|View Agenda for this meeting
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
ALSO PRESENT: Rick Helwig – City Manager
Craig Klaver – Chief Operating Officer
Clay Pearson – Assistant City Manager
Tom Schultz – City Attorney
Randy Auler – Parks, Recreation and Forestry Director
Kathy Smith-Roy – Finance Director
Doug Shaeffer – Police Chief
Dave Evancoe – Planning Director
Benny McCusker – Director of Public Works
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Member Lorenzo said she had two suggestions for removals and possible postponements. Regarding item #1, Council had received through Mr. Fisher’s office that the applicant had actually wanted to request a postponement of this item. She understood that the attorneys have met and have tentatively agreed on some language but that the applicant would still prefer a postponement. She request that item #1 be postponed to allow the parties to get their language together in the appropriate format and return to Council.
Member Lorenzo said that, regarding the master plan for land use update, next to the budget document this is the most important document in the City of Novi, and it deserves more attention on a long Council agenda. Her recommendation on this was to perhaps come in at 6:30 instead of 7:30 for a Council meeting and at least devote that one full hour to discussion of the master plan.
Mayor Csordas asked if this was for item #9, not item #10.
Member Lorenzo said this was for items #9 and #10. She was suggesting postponing those three items on that evening’s agenda.
Member Nagy remarked that she supported the master plan.
Mr. Helwig said that for items #9 and #10, administration had not planned any presentation or discussion of content for that evening. Both of those are process issues that administration wanted to bring before Council. Item #9 starts the clock in terms of when the City of Novi can finalize something, and item #10 is trying to see just how Council wishes to process it. There was no presentation intended that evening or discussion of content.
Member Lorenzo said she did not want to get into a prolonged discussion during the approval of the agenda, but it was her understanding that in terms of the master plan item itself, it is asking the Council whether or not it agrees to start distributing the document. She would have comment on this in terms of its format and in terms of the particular changes. In her opinion, the document is not quite ready for that distribution. This is something that she wants to discuss further when Council meets, and discuss that in full.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry said that his understanding of item #10 was that Council was not discussing whether it approves this particular master plan, because he did not believe that Council had the right to do this at that time. His understanding of that issue was whether or not this City wants to say that the City Council has the final say on the master plan or if the Planning Commission does. The item has nothing to do with this particular master plan, but is rather just a procedural issue in general that should not take very long. He would not be in favor of that postponement, as Council should at least begin to discuss that particular issue. As far as item #1 was concerned, he was not in favor of postponing it. His understanding was that a respective purchaser wants to table item #1 indefinitely, until site plan approval time. Council does not even have an offer of purchase on the table or anybody who has put their name in. He does not support indefinitely tabling item #1, and said he was personally ready to rule on that issue.
Mayor Csordas said that just before the meeting he had spoken with Mr. Schultz. There was another version of that item, which he did not know if other members had had the ability to review. Mr. Schultz had changed the language again and even indicated what was deleted. In that version that is now in Council’s packets, both parties do not seem to like it. He said he would be comfortable in moving forward with at least item #1, since it seems like there is some kind of resolution there. He suggested getting a consensus from Council on items numbers 1, 9, and 10.
Member Capello asked Mayor Csordas if by consensus, he wanted a motion to approve the agenda as it sat.
Mayor Csordas replied that he actually just wanted a consensus to see what items Council wanted to remove and which it wanted to leave on the agenda.
Member Capello agreed with Mayor Pro Tem Landry that Council needed to address item #1. If there was a specific period of time and a reason to postpone the item, he would agree to it, but he felt that Mr. Marcus wanted Council to move forward. Without any specific reason to postpone the matter, he was in favor of ruling on item #1 that evening. He agreed that for items #9 and #10, if Council was addressing the substantive issues of the master plan he would agree that Council did not have time that evening. However, as he read the packet, Council was only making a determination as to whether City Council would decide to review and approve the master plan, or to waive its right to do that. He felt that Council was capable of doing that that evening.
Council consensus was to leave item #1 on the agenda.
Council consensus was to remove item #9 from the agenda.
Council consensus was to leave item #10 on the agenda.
CM-04-04-131 Moved by Capello, seconded by Paul; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the agenda as amended.
Member Paul asked to add, under Mayor and Council Issues for a future agenda, Procedure for Permits Issued.
Member Nagy wished to add Abandoned Buildings to the agenda, as well as clarification on the Westmont conservation easement that was brought forward at the previous meeting.
Member Capello said he would accept the additions, as did Member Paul.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-04-131 Yeas: Csordas, Landry, Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul
1. Proclamation declaring Saturday, May 1, 2004 Arbor Day.
Mayor Csordas read the proclamation and presented it to Randy Auler, the director of the City’s Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department. Arbor Day was first observed with the planting of more than one million trees in Nebraska, and has grown to be a world wide event observed throughout the last week in April. Trees can reduce the erosion of our precious topsoil by wind and water, clean the air, produce oxygen and habitat for wildlife, and are a renewable resource. Trees within the City of Novi increase property values, enhance the vitality of business areas, and beautify our community. The Mayor invited the community to join the City of Novi in the tree planting and festivities at Community Sports Park from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 1st.
Mr. Auler also invited members of the community come out for the Arbor Day celebration on May 1st. The City will be planting approximately 200 trees at Community Sports Park. There will be free food and also some prizes.
Mayor Csordas noted a reminder to the community and the City that Saturday, April 24th is the annual Chamber of Commerce charity event. He understood that ticket sales were slightly lagging and that all of the people who work very hard for that annual event would appreciate attendance.
2. CITY MANAGER
Mr. Helwig noted that administration had one update. He asked Mr. Klaver to talk briefly about the breach in the southwest portion of Walled Lake that has been a concern, as well as some positive movements to rectify that.
Mr. Klaver said that as previously reported there is an area that was an abandoned road that has suffered some erosion. Water was spilling from the southwestern area of Walled Lake into an adjacent wetland area. The lake level control device, which is approximately about 200 feet south of this area, is designed to control the legal level of the lake. In effect, the breach is bypassing that device, affecting not only the lake level. The other reason for the control dam is to minimize flooding in the wet spring months. The Shawood Lake waters are a bit higher in part because of this. The City’s wetlands consultant, Dr. Tilton, went out and took a look at the property. He agreed that the breach was something that needed to be addressed, as it was in essence bypassing the lake level control device. In the discussions with the Department of Environmental Quality, one of the suggestions put forward by the City that the DEQ did not initially want to proceed with, but was subsequently approved, was to place sandbags along the edge that would block the breach. The City has scheduled using the WAM court-assigned workers to take 75 to 80 sandbags to create a temporary dike where the water is going through. This will address the situation, and administration can look for more permanent solutions down the road.
Mayor Csordas asked if that was private or public property at the breach site.
Mr. Klaver replied that the site is private property, and is part of the Bristol Corners development. Mr. Arnie Serlin has given the City permission to perform this work and has been very cooperative. Mr. Klaver said he had met with Mr. Schultz to discuss what some of the legal options might be. Because there is nothing creating the situation or contributing to it that was done by the property owner, there is no obligation that Mr. Schultz could see where the City could have any means for requiring any improvements or changes to that property. Oakland County feels that their responsibility is strictly for the lake level control device, so they are not inclined to do anything. That is a situation that falls between the various jurisdictions.
Mayor Csordas asked if a number of sandbags along the breach should at least relieve the problem temporarily. He asked if this was truly the "big crisis" that the Detroit newspaper has made it out to be.
Mr. Klaver responded that left unchecked, the breach did have the potential for developing into a larger problem. Right now, this is a fairly minor problem. There was some erosion, and Dr. Tilton’s and the City’s concerns are that the continued erosion would worsen the situation. This will stop any further deterioration temporarily for perhaps a number of years.
Member Nagy said it was her understanding that there were residents that cut through the berm to use the area for snowmobiling. She asked if the City had learned if this was true.
Mr. Klaver said that had been reported to the City on a number of occasions, so he believed that it had happened.
Member Nagy said that, with all due respect, those residents have some financial obligation. It is their subdivision and their property. She asked why those residents did not have a financial obligation, as it is not the City of Novi that created that situation.
Mr. Schultz said there had been some preliminary discussions on a short-term basis after the last meeting, when the problem came to light. The initial inquiry was whether this was something that the property owners had done. Based on the information that they were given, it appeared that the obligation was elsewhere. He said he would be happy to look at the issue again if further information was received.
Member Nagy asked if there is a homeowner’s association in that subdivision.
Mr. Klaver said the Lakes’ Area Association has been in contact with Mr. McCusker regarding the problem.
Member Nagy said she meant whether Bristol Corners has a homeowners association at the present time.
Mr. Helwig said that homeowner’s association is not yet activated, and is still run by the management company.
Member Nagy commented that she did not want to incur a lot of legal fees because of this item.
Member Lorenzo said that while she shares some of the concerns of the citizens around that area, from an environmental perspective and a City perspective, she felt that the City should proceed cautiously. She would not want to see the City get into a financial or liability situation, nor a precedent-setting situation, as the City seems to be assuming responsibility to some degree on private property. She asked if it is Oakland County that assumes liability and responsibility for lake levels.
Mr. Klaver replied that Oakland County is responsible for the lake level control device.
Member Lorenzo commented that the major issue seemed to be lake level controls, perhaps lowering because of the situation. She saw this as Oakland County’s issue. Since Mr. Serlin has approved the placement of the sand bags, and the City is getting volunteers to place the sand bags, she will not object to the work unless there is a liability issue. She asked if the City was assuming liability in any way by performing the work.
Mr. Schultz said the answer to the question was complicated. Before anything is done, the City needs to look at the exact solution being proposed. The property is private, so there is that insulation. He did not know what discussions were had with Mr. Serlin about indemnification, but if this is an area of property onto which the public is not invited, there are all sorts of defenses that would apply to whoever owns or uses the property regarding recreational trespassers and such. This is a legitimate question and before anything is done the City will address the issue.
Member Lorenzo asked if Council would see something from legal counsel’s office before placement of any sandbags.
Mr. Schultz replied that this would be fine.
Member Lorenzo felt that Council should not do any more than that at this point. Before any authorization of Dr. Tilton to perform more work, or anyone else, that will cost the City money, any such items should come back to Council for approval. While she shares concern, it does not appear that this is Council’s jurisdiction or issue. She advised the residents to continue speaking to Oakland County if they have concerns about lake levels, because that is the jurisdiction that handles those levels.
Member Paul said she shared some of the other concerns, but her main concern is long-term. If the snowmobiles will go through the sand bag area, the City will have the same situation again. The developer will have to do something permanent on his property to keep people off because the City cannot continue fixing his problem. Although the City might install the sand bags with volunteer hours, the developer needs to come up with a permanent solution, whether that is a fence or berm. This will involve the MDEQ, as well as the Oakland County Drain Commission. Before the actual temporary wall is done, she would like the developer to complete the permanent solution on his property.
Mayor Csordas noted that there was an excellent summary from Mr. Pearson to Mr. Helwig regarding in-house engineering projects. Somebody from Pioneer Meadows had contacted him the previous week and wondered if that work was finished. He drove through that area and could not believe that it was finished, and then an item came in Council’s packets stating that final grading and restoration is in progress. He asked if the wearing surface and other items were not finished yet in Pioneer Meadows.
Mr. Helwig replied that this work was not completed. The asphalt plants have not opened yet administration is now being told; this will be the second week in May.
3. DEPARTMENTAL - None
4. ATTORNEY - None
Mayor Csordas invited County Commissioner Jeff Potter of District 8 to the podium.
Jeff Potter, County Commissioner for District 8, precincts 9 and 10 in Novi – the part north of Twelve Mile and west of Novi Road, and north of Thirteen Mile and west of Decker. In addition to being on the Public Services Committee, of which he is the co-chair, he also serves on the General Government Committee as well. He is married and has three children. He admires what the City Council does, as he served as the mayor of South Lyon for 13 years. Public Services recently approved a $400,000 transfer of funding to the Road Commission, a transfer of money from general County government funds to the Road Commission. There was a very tragic accident recently involving the loss of fire equipment; deductibles will not cover the value of the equipment. The Oakland County general government and the Road Commission are two separate agencies, but there is a commitment to get that equipment back on the road. A key theme for Oakland County has been budget restraint. Currently, the County is experiencing the same loss of State-shared revenue, declining growth revenues, and some moderation in the pace of growth. This has included actual fiscal cuts in Oakland County, some not very popular. They are trying to concentrate on core services and citizen safety in particular. Another sample initiative that was just reauthorized is the senior prescription program. Seniors can go to their senior center or many other senior advocacy groups and get a prescription discount card that will entitle the Oakland County resident senior to discounts of up to 40% on prescription medications through a contract arrangement with a vendor. The purchase of 199 Tasers to be used in non-lethal apprehensions was also recommended. These have already been used at least 45 or 50 times, most recently with a despondent homeowner in Lyon Township even though they had a gun and threatened mayhem. Local police departments are also looking at this, perhaps because of Oakland County’s experience, or perhaps just because it’s a good idea. One thing that has carried a great deal of media publicity lately has been the concern about an equitable arrangement with the Detroit Water and Sewer Department. The County is trying to get into a responsible dialogue with its friends in Detroit that sell water to many communities in this district, about the accounting formulae that are used to determine water rates. They believe they made a good step in inviting the mayor of Detroit to come to the County. Mayor Kilpatrick has pledged to put some of these issues on the table. Commissioner Potter said he is on a committee that is determined to pick someone as our representative. Mayor Kilpatrick has conceded that he would give strong favor to a board member that would be selected by the County commissioners. Another big item is the Governor’s cancellation of some previously dedicated road projects, most specifically the Wixom Road interchange. Senator Cassis and Representative DeRoche have been very stern advocates and have worked to get the Grand River corridor fixed and the Beck Road interchange restored. The commissioners do not feel that an improved intersection will take anything away from the Detroit metropolitan area. He works at the Ford Wixom plant, and his daily experience is working with people who live in the metropolitan area coming out to get good paychecks and dignified work. The County does not feel that an emphasis on restoring infrastructure to central areas will help the County or the State with employment concerns. Commissioners have been very active with this politically, though it is not necessarily a specific cause of the County Commission’s activity roster. Both he and Commissioner Crawford have been to MDOT transportation seminars and hearings on this issue. Finally, the Commission is very concerned with continuing the strong pace of economic development in this area, because that is what brings the jobs and pays the taxes that help maintain the quality of life. There have been changes in this past term: the Wixom Downtown Development Authority has been approved. Formerly, DDA’s and their tax captures have been more or less reserved for what were considered teetering urban areas. The Commission found a way to allow the DDA structure to restore some areas that aren’t doing too badly but can be enhanced to a mutual benefit of the County and of the city or township that is involved.
