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REGULAR MEETING OF THE NOVI CITY COUNCIL
Mayor Csordas called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
ROLL CALL: Mayor Csordas, Mayor Pro Tem Landry, Council Members Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy and Paul
ALSO PRESENT: Craig Klaver Ė Chief Operating Officer
Gerald Fisher Ė City Attorney
Benny McCusker Ė Public Works Director
Kathy Smith-Roy Ė Finance Director
Barb McBeth Ė Planning Director
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Member Capello added under Mayor and Council Issues number one "Beck Road Improvements", number two, "City Obtaining New Census", number three, "Setbacks", number four, "Increase Tax Base Without Raising Taxes to Residents"; Member Paul added number five, "South Lake Drive Bike Path and Drainage, Bellers" and number six, "Master Plan for Parcels 16 and 17, the Southeast Corner of Novi and Ten Mile".
CM-04-10-374 Moved by Landry, seconded by Capello; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the agenda as amended.
Voice Vote on CM-04-10-374 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
1. Recognition of Fall for Novi sponsors: Intier Automotive, Providence Hospital, Novi Expo Center and Tel Com Credit Union
Mayor Csordas stated that the City wanted to thank the sponsors for participating in the Fall for Novi annual event and asked Cindy Uglow to present plaques to Intier Automotive, Providence Hospital, Novi Expo Center and Tel Com Credit Union. The City gave special recognition to Tom Marcus for getting the Lions involved in the Fall for Novi event.
Cindy Uglow thanked all of the sponsors for their generosity and thanked City employees who helped: Sheryl Walsh and Karen Amolsch for public relations; Benny McCusker and his great staff handled not only household hazardous drop-offs but set up all of the equipment from the fire safety trailer onto all the big rigs; Craig Klaver manned the HCD table and patiently answered all those questions. All of the departments were there and professionally represented and gave of their time so that so many people who attended went away with the feeling that the more you knew about Novi, the better neighbors, residential and commercial, they would be.
1. Special Assessment District 172 Ė Bentley/Blomfield Water Main Extension
Mayor Csordas stated that there were three more responses: one was an objection and the other two were continued approvals for the project.
Mr. Klaver stated that some of the streets involved in this project were Penhill, Pickford, West Lake and South Lake Court. He said the Cityís current preliminary estimate was $438,000 for this water main extension.
Mayor Csordas stated that there were 75 affected properties; he wanted to know what the consensus of the owners was, the percentage for and against. He stated that clearly this was in excess of 50 percent because it was not a City-initiated project; it was a project initiated by the property owners.
William Richard Curtis at 101 Penhill stated that he was one of the petitioners who took the paperwork around to get this started; he had a lot of neighbors ask him to do it because he worked for a surveying company, not related with the City. He stated that they had way over 50 percent who wanted the project and some who had hardships. He didnít know if they had exceptions for some of the older people that might need a bypass. He said that the cost was up to $562,000 and it was just mentioned that it was back to the $438,000; they were still wondering what the estimated cost was.
Mayor Csordas stated that it was still an estimate, but as the project went through the different steps, it would get locked in. Mayor Csordas stated that in answer to his question about hardship, each property owner was to pay an equal share.
Mr. Curtis stated that two at the end of the street on the Old West Road were now exempt because there was a hydrant stubbed out for connection for the future. He wondered why they were exempt; it would help lower the cost for everybody if they werenít.
Mayor Csordas stated that the City would follow up on that.
Mr. Klaver stated that there hadnít been a formal vote yet but the petitions represented 60.7 percent of the proposed district.
2. 2005 Community Development Block Grant Fund Program
Mayor Csordas opened the public hearing.
Mr. Klaver stated that while this was a public hearing for input on the expenditures on the Cityís Community Development Block Grant Funds which were approximately $134,000, there was a five-member citizenís advisory committee that met with the City to provide public input on this program. He wanted to present their preliminary recommendations so the public had something to react to in terms of taking commentary. He acknowledged the committee: Tom Lindbergh, Dan Tyrell, Richard Valbusch, Jerry Ross and Michael Meyer. Mr. Klaver said it was their recommendation he was presenting.
Mr. Klaver stated that the Lions came to the City with a partnership proposal: Novi Lions Club and a 501c3 known as Eblind, which dealt with visually impaired, in conjunction with the Novi Library. The library currently had a work station for visually impaired; this proposal would enhance that with hardware and software that would allow someone with the appropriate training to navigate around websites and have the text on the screen actually read aloud to them through the software. The Lions Club would bring the training of the individuals to the library. He said it was a really amazing program, a great enhancement and part of this yearís recommendation. He said the rest of the programs Council was familiar with from prior yearsí discussions.
Member Nagy asked with regard to the previous public hearing if there was any way some of the grant money could provide assistance to those individuals. One of the things she noticed about the block grants was that they seemed to always pertain to a certain area of the City where she was sure there were other areas of the City that could also benefit from assistance.
Mr. Klaver answered that Member Nagyís comments were directed pretty exclusively to the minor home repair program. By regulations of both HUD and Oakland County, that was an income-based program that was available to anyone in the City regardless of where they lived, and, as indicated, he previously provided a map that showed that there were some distributed. However, there were pockets of the community where there was a greater concentration of people who qualified but that program couldnít be changed in terms of the income limits; those were set by federal directives.
Member Nagy stated that those people who had a financial concern regarding Public Hearing Number One, maybe the City could send them at least some form of assistance that they could apply for, because obviously from what she read it was mostly a problem with income; these people may very well qualify for aid. She would like to see that sent to those who objected because of financial reasons.
Mr. Klaver stated that as long as the City stuck by the guidelines.
Member Capello asked Mr. Klaver if that was the entire 2004 budget.
Mr. Klaver answered yes.
Member Capello stated that something stuck in his mind that last year somebody new came to the City and asked for funding; the City turned them down and told them to come back next year. He couldnít recall who that was.
Mr. Klaver answered that the City showed that under the 2005 funding request it was the St. Vincent DePaul program. The only concern with that was that it was not based in Novi and it was a fairly small percentage of Novi residents who were served by the program.
Member Capello asked if the City was giving them money this year.
Mr. Klaver answered no. Additionally, the City received a request from United We Serve, which again was a very wonderful charity, but the focus of the group was outside of our community. The Committeeís preference was to focus on the programs they knew dealt directly with Novi residents.
Mayor Csordas asked the rationale behind the shifting of the Youth Assistance and the Haven Funds from $15,000 to $12,000 and then $15,000 to $17,000.
Mr. Klaver answered that in the past a good deal of support for Youth Assistance had come from the Torch Drive Foundation and donations; unfortunately for that organization, and true for most charities, donations were down across the board and also the donations that they solicited through a variety of fundraisers were also down, so their funding had been significantly reduced. The Committee felt it was appropriate to allocate more money. As you could see, they actually requested $15,000 and the Committee recommended $12,000, which was $3,000 over last yearís allocation. He said there were two 2005 columns, one was the request and the other was the Committeeís recommendation. Mr. Klaver said that Administration would have that back at Councilís next meeting for its consideration.
Mayor Csordas closed the public hearing.
1. SPECIAL/COMMITTEE Ė None
2. CITY MANAGER Ė None
3. DEPARTMENTAL Ė None
4. ATTORNEY Ė None
Jim Korte, Shawood Lake, asked about the Agenda Ė Liquor License. When the last young participants wanted a liquor license, Mr. Korte said even Member Capello said it fit the ordinance. Member Capello asked if there were any other applicants; there were two. One had not come forward. Then Thursday after that Monday, we found out there would be a new Asian restaurant applying in Victor Cassisí building. He felt Council didnít give it to that person, because Victor Cassisí building was asking. He didnít think that was fair. There were certain criteria with the ordinance. He wanted to know what was so unusual with another Asian restaurant. He wanted to know what was so interesting that the City was not giving a liquor license to the Main Street area that so desperately needed help. Mr. Korte stated he thought that Council would give the license tonight because of who owned the building; that was unacceptable. He said it didnít meet any of the interesting criteria. He didnít understand why Council didnít look at Novi ordinances and try to enforce them. The City put in roads, as in South Lake, that donít meet any of its ordinances; Council did all sorts of things that didnít meet the Cityís ordinances. He said it would be interesting to see what happened at this point in time.
Elinor Holland said that she had lived in Novi for 30 years and had served the City in many capacities: boards, commissions, and groups, whatever. She was concerned about the Cable Access Committee; she had served on that for at least 20 years. She did the first television show for cable here in this very room. She said she had continued to have a cable television show since that time. She stated that they had served as a CAC very well; they had been criticized in the newspapers for being a group that "chat" in the meetings. She said they didnít "chat"; they started at 7:00 p.m. on the dot and most times ended at 8:00 p.m. on the dot. Ms. Holland stated that they covered all the materials that they had to cover that night; if they went over, they went over. She said they were very concerned about representation of Novi, not only in the CAC but with Southwest Oakland Cable Commission. Ms. Holland said they were criticized that no CAC member attended any of the functions, parades, open houses; for many years she had attended all of those things. She thought if they were not doing a good job in representing the City of Novi, they wouldnít be so concerned.
Ms. Holland said that other committee members would be speaking to Council about the multi-jurisdictional agreement that was coming up. She was really concerned about what was going to happen with that agreement. She wanted to know if they were going to lose representation from Novi. She said that only Art Cervi and herself were serving on the committee right now and didnít want to see this committee disappear and have Novi lose its representation and be controlled by SWOCC. She said it was very important that Novi had its input; Novi was a force to be reconned with not just a little city on the outskirts of Detroit.
Barbara Maxwell of 179 Penhill was concerned with the special assessment for the continuation of the water main coming onto her street, Pickford and to Lake Court. She said the special assessment to her as a single parent was more money than she had; by forcing her into this type of situation, she had two options: sell her home, get nothing for it because she bought it last year, or she could work three jobs, she worked two now to support her children. She wanted the City to come up with a solution for people who didnít have the money to afford to extend the water main.
Pauline Navoy stated that she was a member of the Cable Access Commission from Farmington Hills. She said that she was there because there had been gross misrepresentation of the Committee. She wanted to appeal to the cities to please listen to them; they were a group of volunteers who were lied about in print, saying they didnít do anything last year. Their reputation was on the line here. She wanted to tell Council if it approved the multijurisdictional agreement, the Cable Access Committee would be taken out of that and Council power would be taken away. Right now the Cable Access Commission was in the multijurisdictional agreement; it had to go before City Council to take it out of there, but if a committee was made a bylaw then it could be disbanded at any time and then City Council did not have to vote on it. Council power would be taken away, as far as this Committee. She was concerned that it would be up to the SWOCC board to appoint Committee members; already on the channel there was a flow chart showing the Cable Access Committee being taken off and Council hadnít even yet voted on it.
Mark Adler, a Novi resident, stated that he was also on the Cable Access Committee for over 12 years. He stated that the Executive Director of SWOCC would be here tonight to seek approval to update and streamline the cable of multi-jurisdictional agreement, or MJA. Unfortunately in that update, as already heard, they intended to remove Council power with regard to the Cable Access Committee. He said they would say that the Committee was obsolete and that SWOCC alone could oversee public access and the needs of the access community. Mr. Adler stated that it was untrue.
Mr. Adler stated that Council may know that the Mayor and Mr. Klaver had already voted for this motion in their capacity as SWOCC representatives but some of the information they were provided to make the decision was inaccurate. Mr. Adler stated let them update their document, let them streamline it from their 16 pages to 8 pages, but let them amend it to kept he CAC in that agreement. He said that CAC had proven its value over the years and its need in the community many times. If CAC was removed from the MJA, SWOCC alone could control or shut down any future Committee without Council approval.
Mr. Adler asked Council to consider these things: Director Collins recently presented SWOCC commissioners with information that was both inaccurate and inflammatory through unapproved CAC minutes and members and notes that were put on the record. He said the information included statements from members that were noted by these members to have been recorded in error as saying SWOCC had too much power, saying that SWOCC wanted control over the budget, things that might color Council opinion when it made those decisions. In fact, CAC only wished to have review powers over the SWOCC budget, as they had held for the past 20 years, no change there. CAC members had experience in the industry and could help in that regard quite often. Further, a statement made by Ms. Collins in her notes to SWOCC indicated that CAC members did not attend events and their views did not reflect the community. Mr. Adler stated that the CAC could be more effective, in fact, if Director Collins attended those meetings; she rarely did and that rendered the group in effective when they were not able to get answers to their questions. He noted that in the past and for at least 10 of the 12 years that he was on CAC, Ms. Collins attended most of the CAC meetings; he just did not know why she didnít any more.
Mr. Adler stated that in order to develop and grow a strong access community, you needed to talk, you needed to plan, you needed to execute; Ms. Collins implied that she wanted none of this. He stated that while the staff was competent, it was young and hadnít been exposed to those systems; CAC members had, in contrast, many years of experience and access research to draw upon and to share. Mr. Adler asked Council to vote against the motion.
CONSENT AGENDA (Approval/Removals)
Member Nagy removed Item G, Approval of Claims and Accounts Ė Warrant No. 683, and Item F, Approval of Resolution to authorize Budget Amendment #2005 Ė 3.
Member Paul wanted to clarify that she had put on Councilís desks the September 27, 2004 Minutes with highlighted areas of correction. She wanted to make sure everyone knew they were approving those corrections also; it was in regard to the Paragon property.
Clerk Cornelius stated that the Minutes Item A1 could be removed from Consent and, when Council went to break, read the highlighted additions.
CM-04-10-375 Moved by Landry, seconded by Capello: To approve the Consent Agenda as amended.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-10-375 Yeas: Csordas, Landry, Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo,
CONSENT AGENDA: (Background information for Consent Agenda items is available for review at the City Clerkís Office)
A. Approve Minutes of:
B. Approval of Resolution No. 3 for Bentley/Blomfield Water Main Extension Ė Special Assessment District 172.
C. Approval to purchase one (1) replacement mower with snow blower attachment for Fire Station #4 through the State of Michigan Joint Purchasing program from Theiser Equipment Company in the amount of $4,463.23.
D. Approval of exchanging $10,401.74 of 5,400 linear feet of 1"K Copper for an equal trade-in amount of water main material (8" and 12" ductile water main, a Mueller gate valve, a Mueller fire hydrant) from National Water Works of Novi.
E. Acceptance of water main and sanitary sewer as public utilities with corresponding 20-foot permanent easements for each utility from Singh Mainstreet Village II, LLC, acceptance of an 8-foot pedestrian walkway easement, and approval of the Storm Drainage Facility Maintenance Agreement for storm water facilities located on Main Street Village II property.
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION Ė PART I
1. Consideration of request from Taste of Bangkok Cuisine, Inc. for a City-quota Class C liquor license to be located at 43317 Grand River.
Victor Cassis appeared on behalf of the Taste of Bangkok Cuisine, Inc., seeking the class C quota license. He introduced the Vang and Vue families: Dr. Vang, who was a doctor and a major financial backer, and Yong Sang Vue, who was the father and patriarch of the family and who would devote his entire time to the operation. Vue was an experienced chef would cook the Thai tradition cuisine. In addition and no less important the wives who would do the major support.
