|View Agenda for this meeting
REGULAR MEETING OF
THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NOVI
Mayor Clark called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
ROLL CALL: Mayor Clark, Mayor Pro Tem Bononi, Council Members Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi
ALSO PRESENT: Rick Helwig – City Manager
Clay Pearson – Assistant City Manager
Rod Arroyo – Traffic Consultant
Tom Schultz – City Attorney
Dave Evancoe – Planning Director
Tim Schmitt – City Planner
Nancy McClain – City Engineer
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Member Lorenzo wished to add "Clarification of Election Sign Report" under City Attorney Reports.
Member Csordas asked to add "Unilateral Decision by a Council Member" under Mayor and Council Issues.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said that because of the length of the meeting agenda, she wished to withdraw her Item #1 from Mayor and Council Issues, "City Water Service Assessment and Action Plan." She wished for everyone to have the opportunity to hear the Council discussion on the issue, and it was too important an issue to be heard on a crowded agenda.
CM-03-09-290 Moved by Sanghvi, seconded by Csordas; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the agenda as amended.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-09-290 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi
1. Tribute to Ron Watson – 15th Anniversary of Motorsports Hall of Fame-Presented by Senator Cassis.
Senator Cassis noted that she and Mr. Watson served together on the Novi City Council during her first term, 1985-1989. Mr. Watson is a distinguished attorney, was a member of City Council during the major growing period of the City, and started something that will forever be a part of Novi. In 1987, Mr. Watson and a group of dedicated volunteers decided that in honor of the Novi Special, the City’s contribution to the world of motor sports, they would try to establish a permanent Motor Sports Museum and Hall of Fame. She also wished to thank another "great cheerleader of the community", Blair Bowman, who allowed for a temporary facility to be erected within the Novi Expo Center, which has housed the Motor Sports Museum.
However, above and beyond everyone else who has guided this endeavor, is Mr. Ron Watson. On this 15th anniversary of the Motor Sports Museum and Hall of Fame, the State Senate wished to commemorate the occasion with an official tribute to Mr. Watson and to all of the wonderful volunteers that have part of the facility’s success. The document was signed by Senator Cassis, State Representative DeRoche, and the Governor of Michigan, Jennifer Granholm.
Mr. Watson said he was glad that the tribute was made out to the Motor Sports Hall of Fame, and not just to Ron Watson, as the volunteers have truly made the Museum what it has become. He encouraged anyone to come and visit the Motor Sports Museum and Hall of Fame. The facility was generated only by the dedicated hard work of a number of volunteers, which makes it so amazing. The Museum and Hall of Fame is a cultural attraction that becomes available to a city only once in a lifetime. He thanked everyone for the honor, especially his friend, Senator Cassis.
2. Veteran’s Committee Recognition
Mayor Clark said that as Senator Cassis had noted, volunteers have made the Novi community what it is. Council has supported him during the past four years in recognizing the area’s veterans of the armed forces. In June, the men and women of the armed forces who served during the cold war and all following conflicts, as well as those with relatives serving in Iraq or Afghanistan today, were honored. That tribute would not have been possible without the commitment, dedication, hard work and effort of the members of the community who were willing to step forward and create that tribute. The City wished to recognize those people of the Veterans’ Recognition Committee with a certification of commendation. Herta Hopton, Bettie Johnson, Carolyn Pohlman, Naomi Ruyle for David Ruyle, Robert Stone, Linda Wickert, Brenda Evans, Pauline Druschel, Elizabeth Boron, Rolland Heaton, Isabel Collins, Diane Clark, Debbie McClain, and Russ Inman all received recognition.
1. Public Hearing for Special Assessment District Number 165 – Connemara Hills Limited Water Main Extension
Michael Czarniecki, 45332 Byrne, said he proposed in a packet that he submitted to Council that there were 2 concerns or considerations regarding SAD 165. The first was that the SAD was properly formed. The second was whether the cost associated with the project would increase the residents’ property values accordingly. He said the district was not properly formed, in that the required petition must contain a description of the boundaries and signatures of property owners whose aggregate property value amount to 51% of the total assessed value in the district. In the original petition that was signed, the description states "owners of property on Kilrush, Galway and Byrne, Section 34 of the City of Novi, petition the Novi City Council." There are 16 signatures on that particular petition. Based upon his research, there are actually 43 homes involved in the petition description. He said he did not understand how 16 homes out of 43 would amount to 51% of the assessed value. Mr. Czarniecki suggested that the City take a look at both Clinton Township and the City of Southfield, both which have good guidelines that outline formation around signing a petition, and which clarify this process. He said his attorney also submitted a letter to Mr. Fisher around this particular discussion, and to his knowledge he has not yet received a response.
Mr. Czarniecki said his second consideration was the high cost of the project. He questioned whether the project cost would offset the gains in the market value of the Connemara Hills residents’ properties. As the project currently stands, the SAD 165 would likely be one of the highest-priced projects of its type in the City’s history. Four factors cause this high cost, the first being the requirement to construct two water main connections crossing Taft Road. The second cost is the needed 300-foot-long water main extension. Three fire hydrants must be constructed and paid for by the SAD residents, but which will directly benefit homeowners outside of the district. Finally, because there are such a small number of property owners in the SAD, the fixed cost associated with the project are being divided amongst a smaller group. Though the costs for the project are high, common thinking suggests that those costs would be offset by the increase in property values resulting from the construction. However, what he has found through research is that when an appraiser appraises the value of one’s property, they do not consider whether a home has well water or city water. From his discussions with appraisers, they simply assume that there is water available. Regarding market value, he compared Northville Hills – an adjacent development – with Connemara Hills. Northville Hills currently has city water, but the per-square-foot cost of homes in Connemara Hills is actually greater than that in Northville Hills.
Mr. Czarniecki said he came before Council in April and asked to expand the SAD. Although Council had denied his request, he said he was told that if he could supply ample support for his argument, then the City would work with him. He waited for an opinion from Mr. Fisher, which took about 30 days, and Mr. Fisher’s opinion was that properties would need to be contiguous to be added to the SAD. As Mr. Czarniecki spoke with his neighbors, he said he found that homeowners bordering the district were not necessarily interested, and unfortunately this attempt did not reap any results. He said he did not want to prohibit his neighbors from being able to obtain city water, but he did not want to pay $12,000 for something that he already has. Mr. Czarniecki remarked that Council should terminate the SAD due to the improper formation of the district. He said that he wanted residents of Connemara Hills to work with the City Council to determine how city water could be brought into the neighborhood for those who want it, but at a cost effective price. Mr. Czarniecki said he had spoken with a resident who commented about her concern of pesticide contamination in her water. Her house is located 3 homes away from the current boundary of the SAD, but because a contiguous house could not be persuaded to join the district, her home could not be added to the SAD. There is interest in the Connemara Hills neighborhood in city water, but there are also concerns, and he felt it would be advantageous for Council to consider ways to offer a more cost effective solution for those residents.
Anthony Tomasso said he was the one who circulated the petition for the SAD. He submitted the petitions in July of 2002, and said that at no time misrepresented the boundaries of the SAD. He explained to everyone that he spoke with that there would be 16 members in the SAD. He started the petition because the overwhelming support for the district was on Kilrush Drive and its approaches on Galway and Byrne. After the petition was formed, another resident asked to be included in the proposed SAD, resulting in 17 members. Of those 17, 11 support the SAD, 5 are against, and 1 household is abstaining. Many of those supporters have waited 15 or more years for city water. He said that everyone understood what the boundaries of the SAD would be. The petition that he was given to fill out was not constructed to be a court document. Its language is rather loose, but it requires an accurate description of the SAD. He read a letter from Mr. Zarnicki to the City: "We, the undersigned, owners of property, section 34 of the City of Novi, do hereby petition the City to hold public hearings on the necessity of establishing a Special Assessment District relative to installing a water line and all the necessary pertinences, to service the fore mentioned properties, and to make necessary arrangements to create a Special Assessment District for the purpose of paying the costs of such a public improvement." Mr. Tomasso said that they had 100% participation for the petition, including Michael Zarnicki. Mr. Tomasso said he told everyone involved at the time that they were not locked into the SAD, but that this was to petition the City to find what it would cost to bring city water into their community. The Special Assessment District was not yet formed – it is formed at the first public meeting, and the petition clearly states this. The petitioners had their first meeting on February 24th. All of the names of all of the people encompassed in the SAD were included on the form from the meeting. No one was ever in any doubt about the definition of the district. The time for making an objection to this was at the first public meeting, before the Special Assessment District was established. No district is established before the first public meeting. Before that, the residents had an information meeting. At that meeting, they received an approximate estimate of what the cost would be. This SAD was designed to service the people who wanted it. Mr. Zarnicki was one of the people who signed the petition. The petition was an accurate description of the SAD. Mr. Tomasso concluded by saying that he has always acted with integrity in his dealings with people, and said he was open and honest in this matter.
Daniel Merchant, 21614 Kilrush Dr., said he had purchased his home in April, and though he did not know what his predecessor may have signed, his family’s feelings were not represented in the petition. Prior to this he lived in Shelby Township where he was grateful to have city water, since the water table there was polluted. As a contingent of the purchase of his current home, he required that the homeowner have the water tested, and those results came back "glowingly." He said he appreciated that during a power failure, he would have water so long as electricity was available, even though those on city water would not. Mr. Merchant said he would like to see the situation "stay like it is."
Brian Thorpe, 21718 Kilrush, said he agreed with Mr. Zarnicki. He questioned the methodology of how the vote was taken for the SAD. When a petition is made, and subsequent votes are made, the count is based upon the assessed value rather than the individuals who vote, and thus the vote is not weighted for one person, one vote. However, the costs are apportioned on the basis of one benefit unit. The benefit unit was decided as one household. Thus, his house has the lowest assessed value and his vote was worth 1/22nd of the total vote, but he was asked to pay 1/17th of the total cost. Taken to an extreme, if his house had been assessed at $2 million, they could have single handedly brought forward a petition, even if everyone else had voted against it. Assuming Council had gone along with the whole process, he could have then forced everyone else to pay a substantial portion of the costs. This is an unfair system, and because it is an assessment, there has to be a benefit derived in proportion to the cost. He maintained that the benefit derived is in proportion to the assessed value and not per household. He asked City Council that, assuming they pass the motion, to consider reapportioning the costs per assessed value, and not by household.
Chris Irving said he was the person who moved into Connemara Hills believing that he would have city water soon available. The SAD has a vast majority of people who want the water. He said that considerable upkeep for well water with salt and such would come close to the cost that residents are being assessed on a monthly basis over a 30-year period. He said that he and his wife were very hopeful for city water.
Omar Zarou said he agreed with Mr. Irving, his new neighbor. Both households are relatively new, and both have young children. The water that they have in their house often smells of sulfur. He asked Council to pass the SAD. He understood his neighbors’ concerns about the costs of the project. However, he said he would not even consider purchasing his house again if he did not have city water. He only sees positives to having city water.
1. SPECIAL/COMMITTEE - None
2. CITY MANAGER
Mr. Helwig noted that there was a very full agenda for the evening that had actually been shortened many times to reduce its length. He thanked several members of Council for helping to do so during the previous week.
Mr. Helwig said that he and Mr. Saven had been invited to tour the Novi neighborhood known as Chateau of Novi. He summarized in a report to Council their feelings of what was seen in the area in terms of it being very unsafe and unsatisfactory. There was a clear pattern of abandonment or deterioration in the neighborhood. He and Mr. Saven were hosted by Ms. Terry Frasier, the president of the homeowners’ association, and Mr. Jim Baxter, a resident. Ms. Frasier continues to provide the City with information. There has been a notice of non-compliance issued by the State regarding water quality and drainage issues. There is a review timetable coming up to look at this later in the month, as well as other construction issues. Responsibilities are very divided in terms of servicing this neighborhood and advocating for the neighborhood. He said the administration has every intention to have staff at whatever hearings are held this month to state what the City has found. Mr. Saven has had inspectors back on site, and with the help of the residents, they will try to reach a high quality outcome.
Mr. Helwig commented that as of that evening, the Ten Mile Road crosswalk close to the library has been functioning, courtesy of the Road Commission.
3. DEPARTMENTAL – Self-Funded Health Insurance Update – Tia Gronlund-Fox
Ms. Gronlund-Fox said that Council should have received a report in its Thursday packet that updated members on the process for going out to bid for self-funded quotes.
