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REGULAR MEETING OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY
Mayor Landry called the meeting to order at 7:00 P.M.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
ROLL CALL: Mayor Landry, Mayor Pro Tem Capello, Council Members Gatt, Margolis, Mutch, Nagy, Paul.
ALSO PRESENT: Richard Helwig, City Manager
Clay Pearson, Assistant City Manager
Tom Schultz, City Attorney
Barbara McBeth, Planning Director
Tia Gronlund-Fox, Human Resources
Kathy Smith-Roy, Finance Director
Marina Neumaier, Assistant Finance Director
David Molloy, Police Chief
Randy Auler, Parks, Recreation and Forestry Director
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
CM-05-11-361 Moved by Gatt, seconded Nagy; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the agenda as amended.
Member Gatt would like to add an executive session for bargaining update.
Member Paul under Mayor and Council issues would like to add #2, Youth Council Congress of Cities #3, City Personnel contributing to the schools and #4, a taskforce or community group to handle financing recommendations for funding pension benefits.
Member Mutch would like to add a trust fund update.
1. Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, June 30, 2005: Audit Presentation Ė Joe
Heffernan, Partner and Scott Janssen, Associate, Plante and Moran LLC
Joe Heffernan said the report itself is not their work product but a product of our Finance Department, Jeff Hall, Kathy and the rest of the department. Their job is to do two things. First, look at our system of internal controls (the system of checks and balances related to our financial systems, cash receiving, disbursing, investing and managing the cash). Second, perform tests on a sample of accounting transactions so they can determine that the accounting records, in this financial statement, put together by our Finance Department, is fairly stated. A clean opinion does not necessarily mean you are in good or poor financial health. But a good opinion means your accounting systems are in good order and are producing accurate accounting data and they did not find any deficiencies in our internal controls to report. In their opinion, the financial report is in fact fairly stated in accordance with the generally accepted accounting principles. What do those numbers mean and how good or poor is the Cityís financial health? Scott has taken the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report and put it into a series of slides that he will go through with the City Council as well as the public and try to answer that half of the equation.
Scott Janssen said the following eight slides would give us the financial highlights and trend information over the past five years so we can see where the City has been. The first graph is the General Fund Revenue Trend. The focus was on the General Fund because it is the Cityís most important fund and the City spends most of itís time budgeting for that fund. The five year trend of our most important revenue source (property taxes) makes up 2/3 of the total General Revenue Fund on an annual basis. Also, in line with the increase in property tax revenues goes in tandem with building permit and plan revenues. So, as we increase our growth and development it also increases the property tax base which will therefore generate additional tax revenue. The millage rate, however, has stayed constant. The next graph depicted a comparison between other communities within Oakland County and showed the different millage rates of the different communities. The City of Novi is at the low end and the millage rate is approximately 10.5 mils.
The reason for the low millage rate of certain communities, like Novi, is because they have a high taxable value per capita due to having a lot of commercial and industrial businesses. In addition, the residents that are moving into the city are building more expensive homes, adding to the high per capita tax value.
Our second source of revenue is our State Shared Revenue. This amount has actually decreased each year for the last five years, also common in all other communities. And, over the past five year period, there has been an overall decrease of about $75M or 17%. Joe Heffernan gave a little background on the State Shared Revenue and explained why we have been seeing these decreases.
Joe Heffernan stated this is not specific to the City of Novi, according to the State Constitution they take 10% of the Sales tax and distribute it based on a per capita basis. The statute also states an additional 10% should be captured and spread among the different communities based on a different calculation which is irrelevant because they are not funding it anyway. The reason for the 20% is to spread out the payments in lieu of personal property tax and inventories that used to be in Michigan until 1974. It was intended to replace both of those taxes and to distribute taxes more equitably among the local units in Michigan. Some units, for example, Detroit, could not raise as much per capita as Novi or at the extreme Bloomfield Hills.
The statutory part has dropped from 10% down to 5% or 6% because of the state budget. The sales taxes were not going down but income tax and single business taxes have, in fact, decreased substantially over the last five years and the way the state has managed the budget in reaction to that is to cut the statutory part of State Shared Revenue. Again, the members of Council that have been here for a while know this has been going on with all communities not just Novi. In the meantime, the State is proposing to leave the tax rate flat which is great news because in previous years, it has been cut every year. Hopefully, it will remain flat and all indications are that it will.