Dr. Vang stated that they were here because they pledged allegiance to the United States during the Viet Nam War to help our Allies. In 1975 after the war was lost to Communists, they lost a country, too; that was why they were here. He said he was a major investor and also a partner with the restaurant; he supported financially the familyís operation and he had a very successful practice. He believed in hard work; he believed in giving back to the community; he believed in education and he believed in creating jobs for the community. Dr. Vang stated that they would operate the restaurant as a family operation with experience. His brother-in-law was an experienced chef who had owned and operated restaurants at Lakeside Mall and West Oaks in Novi. He said they believed in Novi. He said they would offer to the community a unique, distinctive and healthy menu. He said they worked 12-hour days toward their goals and believed they would be successful.
Mr. Cassis stated that the restaurant met the prerequisites necessary to be granted a City license. He said that offered uniqueness: the most authentic and healthy Thai cuisine that no other establishment in Novi offered. He stated that the unique cuisine would be served in a high-end and inviting atmosphere in a beautiful building in the heart of downtown. The dining room would be appointed with artifacts and paintings imported from Thailand. The restaurant had capacity for 167 customers. Mr. Cassis said that the family had invested over $150,000 in equipment, some of it was imported from Thailand because they donít make it here. He said there was a large commitment of resources to purchase the property at a large sum of money. He stated that the family had proven itself in other locations, as stated by Dr.Vang. He said the terms of the lease assured that the license would be given the utmost care it deserved. He said it would offer a vital uplift to a downtown building if the license was granted to the family; it would be in good care and would make the City proud.
Member Gatt wanted to address something that was said earlier in Audience Participation about a vote that occurred at either Councilís last meeting or two meetings ago, but Council did turn down a liquor license petition at that time. The insinuation was made tonight that Council did so in anticipation of tonight; Member Gatt said he would go on record that he knew nothing about the petition coming forward tonight and his vote tonight would have nothing to do with who the owner of this property was or wasnít. He said that he did find it unique; he loved Thai food. He said there was no Thai restaurant in Novi that served alcohol; he found that unique. He said most importantly Novi Road and Grand River was what the cops called the Four Corners; it was the most important intersection in the City. For years there had been a vacant building there that had been an eyesore because of its vacancy. Member Gatt said he relished the thought of a viable business doing business there; he would support the request for that reason alone, that the Four Corners needed business every bit as much as Main Street and it was part of the downtown area.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry said that he did not find it unique; it was a Pacific Rim restaurant which he didnít find particularly unique. When Council last addressed a quota liquor license it was with respect to a martini bar; at that time he indicated that he did not think a martini bar was unique and he really didnít think that this situation was any different than the last one, so he would not support this particular quota liquor license, as he did not support the last one. Mayor Pro Tem Landry said he would rather see it go to a truly unique business or to a business that had already been Novi. As he had said many times, he had supported quota liquor licenses to existing businesses that had shown through their history that they had given to the community; that was what he would like to see the liquor license go for, so he would not support it.
Member Nagy stated that she reviewed the item intently and the menu looked delicious but was concerned about the paragraph by Mr. Cassis that if not successful he would return such liquor license to the City of Novi. She called the Liquor Control Commission today and found out that, with all due respect, Mr. Cassis was the landlord and had no rights to the license, so that would be hard for him to meet the obligation. She had seen the building empty for a long time and had seen the various restaurants that had gone in there and never seemed to be successful, so she wondered whether the building needed another use besides a restaurant. She said she would not support the motion because she believed a class C liquor license was very important to the City and, again nothing personal, there were so many Asian restaurants within the area that had similar menus. She didnít believe this was unique; she wanted the Cityís last liquor license to go to a business that would benefit some area of the City that needed the business to draw people in.
Member Paul agreed with the last two speakers; she enjoyed Thai food very much, welcomed them and wished success for their restaurant business. She unfortunately could not give the last liquor license away; she stated that when they did their census, hopefully the City would have more liquor licenses and maybe it could be reviewed at that time when Council had seen it to be successful for a period of time. She thought they would have more ability to be viable since the road construction would be improving the five lanes in their area and wished them success.
Member Capello said he briefly had to explain his vote because he was usually outspoken on the liquor license transfers. He said in looking at the application he didnít think that the applicant had met all of the requirements in the ordinance. He did not see the menu as being different than most Thai restaurants. He noted that one of the applicants was a manager at the restaurant next to Toys R Us prior to Spicy Siam; he knew they had applied for a license and felt that the reason they went out of business was because of lack of a license. Member Capello said he disagreed with Mr. Korte when he stated that the only reason that this quota license was going to be given was because of Mr. Cassis; he didnít think that had any bearing on any of Councilís votes. He said he did, however, see that as the Four Corners; that building was probably comparable to the new building on the northwest corner. It was one of the nicer buildings in that area and had been vacant too long. He said the City needed a business in there that was going to survive; to put a Thai restaurant in that location without a liquor license doomed it to failure. He thought it needed a license if it wanted to survive; if the City wanted that building to turn around it needed a license to go with the building. That was why he made the comment that the previous Thai food restaurant at West Oaks went out of business because they didnít have a license. He didnít want to see that happen to a business in the location of that building. Given that, he thought the driving factor was to get a viable occupant that was going to make it and keep the building occupied, as opposed to having that vacancy at the Cityís Four Corners.
Member Lorenzo agreed with the previous speakers; she, too, had frequented many Thai restaurants and the menu did not seem very different than the other restaurants that she did frequent. Additionally, she felt uncomfortable giving the liquor license to one Thai restaurant when all of the other Thai restaurants in Novi did not have liquor licenses; she felt it would give unfair advantage to a new restaurant and not look out for the existing restaurants at the same time.
Member Lorenzo asked Mr. Cassis if he leased or sold the liquor license
to the previous lessee.
Mr. Cassis answered that it was sold.
Member Lorenzo stated that he had a license and sold it; he made a business decision.
Mr. Cassis answered that he did not sell it.
Member Lorenzo said she didnít understand; if the liquor license was still his, how could somebody even come to the Council and have it transferred without your consent.
Mr. Cassis answered that it was not in his name. When they bought the business, they bought the liquor license with it.
Member Lorenzo stated that they bought the business and the license from you.
Mr. Cassis answered that actually the previous owner, who was the Oxford Inn which was there for eight years, they were a viable business. He said that the proliferation of bars in this area was the main reason that the Oxford Inn left, the Oxford Inn was still operating in Royal Oak. He was just stating that the history which was criticized tonight did not bear that kind of characterization. He said that the reason the Oxford Inn left was because of that fact. Then subsequently the people that took over from the Oxford Inn, and he had no control over that, as some of the lawyers here tonight would know that when you lease a restaurant or a business, you could not object to someone subleasing.
Member Lorenzo stated that at some point Mr. Cassis sold the business along with the license; that was a business decision that he made and that was what was leaving that building without a liquor license.
Mr. Cassis answered yes.
Member Lorenzo said that she sympathized with his business decision and the unfortunate circumstances that brought him forward today, but it was a business decision that unfortunately did not work out. Now for the restaurant, like others had said, she would welcome his restaurant in the City of Novi and would look forward to going to his restaurant as she did others in town. If this was a liquor license transfer, she wouldnít have any problem with it; but she couldnít give the quota license of the City to a restaurant that was not unique and would also be unfair to the existing Thai restaurants in Novi, especially.
Mayor Csordas said he appreciated all of the comments of City Council and the presentation by the doctor. He said that with or without a liquor license, there was no doubt in his mind that he would succeed in this City.
CM-04-10-376 Moved by Nagy, seconded by Landry; MOTION CARRIED: To deny the request from Taste of Bangkok Cuisine, Inc. for a City-quota Class C liquor license which would have been located at 43317 Grand River for the reason that the menu was not unique, the City only had one Class C liquor license and Council had turned down someone else before this, and it would not be the appropriate thing to do because of its nonuniqueness because of all the Asian restaurants within the City of Novi. MOTION DENIED.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-10-376 Yeas: Landry, Lorenzo, Nagy,
Nays: Capello, Gatt
2. Consideration of request from The May Department Stores Company (Marshall Fields) to transfer ownership of 2004 Class C licensed business located at 27550 Novi from Target Corporation.
CM-04-10-377 Moved by Capello, seconded by Nagy; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY; To approve the request from The May Department Stores Company (Marshall Fields) to transfer ownership of 2004 Class C licensed business located at 27550 Novi from Target Corporation.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-10-377 Yeas: Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul, Csordas, Landry
3. Approval of the request from Toll Brothers Development to amend the Island Lake Residential Unit Development (RUD) Agreement, Site Plan 04-38, for the fifth amendment to the original agreement. This amendment would allow for the addition of 10 acres of land to the overall development, while maintaining the original density.
Member Capello stated that he didnít see how Council could turn this down; theyíre adding an additional 10 acres and maintaining the same density. Itís a win-win for the City.
Mayor Csordas stated that Council had a positive recommendation from the Planning Commission and the motion was carried 7-0 at the Planning Commission.
Member Capello asked how the barn was coming.
Ron Boshaw said the foundation went in at the Maybury Park; theyíre getting ready to set it on the foundation. He said it looked great; it took a little longer than expected but it looked pretty good.
Member Capello thanked Mr. Boshaw for the effort; he knew that it was harder than he had anticipated after he committed to do it.
Member Paul said she had a couple of questions for Ms. McBeth, Planning Director. Member Paul stated that when she was on Planning Commission, a gentleman named Mr. Stewart, she thought, had a 10-acre parcel before the Commission. The Commission changed the density, but, for it to be part of an RUD, the Commission did not go to its maximum density of 22 homes but left it at 15 to keep a portion in agreement with the RUD to increase the density in the area but leave a portion, to the front of Ten Mile, so the City would have some park land so they would actually be preserving some of their space. That was unanimously approved at the time, but it looked like they were selling it off with the zoning of R2, she believed, and asked Ms. McBeth for some of the history of what had happened since then.
Ms. McBeth stated that in January of 2003, she believed the gentlemanís name was Conrad Stauch, had an interest in the property and sought to increase the density of that property from RA to R2 or R3. He came in front of the Master Plan and Zoning Committee of the Planning Commission and he discussed a maximum of 16 lots on the property. She believed that Committee recommended in favor of rezoning to R2 or R3 with 14,000 square feet as a minimum for the lots, with 16 lots maximum. He went to the Planning Commission in July of 1003, and the Planning Commission recommended R1 zoning for the property which would be equivalent to half-acre lots. That request was withdrawn and never made it to City Council. She believed at that point Toll Brothers acquired an interest in the property and thought about including it in their RUD proposal.
Member Paul asked if it was zoned RA right now.
Ms. McBeth answered that it was zoned RA.
Member Paul asked how many houses would fit in this 10-acre parcel at RA.
Ms. McBeth answered that under straight RA zoning that would be 8 houses on 10 acres.
Member Paul asked what they would be able to use in the RUD that currently existed with Toll Brothers, how many homes.
Ms. McBeth answered that there was some fairly complicated calculations that were provided in the Planning Review letter that talked about the maximum density overall and the entire development and how there seemed to be adequate density within the whole development to leave the property zoned RA but still be able to get the 22 units that the Commission thought the applicantís would come back with if Council approved the RUD amendment.
Member Paul stated that they could go from 8 houses to 22 houses with this approval.
Ms. McBeth stated that it was what they were proposing.
Member Paul asked Ms. McBeth, for clarification, if they were going to put 22 units, would this be 22 sewer taps or how would that work.
Ms. McBeth confirmed with the Engineering Department today that each house would have its own sewer tap, so 22 sewer taps.
Member Paul asked how many sewers had been put in place since Island Lakeís beginning.
Ms. McBeth apologized because the numbers got a little bit complicated; the records showed that they had 452 houses built or building permits issued, so it would be 452 sewer taps.
Member Paul asked how many were planned.
Ms. McBeth stated that from the letter submitted, at the back of the packet, Toll Brothers themselves indicated that there was a total build out of 786 units, including the 22 units that were proposed as part of these 10 acres.
Member Paul asked where the area was for the pumping station.
Ms. McBeth didnít have that answer and suggested that someone from Engineering could answer it.
Brian Coburn answered that it was part of the Lannyís sewer district.
Member Paul stated that it was one that Council was currently in question of, whether the City would expand it or not.
Mr. Coburn answered that was correct.
Member Paul asked for 786 homes, for the 452 that were in place, had they paid into the sanitary sewer district?
Mr. Coburn answered that they were not part of the SAD 83, if that was the question.
Member Paul asked if they had to pay for any sewer taps to the City.
Mr. Coburn answered that they did; every sewer tap in the City paid a connection fee.
Member Paul asked if it went to any special district when they paid the connection fee.
Mr. Coburn said he would have to defer to Finance for that answer.
Ms. Kathy Smith-Roy answered that everyone paid the tap fee, as was just explained; there was a preliminary tap fee that covered the general sanitary sewers that had been put in throughout the City. However, as was mentioned earlier, they had not paid in to the Lannyís sewer that currently existed because the City did not expand the SAD district to include that area.
Member Paul asked if the City would be able to recover any of the costs if the City did expand that sanitary sewer.
Ms. Smith-Roy answered that the City could not recover the costs because the extension was not in the ground yet and the City had not expanded the SAD district.
Member Paul asked, in Mr. John Foleyís letter in which he was concerned about two items: The first one was, did an approved site plan waive the rights and override the RUD?
Ms. McBeth stated that it was an interesting question. The RUD plan was usually put in place before a preliminary site plan was submitted. Then the preliminary site plan was checked for conformance with the less detailed plan, the preliminary site plan was more detailed; it was checked for conformance with the RUD plan that was usually inputted first and approved by Council.
Member Paul said that Mr. Foleyís concern was the buffer zone that was by the clubhouse; she thought he spoke with the Planning Department approximately a year ago and also Dr. Tilton. She said his concern was that they were putting sod all the way through the buffer zone, all the way into the wetland. He had hoped it was going to be restored; she believed that he thought it would happen this past spring in í04 and it did not. Member Paul asked if Ms. McBeth could give Mr. Foley a definition of what a buffer zone was and if we could actually have this occur.
Ms. McBeth had checked with Dr. Tilton in response to Member Paulís email. She said that Dr. Tilton had been working with Toll Brothers to identify the areas that were in question; they were finalizing the information just in the last couple of days about which areas should be more naturalized, kind of wetland buffer areas, and which areas were approved for lawn or sod to be placed. She said that was still in the process and she understood that Dr. Tilton said it would be resolved in the near future.
Member Paul asked if Council could get a timeline from the developer in which this could be done or from administration. She asked if in the very near future the buffer zone that was not part of the site plan could be improved.