Member Csordas said that it was his request that the item be put on the agenda. It was his request to examine the possibility of self-funding to maintain the level of benefits for the City employees and retirees at a reasonable cost. He noted that he is in the insurance business, and remarked that the result was interesting. The result was very unusual in the field of health insurance today. The City currently pays $2.4 million worth of premium for Blue Cross/ Blue Shield health benefits, plus prescription benefits. Ms. Gronlund-Fox said this was correct, and this covers all of the City’s managed care as well. Member Csordas said the three best quotes that were received were from NGS for $3.4 million, or 44% more than the City currently pays; Mid-America for $3.09 million, or 29% more; and Blue Cross/ Blue Shield came in at about the same rate. Because of the City’s efforts and notice to Blue Cross/ Blue Shield that the City was going out to bid for health benefits, it appears that the City’s rate of increase for Blue Cross/ Blue Shield in the next plan year will be 6.45%. Though 6.45% is a lot, in the industry, the medical trend is that if a company like the City of Novi files no medical claims during the entire year, a 12.5% rate increase can be expected. The prescription drug benefit plan trend is 18%. Member Csordas thanked Ms. Gronlund-Fox and her team’s efforts for doing the research. Last year, the City received an 18% increase from Blue Cross / Blue Shield. There would have been no incentive for them to come back to the City with anything less than 18%, and he said that the company’s quarterly rates are increasing by about 22%. This is a savings of a lot of money for the City. He cautioned that the City must be very careful because "the bump" is coming in the industry. "The bump" implies that a company will keep a purchaser for one year by increasing the rate of increase by a small amount, knowing full-well that "the bump" is coming. He highly recommended taking the rate, because for another year, the City will save a tremendous amount of money.
Member Csordas said he was very glad that a memo about political signs was put on the agenda, since he was the subject of the memo. As a public official he expects politically motivated shots from time to time, and he understands this, which is why he did not say anything at the last meeting when Member Lorenzo brought up the subject. He said that now that the Attorney had provided a memo on the subject, he would like to discuss the issue. He gave the Music and Motor Fest sponsorship opportunity a lot of thought. After asking around and realizing that the opportunity was available for anyone, he decided to participate. The memo that the Attorney was about to review clearly states that the City Attorneys agree that he did nothing wrong. He was contacted at the last minute this summer to sponsor a hole in a hole-in-one tournament for the benefit of the Novi Lions Club. He was leaving for vacation that week and did not have much time, so he gave one of the members of the Lions one of his yard signs and paid the money to sponsor the hole-in-one. He was out of town the day of the event, but he assumed that the Lions Club put the sign up. Member Csordas said that, after reading the memo, it appeared that he made a mistake with this, and he apologized to Council for that. He said he was still happy to sponsor the Novi Lions Club any time he gets a chance, as they are a great club.
Mr. Schultz said that as Member Csordas had indicated, the City Attorney’s office prepared a brief legal opinion at Council’s request that addressed three general categories of issues that arose at the last meeting. The first issue was a statement of what the general requirements of the election sign part of the ordinance are. The second issue related to what constitutes an election sign, and this was analyzed as breaking down into three issues: one type, "Joe Smith for District Court" or such is clearly an election sign and would be subject to the requirements of the election sign ordinance; the second type is a sign indicating a candidate’s name but not necessarily indicating the office sought, which is open to the City’s interpretation of whether it is intended to convey advocating or opposing a candidate for office; the third broad category is the indication of just a name with no context of an election issue, which would likely not be permitted but would not be in violation of any ordinance. The issue of the golf course sign was not addressed specifically, as the zoning ordinance’s definition of a sign is that it must be visible from a public street. The last part of the opinion was a review of what the attorneys learned about the blanket waiver for the special event. Their position was that once someone "gets their nose under the tent" they cannot distinguish between messages.
Member Lorenzo asked for clarification that an election sign is a sign with a candidate’s name and a reference to the office sought, which Mr. Schultz indicated was correct. With regard to the private road/public road issue, she asked if apartments, condominiums and homes located on private roads have different laws for election signs than for those who live on public roads. Mr. Schultz said the zoning ordinance, under definition of a sign, indicates that a sign "must be visible from any public street, right-of-way, sidewalk, alley, park, or other public property." He said that a private road within a development that is open to the public and is used by the public would, for enforcement purposes, fall into that definition. On the other hand, a sign inside a building or on fully enclosed public property that is not visible by the traveling public may not be a violation, even if it is a sign. Member Lorenzo said she was simply concerned about public and private regarding residential properties. She said she understood that by virtue of a City Manager giving a blanket waiver, that waiver would cover all signs in the City, including business and political signs. Mr. Schultz said he was told that years ago, the waiver that was issued may have covered the entire City. His understanding is that the waiver really relates to the festival property. The City Attorney’s office wrote the opinion in a way that they were contemplating within the festival property. As a practical matter, there were voluntary or some requirements that limited the kinds of more offensive signs, such as alcohol-related and large inflatables, which were more or less adhered to. The attorneys suggested at the end of the letter that if needed, the waiver for the next special event could be contemplated. Member Lorenzo asked if the City could differentiate between allowing business signs within the area of the special event and political signs within the special event. Mr. Schultz said he agreed. Member Lorenzo asked how the City could ensure, under a blanket waiver, that political candidates are given equal opportunity to participate and sponsor the event. Mr. Schultz responded that Council has the ability to write an ordinance that sets forth standards that could distinguish based upon the type of a sign. The attorneys’ concern raised in the letter did not involve legislation or clearer standards. If a waiver is not going to be a full waiver, then the City needs to have clear standards. Member Lorenzo said her concern with this situation was that all candidates were not provided equal opportunity at the event.
Member Lorenzo asked Mr. Helwig if his office, to his or Mr. Pearson’s knowledge, requested any other waivers for any other non-profit or other special events in the City. Mr. Helwig said there have probably been a handful of such waivers for religious organizations that were having some type of event. He could not recall any such events that were non-religious. The Music and Motor Fest was clearly out of hand. At the start there was a yellow portable sign at Ten Mile and Novi Road that a number of Council members had commented on, and the signage spread out all over town – not just in the event area itself. An examination is needed to ensure that the signage integrity of the community is sustained, certainly outside the perimeter of an event. Member Lorenzo asked Mr. Helwig if he could predict what his policy would be for another non-profit or similar event which might take place before Council can discuss the item, since the ordinance provides the City Manager with the discretion. Mr. Helwig said that at this point, his inclination would be to not grant waivers.
Member Sanghvi asked why the citizens of Novi, as citizens of the United States, should be prohibited from expressing their right to free speech. He remarked that Council seemed to be trying to put a muzzle on the City’s people. Americans are guaranteed certain rights by the Constitution.
Mayor Clark said he agreed with Member Sanghvi’s remarks. He noted that the evening’s presentation honored the men and women of the Armed Forces who have risked their lives to guarantee the rights of Americans. Council should be very careful when proposing to limit political speech. He commented that Council should also be very careful about possibly putting limits on charitable associations like the Lions Club, which helps children and adults who are dealing with issues of the loss of vision. Someone might sponsor a hole-in-one on a golf course, which is a private function and is at a golf course that is not public property. He advised treading lightly when limiting the guarantees that others have fought for.
Member Capello asked Mr. Schultz if a business sponsorship of a charity golf tournament hole would be in violation of the City’s ordinance as an off-site advertising sign. Mr. Schultz said his position was that those types of signs are not defined as signs under the City’s ordinance. Those sponsorship signs are not typically regulated. These are a definitional issue in that they may fall within the definition of an off-site advertising sign, but does not fall under the general definition of sign. Member Capello said that the Constitution would protect a political sign under the 1st Amendment more than a typical business advertising sign. He asked Mr. Schultz if his letter stated that the City would allow a business advertising sign, but not a political sign. Mr. Schultz replied that the letter did not state this. Member Capello said he thought that Mr. Schultz had said a political sponsorship of a hole would violate the ordinance. Mr. Schultz said the sponsorship would first have to meet the definition of sign, which requires that the public has an opportunity to see the sign. Though the sign may fall into the definition of a sign by what is on it, it may not be regulated because it does not meet the ordinance’s definition of sign, and it is not viewed by the public. Member Capello asked if a political sign would be allowed for sponsoring a hole at a golf outing. Mr. Schultz said that among all types of other sponsors, candidates would also be allowed to do so, assuming that it would not meet the ordinance’s definition of a sign and was not viewable by passing traffic and the public.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said that when the Supreme Court can rarely agree on questions involving free speech, City Council cannot make any final decisions on that regard. As far as she knew for the Music and Motor Fest, candidates as a whole were not invited to place signs. While two previous speakers had stated that the opportunity was available to all, she said that the opportunity had not been made available to her.
Member Landry said he respectfully disagreed with the previous speaker. As the only member of City Council who sits on the Music and Motor Fest Committee, he said he could assure everyone that there was full opportunity for anybody to purchase a sign at the event. Music and Motor Fest would not turn down money from sponsors, and would not support or oppose candidates. Anybody who wished to purchase a sign could do so for the Music and Motor Fest. Therefore, there was equal opportunity for all.
Jeff Sherman, 24473 Cavendish, came to Council some time ago regarding Churchill Crossing. He noted that Cindy Uglow has been effective in getting specific lots cleaned up. He said Member Landry thought containers would be on site by Friday after Labor Day. Mr. Sherman had collected 45 out of 47 neighbors’ signatures from homeowners. He presented a packet of photos showing articles of trash at the construction sites, including pieces of that blown throughout the subdivision. They don’t want this to continue, especially through phase 2 of construction. He read Section 16-84 from the ordinance, which requires a dumpster on every construction site. All other subdivisions have clean building sites. He asked why the builders at Churchill Crossing have gotten away without using dumpsters. No phone calls or letters were ever returned to him by these builders.
Mayor Clark asked Mr. Helwig to have an inspector go out to Churchill Crossing and if there is non-compliance, they will be tagged to stop construction. Mr. Helwig confirmed that would happen.
David Bastinelli, Multi Building project manager, has been told numerous times that Churchill is one of the cleanest sites in town. He also took photos and had petitions signed of the area to display their side of the story. Mayor Clark asked if they had dumpsters on site, which Mr. Bastinelli said they did not. Mayor Clark responded it would generate good will in the subdivision to have the dumpsters.
Teri Frasier, President of Chateau Novi, noted the condition of the mobile home park has deteriorated. She listed the items presented to Council in their packets. The community has a devastating host of problems. Management has changed 5 times in the last 5 years. She urged the DEQ for the past 2 years to respond to these non-compliance issues. Mr. Helwig and Mr. Saven toured the community and their opinion is that the park has been abandoned and is in a blighted condition. The owners should be given 12 months to relocate. If the park is shut down for violations, homeowners would have the opportunity to pay their mortgages. No potable water is available for more than families, as has been the case for the last 5 years. Residents have requested assistance from Senator Cassis as well.
Beverly Dormo, Novi Camera Club, asked about the handicap parking taken away at the front of the Civic Center. She also asked why the citizens in the back of the chambers couldn’t hear what was being said. Mr. Helwig responded that it was being investigated to designate additional spaces near the building with an additional sidewalk.
Mel Karfis discussed the Northern Equities appeal item on the agenda. He stated many of the homeowners of Bristol Corners oppose the appeal in order to minimize the effect on wildlife.
Jason Roberts felt the current plan was not in the spirit of cooperation with homeowners and the proposed development. He felt over 2 acres of trees have been removed improperly and said residents there can see through the trees during the winter all the way to Wixom. He felt an additional 2600 trees could be removed. He was also concerned that the Planning Commission could be overruled in their decision to deny. He felt the current process doesn’t address their concerns such as opacity. His neighbors are also concerned about water retention.
Lori Piotrowski, 45716 Bristol Circle., requested that a better solution be developed so as not to destroy the trees when dealing with water retention. At the July 30, 2003 meeting, the Planning Commission denied the Northern Equities site plan. Residents want to protect their woodlands and she asked Council to deny the appeal for the storm water detention plan.
Linda Roberts, 30377 Balfour Dr, displayed an aerial view of where trees have been removed from the property. The tree replacement coincides with the placement of Nadlan Court. The tree removal has already affected them with the removal of a proposed 20,000 trees. She wondered about the approval of the roads and why this was being addressed now. They can see through this area 7 months of the year. The developer also applied for a berm waiver to the ZBA. She asked why they could apply now when they don’t know the effect of the waiver. Ms. Roberts inquired why the developer can use the city’s 50-foot easement. There is a storm sewer planned to go through the heart of the forest with 40-foot-tall trees. She asked about moving the utilities forward and away from the trees. She felt there were many reasonable alternatives to the street and utility placement.
Andrew Mutch, 24720 Taft Road, stated that the storm water management plan wasn’t addressed at the July 30, 2003 meeting. He supported the residents of Bristol Corners. The 3-4 acres would have 93% of regulated trees removed. He addressed the northern woodlands, stating there are around 14,000 trees and if 80% were removed with development, 11,000 non-regulated and 2500 regulated trees would be removed. He addressed letters from Vilican Leman from August 18, 2003. He felt Council hadn’t been provided the proper review letters. Replacements will be either on site, off site or payment in lieu. He felt the woodlands were improperly removed and the remaining woodlands should be protected. He asked Council to deny the appeal.
Scott Hallaron, 30361 Balfour, stated Northern Equities has removed many trees without permits. They felt Council should deny the permit as there were many alternatives to this development.
Kellie Hallaron, 30361 Balfour Dr., was concerned that violations of wetlands and woodlands have occurred without any response from the City. The road placement has been on advertisements since June of 2002. She displayed the ad showing where the trees were removed. The developers now want an additional 3 acres of trees removed. Also the proposed storm system has 4 acres of woodlands to be removed. They felt the system could be routed around the woodlands. She asked if the road could be built to the north. They are asking for the ordinances to be enforced. They only want the residents protected and protect the regulated woodlands, have preservation easements for those that abut the development, and direct water out of the woodlands. They should be unable to use the woodlands in the future.
