lack of a better word, people need to get over the paranoia of terrorists and start living normal lives.
Member Capello asked if the City had examined opening up one of the sections with some kind of radio-controlled gate or television monitor, so that a senior could pull up and be allowed into one of the handicap spaces. Mr. Helwig said this had not been explored. Member Capello asked if this was something that was reasonable to look at. Mr. Helwig said any and all suggestions and directions would be explored on the item. Member Capello said it seemed that there would be some way to maintain protection and still allow accessibility to seniors, as it is quite a distance in the winter to reach the Civic Center from the parking lot for some people.
Member Lorenzo said she would not normally mention it, but some months ago Council received reports from an establishment in the City that someone tried to purchase an unusually high amount of chemical from which bombs could be made. The person fled and did not receive the goods, but it is not known what that person or persons were up to, or whether that could have been used in the City of Novi or elsewhere. Thus, it cannot be said that such an attack would never happen in the City. Novi is a suburb, but it does not make a difference if Novi is a suburb of Detroit or of New York. She said that a perspective about reality must be maintained.
Member Landry commented that at the risk of sounding facetious, he pointed out that since the barriers were put up, the City has not been attacked by any terrorists, so they must be working. He whole-heartedly supports administration’s concern, and believes that the administration is moving in the right direction in examining alternatives for seniors. Those two concerns can be melded and be addressed. He applauded administration for addressing those concerns, and said that if the City applies its efforts to finding relief for those displaced seniors, an answer could be found.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said that at the time of the recent power outages, no one on the Emergency Response Committee or anyone else knew precisely what was happening. She was grateful for every built-in security issue that the City had going. The Office of Homeland Security and other agencies are telling municipalities that they must consider security concerns. The barriers do inconvenience the City to some degree, but from looking at the experience of the blackout, those security concerns should not be disregarded. People should not live their lives in fear, but should understand security concerns. As Member Landry had said, the City can find a way to address parking needs of people who cannot get around as well. To simply condemn the security process is inherently unfair, and she would like to see the City continue in that regard.
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION - None
There being no further business to come before Council, the meeting was adjourned at 11:44 p.m.
Michelle Bononi, Mayor Pro Tem Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk
Transcribed by: Steve King
Date approved: September 8th, 2003