Mr. Boshaw answered that he wasnít sure which buffer zone he referred to; if it was the one around the clubhouse, they did go back in and removed the sodded areas that went down to the lakeside according to original site plan and reestablished with the natural growth seed mix that they had planted down there. He said there were quite a few areas around the clubhouse that were supposed to be left in its natural state. Based on the situation with the clubhouse, they had to grade the entire island in order to do what they did there and then went back to reestablish those buffer areas. He said they had completed that; it was still in its natural growth area. He believed it was on a five-year monitoring plan with the DEQ, so it still had some time to grow and establish itself.
Member Paul stated that she believed it was just the clubhouse they were speaking of and Mr. Foley thought it was still being cut.
Mr. Boshaw said there were some areas that went right down to the lake that were intended for that purpose; there was not a consistent buffer zone all the way around the clubhouse area. He said that was just meant for residents to enjoy direct lake access; there was a beach on the clubhouse that they had waivers from DEQ on and several other areas. There were specific buffer zone pods around the clubhouse.
Member Paul stated that she would look to the Planning Department and Dr. Tilton to please come up with a solution that was approved by the site plan and make sure that it was in compliance. She wanted a letter to that effect to make sure that all of the things that were mentioned were actually being accomplished, that would be great.
Member Paul stated that she would not be able to support 22 units. She said that when she was on Planning Commission, she stated that she could go to R1 and have some preservation of this parcel; to go immediately to 22 units without any preservation in that area she thought was a lot. So, in regard to the amount of traffic on Ten Mile, the amount of sewer taps into a district that the City would have to expand at a cost to the residents, she would not be able to support this at this time.
Member Lorenzo agreed with the previous speaker; she thought that the previous speaker had framed and crystallized the real issue that Council was discussing this evening. She said that it was basically tantamount to a rezoning question. She said that was really what Council was being asked tonight under this RUD agreement was to rezone this land. The land was currently zoned RA, one-acre lots per home, and Council was being asked to approve 22 homes on this 10-acre site, which would be around an R2.
Ms. McBeth answered that would be something similar to an R2, R3 possibly.
Member Lorenzo stated between an R2 and R3 zone.
Ms. McBeth answered yes.
Member Lorenzo said she didnít see any legitimacy or reason to do that; in fact, in being consistent with her thought process in terms of building out the City of Novi, she continuously stressed that every time the City added more population and more homes, the City was losing its diversity and tax base in terms of between residential and nonresidential and placing more and more demand for City services. She said that when Island Lake was approved and, although many of the lots were of an R2, perhaps in between R3 of that nature, it was because it was an entire process by which there were many amenities being given and many preservation areas for that property. In other words, it was some sort of a tradeoff between increased number of homes and zoning and those types of amenities in additional preservation areas. She said this was a 10-acre parcel that had no wetlands, no woodlands; they were not giving the City anything in terms of preservation or any other additional amenities. They were basically adding it to the existing RUD and asking this Council to rezone the land. She could not agree to that for the reasons just stated. She did not think it was a good business decision for the City to rezone this land and have more homes, more of a demand on City services, more traffic.
Member Nagy stated that she was on the Planning Commission and the Master Plan and Zoning Committee when this property came before it with the previous owner; at that time, when there was a zoning request, the Commission did not change this to 22 units; they talked about 15 with some park area that would connect in the front there. They also talked about not having any entranceway onto Ten Mile. She said with all due respect to Island Lakes, the Cityís had a number of changes to the RUD already; she was not in favor of putting 22 homes there. She thought that the previous speaker was correct; at least with the previous landowner there was some give and take. She said that 22 homes would not make or break the City but weíre increasing density in an area that had already increased in density due to several factors: consent judgments, this development across the street; all this on a two-lane road. She said the church was also going in, which would create traffic. She was mostly concerned with the fact that this was already talked about at the Master Plan and Zoning Committee; at the Planning Commission discussion was had and it didnít go anywhere. Obviously they sold the land; Mr. Stauch had a right to do that, but there was no give and take there whatsoever. She thought that it would be, in essence, spot zoning and didnít feel it was appropriate for the City of Novi.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry stated that he thought he understood this proposal that they were going to add 10 acres, that it was currently zoned RA, and that they were going to get an additional 8 dwelling units on the 10 acres.
Ms. McBeth stated that the numbers did get a little bit complicated. She stated that the additional 10 acres would allow them an additional 8 units overall. What they would be allowed to build and the whole thing, taking into consideration the open space and the other natural features they kept as part of the original plan. The original RUD approval allowed 876 units as a maximum number; with this it would be 884 units as the maximum number. The anticipated build out was 786 units, so it was 90 units fewer than the maximum build out for the entire site. Somewhere along the line, they didnít build as many units as originally anticipated; they were currently about 90 units short of what the maximum would be.
Member Capello said maybe he didnít understand; they were going to have 10 acres and have 8 additional units on the 10 acres.
Ms. McBeth stated 8 units overall increase in the total maximum number that would be allowed.
Member Capello stated that if an individual came forward and tried to build with the current zoning, RA on that piece, they could get 8 units.
Ms. McBeth stated that was right; 8 units under the current zoning. Because they were asking for it to be included as part of the overall RUD, they would be allowed additional units.
Member Capello stated that they were not getting any more units than somebody that would develop it as RA, the Cityís getting a setback off Ten Mile Road, the City didnít have a curb cut on Ten Mile Road, and rather than having a small subdivision, the City had an addition onto Island Lake, which was probably the Cityís second most prestigious subdivision in Novi.
Ms. McBeth stated that there was a small area at the south end of the property that was proposed to continue the green belt along Ten Mile Road that the City might not otherwise have, if it werenít the same developers.
Member Capello stated that was the comment that he made: the City got the additional green belt on Ten Mile that the City wanted and there was no curb cut.
Ms. McBeth stated that was correct.
Member Paul asked for clarification. She was when she asked Ms. McBeth what the total maximum units they could go to, you said 22. The RA was 8, and now with Member Capello she was saying 8 more additional units; that was 16. She wanted to know how it went from 22 to 16.
Ms. McBeth answered that it got complicated because Council was looking at what would have been allowed in the entire development. The entire development previous to this 10 acres would have been 876 units; the additional 10 acres allowed an additional 8, for 884; however, it looked like they had 786.
Member Paul stated that she understood that but for that 10-acre parcel, it was zoned RA and 8 houses were permitted; she wanted to know how many units could be put on that 10-acre parcel.
Ms. McBeth answered that again, it was part of an overall RUD plan. She said they were allowed to shift the location of the units around somewhat; they had given the Commission plans previously and with this plan, showing a range of units in each phase. So they were allowed to shift them around, they were supposed to provide a certain number that met the RA standards and the rest of them might diminish in size; so they were allowed to shift those around. She said they looked for approval of the Planning Commission and of City Council for an amendment to the RUD plan.
Member Paul stated that she still was not clear because 16 and 22 were different, so the could actually have 16 units on that 10-acre parcel or 22 because of the RUD.
Ms. McBeth answered that if included with the whole RUD plan, they would be allowed to look for areas where they could include the additional units. She thought they were proposing to include the additional units on this piece of property.
Member Paul stated that 22 could actually be permitted. Thank you.
Mayor Csordas stated that clearly what that was doing was reducing the overall density to the project by 90, when it was all said and done and that there was no additional curb cut on Ten Mile. There was a significant increase in the tax base to the City with very low service requirements because we all knew that residential units were the least use of City services, and the Planning Commission approved it unanimously. All of our departments and consultants approved it, which was why he would support it.
Member Nagy asked where the agreement was in writing.
Mr. Boshaw answered that the green belt in what was seen here was almost exactly what she had seen at the Planning Commission as far as the distance from Ten Mile to the cul-de-sac; he believed the cul-de-sac length was similar, if not exact, as well. He stated that the neighboring community of Island Lake of Novi had the same size lots; the original plan she had seen at the Planning Commission had a larger or wider lot; what they had tried to do was keep the same layout and mirror imaged the density that was happening in the section that was already approved under the Island Lake RUD.
Member Nagy asked Mr. Boshaw if he bought the property from Mr. Stauch.
Mr. Boshaw answered yes.
Member Nagy stated that when that came before the Planning Commission, there was a definite number of homes that would have gone in there because it was separate from his development, which was 15, max 16. Then Mr. Stauch had agreed to put in all this open space. She wanted a direct answer as to how many units he intended to put on there.
Mr. Boshaw answered 22; that was on the site plan right now, based on the green belt on the map.
Mr. Fisher wanted to answer Member Nagyís question as to where it was in writing. He said essentially this was really a conceptual approval, then the map and agreement amendment would have to be prepared and brought back to Council for approval. He said that was where it would be in writing.
CM-04-10-378 Moved by Capello, seconded by Gatt; MOTION CARRIED: To approve the request from Toll Brothers Development to amend the Island Lake Residential Unit Development (RUD) Agreement, Site Plan 04-38, for the fifth amendment to the original agreement. This amendment would allow for the addition of 10 acres of land to the overall development, while maintaining the original density.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-10-378 Yeas: Gatt, Csordas, Landry,
Nays: Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul
4. Approval of the request of Shannon Development to rezone the subject property located in Section 10 on the north side of Twelve Mile Road, between Novi and Dixon Roads, from RA (Residential Acreage) to OS-1 (Office Service). The subject property is approximately 1.343 acres.
CM-04-10-379 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Gatt; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the request of Shannon Development to rezone the subject property located in Section 10 on the north side of Twelve Mile Road, between Novi and Dixon Roads, from RA (Residential Acreage) to OS-1 (Office Service). The subject property is approximately 1.343 acres, in conformance with the current draft of the Master Plan.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-10-379 Yeas: Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul,
Csordas, Landry, Capello, Gatt
Bill Hampton stated he was a senior partner in the Secrest law firm and appeared here tonight on Item Number Five. He wanted to indicate briefly that on behalf of their firm they were very privileged to have represented the City of Novi over the past several years; they had presented a contract for Councilís approval this evening. He also wanted to thank the consultant review committee who had the thankless task of reviewing dozens of proposals; they were appreciative of their recommendation and he was here to answer questions that Council might have during the course of deliberations.
Caren Collins, Executive Director of Southwestern Oakland Cable Commission, and said she would be available later on when the multijurisdictional agreement. She wanted to bring to Councilís attention an armload of awards that the SWOCC studio staff had earned on behalf of the City of Novi. Ms. Collins stated that the staff had been producing professional programming on behalf of Novi and won awards in three different programs: national Natoa Awards, national Home Town Access awards and regional awards.
Jeff Nercesian stated he was there on behalf of the Haverhill Homeowners Association regarding Item Number Seven to answer any questions. He wanted to reiterate, as stated in the brief history, that this was a process that fell into their laps due to inactivity from seven years ago. He noted that Council also had another street acceptance being presented by the developer, as those things were supposed to be done. He stated the homeowners of Haverhill had this dumped in their laps by virtue of the developer not completing its tasks and, essentially, the Cityís allowing it to walk away from the process.
Pauline Navoy wanted to address Council to commend Novi high school seniors. Ms. Navoy had the opportunity to tape a POW/MIA recognition ceremony in Novi Cemetery where there were 30-40 seniors who represented an MIA; she was impressed that they took time out of their day, stayed through the whole ceremony, and helped with equipment.
Jim Korte, Shawood Lake, stated that there was a memo sent to Council on the 13th which had to do with his complaints of illegal vehicles on the properties across from him which were still illegal. The memo stated that Mr. Korte had been treated with the utmost dignity, respect and professionalism; he never said he wasnít, so whoever wrote this letter, Ms. Uglow, had been told something that he didnít say. He never said he wasnít treated nicely; he said selective enforcement. He was going through the memo to tell Council what was wrong with it. The vehicle, his vehicle, was on public property; it was his property. He stated that City employees should know what was public and private; he stated that Council was being told that the employees went on public property to look at his vehicle; that was his property, not public property. He said that he had a vehicle that had been ticketed that he proved in court that was legal. He noted that he had to leave court early because of his motherís illness; he left at 12:00 because he told everyone at court that he had a problem because of his motherís care arrangements. He said he would expect some respect. He stated that it was unacceptable to bring his dead mother into the memo. Mr. Korte noted that a warrant was issued for his arrest; the judge did apologize for the arrest, not for the ticketing. The memo stated that there was no apology from the judge, but there was an apology for the court mistake, not for the issue that was dismissed that brought him to the court. He wanted to let Council know that the memos were a joke.
Paul Sherbeck, Simmons Orchard, stated that during a September Council meeting he had expressed a concern that the City government had cut down several hundred ash trees on private property and had yet to remove the vast majority of the stumps. He stated that when he purchased his property in 1986, he and the original homeowners paid for the infrastructure in Simmons Orchard No. II. The infrastructure included the land between the sidewalk and the curb, including any trees. It was this land between the sidewalk and the curb where the City had cut down a tree on his property without his permission. He stated that it was his tree on his land, regardless of any kind of easement that the City might claim. He believed the City had at least a moral obligation to remove the stumps to restore his property, if not a legal one. He said it was clear that the City had the financial resources to contract out the work, having a reserve of well over the 10-12 percent figure that the City wished to have. Until the City deemed it convenient to remove the stump in front of his house and other peopleís houses, he had a legal concern that was expressed in September and was not answered. The stumps created a hazardous condition which expose the abutting property owners to potential liability; he wanted to know if the City would agree to indemnify him if he got sued.
Mayor Csordas responded that Robertís Rules do not allow Council to respond to anyone at Audience Participation; however, he could contact City administration.
Mr. Sherbeck stated that he received a form letter saying the stumps wouldnít be cut down for a long time; he thought in September the Mayor had asked Council to get him a response.
Mr. Klaver answered that the City did send a letter indicating that the City was not scheduled to do those trees, largely because there were 800 ahead; the City was taking in chronological order of when they were cut down.
Mr. Sherbeck stated that the City could rent a stump grinder; he said the City had the money to remove the stumps immediately if the City chose to. He said he still wanted an answer as to whether the City would indemnify him if he got sued.
Mayor Csordas asked Mr. Fisher to research that.
Mr. Fisher answered that he was quite sure that the City would not indemnify a property owner; on the other hand, they had researched the issue of the liability and had provided a letter to the City.
Mr. Klaver stated that the City would provide a copy of the letter to Mr. Sherbeck.
Mayor Csordas recessed the meeting at 8:44 p.m.
Mayor Csordas called the meeting back to order at 9:00 p.m.
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION Ė PART II
5. Consideration of recommendation from Consultant Review Committee (2-1 vote) to award a Three-Year Contract Agreement with Secrest, Wardle, Lynch, Hampton, Truex and Morley, P.C. to serve as City Attorney.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry stated that he was on the Consultant Review Committee and the recommendation of the Committee was to enter a three-year contract with Secrest, Wardle for legal services for the City; he was in support of that.