The 3rd graph in the packet focused on the General Fund Expenditures. These were the expenditures based on your budgetary accounting. This chart showed how the resources were spent by category. Police and Fire (Public Safety) was approximately 58% of your General Fund Expenditures on an annual basis. Over the last five years, due to the increased growth and development within our community, there was a steady increase in the demand on City departments such as Building, Planning and Neighborhood Services. The last category, the other expenditures was all of the other departments combined within the General Fund and they have been relatively steady over the five year period.
The next few graphs looked at the General Fund, Fund Balance. From 2004 to 2005 the City had a good year. We have $7.2 Million in Fund Balance. However, that may be a little misleading because it doesnít include $150,000 which is reserved or designated for specific purposes. In addition, there were other resources that were earmarked or planned for in Fiscal 2005 that wonít happen until Fiscal 2006. The $7.2 Million was not available or discretionary for our use.
The next chart was a breakdown of the undesignated fund balance as a percentage of our annual budgeted revenues. There has been a fairly steady increase in the budgeted annual expenditures over the past five year period. As our population increased it increased our demand for services. Overall the expenditures for the budgeted Fiscal 2006 were up about 9% compared to Fiscal 2005. The level in 2001 was just shy of $5 Million which dropped in Fiscal 2002. It had been slowly making its way up and in 2005 we actually topped the 2001 level. This was an indicator that the overall percentage of our overall revenues was at 26% which was a good percentage.
Our Cityís most important business type fund was the water and sewer operations. Looking at an overview of the trend of both operating revenues and operating expenses, traditionally, the revenues have exceeded the expenses all except for 2005. Included in expenses was related to a $250,000, one-time only, Engineering Services Sewer Flow Study which wonít be a recurring expenditure. And, the city has done a good job setting the rates to be able to offset the expenditures because this would fluctuate based on demand. For example, last summer was a dry summer, if the rates would have been set the amount of revenues we generated, because the usage was down, would not have been enough to offset all the expenditures but over a period of time, usually it would catch itself up. This City was making an important effort to set the rates at the appropriate level and it appeared it was working.
The last two graphs were based on the Governmental Activities as a result of GASB 34. They focused on the General Fund, which was our budgetary method of accounting. One of the things about GASB 34 was that it took a long term view of the Cityís finances. And, one of the questions it asks was whether or not todayís taxpayers are paying for todayís services. By taking a look at our net assets in total, the net asset was the extent where our assets exceed our total liabilities and, for the City at Fiscal 2005, it was about $110 Million in net assets. In comparison to Fiscal 2004 there was an increase in our net assets of about $8.4 Million or 8%. This answered the question, todayís taxpayers were paying for todayís services and thatís why we have an increase in our net assets.
The overview showed that of the $110 Million in assets and the categories they were related to Capital Assets, which were infrastructure, land, roads and building improvements adding up to $62 Million. Another $41 Million overall was restricted for the various different components such as special assessments, drains, streets, highways or other specific purposes. This left the unrestricted portion of about $6.8 Million which was available for the City to help meet the other demands of the taxpayers.
The last graph, the Governmental activities or the expenses for the fiscal year showed that of the $39.8 Million that was spent (refer to Page 12 of the financial report) the most significant use was Public Safety and Public Works.
Joe Heffernan added that the most important thing was the fund balance and ours was at a good level The City of Novi, as well as other Cities were finding the cost of providing services has been going up faster than inflation because of fringe benefits, i.e., health care and pension benefits. In the next few years, retiree health benefits were going to be a significant issue. In combination with State Shared Revenue going down it has been difficult to do the budget every year.
However, the City of Novi has good fund balance because of two significant reasons. First, each department within the City of Novi has come in under budget which was significant. Each department head has done a great job. Secondly, one that was a temporary reason, because of the significant growth in our taxable value, helped us in the current year.
Only the long range financial forecast, done last spring, with the concept that as you grow, your taxable value and your tax base will increase. However, in the next few years there will be an increase in the demand for services after the new revenues have been coming in. The taxable value has been growing because of a lot of people moving into Novi and the demand for services will grow also. We need to watch results and keep track of service demands that will surely follow.
