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REGULAR MEETING OF
THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NOVI
Mayor Csordas called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
ROLL CALL: Mayor Csordas, Mayor Pro Tem Landry, Council Members Capello*, Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy and Paul – absent/excused
ALSO PRESENT: Craig Klaver – Chief Operating Officer
Clay Pearson – Assistant City Manager
Gerald Fisher – City Attorney
Don Saven – Building Department Director
Doug Shaeffer – Police Chief
Glenn Lemmon – City Assessor
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Member Lorenzo added Mayor and Council Issues Item #1, to discuss the request from Westmont Village homeowners regarding the conservation easement.
Mayor Csordas noted that the City Attorney was to give a presentation on the item that evening, and suggested that the suggested addition be listed as tentative.
Member Lorenzo said that her addition was actually a request from the homeowners that may or may not be addressed that evening.
CM-04-04-112 Moved by Gatt, seconded by Nagy; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the agenda as amended.
Voice Vote on CM-04-04-112 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
1. Proclamation for Paralyzed Veterans of America Awareness Week - April 11-17
Mayor Csordas read a proclamation for Paralyzed Veterans of America Awareness Week.
The community was invited to, on April 15th from 12 o’clock until 4 o’clock; attend the open house for the Paralyzed Veterans of America on Grand River across from Glenda’s Nursery. It was asked to remember veterans and their loved ones, as they are making the ultimate sacrifice.
2. Appreciation plaque for Linda Krieger for volunteer service on the Novi Library Board
Mayor Csordas presented a presentation to Ms. Krieger for her service on the Library Board.
3. Proclamation declaring April as National Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month.
Mayor Csordas read a proclamation stating that April is National Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month. All citizens, community agencies, organizations and businesses are called on to increase efforts to prevent child abuse, thus strengthening the community.
4. Proclamation for Building Safety Week April 4-11
Mayor Csordas presented the proclamation for Building Safety Week, April 4-11, to Don Saven, the director of the building department.
Mr. Saven commented that Building Safety Week is very integral to this community. Novi is on the move and has a lot of building going on. Those who have homes and businesses in the community can stop by the building department and pick up brochures to help with building safety in structures.
Mayor Csordas noted that the City receives letters on occasion from developers thanking Mr. Saven and the building department for the great job that they do.
5. Post Bar and Grill – Jim Dales and John Thompson
Mayor Csordas said the representatives from the Post Bar and Grill were not able to make that evening’s meeting.
6. Proclamation to Proprietor Chad Wilson of the Novi Outback Steakhouse for providing food to soldiers: Operation Iraqi Freedom – Senator Cassis
Mayor Csordas said that this item would be skipped until Senator Cassis arrived at the meeting.
1. SPECIAL/COMMITTEE - None
2. CITY MANAGER - None
3. DEPARTMENTAL- Police Department Investigations, Chief Shaeffer:
Chief Shaeffer said that he had the distinct honor of being able to present three cases that were actively investigated by the Novi Police Department that were remarkable and overwhelming. In March, Jared’s Galleria of Jewelry found itself the victim of a very heinous type of crime. The manager of the jewelry store found that her family was kidnapped, held under armed guard by a band of thieves who had robbed them, terrorized them, and threatened to kill the family if the manager of the jewelry store did not cooperate. The thieves forced the manager under gunpoint to drive to the jewelry store, disable the alarm system, and open the safe, where they took approximately $1.2 million worth of jewels from the store, and left the manager tied. While the manager was in the store doing this, her family remained hostage in the house under the threat of death. Officers investigated that crime, and 2 weeks ago the jury trial for the two principles involved in the crime ended with overwhelmingly guilty findings. One of the ring leaders alone was corrected of 11 felony charges stemming from the incident, including kidnapping, armed robbery, and extortion. That person will probably go away fro the rest of his life, as well as the other ring leader involved. There are still trials to take place for some of the minors involved in the case. He introduced to Council Lieutenant David Molloy and Detectives Vic Lauria and Mike Warren, who were instrumental in bringing that case to such a successful conclusion.
Mayor Csordas thanked the Chief and the introduced officers, as they make the community proud.
Chief Shaeffer said it was very appropriate that Council was recognizing Child Abuse Prevention Week that evening. The same three officers had the most stressful investigation imaginable. Ann Marie Shawley, a 2-year-old girl, was brutally tortured to death in such a heinous matter that every person associated with the case can say that they have never seen anything this bad in their entire life. The incident literally brought hardened officers and prosecutors to tears. It was only because of the same three individuals and the professionalism that they displayed that last week, the step mother of the poor little 2-year-old child was found guilty of 1st degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. The three officers deserve the credit for bringing the woman to justice.
Chief Shaeffer said the last case he had to report was an ongoing investigation, so he had to be "skimpy" in some of his remarks. A few weeks ago, the police received a call to one of the local hotels. Police officers responded there, where a lady was in the lobby acting very irrationally and that someone had been met with a great deal of harm in her room. Officers were taken to her room, where she opened the door for them. She pointed to suitcases, insisting that there was a dead person in the suitcases. The officers opened one of the suitcases and found it crammed full of cash money. It was because of their investigative efforts that the incident has resulted in the seizure of $4.8 million in drug money. Those two officers operated in an exceptionally professional manner, utilizing a great deal of skill in order to manage the case and bring it to where this kind of money could be seized. This is an ongoing investigation for a very large, detailed and complicated case. By necessity he would not introduce the officers by name, and was not able to show photos of them. It was because of their professionalism that the money could be seized from the drug lords and put into the hands of law enforcement and responsible citizens.
Mr. Fisher said that in 1999 in connection with the establishment of the Westmont Village subdivision, a conservation easement was established within that area for a relatively large open space within the subdivision. In the conservation easement, one of the paragraphs provides that the easement shall be binding upon the respective successors and assigns of both grantor and grantee, and shall run with the land in perpetuity. Language was also included that is not customarily found in these easements, though not without precedent, that the binding nature of the conservation easement would continue unless modified or terminated by written agreement of the parties. This would mean agreement between the owner, which was the developer of the subdivision, and the City of Novi, the grantee under this document. Since that time, taxes have accumulated on the property and have not been consistently paid. As a result, at some time in the near future, the property is scheduled to be sold for taxes. This morning, Mr. Klaver had called him and asked him to examine the question of whether this property is sold for taxes, whether or not the conservation easement would stay or would be removed as a result of the sale. He had examined that issue, and up through 1964 the answer would have been that the conservation easement would have been removed, including an easement that was given to a community. This was demonstrated in a case in St. Clair Shores in 1962, where such a tax sale resulted in the removal of an easement. However, after that case, the Michigan Legislature went to work and there have been amendments passed. The most recent of these came in 1999, and expressly provides that easements to municipalities remain and that, when property is sold for taxes, the sale is subject to those easements. In the event of a tax sale, this easement would remain on the property.
Mayor Csordas asked that if there are taxes due on the property, and the parcel is subject to sale because of that, if the City has the option of taking the property over and leaving it as conservation land.
Mr. Fisher replied that the City does have that option. The real question is whether the City wants to take on a parcel of that size and of that manner in view of potential liabilities and such. There are also issues that could arise in the event of a transfer, that both the charter and State law would give rise to questions of bidding the property and also maybe putting it up for vote of parkland prior to sale. There are complications in the event that the City would become involved.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry said given that there is a conservation easement that runs with the land, any purchaser at a tax sale would purchase the property subject to this conservation easement, and the only fear that the people living adjacent to the property is the language, unless modified by written agreement of the parties. One of those parties is, and always will be, the City of Novi. As long as the City of Novi refuses to alter the agreement, it will remain in perpetuity.
Mr. Fisher noted that this was correct.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry said he could also imagine somebody recalling what the City had done with the North Novi Park property, and thinking that if another Sandstone situation arose, the City might try to use this property as leverage and would change the conservation easement. If the people of Westmont decided to show up at the tax sale and were the high bidder, thus purchasing the property, they – being one of the two parties to this contract – could then approach the City and request a renegotiation of the agreement to remove that line so that no one could ever change the conservation easement.
Mr. Fisher commented that this was a very feasible scenario.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked if this could be done if the Westmont Village party was the high bidder.
Mr. Fisher replied that this was correct.
Member Lorenzo said the question that arose that day with regard to the particular request of the homeowners at this point is who the specific owner of the land is right now, or if this is in limbo.
Mr. Fisher said the owner of the land at this point in time is the developer, Westmont Development Associates.
Member Lorenzo asked if the City could still request from the developer whether or not they would be amenable to this change.
Mr. Fisher replied that this was correct. The previous week and the week before that, Mr. Helwig had asked him to make contact with Westmont Development Associates and ask them to agree to that approach. He has called several times to the company but has not received a responsive call. To date, he has not been able to get an answer, yea or nay.
Member Lorenzo asked if, given the lack of response, if this would continue until the time that the auction were to occur, the only alternative to the homeowners would be to try to bid or purchase the land.
Mr. Fisher replied that this would be a very viable thing for those homeowners to do.
Member Lorenzo commented that her questions for Mayor and Council Issues had been answered, so that item could be removed.
Mr. Fisher said that one of things that the Westmont homeowners would want to think about as they are forming any kind of group to purchase would be to make sure they have the ability to maintain the property. To purchase the land is one thing, but this is the type of property that will need to be kept free and clear of debris. There are ash trees on the property, and perhaps some trees near homes that are not as safe as the City would like. The homeowners would need some visible means of financing to do ongoing maintenance.
Member Nagy commented that a conservation easement is put in place to protect the land, not people. She asked if once the sale occurs, if the buyer has 6 months in which to pay off the taxes and get back the land.
Mr. Fisher replied that there is a redemption period, though he did not know how long this was for.
Member Nagy asked if at the present time the land is being maintained by the developer.
Mr. Fisher replied that he did not know what the status of the maintenance was.
Member Nagy asked who would enforce whether or not that land is maintained.