Ronnie Hamel, Chateau Novi, displayed the water filter from her water system, severely rusted after one week. The filter should last 3 months. They’ve been told with each rent increase the owners would improve the water. They can’t sell their homes and they are prisoners there. They can only go under the State’s relocation program. They are concerned they will have no time to move. It would take $5,000 to move her home. There are 3500 people living in Chateau Novi. She asked for Council’s help.
Mike Hurwitch, 24120 Cranbrooke, asked about the Ten Mile and Cranbrooke improvement project and when it would be done. August 2002 signals were operational and he wondered about status of landscaping. He had left voicemail messages in May with no responses, and the plan should have been completed in June. He’s called 2 times, and no bid or contract for landscaping had been awarded. Plans had been completed one year prior. He’d asked for the stop sign post to be removed for over 1 year. Kathy Kendra was able to get the post removed within 3 hours of speaking to him. On August 15th, the plan was to have come to Council. He also felt that Mr. Helwig had been misled about the project being done. He noted that he had spoken with other Council members about this problem earlier in the summer. He asked when this project could be completed. Mayor Clark asked for a response by the first meeting in October.
Richard Aldridge, lives in Chateau Novi, noted he still owes $18,000 on his home and he can’t sell his mobile home. He’s been told he cannot move his trailer. People have been offering their trailers for $500 or even free and nobody wants to take them. He’s very concerned about what will happen to the people of Chateau Novi.
Kevin Brady, 24166 Cranbrooke, spoke about the timing of the light at Ten Mile and Cranbrooke. He’s called the RCOC but when the light is pressed to cross the street, the light only holds for 6 seconds. The light blinks on the weekend as well. He’s spoken with Oakland County as well. Mayor Clark asked Mr. Helwig to look into the timing issue.
Richard Atto asked Council to consider the Gateway East changes – some were changing from 125 to 250 seating, 902a4f, change to drugstore-pharmacy, change to food stores including deli’s, 902.10 except in the case of drive up banking services, 903.2.a.b, the height of buildings increase from25 to 35 feet, and the size from 25,000 sq feet to 35,000 sq feet. He also asked for minimum separation footage changed. Insert "reasonably" referring to maintenance agreement. 904d.1 uses within the district. He’s also asking for a footnote for density allowable to clarify a math calculation. 904g3 – Planning Commission shall forward its findings to Council without another public hearing. 9043d, delete loading/unloading – mixed use development (asking for flexibility). They would like a viable ordinance for the residents of the city.
Ted Minasian, spoke about the Gateway East ordinance. He supports the ordinance as it is the 5th draft. The ordinance allows 2 stories but limits the height to 25 feet. He agrees with the request to increase it to 35 feet. The buildings on Eleven Mile east of Meadowbrook are 38 feet as a point of reference.
Brian Bartlett, 45357 Jaslyn Lane, Westmont Village, stated that while the sub is 8 years old, the wear and tear on the roads and the chasms are appearing at every expansion joint. He noted there was an accident recently with a motorcyclist due to the roadway. The conditions of the road are not consistent with what you would see in an 8-year-old subdivision. He used to live in Meadowbrook Glens that is 35 years old and suggested a comparison.
Victor Cassis asked Council to look at some of the points brought up by Mr. Atto regarding the Gateway East ordinance.
CONSENT AGENDA (Approval/Removals)
CM-03-09-291 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Csordas; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the consent agenda as amended
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-09-291 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi
CONSENT AGENDA: (Background information for Consent Agenda items is available for review at the City Clerk’s Office)
A. Approve Minutes of:
B. Approval to award the landscape portion of the South Lake Court Storm Sewer Project to Gerich Landscape, low quotation, for $4,600.
C. Approval of Resolution Number 4 setting public hearing number 2 for Special Assessment District Number 168 – West Lake Drive Water Main Extension.
D. Approval of Resolution Number 4 setting public hearing number 2 for Special Assessment District Number 169 – West Lake Drive road paving.
E. Approval to Participate in the Traffic Improvement Grant 2003-2004, "Drive Michigan Safely Task Force."
F. Approval to accept the first renewal of annual report, community calendar, and staff newsletter contract on the same terms and conditions as the original contract with Dearborn Lithograph in the amount of $36,812.50, with a net estimated City cost of $29,312.50.
G. Approval to accept the first renewal of the towing contract with Keford Collision on the same terms and conditions as the original contract awarded in August 2002.
H. Approval to purchase 8" hydraulic blade and extra set of rubber tracks for the new Skid Steer from Michigan Skid Loader, Inc. for $7,550, the amount of their quote.
I. Approval to purchase a concrete breaker for the new Skid Steer from Wolverine Tractor and Equipment Company for $7,900, the amount of their quote.
J. Approval of Balancing Change Order No. 3, reducing the contract award by $116,086.20 and Final Pay Estimate #8 in the amount of $14,451.50, with Thompson-McCully Company for the 2002 Neighborhood Road Rehabilitation Program – Asphalt Roads.
K. Approval of Balancing Change Order No. 1 in the amount of $2,969.69 and Final Pay Estimate #4 in the amount of $13,888.63, with Angelo Iafrate Construction Company for the 2002 Neighborhood Road Rehabilitation Program – Concrete Roads
L. Approval of Claims and Accounts – Warrant No. 656.
Mayor Clark noted that Mr. Helwig would be meeting with the City Attorney the next day to pursue any option that the City may have available to provide relief and assistance to the residents of Chateau Estates.
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION – Part I
1. Approval of Resolution Number 7, Special Assessment District 165, Connemara Hills Limited Water Main Extension.
Mayor Clark noted that there had been extensive audience participation about the issue, and Council had also received a number of response forms. Linda and Anthony Tomasso indicated their support; Julie Cohen indicated support; Steven and Irene Zdan support the proposal; Donald N. and Anastasia Bourque support; Kim and James Hinman indicated their support; Linda Mulder indicated support; Judith McNeal also responded in support.
CM-03-09-292 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Csordas; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Resolution Number 7, Special Assessment District 165, Connemara Hills Limited Water Main Extension
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-09-292 Yeas: Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Clark
2. Approval to award construction of Special Assessment District 165, Connemara Hills Limited Water Main Extension to the low bidder, Mago Construction, in the amount of $168,331.95.
CM-03-09-293 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Sanghvi; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To award construction of Special Assessment District 165, Connemara Hills Limited Water Main Extension to the low bidder, Mago Construction, in the amount of $168,331.95.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-09-293 Yeas: Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Clark, Bononi
3. Approval of Zoning Text Amendment 18.154, to amend the Zoning Ordinance to create the Gateway East Zoning District which is intended to encourage mixed-use development, including multiple-family residential, office, and limited commercial land uses, and to authorize use of Planned Unit Development (Special Development Option) regulations. 2nd Reading.
Member Capello said that the entire ordinance had been revamped since it appeared before the previous Council. There has been some frustration seen in developers’ comments, but this draft of the ordinance was just about what the City wants to see improved, and how the City wants to see that area of Grand River developed.
CM-03-09-294 Moved by Capello, seconded by Landry; MOTION CARRIED: To approve Zoning Text Amendment 18.154, to amend the Zoning Ordinance to create the Gateway East Zoning District which is intended to encourage mixed-use development, including multiple-family residential, office, and limited commercial land uses, and to authorize use of Planned Unit Development (Special Development Option) regulations, 2nd Reading, subject to the following changes:"domonstrate" shall be changed to "demonstrate" on page 2; "0.25" shall read "0.275" on section 903A(2)a; 903A(2)b shall read "maximum building height should not exceed 35 feet"; subsection C shall be re-added to 904B, Mixed Use Development, with the language "A performing arts facility unconditionally dedicated to the public use, under separate agreement with the City, shall be considered a second use provided that it is a fully enclosed structure with a minimum of 500 seats"; the last sentence of 904G(1)c shall read "in accordance with Section 904H.4"; the word "available" shall be deleted from 904G(2)a; the language "following the public hearing" shall be deleted from 2A(3); In 904H, "(1)" shall read "1", "(2)" shall read "2", "(4)" shall read "4", and the number should be moved to the left; the performance guarantee bond amount shall be 100%; the maximum allowable structure height shall be 35 feet as stated on page 25, part V; 903A(12) shall clarify that carryout sales of merchandise produced on site shall be considered retail sales; the word "Council" shall be added after "City" on page 7; on page 9, the word "for" shall be added between the words "applications" and "Special Development Option", and the word "administratively" shall be deleted; the footnote 2 on the bottom of page 6 shall be moved to subsection 6(b), and "Major Thoroughfare" shall become 6(a).
Member Capello asked Mr. Schultz if this was the 6th draft of the ordinance, which Mr. Schultz replied he believed was correct. Member Capello asked if the date of the working copy was 8-18-03 or 9-3-03. Mr. Schultz said the 8-18-03 copy was the proper working copy.
Member Capello stated that he supported the motion based on some changes. On page 2, "domonstrate" should be changed to "demonstrate." On page 5, section 903A(2)a, "0.25" should read "0.275", which is consistent with the formula in the rest of the ordinance. 903A(2)b should read "maximum building height should not exceed 35 feet." On page 10, 904B under Mixed Use Development, shall add subsection C back in, with the language "A performing arts facility unconditionally dedicated to the public use, under separate agreement with the City, shall be considered a second use provided that it is a fully enclosed structure with a minimum of 500 seats." On page 19, 904G(1)c, the last sentence should read "in accordance with Section 904H.4". On page 20, section 904G(2)a, delete the word "available", which is simply clarifying Council’s intent to bring it to the next Planning Commission meeting. On page 21, 2A(3), the added language "following the public hearing" should be deleted. On page 22, 904H, "(1)" should read "1", "(2)" should read "2", so that these are consistent with "3" on the top of page 23. On page 24, "(4)" should only read "4", and the number should be moved to the left. The performance guarantee should be consistent with all other developments at 100% instead of 125%. The 125% was initially inserted when Council thought it could guarantee performance of the entire project and not just the improvements.
Member Capello asked Mr. Schultz if, as listed on page 28, Council must allow a fifteen (15) day period for the provisions of the ordinance to become effective after its adoption, or if the ordinance could become effective immediately. Mr. Schultz said the ordinance would take effect immediately only if it were some form of emergency amendment. The 15-day requirement is the State statutory requirement.
Member Capello asked Mr. Arroyo if on page 6, which discusses building setbacks, footnote 2 should actually become 6(b) for building setbacks. He said that #6 does not discuss building setbacks internally and from building to building. Mr. Arroyo said the table on page 6 covers all of the different possible road scenarios, though it may not be as clear as it could be. Member Capello remarked that he agreed with the road scenarios, but was concerned with the building setbacks. If there were multiple buildings internally on a site, he would be concerned with setbacks between those buildings. Mr. Arroyo replied that footnote #2 covered this situation. Switching the order of the sentences on footnote #2 might add clarity to the setback requirements. Member Capello asked why there was not simply a separate section which discussed setbacks from building to building, as there was already a section addressing all the different types of roads. Mr. Arroyo said this was an option, and the section could be added if Council desired it. Member Capello asked to move footnote 2 on the bottom of page 6 to subsection 6(b), and "Major Thoroughfare" would become 6(a). Mr. Arroyo suggested that for the sake of consistency, page 25 would also require amending. Part V, the amendment to the scheduled district regulations, would need the maximum height of structures changed from 25 feet to 35 feet to be consistent with Member Capello’s other amendments. Member Capello said he would include this with his changes to the motion.
Member Landry asked Mr. Arroyo if he would agree that given today’s developments, the 25-foot requirement is not truly realistic. Mr. Arroyo said he would agree that this would not provide for very attractive structures. The RM-1 district, the low-density multiple family district, allows for two stories with a maximum height of 35 feet. The amendment to the motion to increase the height would be consistent with this district, and it is reasonable for providing flexibility and design to go with additional height.
Member Landry said he wholly supported the enactment of the ordinance. Council and the City have worked on the ordinance for a very long time. The document has been discussed, passed through various committees and sub-committees, been reviewed by developers and City departments, and he said it was time to pass the ordinance to get on with development of that portion of Grand River. He said he would support the motion as stated with all the suggested amendments by Member Capello.
Member Csordas said he agreed with Member Capello and Member Landry that this was a major step forward to a part of the City that needs a good deal of help. The second paragraph of section 900A at the bottom of page 1 mentions quality of life issues. He asked Member Capello who would define "quality of life" for this part of the ordinance. He questioned the intent of that type of language, of "Quality of life issues inherent in the intent of this Ordinance."