Fred Moschetta, 42696 Faulkner Drive, wished to voice his displeasure that Council was considering granting a liquor license to Hooters at Fountain Walk. He recently moved to Novi less than a year ago from Livonia. One of the reasons that his family chose to move here is the strong family ethics in the City. Of his 11 years of living in Livonia, Hooters also tried to move into that city, and was voted down by that city council. He lives less than one mile away from Fountain Walk, and he and his family ride their bikes there often to visit the movie theatre, the putt-putt store, and the ice cream shop. He does not feel that an establishment like Hooters is appropriate at Fountain Walk. At the last Council meeting, several people did not realize that Fountain Walk is a family entertainment center. In the last week, the City of Novi mailed out its recreation guide that includes a full-page ad from Fountain Walk advertising "Something for the entire family at Fountain Walk." An establishment like Hooters is totally unnecessary for a location like Fountain Walk.
Joan Koeppen, Thirteen Mile and Novi Road, said she lived in Livonia for 24 years and moved to Novi two years ago hoping to find the same caliber of city that she left. She does not feel that she has now. She has heard people comment that Hooters has great hamburgers, but there is hardly a restaurant that does not have great hamburgers. Hooters has a sleazy atmosphere, a sleazy bar, and their big credit is that they make good hamburgers, but this is not what the restaurant is really known for. As such, she is extremely disappointed in this city, and would like to go back to Livonia where they do not have that kind of "trash." She never thought of Novi as a sleazy city, but the Council’s indication that its greed can allow Hooters to come into a little haven of Novi, Fountain Walk, is extremely disappointing.
James Burton, 41736 Brownstone Drive, said he had done a lot of research and watched the last Council meeting. He did not feel that Hooters was so unique as for Council to vote for the transfer of a liquor or beverage license. In practically every city that Hooters is going to, the company is being denied. Hooters has a way around this problem: they give the beer away for free until they get the license, which is wrong. Hooters has a very nasty reputation with women. There is an article on cnn.com about what the company did with prospective waitresses when they had the women try on uniforms. The company has a bad reputation and can only drag Novi down. Putting Hooters in Fountain Walk is a slap in the face to the City’s residents.
Carol Crawford, Beck Road, said she did not come to the meeting to speak, but thought there would be more women from the community in attendance. She has talked with a number of ladies within the community at all levels at various activities, and they find it repulsive to bring Hooters into this community. She does not feel that the community wants to show its daughters that Hooters is what it wants. Those with daughters want them to grow up to be self-serving, strong individuals who can make it in the world. This particular establishment does not have this to offer anywhere in the community, but most specifically in Fountain Walk near ice cream stores and pet stores where children go. Residents tout this as a community for families with good schools, not for Hooters. She hoped that Council would at least consider asking Hooters to move somewhere else.
Paul Aramian, Meadowbrook Town Homes, said he also agreed with the past speakers, but had another view of why he does not want Hooters to come into town. He believes the Post Bar has had 59 or 60 police runs in the short period of time that it has been here. Each time that happens, it requires a policeman to go to that location, taking away from the safety of the rest of the City. With a Hooters going in where there are crowds of all types of people from all over, the City faces the same problems as with the Post Bar. That means that taxes will have to go up because the City will have to hire more policemen, and he did not believe it was revenue-positive to have an institution like Hooters in this area.
As a board member of the Meadowbrook Town Homes Condominium Association, Mr. Aramian was recently asked to contact the ordinance department at the City of Novi regarding feeding of geese. They have a large group of wetlands and retention ponds, and a great place for the geese to migrate to and eat. When he called the City’s ordinance department he was told that the City does not have any ordinances for the feeding of wild animals. He is not really opposed to children feeding ducks or squirrels, but there was an article in the June 24th Wall Street Journal last year indicating that migratory geese are resident geese, and have become a nuisance for the entire United States. There are three to five million geese flying around and causing problems. The extent of the problem is that a goose lays droppings every 10 minutes, and the geese come in groups of 30 or 40. In one day, geese can leave about two thousand droppings on an area of less than a football field. This becomes a real problem in terms of the water system and so on. He feels sorry for the geese because they are truly great animals, family animals. However, the area cannot have people feeding the geese. He wondered if this could be discussed and researched for Council’s Ordinance Review Committee to determine.
Mayor Csordas noted that this had not been a topic for the Ordinance Review Committee, but supposed the matter could be discussed sometime.
Sharon Burton, 41736 Brownstone Drive, said she was also present regarding the Hooters restaurant. She watched the last Council meeting, and wished to commend the Council members who think enough of the integrity of the City to try to keep Hooters out. She moved to Novi because it is an upscale community, and she has always been proud to live here. When Fountain Walk was originally proposed it was supposed to bring high scale businesses to the City. Hooters is not a high scale business; it is a business that thrives on women and the way they dress, how tight their shirts are, and this is improper. She had heard Council members say that they would not mind bringing their families to the restaurant, but they should do this out of the City. She will not take her grandson or any of her children into Hooters to be exposed. The women’s movement has come much further than for people to "have to look at this" in the City of Novi. She said she was emotional about the issue because she has fought as a woman for women not to be exposed. She does not want to see the police department put in harm’s way, or men fighting over waitresses.
Larry Griffiths, on behalf of Western United Life Insurance Company, was present to address agenda item #1. He was present to ask that the matter be tabled, not indefinitely but for a relatively short period of time. Since he was in attendance two weeks prior, there had been a purchase agreement executed between Western United as the current owner and a local developer who has done work in the City but does not wish to have its name exposed until the due diligence period under that contract is finished, about 30 days. While they are not asking for a specific date in the future, they will not let the matter go indefinitely, as they need to resolve it. The prospective purchaser has asked them, as the owner, to ask the Council to table the matter so that they have a chance, once the sale is completed, to be the lead and spokesman in front of Council. They ask that the matter be tabled for approximately a month when the due diligence period is over, at which point the purchaser will come before Council and address it.
Tom Marcus, 25914 Novi Road, said the only thing that scared him about not making a decision that evening was that there was now a third party involved. When the matter began, it was at the Town Center, and they – himself, the City, and Mr. Chen – dealt with it then. Now, they are dealing with not only the insurance company but also a third party, and he felt there were too many people involved. He wished to take care of the matter that evening if it was at all possible.
Tom Horrigan, 996 Springfield, Northville, wished to speak in regards to Hooters coming into the City of Novi. He has lived in the Northville/Novi area for thirty-some years. He learned about Hooters and did some research on the company. One of the arguments put forth is that it is a chain restaurant, which he agrees with, but so is Déjà Vu, which is a strip club. The Landing Strip, another strip club, is also a chain. The Landing Strip has approximately 60 locations, and Déjà Vu has 25 locations nation-wide, and both are very profitable. That being said, he wanted to talk about individuals, like Christopher Fugate. Mr. Fugate was a part-time cook and left Hooters restaurant at 3:45. Five minutes later he was dead. Police investigated and found that his blood alcohol level was 0.25, and went to the restaurant to ask when he left; the restaurant said he left at 2:00, and said he must have been drinking somewhere else. Another Hooters manager went to the police and told them to check the security logs, which showed that Mr. Fugate had left five minutes before his death. He had been drinking at work with management’s knowledge, but he was not old enough to drink. When Hooters learned that the manager had cooperated with the police, she was fired. Ms. Lawrence, who was the manager on duty, was told by higher-ups not to cooperate with the police. He questioned if this was a good corporate citizen. In another case, Daniel Lutz had 22 pints of beer, left the restaurant but was not let back into the establishment. Mr. Lutz was from out of state. On the way back to his hotel, Mr. Lutz was run over by a semi on I-75. Mr. Lutz was also underage but had consumed 22 pints of beer. Hooters has a reputation: they encourage the wait staff to be flirtatious with their customers. There is a court case in Arlington, Texas where a sex psycho-therapist has looked at Hooters and has found that they sell sexual fantasy. Hooter’s president, Rick Adacam, has stated that the primary purpose of the business is vicarious, sexual recreation. This is not a typical restaurant, and was stated so in court. He said he had court documents showing that Hooters is not a good corporate citizen. In an arbitration agreement in Appellate Court, a judge said he had never seen a more uneven-handed arbitration agreement, and ruled in favor of the wait staff to go ahead and allow the agreement to be null and void.
Roger Hamilton, 16826 Kirchival Place, Grosse Pointe, noted that he was not a citizen of Novi. He wanted to say a few positive things about the Hooters concept. He is a father of three daughters, the grandfather of two daughters, his wife is a Christian therapist, and they have lunch at Hooters. He does not take offense there, but he does take offense at people saying that the restaurant is a slimy concept and degrading the people that work there trying to make a living. He is a veteran, a former mayoral candidate, a member of the American Legion, a co-founder and founding father of the Marine Corp League and its senior vice-commandant, and is also the past president of the Jaycees. He is not asking for anything special of the concept, and there is nothing wrong with the people that work at Hooters. There is something wrong with people that feel they can control the world. If you don’t like hooters, don’t go. He does not like his children having a cheeseburger at McDonald’s. There are many things that he does not like in life, but he avoids them. He does not like smoking, so he doesn’t smoke; he doesn’t like strip joints, so he doesn’t go to them. This is still America.
Brian Mayer, 24306 Simmons Dr., wished to address the Hooters restaurant issue. He is in support of Hooters. There are approximately 360 of the restaurants across the United States and in 12 foreign countries. He personally has been to 20 or 25 of the establishments. There is nothing sleazy going on in Hooters restaurants; they are not a strip joint, are not a massage parlor, the waitresses wear short shorts and tank top shirts. There is nothing illegal going on in the restaurants. If there are 359 of them throughout the United States and foreign countries, they obviously are not doing something illegal. He has been to Hooters in Baltimore, at the Inner Harbor area; Hooters in St. Louis at Union Station, a refurbished railroad station with an upscale hotel and specialty stores and restaurants; Hooters in Minneapolis at the Mall of America. The restaurants are all over and are not doing anything illegal. In Hooters, he has seen families with children six to ten years old. The waitresses give the children a balloon and tie it around their wrist. He has seen little league teams go in the restaurants with their coaches. It upsets him to see the places and know that there is nothing sleazy, immoral, illegal, or unethical going on there. If you find the name offensive or the theme or attire inappropriate, it does not legally justify a "no" vote on the liquor license transfer. If you find Hooters offensive, do not go there – this is a free country. Novi does not need another lawsuit if Council turns Hooters down, because the company is doing nothing illegal, wrong, or unethical in his opinion.
CONSENT AGENDA (Approval/Removals)
Member Capello asked if, rather than removing an item, he could ask Kathy Smith-Roy a question about an item on the warrant. On the $37,000 check to Tilton and Associates for stream bank stabilization, he asked for a description of what this was for.
Ms. Smith-Roy said this was in conjunction with some grant work that the company is doing. She said she could give the additional information to Member Capello during the break.
Member Capello asked if she knew where the work was being performed.
Mr. Helwig said that the action map inside the front cover of the quarterly report identified this as a special program where Tilton was awarded the contract to do that work. He believed it was done at five sites in the City.
Member Capello asked if this was part of the contract that Council had already approved.
Mr. Helwig replied that this was correct.
Member Paul removed the warrant, item H.
CM-04-04-132 Moved by Paul, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the consent agenda as amended.
Voice Vote on CM-04-04-132 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
CONSENT AGENDA: (Background information for Consent Agenda items is available for review at the City Clerk’s Office)
A. Approve minutes of:
B. Approval to purchase used handheld meter reading equipment in the amount of $4,885 from SLC Meter Service, Inc., a sole source provider.
C. Approval to purchase two hundred (200) radio remotes from SLC Meter Service, Inc., the sole provider, in the amount of $16,000.
D. Approval of Final Pay Estimate No. 2 for the Novi Public Library entranceway and parking lot improvements, in the amount of $897.94 with Sunrise Grading, Inc.
E. Approval of Traffic Signal Maintenance Agreement for signal at Novi Road and Waverly/Hickory Woods Elementary.
F. Approval of Storm Drainage Maintenance Agreement with Nadian II, LLC, for Beck North Corporate Park Phase II.
G. Approval of Resolution for Memorial Day Parade to be held on Monday, May 31, 2004 starting at 10:00 a.m. on Ten Mile Road at Karim proceeding west to Novi Civic Center.
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION – Part I
1. 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 noted that at the prior Council meeting, Council discussed whether or not to simply vacate the road. Since that time, there has been a proposed resolution with some language. It was his understanding that there was some recent language added. With the most recent language, which he believed was in the best interest of all parties involved, including the City, he wished to approve the vacation.
CM-04-04-133 Moved by Landry, seconded by Paul; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve 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, with the language providing that there is an easement for public utilities and for public vehicular ingress to an egress.
Member Capello asked if it was true that the easement runs to the benefit of the City.
Mr. Schultz replied that this was correct.
Member Capello asked if at sometime in the future the City wanted to vacate the easement, it could do that, or revise the easement.
Mr. Schultz replied that this was also correct.
Member Nagy noted that at the previous Council meeting when this matter was discussed, Mr. Marcus was supposed to meet with the other parties. She wanted to make sure that he was fully aware of what was in this document and that he agreed with it.
Mr. Marcus replied that the parties did meet to make sure that the ingress/egress was automotive and that he could get out to Grand River.
Member Nagy asked Mr. Marcus if he agreed with the language.
Mr. Marcus said he agreed with the language, and is not against development at all. He promotes that area as much as anybody does.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-04-133 Yeas: Landry, Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul, Csordas
2. 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, (Fountain Walk) and request for a new Entertainment Permit.
Charles Lane noted that he was the attorney for Hooters of Novi, LLC, the applicant before Council. He was present two weeks earlier with regards to that application; as a result, he had returned that evening. One of the things that came up in that discussion was who the president of Hooters is. He brought with him this evening Mr. Coby Brooks from Atlanta, Georgia. This is a very important matter to Mr. Brooks and to Hooters of America. He also brought with him two other people from Atlanta, Georgia: legal counsel for Hooters, Julia Norris Brown; and the vice-president for human resources and recruiting and training, Ms. Kim Rivera. Based on the comments that he had heard from the public and some of the discussion that he had with Council the previous week, he said he would ask that at the end of his statement, Council allow those two young ladies to speak to Council very briefly.
Mayor Csordas replied that this was fine, and noted that there was a maximum allowed time of 10 minutes for the petitioners to speak.