Mr. Fisher said that generally, this is between the property owners and the developer. The City probably does not do a great deal of observation. The real "foot soldiers" of such enforcement and oversight are the property owners, particularly those adjacent to the property.
Member Nagy asked why the association members, should they decide to purchase the land, could not keep the land a natural area and not have to worry about the maintenance. She imagined that the property is not the type of area with trekking trails running through it. Should the association members decide to purchase the land, she would not want to place an undue burden for maintenance on them, since she has not seen any maintenance thus far.
Steve Blazo, 24013 Westmont Dr., said he had contacted Oakland County Treasury that day. It was their opinion that as of April 1st, the Oakland County Treasurer’s Department is now the owner of that land because it has gone into foreclosure. With that being the case, he wondered whether that Treasurer’s Department should be called to see whether the City and the Oakland County Treasurer’s Department would be willing to change and strike the "unless modified in writing by the parties" language. This would at least afford the Westmont Village residents the perpetuity point of the green space clause. The ownership item could be worked out later. First and foremost, he felt that residents still had an opportunity to strike the language.
Mayor Csordas asked Mr. Fisher to confirm that statement.
Mr. Fisher said he would look into the statement to confirm it, but assumed that even if Oakland County does own the land, it would still be subject to the redemption rights. He could not imagine that Oakland County would want to make any kind of definitive bargain on the property until the redemption time was complete.
Mayor Csordas said the City would stay on top of the matter.
Rosemarie Denton, who lives in the Meadowbrook Lakes subdivision, wished to address City Council on the restaurant Hooters coming to Novi. She and her husband have lived in Novi for 12 years and are the parents of 3 teenagers and a grade-schooler. They feel very strongly that this is not the type of establishment that they want in their community. The Fountain Walk area is packaged and marketed as a family area. Over winter break, a full page ad inviting families to come to Fountain Walk was published in newspapers. She does not feel that Hooters is the type of family entertainment that belongs in that location. The police are certainly busy enough as it is with activities occurring from drinking establishments, and this is a matter of public safety. As a mother of teenagers, and just as herself, she does not want to go to that area with the clientele being men ages 25-54. She feels that the safety of herself and her teenage daughter may be threatened, and she does not want her teenage sons lured into that kind of a place. She asked Council to not approve the liquor license with a dance permit. Hooters is not the type of establishment that will enhance Novi’s image. She asked that Council vote against the item because of the economic and safety impacts.
Tom Marcus, 25914 Novi Road, requested that the City keep Sixth Gate/Paul Bunyan Drive open until it is known what will be developed next door. It would be much better for everyone if the City would work with those developers. His property faces Sixth Gate.
Gary Latham, 24010 Elizabeth Lane, wished to discuss the deteriorating roads in the Addington Park subdivision. There are just about 150 homes in that subdivision and the roads are about 10 years old. The roads are concrete but are falling apart. People cannot ride bikes on the road, and the roads are gaping with deteriorated surfaces. The homeowners contacted the DPW and asked them to perform pothole repair, which was done right away. However, the DPW can only fix major potholes and cannot permanently fix the roads. The homeowners were told that they needed to contact the engineering department to request an evaluation, which they have done. He wished to bring it to Council’s attention to include permanently repairing or replacing Addington’s roads in the budget.
Richard Clark, former mayor, said that it took something exceptional for him to be in attendance that evening. The request that he had to make was not for anything on his own behalf, but rather on behalf of a gentleman that on more than one occasion has been recognized as "Mr. Novi" – Tom Marcus. Mr. Clark has been in the community for 25 years and cannot think of another individual that has given as much of his time and talents to this community, from the children of the City to the residents of the City and the business community. Mr. Marcus has never asked for anything in return. Council heard Mr. Marcus speak several weeks prior, saying that his piece of property is really his retirement investment for him and his wife. What Mr. Marcus is asking is not a great deal – consideration from Council to keep Sixth Gate Road open until there are definite plans to develop that area. Mr. Clark said he would not be in attendance making such a request for anyone else, but he would for Tom Marcus because of everything that he has done for so many people in the community. He urged Council to strongly consider Mr. Marcus’ request.
Michael Meyer, 41088 Malott, asked Council to approve the request by Mr. Marcus. Tom and Thelma Marcus have been dear friends for over 20 years. He recalled that when he was on the School Board, one of their last acts was to present Mr. Marcus with his high school diploma. He hoped that the road might someday even be paved, but the current request for Council is to keep Sixth Gate Road open until it is known what will be on the other side of the road. The City needs to not only honor the young people in this community, but also the people who have gotten up in years and need to know that they are not being forced out of the community because of expenses. He asked Council to seriously consider Item #3 on the agenda.
Patty D’Annibale, 45426 Halston Court, noted that she also lives in the Addington Park subdivision. She wished to speak on behalf of several other neighbors that were in attendance as well. Her first concern is the safety of her children and other children in the neighborhood. Now that the weather is breaking, more children and adults are out going for bike rides, walks and jogs, and the roads are not fit for any of those activities, including driving a vehicle. Addington Park was the original subdivision west of Taft Road. As each subdivision was added to the west of Addington Park, including Westmont, Windridge and Wintergreen, Addington Park became a cut-through for those subdivisions to get to Taft Road. Until recently, both entrances of Addington Park were used as a cut-through for high school traffic in the morning. This has all been documented through requests for stop signs in their subdivision, as well as meetings with the City and school district to address the high school traffic flow. She showed a picture of how one of the subdivision’s roads was patched with tar two weeks earlier; the tar had already lifted off. The homeowners don’t need their roads patched anymore – they need them repaired.
Barbara Moy, 1327 West Lake Drive, said she did not know when Council would address her neighbors and friends about the tragic fire that happened the previous Wednesday night. People want answers about who was in charge that evening. She personally witnessed everything that happened that evening. A good friend of hers lost his home; another person lost his life. Neighbors would like to ask questions about who was in charge and things of that nature.
CONSENT AGENDA (Approval/Removals)
CM-04-04-113 Moved by Gatt, seconded by Capello; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the consent agenda as presented.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-04-113 Yeas: Csordas, Landry, Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy
CONSENT AGENDA: (Background information for Consent Agenda items is available for review at the City Clerk’s Office)
A. Approve Minutes of:
B. Schedule Executive Session immediately following the regular meeting of April 5, 2004 in the Council Chambers Annex for the purpose of discussing pending litigation (Paragon).
C. Approval to purchase 105 dozen softballs for the 2004 Spring/Summer Adult Softball League from JP Sports Inc., the low bidder, in the amount of $3,276.
D. Approval to award bid for lawn maintenance to Tri-County Landscaping, Inc., the low qualified bidder, in the amount of $30,975 for Meadowbrook Commons.
E. Approval to purchase one (1) replacement Sonic vehicle from Bob Sellers Pontiac GMC in the amount of $6,460.
F. Approval to purchase laptop computers and accessories for Police undercover projects from CDW-G in the amount of $2,305, State of Michigan Joint Purchasing/EDS in the amount of $616.50, and Dell in the amount of $5,106, low bidders; and sole source vendors D. M. Data/Archonix $14,160 and SBC $496 for a total $22,683.50.
G. Approval for Clancy and Associates, facilitator of the Sergeant Position Assessment Center, to hold a feedback session for all participants of the Assessment Center at a cost not to exceed $4,200.
H. Approval of Claims and Accounts – Warrant No. 670
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION – Part I
1. Approval of Resolution Number 4 for the Woodham Drive Water Main Extension –
Special Assessment District Number 171 receiving the roll and setting the second
Public Hearing for the project for May 3, 2004.
CM-04-04-114 Moved by Landry, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve of Resolution Number 4 for the Woodham Drive Water Main Extension – Special Assessment District Number 171 receiving the roll and setting the second Public Hearing for the project for May 3, 2004.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-04-114 Yeas: Landry, Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy, Csordas
2. Approval of Second Amendment to Consent Judgment in Sandstone v. City of Novi in order to approve the exchange of property to as previously contemplated by the City Council by Memorandum of Understanding approved May 5, 2003, and to conform provisions of the Settlement Agreement of June, 2002 consistent with such exchange.
CM-04-04-115 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Landry; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve of Second Amendment to Consent Judgment in Sandstone v. City of Novi in order to approve the exchange of property to as previously contemplated by the City Council by Memorandum of Understanding approved May 5, 2003, and to conform provisions of the Settlement Agreement of June, 2002 consistent with such exchange.
Mr. Fisher said that in connection with the discussions on this matter, it surfaced as part of the negotiations that Sandstone had purchased the property that was nearby the Block Grant parcel of 5 acres previously owned by Mrs. Zimmersman. As a result of that, exhibit C in this matter would have the effect of clarifying the right-of-way of the Block Grant property, in addition to the right-of-way immediately below the Zimmersman property. The City engineer is in the process of reviewing that description to make sure that it is accurate.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-04-115 Yeas: Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy, Csordas, Landry
3. Approval of Resolution to vacate a portion of Orchard Avenue/Paul Bunyan Drive, also known as Sixth Gate, located within the Novi Manor/Novi Garden Subdivisions in Section 23, the southeast quadrant of Grand River and Novi Road.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked if this is currently a public road.
Mr. Fisher replied that this is a dedicated, platted road that is on the books but is not improved as a road. There had been two earlier vacations; this property was not included in either of those.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked Mr. Fisher if he meant that the roads had not been dedicated and accepted in those vacations.
Mr. Fisher replied that he did not know as to whether there was a formal acceptance. His guess was that some activity had been taken on the property so that if anything, it is de facto.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked if the road is public and the City takes the action of vacating it, whether the land then becomes under the ownership of the parties on either side of the road to the middle of the former road.
Mr. Fisher said that this is the general rule. This particular case is an unusual situation because the property on one side was not part of the plat. Generally where a property was not part of the plat, the conveyance by operation of law does not go to that land, but only to the land within the plat. In this situation there is no property within the current plat because it has been vacated. The City’s review, investigation and analysis is that the property to one side, which would be part of a redevelopment project, had been part of the plat. Therefore, this land would pass to them.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry commented that this had been, but is not currently, part of the plat.