Member Paul asked when we went over the General Fund and Undesignated Fund Balance Percentages regarding the budget information, there was a comment made about the population increase and expenditure increase. She asked if he could explain why this would be important to know.
Mr. Heffernan said as the population increased your demand for Police and Fire officers will increase. Parks and Recreation services will require more to handle them and historically the fees donít pay the costs 100%, they never have and never will. The elections will increase the number of clerks with an increase in precincts. Certainly the more people we have in the City the more workers will be needed to help handle the load.
Mayor Landry says the financial report speaks volumes about our Finance Department, who has done a wonderful job of keeping our financial house in order and he thanked all City departments.
Mr. Helwig stated that we just received from Standard & Poorís Bond rating agency which reaffirmed our Cityís outstanding General Obligation Debt Bond Rating at AA-. Mayor Landry stated that all department heads were living within their means which was a testament to Rick Helwigís management style and that he has been a great service to the people of Novi.
2. Recognition of Fall for Novi sponsors: Intier Automotive, Providence Hospital, Rock
Financial Showplace and Erickson Retirement Communities Ė Fox Run
Mayor Landry said Council would like to recognize all the people and companies that have assisted us with our Fall for Novi presentation. Every year the Fall for Novi event gets even better. Itís a wonderful opportunity for the citizens (members of the public) to get to know the city, each department in the city and how that department works so they can get information and know their city better. While it was a lot of work for us, thereís no question that this could not happen were it not for the efforts and contributions of several of our business residents. Mayor Landry recognized the following companies: Providence Hospital, Mr. Rob Casalou; Intier Automotive, Mr. Glen Copeland; Fox Run, Mr. Fred Moschetta; Rock Financial Showplace.
1. SPECIAL/COMMITTEE - None
2. CITY MANAGER
Mr. Helwig reported that the Nine Mile Water Main project has been certified by DWSD and ready for use. Residents can now start tapping into the public water supply.
3. DEPARTMENTAL - None
4. ATTORNEY - None
Will DeJanske, from Digivoice, represented The Nice Corporation, stated his company submitted a bid on a logging recorder for the Police Department and their prime bid was $30,000 below the second lowest bidder. They provide this equipment to some of the largest Police Departments in the country. He distributed a tally sheet to Council. The City decided to take an alternate bid and he felt it didnít meet the specifications that the city put out. His concern was that the city threw out the specifications given to vendors. He invested quite a lot of his Company personnel on this project and he wanted to make everyone aware.
CONSENT AGENDA (Approval/Removals)
CM-05-11-362 Moved by Nagy, seconded by Capello; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the Consent Agenda as amended.
Items B and D were removed.
A. Approve Minutes of:
B. Resolution for the Approval of the Deficit Elimination Plan for the Ice Arena.
C. Approval of contract with Concert Production Services, in the amount of $22,925, to provide sound equipment and sound technicians for the 2005-2006 theater season.
D. Approval to award alternate bid for a Logging Recorder to DSS Corporation, the low bidder, in the amount of $33,595.
E. Approval to award bid for Console Furniture for the 911 Dispatch Center to Xybix Systems, the low bidder, in the amount of $64,449.
F. Approval to accept quotation and purchase for the 4th Dispatching Radio Console from M/A Com, a sole source provider, in the amount of $29,511.
G. Approval of Claims and Accounts Ė Warrant No. 709
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION Ė Part I
1. Approval of the Program Year 2006 Community Development Block Grant Application in the approximate amount of $116,769 and authorize the Mayor to sign the Application and Subrecipient Agreement.
Marina Neumaier spoke about the changes that would impact the budget year for 2006. In the past we were able to allocate at least 50% of our Block Grant monies towards Public Services that has been reduced now to 45% for the 2006 program year. In addition, we were told to expect a 10% cut in funding, but have no confirmation yet.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello asked about funding for Senior Center Management, OLHSA contributes $9,000 toward that fee. Marina Neumaier said there was an allocation made to the public services category of $9,000 of community development block grand that was used to offset the Senior Manager position. We first pay OLHSA and then we request money from Oakland County.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello asked where the $9,000 would come from if we donít allocate that money. Marina Neumaier said our contract period July 1, 2005 thru June 30, 2006 and the total City cost of that position is $43,000 being funded by Parkís and Recreation. We used $9,000 to offset it. Because of the cut, the decision was made to not fund that program and use Block Fund monies.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello asked if under Senior Van Services does the $25,000 include payment of part-time van drivers? Marina Neumaier responded, yes.