Mr. Lane thanked the Mayor. As Council is aware, Hooters of Novi is under construction at Fountain Walk. The target opening day is May, 2004. Hooters has been issued all of its building permits and has met all of the requirements of the City building code, use ordinances, and zoning rules. Hooters is in Novi. The fact of the matter that he was before Council both two weeks prior and that evening was not because whether Hooters of Novi would open up its restaurant, but whether Hooters of Novi would be awarded the transfer of a liquor license with an entertainment permit. He was asking for Council’s approval to grant to Hooters of Novi a liquor license with an entertainment permit. Fountain Walk, as described in a Detroit News article, is a $140 million complex consisting of approximately 737,000 square feet. The mall was described in that newspaper article as the new lifestyle center. As described in Fountain Walk’s own advertisements, it uses the words, "The place where shopping, food, and fun come together."
Mr. Lane commented that there are some facts people need to know about Hooters: the applicant is a limited liability company from Atlanta, Georgia; the parent corporation is known as Hooters of America. The managing member is Hooters of America through its president, Coby Brooks. It began in 1984 in a little town, Clearwater, Florida, with one simple restaurant, one simple theme, one simple concept. Today, Hooters is celebrating its 20th anniversary. The company has expanded to 359 locations. There is one golf tour that is named after the company, two car racing circuits named after it, and an airline flying America today with the Hooters name. Of those 359 locations, the company owns and operates 116, and 243 of them are franchisees. The restaurants operate in 43 states in the continental United States, and 12 foreign countries. Since September of 1995, Hooters has been in Michigan. The company currently has 10 operating restaurants in this State, located in such great cities as Grand Rapids, Sterling Heights, Troy, Taylor, Roseville, Muskegon, Lansing, Flint, and Kalamazoo. The company employs over 25,000 people, nearly 15,000 of which are Hooters girls. There have been, over the time since the company’s inception, over 200,000 Hooters girls. There have been over 10,000,000 customers that have visited and gone through the doors of these restaurants all over. Hooters hires both men and women to work in the various positions, such as management, host, staff, service bar, and the kitchen. Food represents 70% of the company’s sales. Hooters is a neighborhood restaurant, a neighborhood sports restaurant that serves food. As a benefit to the customers that come to Hooters, the company serves beer and wine at all of its establishments. Even though the liquor license that Hooters is requesting allows the restaurant to serve hard alcohol, the company does not do this as a policy consideration. Hooters is not a shot and a beer establishment, and does not make its living by shots and beers. The remaining 5% of sales, merchandise, is sold with the Hooters logo. Hours of operation are Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 12 midnight; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Mr. Lane continued: the building will consist of 3,930 square feet, and the standard occupancy has been approved for 151 persons. Hooters already has over $1 million in startup costs invested in this project. Hooters presence at Fountain Walk will provide the public with choices, alternatives, and a great dining experience. With regards to the personnel that operate the restaurant, there will be one manager, three assistant managers, cooks and kitchen help consisting of 25-30 full and part-time people at any time, and 50 to 70 full and part-time Hooters girls. The company hires from the surrounding community. The training of the wait staff, the Hooters girls, is taken very seriously by Hooters. Hooters participates in the bar code, an alcohol awareness training program towards staff, and did so before Michigan became interested or advocating the TIPS and CANS program. Hooters has been training its personnel since 1995 and before. Approximately a year and a half ago, the Michigan Liquor Control Commission implemented a new policy that new licensees must have their staffs trained within 6 months of the issuance of their liquor license. Hooters has been doing this right from the beginning. In fact, the company was instrumental in getting the Michigan Liquor Control Commission to accept the bar code and learn what the bar code is all about. Hooters is involved, serves its community, and has been a major contributor its endowment fund, nicknamed HOOCEF. Since 1993, the company has donated over $7 million to various charities, and to such funds as the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the Detroit Police Athletic League, the Macomb Literacy Primers, Detroit Receiving Hospital, the Muscular Dystrophy Association both at the Michigan and national levels, the Riverview Firefighters Association, William Beaumont Hospital, the Salvation Army, Roseville High School, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the State of Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Utica Parks and Recreation, the Knights of Columbus, the Troy School District, and many more. Hooters sponsors the National Golf Association’s Hooters Tour, the United Speed Alliance Hooters Pro Cup racing series, the IHRA racing series, Formula One powerboat racing, the AMA motorcycle team, and Hooters Airlines.
Mr. Lane said that when he was before Council on April 5th, there were some allegations made as to whether Hooters takes its service of alcohol to the community responsibly and seriously. He has already stated that the company does, both on April 5th and again that evening. What came up was a violation report with regards to the licensees in Michigan. He could assure Council that an industry such as Hooters of America, the applicant before Council, is not targeting minors to serve them. The company will not take the chance of making two bits on the sale of a beer on a $350 million industry. Unfortunately, some of the company’s staff, for whatever reason, did not adhere to the company’s policy, which is an absolute policy. Simply stated, the policy of Hooters is, and it follows the State’s mandate, that it is illegal to serve alcohol to underage persons. Ms. Rivera would discuss some of the alcohol training with Council with regards to the staff. Statistics can be misleading, and can be used to damage reputation or character. He had nothing to hide; Hooters has predominately had 9 violations in its 10-year history. At first blush, it would seem that 9 violations is substantial, but if someone looks at those 9 violations, they are not so bad. The first violation goes back to 1997 and involved 5 licensees, and was treated by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission as one violation. The company was fined, but that violation that dated back to 1997 was that the licensees failed to get MLCC approval to hold a contest that gave money away in excess of $50. This was a learning experience regarding a national promotion that went on, and those restaurants participated in the national promotion. As a result, 5 of those licensees were busted, and this is permanently on the record. Since that time, there is probably not another licensee in Michigan that has not willingly participated with the Michigan Liquor Control Commission to clear every promotion and contest it does to make sure that they do not run afoul of the law. After that first violation, with the other 8 violations, 6 unfortunately involve serving alcohol to underage persons. Of those 6 violations, in cumulative years regarding all of the restaurants that have been operating in Michigan, the company has cumulative service years of 61 ½ years, but only 6 violations with regards to serving alcohol to minors. On the face, this does not appear to be very good. However, he performed a review with the Michigan Liquor Control Commission regarding some licensees in Novi. As a result of that checking, he came across 4 active licensees in the City of Novi with 22 sales of alcohol to underage persons. If he makes that comparison of 14 active licensees doing business in Novi, his ratio by comparison beats those restaurants doing business in Novi. With regards to those violations, of the 6 violations for Hooters, he wishes that he could stand before Council and state that the company had none, but he could not. Almost everyone has a drivers license, but most people cannot say they’ve never had a driver’s violation in their history. Many people have very good and exemplary driving records. However, people do not set out to violate the speed law. Inadvertently, that person finds themselves with a siren behind them and a police officer giving them a ticket for 5 or 10 over. This does not make the person a bad person, in the same way that Hooters has the situation with regards to the 6 persons that served alcohol to a minor illegally. Those people made a mistake and were fired as a result of their actions because it is company policy to fire them, and it is against the law to serve alcohol to minors. He wanted Council to be assured that Hooters is very serious about serving alcohol to minors, is not to be compared to the Post Bar, or to the history of what is going on in this community. Hooters’ reputation in the other 10 communities in Michigan has been very exemplary, and the company does not have many police runs nor difficulty with police. Mr. Lane asked for Ms. Norris Brown and Ms. Rivera to be able to address Council.
Mayor Csordas replied that the women would be allowed 60 seconds each because Council wants to be fair to everybody, and Council has held everyone else to time limits.
Mr. Lane said he understood, but felt that things had been said that he felt should be responded to just briefly.
Mayor Csordas assured Mr. Lane that Council would consider matters of fact, not emotion.
Julia Norris Brown stated that she is counsel for Hooters of America and its subsidiaries, of which there are approximately 116 within the U.S. The incident which concerned Council at the last meeting, regarding a California case, involved one of the company’s franchisees. The company licenses its names and trademarks to various business operators, and while the company licenses and controls those particular items, their day-to-day operations are not controlled. The company is very concerned about what happened in that California case, and if it occurred in one of the company’s restaurants, it would take swift action to terminate the employee and prevent that from happening. Hooters’ policies, training and procedures that are in place do not require the girls to try on the uniforms as part of the interviewing process, as this is against company policy. To address the gentleman that spoke earlier about the cases he was representing, except for the case in Tallahassee, Florida, all of those involved other franchisees. The one in Florida was a confidential settlement. The incident involving Victoria Lawrence is ongoing and the facts were grossly misrepresented.
Kim Rivera thanked Council for the chance to address them very briefly. The perspective that she wished to present was different from that of anyone else there, not only as a female executive within the organization, having been employed with Hooters since 1991. She also was a manager for Hooters in operations, and prior to that was a Hooters girl. She worked her way through college as a Hooters girl. At no time has she felt that the company has degraded or demeaned her or exploited her or other women within the organization. The company has not exploited but employed tens of thousands of women and provided wonderful opportunities, such as the opportunity that she has been given with the organization, as well many who work in the corporate office in management for the organization and in different positions. There are many women who have started with the company trying to work their way as school teachers, as mothers, as individuals going through school pursuing degrees. The company has not only provided her with a great opportunity within the organization, but also those individuals as well.
Member Gatt noted that the Mayor had made a statement that Council would deal with matters of fact, not emotion. Mr. Lane had said that on the face of it, the violations seemed terrible, regarding Hooters. He asked if this was an accurate statement.
Mr. Lane replied that this was correct. That was in perspective to the statistics that he showed by comparison to the existing licensees here in Novi, compared to Hooters’ history based on all of its 10 licensees in Michigan.
Member Gatt said he wanted to get the record straight: the City is not dealing with the other franchises in the City of Novi. He was sure that if Council had information on some of them before they came before Council, as will happen in the future, Council would not have approved their liquor licenses, either. All Council can deal with are the facts. The facts, as he sees them, are that Hooters has 10 restaurants in the State of Michigan, and there have been 9 liquor license violations. Six of those involve serving alcohol to minors.
Mr. Lane agreed that this was correct.
Member Gatt said that Mr. Lane had brought up an analogy that he was quite interested in, something about a driving record. Mr. Lane had said that, when a person is driving down the road, they do not intend to commit a crime; yet, they look in the review mirror and see a police officer behind them with the lights and siren on.
Mr. Lane replied that this was correct.
Member Gatt said that receiving a speeding ticket is not a crime, but selling alcohol to minors is a crime, a misdemeanor in the State of Michigan. Driving too fast is not a crime. It is his experience, and he can speak from experience as a police officer, that a person will probably be stopped for speeding one out of a hundred times. In other words, a person will be speeding 99 times and get away with it, and maybe the one time the person will be caught by a police officer. He asked if this was accurate.
Mr. Lane said he had no way of knowing if this was correct.
Member Gatt said he felt that the public would know that people speed, and sometimes people get caught and have to pay the price. Other times, people don’t get caught. The same thing goes for selling alcohol to minors or any other violation in Hooters or any other restaurant.
Mr. Lane stated that he disagreed with this comment. To a point, this might be true with people being people and erring. People make mistakes in every job and every walk of life.
Member Gatt said that an employer can control, and has to control.
Mr. Lane said that Hooters does control its sales.
Member Gatt commented that Hooters did not control its sales properly 6 times. In the minutes from the prior meeting, the police chief said that he would act vigorously to ensure compliance. Council is dealing with a police department that is already approximately 15 officers shy of what the FBI considers to be normal. The City is dealing with a police department that has been burdened with many other establishments in the City that are having problems, and the City is vigorously trying to enforce those, curb the problems, and curtail them. For Council to approve a franchise such as Hooters with a terrible record, not only on its face, he felt that Council would be doing its citizens a terrible disservice. This has nothing to do with the Hooters girls, nothing to do with the menu, and nothing to do with anything other than the facts. The facts are, Hooters’ record is terrible. Because of that, he said he would not support the liquor license transfer.
Member Paul noted that she had not yet had the opportunity to give her points on record. She read all of the minutes and all of the information that was given. She has four areas of concern on the liquor license. The first is item #8 on the liquor license application, "What is the effect that the issuance of a license would have upon the economic development of the surrounding area?" She looked at the immediate surrounding area within a ½ mile radius of other sports bars. The City has Buffalo Wild Wings in the same establishment, so there is no uniqueness in that licensure. Then, she looked further at the uniqueness, which in item #12 discusses "the uniqueness of the proposed facility when contrasted against other existing or proposed facilities that are compatible with the surrounding architecture and land use. She looked at the land use from other sports bars in the community. The City has O’Toole’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, and the Library Pub. There are other establishments here that are similar. Then, she looked at Hooters from the uniqueness of the food. She obtained menus from Buffalo Wings, and Hooters provided Council with one. Most of that menu is wild wings, and they have very similar chicken dishes and finger foods. Also, she looked at hamburgers, which are the same. The only difference that she could find were shrimp and oysters, and seafood is offered at Diamond Jim Brady’s, Steve and Rocky’s, Friday’s, Red Lobster, and Red Robin, and this is only within a ½ mile radius. Also, there is an Asian restaurant in Fountain Walk that offers shrimp and other fish dishes. She looked at Hooters from the uniqueness of the food, the uniqueness of the sports bar atmosphere, and she could not understand why this was such a unique environment. She was not looking at attire, but rather the food and the type of bar the company is promoting.
Member Paul said she then looked at item #15, "What is the proximity of the proposed facility to other similarly situated licensed liquor facilities?" Buffalo Wild Wings is already in the same establishment, so that was one such facility. She looked at item #17, which discusses what effect the proposed facility would have upon the surrounding neighborhoods. There is residential property in a near proximity because of the Sandstone project, right across the street. The City has a situation that is a very important issue. Council has to look at the facts on this licensure. She does not support the matter because there is no uniqueness to this licensure. She also supports Member Gatt’s comments as a retired police officer and someone with a lot of experience. Hooters has 9 violations, 6 for serving minors, just in this state. This is not a great thing, and she does not want to promote it. Fountain Walk is a family establishment, which they have promoted. She referred to a newspaper advertisement showing children going to the Cold Stone Ice Cream parlor, going to the restaurants there, heading to the movie theatre, going to the putt-putt facility, and going to Van’s Skate Park. Lucky Strike is now going in Fountain Walk, and the community will have minors there at certain hours without parental supervision. She said that Council was asking for a lot of trouble when asking for different situations. Uniqueness of the licensure does not fit this establishment, and her vote would be "no."
Member Capello asked if the 6 different violations were spread out over 10 different restaurants.
Mr. Lane replied that this was correct, as 5 were actually involved, with Hooters of Lansing having two violations. The other facilities had one violation starting in 1998 through 2004.