CM-04-10-380 Moved by Landry, seconded by Capello; MOTION CARRIED: To award a Three-Year Contract Agreement with Secrest, Wardle, Lynch, Hampton, Truex and Morley, P.C. to serve as City Attorney.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry stated that when Secrest, Wardle came in to the City of Novi, the Cityís legal services were in a mess, quite frankly. There had been litigation pending for many years; they cleaned it up. They resolved Sandstone, the largest single verdict against any municipality in the history of the City; they resolved the 19-year old Paragon saga; they dealt with the 12-mile gap issue. He said they had basically dealt with every single issue that had come before the City of Novi and they have kept the City out of trouble. Mayor Pro Tem Landry said that in his opinion they had done a wonderful job. Now, the Cityís going out to bid, which was the Cityís preference, the Cityís process, which was fine. New law firms would come and make presentations, which they should do. Any new law firm or any consultant who came to the City would make promises that it could handle the work of the City; thatís perfectly normal. The difference here was that the City didnít have to guess whether a law firm could or could not handle the volume of work; the City knew that Secrest, Wardle could handle the work because they were doing it. He asked why the City would want to change. He said that the City had been with Secrest, Wardle for about three and one-half years; he said any consultant would experience a learning curve and everybodyís not going to be pleased all the time; nobody could do that; thatís what a learning curve was all about. This law firm came in and pledged, had the resources to handle it, and they kept their pledge; the fees that they were proposing to charge were commensurate with the any other fees of the competitive law firms. He said that Mr. Fisher, who had handled the majority of the work often, with a lot of help from a lot of other people, had given up other clients to handle the City of Novi and had pledged to remain the point person; there were other individuals at the firm that were going to work, maybe have some increased responsibility for the City; they were people the City was working with right now. He said this law firm had a demonstrated an ability to go above and beyond the call of duty.
Member Paul stated that she was a member on Consultant Review also and, for the audience, the Committee reviewed 21 firms, selected three and interviewed those three. She said the two top firms were Secrest, Wardle and Beier, Howlett; both were extremely reputable firms and had good reputations in the state. She looked at it from a big interest because it was something that Council had to look at as a business decision, and she looked at it from a cost perspective. Member Paul said there was a cost difference; the Committee had two good firms and one had an edge, Beier, Howlett. She was the dissenting vote on Consultant Review saying she would not be awarding the bid to Secrest Wardle, and she wanted to share some of her reasons.
Member Paul said when she was on Planning Commission for two and one-half years, there were two different lawyers that served them, both Jerry Fisher and Tom Schultz. Both men came to the meetings; they had lots of information that they shared at those meetings; sometimes it was difficult to understand the information and all of their information they shared was how the City made sound decisions so that it wonít get into another Sandstone litigation or a Paragon property. Some examples of that: Beck Corporate Park North. She said there was a loophole in the ordinance and the City had a developer that came before it and showed a site plan of all the different buildings that could be put on that site. Unfortunately, they didnít have to give the City the site plan, because they could put in sewer lines and there were some problems with the site plan being reviewed. She said they didnít have to follow the ordinances because of this loophole, and she was very disappointed. She said the City had residential that abutted the property and the residents were very upset. In saying that, Member Paul brought the information to the lawyer and stated that she was upset that there was a loophole that could exist and asked that it be looked into. When she got on City Council that was actually one thing that Council accomplished as a group; she felt it was necessary, but when she saw a loophole, she didnít want to be the person responsible for bringing it forward. She expected that when there was a legal concern it would be brought forward by the Cityís lawyers.
Member Paul stated that an RUD was something that was a Residential Urban Development, Council discussed that tonight with Island Lakes, it was also several other parts of our community: Maybury Park Estates was one example. She said the lawyer brought the site plan to Planning Commission; the Commission was told by its lawyer at that time that it would be reviewed again. She said they were just passing the general conception over to City Council. She stated that this was a process that previous City Councils had supported and that was how it was written in the ordinance. Unfortunately, that agreement was extremely explicit and that site plan really didnít have to go back to Planning Commission, so it couldnít analyze every single site plan issue. They came back to Planning Commission and the lawyer representing Maybury Park Estates said it was basically a rubberstamp, he just had to be there because they stated he had to be there. He stated he really didnít have to do anything that Planning Commission said because City Council already approved it; so, unfortunately, the information was not completely accurate.
Member Paul said that another issue was the conservation easement that was at the Preserves, which was in our core reserve. Also, it abutted the Singh property called Quail Hollow. The Planning Commission asked explicitly if a conservation easement could be part of this agreement; the developer stated that it would be in agreement to have a conservation easement attached to this site and were willing to give up that land and made that clear. She said that in history, conservation easement was something that we had required in motions and we have a preservation ordinance on our books. Our lawyer at the time stated that we didnít have to make the conservation easement as part of the motion and it would be in favor that the City was actually going to get the land; she was happy about that but really wanted that to be part of the motion; that was why she clarified the minutes earlier tonight. She was told if it was not part of the motion, it doesnít really happen. She said that happened with Toll Brothers when the City asked them to put in the sidewalk on the east side of Wixom Road between Delmont and the Middle School; it was not put as part of the motion, so it didnít have to happen, even though it was part of the minutes.
Member Paul stated that she had a big interest in public safety, and there was an evaluation from our Fire Chief and our Police Chief saying that sometimes the response back to them was less than desirable. She stated that was where Secrest, Wardle had the worst part of its evaluation. When Grand Court had the Fire Marshal, as a concern, saying that there were 21 residents that were immobile that couldnít get out if there was a fire; that only 6 were allowed in the agreement; that was in September of 2000. A letter came back after the City had an evaluation with Secrest in August, 2004, and if there was a fire there were no sprinklers because they were built before codes were required to have a sprinkling system; it would be deplorable if something happened to 21 residents if they couldnít get out. Member Paul stated that that information was given by an ex-employee to start that communication.
Member Paul said that bordering communities for Secrest, Wardle was a concern by our Mayor. When he brought that up in Consultant Review with several other firms, our traffic consultant and our legal consultant, the Committee was concerned about bordering communities, and it was also brought up with our engineer. She said that when the engineer process went through, one of the biggest concerns was Quail Ridge in Northville; Mayor Csordas had communicated to her that he felt that Novi had the raw end of the stick because the engineering firm was working for Northville, so the City didnít get the best representation in that instance. The Mayor brought that forward to say that neighboring communities sometimes had conflicts; one of the conflicts he saw was when the City bordered communities, it could be an issue. She said that Secrest currently represented Farmington, Farmington Hills, Walled Lake; those were three on our borders. She said that Beier Howlett served no other communities on Noviís borders.
Member Paul stated that in the tax assessing office there were some things that were in court appeals which could possibly be $100,000,000 in jeopardy; that was a concern to her. She knew that Laura Holleran was the Beier Howlett legal representation and she was considered number one in the state. From that perspective, Member Paul did not want to lose that tax for our City and our residents and hoped that the City could have really good representation. The Committee received a letter from Glenn Lemmon, City Tax Assessor, who said that both were good attorneys; he said thought that Secrest had a good attorney in that regard, as well as Beier Howlett. Member Paul stated that she was looking for the one that was number one in the state. Member Paul stated that she looked at the amount of money that the City could save and the amount of effort that was put forward at different meetings that she attended and the preparedness at the table at times. She appreciated what Secrest did with Sandstone and appreciated Secrest solving Paragon and really appreciated Mr. Fisherís serving the City. She said that Mr. Fisher was no longer going to be the Cityís legal counsel but kind of the punter, coming into the game, punting and then giving it to the other lawyers in his firm. That was why she wanted to clarify her point of view saying that Beier Howlett would be an excellent firm for the City to hire from a financial perspective, from the years of experience the lawyers had that would be serving the City.
Member Capello stated that he understood Mr. Fisherís role to be a mentor to help identify the problems the City had, decide who in his firm to direct the problems to and oversee and supervise what they were doing. He said that when he heard Mr. Fisher was leaving, he was concerned but when he realized he was going to stay involved in that capacity and that Mr. Schultz was going to move up and Mr. Gillam would move to Mr. Schultzís position, it gave him a greater comfort level. He agreed with Mayor Pro Tem Landry that the City had someone in place that Council knew could handle the job and knew could dedicate the resources. He said Tom had been the Cityís attorney at the Planning Commission level and ZBA; Dave Gillam was a resident of the City and represented Royal Oak and Lyon Township. Member Capello thought it was a perfect fit; he just wanted to get a commitment that Mr. Fisher would still be the quarterback, not the punter.
Mr. Fisher answered that he would delegate things at the office and be there for oversight, for strategizing and mentoring, as Member Capello had indicated. He said if it was a critical issue, a Sandstone-type issue and so forth, he would be there.
Member Nagy said that she was a little disappointed in the sense that, for the benefit of not only Members of Council that were not members of the Consultant Review but as well as the audience, she would have liked to have seen both law firms here to have the ability to ask individual questions. After having read through all the qualifications of both firms and having been on the Planning Commission, she had experience with the attorneys on the Planning Commission and with City Council with Mr. Fisher, as well as on Planning Commission and discussions with Mr. Fisher regarding some of the things that the Planning Commission saw as some problems. She stated that the people who came in to substitute when Mr. Fisher or Mr. Schultz werenít there did not provide any aid to the Planning Commission.
Member Nagy also read the qualifications of both law firms and also called both municipalities that both firms worked in, and for her it came down to a question of finances. She didnít think that saving the City some money was wrong; she said that Beier Howlett was cheaper and, in a lot of cases, cheaper in the long run. She said that she had had some concerns all along, the first one being the consent judgment. She felt one process not being handled well was with judgments; it seemed like the City Attorney mainly communicated with the City Manager. She felt the middle step that was missing was Council. Our City attorneys talked to the City Manager, went into court, made agreements and then brought them back to Council, where Council more or less had to approve them. She also did not like the way Catholic Central was handled with regard to the woodland ordinance. Basically, it wasnít about what she liked or didnít like, but it was one of economics. She always looked at saving the City money; she thought the City could probably save over $20,000 a year if it went with Beier Howlett. She said it would be nice to know each firmís win/loss ratio, but again Council couldnít ask any questions. She hated to see Mr. Fisher leave; she was not comfortable with the "mentoring" role. She would not be supporting the motion.
Member Lorenzo stated that the City of Novi was very fortunate to have 21 fine law firms that wanted to work for the City; it said something very positive about the City. She appreciated the job of the Consultant Review Committee; the Committee chose the top two law firms she would have chosen. She looked at this as a business decision, not personal; when she compared the two law firms side-by-side in their proposals, the first thing she noticed was that both firms were very well qualified. Member Lorenzo stated that when she got to the specific teams that had been proposed, she concluded that Beier Howlettís team seemed to have more municipal experience particularly in upscale communities. Additionally, she had concerns with the costs; attorneys may charge $5-10 more, which added up over billable hours. Using Secrestís billable hours for comparison, the City would realize a cost savings just for associates of at least $10,000-$12,000 a year; looking at the rates for senior partners using Secrestís billable hours, the City would save between $9,000-$12,000 a year, which brought the savings to $20,000-$22,000 a year for the City. From that standpoint, the firm of Beier Howlett was more cost effective and more fiscally prudent for the City.
Member Lorenzo had also expressed concerns over the past four years with regard to what she believed to be excessive billable hours; she attributed that to not working as efficiently as they could. One example was the recently approved and established Park Foundation; it was a period of over five months that it took to complete the task and it took 26 and one-half hours at an almost $1,800 cost to the City. As she understood it, the attorneys were given basically boilerplate language from another community because, as one would expect, park foundations could be found in other communities and the City wasnít reinventing the wheel; she was concerned with the number of hours it seemed to take and the ultimate cost to the City.
Member Lorenzo broke it down into three areas: costs, experience and performance. She stated that she had had concerns over the past four years in the performance area. She wanted to address Sandstone; Secrest Wardle brought a fresh approach, new perspective that the City and City Council needed and a lot of effort and time and was instrumental in resolving this issue. However, she thought that the matter that settled Sandstone was the fact that the City Council was willing to give in to nearly all of the demands that Sandstone put forward; that was a source of her frustration. In the course of Sandstone she had concerns with issues of performance; some had been public. It appeared that Secrest Wardle was not aware and did not adequately research the federal funding issues regarding the five-acre parcel; if she recalled correctly, it was the Friends of the Parks that actually provided that information to the City of Novi. That was a very awkward time for the City of Novi that the City had a volunteer group present the information. The legal counsel did not prevail in the lawsuit filed by Friends of Parks regarding the Cityís ability to trade the Sandstone land because it was designated park land on the Cityís Master Plan. In fact, the judge ruled with the Friends of the Parks and the City Planning Commission was in the position to have to change the Master Plan in order for the City to go through with the trade. Perhaps if it had been further researched, the City would not have had to go to court to find out that the City needed to take the extra step. Additionally with Sandstone, she was concerned that Council was not receiving important information as it became available; in fact, the City Manager and the Mayor were many times privy to information that the Council received weeks later. She repeatedly requested that Council receive all of the information at the same time.
Member Lorenzo agreed with another member about Catholic Central and felt that since the attorney from the other side mentioned to the City Attorney that they were possibly contemplating a woodlands ordinance amendment that that information should have been brought forward to the Planning Commission at the time; she felt it was pertinent information that wasnít brought forward in a timely manner.
Member Lorenzo stated that Secrest Wardle helped tremendously with the 19-year old Paragon case, but she wanted to get on the record some of the process by which the settlement occurred. She said there was a legal opinion sent to the Planning Commission with a copy to the Council; after reading that legal opinion, she was concerned that Secrest Wardle as a previous member was basically missing the step of coming to the Council first to ask the direction the Council wished to take this case. She felt that the legal counsel was perhaps steering the Planning Commission in one way before the Council was able to deliberate on where the Council wished to take this case. She had requested a legal analysis of the attorney, which then came forward; it was a very good legal analysis. At the time she also initiated an Executive Session request, which Council did; it was at that point that the Council began to discuss the possible settling of Paragon. What she was sharing was her concern that the step in the middle was missing in coming to Council; that analysis should have been brought forward to Council without a request from any Council Member and an Executive Session should have been initiated by Secrest Wardle.
Member Lorenzo also shared a concern with the previous speaker with the Grand Court issue; it appeared that between the year 2000 and 2004 this fire safety issue fell through the cracks. That was an unacceptable situation for the City. With regard to Old Dutch Farms settlement, Council may recall that the original settlement agreement brought before the Council did not provide for the Cityís ability to address no sewer violation issues; in fact, it was the homeowner representative that brought that to the Cityís attention. She said the City Attorney did rectify that by the next meeting, but the point was that Council was brought a settlement that did not include all of the ramifications for the homeowners.
Member Lorenzo felt that there was a serious lack of communication to Council about budget information. She said there was a legal memo relevant to the important budget issues being discussed that was not provided to Council until she requested a copy of it way after the fact, months after the budget had been approved; nor was this relevant information verbally provided to Council on or before Councilís May 17 crucial meeting. She did not agree with the attorneyís explanation that the memo was internal; she thought when the City and taxpayers spent $700 and six or seven hours on a work product, that work product should be delivered to the City as soon as it became available. Member Lorenzo said that much of the drama surrounding the entire budget discussion could have been laid to rest had this important memo been distributed to Council on or before May 17th.