Member Capello suggested that Member Landry could answer the question better than he could. Member Landry said the remainder of the paragraph addressed Member Csordas’ concern. The paragraph goes on to indicate that "Quality of life issues may include, but are not limited to, open space, sense of place considerations, land use adjacency, traffic flow and access management, building mass, building placement, siting and compatibility, architectural features, environmental resource protection and landscape design, lighting, and review findings by the Planning Commission and City Council…"
Member Csordas asked what the phrase "sense of place considerations" meant. Member Landry remarked that his interpretation of a "sense of place consideration" talks to the particular use and its compatibility with adjacent uses. The ordinance primarily discusses mixed-use developments, so different uses must be compatible with one another.
Member Csordas asked how the conditions set in section 902A(2), allowing sit down restaurants to have a maximum of 125 seats, compared to the existing NCC ordinance. He questioned whether 125 seats would be an appropriate size for restaurants locating in the City of Novi, and asked whether the number should be increased to 250. Mr. Evancoe noted that a number of restaurants occurring in the community are seating about 200 persons. The current NCC ordinance has a minimum capacity of 50 persons and 10,000 square feet. The ordinance does not actually specify a maximum seating capacity. Member Csordas asked Member Capello to increase the maximum allowable seating from 125 seats to 225 seats.
Member Capello said that he, Member Landry and Mayor Pro Tem Bononi wanted to prevent larger chain restaurants from entering the district. If the special development option is used, then the 125 seat restriction can be exceeded. However, a typical franchise restaurant could come in and set up a lone building surrounded by parking, which is why they wanted to keep the restriction at 125 seats.
Member Csordas asked to change wording of "Apothecary shop" under section 902A(4)f to "drugstore, including pharmacy" for clarity purposes. Member Landry said that as a principle permitted use, chain drugstores were not desired, and thus he would not be in favor of that particular amendment. Member Csordas asked for an actual definition of "apothecary", which Member Capello said was a pharmacist that did not sell additional amenities such as lawn chairs, beach balls, and other items.
Member Csordas asked for a definition of "charcuterie", which was listed as a retail business use under section 902A(4)h. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi noted that this was a term describing a meat cutter. Member Csordas asked if Member Capello would consider changing 902A(4)h to list "Food Stores, including Delicatessens and Specialty Food Stores" instead of "Specialty and gourmet grocers, charcuterie." Member Capello said the rest of the language was fine, except "Food stores", as he did not want to see larger grocery stores coming in instead of smaller town markets, which is being envisioned at the corner of Meadowbrook and Grand River. He said that he, Mayor Pro Tem Bononi and Member Landry were only trying to avoid larger grocery stores, and the type of use that could potentially come in at Grand River and Meadowbrook Road would fit in to the definition without any problem at all.
Member Csordas asked Member Capello if he would consider adding "Financial institutions with drive-through" under section 902A(5), which would feature automatic teller machines. Mayor Clark noted that ATM’s can be found in such stores as groceries now, so a financial institution would not be needed for that purpose. Mr. Arroyo commented that financial institutions were included under 902A(1), "office uses."
Member Csordas said he would "absolutely" support increasing the maximum allowed building height on page 5 from 25 to 35 feet. He noted that he also supported amending the maximum floor area ratio in 903A(2)a from 0.25 to 0.275 for consistency. Member Csordas asked Member Capello if he would consider a friendly amendment of increasing the allowed square footage of a single development in 903A(2)d from 25,000 up to 30,000 square feet. He referred to the western side of downtown Dearborn, which features a very nice development that he felt was the essence of what the City was trying to accomplish with the Gateway area. The Dearborn development allows square footage up to 30,000 square feet for a building, with two 5,000 square foot operations supporting a 20,000 square foot operation. Member Capello asked Mr. Arroyo why developments were limited to 20,000 square feet for a single business, or 25,000 for an entire development, in the district. Mr. Arroyo noted that this would allow a 20,000 square foot user to also be supported by either a 5,000 square foot business, or two 2,500 square foot businesses. The intent of these limitations was to maintain a smaller commercial area under the principle permitted use scenario, and potentially allow for more space if a company went through the special development option. Member Csordas said he agreed with the 20,000 square foot limit for a single business, but he was just looking for more support to that entity by changing the 25,000 square feet limit to 30,000 square feet. In essence, this would allow a 20,000 square foot facility to be supported by two 5,000 square foot facilities. Member Capello said he did not have a problem with the amendment if the seconder, Member Landry, also did not. Member Landry said he would not support the amendment. He said he would prefer to see that size of development go under the special development option.
Member Csordas asked language included under page 7, 903A(8), Open Space, "…useable open space and shall not comprise more than 10% of the required open space on the site; provided that up to 50% of the required open space may be composed of areas required to be preserved by City of Novi woodlands and/or wetlands regulations…" could be considered a taking. Mr. Schultz said he believed Mr. Fisher was very careful in his review of that language. The attorneys are comfortable with the language, and he said that this was a reasonable exercise of the City’s discretion. Member Csordas asked Mr. Schultz if he could foresee any legal challenges to the language. Mr. Schultz replied that in the absence of a particular circumstance where a developer is put in a position where they could make that claim, the attorneys are comfortable with that language. Member Csordas noted his concern about legal action.
Member Csordas noted that page 7, 903A(9)b states that "The City may permit a building height of 40 ft. at a corner…", and asked who or what entity "The City" referred to within the City. Mr. Schultz said that this was a fair suggestion, and said that some language could be substitute to indicate the approving body. Member Capello agreed to this friendly amendment. Mayor Clark asked Mr. Schultz if he wanted to "Council" immediately after "The City" in that statement, which Mr. Schultz replied was correct.
Member Csordas noted that page 8, 903A(12) states that "All goods produced on the premises shall be principally sold at retail on the premises." He asked how this would be defined to a place like China Café, which sells carry-out. He asked how this would be determined. Member Capello said this meant retail sales. What was not desired was to have a manufacturer there who might package things and sell them wholesale somewhere else. He remarked that carry-out would be considered retail sales. Member Csordas asked if language could be inserted into this item to clarify the intent. Member Landry asked to hear Mr. Arroyo’s comments about the subject. Mr. Arroyo said that language could be added to specify that retail sales shall include the sale of carry-out or merchandises purchased on site. He said the third sentence was truly of concern, to make sure that, if a bakery happened to bake a few goods and deliver them to an offsite location, for example, that this would not get out of hand. This would be permitted to a limited extent, subject to the review by the approving body. Member Csordas asked for language to be added to address carryout and delivery. Mr. Arroyo suggested adding a sentence to the item which would specify that carryout sales of merchandise produced on site shall be considered retail sales. Member Capello and Member Landry both agreed with this friendly amendment.
Member Csordas asked who would determine what "benefit", "recognizable" and "substantial" mean on page 9, under section 904B. Member Capello said this would be City Council, as it is part of the review process of the special development option. Member Csordas asked if the City had ever done a community impact statement, as it was listed under section 904B. Mr. Arroyo replied that the City has requirements for community impact statement in the site plan and development manual that kick in for certain projects of a certain size, and this would require that a project of any size in the Gateway East District would have to provide the City with a community impact statement.
Member Csordas asked if section 904D on page 11 implied that a developer would have to have a space leased in order to build it. Mr. Arroyo said that what would happen in this case is that the developer would likely provide the City with a list of intended users that would be marketed for that particular development. As long as the intended users came within the general description that was provided, the City would probably be satisfied. If it turned out that the developer began to deviate from this, then it would be up to the Building Department to notify Council for further consideration. Member Csordas asked Mr. Arroyo if he felt it was reasonable to require a developer to do this. Mr. Arroyo replied that he felt it was reasonable to get a general idea of the types of uses that are being considered, as long as it does not become an absolute list that must be specifically followed. He felt it would not be a tremendous burden if it was administered properly.
Member Sanghvi noted his appreciation for all the hard work that went into the ordinance, and also noted that he was not involved with the original drafting, and thus had a number of questions pertaining to the document. It is a wonderful idea to have this type of ordinance, but every ordinance is a legal document, and the meaning and intent of the language should be clear.
Member Sanghvi asked if the City owns any land in the Gateway East District area. Mr. Arroyo said he was not aware of any such land. Member Sanghvi noted that if this was correct, than the ordinance was essentially directing private property owners how to develop their land.
Member Sanghvi asked what "development technique" meant, as implied in section 900A, Intent. Mr. Evancoe answered that the phrase had to do with the particulars of how a site is developed. It might refer to anything from the landscaping that is used, the treatment of the building façade, or how a parking lot is laid out, but is any technique that a developer would use to create their site. Member Sanghvi asked if all of those particular items were ‘spelled out’ in the ordinance. Mr. Evancoe said it would be a very extensive list to do this. Member Sanghvi asked if "development technique" was open to interpretation, which Mr. Evancoe replied was correct. Member Sanghvi commented that the definition of what a development technique actually is was very vague. Mr. Evancoe said that the Intent section of an ordinance tends to be more general than further items in the document. Member Sanghvi asked if the first paragraph under Section 900A, Intent, implied that the Gateway District would be pedestrian friendly, which Mr. Evancoe replied was exactly correct. Member Sanghvi asked why this could not be stated more simply in the language of the text.
Member Sanghvi asked if the list provided under 902A, Principal Permitted Uses, was a "wish list" or a demand list for businesses that would locate in the Gateway area. Mr. Evancoe stated that this was simply a list of what is allowed in this particular zoning district. Member Sanghvi asked if this was more a wish list by the City, or a demand list by developers. Mr. Evancoe said it was a little of both, but was a list of uses that the City will allow to occur within this zoning district. Member Sanghvi meant if under 902A(1)b, "Medical offices, including laboratories (non-research) and clinics" meant clinical laboratories. Mr. Evancoe responded that his understanding of the intent was that these would be laboratories that would be incidental to medical offices and clinics, serving those clinics and offices, as opposed to a drug research company doing laboratory work. Member Sanghvi asked if an MRI or CAT scan machine would be allowed in the facility, to which Mr. Evancoe said he believed they were. A laboratory that did include extensive equipment such as for MRI and CAT scans would likely be at the high end of what was imagined to locate. More likely would be a laboratory where a person would have blood work done or lower scale lab work. He said he would have to defer to those more involved in crafting that particular language.
Mr. Arroyo remarked that any use that would locate in the district would be subject to Council’s interpretation of whether or not it meets the intent of the district. Council is left with the responsibility of determining what is "reasonable" for the Gateway area. This allows the document to adjust as time and technologies change.
Member Sanghvi noted that there are currently medical offices which are also capable of performing abortions. He questioned whether this would be allowed in the district. He asked if banks would be considered financial institutions as listed under 902A(1)c, and Mr. Evancoe responded that they are. Member Sanghvi asked if banks would be allowed drive-ins. Mr. Arroyo said he would argue that this is a customary accessory to a bank. Member Sanghvi commented that not many people leave their car at a bank to use an ATM machine. Mr. Arroyo said that Member Sanghvi had raised an interesting question: he had understood the ordinance as allowing customary accessory uses to those principle uses. That discrepancy should be clarified by Council, of what its intent is, because that language was originally intended to exclude facilities like drive-through restaurants that feature a drive-through window with much greater impact and have a different market than a local bank that might feature a drive-through window. If all drive-through windows are intended to be excluded through the ordinance, than this should be specified to ensure clarity.
Member Landry referred to 902A(10), which states that "Uses with a drive through window are not consistent with the intent of the GE District." He said that drive through windows would not be the intent, as this would be a mixed-use district with residential mixed in. His answer would be that drive-ins would not be allowed. City Council can decide to approve what it desires under the Special Development Option, but his understanding of the principal permitted uses was that drive through windows would not be allowed.
Member Sanghvi asked for clarification of "Publicly Owned and Operated Parks", 902A(3). Mr. Evancoe said that this referred to publicly owned parks which are operated by the City’s Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department. Member Sanghvi asked how this would affect the district if the City did not own any land there. Mr. Evancoe said this envisioned the allowance that if the City did own property there, so that if the public desired a park in the district it would be allowed.
Member Sanghvi asked if kiosks would be allowed under "news stands" as listed under 902A(4)b. Mr. Evancoe said that if this would be an accessory part of a bookstore, gift shop or news stand, it potentially could be allowed. This would have to meet such requirements as setbacks and others, however.
Member Sanghvi asked if a Tobacconist, 902A(4)d, would also be able to sell wine and liquor, or just tobacco products. He inquired if the tobacconist would also be allowed to sell gift articles like many other tobacconist stores do. Mr. Evancoe said that typically tobacconists are not limited to selling only tobacco products, and thus the store would likely be able to sell gift items as well.
Member Sanghvi questioned whether two categories, 902A(4)i, "Needlepoint, embroidery shop", and 902A(4)r, "Hobby and craft stores", were different entities. Mr. Evancoe said that a hobby store and a craft store can be quite different. For example, a hobby store could be a toy train store. Member Sanghvi asked if needlepoint and embroidery could not also be included under a hobby store description. Mr. Evancoe commented that while these items could be found in a craft store, they could also function as a stand-alone business.