Member Margolis was interested in the rationale of eliminating the Senior Center Manager as opposed to spreading it across other services. Marina Neumaier said the committee decided to leave that funding intact as it was in the prior year in that there are additional subsidies greater than $25,000 required to fund that program and they didnít want to cut back the funding to NYA (Novi Youth Assistance) and HAVEN. The recommendation was to try to keep a minimum level of funding and cut back on funding for Senior Management position.
Mayor Landry asked if the $9000 shortfall would have to be made up in the General Fund somewhere else. Marina Neumaier said that it would no longer be subsidized by the Community Development Block Grant Program so an alternate source would be needed in next yearís budget. There would need to be a reduction in all services.
Member Gatt noticed the Lions didnít request money this year. Marina Neumaier said they requested funds for an Eblind machine for the Library to allow blind patrons of our City to use the Internet. This was a specialized piece of equipment and they did not come forward again with a request for money in 2006 because it was a one time thing
Member Gatt asked why we are contributing so much to HAVEN at the expense of the Senior Center. He asked what would happen if it was given back to the senior program. Marina Neumaier said they would still continue to provide services to the residents of Novi, however, the impact on their budget is unknown at this time.
Member Paul agreed with Member Gatt and wanted to take $9,000 out of the HAVEN Program and keep the $7,000 remain in that fund and keep the $9,000 under the OLSHA Senior Center Manager. That way we would have allocation in the appropriate area and still be able to provide the senior van transportation which most seniors use a lot and itís only a portion of their needs.
Member Nagy asked what was the sum of money we contributed to Haven last year. Marina Neumaier responded that HAVEN received assistance in the amount of $16,000 for 2005 and NYA received $11,000. Marina Neumaier responded that we served 50 participants in NYA and 100 participants in HAVEN.
Member Nagy asked to take away some from HAVEN and a little away from NYA instead of cutting one item. She also asked if it was true that the rent at the senior center was raised. Kathy Smith-Roy stated the rental rates are separate and relative to the operating costs of the facility and not related to the senior services we provide through Parkís and Recreation Program. The increase was due to utilities expenses. Member Nagy made a motion to cut $6,000 from HAVEN and $3,000 from NYA.
Member Nagy withdrew the motion. Member Nagy made a new motion to use $7,000 from Haven (which would leave them $9,000) and $2,000 from NYA (which would leave them $13,000) and all the other public service figures would remain the same. Motion failed for lack of a second. Member Nagy said she had no further comments.
Mr. Helwig noted that it was important to fund low and moderate income families. All along the city should have been funding this $9,000 senior center allocation and staff supported this recommendation.
Member Mutch asked about the Senior Center Manager position and how was this position funded? Marina Neumaier informed him it was funded outside of the City through Oakland Livingston Human Service Agency (OLHSA).
Member Mutch expressed problems with splitting the funding because we end up not supporting anyone and was concerned with that approach but looked forward to hear everyoneís input.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello stated we need to clarify that Senior Center Manager is the coordinator of the events and programs for the seniors, not the manager of the Senior Center. He introduced the idea of providing the valuable service to HAVEN. We have given HAVEN over $80,000 over the last 11 years. He felt they should understand after receiving these funds all these years. Novi Youth Assistance (NYA) was short last year and we need to focus on our community instead helping to fund a County wide program, not to say we canít help them out next year if we have additional funds.
CM-05-11- 363 Moved by Capello, seconded by Gatt: To approve funding for the following services: $9,000 out of the HCD funds for the Senior Center Manager position (OLHSA), also he wants to fund the $15,000 to NYA due to shortages last year, they need it and they are in our community they should get all the money they requested. The balance is $2,773 to HAVEN, $25,000 to Senior Van Transportation Services and $64,223 for Minor Home Repairs.