Member Lorenzo stated with the Hooters application, legal counsel for the evening did not advise the Council at the meeting when the motion to approve failed that Council should make a formal motion to deny with specific reasons; in fact, Council had to reconsider the matter and come back at a subsequent meeting to do so. Also, more recently, she received a phone call from a Novi resident who had a ticket issued for tree trimming for what was a joint tree between a neighbor and their property and felt that the attorney from Secrest handling the case had handled it overzealously. Basically, the homeowner felt it was a waste of taxpayer dollars for a frivolous case, particularly since the case was dismissed and did not appreciate that the attorney pursued the matter so zealously. She stated those were basically the concerns she had with regard to performance.
Member Lorenzo stated that the three areas that she looked at were costs, the results being at minimum $20,000 higher each year than Beier Howlett. She also did a cost analysis over the four years, every single year Secrest had exceeded the line item budget for City Attorney, to the tune of over $500,000 in four years; that was significant and, in her opinion, due to inefficient use of time perhaps. No doubt the City had a lot of legal work and that added up; she expressed these concerns for the four years that the firm had been working for the City and had come to the same conclusion four years in a row.
Member Lorenzo asked Ms. Smith-Roy with regard to the budget, City Council allocated what it believed to be six months for the City Attorney and asked for her projection as to whether the money would last six months or whether it would require a budget amendment because they had exceeded that figure.
Ms. Smith-Roy answered that based on the two months that had been submitted and the past history, the billing would probably take Council through November or December; however, because certain months went up or down, she couldnít project exactly. It was possible it may need a budget amendment but she couldnít tell definitively at this time.
Member Lorenzo asked Ms. Smith-Roy if she would be concerned that they might not make it through.
Ms. Smith-Roy answered not having only two out of six months, she would not be concerned.
Member Lorenzo asked if Ms. Smith-Roy anticipated a budget amendment.
Ms. Smith-Roy answered that it was possible, based on past history.
Member Lorenzo asked Ms. Smith-Roy to explain what the charter said about contracts in the City and adequate funding available for them.
Ms. Smith-Roy answered that section 12.1 of the Charter stated that there were to be sufficient funds appropriated in order to approve a contract. She said at this point, there were still funds available in the legal services and, therefore, a contract could be passed at this time.
Member Lorenzo asked what would happen beyond the six months allocated.
Ms. Smith-Roy answered that if the Council tonight approved the contract with four votes, then without a related appropriation requiring five votes, then pursuant to section 12.2 of the Charter and page six of the contract that was in the packet, the Finance Department would send out a letter on the October 21st stating that the 60-day period would begin and that if City Council did not appropriate funds by the December 20th meeting, the contract would become void.
Member Lorenzo stated that there were four votes needed for the contract tonight but if there were not five votes for an appropriation for this firm, then really the contract was null and void and the action would basically be null and void.
Ms. Smith-Roy answered that the contract would become void based upon the 60 days expiring and no action being taken by City Council.
Member Lorenzo stated that the way she saw it was that the contract was integral with an appropriation. She believed that was the way it should be. She said that she didnít think any firm would accept a contract if there wasnít sufficient funds. She asked Mr. Hampton if he would accept a contract without sufficient funding.
Mr. Hampton said they were desirous of entering into contract with the City; it was his understanding that the funds were available at the present time; he couldnít predict what might happen in the future.
Member Lorenzo asked Mr. Hampton if the contract was approved tonight but a budget amendment was not, after those funds were depleted, Ms. Smith-Roy had indicated that she would have to send your firm a letter saying that the contract was null and void.
Mr. Hampton answered that he couldnít speak as to her role vis-ŗ-vis the Council; he assumed the Council would have a decision in that process as to whether, if needed, it would take up the issue of a budget amendment. He did not perceive that just because there was a possibility of funds not being available that we would not move forward with our contract. In fact, in their proposed contract, they had a 60-day termination provision which he thought worked to the benefit of both parties.
Member Lorenzo wanted to make sure that he was comfortable with any decision that Council might contemplate.
Mr. Hampton stated that he was.
Member Lorenzo asked Mr. Fisher if he would advise the Council, in this position, having heard what Ms. Smith-Roy said.
Mayor Csordas interjected that he didnít know, respectfully, if that was a fair question to ask.
Member Lorenzo stated that Council didnít have legal counsel representation on contract.
Mayor Csordas answered that was right; Council would have to work through that, he believed.
Member Lorenzo said that the question she was going to ask was whether Councilís legal counsel would advise the City Council to approve a contract that might not be funded.
Mr. Fisher answered that he could not take a position on the other side of a contract that he was on.
Member Lorenzo said that Council was in a difficult position tonight. Based on the business decision that she thought was best for the City of Novi, the most cost effective, the most fiscally prudent business decision, given all the information that Council had, she would not support the contract; she would also not support a budget amendment because a budget amendment went with the contract.
Member Gatt wanted to thank the Consultant Review Committee; it must have been a difficult task weeding through 20-some firms to come up with two of probably the best. He thought hit was very obvious after listening to six people talk that most people up here saw things through different glasses; he saw things a little differently than his friend and previous speaker. He said instead of costing the City an extra $20,000, he saw Secrest Wardle as a firm that saved the City of Novi from bankruptcy during the Sandstone litigation. He wasnít on Council then, but he was a member of the employees; he said there was talk around the water cooler of what they were going to do if the City went broke. He said he was sure that it was a collective effort by the lawyers and City administration and Council, but the lawyers led the way. For that, he thought every member of this community should be grateful. He said he wasnít on Planning Commission but he was on the ZBA; Mr. Tom Schultz was the lawyer for the ZBA for a year of his tenure there and he had nothing but praise for Mr. Schultz. He said Mr. Gillam, as pointed out, was a member of the community but more so he was a prosecutor for Mr. Cooperís firm for years and he had contact with Mr. Gillam on a very regular basis and he never once steered him in the wrong direction. Member Gatt said that Mr. Fisher was by far one of the nicest, friendliest and most astute lawyers he had ever been around; and heíd been working with lawyers for 30 years now. He said he would support the motion; he thought the citizens of Novi were very well served by this firm and he hoped would continue to be in the future.
Mayor Csordas said earlier that Council was fortunate to have 21 firms apply; to give an example of what an improvement it was, last time the City went out to bid it had four firms that desired to do business with the City of Novi. He said the last three that made the cut were all highly qualified and he was confident that the recommendation to Council was very well thought out. He stated that he was on the record saying that he wanted to work with vendors that didnít touch Noviís borders. Ayres Lewis at that time was not with the City of Novi but with Northville Township and that was why he didnít support that one. He agreed with all of the things that Mayor Pro Tem Landry said. There were a couple of things that came out in the process; the lead attorney that Beier Howlett recommended for the City of Novi also was the attorney for the City of Rochester Hills, another successful and growing community which he couldnít logically see handling both cities. He wanted people to remember that Novi lost the Sandstone lawsuit and were accruing $17,000 a day in that loss; he remembered that he was astounded when he was elected to Council that there was nothing going on. The law firm of Secrest Wardle came on and things started rolling; the City was fighting for its life as far as bankruptcy and raising taxes; it was potential disaster. He said the City did give in on a lot of things; the City had to give in because it was losing every step of the way. As far as the fee schedule, he said it was easy to bid against a published fee schedule. Also, as far as the lead attorneys, the majority of the work would be performed by Tom Schultz and Dave Gillam who were at the same $125 rate. The high fees of $135 would apply to Mr. Fisher and to Mr. Hampton, so a majority of the work would be done by people at the same fee level.
Mayor Csordas stated that in his 25 years of management experience at the senior level, he had never dismissed a vendor for doing meritorious work, ever. He said he didnít intend to do that now; he was very satisfied with the work that this law firm had done. He agreed with previous speakers today, it was strictly a business decision. He highly commended that law firm because they had done what he wanted from day one, that was, they told Council what it needed to know, not what they thought it wanted to hear.
Mayor Csordas said that there was previous discussion about Old Dutch Farms; yes, the agreement had to be changed but Council needed to be reminded that per the residents the prior focus was sewage. Nobody was paying attention to sewage other than that until they came to that meeting and it was brought up and changes made at the next meeting. He asked Mr. Klaver who argued the Paragon case.
Mr. Klaver answered that Mr. Fisher represented Secrest Wardle.
Mayor Csordas stated that City Manager Helwig sat in on the Consultant Review Committee along with Mr. Klaver, and in the final meeting, Council asked Mr. Helwig what he thought about the two law firms; without quoting verbatim he said he was very comfortable with Secrest Wardle and that had a lot of impact on his decision. His recommendation would be for Secrest Wardle.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-10-380 Yeas: Csordas, Landry,
Nays: Nagy, Paul, Lorenzo
6. Acceptance of streets and utilities in Island Lake of Novi Condominiums Ė Phase 2A (The Vineyards) from Toll MI II Limited Partnership and adoption of Act 51 New Street Resolution for Island Lake Drive, Glenwood Drive, Crestwood Drive, Anchorage Court, Leyland Circle, and Timber Trail.
CM-04-10-381 Moved by Capello, seconded by Landry: To Approve Acceptance of streets and utilities in Island Lake of Novi Condominiums Ė Phase 2A (The Vineyards) from Toll MI II Limited Partnership and adoption of Act 51 New Street Resolution for Island Lake Drive, Glenwood Drive, Crestwood Drive, Anchorage Court, Leyland Circle, and Timber Trail.
Member Lorenzo asked Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk, to put at Councilís desk a legal opinion from Secrest with regard to this. She said the most pertinent information to remind Council members that in the RUD agreement it said, "It is understood and agreed by the parties that the City is not obligated to accept streets which may be dedicated by Harvest Lake and may within its sole discretion decline to accept to any of the same. Nothing in this agreement or in the area plan in Harvest RUD application shall be interpreted as imposing such an obligation and this provision has not been altered by later amendments made to the RUD agreement." She said the City had no obligation to accept these streets.
Member Lorenzo said that, much like the Haverhill situation when it previously was before Council, she didnít see anything in the documentation in the packet that told the condition of the streets that the City was being asked to accept. She said she didnít know if this was part of the PASER Program or if anybody had gone out there, but Council didnít have a report. She said that she was concerned that, although Council did have a letter from Mr. McCusker that he intended to accept these streets and didnít anticipate that adding the streets would deviate from achieving the 20-hour policy for City-wide snow and ice removal, Council didnít know that. She looked at the Island Lake development as a city within a city; she didnít know why many miles of roads it had, but it was several. Not only from a snow plowing aspect but the concern she had was that somewhere down the line, just like our neighborhood street reprogram this year, those streets were going to have to be replaced. She didnít know whether the City would have the tax dollars or that it would be fair to the taxpayers to spend those tax dollars on a development that the City had the option of not accepting the streets. She said that at the very least, she felt it should be postponed so that Council had specific information, particularly on the condition of the roads. She had a great concern that Mr. McCuskerís department might be taking on a burden that was going to impact the entire City in terms of snow plowing, maintenance, and particularly when the City got to repaving the streets. She stated that there were a lot of wetlands in that development; she thought the City should also learn what the soil conditions were because the City had been through the experiences now where many subdivisions, such as Westmont and others, where because of poor soil, the high water table, and the wetlands, there was premature deterioration of the streets. Member Lorenzo knew that in Westmont Village, which was only six to eight years old, the City had to replace streets that should have lasted 15-20 years. For those reasons, Member Lorenzo wanted to make a motion to postpone to get additional information on the condition of the roads. She thought City Council should seriously contemplate not accepting the roads at this point in time until at least through the winter period because the City had accepted new streets in other subdivisions and responsibilities of Twelve Mile Road; the City didnít know what the impact would be on the DPW as to whether it would be able to service all of the Cityís subdivisions within that 20 or 24 hour time period with the burden of these additional streets.
CM-04-10-382 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Nagy; MOTION CARRIED: To postpone to the next regular meeting on November 8, 2004, acceptance of streets and utilities in Island Lake of Novi Condominiums Ė Phase 2A (The Vineyards) from Toll MI II Limited Partnership and adoption of Act 51 New Street Resolution for Island Lake Drive, Glenwood Drive, Crestwood Drive, Anchorage Court, Leyland Circle, and Timber Trail.
Mayor Csordas stated that in the history of the cover letter for the item here, it says all documents related to and necessary for acceptance of the infrastructure and streets within the subdivision had been received and reviewed or informed so as to permit acceptance by Council.
Mr. Coburn, Engineering Department, stated that there was a letter from JCK to Sarah Marchioni from the Building Department that stated all site work for that phase was complete and that the financial guarantees should be reduced to $0. In a memo to the City from John Aitken of JCK it was stated that all punchlist items were completed.
Member Lorenzo wanted someone to go out there to check the conditions of the streets.
Mr. Coburn said that John Aitken with JCK, who acted on the Cityís behalf as its inspector, stated all the punchlist items were completed in his final walk through in September 2004.
Member Lorenzo stated that with all due respect to Mr. Aitken and JCK, she wanted something specifically telling the City what the conditions of those roads were. She said that was a huge undertaking that Council may be approving or contemplating this evening. Sheís looking for information like Council had before it from Haverhill Farms; what did PASER tell the City; what the were the exact conditions of the roads. She really thought this whole process was premature and thought the City should be grateful that it wasnít in the position due to the RUD of having to accept those streets, that it had the option.
Mayor Csordas asked Ms. Cornelius the procedure because there was a motion on the floor and then a motion to postpone.
Ms. Cornelius answered that the discussion could continue on the motion to postpone and then take the roll call vote and continue if the motion failed.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked if the information in the Council packets was the same as it would receive in those situations where the City might be required to accept such if there was an RUD that said it was required to accept the City streets.
Mr. Coburn answered that this was typical of the information that Council would be given on any street acceptance.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked Mr. Coburn if he was telling him that the City was satisfied with the condition of those streets.
Mr. Coburn answered that the City relied on JCK, its paid consultant, to do the final inspection. Typically, the construction engineer would do the final walk through; however, that position was currently vacant, so the staff level wasnít there to do the walk through with JCK. This would be all the items that were on the punchlist when the construction engineer did the walk through originally; they have now been completed according to them.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry said that Member Lorenzo raised a worthwhile consideration; whether or not the acceptance of these streets would cause the City to deviate from its snow plowing time standards. He saw a memo in the packet that Mr. McCusker did not anticipate any problems plowing those streets.
Mr. McCusker answered that the new snow plow would add more assistance in doing that; that was part of the process of getting the new snow plow. The DPW didnít anticipate tacking all of Island Lake but did anticipate additional streets this year.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked Mr. McCusker if he thought DPW could achieve the under 20-hour policy for snow removal if the City Council were to accept those streets.
Mr. McCusker answered yes, that even with the two here tonight, it would only add a little over a mile in each but a couple are cul-de-sacs, so approximately two miles.
Member Capello asked if Mr. Schlick used to do the reviews of the punchlist on behalf of the City after JCK when he was here.
Mr. McCusker answered that usually Mr. Schlick would do the walk through with JCK on the final punchlist to make sure they were complete; sometimes other representatives of the City would do the walk throughs with them, too, depending on which staff was available at the time.