Member Capello asked how many years these violations occurred over.
Mr. Lane replied that this would have been over a period of 6 years.
Member Capello summarized that there were 6 violations over 10 restaurants over 6 years.
Mr. Lane said this was correct.
Member Capello said that the previous speaker was reading a section of the ordinance talking about uniqueness requirements of other restaurants in the area. He asked if that section of the ordinance comes into play when Council granting one of the City-initiated licensures, or when Council is actually just approving the transfer of a license.
Mr. Schultz replied that this comes into play during each of the considerations by Council for granting of the license.
Member Capello asked if Council could technically, if there are other restaurants that serve similar foods, deny an applicant a transfer of a license based on their menu.
Mr. Schultz said that this was a difficult question to answer based on the way that it was asked. What this provision that Member Paul referred to, section 3-14 of the ordinance, is essentially a list of about 20 different criteria, all of which Council as a whole considers in determining whether or not the license ought to be issued or transferred. This is a policy determination on the part of Council. What Council has to do is relate the standard to some factual piece of evidence that has been presented before it. The range of things that that might include is as broad as the issues that Council can identify. To hang the answer on one particular item on one of the 20 criteria would be difficult, as this is a global type of consideration.
Member Capello said that just looking at the facts, listening to the audience, he did not really hear anyone come forward with any facts. Some of the references were made to this Hooters as being similar to a strip club. He did not recall ever being to a Hooters, though his wife said he was at one once with the family and did not even realize he was at one, so the restaurant did not make much of an impression on him. Hooters has short shorts and halter tops. Other than that, he did not see any reason that anybody could complain about the restaurant. To take a stretch because shorts are short and halter tops may be tight, and that the company does not hire males to be waiters per se, he did not feel was a basis for Council to turn down the application. He knows that Hooters has sued the City of Livonia. The company did not go in there, but took the gumption to sue that city. He knows that he has, as an attorney, looked at some case law, and he was not comfortable that if Council turned the application down, that Novi would not get sued. He does not want to use the City’s resources to defend a lawsuit that he does not feel the City can factually defend. He did not see anything in the record, anything through the report of the police department or the application, or through the Michigan Liquor Control Commission, that gives Council a basis to turn down the application. He would not make a moral decision whether Hooters is right or wrong. He does not feel that the restaurant is immoral, and said he agreed with the gentlemen that said if a person does not want to bring their family there, don’t bring them there. Just because a person gets an ice cream doesn’t mean that they’ll bring their child to Hooters. Just because a child goes to get an ice cream does not mean that they’ll go into Hooters and have a drink. He does not think that the 6 violations over 6 years and 10 restaurants is egregious. He does think that Mr. Lane has told Council that Hooters has educational measures in place to attempt to prevent such sales. Having worked his way through law school and the first few years of practicing law to afford office rent, he worked at a bar and served at a bar, and he knows that there are young people working at bars and things can be hard to control. As long as Hooters has measures in place and its record is not egregious, the company must be doing something right. He did not see how Council could justifiably turn the application down.
Mr. Lane added that in Troy, Hooters has implemented the use of a scanner device that will take a driver’s license, scan it, and provide the wait staff with the proper age, whether alcohol be served or not. This is something that the company has implemented in the past month, and is something that if it works and fits in, will be used in the other establishments as well. Hooters does not have police runs to Hooters restaurants that are similar to what has been in the paper lately, especially in the Detroit News regarding the City of Novi. The company comes into the area, is quiet, does its business, and goes home at night.
Member Capello asked if Hooters has a scanner that can actually read the State-issued driver’s license.
Mr. Lane replied that this was correct.
Member Capello asked if it would be much more difficult for somebody to have a false license.
Mr. Lane said this, too, was correct.
Member Capello asked Member Gatt if this could be done.
Member Gatt commented that this could not be done three years ago, but he did not know what could be done now.
Member Nagy said she found this to be a very interesting situation, and said this was not an emotional or a moral decision. The community has the ability to set some sort of standards, whatever those standards are. By ordinances, and some of the questions on the liquor license application, the standards by which the City of Novi has set forth are implied. She also had read the April 5th minutes, and the interesting thing that she found was that Mr. Lane had said that Hooters is a family-oriented and very viable, good business. She understands that Hooters could be a good business. She went to the company’s website, hooters.com, and the heading was "Delightfully Tacky, Yet Unrefined." In the literature that she printed out, the website says, "The element of female sex appeal is prevalent in the restaurants. Hooters characterizes itself as a neighborhood place, not a family restaurant. Sex appeal is legal, and it sells." Looking at some of the research in the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Mike McNeil said, "Our business is on the female sex appeal side." She did not want to comment on this, because there is such a thing in life called choices. If a person chooses to work there, that is their choice. If a person chooses not to work there, that is their choice. This is not a female issue as far as she is concerned. She looked at everything that was said during the last meeting, and the research that she did on the Hooters organization. She came up surprised at some things that she found. The questions that are asked on the application, what effects the issuance of the license would have on the health, welfare and safety of the general public: the issuance can have an effect. Every liquor license has an effect, so she would not negate this. This facility does not add anything new and unique. Council is not making decisions based on Hooters’ menu, because the menu is basically a bar menu. However, the only unique thing that she has found are the uniforms of the wait staff. She does not feel that this is an appropriate area to put Hooters in. If Hooters would go in on Grand River in its own separate building, she would have less of an ability to object. She does not see anything in the application that supports what the public need or convenience is, as there is no need for the citizens of Novi to issue another liquor license to another restaurant. This will not be a unique facility in any manner, shape, or form except for the uniforms, and it will not have any positive effect on the health, welfare, and safety of the general public. She agrees with the previous speaker, who mentioned the fact that the City of Novi does not have enough police per the FBI standards. She also agrees that the City has had violations with regards to other localities, but this City cannot afford to keep having that happen. The previous night, on A&E, there was a special called "Cleavage." Low and behold, they showcased Hooters girls as one of the many topics of discussions, which was ironic. She believes that the basis for her vote to deny the liquor license is that she does not believe the facility provides anything unique. There are "a ton" of other restaurants in this area, perhaps too many, and she does not feel that Hooters will add anything to the City in regards to health, welfare and safety. Her packet said that Hooters is requesting that the outdoor area of the license be removed, but the MLCC has not removed this. She asked if this was correct.
Mr. Lane said this was not correct.
Member Nagy asked if Hooters would still be looking for an outdoor area.
Mr. Lane replied that this was not correct. The MLCC and the City have both removed that from the request.
Member Nagy said she did not believe Hooters would be a "good fit" in this location. She does not believe that the restaurant will provide the City with anything unique and positive, so she would not be voting for the transfer.
Member Lorenzo asked to speak with the Atlanta-based attorney.
Julia Norris Brown stepped to the podium.
Member Lorenzo said with regard to not only the liquor license violations here in Michigan, Ms. Norris Brown acknowledged during her presentation that the Hooters in Tallahassee was a company-owned facility.
Ms. Norris Brown replied that this was correct.
Member Lorenzo noted that there was a wrongful death case that was settled out-of-court involving 19-year-old Christopher Fugate.
Ms. Norris Brown said this was also correct.
Member Lorenzo said that with regard to information that was also provided to Council by one of the speakers that evening, she asked if Hooters had disputed the statements from one of the company’s representatives in the EEOC case, in terms of how that case was defended.
Ms. Norris Brown asked what statement Member Lorenzo was referring to.
Member Lorenzo replied, "Hooters defends this over-sexism by stating its hiring practice conforms with the Civil Rights Act because the chain is ‘in the business of providing vicarious sexual recreation and female sexuality in a bona fide occupational qualification’."
Ms. Norris Brown said this was correct to her knowledge.
Member Lorenzo said she wanted it on the record that Council was looking at the facts, not statements that people have made, or hearsay. This was why she asked Ms. Norris Brown specifically, since she was the representative from the company-owned situation.
Member Lorenzo said that with regard to the Council’s jurisdiction in this matter, at least one member asked if Council had the right to do "this, that, or the other thing." Member Nagy rightfully pointed out that what gives Council this right is the jurisdiction in which the applicant answers the questions on this application. At the very top of the application, on questionnaire B, it says that "The Novi City Council will consider whether an applicant’s proposal for a liquor license is reasonable when measured against the information contained within this completed application." This is a question of reasonableness by specific criteria on the application, specific questions and specific answers and information that Council is to evaluate. With regard to the liquor violations, the particular question #9 which discusses "What effect would the issuance of a license have on the health, welfare and safety of the general public?" This is a community standard, and this is a question in terms of the community standard. As she mentioned at the last discussion, the representative for Hooters said that Hooters embraces its obligation to serve alcohol in a responsible manner. Based on the facts of the nine violations here in Michigan, many of which were for serving alcohol to minors, one of which was serving to an intoxicated person, which is also serious in her consideration because the intoxicated person could injure or kill themselves and/or others. She respectfully disagrees with the statement on the application, as she does not believe, based on those facts, that Hooters serves alcohol in a responsible manner, not only in Michigan, but particularly in Tallahassee, Florida.
Member Lorenzo commented that with regard to that same question in terms of health, safety and welfare, #17 on the application discusses what effect the proposed facility would have upon the surrounding neighborhood and/or business establishments, including impacts on residential areas, churches and school districts, there are at least two school districts within two miles. Catholic Central boys’ high school will be on Wixom Road, Novi High School is at Ten Mile and Taft Road, and middle schools along Taft Road. There is also at least one church on Thirteen Mile near Meadowbrook Road. On the north side of Twelve Mile Road, except for the Mobil gas station on the corner, all of the property to the west is zoned residential. She was concerned that, in addition to the alcohol violations and what she considers to not be the responsible serving of alcohol, she is also concerned about the fit in this particular shopping center. This may be what the appellate court in Arlington noted as an unusual or unique circumstance. Hooters is proposing to locate in a shopping center that is a predominately family-oriented shopping center. The attorney for Hooters had just acknowledged that the representative did speak of this as a "vicariously sexual atmosphere." She sees this as inconsistent and incompatible with the theme in this particular shopping center. Others have shown the advertisements. In addition to the advertisements in the City’s parks and recreation booklet, the City also has an advertisement in its annual Novi calendar, listing the mall as having something for the whole family. Fountain Walk, particularly, is targeting children. In one advertisement, only children are shown. Other advertisements show a little girl with ice cream, some young adults, and additional young children with ice cream. She does not believe Hooters is consistent or compatible with this particular shopping center, but her biggest concern is the alcohol violations here in Michigan and out of state. If she had this information about another application that was coming forward, she would consider that application as serious as this instance. Based upon those areas of this application, and on the specific areas and the questions being asked, she agreed with the other speakers and could not in good conscience support this application. Council is basically the first line of protection, not only for the citizens of Novi, but those that come into the community. She pulled out an article from the Detroit News that appeared the day before in regards to cuts, which stated that State oversight and regulatory functions are among the areas affected. A review of staffing trends shows substantial reductions in recent years. The Liquor Control enforcement staff has been reduced since 1995 by 25%. She said she was not comfortable leaving this in the hands of the Liquor Control Commission when they are understaffed. City Council is the first line of defense, and she would feel terrible if in the future, the Novi had a Christopher Fugate situation in this community at this particular Hooters, and she had voted for this liquor license application transfer, knowing the facts that appeared before Council. She said she would not support the application.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry said the analysis of this issue must begin by recognizing very clearly what Council was being asked to do. Council was being asked to approve the transfer of a liquor license. What Council was not being asked to do was to decide whether Hooters should locate in Novi, as this was not before Council. If Hooters chooses to serve Coke and Sprite, Council cannot stop them from opening in this city. Hooters does not need Council’s permission to serve Pepsi, Coke, and Sprite. The company only needs Council’s permission to serve alcohol. Therefore, Council’s role is simply to determine whether this applicant can responsibly serve alcohol to people in this City. Council has an obligation as a governmental entity to be fair to every applicant. In this city, when an applicant seeks transfer of a liquor license, the City asks the police department to investigate and perform a thorough investigation. This was done with this particular applicant. The City police department investigated Hooters, and their conclusion is, "Based upon the information provided and the subsequent liquor investigation, the Novi police department finds no reason to deny the applicant’s liquor license transfer request." At the last City Council meeting two weeks earlier, there was a question raised by a colleague that was valid. The colleague said that the lawyer was telling Council that Mr. Robert Brooks owns the stock, but asked who really runs the company. The answer was Mr. Coby Brooks. The colleague asked who would be running the establishment, since Coby Brooks will not be running the Novi location. The lawyer replied that Mr. Thomas Bosch would run the restaurant.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry said that in the interim two weeks, the police department ran a check on Mr. Coby Brooks and Mr. Thomas Bosch. The police department reported to Council that Mr. Coby Brooks was checked through I-chat, Auto-track, LEIN, and NCIC. There were no outstanding warrants or civil actions. No history was located of criminal violations, and no history located of alcohol violations. The police department investigated Mr. Thomas Louis Bosch, and reported that he has never received a liquor violation according to Michigan Liquor Control Commission records. Mr. Bosch has 23 years experience in managing restaurants. Mr. Bosch was checked through I-Chat, Auto-track, LEIN, and NCIC. There were no outstanding warrants or civil actions. Bosch showed one at-fault accident in the state of Florida in 1989 – alcohol was not involved. The Novi police department also looked at the liquor control violations of the 10 other stores in the state of Michigan, and concluded that, based upon the information provided and the subsequent liquor investigation, "The Novi police department finds no reason to deny the applicant’s liquor license transfer request." If Council’s job is to rule on a liquor license, the police department tells Council that there is no reason to deny this applicant. He questioned what basis Council had for a denial as a fair governmental entity. There are no general law violations; the fire department cleared the company; the planning department cleared them, and the building department cleared the company. The police department found no liquor law violations. He questioned under what basis Council could say "no."