Mr. Fisher said the only thing that is essentially left of the plat is this road.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry said he could appreciate the uniqueness of this situation. However, there could be an argument by Novi Auto Parts or Tommy’s Tire that if the City were to vacate the road, they get half of it.
Mr. Fisher responded that he felt those companies could make the argument, though he did not feel that they would be successful.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry said his only point was that if the request was to vacate the road so as to make the condominium project more marketable, if the City were to vacate the land and half of the property goes to the contiguous land owner, it might make it less marketable. He said he could not support the proposal. Promises were made to Mr. Marcus. The current site plan shows the eastern terminus of Paul Bunyan Drive at a parking lot, and shows a parking lot roadway continuous. He asked if the City were to vacate this portion of Paul Bunyan Drive, whether any developer would be locked into this and thus required to keep the road open as Mr. Marcus had requested.
Mr. Fisher said he did not believe this was the case, which was why language was inserted into the language to accommodate the interest of the parties, pending a more specific development plan. There is no current development plan on the table. In order to serve as a placeholder until that happens and the City can work out the best interest of the parties, inserted was a reservation of an easement for public utilities, ingress and egress over the entire piece to the City. While the City is vacating the property, it is also reserving the ingress and egress on this plan.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked if this meant that if the City vacated that portion of Paul Bunyan that evening, whoever is to buy the land from Wells Fargo or whoever the mortgagee is, the City could always require that the road be kept open.
Mr. Fisher said he did not know if the road would continue to be a road, or if it would be a driveway, but it is certainly large enough under these circumstances to serve the purposes of those people in the area. He did not think it would be frontage as much as ingress and egress.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked if the City could require that the road be kept open such that a person could travel east on Paul Bunyan and gain access to Sixth Gate, or all the way down to Market Street; or, if this would be satisfied by simply having access from Main Street to proceed north and go out onto Paul Bunyan. He asked if this would satisfy the contingency that Mr. Fisher had suggested.
Mr. Fisher said that because this would expressly be for a reservation of ingress and egress, this would provide the continuous path from Novi Road to Sixth Gate. If the road did extend from the south up Sixth Gate, it would also connect with this ingress and egress easement. The hope is that the ultimate plan would come in such that the ingress and egress could be preserved for everybody and it would be consistent with the plan.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry said he would like to wait until Council sees the plan, and said he would not support the item.
Member Nagy said this item had come before the Planning Commission. She did not see any reason to vacate the road at all at this point in time, or in the future. The City is always contingent upon what the plan is. She would not support anything for which she did not know what the plan is.
CM-04-04-116 Moved by Nagy, seconded by Landry: To deny vacating a portion of Orchard Avenue/Paul Bunyan Drive, also known as Sixth Gate, located within the Novi Manor/Novi Garden Subdivisions in Section 23, the southeast quadrant of Grand River and Novi Road.
Member Lorenzo asked Mr. Fisher if, based upon the City Assessor’s information that Evergreen III or their successors have paid property taxes on this, whether those parties could claim adverse possession, and whether the City would be obligated to refund their money or approve the vacation.
Mr. Fisher replied adverse possession is a very old doctrine that provides that if somebody occupies land openly and notoriously for a period of 15 years continuously and exclusively, that they become the owner of that property. One very significant exception to that rule is that there cannot be adverse possession of a government road. He did not believe that adverse possession would apply in this case. In terms of the tax issue, if someone made a timely tax application to the tax tribunal for refund, the tax tribunal might provide relief if they were improperly taxed. However, there are no refunds going backward that would be forthcoming.
Member Lorenzo asked if Council had any obligation to vacate the property in conjunction with the condominium.
Mr. Fisher said this was really a matter in Council’s discretion. The anticipation was that the vacation was being promoted in order to allow for redevelopment of the land in that area. If Council were to find legitimate reasons to hold off and make a decision at a later time, then it could exercise its discretion accordingly.
Member Lorenzo asked if the condominium could simply be re-recorded with the County without the vacation. Apparently the condominium was supposed to include vacation, which is why the recorded document includes vacation that did not occur.
Mr. Fisher said the condominium would need the City to sign their master deed because the City would own part of the property.
Member Lorenzo asked if, were the City to do this, the condominium developer could record their document.
Mr. Fisher said they could, though he did not know if the City would want to do this because it would be taking on certain liabilities as a proprietor of a development.
Member Lorenzo asked if the developer needed the vacation recorded before commencing any type of a plan on the property.
Larry Griffiths, representing Western United Life Insurance, the owner of the property, said Wells Fargo owns unit 1 of the condominium, which is where the building is. Western United, through foreclosure, owns the remaining 18+ acres, which includes the easterly half of what is shown as Paul Bunyan Road. The City map does not show Paul Bunyan, but rather Sixth Gate. The part being discussed shows no road, with Sixth Gate coming down from the north. The City Assessor’s office has for years shown the property as being vacated. The title company obtained to insure the mortgage shows the property as vacated. Therefore, this is something that slipped through the cracks in 1959 when the plat to the north was vacated. It was intended by all parties, including the City, that this be vacated. The purpose was to fix a problem that everyone thought was fixed 30 or 40 years ago. Their position, and the title company’s position, is that it is already the property of Western United, but they understand that because of this glitch, they had to go in front of Council to confirm the vacation. They are the lender and will not develop the property. Western United is seeking a buyer of the property who will likely ultimately develop the property. Mr. Marcus and others will have their say. The site plan that was approved a number of years ago is certainly "out the window" and anybody that bought the property would have to come back to the Planning Commission and City Council to seek approval. Therefore, they feel that the property should be vacated as always shown, and that while they do not support the proposed easement, they do not have any objection to it because the developer will have to come before the City. This was a technicality that was overlooked 40 years ago. Everything in the City, including its own maps, has shown the property as being vacated.
Member Lorenzo asked if, with regard to site plan review and approval, the Planning Commission and Council would have the discretion to maintain the egress at that point in time.
Mr. Fisher said that this could be done only if the City reserves the easement.
Member Lorenzo asked if the easement could be reserved and the vacation approved.
Mr. Fisher replied that this was correct. This was the form that Council had before it for consideration. If the resolution before Council was adopted, it would achieve the vacation but reserve the easement.
Member Lorenzo asked if Council could do this tonight, and still provide the relief to Mr. Marcus that he is requesting.
Mr. Fisher said he did not know exactly what Mr. Marcus was requesting, but the idea would be to retain the ingress and egress.
Member Capello commented that his easement language was a little more "beefed up" to give the City the ability to construct and maintain any utilities or roadway over and across the easement. He asked what the detriment would be to not having the property vacated at all, as opposed to a very restrictive easement. It seemed that either way, it would not affect Western United if the City is planning on putting an easement on the property anyway.
Mr. Griffiths said the easement would just restrict the developer as to how they could use the land, but the developer would still own the property. For example, he assumed that if the easement calls for ingress and egress, this could be put as part of a parking lot, which is shown on the original site plan. This would not be a road, but would provide ingress and egress to the property owned by Wells Fargo immediately to the east of the property. Even with an easement there are certain rights of land owners to do with their property what they wish subject to easements and the ultimate decisions of the Planning Commission and City Council. Ultimately, this is a question of ownership. The City now supposedly owns this property; he questioned why the City wants the land. If this easement restricts the use and makes the developer address Council before any site plan is approved, then this has been accomplished. He wondered why the City would want to own the property when in fact, for the last 50 years, the City’s own documents have shown that the property has been vacated. All they are trying to do is prevent a small, rectangular piece of land from hindering the redevelopment of that area. There is no road on the property now.
Member Capello asked if it would cause any delay in getting the condominium documents approved if Council did not vacate the land, making that area be re-drafted.
Mr. Griffiths said the condominium documents were already approved when they were recorded with Oakland County.
Member Capello questioned whether Council had already approved the documents.
Mr. Griffiths replied that Council had approved the documents. Western United has been before the Planning Commission and the City Council in November and December, when it approved the condominium subject to this issue.
Member Capello said he had thought that was why Western United had to come back again, because of this issue. He asked if not granting the vacation that evening would delay Western United’s ability to sell this project.
Mr. Griffiths said this decision would ultimately have to be made by the prospective buyer.
Member Gatt commented that Council was discussing big business and development of condominiums, but everyone was losing sight of what Mayor Clark had said half an hour before: Mr. Marcus was made a promise by the City years and years ago. It behooves the City to live up to its promise. He invited Mr. Marcus to the podium.
Mr. Marcus said the City map shows that the road is open, but is not paved. Everyone knows that Paul Bunyan is a paved road because the City offices were there. He recalled earlier conversation that the owner would get less for their property without the vacation. He asked what he would get for his property after 40 years of using that road. The first 600+ feet of his property at Sixth Gate is paved, which is why the road is called Sixth Gate today. There is a sign for the road at Novi Road, and for many, many years Sixth Gate has been a road.
Member Gatt said he could attest to the fact that Paul Bunyan was a road. When he became a policeman in the City in 1975, they drove that road in and out of the police department 300 times a week. City Hall was there, there was a library there, and Sixth Gate was and continues to be a road. He said he would support Member Nagy’s motion.
Mayor Csordas said that Mr. Griffiths is a patient person and gentleman. It was very clear what Mr. Griffiths was up against. The City wants to do everything that it can to help develop that property. The situation pitted emotion against hardcore business decision. There is nobody on Council that wants to take anything away from either Mr. Griffiths or Mr. Marcus, and it is very interesting to hear that the vacation was done all the way except for somebody writing it down, which is very unfortunate.