Member Capello asked if the City was just relying on JCKís inspection now.
Mr. McCusker answered yes.
Member Capello stated that Member Lorenzo asked the City to go out there and do another inspection to see if the roads were up to par; wouldnít the punchlist inspection and review of the punchlist work be that inspection that she was asking for.
Mr. McCusker answered that the punchlist was basically were the streets constructed under the standards of the City, and when they did a final review on them, did they meet the criteria under the engineering standards of the City.
Member Capello asked if they would be looking for cracked curbs, cracked sidewalks and damage to streets, those type of items.
Mr. McCusker said they would be looking for things that were unfinished or things that possibly failed during the first year or two in use. Usually, typically, it was about 24 months, it could as long as five years, six, eight years; you as Council Members had dealt with some older subdivisions. Typically, anything that might have failed, they would go back and with the punchlist bring them up to the standards that the City anticipated in the beginning.
Member Capello stated that if he understood the process so far, the City had gone out there through JCK to fix all of the items and then submit dedication to the City, correct? And they fixed all the items that the City asked them to fix?
Mr. McCusker answered yes. According to John Aitken, yes.
Member Capello stated according to John Aitkenís report; thatís what the City was replying upon now, right?
Mr. McCusker answered right.
Member Capello asked who had been plowing those streets for the last several years.
Mr. McCusker answered that they had been using a private entity to do it.
Member Capello said that his concern was in the past what the City had been doing with the developers was giving them a punchlist, they fixed it, the City gave them more items, they fixed it, the City sent them back again, the Council postponed accepting the Cityís, and then the City had a problem like Haverhill. He said Haverhill was on the agenda next. Council would take the same situation with Island Lake and create the problems that Mr. Pearson and Mr. Helwig had been working on for five years trying to fix and that Council was trying to fix with Haverhill tonight, and start the next process all over again. Weíve told them what they needed to do, theyíve done what they needed to do, now they were saying take the streets and the City was saying no, we want to inspect the street again. He didnít understand that logic. He said the City had residents out there who paid taxes, probably more taxes than a majority of the residents in the City because of the value of the homes in Island Lake, and for some reason now the Council was telling them the City didnít want to accept your streets yet. The City wanted you to maintain private streets and eventually if the City didnít accept them, youíre going to have to pay for the plowing of them. Then they would come to the City five years from now like Haverhill does and the City would have problems with maintenance of the road because the roads hadnít been maintained. Once the City took them over, they would be maintained like the City did for any other taxpayer in the City. He absolutely saw no reason to postpone accepting these streets; there was nothing at all in the documentation on his desk that would lead him to believe that there was any problem in those two miles of road.
Member Gatt respectfully disagreed with his colleague. He said as Council looked forward to the next one, he saw the streets specifically mentioned as being completed on their punchlist. He didnít see any harm in postponing this for one meeting; it wasnít going to snow in the next two weeks and if they could come back in the next two weeks and tell him specifically that the roads were acceptable, then he would vote for this in a minute.
Member Paul stated that Member Capello and she were on the Financial Guarantee Committee together, and one of the reasons why was there were so many times where the developer had not completed what the requirements were, the City accepted the roads by default or accepting the Act 51 money, and then the City accepted the roads by doing snow plow removal or doing some type of repair. She believed this Council this year issued $1.3-million to do road repair; that she didnít take lightly. The road bond money was going to end next year; the City had five years on that. She didnít want to accept the roads without a positive guarantee from our City. She wanted to know if someone on administration could tell her what was in the original agreement of the RUD. Were they intended to be public or private roads?
Mr. Fisher answered that in the opinion he wrote in August of 2003, it was contemplated that the dwelling units may be served by either public or private and that the City would retain discretion. That meant, of course, that if the property owner proposed that they be public and the Council decided not to take them, that discretion didnít mean that Council arbitrarily refused it, it meant that there was a rational reason for refusing.
Member Paul asked if there was no initial intention to be public roads.
Mr. Fisher stated that in the normal course where there was an option, it would be up to the property owner to propose public or private.
Member Paul asked if there was nothing specifically saying one way or another in the RUD?
Mr. Fisher answered that it didnít obligate the property owner to dedicate the roads, but if the property owner determined to dedicate them, then it would be up to the City Council to determine, in its discretion, as to whether to accept them.
Member Paul stated that she agreed with several of the different comments from both sides of the coin here; she agreed with Member Capello saying that these were taxpayers and that the City needed to take care of the roads if, in fact, they were deemed to be public roads from the beginning. She also agreed with the members saying what are two more weeks going to matter if we had one more inspection. She was really concerned since the City had put so much money out there for road repair this year and the last three years prior to it in neighborhood roads. The City had spent a great deal of money and it was very difficult to rip up a road that was 7-10 years old that was a concrete road that should be lasting 30-50 years and the City didnít even have 10 years under its belt. She said that happened all over the City; she didnít have a problem waiting two more weeks, but she really wanted the roads clarified in the RUD of which way it would go.
Member Nagy said that she had a different take on a lot of this. She like the fact that , as indicated by the City Attorney, that it was understood and agreed by the party that the City was not obligated to accept the streets. She said we had added, since the purchase of this gigantic snow plow, more miles. She asked Mr. McCusker how many was Island Lake?
Mr. McCusker answered 13.2 miles total.
Member Nagy said that the City had taken on more from Oakland County, the City had added Twelve Mile, a mile or two of Island Lakes; every year the City would be adding more; there was Quail Ridge coming in; the City had Paragon coming in and it still had land undeveloped. With all due respect, when Council talked about maintaining the roads for them as the City did for everyone else, she said they were not all maintained. When Mr. McCusker came on board, she could tell you that City roads were not maintained; not only not maintained, the swails and culverts were not even maintained. She said he had to play catch-up. Now, as far as she was concerned, the DPW again was overstretched because of one problem. She wanted to see everyone being equal but she couldnít see adding more and more to an already over-burdened department. The developments that had been here for years and paying taxes 20-30 years, their roads were not even completed, yet the City had taken on subdivisions that were 6-9 years old. Her biggest concern was how much more was the City adding to the already existing problems that it had and already overburdened department; how fair was that to the general populace?
Member Capello stated that if the City was going to pick and choose which residentsí roads the City would not maintain and plow, Council should start with the previous speaker to see how she would feel if the City didnít maintain and plow her residential roads. He asked Ms. Smith-Roy if the City required any type of maintenance bond or maintenance guarantee when accepting these roads.
Ms. Smith-Roy stated that under the new ordinance she believed the City did have a maintenance bond that was required.
Member Capello stated that they would have money posted to maintain the roads for a two-year period of time.
Mr. Fisher stated that it was in Council packets.
Mr. Coburn said there was a maintenance guarantee bond for two years in the amount of 25 percent of the construction cost of the road.
Member Capello stated that if there were any issues with the road having to do with their failure pursuant to the agreement and they donít repair it, the City had money to repair it.
Mr. Coburn answered that it was two years, then there was a reinspection to release it.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry thought this was a basic philosophical difference that people may have on the question of did you accept City streets or didnít you. He said from his standpoint, he analyzed this and thought, who were we? Weíre a city; why did a city exist? A city existed to provide services to the residents, for the health, safety and welfare of the residents. To him personally, the idea of a city maintaining its streets was pretty basic; it was what a city was supposed to do. So, the fact that people came before Council and asked it to please accept their streets, thatís not unusual and to be expected; that was why cityís existed. He said if deals were cut and someone said he wanted to build this and promised to maintain his own streets, thatís one thing. In this particular RUD the private developer said it wasnít required to ask the City but it might choose to ask the City. Theyíve chosen to ask the City; so now itís up to the City, we donít have to accept them but what I heard from the attorney was there had better be a good reason if the City wasnít going to accept them.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked if he understood correctly: If Council waited a week and had the City look at the streets and somebody came back and said repair needed to be done. On one hand, the City could say the roads wouldnít be accepted until the repair was done; then, the repair was done and the City didnít accept them. On the other hand, if the City didnít wait the two weeks and it was approved tonight and the City discovered within the next two years that there was something wrong, there was enough money there to repair them anyway.
Mr. Coburn stated that was correct.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked if the streets would be inspected within the next two years to make sure if there was anything wrong during the pendency of the bond, the City would require them to fix them.
Mr. Coburn answered that it was part of the ordinance.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry said he wouldnít support the motion to postpone; he didnít see any reason to do so under those circumstances.
Mayor Csordas stated that there was no doubt about it that development was going to continue in our City, residential and commercial; it was its responsibility to treat all residents and citizens equally. Other than gated communities or condos that were private roads and going to stay that way, the City had the obligation to accept the roads and give the residents what they paid for in their taxes, ad that for sure was maintaining those roads. In this letter on page two, there was very ominous statement that said "it may be problematic to reject a dedication which meets all city standards where other very similar dedications have been approved". He said that didnít sound good to him; he thought Council had better think about that. The City owed it to the residents of the City, and it definitely owed it to the residents that lived in the section talked about right now to maintain those roads and accept those roads; they didnít buy it as a private development, as a gated community or anything like that. He could not support the motion to postpone.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-10-382 Yeas: Paul, Gatt, Lorenzo,
Nays: Csordas, Landry,
7. Acceptance of streets and utilities in Haverhill Farms Condominiums 1 & 2 from the Homeowners Association and adoption of Act 51 New Street Resolution for Kingswood Boulevard, Kingsley, Paisley Circle, Kingsley Court, and Chatsford Street.
Member Lorenzo stated that her only concern and question was who was going to pay $74,000 to complete the punchlist items; that was how much the developer had, so it would be $74,000 less $14,400 perhaps. She said if the homeowners association was going to pay for the punchlist items, she had no problem with accepting the streets, but she didnít think it should be the taxpayers right now.
CM-04-10-383 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Landry; MOTION FAILED: To accept the streets and utilities in Haverhill Farms Condominiums 1 & 2 from the Homeowners Association and adoption of Act 51 New Street Resolution for Kingswood Boulevard, Kingsley, Paisley Circle, Kingsley Court, and Chatsford Street with the proviso that the homeowners association would be responsible for the cost of the punchlist items minus the $14,300 that was left in the developerís account.
Member Capello stated that this was the prime example why he argued not to postpone Island Lake. He said if Council looked at the information given December 21, 2001, the final punchlist, minor items such as cracks in pavement, broken curb, casting and some sidewalk fixes, they probably totaled $14,300 to repair the items; thatís how it got reduced. Since December 21, 2001, when Council should have accepted the streets after the minor work was done, additional damage had been done to the sidewalks, the streets, and curbs; this was not the fault of the homeowners. He said the CityĎs process back then in accepting the streets was poor and because of that, they werenít accepted in 2001 or early 2002, and they should have been. He said the City couldnít pass the burden back onto the homeowners. He asked who had been plowing the streets.
Mr. McCusker stated that the homeowners hired a private contractor.
Member Capello stated that he couldnít see charging the homeowners $74,000; the streets should have been accepted by the City or the City should have taken their bond of $14,000 back in early 2002, did the minor repairs and accepted the streets. The City should bear the burden.
Member Gatt asked why the City didnít accept the streets several years ago.
Member Capello answered that it was the way the process worked back then; the City had a double inspection; JCK would go out and inspect and give a punchlist, the developer would then do all the work on the punchlist, Mr. Schlick go out for final inspection, come out with a new punchlist. The developer would say he already did a punchlist and how the Cityís added new things on six months later; the developer had to start all over again, then the City sent JCK out again. That was how the process worked; thatís why the Financial Guarantees Committee came up with not just amounts for financial guarantees but a whole new process to get this done the right way. He said Mr. Pearson had been doing a great job to get these issues resolved; it was the City and the developerís joint fault, but he thought more so the Cityís than the developerís.
Mr. McCusker answered that the developer also kind of just walked away from it. There was an amount of money left and there were some ongoing issues with individual residents in the subdivision with the developer at the time.
Mayor Csordas asked why the citizens in the City were put in the situation where the developer could actually walk away from that and not suffer any financial difficulty, other than the $14,000 balance.
Mr. McCusker answered that there was not enough money held at the time and he walked away with $14,000 left.
Member Gatt asked that to resolve the problem, either the City incurred the burden of $60,000 or the residents had to, was that correct?
Mr. McCusker answered that the DPW did an analysis and found there was about $36;000 in immediate repairs; the rest of the $70,000 was to save what was there.
Member Capello asked if the $14,000 would have fixed the minor punchlist items on the December 21, 2001 punchlist.
Mr. McCusker answered that it probably would have satisfied most of it; there was one area of paving that was deteriorating at the time at the entrance off Fourteen Mile and he thought there was basically an erosion problem because the amount of water that came down from the street ran right down to Fourteen Mile and was probably bad when it went in and still remained bad.
Member Capello stated that at that time it was pretty close; thatís the point, the money was there then so the developer said it would cost him that, just keep the money and fix it, plus they sold out to Centrex and walked.
Member Paul stated that the Financial Guarantee Committee that Member Capello and she sat on was an eye-opening experience; one of the things that she learned was that there was no actual money withheld for a period of time to check all the requirements that were enforced by the City; therefore, the developers would walk and have in countless subdivisions. She said this was not the only one; there were many. She said the money kept dwindling down and the City didnít keep the 25 percent of the money in escrow and hold it, then if something was not approved, say it was not accepted, sometimes they would hold the money and itís not completed and escalate the amount after two years of what the City withheld. In essence, the City was making money on their money in our account. So the Cityís holding it back so that when and if a developer would walk, the City would have that money to use and actually go back and fix whatever the requirements were. Her concern was that the City had a multitude of subdivisions in the same predicament; some the City had accepted the problems on, some it had not. She said what this Council wanted to do with this one financially was a very difficult one. She looked at the dollar amount remaining, and it was $59,570; thatís a large amount. Her big concern was what Mr. McCusker would have to do in the long-term problem with the water coming from the Cityís north border on Fourteen Mile over the site. She said it had been a longstanding problem and she knew that administration and Mr. McCusker had worked with the Cityís neighboring city on the north border, but she had not heard if that had been resolved. DPW was saying that it was still a problem.
Mr. McCusker answered that part of the Fourteen Mile problem would probably be cleaned up when the church went in adjacent to Haverhill, which was just north of Haverhill, or whoever developed that property would probably clean up that area drainage that had caused the so many problems. He said it was the process of the newer developments that were going back east to M-5 that would clean up most of the water problems.
Member Paul asked Mr. McCusker if the entryway would be rectified with M-5 or would the City have to go in and do repair work.
Mr. McCusker answered that the City actually had to go in an take it down and find out why it was failing; he said there was no doubt there was water underneath the pavement.
Member Paul asked if they were concrete roads.
Mr. McCusker answered that they were asphalt with concrete curb and gutter; very deep storm systems. They had storm systems in the back that were probably in excess of 20 feet deep.
Member Paul agreed with Member Capello that the Cityís accepting of these roads and the whole financial guarantee was a mess in the past and Council had been handed a big problem; so had the residents. She was very concerned about the whole issue.