Member Nagy stated she cannot support the motion because HAVEN helped 100 Novi families that really need the help. She felt that if people saw the effects as she has with her work with abused children, they wouldnít support the motion either.
Mayor Landry thought we should not take away so much from HAVEN. He was in favor of giving $9,000 for OLHSA Senior Center Manager, $11,000 for NYA which is what they received last year, $25,000 for the Senior Van and the remaining $7,546 to HAVEN.
Member Paul agreed with a lot of different members but believed HAVEN should be a priority, possibly taking $2,000 from NYA.
Marina Neumaier answered the question regarding the health care cost for the Senior Center Manager position (the person does pay a portion towards health care costs).
CM-05-11- 363 Moved by Capello, seconded by Gatt; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
As Amended To approve funding for the following services: $7,000 out of the HCD funds for the Senior Center Manager position (OLHSA), also he wants to fund the $9,546 to HAVEN and $11,000 to NYA and $25,000 Senior Van Service and $64, 223 to Minor Home Chore Services.
Roll Call Vote on CM-05-11-363 Yeas: Landry, Capello, Gatt, Margolis, Mutch, Nagy, Paul
2. Approval of Resolution to allow temporary relief from the Sign Ordinance for a City-wide special business event from November 29 through December 24, 2005.
CM-05-11-364 Moved by Nagy, seconded by Margolis; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To allow temporary relief from the Sign Ordinance for a City-wide special business event from November 29 extended through January 2, 2006 and to allow a 12 Sq. Ft. sign.
Council discussed the extending the time period to January 2, 2006 to allow a maximum of 12 Sq. Ft. sign.
Roll Call Vote on CM-05-11-364 Yeas: Landry, Capello, Gatt, Margolis, Mutch, Nagy, Paul
3. Consideration of the request of John Eggert of the Taubman Company for Preliminary Site Plan approval for modifications to the Twelve Oaks Mall. The subject property is located in Section 14, on the south side of Twelve Mile Road, east of Novi Road and north of I-96, in the RC, Regional Center District. The applicant is proposing a 97,000 square foot addition to the mall, a 169,000 square foot Nordstromís Department store, an expansion of the existing Marshall Fieldís Department Store by 60,671 square feet and a new parking lot area consisting of 450 spaces.
John Eggert, Development Manager for Taubman Company, included representatives from Nordstroms. Marshall Fields will expand/renovate and become Macyís. The site plan application sets out a 326,000 square foot expansion that would increase the shopping center to a total 1.55 Million square feet (from 1.2 Million square feet). Also the parking lot will be expanded and the project is anticipated to be completed Fall of 2007. After appearing at the Planning Commission last month, they received unanimous recommendation for Councilís approval of the site plan.
Barb McBeth highlighted the area of the changes being proposed including additional square footage and adding 450 additional parking spaces. A number of variances were also approved that were requested. Nordstrom was initially 4 feet over in height but they revised the plan to meet the height requirement.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello noted there were 10 conditions to the appeal. He asked if they could live with those and the applicant responded yes.
Member Mutch noted any expansion to the mall would have an impact to traffic on the surrounding roadways. He asked how the mall ring road would handle additional traffic. Barb McBeth said traffic consultants approved this and could handle the additional traffic due to the improvements in both Novi and Twelve Mile Roads. Member Mutch asked about a parking deck to limit expansion. Barb McBeth said it may be a possibility in the future but at this stage, surface parking is the only option.
Member Mutch asked about on-site pedestrian path improvements. Barb McBeth indicated that the applicant is in agreement with pedestrian connections as well as bicycle facilities.
CM-05-11- 365 Moved by Paul, seconded by Nagy; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the request subject to conditions 2-10 of John Eggert of the Taubman Company for Preliminary Site Plan approval for modifications to the Twelve Oaks Mall. The subject property is located in Section 14, on the south side of Twelve Mile Road, east of Novi Road and north of I-96, in the RC, Regional Center District. The applicant is proposing a 97,000 square foot addition to the mall, a 169,000 square foot Nordstromís Department store, an expansion of the existing Marshall Fieldís Department Store by 60,671 square feet and a new parking lot area consisting of 450 spaces.