Mr. Griffiths said he thought that the proposal that had been placed before Council was a middle ground. Sixth Gate comes off of Novi Road. That road is paved, but he is not seeking vacation of that road. Nothing that Council will do will affect the paved road that is already there. Western United is only seeking the vacation of the easterly half of the road where there is no road now. Mr. Marcus had stated that somehow the vacation would affect his property and take away something that he has, but access from Novi Road to what is now Sixth Gate will remain until Council acts otherwise, forever. He had been confused by the notion that by Council’s voting in favor of the vacation was taking away something from Mr. Marcus, which is not the case at all. The City couldn’t have made any promises to Mr. Marcus with respect to property that he didn’t own. Mr. Marcus, or any of the people along Sixth Gate, certainly never owned this property; it was part of the subdivision to the north. Western United is not asking to take anything away from Mr. Marcus. The easement that has been proposed by legal counsel before the City Council is the compromise that was thought to be fair to all parties. Nobody could use that property for anything other than ingress and egress without coming before the City Council or the Planning Commission. The proposal is the happy medium that he feels is appropriate.
Mayor Csordas asked Mr. Klaver what portion of the proposed vacated road touches Mr. Marcus’ property.
Mr. Klaver said he did not believe that any of the proposed vacated road touches the property.
Ms. McClain displayed a map of the area and noted the section of Paul Bunyan Drive that fronts Mr. Marcus’ property.
Mr. Fisher noted that there were some things at stake with this item, including the condominium master deed that had been approved contingent upon this vacation. Before Council acts on the item, he suggested that the affected parties meet and use communication to bring some solution to the matter.
Mayor Csordas noted that he is not in real estate, but said he failed to see how the vacation would reduce the value of Mr. Marcus’ property, since he would still have access to Novi Road. He does not want to setup a lawsuit between Western United and the City. He suggested that Council not go through any denial or approval, but allow Mr. Fisher, Mr. Griffiths and Mr. Marcus to talk the matter over so that Council can feel more comfortable about what is going on.
Member Nagy asked if there was a precedent set as to when Paul Bunyan Road was clearly used as a road. Paul Bunyan is frequently used as a road. She said she was not convinced of what difference the vacation makes to a potential buyer. Western United went before the Planning Commission and there was discussion at that level. She did not understand how the vacation might affect the potential buyer, and asked why the City could not just leave the land "as is" since it’s a valuable piece in the middle of town.
Mr. Griffiths replied that to the extent that the property has 60 feet by 500 feet less area, the value of the entire property goes down whatever the value is per foot. He said he could not be sure because he is not near Novi Road very often, but he has never seen anyone ever drive from Novi Road across dirt and gravel to get to the Main Street area. Main Street and other roads accomplish this same task.
Member Nagy commented that tire tracks and the usage could be seen in the roadbed. She felt that perhaps the Mayor’s suggestion might be the perfect suggestion, but she did not want to do anything where a property owner might be blocked off. She could not see Western United guaranteeing that at this point because the company is selling the land.
Mr. Griffiths replied that Member Nagy was correct. Western United is selling the land to a third party; all he could say was that obviously any third party who wants to develop the property, because it is all vacant now, has to come before the Planning Commission and the City Council to get the site plan approved. Council has the ultimate control over that situation. If in fact the City approval of the condominium project, which was recorded with Oakland County many years ago, was subject to a resolution of this matter, then he has a real problem. He believed that what the minutes stated was that the condominium project was approved, but that Council left the 500-foot section out to the side to be ultimately resolved. Western United has been trying to pay the taxes on the property for the last 2 years. The problem is the tax assessor refuses to change the description of the tax parcels to meet the description of the condominium, whether it includes the 500 feet or not. The City has at tax parcel that includes all of the Wells Fargo property, and a large chunk of Western United’s property. The companies are in a quandary where they are trying to pay taxes to the City but cannot.
Member Nagy asked Mr. Lemmon to explain why the parcel description cannot be changed by the assessing department.
Mr. Lemmon said that technically, the condominium does not exist, and is currently only six or seven acreage parcels. Until the condominium is approved and properly recorded, he has to recognize the property as acreage parcels. The problem with Wells Fargo and Western United is that when the properties went up for foreclosure, the companies bought the properties as condominium units. They did not know that the condominium had never truly been approved by the City Council. He cannot create the parcels for Western United and Wells Fargo that do not exist yet.
Member Nagy asked Mr. Fisher if this changed anything that he would have to say.
Mr. Fisher replied that this did not change anything that he would say. He still felt that there could be value in allowing a bit more free flow of communication on the matter to try to achieve a solution that everyone would be comfortable with.
Mr. Lemmon commented that Wells Fargo and Western United could have combined and re-divided their properties to follow property lines that would have mirrored the condominium lines, but those companies have never attempted this.
Member Nagy said she was still not in favor of vacating Paul Bunyan.
Member Capello said that the representations were made to Mr. Marcus that the road would always be kept open so that he would have access to that road. This is what Council is trying to accomplish.
Mr. Marcus commented that he has been paying taxes on his parcel that faces Paul Bunyan for 30 years. Now, Western United can come along and tell him that his property is dead end. He has been able to have access to Grand River for years and years. The City put gravel on the road that day and has been maintaining the road for years.
Member Capello said that Mr. Marcus was correct.
Mr. Marcus said that Jim Chen had considered building an office building there at one point, and told the Steering Committee not to worry about the road. He said the road has to be good for the people of the town. The road is used frequently by many people on all days of the week.
Member Capello said he was agreeing with Mr. Marcus that the representations to him have always been that the City would keep the road open to prevent it from becoming a dead end road.
Mr. Marcus said that if the road was going to be closed, it should have been done so years ago. There is a traffic problem on the road to get out to Novi Road as it is. It does not make sense that the developer would not want to work with the City and keep Paul Bunyan open.
Member Capello said that after talking to Mr. Marcus on the phone, he had spoken with Mr. Fisher. The language needs to be stricter, but the intent of retaining the easement would mean that Paul Bunyan will always be a road, will always be open, and the developer would be required to keep Paul Bunyan as an open road.
Mr. Marcus said that this was fine, as long as the road is always paved and people are allowed to drive through it.
Member Capello said this was the idea of the easement. Council cannot order the property in front of Mr. Marcus’ business to be paved, only the section that was being discussed at that time. Paul Bunyan will always be open to the full extent of the road, the City will retain easements for utilities on that road, and the road will always have access to Mr. Marcus’ property. In terms of traffic, currently traffic can only enter on Grand River Avenue, and Council is not guaranteeing that it can do that. The only issue, if the easement is restrictive, is who owns the property as the title holder, and not what the uses are going to be. In working with Mr. Fisher, he was trying to make sure that the road will always be open for Mr. Marcus.
Mr. Marcus commented that the City should not do anything with the road until it sees what the developer has in mind for the property. It is foolish to debate the issue before Council when there is not a plan to look at, because the developers should be working with the adjoining property owners.
Member Capello said that if developers do this and come back to Council with a plan, it may not guarantee that Mr. Marcus will have access to the downtown area. He asked Mr. Marcus if there was a chance that he would meet with the City Attorney and work something out.
Mr. Marcus replied that he would meet with Mr. Fisher.
CM-04-04-117 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Csordas; MOTION CARRIED: To postpone consideration of Approval of Resolution to vacate a portion of Orchard Avenue/Paul Bunyan Drive, also known as Sixth Gate, located within the Novi Manor/Novi Garden Subdivisions in Section 23, the southeast quadrant of Grand River and Novi Road, to tighten up language in the easement as had been discussed that evening.
Member Nagy said she could not support the motion. She wanted Mr. Marcus to be able to be present and have the ability to bring his attorney, and she wants more "fair play" in the matter.
Member Lorenzo said that if Mr. Marcus would like to discuss the matter with Mr. Fisher, this would also be fine, as well as the representatives for the property owners. The parties could hopefully come up with a more restrictive version that everyone can agree on.
Mayor Csordas said he appreciated that idea, and closed the discussion on the matter. He stated his support for the motion, as there is a way to continue discussion on Paul Bunyan. Further discussion would not hurt the situation, and would not hurt anything in the near future for either party.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-04-117 Yeas: Gatt, Lorenzo, Csordas, Landry
Nays: Nagy, Capello
Mayor Csordas invited State Senator Cassis to speak at the podium.
Senator Cassis thanked Council for its willingness to put her on the agenda that evening. Sometime ago, perhaps 4 months ago, an individual in the community who is behind the scenes but keeps up with what goes on in the community and volunteers in a number of different ways, Bill Dicks, met an individual at Outback Steakhouse named Chad Wilson. Mr. Dicks is a teacher at Northville High School. Bill took it upon himself to write her an email stating that Chad Wilson, the owner of the Outback restaurant in Novi, has gone above and beyond the call of duty, inviting her to meet with Mr. Wilson to see what he had done. She and her husband Victor went to the Outback Steakhouse and met Chad Wilson. Mr. Wilson is like so many in the community, an everyday person doing very uncommon things with incredible valor. Everyone’s lives were changed on September 11th, 2001. Normally "911" is the number that people call to reach the fire and police departments, and that was the day that changed America forever. Today the country is at war against terrorism. To ease the burden of the men and women fighting for the country, Outback restaurant and Chad Wilson went to Iraq a few months ago and brought good, homemade American food to 22,000 troops. They volunteered to do this; the risk did not deter them. His efforts demanded a tribute from the State legislature, from Governor Granholm, Representative DeRoche, and herself, to honor what the young man has done. He did not do this to seek any kind of recognition, fame or attention. She never would have known about the deed if it hadn’t been for Bill Dicks. This is similar to the character of so many people who live and work in Novi. Recently the Walkers were honored for presenting the library with a $1 million check; the Walkers weren’t seeking fame, either. Kathy Crawford, who gave so much of herself to the community, as did the City’s former Mayor, Richard Clark, are extraordinary human beings. Chad joins that wonderful litany of people who give more of themselves than they ever ask in return. She honored Chad Wilson with a State of Michigan tribute, which she hoped would hang proudly so that all people can see what someone did in showing extraordinary heroism, courage, and compassion.