Member Nagy stated that, while she appreciated discussions about these bonds, she wanted to stay with the discussion of what Council could do for the homeowners. Her first question was whether or not if the City picked up the cost of the repairs that were necessary to Haverhill would it be setting a precedent that would be in the long run detrimental to the City financially or legally.
Mr. Fisher answered that a precedent typically meant that you were doing something inconsistent with what you wanted to do in the future; in this situation, the wrongful activity had already occurred. By accepting these he didnít think the City was setting a precedent unless it expected to repeat this scenario, which hopefully the City would not do. He said his suggestion would be, and if Council did see fit to accept those streets, that Council do so with an express reservation of all rights against the developer and also ask the subdivision association for an assignment of all of their rights against the developer in providing efficient streets. He was said Selective Group sold out to Centrex, which was a very large corporation; he didnít know whether Centrex would be assuming their responsibilities legally or not, but it seemed to him that if the City spent $60,000 the City might want to knock on its door for some reimbursement. He said theyíre going to have defenses saying that the City should have done the work before; he said it would be a battle and, if nothing else, the City could get some money hopefully.
Member Nagy asked if Mr. Fisher thought it would be a long, drawn out battle.
Mr. Fisher answered that it would not be worthwhile or in anyoneís interest. Thatís why if the City had the reservation of these rights, the City could talk to them and make a business decision between them.
Member Nagy she had express concerns regarding people who bought in there and through no fault of their own had problems; where she lived, they paid for their own streets, so she knew how expensive it was. She said their homeowner association didnít have the kind of finances that theyíre all going to "cough it up" and pay for it. She thought the situation was unique; there were other areas of the City that had problems, but she thought these people had had enough problems that the City compounded by saying the City would be cautious. If there was a motion to be made, she would support the motion; she thought this should be done for the residents, that they were the innocent victims in all of this. She also wanted to incorporate into the motion the things that Mr. Fisher stated about express reservations with the developer, etc. She also wanted to see if the City could get some money from this developer without a great deal of legal expense. She stated that with regard to the changes, she thought the Committee was working on changing things so things like this happening in the future could be prevented. She was all for the streets to be repaired and taken care of.
Mayor Csordas stated that he saw in the packet that the roads were rated in the PASER at a 6 and 7 and there were pictures in the back of the packet of gutters and streets that were in really bad condition. He asked how old the streets were.
Mr. McCusker answered that the subdivision was built in 1998.
Mayor Csordas stated that the City had a huge problem as far as inspecting roads, no reflection on the people sitting in this room but he was confident that the process had been changed. He said it didnít make any sense if the City couldnít go out and inspect the roads and do the bore samples and make sure the City had good roads, then the City had a real problem and was doing a disservice to the community. He didnít think the City was doing that any more but it sounded like until 1998 it did. He said as some of the previous speakers mentioned, it was a process issue and he didnít believe it was the responsibility of the residents; they really had the trust coming in here that the City would take care of the inspections. He said that was why he couldnít support the motion.
Member Lorenzo asked Mr. Fisher if the homeowners had an option of not accepting the association when a developer wanted to change hands, in a case were these type of roads had not been completed yet.
Mr. Fisher answered that it would depend upon the language in the Master Deed or deed restrictions or whatever the arrangement was.
Member Lorenzo asked if he knew the language was in this case.
Mr. Fisher answered no.
Member Lorenzo asked why the homeowners accepted the association with the roads in this condition.
Mr. Fisher answered that it might be that the developer had the option or obligation, he understood that by reading the information that was in the packets, was that when 100 percent of homes were built, that the developer had the obligation of turning everything over to the homeowners. He didnít know whether they had an option to look at papers and make sure things were okay before they accepted. His guess was that the typical situation was that homeowners werenít organized well enough to go through that drill and do the due diligence sort of thing.
Member Lorenzoís concern was that the City was setting a precedent in the sense that situations had to be treated consistently; what Council did here tonight set the course for everything the City did in the future, which meant the City was going to be spending a ton of money that it may or may not have to spend. The road bond money was dwindling, so the City was not going to have, without a road bond, the kind of money and the kind of repairs that the City had been seeing over the last four or five years. It would be incumbent upon this and future Councils when they went to budget session to find out where it would pay for all of the street and drainage repairs without raising taxes to do it. That was where she became concerned in a situation like this; of the City said it was going to do it, it was going to do it for everybody. That may be placing the entire City in a bad position; that was her concern here. She recognized that she didnít have support for the motion; she was going to support the motion on that basis. She couldnít see the City accepting that burden when it didnít have necessarily the financial resources to follow through.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-10-383 Yeas: Lorenzo
Nays: Csordas, Landry, Capello, Gatt, Nagy, Paul
CM-04-10-384 Moved by Capello, seconded by Nagy; MOTION CARRIED: To accept the streets and utilities in Haverhill Farms Condominiums 1 & 2 from the Homeowners Association and adoption of Act 51 New Street Resolution for Kingswood Boulevard, Kingsley, Paisley Circle, Kingsley Court, and Chatsford Street, and to reserve all rights against the developer and have the homeowners association assign its rights to the City.
Member Nagy stated that she understood the previous speakerís argument but Council could have that argument for every single thing that came before it. She said Council was talking about taking care of taxpayers in the previous issue before it; these were taxpayers, too, and unfortunately whether Council liked it or not, whatever situation the City was in, all people paid taxes and the City would have to keep dealing with the situation forever. She said that was why she supported the motion.
Mr. Fisher wanted to clarify the motion to reserve all rights against the developer and have the homeowners association assign its rights to the City.
Member Capello asked Mr. Fisher to do his job, but he didnít want to spend a lot of legal fees because a Centexís contract with Selective made it pretty much immune from liability for any of the previous Selective Group for Haverhill stuff; he thought Haverhill was a separate LOC and he didnít think there was any money there.
Mr. Fisher agreed and stated that was what the City would have to examine.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-10-384 Yeas: Landry, Capello, Gatt,
Nagy, Paul, Csordas
Member Nagy left the meeting at 10:52 p.m.
8. Approval of the Agreement for Multi-Jurisdictional Administration of a Cable Television Franchise (renewal of 1982 Agreement), as recommended by the Southwestern Oakland Cable Commission.
Mayor Csordas stated that since Mr. Klaver and he were members on SWOCC, he thought he should probably give Council his input on this decision. There was a group that came to speak tonight. He wanted to let Council know that it was true that the Cable Commission, Mr. Klaver and he were there and did vote to approve that because it really did make sense. The statement was made earlier that Novi did not have any input; that was factually incorrect. Mr. Klaver and he were on SWOCC and had significant input. He asked if there were any other mayors on that committee.
Mr. Klaver answered Farmington Hills and former Mayor Jim Mitchell.
Mayor Csordas stated that they did have input and he and Mr. Klaver would make sure that things went well for the City of Novi and for the other two cities. He said there was a statement made earlier that authority was taken away from the cities; he said that was factually incorrect, also. He said that was not the intent; the document was being revised after 22 years and it didnít really reflect the current status of SWOCC and how things worked. Back in the beginning, the studio, equipment and personnel were all provided by the cable operator. Now after 22 years, it had evolved to a SWOCC building, a director, 8-10 employees with benefits, and they running the operation and working with all of the people to produce the cable access programs. They handle all three cities, Channel 12, government access, cable access, so the City was not losing any authority at all. The SWOCC commissioners set the budget and they determine policy; that was the bottom line. There was not any committee; that would be like the ZBA coming to City Council saying hereís the money we want; you guys appropriate that because we want that. He said that wasnít how that worked.
Mayor Csordas stated that SWOCC commissioners were not reacting impulsively or hastily; they believed that it was in the best interests of the City and all of the cities involved there. He said the purpose was not to disband the Cable Access Committee or its abilities to produce television shows and do what they were doing; that didnít change at all. They could continue to produce their programs.
Ms. Collins stated that public and community access had grown in the last year with more than 274 residents served compared to 59 public access users the year prior.
Mayor Csordas stated that nobody was being punished here; what you had was change and it was sometimes difficult for people. He said SWOCC wanted a broader citizens group to represent all people and to promote cable access TV. The original purpose of the Cable Access Committee was never designed to act as a watch dog or policymaking committee with authority to approve budgets or manage operations, that never was the situation. Many of the previous charges were obsolete. He said the purpose never was to balance between administration and public, because in 1982 there was no administration. As far as a watch dog committee, City Council didnít have a watch dog committee; and SWOCC didnít have a watch dog committee but there were conscientious people on the committee watching for the better interest of the City. He saw it as an opportunity for the people that produced those shows to continue to do exactly what they were doing and work under the structure of the entity as it had evolved over the last 22 years.
Ms. Collins stated he was absolutely correct; this was being brought to the three City Councils to really update and stream line a 22 year old agreement that needed to be accommodated to how they operated now.
Member Gatt asked how Council would address the audience membersí concerns who were here on this issue; how it would effectively stop its participation in SWOCC.
Ms. Collins answered that it was completely untrue; the formation of a committee had nothing to do with public access. All three cities were very strongly resolved in public access and that was why in 2000 they followed the recommendation of the Cable Access Committee at that time that recommended that the maintenance, repair, purchase and oversight be from SWOCC and not from the cable operator. She said that proved to be very beneficial because other communities, such as our neighbor in Livonia, that gave that up in the contract had no public access. She stated that the communities had been committed to public access and had expanded it in the past years since they built the studio and took over that management through community access and had increased programming and increased involvement, not just from individual public access users but from nonprofit groups, from Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, senior groups, bringing in people of all ages and abilities.
Member Gatt asked if Council passed the agreement tonight, would he still be able to see his good friend, Ms. Holland, on television and her shows; nothing was going to change in that regard.
Ms. Collins answered absolutely.
Member Lorenzo asked, reading from the back of the document, "page three number 15 deleted, City User, and it talked about the municipal corporations hereby establish a cable access committee hereinafter called the committee", if that was the committee with all of the verbiage after it that she was proposing to eliminate.
Ms. Collins answered that there were actually nine advisory committees that were created. Item Q. SWOCC may appoint any standing committees, special committees and/or task forces to make recommendations to SWOCC with respect to any changes in the cable system that may result from new telecommunications technology.
Member Lorenzo asked specifically if that was the information that explained the committee and what its goals and objectives were.
Ms. Collins answered yes.
Member Lorenzo stated that was what she needed to know. She said with all due respect, she disagreed with Ms. Collins and with the Mayor that this committee should be eliminated and it had no purpose. She said if you read through there, she saw a lot of purpose for that committee and it specified it: It had a whole list of what the committee was supposed to be for. "For the coordination of the public access facilities, equipment, television channels and employees which may be assigned to the public access functions as granted by the operator or by the municipal corporation." Granted, some of the words might need to be changed to municipal corporation as opposed to operator, but she still thought it should function just as it did previously. She read, "The committee shall have the responsibility for such functions as may be delegated to it from time to time by the commission. The function shall include but not be limited to the following: advise the commission on the operation of public access facilities, equipment and channels, advise the commission on matters which might constitute grounds for penalty or revocation of any franchise in accordance with the ordinance granting the same, cooperate with the administrative employees of the commission or those employees which may be assigned by the operator Ė maybe that needed to be changed to the municipal corporation for the administrator of the public access channels. She said she hadnít been given any real legitimate reason to eliminate this committee. In fact, it was told to Council on the cover page that SWOCC would provide for some other type of committee; she did see a loss of authority and a loss of control in this situation from the City of Novi and from this committee. This committee was established as some oversight; she was not in favor or transferring that oversight to SWOCC to employees, to administrators. She said that oversight was between the City of Novi and the Committee; checks and balance system, as far as she could tell. Now, whether or not these committees had been utilized to the best degree, maybe not; that didnít mean throw it out. That means get the Committee more involved in the areas or what we could do was if there were things that Council thought the committee should be doing, the charges that they should have, add them to the agreement. She said donít just throw the Committee away. She saw it as a sense of loss of control of the City of Novi and of the Committee; she would not support that.
Mayor Csordas told Ms. Collins what she needed to do was describe that this was reflecting 22 years ago and now they had staff and a lot of different responsibilities and budgetary control was absolutely controlled by the Commission, the City of Novi and the other two cities. Novi City Council had never received a committee report from this committee; that was why Mr. Klaver and he voted with a unanimous vote with the rest of the commissioners to take this action now.
Ms. Collins stated that it updated information from a time when there was no public access, no access studio or equipment and a heavy reliance on the cable operator to provide promised access support to now, today an era with thriving public, community, and government access, a 10,000 square foot studio and funding from the cable operator enabling full community operation with no reliance on that cable company. She said if Council looked at those items that charge that this committee had all but one were now today obsolete. The one that was not obsolete was "the committee shall encourage the use of public channels among the widest feasible range of institution groups and individuals within the three communities. Actually, the SWOCC board saw a very important role for a citizens committee because public access was reliant on the passions and the volunteer work of community members to promote public access. When Council looked at goals by the Cable Access Committee, all pointing to promotion, publicity, support, positive growth working with SWOCC to make this work.
Mayor Csordas asked if it was the goal of SWOCC to appoint a cable access group to work with her staff.
Ms. Collins answered that it was the design through bylaws; the idea was to clean up this agreement so the committee didnít have to wait another 20 years and have a totally obsolete document, so this could be another living, breathing document and meet the needs of the City and the community.
Member Lorenzo stated that what Ms. Collins just said was SWOCC was going to have bylaws, SWOCC was going to appoint a committee; right now Council appointed members to the Committee; Council was losing control. The City paid SWOCC people; thatís great, they had their role, but she didnít think it was ever intended to give SWOCC and administrators that much control of the situation, that was why it was written that way.
Mayor Csordas asked if it was SWOCC or the commissioners.
Ms. Collins answered that SWOCC was the Board of Commissioners comprised of two members from each city, an elected official and administrative. She said SWOCC acted on behalf of their cities.
Member Lorenzo stated right now the way it worked, seven Council Members appointed members to this Committee. She thought it should stay that way.
CM-04-10-385 Moved by Landry, seconded by Capello; MOTION CARRIED: To approve the Agreement for Multi-Jurisdictional Administration of a Cable Television Franchise (renewal of 1982 Agreement), as recommended by the Southwestern Oakland Cable Commission.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-10-385 Yeas: Capello, Gatt, Csordas,
Nays: Lorenzo, Paul
CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS FOR COUNCIL ACTION
F. Approval of resolution to authorize Budget Amendment #2005 Ė3.
CM-04-10-386 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Capello; MOTION CARRIED: To approve resolution to authorize Budget Amendment #2005 Ė 3.
Voice Vote on CM-04-10-386 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY; ONE ABSENT
G. Approval of Claims and Accounts Ė Warrant No. 683.
Mayor Csordas asked what Member Nagy Ďs issue with the warrant was.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry stated Member Nagy left a note with him that she had become ill during the meeting and needed to leave.
Member Paul stated that one of the residents sent a general email, Mrs. Young; there were still some outstanding issues on Mrs. Youngís property and some other on Galway.