Member Capello said he would have no objection to combining 902A(4)i and 902A(4)r. Member Sanghvi thanked Member Capello. Member Landry noted that he was the seconder of the motion, and wished to hear the Mayor Pro Tem’s comments about the combination of i and r.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said that i (Needlepoint, embroidery shop) and r (Hobby and craft stores) were decidedly different uses. Retaining these two separate uses provides great potential for presenting services and an environment, similar to what can be seen in a downtown Birmingham or Plymouth. She felt that the quality of merchandise that would be found in a specific needlepoint or embroidery shop might not be found in a hobby or craft store, which was the distinction between the two.
Member Landry stated that, based upon these comments, he would not support the suggested amendment.
Member Sanghvi asked why 902A(4)t, Antique stores, also listed "(not resale)" in its description, as he noted that antiques are items which are resold to buyers. Member Landry said the intent was to avoid a resale shop such as a resale clothing shop, not necessarily an antique store. That phrase, "not resale", is a phrase that would modify the term "antique" to distinguish between clothes and hard goods. Member Sanghvi suggested simply saying that no resale clothing stores would be allowed.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said the distinction was to avoid a consignment environment, which is a decidedly different type of antique store. Member Sanghvi asked the Mayor Pro Tem to define what an "antique" was. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said that by law, this was an item that is 100 years old.
Member Sanghvi asked if a church, a funeral home, a city hall, a post office, or an open-air theatre could be built in the Gateway District. Member Capello responded that a funeral office, a post office, and an open-air theatre could be constructed, but not a church.
Member Sanghvi noted that according to 903A(1), site plans are subject to approval by the City Council, and asked why the Planning Commission could not approve site plans, with appeals being sent to the City Council. Member Capello said that because this is such an important area of the City, all decisions should be made by the City Council. Member Sanghvi said he realized the philosophy behind this, but the same philosophy could also be interpreted as the Council becoming over-controlling. Member Capello commented that this is a very small section of the City, and after considering what parcels are left to develop, it is better for Council to control the review and approval process of both the permitted and Special Development Option uses.
Member Sanghvi said that because the Gateway District contains such expensive real estate, the height requirement set out in 903A(2) should be increased from 25 feet up to perhaps 40 feet. Mr. Arroyo said that there was actually flexibility in the height requirements. Under the Special Development Option, more stories can be added so that a building can reach up to 50 feet, which is one of the incentives for going through the Special Development Option. Member Sanghvi inquired why there were two different sets of height requirements. Mr. Arroyo said this had to do with the character of more urban places. There are often variations in building heights that occur over time. The Town Center District allows 65 feet as a maximum height. One of the thoughts was that the Gateway area should not be as high, but should be lower and build up to a higher intensity as the core of the City is reached. Member Sanghvi remarked that many urban areas feature buildings which are far higher than 65 feet tall. He did not want to build skyscrapers in the Gateway area, but wants to maximize the available land for development. If the area can grow vertically, it will maximize the property. He said he did not want to be part of an ordinance that becomes dead on arrival. He said the area would be made more worthwhile if it can grow vertically more than allowed in the ordinance.
Member Capello said that what Mr. Arroyo had said was exactly what he, Member Landry and Mayor Pro Tem Bononi were looking at, in trying to keep the Gateway as more of an urban village look, building up into the Town Center District. Increasing the height even more would defeat this appearance, especially with the setback on Grand River. Member Sanghvi said he did not agree.
Member Sanghvi said the cost of doing business in the Gateway East area could be further reduced. There is no reason that the speed limit on Grand River could not be reduced to 35 miles per hour in the area. He asked why there could not be specified loading and unloading times. All major cities in the world have fixed times for loading and unloading. He questioned why berms were being required in the District. Member Capello said that the language which Member Sanghvi referred to had been amended since the date of his draft. The language now reads "the establishment of landscaping and/or the placement of a berm or wall if there is a demonstrated need applying accepted noise and continuation principles is applicable." The rule is that there is no berm required unless a business comes to Council and has a reason for a berm or wall.
Member Sanghvi asked why water tables were not covered under 904B, Definitions. He asked if someone would be allowed a basement in the area. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said the plan set requirements require conservation service mapping soils types. In those mappings of soils types, seasonal high water tables are indicated for every soil type. Any applicant who would wish to come forth and make application would show on that plan what the soil types were, and the high seasonal water table.
Member Sanghvi referred to section 904E, and said the majority of items in that section were entirely subjective, and unquantifiable. Mr. Arroyo said that this was primarily referring to components of the site development that would be evaluated by Council. Member Sanghvi moved to page 18, 904G, and asked why only 20,000 square feet of floor area are allowed on a parcel of up to 10 acres, and only 1,000 additional square feet are allowed for every additional acre beyond 10 acres. Mr. Arroyo said this comparison was not applicable, since a retail establishment could add an additional 1,000 square feet for every additional acre, even though it is a mixed-use site, and allows for more retail development even though there may be portions of the site which cannot be developed as retail.
Member Sanghvi asked if, as stated on page 24 of the 5th draft, 904H(3)b, both the preliminary and final site plans must meet all requirements City’s Site Plan and Development Manual, 904H(3)b1, or if only one of the site plans must meet the requirements. Mr. Arroyo said both must meet the requirements. In the Site Plan and Development Manual, there are certain requirements that apply to preliminary site plans, and certain requirements that apply to final site plans. Evidence of market need for the use and economic feasibility is something that could be provided in the preliminary site plan and be repeated for the final site plan. If something changed between the preliminary and final site plans, it could be updated for the final site plan. A community impact statement would be required for the preliminary site plan, and would also be available for the final site plan if needed. A specific schedule of the intended development and construction details, including the phasing or timing, could be done on a more preliminary basis with the preliminary plan and finalized with the final site plan documents.
Member Lorenzo said her first question regarded 901A, Gateway East Boundaries. That section speaks to a map which appears at the end of the article, which did not appear. She also noted that different Council Members appeared to be referring to different versions of the ordinance. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said that she also had a draft dated 8-29-03 from Mr. Fisher, and said that Council needed to be very specific about which draft it was referring to. Mr. Arroyo said all of the drafts had "6th draft" printed on the first page, followed by "5th draft" on the second page on. Member Lorenzo asked why the draft did not have a map attached. Mr. Arroyo said the amendment does not propose to change specific properties; it is only a guideline, and there is no map amendment that was advertised as part of the document when it went forward with the Planning Commission or with public notice. He said the map was in the previous draft and likely was not reproduced for the current version. Member Lorenzo commented that it was a severe disadvantage to not have the map for review when examining the ordinance.
Member Lorenzo said she had very fundamental concerns about what the City may be doing with the ordinance. She questioned what the effects would be of rezoning of the north half of the district up to Eleven Mile from I-1 to mixed use, including residential. She said she was concerned with what this would do to the City’s tax base, and what it would do to the demand for City services. New residents to the City add increased demand for City services such as police and fire. Rezoning that area from I-1 would erode the City’s tax base, and she questioned why the City would want to expand the Gateway area into the Eleven Mile area. She asked if any fiscal impact analysis had been done for those changes, especially regarding the tax base. Mr. Arroyo said the area encompassed about 134 acres. A fiscal impact analysis had not been done by the City on the area, and this would be very difficult to do because of the mixed uses that are possible in that location. The area could be developed with mostly office space, or perhaps retail with some multiple and office. It is very difficult to make that kind of determination without knowing where the SDO will be implemented, where there will be a principle permitted use, and which uses would be allowed. He noted that the subject of multiple family development was discussed when he was working with the Committee, and this is something that was not included as a principle permitted use. Thus, multiple family could only be developed through the Special Development Option at the discretion of Council.
Member Lorenzo said that there would be a significant difference upon the tax base by developing different types of units on the site and asked why the City was not requiring any owner-occupied units in the Special Development Option. Mr. Schultz said that whether the ordinance requires owner-occupied or allows apartment-type leasing is purely a policy land use question.
Member Lorenzo asked how the Gateway area was supposed to support Main Street, even though the Gateway area was far more flexible for development. Main Street does not allow 20,000 square foot buildings. She expressed concern that the Gateway ordinance would kill Main Street, as the same uses of Main Street are being duplicated in the District, except the Gateway District is more flexible than the Main Street area. She asked if an analysis had been done as to how many restaurants and bars the community can practically support. Mr. Evancoe said this had not done because the market would bear out how many establishments can compete with one another. Member Lorenzo commented that this ordinance does not help existing businesses. She would not want to see any of the listed uses for the Gateway District if they did not support Main Street. She suggested removing restaurants from the ordinance and changing the boundaries especially to exclude parcels on the south side of Eleven Mile.
Member Lorenzo asked for the meaning of 904A(1), Intent and General Application: "The provisions of this Section 904A are intended to provide standards for the submission, review and approval of applications (for) Special Development Option projects (SDO), to be administratively reviewed and approved as authorized and provided in MCL 125.584b." Mr. Arroyo replied that MCL 125.584b is the planned unit development regulations in the statute. The language says that the administrative procedures should be followed for a planned unit development approval. Member Lorenzo said the language needed to be changed to read as to how Mr. Arroyo described it, because her interpretation was that as currently stated, Council would be granting the City Manager the ability to review the SDO’s. Mr. Arroyo said the word "administratively" could be scratched if Mr. Schultz agreed. Mr. Schultz agreed with Mr. Arroyo, as this was the RUD special land use provision of the State statute. The intent was that this would be a public hearing process. Member Lorenzo asked Member Capello if he would agree to the change. Member Capello said he understood that there were two changes: the word "for" would be added between the words "applications" and "Special Development Option", and delete the word "administratively", and agreed to these changes.
Member Lorenzo said that outside of her concerns, the details of the ordinance were very good, and gave credit to all who worked on the ordinance. She was concerned with the boundaries, uses, the mixtures, the tax base, and the demands on public services. She said the Gateway East Ordinance would not support Main Street, and she would in fact be very surprised if the Gateway area does not harm Main Street.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said that no one had ever discussed protecting existing uses from competition. Undo multiple uses might be a concern, such as too many bars, but the marketplace drives survival. Planning adverse uses in certain zones are discouraged, but she had no other concern. To say that Council wishes to support not only Main Street, but any other viable business area in the City, goes without saying. To say that Council supports Main Street to the exclusion of other areas is something that she has no interest in doing. The Grand River corridor is probably the most underused area of high profile real estate in the City. She did not believe that the City is responsible for the survival of Main Street as it exists. Main Street is a private development, even though the City approved the development for its land use. It is not Council’s responsibility to put all of the City’s support into one area of town, and this does not support the free market. Everyone in the ad hoc committee acknowledged that if they were going to be realistic, they would need to entertained mixed uses. To say that the Gateway East District will put an end to any other business area in the City is not correct.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi expressed some concerns about the status of the ordinance. She said that certain conversations with Mr. Fisher had not been included in the document. For example, page 2, 901A, Gateway East Boundaries, the absence of the Town Center/ Gateway District map makes the last sentence superfluous, "it is also the intent of this ordinance to include within the GE District properties located at the northeast and southeast corners of Meadowbrook Road". No other properties are called out in the ordinance. Though she understood the reference to the master plan for development, the discussions in the ad hoc committee did not include areas on the northerly side of Grand River, and she asked to have this clarified.
Mr. Arroyo said he was not a party to any discussions about the boundary. This language was added in with a draft from Mr. Fisher, and he was not familiar what the map boundaries were intended to show.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said the purpose of the ad hoc committee which consisted of herself, Member Landry and Member Capello, was to try to specify a discrete area that had some chance of actually succeeding with the listed land uses. This area was to be limited to region south of Grand River between approximately Marty Feldman Chevrolet and the intersection of Meadowbrook at Grand River, and there was also later discussion resulting from the preference of property owners to have the northeasterly intersection quadrant included in that boundary, as well as the southeasterly quadrant of the intersection of Meadowbrook and Grand River. Mr. Arroyo said it was his understanding that those property owners, when they came before Council, had asked that those be taken out. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi replied that this was another matter, and that she was referring only to the southerly side of Grand River. She said there was a map generated by the City’s GIS Department that shows the area which the ad hoc committee discussed that was not included in the information provided to Council. Mr. Arroyo was not aware of this map. He asked if the intent was to include everything south of Grand River from the east side of Marty Feldman’s over to Meadowbrook Road. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi responded that this was correct, and added that the northeast and southeast corners were included. At their last meeting, those corners were still included.
Member Capello said this was not what he recollected. Marty Feldman was always included because that property between Belle Tire and Marty Feldman was always discussed as being included in the Gateway because that is the only way that the parcel can feasibly be developed. There was also property north of Grand River discussed because the committee discussed whether or not to extend the boundaries up to Eleven Mile. The ad hoc committee agreed that at this time the boundaries would not be extended all the way up to Eleven Mile, but there were properties north of Grand River which were included, just not all the way to Eleven Mile.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said the agreement regarding allowing the northeast and southeast property quadrants to be included in that time was a compromise to eliminate the properties on the northerly side.
Member Capello said he did not remember this at all.