Mr. Wilson said he was not expecting a tribute. Senator Cassis had called him and asked to present him with an award, which shocked him because nobody was supposed to know about his actions. The deed was supposed be something to say thank you to the troops, and was his way of giving the troops in Iraq a taste of home. It was a very special trip for him, and he hopes to have the chance to go back to Iraq. It looks like another trip will be organized before long. He said the award means a lot to him, and thanked everyone for the honor.
Senator Cassis wished to convey a story. There was a wife whose husband was in Iraq. She had received a letter from him stating that Americans had come and fixed his favorite dinner, steak and potatoes. The meal just made her husband’s day and provided a wonderful connection with home away from home. Unfortunately, that young serviceman will not be returning home, but he had a wonderful memory of what someone from America did for him. She asked that as people remember what the people fighting for America have done, she also asked that they be brought back soon and safely.
4. Approval of the Meadowbrook Commons Management Agreement, one year renewal option with Midwest Management Company, commencing on July 1, 2004.
CM-04-04-118 Moved by Landry, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve of the Meadowbrook Commons Management Agreement, one year renewal option with Midwest Management Company, commencing on July 1, 2004. There shall be written clarification for documenting or memorializing the extension.
Mr. Fisher said that the agreement does not call for any specific method of documenting or memorializing the extension. He suggested at least an exchange of letters to clarify what was being done, and said this would be done at the pleasure of Council.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry and Member Lorenzo agreed to the amendment.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-04-118 Yeas: Lorenzo, Csordas, Landry, Capello, Gatt
Absent: Nagy*, Paul
* Member Nagy was absent from the room
5. Consideration of request from Happy Sushi, Inc. to transfer ownership of 1996 Class C liquor license located in escrow at 26551 Evergreen Travelers Tower, Southfield, MI to 41766 Ten Mile Road, Novi, MI, (Ten and Meadowbrook) and request for a new Dance-Entertainment Permit.
Mr. Chang, the applicant, said that many people like to have one or two drinks with their dinner. They had sent a letter to the Liquor Control Commission canceling the request for the dance permit. They only would like a permit to be able to hold entertainment party events, such as karaoke. He has worked in restaurants for a long time. Most people will not drink too much, such as a one glass of wine or one bottle of beer, just to enjoy with the food.
Chief Shaeffer said that investigators had looked at the transfer request to Happy Sushi, Inc. There was only one potential problem that was noted in the report, in regards to a previous arrest that Mr. Chang was involved in regarding alcohol. That arrest was many years ago, and he did not suspect a repeat performance. The police department found no reason to object to the liquor license transfer.
Member Lorenzo asked Mr. Chang if the entertainment would be limited to karaoke.
Mr. Chang replied that he only sought the entertainment permit for karaoke. The restaurant is small, but they have customers that desire to have birthday parties for kids at the restaurant.
Member Lorenzo asked how many people are allowed to occupy Happy Sushi.
Mr. Chang responded that 49 people can occupy his restaurant.
Member Lorenzo asked what Mr. Chang’s hours of operation are.
Mr. Chang replied that the hours are lunchtime and dinnertime, 11:30-2:30 and 5:00 to 10:00. The restaurant is closed from 2:30 until 5:00 in order to prepare food.
Member Lorenzo asked Mr. Chang if this was his first application for a liquor license.
Mr. Chang said he had applied the previous year for a city quota license.
Member Lorenzo noted that Mr. Chang had management experience at 7 other restaurants. She asked if those other restaurants had liquor licenses.
Mr. Chang replied that he had worked at several restaurants with liquor licenses.
CM-04-04-119 Moved by Nagy, seconded by Landry; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve request from Happy Sushi, Inc. to transfer ownership of 1996 Class C liquor license located in escrow at 26551 Evergreen Travelers Tower, Southfield, MI to 41766 Ten Mile Road, Novi, MI, (Ten and Meadowbrook), including the Entertainment Permit.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-04-119 Yeas: Nagy, Csordas, Landry, Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo
6. Consideration of request from Hooters of Novi, LLC to transfer ownership of 2001 Class C liquor license with Dance Permit from R.H.F. Enterprises, Inc., 2635 E. Highland to 44375 Twelve Mile, Suite G-155, Novi, MI, (Fountainwalk) and request for a new Entertainment Permit.
Charles Lane introduced himself as the attorney for Hooters of America. With him was the area supervisor in Michigan for Hooters, Tom Mooray.
Member Lorenzo asked who was the actual owner and operator of this potential establishment.
Mr. Lane said there is a hierarchy for the company. Hooters of America is a very large corporation and is based in Atlanta, Georgia. The company is the controller of 359 restaurants, of which he believed 116 are company-owned and operated. The others are franchisees that operate in approximately 43 states.
Member Lorenzo asked if Hooters of Novi would be company-operated.
Mr. Lane replied that this location would be company-operated. In Michigan, Hooters of America already has 10 restaurants operating. Of those 10, all are owner-operated by Hooters of America. "Hooters of America" is a person named Robert Brooks, the owner of Eastern Foods, a large conglomerate food provider on the east coast. Mr. Brooks has been involved with Hooters of America since approximately 1989, but is not one of the original founders from 1984. This is the 20th anniversary of Hooters throughout the United States.
Member Lorenzo asked if Mr. Brooks operates Hooters of America.
Mr. Lane replied that Mr. Brooks does not operate the company. Mr. Brooks is a hands-off owner. Hooters of America is operated by its corporate staff, of which the president is Coby Brooks, Mr. Brooks’ son. Mr. Brooks has different officers and directors throughout the company. Hooters of America, acting under the president, Coby Brooks, is the applicant before Council for Hooters of Novi, LLC.
Member Lorenzo said that one of her concerns was that Robert Brooks was one of the only affiliates that the City received police background on. In order to, in her opinion, appropriately review this particular application, she would appreciate the background being checked of whoever will operate this particular establishment. If the operator will be Coby Brooks, then Council needs information on that Mr. Brooks to shed some light on the additional information for the application. She said she would be anticipating that information being forthcoming.
Mr. Lane said that Mr. Robert Brooks is the Chief Operating Officer of the company, and everyone answers to him. Mr. Robert Brooks knows what is going on, and of all the applications made throughout the state of Michigan, the City of Novi is the only one that has asked for any personal information in regards to the owner of Hooters of America, or any of its officers or directors.
Member Lorenzo said there are a number of standards that the City of Novi requests information for.
Mr. Lane replied that he believed the company had complied with those requests.
Mayor Csordas noted that proper Council procedure was for the applicant to provide a short presentation, with questions from Council to follow.
Mr. Lane said he believed he had touched on some of the issues that Member Lorenzo would like to hear. Hooters of America’s request is for the transfer of a Class C liquor license to a location that will be built, that is currently under construction at 44375 Twelve Mile Road. In addition to that, they are requesting a new entertainment permit, along with a typical Sunday sales permit. In the transfer request documents that came to the City from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission, a dance permit was referred to. The company is not seeking a dance permit; none of the Hooters establishments have a dance floor or a dance/entertainment permit. The company only seeks an entertainment permit.
Hooters of Novi is a Georgia limited liability company, owned solely by Hooters of America, Inc., also a Georgia corporation. The company’s base is located down in Atlanta, Georgia. They currently have 10 fully operational restaurants in Michigan. The company has been in Michigan for the last 10 or 11 years. The locations are Flint, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Muskegon, Port Huron, Roseville, Sterling Heights, Taylor, and Troy. All of those locations are doing wonderfully. Hooters is a restaurant getting worldwide recognition. The restaurant is famous not only for its chicken wings, but also for its Hooters girls. The company began as a single restaurant in 1984 in Clearwater, Florida, and has now sprung to 43 states throughout the country. The company has also moved to 12 foreign countries, with approximately 359 restaurants in operation today. Hooters of America employs over 25,000 people, nearly 15,000 of which are the Hooters girls. The world famous Hooters girls are the cornerstone of the Hooters concept. The act not only as the waitress and the wait staff of the restaurant, but they are also very heavily involved in promotional activities, charitable appearances, and anything that they can do to help the local community.
Hooters hires both men and women to work in various positions throughout the company in such areas as management, host, staff, service bar, and the kitchen. The company’s sales are approximately 70% or more for food, and beer and wine are approximately 25%. The company, though it receives a liquor license that authorizes it to sell liquor, does not sell liquor at any of its establishments in Michigan. The remaining 5% of sales have to do with merchandise that the company sells, such as cups, footballs, calendars, sweatshirts, and tee shirts. Hooters’ hours of operation are Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. until 12 midnight; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. until 1 a.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. At the new location, the basic outline would be approximately 1 manager, 3 assistant managers, approximately 25-30 full-time and part-time cooks and kitchen help, and 50 to 70 full and part-time waitresses. At any working shift the company would have something like one manager or assistant manager on duty, 3 cooks as a minimum, and 8 to 12 Hooters girls working the floor.
With regards to Hooters responsibility for the serving of alcohol, Hooters has always been a very responsible server to the community. Hooters had been training its wait staff and managers under the bar code many years before the tips and cans program ever became popular in Michigan or became a requirement by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission approximately a year ago. When the State of Michigan required the tips and cans program to be administered to all new licensees within 6 months of the issuance of the license, because Hooters operates under the Bar Code, the Bar Code people provided this to the State of Michigan, and the State of Michigan has since approved the Bar Code as a proper liquor training program for staff. The current restaurant will be located in Fountain Walk. The new Fountain Walk development is a lifestyle mall, and Hooters will be complementary with the other restaurants in that mall. Hooters will be a place of destination, and an alternate form of dining. The building will consist of approximately 3,930 square feet and will occupy approximately 151 customers.