Mayor Pro Tem Landry noted that indecency had been mentioned. There are laws on indecency, and Hooters does not violate them. The clothes of the wait staff had been brought up. There are laws on this for food service workers and people who serve food. There are laws on what parts of the body must be covered by clothes, and Hooters does not violate any of those. He felt that what Council was really saying was, "We just don’t really like your kind." It is extremely dangerous for a government to point to anybody and say "We just don’t like your kind." He commented that what Council was really talking about was that Hooters is alluring and sexually suggestive. He said that Abercrombie and Fitch is alluring and sexually suggestive, as is Hollister at the mall. He felt that people should go to Hollister and see what the 16-year-old girls are wearing, consisting of an outfit of short shorts and a tank top. Right now at O’Toole’s at Novi and Ten Mile, the wait staff is wearing the same uniform in a different color. He questioned how the City could say "yes" to those establishments and "no" to Hooters, other than, "I just don’t like your kind." If Council says "no" to a company that is not violating any laws, he wondered if it would then object to Victoria’s Secret. He did not feel a government could object if an establishment does not violate the City’s laws. Fountain Walk is a family center, but the same people that paid for those advertisements gave the lease to Hooters.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry questioned if Council could tell Fountain Walk that it could only rent to kid-friendly places. Chuck E. Cheese’s, which people generally agree is "kid-friendly", has a liquor license. Somebody can get a pizza and a glass of beer at Chuck E. Cheese’s. Therefore, serving liquor must not be contrary to family values. He asked under what standard Council could deny the application. Council had talked about the liquor license and uniqueness. If uniqueness is what Council was "hanging its hat on", then the City is in trouble. If Council will argue that Hooters is not unique it will lose its argument. He asked if Council was prepared to not give anybody else a liquor license in Fountain Walk. There are schools nearby, but they are separated by a freeway. He did not believe that there was any school in the neighborhood of Fountain Walk. Council had heard about issues with women. The Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had a complaint against Hooters, but that was settled. The federal government backed off of Hooters. He asked if the City would say that Hooters discriminates when the federal government is satisfied with what they do. Hooters does not violate general laws; they are not a topless bar. Topless bars are not allowed in Novi.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry referred to paragraph 9 of the liquor law, which says "the effects that the issuance of the license would have on the health, safety, and welfare of the general public." He asked if Council was prepared to say that the issuance of a liquor license at Fountain Walk violates the health, safety, and general welfare. He did not feel that Council could say that a liquor license at Fountain Walk violates health, safety, and welfare.
CM-04-04-134 Moved by Landry, seconded by Capello; MOTION FAILED: To approve 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, (Fountain Walk) and request for a new Entertainment Permit.
Mayor Csordas noted that there had been a great deal of discussion about the liquor license. Council has had all of the reviewing departments go over this issue, and Council received a statement that "Reviewing departments have no objections to the transfer of this license," including the police department. He asked Mr. Schultz if Council had any legal reason to deny the transfer.
Mr. Schultz replied that it was seen in the minutes from the previous meeting that Mr. Fisher made a short but direct statement that he did not see a basis in the record for a denial. There has been more discussion since that statement by Mr. Fisher at the end of the last proceeding. He felt that the analysis proceeds along the lines, frankly, of Mayor Pro Tem Landry’s final comments, that while there is a general standard articulated in the ordinance that the issuance of a license is reasonable, the list of factors is not a check-off list; it is an overall consideration. Many of those considerations are factually obvious things, such as whether there are utilities to the building. There are a couple of standards that were identified that evening that allowed for some fact-finding. It is incumbent upon the Council to look at the fact-finding that it can do, given the context that this is not really about the zoning-type use of the property, but the issuance of a liquor license. He was not sure, based upon the additional information, that he could alter Mr. Fisher’s comment. He noted that this was a determination for Council.
Mayor Csordas said he understood, and commented that he did not see any legal reason to deny the transfer. He asked Mr. Helwig how many objections the City had received from Fountain Walk tenants to Hooters.
Mr. Helwig replied that he was not aware of any objections from any tenants that have come to the manager’s office. There could be objections, but he was not aware of any.
Mayor Csordas reiterated that the City has not had any objections from other tenants surrounding this location. Council had heard from some people that supported Hooters, some that opposed the establishment. He noted that Council received a letter in its packet dated April 16, 2004 from the Emagine Theatre, the family entertainment movie show that serves beer, wine and liquor:
"As a major tenant in the Fountain Walk development, we are encouraged by management’s continuing leasing efforts, and by the addition of complementary entertainment venues in the center.
We are aware of Hooter’s planned location across the concourse from our theatre, and we encourage your support in approving its request for a liquor license.
Hooter’s, a national operation with over 350 units, strengthens the dining opportunities available to patrons of Fountain Walk. The opening of this restaurant will add to Fountain Walk’s diversity of tenants, and it will build additional customer traffic, which benefits the development as a whole."
Mayor Csordas noted that Council had a letter dated April 16th from Schostak Brothers & Company regarding Fountain Walk and Hooters.
"On behalf of the ownership of Fountain Walk, PLC Novi West Development, LLC, we would like to indicate our support of Hooters, a national restaurant chain with over 350 locations through the United States, on their desire to be located I the City of Novi and at Fountain Walk and would encourage your support on this operator coming to the development."
Mayor Csordas commented that these letters were from people that will do business directly next to this establishment. He went for a walk at Fountain Walk recently and had dinner with his wife at the Bamboo Club. They walked around the corner because he had to see the controversy. The door was open and he took a quick look around, and was amazed by how small the establishment is. It was stated that evening that Hooters will have an occupancy of 151 patrons, and Council had compared Hooters to the Post Bar. He asked Chief Shaeffer for the occupancy of the Post Bar.
Chief Shaeffer replied that he did not know the exact occupancy allowed at the Post Bar, though he knew that that establishment was rated for an occupancy in excess of 900 people though.
Mayor Csordas said that comparing Hooters to the Post Bar is not reasonable. The Post Bar is at least 6 times the size. When a person goes into Hooters they will enter a very small facility. The Post Bar is also not a very large facility, but they have a liquor license. Council has received no objections from Cold Stone Creamery, Chuck E. Cheese, the putt-putt course, or anybody in Fountain Walk. Though they might not yet have a liquor license, this facility is coming. Hooters will survive or fail on its own merits. People will go there if they want to, and people will not go there if they don’t want to. He has no reason to go to the putt-putt place now, but he was sure it is a very nice facility. Hooters will be held up to the same standard – some people will go there, some people won’t. It concerns him greatly when Council starts legislating morality, as he does not think anybody has the right to do so in this country. He appreciates Council’s efforts to remove emotion and personal feelings in the issue and to stay to matters of fact, because one of his highest responsibilities is risk management to the community. The City is on the wrong side of risk management on this particular issue if Council denies the applicant their right, of which there is no legal reason to deny. He commented that he was not only referring to Hooters but also to the owners of Fountain Walk, who have invested some $140 million into the community and are doing what they can to be successful and offer a nice facility in the City. Council might hear from them if it takes a legitimate entity and denies them their right.
Mayor Csordas said that Mayor Pro Tem Landry is absolutely correct: Hooters is coming, and was present that evening only to talk about a liquor license. The establishment is very small, is probably 30% done anyways, and its coming no matter what. Everyone else has put their comments on the record, and he appreciates those. He believes that Council has absolutely no right to deny this request for a liquor license.
Member Gatt asked Chief Shaeffer how many establishments at Fountain Walk have a liquor license.
Chief Shaeffer replied that he could easily be corrected, but he believed there are currently five.
Member Gatt asked of those five, how many in the past two years have had violations for selling to minors.
Chief Shaeffer said he could recall none, but would like to refer to the record.
Member Gatt said it has been said that Council does not have the legal right to turn down this license. He asked if the majority of the Council members believe, and have articulated what they believe is a legal reason to turn it down, if Council has the legal right to say "no" to the liquor license transfer.
Mr. Schultz replied that what a majority of Council needs to do is make findings of fact, whichever way the decision goes, that relate to the standards in the ordinance. Council is to look at the information that the applicant gave it in the application, as well as the information that was presented in the give-and-take between the review by the police department and the responses by the proponent. All of that is information that would, if the decision is reviewed, be considered by the reviewing body. A majority of Council is going to make a decision, but Council will need to find facts and make statements with regard to each of those determinations that it believes are relevant.
Member Paul asked Ms. Cornelius to give Council an oversight of the ordinance, to make it a factual piece of information, of the criteria that Council was talking about. They made reference about that when she had called Ms. Cornelius that day about transferring a license and having it apply in this situation to the City’s standards.
Ms. Cornelius said that specifically regarding a transfer of an existing license, in section 3-15, it states that the transfer of any existing liquor license covered hereunder shall be subject to each of the requirements, criteria, and procedures, including fees set forth in this article, for the granting of a new liquor license.
Member Paul said she wanted to point out one thing: she never made a comparison to the Post Bar. She made a comparison about sports bars, and talked about O’Tooles, billiards, Buffalo Wild Wings, and the Library Pub. All of those are comparable in size. Buffalo Wild Wings is in the same establishment, and is a sports bar that serves bar food. She gave both criteria as uniqueness. If Hooters comes into the City and sells their bar food and pop, so be it. But she has some control of the liquor license with her one vote. She would not support the liquor license with her vote. She listed four criteria: number 8, 12, 15, and 17. All of those refer to the uniqueness. Council is not talking about a freeway separating Buffalo Wild Wings and Hooters. They are the same kind of bar in the same place. She is not talking about attire, the wait staff and what they are doing, but rather people serving food and having a sports bar. This is not unique. Buffalo Wild Wings was here first, and she is not looking to put them out of business. She supports Buffalo Wild Wings and Fountain Walk, but does not support doubling up the same type of a sports bar. This is the uniqueness that she is speaking of. She said she would not be supporting the liquor license. If Hooters comes into the City then they will be here, but they will not have her support for the liquor license.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-04-134 Yeas: Capello, Csordas, Landry
Nays: Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul
3. Consideration of request from Hoa Hoa Inn, Inc. to transfer ownership of 2002 Class C liquor license with Entertainment Permit located in escrow at 4343 Orchard Lake, West Bloomfield, MI to 31162 Novi Road, Novi, MI.
CM-04-04-135 Moved by Capello, seconded by Paul; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the request from Hoa Hoa Inn, Inc. to transfer ownership of 2002 Class C liquor license with Entertainment Permit located in escrow at 4343 Orchard Lake, West Bloomfield, MI to 31162 Novi Road, Novi, MI.
Mr. Woo said his restaurant, Hoa Kow, has been in Oak Park for 40 years and in West Bloomfield for 11 years. After September 11th, the company closed because of overhead costs. They are looking at the great City of Novi because the area is good for them to be in business at. They have a number of different patrons that have moved to this area, and they would like to continue operating a restaurant. Chinese restaurants do not sell much liquor, but they do have some customers that like to order a drink or two. They would like the City of Novi to grant them a liquor license transfer.
Member Lorenzo asked if the applicant was requesting an entertainment permit with the liquor license.
Mr. Woo replied that the restaurant features piano playing.
Member Lorenzo asked if the entertainment is limited to piano playing.
Mr. Woo replied that this was correct, and that they only sometimes have piano playing and singing.
Member Lorenzo wished to place on the record that it appeared Mr. and Mrs. Woo have had a liquor license in Michigan before.
Mr. Woo responded that this was correct.
Member Lorenzo noted that Mr. and Mrs. Woo did not show a violation history with the Michigan Liquor Control Commission. She asked if they had previously had any other restaurants in other states.
Mr. Woo replied that they had not.
Member Lorenzo said that based upon that information, she would be supportive of this application.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-04-135 Yeas: Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul, Csordas, Landry, Capello
4. Consideration of request from Grand River Avenue Restaurant, Inc. to transfer ownership of 2003 Class C liquor license with Dance-Entertainment Permit located at 42050 Grand River, Novi, MI from Jamma Associates, Inc. (Italian Epicure).
Thomas Giachino, partner in the law firm of Sullivan and Ward in Southfield, said he was representing the corporate applicant. With him was Cheryl Khalife, the sole corporate officer and share holder of the applicant corporation seeking the approval of Council for the transfer of the liquor license. Also present as an interested party was her husband, Walid Khalife. The process is such where the applicant has complied with all of the requirements of the Michigan Liquor Control Commission as far as its application and investigation on the State level. What is left and remains before the Commission will consider this application is Council’s action approving the applicant. It is his understanding that the City’s police chief provided a report recommending a denial of this particular applicant. He was not sure whether this report had been furnished to the MLCC as part of the obligation to submit the report to them, but he wanted to address Council and ask it to consider the applicant on the merits of what would be said that evening.
Mr. Giachino said he knows Chief Shaeffer and had the opportunity to speak with him the previous Friday. He explained to the chief the circumstances behind this application and submitted two affidavits to him of people mentioned in the reports that there was concern with about whether they would be part of the ownership or operation of this particular license. Those affidavits, which have been furnished to the Council, speak to themselves. Mr. Khalife is a very successful businessman with his jewelry business, which he operates six days a week. He has no intention, none whatsoever, to get into the licensed liquor business. Mrs. Khalife was approached by a mutual friend indicating that the Italian Epicure restaurant was available. The friend indicated that this would be a good investment. Mr. Khalife asked his wife if she was interested, she said she was, and he told her to "go for it." She formed the corporation, obtained the necessary financing, part of it from Mr. Khalife as a loan, and has made the application. She has answered all questions, both at the State and local levels. It is their understanding that there is nothing in the liquor application that was investigated that would prevent a favorable vote by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission. He submitted to Council that the police chief’s report states nothing that would reflect any disqualification of Cheryl Khalife or her corporate entity from holding a liquor license in this state. There is nothing in her personal background, nothing relating to her finances, and nothing that the chief has mentioned that would not qualify her and the corporate applicant from this license. The only thing he felt the police chief had a concern with, though it is unfortunate that it was put in terms of the denial, was Council’s consideration Mr. Khalife’s one arrest and conviction five years ago. Mrs. Khalife has the right in this state to own and invest in a business, free and clear of the influence of her husband. Mr. Khalife has no problem standing up and defending himself personally. However, Mr. Khalife has great concerns that, on the basis of his conduct or something mentioned in the police report about him, his wife would be disqualified, as she has done nothing not to merit Council’s consideration in the approval of this license. If Council wishes them to address any of the factors upon which the community is concerned with, he would be glad to do so. There was nothing before Council to indicate that this particular corporate applicant, through this particular individual, poses any threat to this community.
Mr. Giachino commented that Mrs. Khalife has an opportunity, under her ownership, to create a business where she has sole interest and is part of her estate. She has worked long and hard for her husband and their jewelry business; it is now her opportunity to own a nice restaurant. The people at Italian Epicure have assured Mrs. Khalife that they will assist her in the opening of the operation and assist her to find the right people to make the restaurant a success. The friend that recommended this place was of some concern to the chief because of an alcohol-related offense. The friend had said that he would help Mrs. Khalife get started in the banquet facility since he works in that area. The friend is not part of the ownership or management of this particular corporation, nor will he be a part of paid management. There is nothing in the whole process that would suggest any collusion on the part of this corporate applicant to acquire this liquor license. Other than that Council would disqualify her based on her husband’s conviction, there is nothing else that Council has in the chief’s recommendation that would support a denial as to her. He said Chief Shaeffer had indicated that but for that one incident of her husband and the fact that he is investing, there would be no objection to Mrs. Khalife. There is nothing sinister in the husband loaning money to get his wife started, and no connection between somebody trying to get the use and benefit of this license that is not qualified for it. Mr. Khalife is not interested in being a licensee in this community. Mr. Naber is not interested in being a licensee or even a paid employee of this corporation. Mrs. Khalife made the choice, formed the corporation, assembled the finances, will put in a management team, will run the restaurant and will make the community proud.