Member Landry said he could not recall the properties on the northeast and southeast corners being a compromise. He did recall discussions that were held in the subcommittee, that they did not want the properties on Eleven Mile to be included. He was unclear as to what the resolution of the committee was regarding properties on the north side of Grand River which did not also front Eleven Mile. He said he knew that these were discussed, but was unclear as to the resolution of the subject.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she remembered the property boundaries which were discussed very clearly, but would leave the subject alone. Regarding the uses that were proposed to be more accurately described, she had no objections. She felt it should be added that parking structures should be listed as permitted accessory uses when in fact they are not. On page 5, 903A(2)b, at the last committee meeting when Mr. Fisher was present, there was an extended discussion that the maximum building height should not exceed 25 feet. She brought up the point then, and Mr. Fisher agreed, that the chief building inspector should be consulted about that specifically proposed height of 35 feet. She did not see anything in the package materials to indicate that Mr. Saven was consulted, and he needs to be according to Mr. Fisher.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she had a question about language in 903A(2)d, commenting that the language lacked clarity, or that that the meaning of the second sentence needed to be explained to her. The sentence read "No individual retail sales or personal service establishments shall exceed 20,000 square feet of total gross floor area, exclusive of basement area leased and utilized by the tenant of the building for storage purposes." The language goes on to say "The total gross floor area of retail uses within a single development or site shall not exceed 25,000 square feet." She asked if she were to have a 12-acre site to build on, if she could only have 25,000 square feet of retail space total. This does not take into consideration the size of the site, and one of the specifics of the Special Development Option is to encourage the conglomeration of a number of awkwardly shaped parcels. She questioned how this would be an incentive either in a traditional site plan proposal or in a Special Development Option. Another number or percentage was needed. This could be in proportion to the size of the parcel. This would not be conducive to any kind of quality project, and she said this figure needed to be closely examined.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi noted that she had spoken to Mr. Fisher about off-street parking, shared parking, and a required agreement that provides a legal description of the site, access easements, and cross easements, which she did not see included in the language. The language which she had discussed with Mr. Fisher was a real incentive for neighboring properties which may develop at the same time to provide shared parking. Depending on the configuration of a parcel, they may not be able to provide their own parking. She said Mr. Fisher had agreed to this, but she did not see the language included anywhere in the ordinance draft.
The question was previously asked regarding page 7 about open space and why open space was allowed to be included regarding woodlands and wetlands. There was a subsequent question asked about the wisdom of doing so. If open space is allowed to include such natural features that are not ordinarily allowed in single family subdivisions, then those features can be preserved in a dense suburban project that is realistically based. The percentages included in number 8 were just fine.
On page 8, under streetscape amenities, the Mayor Pro Tem was able to have access to the Grand River Corridor Study, and she said there should be specific mentions in the streetscape amenities referring to the pages that show, for example, the luminaires that are specified that are able to match with the mast head design that is now being utilized at intersections around town. This lighting could act as a City signature. On page 10, Mixed Use Development, she had a conversation with Mr. Fisher who agreed that performing arts facilities were inappropriate uses in size and scope. If Council feels that an entertainment facility of that size is applicable, then it should be designated a permitted use, which it is not. She said there would be several other locations in town that would be ideal for that, but the land on Grand River would not be optimal for a 500-seat theatre or theatre art structure.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said that under page 5, 903A, Required Conditions, there is a requirement that says a parking structure must be physically attached to a building or in a designated off-street parking area within 300 feet of the building. She questioned why the parking structure must be attached to a building. For example, if she had a large parcel assembled and accommodated separate phases, she asked why she could not build a freestanding parking structure. Though this might work in some cases, it would not necessarily work in others, and she did not see the rationale in requiring this. This would be a site review decision, and she would like to see both of those allowed. The second sentence of item 3 refers to "parking provided within the building or attached parking structures shall be fully screened from public view." She asked if this was immediately possible. If the City is planning on allowing structures to be 35 feet high, and it is very easy for a parking deck to reach that high, she questioned how it could be required to be screened from public view. Mr. Arroyo said the structure could be partially screened, but not completely. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said this should be made clear.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said that on page 6, footnote 1 at the bottom talks about non residential uses abutting one-family residential districts, and the minimum building setback shall be 5 feet. The footnote talks about the juxtaposition of those buildings and how they will relate to each other. She had concerns about the separations and the relationships and whether or not they meet codes, particularly regarding window placement and the potential placement of exhaust fans and HVAC equipment. On page 7, number 8 under Open Space, there is a bold-type "AND, IF DUE TO TOPOGRAPH OR OTHER LEGITIMATE REASON, AN APPLICANT MAY REQUEST A REDUCTION IN THE AMOUNT OF OPEN SPACE THAT MUST BE USABLE." She said she was not interested in seeing this language included. If there was a hardship that was due to topography, that hardship claim could be made. She questioned why the word "legitimate" was being used, or who the applicant was to request the reduction from. Mr. Arroyo said he did not know the author’s intent, but it appeared by the way it was drafted that the reduction would be requested from the approving body, in this case the City Council. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said that to her memory, this was not discussed at the ad hoc committee. From the standpoint of the circumstances under which such requests may be made, she felt that this language was not acceptable, and asked that it be removed.
Beginning on page 7, number 10, Sidewalks and Bicycle Paths, she felt that Council should remove "all" from the language. She considered land uses which would not be compatible. For example, it would not be desirable to have a connecting sidewalk between an age-appropriate residential area and a bar. It would be Council’s discretion to determine where access is feasible and does not compromise security, particularly regarding areas where children may be present. The last sentence of item 11 would make more sense if it read "It is encouraged that such locations will be available for public use and enjoyment." Number 12, which refers to "finding by the City Council, after review by the Planning Commission" should read "after review and recommendation by the Planning Commission." Number 13 states that "All businesses, services or processing, except for off-street parking or loading and, where permitted, outside dining, shall be conducted within a completely enclosed building", which she said was contradictory. Mr. Arroyo said that though the sentence was a tad clumsy, it was not contradictory. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi suggested that the language could be made clearer. Continuing on item 13, she asked to have the phrase "in a specifically designated area" added to "loading and unloading shall take place in the rear yard". Whatever loading might occur should be specifically located, particularly in a tight, suburban setting.
On item number 16, Adjacency, Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked to insert the terms "proposed land uses" so that the phrase would read "The City Council may impose conditions in order to ensure compatibility with, and between, proposed land uses on adjacent properties." Including the establishment of berms and landscaping, she said that on the larger parcels, applicants may get together where a berm could be a useful and attractive visual feature. She said she would prefer that "berms" be left in for the purpose of how applications are handled.
The Mayor Pro Tem said she had a question about 904A(1)c, Providing Enhanced Housing, specifically what "enhanced housing" implied. She questioned whether there are any important historical or architectural features in the Gateway area as listed in 904B that would need to be preserved for the long term. On page 10, she said that natural features should include soils, wetlands, floodplains, water bodies, topography, vegetative cover and geologic formations, but the document does not list woodlands and specifically trees greater than 8 inches DBH. She asked that woodlands be included in the list of natural features. Regarding Community Impact Statements on pages 9 and 10, she said the assessments should not be required for all land within the TC and TC-1 Districts. Perhaps these could be required within a certain radial distance, but she questioned how the impact of all land within those districts would not be an undue burden. On page 16, a member of Council had previously added language that stated it was strongly encouraged that dwellings be designed and marketed for owner occupancy. This was not the language that she and Mr. Fisher had discussed – they were talking about requiring units to be owner occupied. From the standpoint of the quality and the viability of the neighborhoods that the City wants to promote, it is essential to require ownership.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said that she would support the ordinance with her amendments and those made by other Council members.
Mayor Clark noted that he spent 6 years on the Planning Commission, 2 of those as Chairman, 2 years on Council, and 4 years as Mayor. The only other item that has taken as much time as the Gateway East Ordinance is the effort that was expended in removing the nightmare of Sandstone off the residents of the City. He said Council has a tendency to want to micro-manage everything. In the real world, not everyone will be fully satisfied with the ordinance. If the City can finally get some development in that area, that development – whatever it is – will produce much more tax base than vacant land. He questioned where the idea arose that every new citizen in the community was a burden to the City. The Mayor said that he did not see restaurants hurting in the City, as most seem to have at least a 30 minute wait during the weekends. He advised passing the ordinance and letting the market dictate whether or not the District will function. Given what is in the ordinance, he felt the City would be pleasantly surprised, and the tax base would be increased.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi noted that she, Member Landry and Member Capello had met numerous times for the ad hoc committee regarding the Gateway East District, and said they had put aside their differences to try to reach a compromise on the document, and she wished to give Members Landry and Capello credit for those meetings.
Mayor Clark commented that all members of that committee, including Mayor Pro Tem Bononi, deserved credit.
Member Landry said that his understanding was that the motion made by Member Capello with the amendments agreed upon by both the maker and the seconder of the motion were being voted on by Council. The Gateway boundaries being voted upon were as stated in the draft being viewed by Council, which Mayor Clark said was correct.
Mr. Schultz said the first sentence was a reference to the master plan which shows west of Meadowbrook and both sides of Grand River. The second sentence identified the two parcels east of Meadowbrook. The final amendment was on 904A, the deletion of the word "administratively".
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said that given Member Landry’s comments, she was formally requesting that her amendments be included in the motion.
Member Capello said he could not accept the Mayor Pro Tem’s amendments.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-09-294 Yeas: Clark, Capello, Csordas, Landry
Nays: Bononi, Lorenzo, Sanghvi
4. Consideration of the request from Northern Equities Group to appeal the denial of a Woodlands permit, Wetlands permit, and Stormwater Management Plan for Beck North Phase II Corporate Park, located north of West Road and west of West Park Drive.
Mrs. Hallaron presented a photograph to the audience of the Beck North Corporate Park, showing an area of trees that she said were removed in April of 2000.
Mr. Stewart asked for reconsideration of the Planning Commission’s decision to deny a woodlands permit, wetlands permit, and storm water management permit for the Beck North Corporate Park. He said Council had received a package that included information from Northern Equities Group. The Group worked with staff and consultants and developed an initial plan that went to the Planning Commission on June 30th. That plan met the ordinance as written. They were asked to consider a loop road, which Northern Equities subsequently looked at and determined was not in the best interests of anyone, and staff agreed. The company was asked to reconsider the plan to see if it could be improved. Northern Equities again worked with City staff and consultants, and came up with some changes to the plan that improved it slightly, but greatly increased the costs for Northern Equities as well. A storm water line was rerouted to the street. A cul-de-sac was relocated back 150 feet to lie further away from the residents. The Group voluntarily agreed to increase the minimum setback next to Bristol Corners to 125 feet, providing an additional 25 foot buffer. The company agreed to plant a double-row of evergreens for their tree replacement obligation, and even agreed to plant 8-foot evergreens if granted a one-to-one replacement ratio. This would provide residents a nice additional border to what already exists. Northern Equities would like to put the evergreens in after the lots develop so that they can be watered properly and won’t be damaged during construction of the lots.
Mr. Stewart said that Northern Equities had worked very carefully with Dr. Tilton on its storm water management plan for the Beck North Corporate Park. The company developed what it felt was imaginative in that it uses multiple smaller retention basins to better disperse water in a "softer" manner. The company also instituted, at Dr. Tilton’s suggestion, aqua-swirls. He said that wetlands in that area do not store water, but rather have pass-through water. Water enters the wetlands, and outlets are set at specific heights which are the traditional water heights of those wetlands. Water comes in one end and comes out the other end. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) no longer allows for water to be stored in wetlands. At the same time the storm water management plan was submitted to the City, it was submitted to the MDEQ, which approved of the plan.
Mr. Stewart said Northern Equities was proposing to remove a net of 2.3 acres of woodlands. There are two small wetlands on the property that are proposed to be removed. Dr. Tilton had deemed that those could be mitigated. Those wetlands are depressions in the ground – they have no incoming source other than the groundwater that flows into them, and have no outlet. Those wetlands would be replaced, planted, and would then be more viable than the current two wetlands. The changes requested by the City’s consultants and staff have been made. Those changes would be ready for submission to the City on Wednesday, September 10th.
Mr. Stewart said that staff and consultants were all recommending approval for the project. Each lot that would be developed would go back in front of the Planning Commission for review, and that body would then determine whether or not to approve a plan.
Member Landry said that this was an appeal from the Planning Commission decision to deny a woodland permit, a wetland permit, and a storm water management plan. The Planning Department reviewed the situation and recommended approval. Tilton and Associates - the City’s wetlands experts - recommended approval. There was a woodland review by Vilican Lehman, which recommended approval. There was a revised landscape review, and this was recommended for approval. A traffic review resulted in recommendation for approval. An engineering review recommended approval. A fire review recommended approval. Finally, the MDEQ approved of the plan. There is a woodland ordinance, as well as the City’s general zoning ordinances. As Mr. Schultz had pointed out at the Planning Commission, the woodland ordinance cannot be used to deny the other general site matters. Since the original plan was submitted, the developer has moved the setback back an additional 25 feet, bringing the total setback to 125 feet. The developer agreed to plant 8-foot evergreens to decrease the sound and create more opacity. The cul-de-sacs were moved back 150 feet, and evergreens will be planted around those so that car headlights do not shine in. The woodlands ordinance, section 37-29 4A provides that it is the burden of the developer to demonstrate that there is no feasible or prudent alternative. A loop road was discussed as an alternative, and the Planning Department recognized that this was not a feasible or prudent alternative, would make the units exceedingly hard to design, and would lead to a requirement of yet more variances. It would not eliminate the units along the subdivision property line, but would in fact place more activity closer to the residents. The appeal was uncomfortable for any legislative or administrative body, and featured a classic land-use dilemma in land use planning and regulation. The adjacent residents’ concerns are perfectly understandable. However, the residents do not own the woodland in question. The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits a government from taking property through its land use regulations. All of the experts who have examined the situation have concluded that the applicant meets all of the requirements of the ordinance. Member Landry questioned how, therefore, the City could tell the applicant that it had not met the ordinance. He would love to tell the residents that the City can keep the area green, but Council has an obligation to the greater community. It is a difficult situation but Council has an obligation to the greater City, and cannot expose the community to another lawsuit.