Everyone always thinks of Hooters as a restaurant with the Hooters girls and the chicken wings, but Hooters is much bigger than just the restaurant. Hooters has been participating and has developed an endowment fund, HOOCEF, or the Hooters Community Endowment Fund. This is something that started in 1993 as a result of Mr. Brooks’ charitable concerns. Since 1993, through the use of Hooters girls for promotions and charities, the company has donated over $7 million to HOOCEF. The company also donates money to various charities through certain types of contributions based on sales off of the menu. Hooters acquires money from special contests and promotions, such as VIP opening nights, and selects certain charities such as the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the Detroit Police Athletic League, the Macomb Literacy Partners, the Detroit Receiving Hospital, Muscular Dystrophy, Riverview Firefighter’s Association, William Beaumont Hospital, the Salvation Army, Roseville High School, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the State of Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and three more. The company is involved in sports activities, such as the IHRA racing tour, Formula One powerboat racing, and has recently become involved with the EMA motorcycle team. In addition, Hooters Airlines is now going nationwide. Mr. Brooks had a very simple view; he was recently interviewed by Fortune Magazine, which asked what the key is to his success and why Hooters is in the top 5 restaurants growing national chains. Mr. Brooks’ reply was that the answer was very simple: good food, cold beer, and pretty girls never go out of style.
Member Lorenzo asked if Mr. Kobe Brooks has operated a Hooters or any other restaurant previously.
Mr. Lane replied that to his knowledge, Coby Brooks has been involved in the Hooters restaurant business at various levels and locations, but he has not worked in Michigan because his corporate status has always been in Atlanta, Georgia.
Member Lorenzo said that for her purposes, she would want to postpone the application until Council receives the information pertinent to Mr. Coby Brooks. She asked Mr. Lane if he was aware that the information that came back from the background check showed that 5 of the 10 Michigan Hooters establishments have had sales to minors.
Mr. Lane replied that he was not sure the 5 out of 10 figure was correct.
Member Lorenzo cited sales to minors at the Hooters locations in Grand Rapids, Lansing, Sterling Heights, Troy, and Taylor.
Mr. Lane said he was aware of those incidents, but said they were over a period of years, not just recently.
Member Lorenzo said that in her opinion, the statement that Hooters embraces to serve alcohol in a responsible manner "does not ring true" because the referred-to incidents are irresponsible.
Mr. Lane said that considering the number of people that are patrons at all of the Hooters restaurants, the company does a remarkably good job at policing and protecting the public, especially for serving people that are under age. The abstract information from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission does not familiarize the reader with the facts and circumstances surrounding any incidents.
Member Lorenzo noted that Hooters of Novi was also applying for an entertainment permit. She asked what the scope of entertainment is that the company was applying for the permit for.
Mr. Lane said the entertainment is not something that is an ongoing entertainment, such as with nightclubs or Las Vegas. The Michigan Liquor Control Commission requires anybody that holds any kind of contest in Michigan and gives away a prize, that the company hold an entertainment permit. As a result, all Hooters establishments have entertainment permits. The restaurants predominately do things that are related to sporting events, such as the recent college basketball tournament: in the past, the restaurants have carried on contests for shooting hoops. Because prizes are given, the restaurants must have entertainment permits. Sometimes there are trivia contests that give out substantial prizes. All of the events are submitted to the Michigan Liquor Control Commission prior to conducting them, as the restaurants are required to have the Michigan Liquor Control Commission’s written approval. Most of the events are tied to sporting events, many with race car events. There is no live entertainment, per se, on the premises.
Member Lorenzo asked if the entertainment permit would be limited to contests.
Mr. Lane said that by the nature of how the MLCC has earmarked their permits, the permit would be limited to contests.
Member Lorenzo asked Mr. Lane if he was attesting that the intention of Hooters is to limit the entertainment to contests.
Mr. Lane replied that this was absolutely the case, as the company has no other reason to use the permit.
Member Lorenzo asked if for the contests, the restaurant would bring in hoops for people to shoot and so forth.
Mr. Lane remarked that Hooters has had basketball, hockey, and race cars.
Member Lorenzo asked how large of a building the restaurant would go into.
Mr. Lane said the building is 3,930 square feet.
Member Lorenzo asked if these activities could be done in this size of building.
Mr. Lane said that the contests are strictly voluntary and are strictly for the customers that come to the establishment. A hoop might be set up by moving one or two tables to the side. The contests have worked in the past. Hooters refers to itself as a sports/entertainment type of bar, and there are probably other establishments in the City of Novi that engage in these types of activities.
Member Lorenzo asked what types of prizes would be associated with these contests.
Mr. Lane said that a year ago, a restaurant had given away Red Wings jerseys autographed by some of the Red Wing players. Sometimes prizes are sporting equipment related to the event that is involved. Sometimes the prizes are cash; sometimes the prizes are trips.
Member Lorenzo asked if Hooters is limited to a prize of under $250.
Mr. Lane replied that the restaurant is not limited to this amount. The establishments are only limited in terms of not seeking Michigan Liquor Control Commission approval prior to the event if the value of the gift is below $250. If the gift is over $250, which in Hooters’ case means if the cumulative total of the gifts is above $250, the restaurant will receive MLCC approval prior to the event.
Member Lorenzo asked if any of the employees participate in any of the contests.
Mr. Lane replied that while the employees are working, they do not participate.
Member Lorenzo asked if employees are allowed to participate after hours.
Mr. Lane said he could not answer the question because he did not know the answer.
Mr. Mooray said that employees do not participate in any of the events done in the restaurants; the events are geared toward the customers. After hours, the employees are not allowed to hang out in the restaurants, and they are not allowed to drink in the establishment that they work in.
Member Lorenzo asked if the employees are allowed to participate in any of the contests once their work has ended.
Mr. Mooray said the employees are not allowed to participate.
Member Lorenzo said that in the application and literature that accompanied it, it was mentioned that Hooters has a casual beach theme. She asked for a description of the beach theme and the attire worn by employees.
Mr. Lane said that in terms of the décor, the restaurant in a concept started in 1984 in Clearwater Beach. Clearwater Beach is hot, sandy, and on the waterfront, open to the air. The girls’ uniforms comprised of a white tank top and dolphin shorts, tennis shoes, and stockings. The building has kept that type of beachfront look with the open windows and Christmas lights outlining the windows. The restaurant is wide open, with windows circling the eating area, allowing the sunshine to come in during the day and the lights to refract at night, creating an exciting environment. The buildings have wood floors, wood table tops, and casual dining.
Member Lorenzo asked if the tank tops would be referred to as low-cut tank tops.
Mr. Lane said it depends on what is considered "low-cut."
Member Lorenzo asked if the shirts are scoop neck.
Mr. Lane said he did not believe the shirts are crew neck, but did not believe that they are very low, either. There are many rumors that go around, and perhaps things go on in other states that do not happen here in Michigan. The company controls the attire that the ladies wear in Michigan, and they believe it is very appropriate attire, much more appropriate than seen on a beach or other areas around town.
Member Lorenzo said she found it interesting that Mr. Lane referred to the ladies. She asked if male servers and hosts are also employed at Hooters.
Mr. Lane replied that sometimes there are male hosts, but the restaurant does not have male servers. They have the Hooters girl, which is the wait staff in all the establishments across the 43 states.
Member Lorenzo asked if there is not a "Hooters guy."
Mr. Lane said there is not a Hooters guy. It has been approved that the Hooters girl is not discriminatory as to the male. He did not know of any male that wants to be called the Hooters girl.
Member Lorenzo asked for a description of the attire of the male hosts.
Mr. Mooray replied that male hosts wear a white polo shirt and khaki shorts or pants, depending on the weather.
Member Lorenzo asked for a description of the Hooters calendar and calendar photographs.
Mr. Lane said the calendar is like a Sports Illustrated calendar, but nothing any different, and is done tastefully.
Member Lorenzo asked if, when Mr. Lane said "Sports Illustrated," he meant like that magazine’s swimsuit edition.
Mr. Lane replied that this was correct.
Member Lorenzo asked if these calendars are available as merchandise at the Hooters restaurant.
Mr. Lane replied that the calendars are available.
Member Lorenzo said the menu referred to a free DVD offer. She asked if the restaurant also sells DVD’s.
Mr. Mooray said that this was something that had been done this year to try to boost calendar sales. He has not seen the DVD, but he believed this was about the making of the calendar and photo shoots.
Member Lorenzo asked if the shirts for sale were limited to the logo on the shirt.
Mr. Lane said this was correct.
Member Nagy said she felt that with the way that Fountain Walk advertises, she did not feel that Hooters would be appropriate in that area. Should the establishment be a free-standing establishment on Grand River that would meet the City’s ordinance requirements, she would have no objection. Her major objection was in the area that Hooters wished to locate its restaurant. That area has always been advertised as a family center, and she does not feel it is appropriate for the Hooters establishment to be in that environment, nor does she feel that Hooters would add to that environment.
Mr. Lane said that Hooters of Sterling Heights is located on Van Dyke in the city of Sterling Heights, which is very much a bedroom community. That restaurant is sandwiched between McDonald’s on one side and Burger King on the other. Both restaurants are traditionally oriented towards families. Hooters is orientated towards families. The restaurants see patrons that wives, fiancés, girlfriends, and young ladies go there on their own. Once the company got into Sterling Heights and the local community found out what Hooters is all about, they did not have any problems from Sterling Heights, either as to the families, the church members, or any of the incidents with children skipping school and going to Hooters. He understood and respected Member Nagy’s opinion, but said Hooters is family oriented and a very viable, good business. The company has met with Schostak Brothers purposely to be placed at the proposed location. Schostak Brothers invited Hooters there, and felt that the restaurant would be a good addition to that location.
Member Nagy said she understood and respected everything that Mr. Lane was saying. Fountain Walk is a place to go to where people walk from one establishment to another, which is different than driving from one place to another in a car, or a restaurant located next to a McDonald’s that most people use a drive-through at. She does not feel that Fountain Walk is an appropriate area, and would not support a motion in support of the item.