Roll Call Vote on CM-05-11-365 Yeas: Landry, Capello, Gatt, Margolis, Mutch, Nagy, Paul
4. Approval of the request of Boulder Construction for Zoning Map Amendment 18.658 to rezone property located in Section 10, at the northeast corner of Twelve Mile and Dixon Roads from RA, Residential Acreage to OS-1, Office Service. The subject property is 3.10 acres.
Jeff Pfeiffer represented Boulder Construction. Barb McBeth noted parcels were zoned specifically surrounding the parcel and restated all the reasons cited by the Planning Commission. Member Nagy noted the Planning Commission has approved this.
Member Paul added that she was in favor of the development in this area and thinks the office space development will add to the tax base. Member Margolis appreciated the continued investment in our community. Residents nearby voiced they didnít know the property was going to be changed from residential to commercial and the Master Plan is something people should look at before they buy property. A suggestion was offered to find a way to proactively let residents know when they check zoning what the Master Plan intends because it appears that many residents think the zoning is fixed whereas the Master Plan is really something that can be changed.
CM-05-11- 366 Moved by Nagy, seconded by Paul; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: Approval of the request of Boulder Construction for Zoning Map Amendment 18.658 to rezone property located in Section 10, at the northeast corner of Twelve Mile and Dixon Roads from RA, Residential Acreage to OS-1, Office Service. The subject property is 3.10 acres.
Roll Call Vote on CM-05-11-366 Yeas: Margolis, Mutch, Nagy, Paul Landry, Capello, Gatt,
Consideration of the request of John Houser of Singh Development for Zoning Map Amendment 18.654 and Planned Rezoning Overlay SP 05-29 for property located in Section 20, south of Eleven Mile Road and west of Beck Road from R-A, Residential Acreage to R-1, One Family Residential with a Planned Rezoning Overlay. The site is approximately 38.86 acres and the applicant is proposing 58 dwelling units.
Joe Galvin, represented Singh LLC, was asking for rezoning from an RA to an R1 designation. He displayed a map of why the PRO should be developed. One parcel was owned by Ms. Kaluzny who has lived on the property for 80 years. Another parcel was owned by Mr. and Mrs. Chappel for the past 40 years and another owned by Mr. and Mrs. Gannon. These three (3) pieces of property will be difficult to build on because of the unregulated woodlands and flood plain areas, only a small portion is desirable. Given the longevity of the ownership of these parcels by their particular owners, and their reasonable investment back expectation, both personal and economic, it is an important benefit for the City to assemble these parcels for a single development. There will be a preservation of the core habitat area which will also benefit the City. This couldnít be done without the PRO function. Singh LLC is known to the city and all of the projects have been well built and they feel they are a good corporate citizen to the City.
The Planning Commission had some serious reservations and the traffic study initially presented didnít include Catholic Central and the expansion of Providence Hospital. There will be no significant impact of traffic in the area even with the updated traffic study. The other thing the Planning Commission talked about in detail was that because they didnít have 50% of the property eligible for natural features, it was determined insufficient. They reviewed this and discovered that in addition to the fact that they will add features that will preserve 54% of the site in a permanent conservation easement and additional feet of storm water storage and sedimentation control, there is more than 50% of the site in natural features that would be preserved and the problem is that one of the natural features is not included and we are allowed to use wetlands and woodlands. Without double counting the flood lands in the floodway they have an unbuildable land of 0.27 acres and that brings them over the 54% at the start. They meet the intention and the purpose of the ordinance which is to protect woodlands and wetlands, etc. They pick up drainage for 70 ľ acres within the camel together with 21.47 acres of other stuff offsite and they manage it and create sedimentation control which is necessary. If Mr. Chappel were here tonight he would explain how he takes his tractor and cleans out that drain on his property to his property line. We are going to cure an existing problem because there is no drainage control on Eleven Mile Road. They meet intention of the ordinance.
The Planning Commission also pointed to the direct count of the cluster option. They could do a cluster plan that would meet the ordinance; however, it would be invading a greater portion of the natural features. They propose to construct a roadway to relieve the city of paying for the maintenance. They also propose to extend the Eleven Mile frontage sidewalk 250 feet and propose to contribute $58,000 ($1,000 per unit) to construct additional sidewalks along Eleven Mile Road where the City could use for that purpose.