CM-03-09-295 Moved by Landry, seconded by Capello, MOTION CARRIED: To approve the request from Northern Equities Group to appeal the denial of a Woodlands permit, Wetlands permit, and Stormwater Management Plan for Beck North Phase II Corporate Park, located north of West Road and west of West Park Drive.
Member Lorenzo said she disagreed in many respects with Member Landry. She had reviewed the application, and understood it to be a woodland application that was submitted as part or a complete preliminary site plan. As a member of the Planning Commission for 5 years, and a member of Council for 6 years, she said she would review the site plan and woodland permit in accordance with the site plan as she had in the past, and no differently. It seemed that roughly half of the property is wooded, and she assumed that the applicant knew the property was wooded when it purchased the parcel. Also, there has been some question as to whether or not the farming that was done on the property was reviewed appropriately by the City of Novi. She questioned this seriously, as the section of the ordinance which exempts farmland discusses compatibility with woodland ecology and being subject to the same review standards in section 37-29. Those standards speak to feasible and prudent alternatives. She felt that the City should have been reviewing this in that manner, and could have found feasible and prudent alternatives to where the owner could have farmed its property without impacting the woods. The property owner could have farmed, but outside of the woodland areas. The City should have, at the very least, allowed for the replacement of the trees lost to farming practices on the property.
Member Lorenzo said she reviewed the plan in accordance with the woodlands ordinance and in concert with the complete preliminary site plan that was submitted. Her feeling was that in reviewing all of the information, this half-wooded site must meet the City’s requirements. The site has a large wetlands complex on one end, another wetlands complex on the other, and she was concerned with how the upland woods will interrelate with those wetlands. One of the City’s consultants had previously reviewed this application and had shown that much of the land was listed as type B habitat. Member Lorenzo said that when she worked on the habitat master plan when she was on the Planning Commission, they had learned about the interrelationships of woodlands and wetlands ecology. Particularly with wildlife habitat, it is important to have both wetlands and upland habitat in order to coexist; particularly, many amphibians such as frogs need both upland and wetland habitat to survive. She questioned how the City would accomplish a plan that would preserve at least some of the upland/woodland areas in the site and bring those together, while still allowing the developer to build on its land. She felt that the City should adjust lots 17, 18 and 25, adjusting the unit lines so that they miss the woods. Additionally she suggested the complete removal of unit 26 so that adjacent to the large wetlands complex A, the City would have some upland woodlands areas in concert with that habitat. She suggested requiring, under condition, that unit 29 have its unit line moved 100 feet to the west. She would also like to see the storm water drainage line moved accordingly across so that the woods in the easterly section would be missed. If it was feasible for traffic, she suggested adjusting the bulb of Nadlan Court to miss the woods, perhaps in the other direction. Her main goal was to preserve some of the upland woodland and wetlands habitat in the area. The developer would still maintain 99.9% of the plan.
CM-03-09-296 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Bononi; MOTION FAILED: To amend the motion to place all woodlands remaining outside of the unit lines in a preservation easement, adjust the unit lines of lots 17, 18 and 25 to avoid the woodlands on those lots, remove unit 26, move unit 29 100 feet to the west, move the storm water drainage line to avoid the woods in the easterly section; place all remaining wetlands outside of any unit lines shall be place in a permanent conservation easement, drainage patterns shall not be altered to create adverse impacts to the existing vegetation, all consultants’ recommendations and conditions shall be met, and condition this approval on the availability of an approved site plan based on woodlands and wetlands permits.
Member Landry asked to hear the applicant’s reaction to the proposed amendments, and whether he would be willing to adhere to those amendments.
Mr. Stewart said the property is not 50% woods, but rather 8 to 10 acres out of about 62 were wooded. There are already upland areas, such as that east of lot 26, conceded for non-development. The developer had donated 50 feet around the perimeter to the City for a habitat trail, or about 6 acres. He said that the retention basin at the south end of the property could be moved in accordance with whatever Dr. Tilton would advise. Mr. Stewart said he would not give up a lot. The Planning Commission would have the opportunity to review each lot at some point in the future. There is no guarantee that all of the woods would be cut down. At one point a few years ago, the developer had a contract from a single user to use the parcel. The woodland falls within the required 25 foot setback from the wetland in units 17 and 18, which have now been joined as one lot, so this area will be preserved anyways and he would not object to moving the unit lines on those lots. He would not have a problem moving the traffic bulb. He said he would not cut down one more tree than he needed to, as those are trees that he must replace, which are very costly. He already had contributed $260,000 to the City’s tree fund during the first phase of the Haggerty Corridor development.
Member Landry said he would accept the amendment for moving the traffic bulb, but would decline the remainder of Member Lorenzo’s requested amendments.
Member Lorenzo said that she had made a formal amendment to the motion.
Member Sanghvi said he did not want to take any kind of precipitous action, and asked if the denial of a woodland permit and wetland permit, as well as the storm water management plan, was under discussion, or if the site plan was also under discussion.
Mr. Schultz said the issue was whether the Planning Commission correctly decided to deny those three permits – the woodlands permit, the wetland permit, and the storm water management plan. Council’s function as the appellate body was to determine whether the Planning Commission applied the requirements of the ordinance correctly in reaching its decision.
Member Sanghvi asked if the discussion of lot lines was pertinent to the official discussion. Mr. Schultz said the lot lines and amendments to how the lots were laid out was a site plan issue, and the denial of the site plan would be before the Zoning Board of Appeals the next day. The issue that was raised at the Planning Commission, and that was raised by Member Lorenzo, was whether the woodland ordinance related to the issues of lot or unit layout. His position was that the woodlands ordinance is related to cutting down particular trees. The items about lot lines do not really relate to cutting down trees for the utilities and roads, and to that extent he agreed that the lot lines issues were not truly related to the woodlands issue.
Member Sanghvi said the other issue that he noticed was about providing adequate screening to the residents. Come winter time, light will travel through the woods more brightly than during the summer. Planting evergreens may provide better screening during the winter than the woods themselves. He suggested appealing to the heart of the developer to cut down as few trees as possible. He was torn between the two sides, and said that sometime what is legally correct is not morally right. However, the City must abide by its ordinances and rules.
Member Capello asked if Council had any jurisdiction or authority over portions of the motion that related to site plan approval. Mr. Schultz asked Member Capello if he was referring to the motion to amend the original motion, and Member Capello said he was. Mr. Schultz said that lot lines were not clearly an issue under the woodlands ordinance. The question was cutting the trees for the roads and utilities. Regarding the storm water management plan, this was based upon the layout of the site plan. That issue, even though before it was before Council, really depended upon what happened to the site plan at the ZBA. It was not necessary that Council act upon a storm water management plan at that point if it went along with a site plan that was not yet resolved. Regarding the wetlands issue, there were likely some issues that could be addresses as part of an appeal issue. Mr. Stewart had indicated that he would work with Dr. Tilton on the basin issue. Mr. Schultz said the City must work by ordinances as to whether specific items could be included in the decision.
Member Capello asked if Council had the authority to simply grant or deny an appeal, or if it had the authority to renegotiate. He questioned whether Council had the ability to go back and grant a different woodlands or wetlands approval than what the Planning Commission did. Mr. Schultz said Council had the authority to affirm or reverse the decision, or modify it if there was an ordinance basis for the modification. The decision could be modified, but Council would have to use the ordinance standards.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked how, with the City’s current system of site plan approval, it extricated a storm water management plan as a stand alone review. Mr. Schultz said this was why he had indicated that Council needed to act on the issue in a way inextricably related to the site plan. If the site plan changes as a result of the ZBA’s action, Council’s action during the evening might be for naught. Council did have the ability to act on the item subject to the ZBA’s decision. Alternatively, Council could wait until the ZBA had acted on the site plan.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said her problem with this was in allowing a site plan approval for a road, and virtually nothing else that was required in a traditional site plan approval. Storm water issues are fully integrated with wetland issues and tree culture in many cases, depending on location and elevation. This is how the problem started, and she said this was not a clever way of circumventing many plan requirements and leaving options totally open for a piecemeal approval process. To suggest that Council look at any application that comes before it, and that it is intimidated by lawsuits, brings a black day to the Council table. The problems were caused by the allowing of the site plan approval for the placement of the road.
Mr. Schultz said the storm water management plan related to the displacement that occurred as a result of the roads and utilities, which are in the locations in which they are proposed for the reasons that Mr. Stewart had outlined. As each of the sites is developed, there will be separate site plans and separate engineering plans. The storm water issues that were before the Planning Commission related only to the improvements shown on the plan, which are no different than if the land were a subdivision. If there were fewer lots, this could be done as a lot split, in which case Council would not even see the development, but rather it would be done through the Assessor’s office. As currently formulated, this was not an unusual plan.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked what would preclude the applicant from coming in with a series of land divisions under the Land Division Act. Mr. Schultz said this was limited only by the number of splits that could be obtained. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said the greatest number that she had heard was 60.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi commented that the application had deficiencies. Developing any parcel of land piecemeal normally benefits a developer, and not the municipality where it is located. She had concerns about the manner in which much of the communication is couched. She had seen in many documents language that was not conducive to problem resolution. She found many of the comments as being argumentative from many points. The Mayor Pro Tem said she had growing concerns about the comments regarding the applicant had not provided certain information, particularly with regard to the woodland plan. No matter what vehicle the applicant chooses, this is not the place to design applications. There was mention made about MDEQ permits, but these were not attached to Council’s materials.
Mr. Schultz said he was not certain that he had personally seen the approvals from the MDEQ, but he could obtain copies if necessary.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she was simply looking for completeness in the document. The applicant had not submitted a landscaping plan with the tree replacement plan. They had indicated verbally that they intend to make a contribution to the City’s tree fund. The entire farming exemption was both interpreted and communicated to Council, which she was totally dissatisfied with. She said she had spoken with Mr. Fisher about amending the ordinance to see that the City does not find itself in that situation again. She asked if with regards to Ms. McClain’s engineering review, whether or not the preliminary site plan review meets the general requirements of chapter 11 of the Code of Ordinances’ storm water management. A July 21st letter referenced that only a partial set of plans were submitted. She asked if the partial status had changed, and if the City had greater information than it originally did.