CM-04-04-120 Moved by Landry, seconded by Csordas; MOTION FAILED: To approve the request from Hooters of Novi, LLC to transfer ownership of 2001 Class C liquor license from R.H.F. Enterprises, Inc., 2635 E. Highland to 44375 Twelve Mile, Suite G-155, Novi, MI, (Fountainwalk) and request for a new Entertainment Permit.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry said that Hooters is a sports bar. What says a lot, when analyzing this place or anyplace, is the percentage of food to alcohol. It is his understanding that the restaurant does not serve hard liquor, only beer and wine.
Mr. Lane replied that this was correct.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry noted that approximately 70% of Hooters’ sales are for food. This says a lot when analyzing any establishment that serves alcohol – what the percentage of alcohol to food sales is. This is a chicken wing and hamburger bar. There are a lot of misconceptions about these places. If people have not been in one, they might have a conception of what the restaurant is like and be surprised. He has seen baby strollers parked outside of a Hooters in Florida, with moms in the restaurant having a hamburger at lunch with their kids. As far as the attire of the waitresses is concerned, any Americana piece of art will show a 1950’s A & W carhop on roller skates that will be dressed exactly like a Hooters girl. There is no indecency law that he has seen that prevents this establishment. He did not see the Hooters violating any of Novi’s codes and ordinances, nor any of the State’s codes and ordinances. There is a huge misconception about Hooters, as it is just a sports bar. He does not feel that the City has the ability to say no.
Member Capello said that menu showed 10 other Michigan locations. He asked if Hooters has applied anywhere else than Novi in the last couple of years.
Mr. Lane said the company has applied in Livonia.
Member Capello asked how long ago that application was made.
Mr. Lane replied that this was probably made about 3 years ago, and wound up about a year ago.
Member Capello asked what took so long for this application.
Mr. Lane said the company had gone before City Council and was approved on a 4-3 vote. Livonia is in a different structure than the City of Novi; the mayor sits independent of Council. The mayor of Livonia exercised his veto power to veto Council with regards to the approval of the liquor license transfer. As a result, it was litigated, was lost at the Circuit Court level, and was appealed to the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals reversed the lower court, the Circuit Court, and said that the mayor did not have the authority to veto the Council with regards to the granting of the liquor license to Hooters of Livonia. Within the past year, the company has moved on from Livonia because of different business considerations. Kmart is closing its store near the establishment where the company was going to open up, and Hooters made a business decision not to pursue Livonia.
Member Capello asked if the Circuit Court supported the mayor’s position.
Mr. Lane said this was correct.
Member Capello asked if the company then took the matter to the Court of Appeals, where the decision was reversed.
Mr. Lane said the owner took the case to the Court of Appeals, and it was reversed.
Member Gatt said that Hooters was in the news in the last couple of weeks. He asked Mr. Lane to elaborate on the situation.
Mr. Mooray said he believed the news article was about a California restaurant, which is not owned or operated by Hooters of America, but is a franchise group.
Member Gatt asked if the circumstances of the news broadcast were known.
Mr. Mooray said he believed that this had to do something with videotaping, but because it was not Hooters of America’s company, he did not know.
Member Gatt asked if it was correct that the California establishment had the Hooters name out front.
Mr. Mooray agreed that with this statement. The restaurant is a franchise of the company, but Hooters does not own or operate it.
Member Gatt asked if the company controls the owner’s operations of such a franchise.
Mr. Mooray said the company has a franchise department that goes out to the franchise community periodically and does spot checks.
Mr. Lane said that Hooters of America has a franchise agreement with all of its franchisees, and has rules and regulations that franchisees have to follow. When franchisees violate those rules, the franchiser has to act upon the franchisee. Julia Norris-Brown, the assistant legal counsel for Hooters, indicated that at the present time the company is doing its investigation, but she did not have anything further for him, so he did not have any particulars that he could convey to Council about the incident. He had heard from other people about the incident in the news, but this is not something that is sanctioned or promoted by Hooters of America, and appropriate disciplinary action will be taken according to the franchise agreement. It was his understanding that it was not even so much the franchisee that was out of line, but an employee that worked there. Sometimes, as in every walk of life, employees do things that they should not be doing.
Member Gatt asked if he understood correctly that the mayor in Livonia overrode that City Council’s vote.
Mr. Lane replied that the Council had approved Hooters on a 4-3 vote, but the mayor did override that vote.
Member Gatt asked if, had the Council denied the request of Hooters to move in, whether the matter would have ended up in court.
Mr. Lane said he could not answer this question, as it would be speculation on his part.
Member Gatt said he would not want his family to eat dinner in a restaurant that promotes Hooters girls.
Mayor Csordas said he was on the Planning Commission when Fountain Walk was initiated, and he never remembered that facility referred to as a family center. Fountain Walk has always been referred to as a shopping and entertainment center. He asked Chief Shaeffer if he found any reason to deny the license.
Chief Shaeffer said he had provided Council with his report in the background material. The police department made inquiries of the Liquor Control Commission, and the previously noted violations were noted in the report.
Mayor Csordas asked the Chief if he felt that the 8 violations over the period of years for the restaurants that were examined were out of line.
Chief Shaeffer said the department has a concern that violations would occur, especially with sales to minors, which always gives the police a great deal of concern. One restaurant in particular had 2 repeat sales, 2 years apart, which causes concern. The police department would like to see definitive action that precludes those kinds of things from taking place in any of the City’s liquor establishments. The City tests periodically to ensure that liquor establishments are complying, and vigorously cite when they do not. He said that with the 5 or 6 stores that have received violations over the past 7 or 8 years, the company is probably not really out of line, though the police department would want to stay close and monitor vigorously to ensure compliance.
Mayor Csordas noted that Council had received reports from City departments, but he did not recall seeing any department cite a reason to deny the license. He asked Mr. Fisher if the City legally has any reason to deny the transfer.
Mr. Fisher said legal counsel had not found any basis for denial.
Member Lorenzo said that because Council does not have the background information on the actual operator of this restaurant, Mr. Coby Brooks, she felt that the issue was premature, as the City does not know what that person’s background is. In her opinion, alcohol has not been served in a responsible manner in the Hooters restaurants. She has previously placed faith in restaurants that have caused a number of calls to the City. Chief Shaeffer has said that the City will respond vigorously to these situations, and this means more police calls in that area. The City will be monitoring month by month how many phone calls are made for that area. The possibility exists that alcohol could be served to minors. On that issue alone, she would not support the matter, because she does not believe that the Hooters establishment fosters responsibility. One question on the liquor license application asks what effect the proposed facility would have on the surrounding neighborhood and/or business establishment, including impacts on residential areas, churches, and school districts. By virtue of this advertisement alone, she believes that Fountain Walk is targeting families and children. By virtue of the establishment, which includes Emagine theatre, Van’s Skate Park, Family of Pets, Putting Edge, and an ice cream store, and now Lucky Strike across from where this restaurant is proposed. Lucky Strike will have 11 to 16-year-olds there, unsupervised, from 2:30 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays, and 11 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Saturdays, and 11:00 until 3:00 on Sundays. She believes that this type of establishment with Hooters girls, will have an effect on the area. The restaurant will have an adult-oriented theme, and she finds that it is inconsistent and incompatible with the other establishments in Fountain Walk. She is concerned about the health, safety, and welfare of residents in the community. There is existing residential property north of Twelve Mile, and this is also where Sandstone was just approved. Within 2 miles, the City also has Catholic Central all boys’ high school going in. This restaurant will have an impact on residences, churches and school districts. She said the restaurant caters toward men, as there is no serious attraction for ladies other than the food. Based on the criteria that the City asks of all applicants, she believes that Council does have the needed criteria for the denial. Hooters has had liquor violations, will have an impact on areas, and there is an incompatibility with this particular shopping center. She said that if she could get past the liquor violations, she might agree with Member Nagy in terms of another location being more appropriate. For those reasons, she said she could not support this application.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-04-120 Yeas: Landry, Capello, Csordas
Nays: Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy
CM-04-04-121 Moved by Capello, seconded by Nagy; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To postpone consideration to approve the request from Hooters of Novi, LLC to transfer ownership of 2001 Class C liquor license from R.H.F. Enterprises, Inc., 2635 E. Highland to 44375 Twelve Mile, Suite G-155, Novi, MI, (Fountainwalk) and request for a new Entertainment Permit, until April 19th, 2004.
Mayor Csordas asked how soon this item could be brought back to Council.
Mr. Klaver replied that administration could bring the matter back at the next meeting.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-04-121 Yeas: Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy, Csordas, Landry
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION - None
* Council recessed at 9:48 p.m.
*Council reconvened at 10:02 p.m.
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION – Part II
7. Approval to apply for the 2004 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program to provide 90% Federal Grant to acquire 40 Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus for estimated total cost of $199,500.
CM-04-04-122 Moved by Capello, seconded by Nagy; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve to apply for the 2004 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program to provide 90% Federal Grant to acquire 40 Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus for estimated total cost of $199,500.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-04-122 Yeas: Nagy, Csordas, Landry, Capello, Gatt
Absent: Lorenzo*, Nagy
* Member Lorenzo was absent from the room.
8. Consideration of Ordinance Number 04-149.06, an Ordinance to amend the Alcoholic Liquor Ordinance to prevent profiteering by new licensees. 1st Reading
CM-04-04-123 Moved by Nagy, seconded by Capello; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve of Ordinance Number 04-149.06, an Ordinance to amend the Alcoholic Liquor Ordinance to prevent profiteering by new licensees. 1st Reading.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked Mr. Fisher what would happen if somebody obtained a liquor license, but then gambled away their money and had to close their business. Under the way that he read the ordinance, this would be an exception to this ordinance, according to 3.15A(b)2: "the corporation dissolves for reasons other than a transfer." He thought that this was something that Council was trying to protect.
Mr. Fisher replied that this was correct. The read-in language in sub-paragraph B states, "the City Council shall be authorized to excuse…" The holder must show good cause for the exception. Under those circumstances, the way that the Mayor Pro Tem was stating the scenario, he did not feel that this would be good cause.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked if the City Council would have discretion over the transfer.