Member Nagy said the affidavit by Mr. Naber stated that he would do preliminary consulting, etcetera, to get the restaurant and banquet at least started, but would not be part of a paid management team unless such employment is approved at a later time by the Novi police. She asked what, exactly, this meant.
Mr. Giachino replied that he did not think there was a total disqualification that Mr. Naber could be employed by this particular applicant. He believed the chief said the management operation of any licensed establishment is of concern not only to the Council but to him as well. They indicated to the chief that if Mr. Naber’s alcohol-related offenses posed a question, then they would assure the chief that Mr. Naber is not an officer or employee of the corporation, nor will he seek to do so. If Mr. Naber offers services on a consulting basis to get Mrs. Khalife started in the banquet facility, he will not be part of a paid management team. At some point, if Mr. Naber chooses to and and can do so, they will run the matter by the chief and seek permission to do so.
Member Nagy said that what was being proposed made no sense to her. Once the liquor license is transferred, she asked what business it is to City Council or the Novi police chief who the woman hires for her management team.
Mr. Schultz replied that a couple of things are relevant, the first of which is the ability of the City to engage in revocation hearings if there is any particular reason to do that. He was not sure that this employment would qualify, although he also pointed out that as he read the application, Mr. Naber was listed as the potential manager of the facility. That needs to be addressed from an application standpoint. If there is a formal withdrawal of this, then it becomes a less-important thing in terms of the licensing of this particular applicant. It is also important for Council to note that the ordinance really talks about the applicant; it does not define applicant in terms of the list of 20 considerations. The last is kind of a catch-all for other relevant information that would include the financial involvement of Mrs. Khalife’s husband, but he doubted if it would include the employment or consultation of an individual with prior violations unless it becomes something like the manager specifically stated and identified in the application.
Member Nagy said Mr. Naber could become the manager once Council transfers the license because the main applicant is Mrs. Khalife. She commented that once this all takes place, there is no way for Council to police whether or not Mr. Naber consults.
Mr. Schultz replied that factually, he believed this was true.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry said that looking at this application and the review from the police department, he saw that after considering the application the police department recommended that, "based upon the information provided and the subsequent liquor investigation, the Novi police department recommends the denial of the liquor license transfer of The Italian Epicure." He asked Chief Shaeffer if this was still his recommendation.
Chief Shaeffer replied that a great deal of the police department’s concern had been erased by the removal of Mr. Naber as a potential manager at the establishment. However, they still have one overriding concern that remains. The entire police staff remained in unison in still recommending denial.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry said that if this was still the recommendation, then he could not support the transfer of this liquor license, with the police department having investigated the matter and giving a negative recommendation for all of the reasons stated in the inter-office memorandum of April 13, 2004, which the applicant had received a copy of. For that reason, he would not support the transfer of the liquor license.
Member Capello said he knew that Country Epicure has been trying to transfer this business for a long time, as they want to get out of the restaurant business. It is unfortunate that the application that finally has come to Council has some glitches. He wholly agrees that a wife should have an opportunity to go out and start her own business. The problem that he sees is that there are too many other connections that are unexplained. Mrs. Khalife wants to start a business but has no restaurant experience. In her application, she talks about a team; yet, now the applicant is coming before Council and saying that the manager helping with the banquet facility is no longer part of the team. The husband is contributing money and has a criminal past that is very suspect, even more suspect when it has to do with the liquor license. Mrs. Khalife, by herself, has a well-founded argument. However, with the manager that does not want the police to examine his background, and a husband that is not part of the restaurant but is still a financial backer, he was having a hard time with. The chief has had an additional opportunity to conduct an investigation and still stands firm that he would recommend denial of the transfer.
Mr. Giachino said that when Ramzi Naber was asked by the investigating officer, he said he would get Mrs. Khalife started. He is a liquor licensee of this state with no violation history, but realizes that with an alcohol-related offense, he would not be a candidate that would sail through the Michigan Liquor Control Commission. He indicated to the officer that he did not want to be part of any problem for Mrs. Khalife to acquire the license. Mr. Naber was not attempting to hide anything; the police insisted that he be fingerprinted. Once Mr. Naber was fingerprinted and the alcohol-related offenses showed up, there was an innuendo in the report that he might have tried to "pull a fast one" on the police department, which is absolutely not true. Mr. Naber has insisted that he does not want to be the cause for the particular applicant not getting the liquor license. If it takes not doing anything, Mr. Naber won’t do anything. The Italian Epicure people have already committed to assist Mrs. Khalife with the restaurant. Council would have to disqualify many liquor license applicants if the lack of restaurant experience was a disqualifier. A money lender can be a family member. For the Liquor Control Commission, money must come from a verifiable source. If this was not a family member and he had a conviction, the MLCC could disapprove of him as a lender to this corporate applicant. They have not done so, nor will they do so on the basis of a marital relationship. The chief was very fair and indicated in the report that, as it related to Mr. Khalife’s criminal offense, the failure to report these transactions is a federal requirement. The essence of that requirement is to prevent tax evasion and money laundering by organized crime. In this particular case, the government conceded that none of that was present as it relates; what happened was Mr. Khalife and his brothers did not want to go through the hassle of all of that reporting. Mr. Khalife appeared before Judge Duggan, a very strict judge, and ended up with one year of probation on a substantial amount of transactions. There is nothing that Mr. Khalife has said and done that would indicate he is attempting to use his wife and her corporate entity as a subterfuge to get into this business. The chief has said that but for the fact that Mr. Khalife is giving his wife $150,000 and but for his conviction, he has no objection to the applicant.
Member Capello asked why, if Mr. and Mrs. Khalife are married, this money was not a joint marital asset as opposed to coming from one spouse instead of coming from the marriage.
Mr. Giachino replied that some of that asset is Mrs. Khalife’s own, independent money. What she could not verify as her own money, she borrowed from her husband.
Member Capello asked if this money was not borrowed out of a joint account, but from Mr. Khalife’s personal account.
Mr. Giachino said this was a debt. Mrs. Khalife’s corporation will owe Mr. Khalife. The money is coming from Mr. Khalife’s personal assets from his business investments.
Member Paul commented that this was a very difficult situation. The police chief and his colleagues say that they do not want to support this liquor license transfer. She saw the situation as Mrs. Khalife is trying to start her business. She wants to encourage people to do new things with their life and try new opportunities, but she is very concerned. Once this liquor license is transferred, the City cannot control who is hired and who is served to. These are not old charges; approximately one year ago, Mr. Naber was arrested for OWI on Feburary 7, 2003. The same Mr. Naber pled guilty to impaired driving in 2000. As with previous people that filled out the transfer application, Council looked at the manager that would be part of the restaurant, and at the actual owner of the corporation, whoever the team would be.
Mr. Giachino commented that they were attempting to withdraw Mr. Naber as part of the team. Mrs. Khalife is going to have a manager, which will be somebody that will run the restaurant for her. Mr. Naber is a friend of the family that works in the banquet facilities. Mrs. Khalife will ask Mr. Naber for feedback about the menu. When she hires somebody and something goes wrong, Mrs. Khalife will be responsible for the conduct of her employees. Mr. Naber is not an employee and intends to be a consultant in the beginning. If for any reason Mr. Naber wants to become an employee and part of the management, he will have to justify that position, which will be done through the police chief. He asked that Council ask the chief if, but for the federal conviction, whether he would deny this applicant the license.
Member Paul said she had a question for the police chief. The report talks about Walid Khalife and money laundering and the misuse of a telecommunication device, and number 3 is assault and battery; this was from March 15, 2004. She asked if it was Mr. or Mrs. Khalife that was assaulted.
Chief Shaeffer replied that it was Mr. Khalife’s brother that was assaulted. Mr. Khalife simply made a phone call to the police department. It has been the department’s policy in the past to report all contacts to Council, and these are just simply two contacts. Neither items 2 or 3 had any permanent bearing on Council’s consideration. Number 1 is his concern.
Member Paul asked about Mr. Naber’s influence in the report.
Chief Shaeffer said the police department was very concerned about Mr. Naber being involved in part of the management of the restaurant because of his history there. Mr. Naber’s removal of involvement helps in the police department’s consideration to a significant degree. They are still making the recommendation because of the investor’s history not to approve the transfer, though.
Member Paul said she appreciated all of the information, as she knew it was a difficult situation for the police. She said she would support the denial.
Mr. Giachino remarked that one of the alcohol-related offenses is on appeal. If that disappears, Mr. Naber will have only one such offense, and should perhaps be considered for being a fit manager at that time when he comes with an accurate record. If there is anything in Council’s considerations that it feels Mr. Naber should not be involved at all, he will withdraw from involvement, as he does not want to stand in the way of Mrs. Khalife to be licensed.
Member Lorenzo asked if she was reading accurately that neither Mr. and/or Mrs. Khalife have owned or operated a restaurant in Michigan before.
Mr. Giachino replied this was correct.
Member Lorenzo asked if they had not held a liquor license in Michigan.
Mr. Giachino replied that the applicants have held no liquor licenses in Michigan or elsewhere.
Member Lorenzo said that if there was management proposed in place and Council had information on whoever would operate the restaurant, she would be in a better position to review the information. This was a "one foot in, one foot out" situation with Mr. Naber. Council does not know at this point who the management team will be.
Mr. Giachino replied that Mrs. Khalife will be the owner/operator of this license.
Member Lorenzo noted that Mr. Naber would consult in the business. It seemed to her that a person inexperienced in running a restaurant needs a lot of experience in order to succeed. She understood that restaurants are a tough business.
Mr. Giachino said the Italian Epicure will take a security interest in this license.
Member Lorenzo said this was her biggest concern. The applicants stated that they would put together a management team; now, Mrs. Khalife would manage the business. There are a lot of inconsistencies, and it seemed that the applicants would tell Council information based on what they felt Council wanted to hear. Member Lorenzo said she could not support the transfer request. If the applicant had a management team in place that Council could specifically look at, she might be able to support the transfer based on what the information provided.
Member Capello asked if it was possible that Mrs. Khalife could borrow money from somebody else.
Mr. Giachino replied that this was possible.
Member Capello asked if, in the purchase agreement with Country Epicure, there is a period of time in which Country Epicure would assist Mrs. Khalife with the takeover and the management.
Mr. Giachino said there had been discussions to that effect.
Member Capello asked if any of the existing management would stay on board from Country Epicure.
Mrs. Khalife said they were still talking about this. She has wanted to invest; her kids are gone, and she has been looking around for about two years. This opportunity came up and she thought it would be a great idea. She has been talking to Country Epicure, and they have agreed to help. She does not have much experience, but was eager to try the business.
CM-04-04-136 Moved by Capello, seconded by Gatt; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To postpone for 45 days consideration of request from Grand River Avenue Restaurant, Inc. to transfer ownership of 2003 Class C liquor license with Dance-Entertainment Permit located at 42050 Grand River, Novi, MI from Jamma Associates, Inc. (Italian Epicure).
Member Capello said the applicants needed to give Council more information. If they had a signed purchase agreement, he assumed that there would be turnover time to give them time to get the management team in place.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry said he would support the motion, but in all fairness to the applicant, as long as the police chief recommends "no" to the transfer because of Mr. Khalife’s involvement, he would not support the matter. If Mrs. Khalife can find the $150,000 from some other source and the police chief gives the ok, he would support the transfer. Otherwise, he will not support the item.
Mayor Csordas said he felt the same way. Without a separate investor, he will always support the chief’s recommendation to deny.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-04-136 Yeas: Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul, Csordas, Landry, Capello, Gatt
* Council recessed at 10:21 p.m.
* Council reconvened at 10:40 p.m.
5. Consideration of Zoning Map Amendment No. 18.628 from the Singh Development Company to rezone the subject property located in Section 14 on the north side of Eleven Mile Road and east of Town Center Drive, from OSC (Office Service Commercial) to RM-2 (High Density, Mid rise Multiple Family residential). The subject property is approximately 4.04 acres.
Bob Carson explained he was present for the proposal indicated on a displayed map, near Novi Town Center and Market Street, rezoned from OSC to RM-2. Singh Development believes the parcel is inappropriately zoned as office. There is a great surplus of office sites in Novi and of office uses, and little likelihood of it being absorbed. The property is also, under its current zoning, able to be used for transient residential – hotels. There are hotels near the site, and no additional need for hotels on this site. The proposed concept, by LS&L, has to do with attempting to prove the notion, "if you build it, they will come." This has been disproved with respect to a lot of Town Center at this time, and with respect to Market Street. From a planning standpoint, the concept really turns on what it takes today from a planning standpoint to generate the kind of energy, activity, and interest that will allow Town Center and Market Street kinds of uses to be accepted in the community and viable for the community. This is not simply a situation in which the City wishes to have a downtown or quasi-downtown activity by building commercial, or commercial and office and hotels. What seems to be the formula is to have a critical mass of residential density. What makes a downtown-like atmosphere has to do with 24-hour occupancy by people who live and work in the area. This is seen with the types of urban planning of new communities or infill pieces, or even attempts to reenergize successful towns or cities. It is not enough to build a Renaissance Center, to build offices, or to wish to have more commercial; what a city needs is residents. This is an opportunity to create owned residential product. These would be, as envisioned, the type of two or three-story residential with a garage on the lower level, in an area that would allow the residents to walk to Novi Town Center and Market Street within five minutes, giving those commercial districts the residents that they need. Council had in its packets over 50 letters of recommendations from businesses in the community. What Singh does not believe is necessary on the property is a hotel that will go and have medium to low occupancy. Permanent residents in this area would be the best possible thing for that area. The property has a use whose time is now, an ingredient that this area is lacking, and the utilities and infrastructure that can support it. The property will go from being a vacant site with no viable use as currently zoned to a developed site of high-quality development that will be put on the tax rolls for the City.
Member Nagy said this matter came to the Planning Commission when she served on that body. The motion was to deny the rezoning, and that motion passed. She said she would not support this concept because of density. The City has increased density in areas, and cannot keep increasing density. She did not feel this increase was appropriate. The City also does not need any more apartments. This development would increase traffic conditions on an already-overburdened road. She could not support this kind of density in this area, and said she would stick to the same vote she had when on the Planning Commission, to deny the request.