Mr. Schmitt said that the Planning Department had received a thick stack of plans containing a complete engineering set for the road and storm water systems. Since that was not required for the preliminary approval, the Department suggested that the developer submit to the City the changes that were made between the initial preliminary plans and the preliminary plans which were in front of Council for the meeting. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if the Planning Department had actually received those changes. Mr. Schmitt said the City had not yet received the changes, as the final site plans had not yet been submitted. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if this was applicable information that was sufficient to the preliminary. Mr. Schmitt said the engineers were comfortable.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if Ms. McClain’s concern about the plan was about what areas produce what quantity of storm water discharge, and if this information was provided. Ms. McClain said that this information was provided, and the City was able to determine those areas.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she would make several references to a letter dated August 19, 2003, written by a Matthew Salsin. She asked whether he referred to trees that were being planted that may reduce any noise that may be transmitted in the residents’ direction, and what for a definition of meeting that concern from the standpoint of noise transmission because of 8-foot trees being planted. Mr. Schmitt said the assumption was that putting any opaque or semi-opaque item between a noise-producing structure or function and an area which would be receiving the noise would dissipate or alleviate some of the noise. At the time of the special land use approval for each of those units, the City would require a noise analysis in which case it could be determined whether some attenuation is being provided or whether additional screening is needed for the special land use approval.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said that page 4 of the letter mentioned a reference to the fact that Dr. Tilton had designed the site’s system. Dr. Tilton said he did not design the system. His company met and discussed some other approaches than a sedimentation basin. When he first saw it, the project used only sedimentation basins, many of them being constructed in woodlands areas. His advice was to consider an in-ground system in the road that would preserve the trees and provide something that could be maintained more easily. The second area which he assisted was the small forested wetland that borders Bristol Corners. He suggested not discharging any storm water into that wetland. That is a low-lying system and he was afraid that the water would be trapped and would kill trees. He was primarily concerned with the impact of the storm water management system on the wetlands, and some way to minimize the environmental impact of the storm water.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said that she and Dr. Tilton shared the same concerns. She was very concerned about the effect of the storm water management plan on the wetlands and not knowing how the parcels would be laid out gave rise to that concern. She asked if there were any other wetland mechanisms that Dr. Tilton would suggest could improve that particular plan set that were not already on the plan set. Dr. Tilton said that there were none at that stage of plan development. There are storm water techniques that can be used during site plan for each of the individual lots to ensure that the wetland systems are not being degraded. The upland-wetland complex also needs to be protected. At the present time, all the wetlands and their buffers will be protected, even as the next stage is entered to examine individual site plans.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said this continued to be of concern to her, and was not addressed by the separation of her original question of pulling the site plan process apart and approving different individual parts of it. She said that, regarding the landscaping plan, it was stated in item #10 that the applicant proposes to post a bond in planting the trees at a later date. The applicant says that it will agree to deliver to the City a conservation easement over the 50 feet west of the habitat corridor along the shared property line with Bristol Corners once the roads and utilities have been installed. She asked Mr. Schultz if the City could require the conservation easement now and grant the applicant a right of entry. Mr. Schultz said that that offer could be accepted if the applicant was offering this with the woodlands permit. However, it is typically done in connection with the site plan approval. The imposition of the easement is where the difficulties lie.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said the next section about landscaping discussed that the proposed installation of the 25 feet of evergreens on the property line will go a long way toward meeting the screening requirement. She questioned how effective this would be. The second-to-last paragraph states that "we understand the City is anxious to see the road completed." She asked why the City is anxious to see the road completed. Mr. Pearson said he did not want to speak for the applicant’s letter, but there is a requirement for phase I, which has been approved, that there be a second point of access to the north. The reference that was being drawn was towards the approval the City has already given that there be a second point of access to the north. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said that from the standpoint of the movement and the compromise that could be evidenced, she was not impressed with what she had seen. She questioned the argumentative tone in a lot of the information that was presented to Council. People who live a residential area that is next to a light industrial area can expect development to be there. However, she has seen developers deal with their neighbors in good faith and reach a happy circumstance, which has not happened in this case. She said she would be interested in supporting the amendment for the elimination of one of the lots, the reconfiguration of the other three, and if the applicant was willing to do this it could help create an amicable solution to the obvious disagreements. She asked the applicant to reconsider.
Mr. Stewart said that Northern Equities had met on several occasions with the residents, and had met with the residents in the first phase of the development, and had come to an amicable solution, which was implemented in the first phase. The developer was unable to do that in this particular case even though they tried. The Assistant City Manager was at one or two of those meetings in which North Equities attempted to reach an amicable solution to the problem. He was not willing to give up a lot, but was willing to give what he had indicated earlier – a straightened bulb, the corner of the woodlands and the wetlands on the lot in the northeast corner of the site, and to slide around the retention area and the mitigation on the southern end of the development.
Member Csordas said he completely disagreed with Mayor Pro Tem Bononi, and said he did not feel that the information which was presented was at all argumentative. He said he expected administration to present to Council what it felt Council should hear, not what it feels Council wants to hear. Council was presented simply with facts, which he appreciated. There was also a 9-page document presented by the City Attorney laced with phrases like "vulnerable to challenge", "difficult to defend", and others, which concerned him. He agreed with the original speaker that this was "Sandstone looking us right in the face." He said he appreciated the excellent information that was presented, as well as the manner in which it was presented, and he appreciated the Attorney’s opinion.
Mayor Clark said the developer is trying to comply with the requirements for the second access. Council had in front of it a consideration of an appeal from the denial of a woodlands permit, a wetlands permit, and storm water management plan. This was all Council had in front of it. Once again, the Council seems to be enthralled with the idea of micromanaging someone else’s property. Statements had been made that would seem to put a mantle upon Council that it is a developer, an engineer, or an attorney. He would not presume to practice someone else’s profession or tell other people how to develop their property, other than that they must comply with laws and ordinances. Council should deal with all three requests in front of it. He asked why the applicant should have to come back to Council dependant upon the decision of the ZBA. He said it was correct, to a degree, that Council should not be concerned with the threat of possible litigation. This is correct if the City knows it is correct and has strong legal grounds. When the contrary exists, the same type of attitude can be seen that gave a $75 million judgment against the City. The City’s zoning ordinances have been met. This is not an issue of whether a different standard should be in place. One who owns property is allowed to develop his property consistent with the existing ordinances, and not as someone wishes the ordinances might be. Both the Planning Department and all of the planning consultants have given a positive recommendation and direction to what the developer has proposed. What was brought before the Planning Commission was a full site condominium development showing roads, utilities and proposed unit lines. This is no different than a typical subdivision where buildings are not shown. Sanitary sewers were placed in this area with City knowledge and approval. The developer initially revised his plans because of resident concerns. He reduced the length of 2 cul-de-sacs, and added additional screening on the east property line. Again, the Planning Department and consultants recommended approval as being in compliance with the ordinances. In reviewing the Planning Commission meeting minutes, it appears there was a concern regarding "assumed tree removal." As each unit is proposed for development, there will be an opportunity to deal with the issue of tree removal. What was before the Planning Commission involved the removal of very few trees involving the building of a road and utilities. The woodlands consultant was satisfied with the developer’s submission. The City Engineers have indicated that the roads are more or less fixed by the placement of the sanitary sewers, which the City approved the placement of. Those were placed in an easement requested by the City. The road, as a practical matter, must follow the sanitary sewer. There is a legal theory known as detrimental reliance. The review of the Planning Commission minutes also suggests that since some unit lines were in densely wooded lots, that the plan was not feasible. With all due respect, if this argument were used, everyone would be crammed together on a narrow strip of land on the east coast of the United States. Most of Michigan was wooded at one time. Most of the subdivisions in which we live were wooded. The farms which grow our food were wooded. He expressed concern about the City’s vulnerability regarding its position in this case. There is no basis or standard requirement in the ordinance that would require differently configured units.
Mayor Clark noted that at a prior meeting, a suggestion was made to rezone a 50 foot stretch of land from I-1 to Residential. If anything would be arbitrary and capricious and viewed as a blatant attempt to push a development back that had already met all of the City’s ordinances, this would be it. Everyone is entitled to due process and equal protection of the laws in the City, including property owners and developers. He did not expend substantial time, energy and effort during the past 4 years to remove from the City the worst judgment ever rendered against a municipality in the State of Michigan, only to place it in serious jeopardy of another. Council has a responsibility to residents, both present and future, as well as those who seek to develop property in the community, in a fair and not an arbitrary or capricious fashion.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-09-296 Yeas: Lorenzo, Bononi
Nays: Landry, Sanghvi, Clark, Capello, Csordas
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-09-295 Yeas: Sanghvi, Clark, Capello, Csordas, Landry
Nays: Lorenzo, Bononi
Mayor Clark noted that there were a number of items that remained on the agenda, and commented that it was already 2:28 A.M. He asked Mr. Helwig if it was imperative that Council deal with items 10 and 11, which both pertained to Sandstone. Mr. Helwig said administration would like Council’s approval to proceed with the remediation. Mayor Clark suggested that Council deal with items 10 and 11 and then accept a motion to adjourn and carry over the remaining items to the next meeting.
5. Consideration of Amendment No. 2 to Maybury Park Estates RUD Agreement.
6. 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.
7. Consideration of Ordinance No. 03-28.49, an Ordinance requiring payment of availability fees (for Special Assessment District 170). 1st Reading
8. Consideration of Zoning Map Amendment 18.629, the request of RSM Development, LLC, to rezone the subject property located in Section 16 on the south side of Twelve Mile Road and west of Taft Road, from R-A (Residential Acreage) to OST (Office Service Technology). The subject property is approximately 9.86 acres.
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION – Part II
9. . Consideration of easement agreement to construct a 24" water main on International Transmission Company property, Parcel No. 22-16-226-013, located in Section 16, in the amount of $1 and application review fee in the amount of $10,473.
10. Approval to award the contract to Waterland Trucking Service, Inc., the low bidder, for excavation, load, haul, and disposal of soil from the 5.1 acres at a cost of $11.25/ton in accordance with the Sandstone Memorandum of Understanding.
CM-03-09-297 Moved by Bononi, seconded by Landry; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve to award the contract to Waterland Trucking Service, Inc., the low bidder, for excavation, load, haul, and disposal of soil from the 5.1 acres at a cost of $11.25/ton in accordance with the Sandstone Memorandum of Understanding.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-09-297 Yeas: Sanghvi, Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo
11. Approval to award the contract to Hydro-Logic Associates, Inc. for $48,500 for environmental services at the 5.1 acres to conduct sampling, data analysis, and reporting for the remediation in accordance with the Sandstone Memorandum of Understanding.
CM-03-09-298 Moved by Sanghvi, seconded by Landry; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve to award the contract to Hydro-Logic Associates, Inc. for $48,500 for environmental services at the 5.1 acres to conduct sampling, data analysis, and reporting for the remediation in accordance with the Sandstone Memorandum of Understanding.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-09-298 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi
Mayor Clark noted that Items 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, and 15, along with Mayor and Council Issues, would be carried over to the next meeting.
12. Discussion of the Westmont Village Repaving and Drainage alternatives.
13. Approval of Midas Purchase Agreement, Deed and Easement, cost $150,000, Parcel No. 22-15-200-018, for Special Assessment District No. 155
14. Approval of DMC Purchase Agreement, cost $149,923, Parcel No. 22-14-200-035 for the Twelve Mile Road GAP.
15. Approval of Redfern Purchase Agreement – cost $211,471, Parcel No. 22-14-200-025, for the Twelve Mile Road GAP.
CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS FOR COUNCIL ACTION: (Consent Agenda items, which have been removed for discussion and/or action)
MAYOR AND COUNCIL ISSUES
1. City Water Service Assessment and Action Plan – Mayor Pro Tem Bononi
Mr. Galvin said he was representing Dean Gould. He said he was present to speak about the next three items which were to be considered by Council, and would like a full Council for consideration of those three items. He noted that Member Capello may request to abstain from discussion of the item, as he had in previous meetings, and he had also been informed that the Mayor may not be available at a future meeting. Thus, Mr. Galvin requested that those items be reviewed by Council, since Maybury had been informed by the City Attorney that at least one of them requires a super majority, meaning at least 5 members.
Mayor Clark asked which items Mr. Galvin was specifically referencing, which Mr. Galvan said were items 5, 6, and 7. Mayor Clark asked if those items could be discussed at the second meeting in October. Mr. Galvin said that the second meeting in October would be fine.
Linda Roberts said that the Hallaron’s attorney specializes in environmental law, and notified his clients that Northern Equities was not in compliance with the City’s ordinances. She questioned how different attorneys could view the compliance issue so differently. She asked if Council cared that no farming occurred and that many trees were taken down illegally, or if it planned any action.
Mr. Schultz commented to Mayor Clark that the City Attorneys had specifically addressed the letter sent by the Hallarons’ attorney, Mr. Howard, more or less point by point. Regarding the farming issue, the inquiry made by the Attorney’s office and by City staff determined that there were in fact farming efforts that occurred, and this presented a question as to whether or not there was a basis for ordinance violation prosecution. After an analysis of those facts and the ordinance, including the concept raised by Member Lorenzo of the fact that there is a reference to standards in the ordinance, a recommendation was made that Council and the Planning Commission focus on other aspects, including the possible amendment of the ordinance.
Mr. Mutch said he had not heard the answer to his initial question about the storm water management plan, and the fact that the Planning Commission minutes do not address an approval or a denial.
Mr. Schultz said that the minutes would indicate after the motion to deny the site plan was made the inquiry about whether a separate motion on storm water management was required came up. The City Attorney gave an opinion that there was no need for a separate motion. There was discussion about the fact that the denial of the site plan on which the storm water management plan was based resolved that issue and gave Council jurisdiction on that question.
Mr. Mutch asked if the same issue applied to the site condominium plan, which was also not referenced in the denial.
Mr. Schultz said that in the City Attorney’s opinion, there is no separate motion that is required for the site condominium approval. It is, by definition, a site plan that proposes a site condominium.
Mr. Mutch asked if the public would be able to review the Legal Counsel’s letter to Council, now that Council had made their decision.
Mayor Clark said that communications that go through clients are privileged.
Mr. Mutch asked if Council has the opportunity to release that letter to the public if it so chooses. He said that Council was asked to review the appeal based upon the City’s ordinance standards. The City’s woodlands consultant’s review failed to address specific standards required by the ordinance, and failed to provide the review required by the ordinance. He understood that the City Attorney’s letter brought forward issues of litigation, which he did not dismiss. However, Council has an obligation to represent the interest of all residents. By approving an appeal based upon incomplete information and a review that does not address specific ordinance requirements, this will likely result in litigation as well. Clearly, this plan will impact the residents of Bristol Corners. It would be unfortunate that by not doing a thorough review, the City is creating a problem not only for residents of Bristol Corners, but for all residents of the City.
There being no further business to come before Council, the meeting was adjourned at 2:42 A.M.
Richard J. Clark, Mayor Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk
Transcribed by: Steve King
Date approved: September 22nd, 2003