CM-04-10-387 Moved by Capello, seconded by Landry; MOTION CARRIED: To approve Claims and Accounts Ė Warrant No. 683.
Member Capello stated that he assumed there was some money left and that Mr. Klaver had some control.
Mr. Klaver answered yes.
Voice Vote on CM-04-10-387 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY; ONE ABSENT
CM-04-10-388 Moved by Landry, seconded by Lorenzo; MOTION CARRIED: To approve the September 27, 2004 Regular City Council Minutes.
Voice Vote on CM-04-10-388 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY; ONE ABSENT
MAYOR AND COUNCIL ISSUES
1. Beck Road and Eight Mile Road Ė Member Capello
Member Capello stated that in one of the meetings before the end of the year, he would like a departmental report on where Council stood in moving forward to redesign Beck Road from Grand River down to Eight Mile Road. Northville had already taken that initiative; he was told about a year ago by someone in the Engineering Department that they were working on it. He asked at that time that they come to Council for some input, so Council could help design, determine if the City wanted a median, that type of thing, and so get back to Council to let it know where the department was at so Council could be in part of the decision-making process. He would hate to end up where Council was on Twelve Mile so long where Farmington Hills at Twelve Mile had a beautiful road and then you knew when you got to Novi; the same thing was going to happen to the City in Northville.
2. City Obtaining New Census Ė Member Capello
At the last meeting or meeting before, he asked what it would take to get a mid-year census to see if the City could get another quota license. Following up on that, Member Gatt talked to him today. SEMCOG just did a census recently; he wanted to know if we could follow-up to see if the City could use that to present to the state for an additional quota license, to save the City some money.
Mr. Klaver said he would be glad to look into that; his understanding was that it would not qualify. Administration would certainly pursue it.
3. Setbacks Ė Member Capello
About three years ago, Member Capello said he sent something to the Planning Commission asking them to come to Council with a proposal to have additional setbacks along major thoroughfares and residential areas, so that the houses werenít backing right up to the thoroughfares, to give the developer incentive within the subdivision maybe with some reduced lot sizes or something to give the City the additional greenway and ask that on corner intersections they give the City a greater setback and develop some kind of smaller aesthetic park area. He said it had been three years and he had not seen anything yet. He asked that administration follow-up.
Member Paul stated that it was before the Planning Commission and was part of the architectural review; we had beautification of major thoroughfares and setback issues. She said Ms. McBeth worked on that with us and implementation. She said the Commission addressed a lot of the beautification issues and enhance even more of what your request was.
Ms. McBeth stated that she appreciated the timing of this, too, because the implementation committee did work on it for some time and brought up various ideas and means to attempt to address some of the concerns that were raised. She said they explored a lot of issues and items; at a certain point they were at a loss to know which direction to go in, so there was a memo that was produced and signed on March 24th and was distributed to City Council in April, she had additional copies if anybody would like to see those, that outlined a number of items that they had looked at: possible ordinance amendments, possible ideas. She said they were actually hoping for feedback from City Council so they could look into the items that were of greatest interest.
Mr. Klaver suggested sending it out in next weekís packet to follow up at Councilís leisure.
Member Capello said he suggested that it be put on an agenda item in the next couple of meetings.
Mr. Klaver asked if he wanted it on for discussion.
Member Capello answered yes.
Mr. Klaver said administration could do that.
4. Increase Tax Base without Raising Taxes to Residents Ė Member Capello
Member Capello stated that Troy had a great tax base; Sterling Heights had a great tax base. The development along I-75 could be seen when traveling to Troy and, certainly years ago the City decided it didnít want that, but it seemed if the City created its OST district that now the City try to enhance that more. He said if the City allowed them, just in certain areas with an overlay district, allow the OST or certain office districts maybe along Meadowbrook Road between Grand River and Twelve Mile; that just backs up to the mall anyway. Or over in the industrial parks along Beck Road in Wixom, allow them to maybe go four stories, heights that the City had not seen in the business sector before. He said maybe the City could bring in a new type of development; by going four stories, the City would certainly have more tax base. He said that was just an example; he thought Council needed to do something besides sit and wonder where the City would get the money from next year.
Mayor Csordas asked Member Capello if he meant ordinance revisions, City-initiated rezonings.
Member Capello answered or just amendments to the zoning ordinance; it didnít have to be a rezoning. Or an overlay district to get some financial assistance from administration or from the Cityís economic development department, whoever that individual was, to give Council ideas to create tax base without charging our residents more money.
Mayor Csordas said that was a good idea.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry stated that following along that line, he knew the City of Novi many years ago made the commitment to limit height, city-wide, he guessed in the 80ís that the decision was made, maybe even earlier. He wondered whether there were any studies or memos or minutes that Council could look at. He said Bob Schmid was a big advocate of limiting that. He thought it was a good idea to look at it, so he might suggest to Council that in an off-week packet it get additional stuff to read and take it up later. It might be something to send to ordinance review or the Planning Commission.
Member Lorenzo wanted to know if height was a problem; would height solve the issue? She recommended going to a community like Troy, which you cited as an example, to see what it had done to get what it had. She wanted to identify what the cause and effect was before Council looked at ordinances and the appropriateness of trying to do something different.
Mayor Csordas stated that he thought that was part and parcel of the due diligence.
Member Capello stated that the height was just an example. He used height for two reasons: one, because by increasing the height of the building would create more value, more tax in value. Number two, the City did have a higher vacancy rate in OST buildings, and most of the Cityís OST buildings were one story buildings. He said maybe the City needed to give the developers an opportunity to bring a new product in.
Member Lorenzo stated that they were allowed up to three stories.
Member Capello thought it was a limit of 64 feet with two stories.
Member Lorenzo asked if applicants or developers had expressed a concern over the limit of a number of stories or was that not really the issue?
Ms. McBeth answered that certain areas for the OST zoning allow up to 65 feet in height and she knew the ordinance didnít specify exactly how many stories it was, but that could range from possibly three stories to five stories.
Member Lorenzo stated that it depended on the topography.
Member Capello asked if you could get three stories out of 65 feet?
Ms. McBeth answered yes, depending on what type of use was; some of the OSTís had the bay area, so you wouldnít be able to get that much height from 65 feet.
Member Capello stated the height was just an idea, but he wanted them to come back with some other ideas.
Mr. Klaver stated that there was an excellent article recently regarding Royal Oak and what it had done with height in terms of marketing its downtown. He said it occurred to him that discussions with other communities to talk about what they had done strategically, what their goals were and what kind of tools they used might facilitate some more conversations, maybe bring things to the table that Council wouldnít think of; he thought that might be good information to bring back.
Mr. Fisher suggested talking to people who might be interested in buying property, developing it to major advantage.
Member Paul said it was similar to what they did on the financial review committee. A financial guarantee had developers, as well as staff, as well as Member Capello and herself; the development committee added a lot to the discussion. She thought it might be interesting to see what market was driving; Singh Development came to mind because it had been talking about multiple uses with condominiums and the lower area being markets that were available.
Member Lorenzo stated that Singh didnít do OST, though.
Member Paul said she understood and was using it as an example. She said Mr. Klaver was speaking about an in the Detroit Free Press basically referring to high rises and the height of them and what they were trying to do in their downtown area. They were five or six stories high, very upscale, not condominiums but high rises. It really was driving the market in their area. It would be a dense use but bringing a lot of people into the downtown area.
Mayor Csordas stated that it was a novel concept to talk to the customer and see what the customer wanted.
Mr. Klaver stated that administration would be glad to do that and bring something back.
5. South Lake Drive Ė Member Paul
Member Paul had a resident contact her, the Bellars on South Lake Drive. They had several issues with drainage. She said the sump pump broke, the DPW went to check it; they thought it wasnít the Cityís responsibility. Now, after
The DPW looked at this, there were some problems with a block on the top of the catch basin. She said there were several issues on this whole area in drainage. What happened was they had a drain tile that went over toward the lake and it was severed when they put in the bike path. The only reason why they found this was the bike path had sunk, and the DPW had to go in rip out that segment of the bike path; they found that the drain tiles were cut and there was no drainage that was leaving their yard. Her concern was that there were a whole lot of sump pumps that were tied in for the drainage to go across the street, and the City didnít know which ones had been cut and which ones had not. She was concerned because the City had $90,000 that remained in escrow for this; she had no idea if that would cover the cost. What she wanted to do was find out if Council would be interested in having Giffels prove that nothing else was leaking or needed repair and if there was some subcontractor that was in there if they had to put a dye test to the sump pump to all tie-ins and make sure things were where they were supposed to be and if they hadnít been cut in any other areas. She would hate to see no more money left out there and the City stuck with more drainage issues. She knew the DPW had gone in, dug holes by hand, and had been there four weeks on this little corner; she didnít know if the City could afford to have the DPW work in that fashion any longer. She wanted to see if legal counsel would be interested in trying to see if the City could save some of that money and go after what she thought the City should, that was look at the die test and see what was happening with all the other drainage areas. She wanted to propose that and put it on another agenda.
Mayor Csordas asked where the sump pumps discharged to?
Mr. McCusker answered that they had general ties on all the sump pumps into the edge drain that went to the basins underneath the road, but they didnít coordinate with their subcontractor where the DPW was at now, and it looked like their subcontractor cut right through the drain tile and severed it; so it was collapsed underneath the bike path.
Mayor Csordas asked if the City had any recourse.
Mr. McCusker answered that they took pictures and called Giffels and put them on notice that their contractors caused the problem; the DPW repaired it, knew what the numbers were, and the DPW was going to send them a bill for it.
Mayor Csordas asked about Member Paulís concern about testing the rest of the sump pumps in that area.
Mr. McCusker answered that it probably wouldnít be a bad idea to look at all of them; if they severed it here, there were crossings going over to the other side of the street all the way up and down, so they may have severed other areas.
Mayor Csordas asked if the DPW was actually working on that now.
Mr. McCusker answered that the DPW was fixing the ones that they found; they were talking to Giffels about doing some dye test in some other areas where they saw some depressions in the road.
Member Capello asked if the contractor was given notice that the sump pumps were connected to the edge drain or drain tiles.
Mr. McCusker answered that he thought it was a discussion between the contractor and the engineers, Giffels.
Member Capello stated that he just didnít want to do the entire investigation and find out that we were the ones responsible and not the contractors or engineers. Maybe Mr. Fisher could work with the DPW before the City opened up a huge can of worms and find out where the liability lies.
Mr. McCusker answered that the DPW had only been doing them when they knew there was a repair.
Member Capello stated that was why he was afraid to do the die test before the City knew where the liability lies might create much more liability than the City was looking for; he thought it was a good idea to hang onto the money until the City figured it out.
6. Master Plan for Parcels 16 and 17 on the Southeast Corner of Novi and Ten Mile Roads Ė Member Paul
Member Paul had a question for Ms. McBeth: Council had the discussion about the Master Plan at this table and now it went back to the Planning Commission; she wanted to know if it went back to Council for final review and acceptance.
Ms. McBeth stated that the comments made that evening were transcribed and brought forward to the Master Plan and Zoning Committee and they studied those at a recent meeting a week or so ago; she thought they voted on each one that was listed. She expected that they would again be brought forward to the Planning Commission at the public hearing on October 27th. She said the entire minutes of the Council meeting will be brought forward as well as the recommendations that were listed and the Master Plan and Zoning committeeís analysis of those as well.
Member Paul asked if it would come back to Council table.
Ms. McBeth answered that it was not expected to come back to City Council; the Planning Commission was going to hold the public hearing and was expected to adopt the plan maybe in November. She said City Council had the authority to call the Master Plan back for approval if Council chose to keep the adoption of the Plan at the Council level or leave it with the Planning Commission. She thought it was earlier this spring that City Council said it would choose to leave the adoption of the Master Plan with the Planning Commission.
Member Paul stated that she was curious because they had a very loose discussion and specifically talked about that corner turning from light industrial to commercial, and she had a very big concern that the City had a lot of empty retail space, commercial across the corner, on Beck and Ten Mile, Fountain Walk, West Oaks, the Mall; she could go on. By Farmer Jack, she wanted to make sure that the corner remained light industrial, since it was a higher tax base; she was just curious if it was going to go back to Council for the final comments.
Ms. McBeth stated that at the last Planning Commission meeting, the request came in for that corner, the southeast corner of Novi and Ten Mile Road to rezone to B2, planned business with a planned rezoning overlay. She said there was a lot of important and good discussion that the Planning Commission had that evening and it recommended to table that for further information on the planned rezoning overlay plan, but Council would expect to see that following the Planning Commissionís hearing on that.
7. Resignation of a Member from the ZBA -- Mayor Csordas
Mayor Csordas stated that there was a letter in our packet from a member of the ZBA that was resigning; Council should very quickly reappoint somebody to the ZBA. He said this person was an alternate; would the quickest way be to have the other people who had applied for the ZBA be put in the packet next week, so maybe Council could make a decision.
Mr. Klaver asked if Mayor Csordas wanted it put on the next agenda.
Mayor Csordas answered yes.
Member Paul said there were several applications that had two, three, four bodies that they would volunteer for, so would you put all the applications over the last year in?
Jim Korte, Shawood Lake, said that Member Paul brought up interesting things of sump pumps; he wanted to throw out a couple of things. He asked what would make Council think that at any of the houses there the sump pumps were where they were supposed to be. He stated that DPW would be digging up four places on the 1100 block between Eubank and South Point. The Building Department allowed the end house to go into the sanitary sewer; it had been that way since the house was built. He said it was a new house; they made them raise the house and it still flooded because of what was happening now, which presumably would be corrected in similar fashion to the Meg Bellar. He said that was not sump pump; that was road water that people didnít do right to begin with. He said the point was that 1105, Jamie Thomas who was now back in Texas, her sump pump had always gone out via hose to the back yard to Chicorelís property and hopefully off into South Point into the whole wetland because there was nothing else to do. He said she was the flattest of all, and the City raised the road 10 inches in front of her. He said if, when all of this happened, and the drainage so that her front yard didnít flood and the Cityís insurance people had been in touch with her, he asked what the City could do with the sump pump. There was no way to put it into the ditch; there was no way and there had never been a ditch. It had never gone under the road and couldnít possibly go under the road; it was the wrong direction. He said that was the problem that no one understood of old areas and major problems. He said Murphyís, the house next door, that went into the backyard; because they raised theirs a little, it went into Jamie Thomasí and then went out and through an empty piece of ground that way, hopefully. He said he didnít know what the first house did; it was a new house. What do you with someone who for five years had been allowed to put their sump pump into the sanitary sewer because there was no where else to put the water. He said the Building Department said a hole had to be dug in the front; so they dug a hole three feet down, and the pea gravel was filled with water. There were problems caused by the road being 10 inches higher than it was; he wanted to know what the City was going to do with the water.
There being no further business to come before Council, Mayor Csordas adjourned the meeting at 11:35 p.m.
Lou Csordas, Mayor Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk
Transcribed by Sue Troutman
Date approved: November 8, 2004