CM-04-04-137 Moved by Nagy, seconded by Paul; MOTION CARRIED: To deny Zoning Map Amendment No. 18.628 from the Singh Development Company to rezone the subject property located in Section 14 on the north side of Eleven Mile Road and east of Town Center Drive, from OSC (Office Service Commercial) to RM-2 (High Density, Mid rise Multiple Family residential). The high density is inconsistent with the master plan, increased density in the already over-stressed area will cause difficulty with traffic, residential zoning is out of character with the surrounding property, and OSC zoning can further support more people to Town Center and Main Street as already zoned. The subject property is approximately 4.04 acres.
Member Gatt asked Mr. Carson if the request was not approved, what would go up on the property.
Mr. Carson replied that nothing would go up right now. The property has sat vacant, and services through an easement that runs approximately through the middle of the piece. The hotel is to the rear of the property. It is zoned for office or related work activities, even retail within an office, and is also zoned for transient residential for a hotel. If a hotel were built, it would have more units than being discussed for the proposed development.
Member Gatt asked if the development would have condominiums for sale to an owner.
Mr. Carson said these would be for-sale products.
Member Gatt said that when he thinks of Singh Development, he thinks of a company without whose help, Novi would not be what it is today. He has been associated with Novi for almost 30 years now, and Singh Development is a company that has built class, has come through on their word every time that he knows of, that has set standards so high that other builders have a tough time meeting them. He realizes that this is a deviation from the master plan and is not a normal request, and is not something that Council should take lightly, but considering that the request is from Singh Development and that in this area are a couple of hotels, offices that are vacant, a shopping center that does not appear to be doing well, and a Main Street begging for more people to use its facilities, it would be in the best interest of the City to approve the request. He asked if it was correct that Singh does not usually build condominiums, but rather rental properties.
Mr. Carson replied that the company has built condominiums in the past, and this would be on the line of condominiums that are absorbed very well in other communities. These are the same types of units that are bringing new energy to areas, supporting what is there.
Member Gatt inquired how many units would be built on the property.
Mr. Carson said this was between 68 and 72 units, or approximately 70 units.
Member Gatt asked how many units could be installed if a hotel was built on the piece.
Mr. Carson replied that he believed there could be up to 200 rooms in the hotel.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry said he had no question about the quality of the product that would be built on the property, for all of the reasons stated by the previous speaker. However, he could not support the rezoning. The high density is inconsistent with the master plan. The increased density in this area, which is already over-stressed, would cause difficulty with respect to traffic. Residential zoning is out of character with the surrounding property, and he believes that the current OSC zoning can further support more people to the Town Center and Main Street as it is already zoned. Therefore, with respect to this item, he would support the motion.
Member Lorenzo said she would also support the motion. She does not disagree with Member Gatt about Singh Development’s reputation. However, this is not about Singh Development; this is a land use decision. The City would be better served by non-residential development in this area, particularly from a tax base stance, as well as the demand that residents place on City services.
Member Paul asked if when the property was purchased it was zoned OSC.
Mr. Carson replied that this was correct.
Member Paul asked when the property was purchased by Singh.
Mr. Carson said the parcel was purchased 6 years ago.
Member Paul said she had not had a chance to look through every part of the master plan. She asked if this area would change with the new, revised master plan.
Mr. Evancoe replied that there is no change proposed for this area.
Member Paul asked how long the master plan had been studied with the Planning Commission.
Mr. Evancoe said the planning department has been at work on this particular update for about ten months, and one could go back even farther if some of the corridor plans are counted that were done a few years ago.
Member Paul said she looked at the issue not only from the density perspective, but also from a tax base. OSC is one of the highest tax bases, and the proposal is to go to multiple family RM-2, one of the lowest tax bases that needs many City services. She could not support the request for this reason. She made the motion for the Planning Commission on July 16, 2003, and listed the same issues that Mayor Pro Tem Landry had outlined – the high density is inconsistent with the master plan, increased density in the already over-stressed area will cause difficulty with traffic, residential zoning is out of character with the surrounding property, and OSC zoning can further support more people to Town Center and Main Street as already zoned. She asked to add these items to the motion.
Member Nagy agreed to the friendly amendment.
Mayor Csordas said there had been mention about the density of the area, and there was no question that the development would bring density and people. This developer is coming forward with units that would be owned as condominiums, and this is the hottest property available nowadays. He does not know that in a situation such as this area, it is bad to have high density. The cities of Troy, Birmingham, and Dearborn are putting condominiums up in their downtown areas. Novi does not have a downtown area, but does have a central business district. Portland, Oregon and the Pearl District are being redeveloped with very nice, for-sale condominium units, that bring a vibrancy to the city. Novi has an opportunity to be ahead of the curve and put ownership-type units into this part of the area. There is no question that Singh Development is a first rate organization. He feels that the density with ownership would be a good thing to have in the area to feed the commercial developments coming into that and other portions of the City. He felt that strictly because these would be owned units, they would be of high value to that area.
Member Paul said that Singh was recently before Council for a rezoning, which Council turned down because Singh wanted to rezone the property and build condominiums but would not be the actual builder. She asked if it was correct that Mr. Kahm had made the statement that Singh is not in the business of building condominiums.
Mike Kahm of Singh Development said the company builds condominiums. His statement that evening had been stretched beyond his intent. Singh does build condominiums, but it is not a major, core part of their business.
Member Paul commented that Singh Development has a great reputation in the City and has done a wonderful job with its buildings. She has to stay consistent with her previous vote on this land use decision.
Mr. Carson wished to address the tax revenue issue raised by several Council members. Singh traditionally sees that OSC is the highest revenue generator in connection with services, as opposed to RM, which is the least amount of margin. Vacant OSC generates relatively nothing. Therefore, one cannot say that one day the OSC may generate more of a spread to the City than if the property had been RM. If the two types of projects are running on exactly the same schedules are able to be absorbed at the same time, the comparison makes sense. The OSC use or the other uses which it would service are not viable, so the comparison does not make sense unless it is tracked out when that use might come online, be absorbed, and be generating revenue. This property has sat vacant for six years, and this is a good indication as to its ability to be absorbed now. If Council wishes to have developments in this city, it seemed to him that Council also needed to consider what other ancillary uses are necessary in an area in order to make the current struggling uses viable. If those are approached on a tax generating basis, if the current uses are not viable or floundering, there will be a reduction in the revenue generating out of those, there will be a problem with attracting businesses, and there will be a problem with generating the revenue anticipated out of those developments. The analysis put forth that evening, with regard to the OSC use being the best revenue generator, is incorrect.
Member Nagy commented that every time Singh has been before Council recently, it has been looking to increase density. While she is not opposed to the concept in the proposed site plan, this is a City with limited infrastructure. The development would be situated on two-lane roads. Eleven Mile is two lanes, as is Town Center Drive. She cannot imagine how Singh would expect a city to overcome density and traffic issues on a two-lane road. The concept proposed is not unappealing, but it might just be proposed in the wrong area. Along Twelve Mile Road, the concept would be easier to accept because of the roads alone. She knows that Singh creates nice developments, but it has requested an increase in density for the Links of Novi; a change for Meadowbrook with the change from condominiums to apartments; and now the company is coming with this request. The City is not equipped to increase its density, not only with roads but also with services.
Mr. Carson said that the proposed use being in the specified area serves the particular purpose that benefits that area.
Member Nagy reiterated that her objection was not about Singh being a good developer, but rather on the reasons that she had given earlier.
Mr. Kahm commented that he had heard the word "density" stated a lot that evening. The two hotels that have been proposed several times have not been built because the market is just not there. With the Expo Center moving down the road and having a hotel as part of it, the chance of a hotel being built on the property are slim. This four acres is divided by a permanent road easement, so there are two two-acre parcels. The two hotels were site planned and independently reviewed, with 104 apartments in one and 106 in the other, totaling 210 units. A typical occupancy for a stable hotel is 65 or 70% over a week’s period. The City would have 150 permanently resided units with the approved zoning, compared to a maximum of about 70 with condominiums.
Member Nagy commented that people staying in a hotel do not create the same traffic as residents. She asked how the condominiums were proposed to be built. Seventy condominiums would take up space and have requirements such as landscaping.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-04-137 Yeas: Nagy, Paul, Landry, Lorenzo
Nays: Csordas, Capello, Gatt
6. Consideration of Zoning Map Amendment No. 18.630 from the Singh Development Company to rezone the subject property located in Section 10 on the north side of Twelve and ½ Mile Road and west of Novi Road, from RA (Residential Acreage) to R-4 (Single Family Residential). The subject property is approximately 19.74 acres.
Mr. Carson said this rezoning bears the positive recommendation of City staff as far as he understood it, and is consistent with the surrounding zoning. This is not a request for increased density, and is consistent with the areas around it, which are R-4. The property would be less dense than the multiple to the south, and is an excellent transition zoning from the current zoning to the west. He requested that Council review the positive staff report and the letter from LS&L about the rezoning.
Member Nagy recalled that the planning department had planned to reduce the density in the proposed area, but she did not see any change in the density map. She asked if this was an oversight.
Mr. Evancoe replied that this was not an oversight. The Master Plan and Zoning Committee, as it went through the exercise of reviewing the different densities, is waiting to see what Council determines to do with this property. The Committee could have re-designated the property in accordance with the recommendation and proposed a 1.65 dwelling units per acre there, but if Council were to grant the applicant’s request that evening it would not have conformed with that 1.65 level. The applicant’s request is consistent with the current 3.3 dwelling units per acre. The planning department will update the master plan before final approval.
Member Nagy said she understood that the area around the property is R-4, and that there are a number of older homes there. When she was on the Planning Commission, she liked that body’s recommendation better than staff’s, which was the R-1 with a conservation or preservation easement for open space. This is a beautiful piece of property. She would prefer something different than R-4 zoning. Adding density to that area will increase demand on City services like the DPW, as well as the public schools. She preferred rezoning the property to R-1.
CM-04-04-138 Moved by Landry, seconded by Capello; MOTION CARRIED: To approve Zoning Map Amendment No. 18.630 from the Singh Development Company to rezone the subject property located in Section 10 on the north side of Twelve and ½ Mile Road and west of Novi Road, from RA (Residential Acreage) to R-4 (Single Family Residential). The subject property is approximately 19.74 acres. The rezoning would be in conformance with the master plan density; the R-4 zoning could facilitate the development of parcels in a manner consistent with the developments to the east; the R-4 zoning would provide a transitional density to the higher density zoning and developments to the south; and the request would create continuity in zoning for the area, eliminating a large pocket of RA zoning amongst several high density developments.
Member Lorenzo asked what the actual existing use of the properties directly to the north and the west of this property. She asked if this was large lot residential, acreage.
Mr. Evancoe replied that this was correct.
Member Lorenzo commented that while the existing master plan is zoned for 3.3 units per acre, the existing use is large lot residential.
Mr. Evancoe said this was correct on the immediate borders.
Member Lorenzo said the property to the east is higher density, but this is across an actual street, and streets are considered boundaries. Across Twelve-and-a-half Mile is multiple family zoned for Society Hill. She asked if it was known what year this is going into of the approval for Society Hill.
Mr. Evancoe said this was a question that Mr. Schultz could probably answer better than he.
Member Lorenzo recalled that several years ago, the then-Council gave an extension that went for several years. She was curious when that approval expired. She said she would like to reduce density in the area of this property. It is her opinion that if Society Hill is reaching its longevity in terms of site plan approval, at some point it will reach the point of no return and Council should look at a different type of land use there, whether low-density residential or non-residential. At build-out, the City should be looking to reduce population, particularly since the City never planned for the Sandstone residential development, yet it will have a lot of it. She applauded the Planning Commission for its approach to the new master plan, but she did not feel the Commission had "caught" every area. While the current, existing master plan might label this property as 3.3 dwelling units per acre, the surrounding use is large lot residential. What was done in 1999 with the master plan was obsolete. She said she would not support the rezoning, and would be looking for the status of the property to the south, as it would be her approach to lower the density there as well.
Mr. Evancoe said that in the planning department’s analysis of the situation, they looked at the surrounding land uses and observed that the two sides certainly are the large lot, single-family residential. They looked to the east, even though it is Old Novi Road, and found that this was a higher density, single-family.
Member Lorenzo commented that roads are barriers, and once roads are crossed there can be different appropriate land uses.
Mr. Evancoe replied that this was correct, or there can be continuity. The planning department did not only look at the Society Hill project to the south, but there is also the recently-approved Charneth Fen development that will be going in.
Member Lorenzo said she was looking directly surrounding the property. When she was on the Planning Commission, they were always told that the road is the natural barrier between two different potential land uses. Unless there is a very good reason for it, she will not be supporting increased density in this community from here on out. The City is deficient in not only the number of police, but also fire. The schools are ever-burgeoning, and are building more schools and classrooms. At some point, the City has to determine to hold the population and must concentrate on non-residential uses coming into the City. The City cannot possibly keep with services at the rate it is going. She said she would have agreed to the R-1 zoning, as it appeared that there are a number of natural resources on the property, particularly woodlands. She wondered if the planning department had considered open space preservation, or what the "natural rezoning" would be. For example, she wondered if R-1 with a preservation option would actually equal an R-2.
Mr. Evancoe said the planning department did not do any particular density analysis, but he wished to point out that the Planning Commission, in its deliberations, mentioned that they considered the use of the open space option along with the R-1 option. There are some light-cover woodlands in the southeast corner of the property, and denser woodlands on the western border.
Member Lorenzo commented that it seemed there were substantial woodlands on the site, and that some of the City’s options would be applicable in this particular instance. From her perspective, R-1 or even R-2 would achieve what the applicant is seeking without going all the way to R-4, because she does not want to see R-4 in this area.
Mayor Csordas asked Member Lorenzo if she had said she would prefer non-residential land use in that area, or if he misunderstood.
Member Lorenzo replied that she had said she would prefer non-residential land use in the community, as Council needs to start looking at lowering the population and increasing the non-residential phase.
Mayor Csordas commented that it appeared there would be 46 units on that piece of property. There are some large lots lined up across there, but 120 feet is the depth of those lots. Novi Road is the dividing line, but R-4 seemed compatible in his opinion to that area. He noted that the staff recommendation is to approve the request and rezone to R-4. He asked if this recommendation meant that there are no regulated wetlands or woodlands there, as there are a lot of trees on the property.
Mr. Evancoe replied that Singh could use the layout proposed with proper woodland and wetland permits grants. The City is not looking at a particular site plan, even though Singh has shown a diagram. Whether the developer could use the exact proposed plan, he could not say for sure without the planning department doing a full site plan review.