Mr. Fisher replied that this was correct.
Member Capello said that if he remembered correctly, the City was previously using a 3-year period. He asked Mr. Fisher how he came up with that 3-year length.
Mr. Fisher replied that he could not recall, though he thought that this was the length discussed when the subject initially arose. There had been a concern about somebody turning over a license within 3 years of purchase.
Member Capello asked if Council could use 5 years as the length if it wanted to.
Mr. Fisher said he assumed that Council could use this length, though there is a little less relationship. In other words, if somebody gets the license at the end of 5 years, this is a much longer time, and normal circumstances take their course as time goes on.
Member Capello asked if it is only if the holder places the license into escrow that the City can take it back.
Mr. Fisher replied that if an establishment stops actively doing business, they have to put the license in escrow.
Member Capello asked what happens if the owner just decides to sell while they are operating.
Mr. Fisher said he believed that the license would have to be placed in escrow before the establishment could be sold. To transfer a license from one person to another, the license must go from the licensee to escrow, out.
Member Capello said he knew that Council’s major concern was that if a business goes out of business, the City loses its opportunity to take advantage of the license it had just granted. He felt that Council would want some protection that the owner would not just turn around and sell their business.
Mr. Fisher said that the license would have to go to escrow first. A liquor license cannot be sold like a baseball glove or something. The transfer goes into the escrow account. He said he would confirm this.
Member Capello asked if the language was strong enough in the item, that the license would automatically go into escrow, whether it is for a close of business or a transfer of a license.
Mr. Fisher said he would look at the information and confirm this.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-04-123 Yeas: Csordas, Landry, Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy
9. Consideration of Zoning Text Amendment 18.167, to add definitions for four types of day care establishments, and to modify the standards for child day care and adult day care establishments within the City of Novi. 2nd Reading
CM-04-04-124 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Nagy; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve of Zoning Text Amendment 18.167, to add definitions for four types of day care establishments, and to modify the standards for child day care and adult day care establishments within the City of Novi. 2nd Reading.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-04-124 Yeas: Landry, Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy, Csordas
10. Consideration of forwarding proposed amendments to the Sign Ordinance, providing multiple tenant identification and retail centers and to provide a Master Sign Plan, to the Planning Commission to conduct a Public Hearing prior to City Council consideration and adoption.
CM-04-04-125 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Nagy; MOTION CARRIED: To approve of forwarding proposed amendments to the Sign Ordinance, providing multiple tenant identification and retail centers and to provide a Master Sign Plan, to the Planning Commission to conduct a Public Hearing prior to City Council consideration and adoption.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry said that when the Planning Commission considers this, they should, in particular, take note of Mr. Fisher’s letter of March 8, 2004, and his comments on the existing wording of the proposed ordinance.
Member Capello wished to place his objections on the record as to an amendment of this type. He said Council is now allowing two signs for retail establishments, with one on the road, which he thought that the City was trying to get away from. He said he would probably not support this item as it goes through the process.
Member Nagy asked if signage on restaurant awnings was included in the proposed amendments. Mesquite Creek has very nice awnings, and she felt that because their sign is so high up, the restaurant should have the ability to put its name on the awning. In other cities such as Birmingham and Troy, such signs are allowed.
Mayor Csordas noted that Council had a March 31, 2004 letter from Northern Equities Group over the signature of Dave Stewart, who is the president. The letter states that Mr. Stewart is aware that the ordinance is coming through for consideration, and he was volunteering his efforts to work with the City to include some input from the private sector. Mayor Csordas suggested that any time the City has the opportunity for that input, to please contact Mr. Stewart and take him up on his offer.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-04-125 Yeas: Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy, Csordas, Landry
11. Consideration of Ordinance Number 04-23.23, an Ordinance to regulate Idling, Standing, and Loading/Unloading of commercial and motor vehicles in the City of Novi. – 1st Reading
CM-04-04-126 Moved by Nagy, seconded by Landry; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve of Ordinance Number 04-23.23, an Ordinance to regulate Idling, Standing, and Loading/Unloading of commercial and motor vehicles in the City of Novi. – 1st Reading. School buses shall be added to the list of exceptions included in the ordinance, and "but not including refrigeration equipment" shall be placed at the end of the sentence in paragraph 3 on page 2.
Member Lorenzo asked why the City allows loading/unloading from 9 p.m. instead of 8 p.m. on page 2 of the ordinance.
Mr. Fisher replied that he could not answer the question, as he was not closely involved in the preparation of the ordinance.
Member Lorenzo requested that someone find out why this different time was used between the 1st and 2nd readings. She felt that residents would appreciate that the hours be consistent using the earlier hours, 8 p.m. to 7 a.m.
Mr. Fisher suggested that this might have to do with the trucks load until a store is closed at 9 p.m., but said he would check on the matter.
Member Gatt suggested that perhaps a school bus should be added to the list of exceptions included in the ordinance. He could not imagine a time when a school bus would stand idling, but would not want the ordinance prohibiting a school bus from standing in front of a building for an extended period of time waiting for children to get in or get off.
Mayor Csordas noted that at football games, buses may be running and idling for long periods of time, probably not next to a business establish, but perhaps.
Member Gatt said there could be a time when there is a play or event going on in the City, and felt that a school bus should be added to the list of exceptions.
Mr. Fisher suggested that in the same paragraph, paragraph 3 on page 2, to place at the end of the sentence "but not including refrigeration equipment." The City is excepting certain equipment, and it had struck him that someone might make an argument for such refrigeration equipment.
Member Nagy and Mayor Pro Tem Landry accepted Member Gatt’s and Mr. Fisher’s comments.
Member Capello said that with refrigeration trucks, often times a compressor will be running off of the diesel engine. He asked if the phrase "but not including refrigeration equipment" would include that if the compressor has to keep running, that the engine can keep running to run the compressor.
Mr. Fisher said that the language was stating that the provision shall not apply where idling is necessary to accomplish certain work. He wished to expressly clarify that if somebody idling or sitting in a parking lot at night, if they are parking a refrigeration truck, they will leave the refrigeration unit on which keeps running without needing to be attached to the engine or even the trailer. He wanted to clarify that this should not be permitted.
Member Capello guessed that 50% of the time, the refrigeration unit is not operated by the truck, and 50% of the time it is.
Mr. Fisher replied that this could be. If the unit is operating with the truck, then it would have to comply with these rules.
Member Capello said that in regards to subsection d(1), he felt that the City was immediately putting Farmer Jack at Ten Mile and Meadowbrook in a precarious position because they load from the back of the store and are within 500 feet of residential property. Grocery stores typically do much of their loading/unloading work at night.
Mr. Fisher asked if the ordinance would definitely be impacting that Farmer Jack store.
Mayor Csordas replied that this was absolutely the case.
Member Lorenzo noted that Tree Top Apartments lie immediately west of that store.
Member Nagy noted that there may also be a conflict with the Peach Tree strip mall near Ten Mile and Meadowbrook, and suggested that these concerns be check out.
Mr. Fisher agreed that the concerns should be examined.
Member Capello said that he assumed there is a 500-foot buffer between the stores at West Oaks mall and residential development near there. Even if a residential development like Carlton Place were within 500 feet, they would not hear the trucks at the West Oaks stores with Twelve Mile Road acting as a divider. He suggested that this was another situation that might need to be looked at. In subsection c(1), he did not feel that 5 minutes is a reasonable period of time. If a truck shows up at 8 o’clock, it could take more than 5 minutes to stop the truck and get someone to open up the back door. He commented that perhaps 15 or 20 minutes might be a more reasonable time for that section, given what a driver may have to accomplish.
Roll Call on CM-04-04-126 Yeas: Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy, Csordas, Capello, Landry
12. Approval to award Spring 2004 Street Tree Planting bid to Horizon Lawn Maintenance, the low bidder, in the amount of $71,008.
CM-04-04-127 Moved by Capello, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve to award Spring 2004 Street Tree Planting bid to Horizon Lawn Maintenance, the low bidder, in the amount of $71,008.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-04-127 Yeas: Lorenzo, Nagy, Csordas, Landry, Capello, Gatt
13. Approval of Resolution to authorize Budget Amendment #2004-7.
CM-04-04-128 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Landry; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve of Resolution to authorize Budget Amendment #2004-7.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-04-128 Yeas: Nagy, Csordas, Landry, Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo
CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS FOR COUNCIL ACTION – None
MAYOR AND COUNCIL ISSUES - None
Joe Kapelczak commented that not too long ago his firm was in front of the Consultant Review Committee and made certain remarks. One was that the company was out looking for another engineer to "beef up" their engineering staff in order to help with projects in the City of Novi. He was happy to announce that the firm did find an engineer, George Ferraro. George used to work for the City of Novi 25 years ago under Ed Smidak, for approximately a year. George then went to work for Lloyd and Trim for about 19 years, then to Finkbeiner, and now to their firm. Mr. Ferraro will be in charge of municipal engineering, especially in the City of Novi, so that the Kapelczak and Associates can get their projects on budget and on time.
George Ferraro commented that he looks forward to working with City staff, administration and elected officials on both current and future projects.
CM-04-04-129 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Nagy; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To enter into executive session with the view that Council may return to regular session.
Voice Vote on CM-04-04-129 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
* Council entered into Executive Session at 10:55 p.m.
* Council reconvened the Regular Session at 11:15 p.m.
CM-04-04-130 Moved by Landry, seconded by Lorenzo; MOTION CARRIED: To approve the text of the proposed consent judgment and give conceptual approval to the plan, subject to the plaintiff, Paragon Properties, completing the final planning and engineering and City Council approval of the final site plan, in the matter of Paragon Properties v City of Novi.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-04-130 Yeas: Csordas, Landry, Gatt, Lorenzo
Nays: Capello, Nagy
There being no further business to come before Council, Mayor Csordas adjourned the meeting at 11:17 p.m.
Lou Csordas, Mayor Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk
Transcribed by Steve King
Date approved: April 19, 2004