Mayor Csordas said he would support the motion.
Member Paul said that she was on the Planning Commission when this matter came before that body. She made the suggestion to go from RA to R-1, and to use the Open Space Act as an option to preserve along the RA corridor on the north border to preserve those natural resources, as there are some nice woodlands there. This is an economical situation to not have the highest density, and it requires half of the road structure, sewer system and water system, so this density is a win-win for the developer. She had thought that rezoning to the middle density was a fair process, and she wanted to encourage Council to do so. She would support the R-1 with the open space option of going to R-2, so she would not support the motion.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-04-138 Yeas: Csordas, Landry, Capello, Gatt
Nays: Paul, Lorenzo, Nagy
John Steven Moir, owner of Quality Excavating, wished to speak in regards to the water tap bid. It had come to his attention that the City would not use his bid, which was the lowest bid, because he had an asterisk stating that he could not control the copper and brass prices that have escalated quite a bit in the last 90 days. Those prices are actually at a twenty-year high, though they will probably not go up much more. If the cost goes up as much as fifty cents more, he would still be under the bid price on the agenda to accept. He wanted Council to consider this when it made its vote.
Mark Dameshaw, owner of D & D Water and Sewer, noted that his company was recommended for the contract award. He said his company has bid the project several times over the past couple of years. D & D has never placed any marks on the bid, and these have always been as requested by the City. The company did so again this time, and it guarantees its prices regardless of what the market does, whether the price goes up or down fifty cents. He requested that Council approve the contract award as it was recommended.
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION – Part II
7. Consideration of Ordinance Number 04-149.06, an Ordinance to amend the Alcoholic Liquor Ordinance to prevent profiteering by new licensees. 2nd Reading
CM-04-04-140 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Landry; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Ordinance Number 04-149.06, an Ordinance to amend the Alcoholic Liquor Ordinance to prevent profiteering by new licensees. 2nd Reading. Language in the first full paragraph of the second page shall read "In the event that the license is proposed for transfer within three years from the date of issuance, the applicant agrees that the Michigan Liquor Control Commission shall terminate the license, and…" In addition, the next line shall be rephrased from "issuance of the license to the applicant" to "issuance of a new license to a new applicant."
Member Nagy asked what language in the ordinance meant, "if the license holder is a natural person."
Mr. Schultz replied that this referred to an individual as opposed to a corporation. He said there were two things that he would like Council to consider which came as a result of conversations with the Michigan Liquor Control Commission since this was put in Council’s packets. The first consideration pertained to the second page, the first full paragraph starting with "The agreement". In the second line, there is a concept that if the license is placed into escrow with the Michigan Liquor Control Commission, then within three years from the date of issuance the license reverts to the City Council. He proposed different language that amounts to the same thing, but is in language more understandable to the MLCC, reading, "In the event that the license is proposed for transfer within three years from the date of issuance, the applicant agrees that the Michigan Liquor Control Commission shall terminate the license, and…", with the language then picking up again. In the next line, where it says, "approve the issuance of the license to the applicant", this would be rephrased to "issuance of a new license to a new applicant". The idea is consistent with the concept that if the license is transferred within three years, it will not revert back to the Council. The concern was that this was that this would be looked at as Council’s license. The idea is that the license terminates and is issued again in the normal course.
Mayor Csordas commented that the intent is not changed, but the language is clearer.
Member Capello asked how Council would go back to the Liquor Control Commission saying that the City has another license because it was lost. He asked if Council would need another consensus. Once Council issues a quota license, it is gone. If it does not revert, it will just die. Council wants to have that quota license reissued again.
Mr. Schultz said that what happens, based upon the conversation with the MLCC, is that if the quota license is not used or if there is an improper transfer, the license is essentially placed in escrow and remains one of the City’s quota licenses.
Member Capello said he had thought the proposed language was that the license is not in escrow and would basically die.
Mr. Schultz replied that the escrow is done automatically.
Member Capello asked what happens to the license.
Mr. Schultz said the concern was the idea that the license would revert to Council; the license does not actually revert to Council, but rather into the quota, which is why this language is proposed.
Member Capello asked if the language would revert the license back to the City as a quota license.
Mr. Schultz replied that this was correct.
Member Lorenzo and Mayor Pro Tem Landry accepted the amendments to the language.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-04-140 Yeas: Csordas, Landry, Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul
8. 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. – 2nd Reading
CM-04-04-141 Moved by Nagy, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Ordinance Number 04-23.23, an Ordinance to regulate Idling, Standing, and Loading/Unloading of commercial and motor vehicles in the City of Novi. – 2nd Reading.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-04-0141 Yeas: Landry, Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul, Csordas
9. Approval of distributing to surrounding communities, select utilities, and outside agencies, the 2004 Updated Master Plan for Land Use Draft.
Mayor Csordas noted that Item #9 had been removed from consideration.
10. Discussion - Whether City Council desires to exercise its right of Approving the 2004 Updated Master Plan for Land Use.
Member Lorenzo said she had given this issue a lot of thought, and has been at both ends of the spectrum, both as a Planning Commissioner and as a Council Member. Having been at both positions, and having sat on Council for many circumstances regarding rezoning, and having been a part of consent judgments regarding rezoning, she felt that Council should exercise its right to approve the master plan. One area in particular she recalled was the situation with the Promenade. The Planning Commission changed the zoning for added commercial in that area. The then-Council did not approve the rezoning. The matter went to consent judgment, and the City could not hang its hat on the master plan because the master plan said the property should be commercial. On the opposite end, in a situation such as the one Council just had, if the Planning Commission had recommended R-1 where Council had approved R-4, and Council wanted R-4, it would have been inconsistent with the master plan. Council is always the body that will have the final jurisdiction for rezonings, which should be consistent with the master plan. The only way to afford that the master plan will be consistent is to have the same body reviewing both the master plan and rezonings. Council is elected by the people, and if it rezones property in a way other than what the people believe it should be, then the people have the opportunity to cast their votes in a different manner if Council members seek reelection. The Planning Commission is appointed by Council, but responds to Council and not the people. She feels that Council should exercise its right to approve the master plan, as this will be a cleaner situation, particularly with rezoning.
Member Nagy said she had also thought this issue through, but she did not ascribe to the same theory. The Planning Commission is nominated by the Mayor and appointed by Council; however, one thing that it does is plan. It would not be good if there ever was a Council without a member that had served on the Planning Commission, but this could happen. The Planning Commission performs hard work, does its homework, and understands planning. She feels that inconsistencies can be worked out, such as with the Promenade. The Planning Commission does this City’s planning. Council can review the Commission’s proposed master plan and make suggestions for changes, but the Commission looks at the whole City and plans for totality. She believes that approval of the master plan should lie in the Planning Commission’s hands. She referred to a letter that both Council and the Planning Commission sent to Senator Cassis in 2002 opposing the new Michigan legislation placing the final authority for approving master plans with the City Council.
Mayor Csordas commented that the reason Council sent the mentioned letter was so that the City did not have to confer with surrounding communities and have them tell Novi what to do.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry felt that the approval of the master plan should stay with the Planning Commission for three reasons, the first being "if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it." With the current program, the Planning Commission has done a fine job with the master plan and they should keep it. Number two, the City Council does not need to have its fingers in every single pie of this city. A little separation of powers is good for any democracy. For the Planning Commission to have final say on something that Council does not have the final say on is healthy to a certain extent. Finally, the Planning Commission is the body that sits through all of the corridor studies and subcommittees and listens to public comments. The process would work better by the body that spends all of the time studying the master plan being the body that ultimately approves it.
Member Paul said that as a Planning Commissioner, she agreed with Mayor Pro Tem Landry. She felt that separation of the two bodies is very good, and that all of his points were very valid. She would like to see the master plan stay with the Planning Commission.
CM-04-04-142 Moved by Nagy, seconded by Landry; MOTION CARRIED: To place approval of the 2004 Updated Master Plan for Land Use with the Planning Commission.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-04-142 Yeas: Nagy, Paul, Csordas, Landry
Nays: Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo
11. Approval to award the bid, based on unit pricing, for the water service connection contract to D & D Water and Sewer, Inc., the low qualified bidder, for a 1-year contract.
Mr. McCusker remarked that he has looked at this contract a number of times over the past couple of years. They were looking to entertain service delivery by another contractor, as the past contractor had been in place so long. The Department of Public Works felt that there might be benefits from new service that the City has not been able to enjoy. The pricing was laid out in that the City asked for a specific bid price, and Quality Excavating came in with a qualifier on one bid, which could be an escalator of cost. Copper prices and metal prices have been increasing. The Chinese market has been buying and is continuing to buy metals, which vendors believe is why the market price is so high. Since this document was written, the price has gone up another quarter per foot in price. This contractor, D & D, was brought in during the past to supplement the existing contractor. The company has provided a better delivery of services.
Member Nagy asked if the previous contractor that the City had was able to guarantee and warranty his work.
Mr. McCusker replied that there are a couple of areas where that contractor had not guaranteed his work. The City has some leaking lines right now that were put in a number of years ago, and he has not guaranteed the work; the City has had to go back in and repair that work.
CM-04-04-143 Moved by Nagy, seconded by Paul; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To award the bid , based on unit pricing, for the water service connection contract to D & D Water and Sewer, Inc., the low qualified bidder, for a 1-year contract.
Member Lorenzo asked if the company being recommended warranties its work.
Mr. McCusker replied that the company, D & D, does warranty its work fully.
Member Lorenzo asked if the City has had experience with this company before.
Mr. McCusker replied that D & D was actually brought in to supplement Quality’s work when that company fell behind.
Member Lorenzo asked if D & D has met quality standards for the City of Novi.
Mr. McCusker replied that the company had met these standards, as well as his satisfaction.
Member Lorenzo said that with regard to the contract, the previous gentleman had told her that the contract actually ran out in February.
Mr. McCusker said this was correct.
Member Lorenzo asked why Council did not receive this contract until April.
Mr. McCusker said that the contract was put together, but Council’s agendas have been so full that the matter has been held off a couple of times. He was out of town and wanted to be in town when the matter was on the agenda.
Member Lorenzo said that in the future, if something will expire in February, the new contract should be before Council no later than the end of January. She said she would support the motion.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-04-143 Yeas: Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul, Csordas, Landry, Capello
12. Consideration of ordinances to amend City of Novi Code of Ordinances to assemble regulations related to maintenance in a single ordinance - First Readings
Ordinance No. 04-104.03 to amend Chapter 21 "Nuisances" to a single ordinance.
Ordinance No. 04-23.24 to amend Chapter 22 to add a provision relating to smoking in public places to Chapter 21 "Nuisances."
Ordinance No. 04-81.22 to amend Chapter 33 to add a provision relating to parking, stopping and standing; snow emergencies; sidewalks to be cleared; and storage of inoperable and dismantled motor vehicles to Chapter 21 "Nuisances."
Ordinance No. 04-88.07 to amend Chapter 16 to add a provision relating to refuse hours of collection, litter and construction debris to Chapter 21 "Nuisances."
Ordinance No. 04-125.17 to amend Chapter 37 to add an article relating to dead, damaged, or dangerous trees on private property to Chapter 21 "Nuisances."
Ordinance No. 04-162.01 to amend Chapter 7 to add portable toilets to Chapter 21 "Nuisances."
CM-04-04-144 Moved by Nagy, seconded by Capello; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve of ordinances to amend City of Novi Code of Ordinances to assemble regulations related to maintenance in a single ordinance - First Readings
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-04-144 Yeas: Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul, Csordas, Landry, Capello, Gatt
CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS FOR COUNCIL ACTION: (Consent Agenda items, which have been removed for discussion and/or action)
H. Claims and Accounts – Warrant No. 671
Member Paul referenced Item 35494, LaSalle Bank, Conferences and Workshops, for the amount of $1,644.55, on page two of the warrant, and asked for an explanation of this.
Ms. Smith-Roy said this item was not for all conferences and workshops. In the future, each item will be broken down by category and will be included on the warrant list. Included were the supplies for the parks and recreation department for $117, and conferences and workshops only represented $129. There was a police consulting item for $597, and administration supplies for $801.
Member Paul said this was a concern to her because she had thought the City was holding all conferences and workshops. She also referred to the item for Toll Brothers Site Restoration Bonds for $10,000. She asked if this was only one item, or if there were multiple homes that the bond was given to.
Ms. Smith-Roy replied that there were seven home sites involved. Six of the items are for site restoration bonds where the City has installed utilities, and one is for a TCO bond.
CM-04-04-145 Moved by Paul, seconded by Landry; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Item H of the consent agenda, Claims and Accounts – Warrant No. 671
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-04-145 Yeas: Nagy, Paul, Csordas, Landry, Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo
MAYOR AND COUNCIL ISSUES
1. Procedures for Permits Issued – Member Paul
Member Paul said it would be fine for Mr. Evancoe to get back with Council on the answer at a future meeting. She would like to know, once the Planning Commission has approved permits for wetlands, woodlands, or landscaping, who checks the permits as the work is being done in the field. She would like to know the procedure that is done, as there has been an issue with the site just off of Novi Road and just south of Ten Mile.
Mr. Evancoe noted that he was familiar with this case.
Member Paul said she would like to know what the procedure is for all of the different such permits.
Mr. Evancoe replied that since there are so many different types of permits, perhaps he could supply a report to Council about this matter.
2. Abandoned Building – Member Nagy
Member Nagy referred to the building formerly called the Oxford Inn, as the building has weeds, lamps are broken, Christmas lights are still up, and the condition is deplorable. She does not know who the owner of the building is, but she felt they should do something about that building. The second building she referred to was Harmon Glass, which is also a mess. Those two buildings, whoever the owners might be, need to have something done.
Mr. Helwig said the City would have its code compliance officers visit both structures.
3. Westmont Village – Member Nagy
Member Nagy said she had thought Council had indicated that in regards to the open space at Westmont Village, Mr. Blazo would be meeting with City administration regarding the matter.
Mr. Helwig stated that he had met with Mr. Blazo prior to the last meeting and was briefed after the last meeting, from which he was absent, by Mr. Fisher that he would remain in contact with Mr. Blazo about that matter. The conservation easement language would run in perpetuity, and Mr. Fisher was to have another meeting with Mr. Blazo about the issue. Mr. Fisher has been out of town, and he has not had a chance to follow up on the issue.
Mr. Schultz said he would be happy to forward correspondence to Council.
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION – None
There being no further business to come before Council, Mayor Csordas adjourned the meeting at 12:02 a.m.
Lou Csordas, Mayor Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk
Transcribed by Steve King
Date approved: May 3rd, 2004