Ms. McBeth commented the property was outlined in red and located on the south side of Eleven Mile and west of Beck Road. The school property is zoned RA, to the west is ITC lines, south east is Kirkway Place and to the north is R1 zoning. Large woodlands are located on the property and they are in compliance with the master plan. This would allow 58 dwelling units, with no traffic impact. No recommendation was made and the Planning Department, in this case, doesnít recommend it because the ordinance outlines that the applicant must show the land will be enhanced typical to a R1 project and required to show a substantial public benefit, one has not been demonstrated regarding substantial ordinance deviations that are being requested.
Two major concerns with that cluster option is first, that the site qualifies under the literal application of the cluster option and second, the setbacks between the units are substandard compared with the requirements of that ordinance. The applicant has shown a willingness to work with the department to eliminate the cul de sac at the southwest corner which was approaching into the core habitat area that continues off of this site and onto the Bosco property (which is the school property). The Planning Commission recommended denial of the PRO at a recent public hearing. Ms. McBeth displayed a map showing the proposed sidewalk to be constructed.
This site does maximize residential density which is contrary to a City Council and a long stand policy of limiting additional residential density beyond what is expected in the Master Plan for land use. The criteria appropriate for R1 zoning is 1.65 units to the acre but it doesnít guarantee that it is possible to build 1.65 units on the proposed site since there are other regulatory considerations. Second, the request does not meet the literal application of the one family cluster option. Regardless of the other environmental benefits of this proposal such as the creation of additional water storage, the Planning Departmentís opinion that this site would not initially quality under the one family cluster option. Other options were discussed with the applicant. The staff recommended whether or not the public will benefit by the proposed plan in comparison to what the builder will be receiving in terms of increased density over the tradition subdivision development. Traditional subdivision platting would result in no more than 27 homes but given the preservation area the applicant is proposing 58 homes.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello thought this was a good project even though it does abut school property and some natural features.
CM-05-11- 367 Moved by Mayor Pro Tem Capello, seconded by Gatt: MOTION CARRIED: To approve the request of John Houser of Singh Development for Zoning Map Amendment 18.654 and Planned Rezoning Overlay SP 05-29 for property located in Section 20, south of Eleven Mile Road and west of Beck Road from R-A, Residential Acreage to R-1, One Family Residential with a Planned Rezoning Overlay. With a maximum of 58 dwelling units.
Member Paul is concerned about the increased demands of services from 27 to 58 homes. When we increase population, we increase demands on City Services. One of our goals is to not increase density or population. She proposed that we continue but not for all 58 homes and would like to look at the actual flood storage volume. She does not want to include that now because it is not a part of the Cityís laws. She noted the residents in the area already complain about not being able to make a left hand turn at Wixom and Eleven Mile Roads during school hours. She felt there would be two drivers per home that would add to the traffic. The Planning Commission and Planning Department unanimously did not support this. Plan Rezoning Overlay should have a public benefit. Other Singh proposals have included parks, clubhouse, etc. There is no real public benefit. The $58,000 is a small stipend for this developer and not really enough for consideration. While she appreciates sidewalks, that isnít enough to allow this development for what the city will have to do long term.
Member Nagy appreciated the efforts of Singh Development but noticed we keep increasing density and she isnít about to increase density on Beck Road. The way the proposal reads, the developers increase in density negates any public benefit. This area has mature trees, open space, woodlands and wetlands. She would have liked to have seen fewer homes. This would also create more traffic problems. Novi watershed quality is also being affected by this.
Member Gatt disagreed with Planning Commission, he felt that this is a worthwhile endeavor. The applicant has shown an enhanced land development and substantial public benefit, especially regarding the sidewalks.
Member Mutch asked questions of the Planning Department regarding the applicant being able to build a maximum 27-30 homes and what would be the impact of this. Barb McBeth said the east and south part of the site are to remain undeveloped because of the high quality regulated woodlands. Member Mutch asked regarding the density yield? Barb McBeth said some residential options allow for decreased lot sized up to 33 homes with R1 zoning. Member Mutch asked whether or not according to the regulations being proposed (in terms of how the sites are located and the setback) are those more restrictive under R1 zoning. Barb McBeth said the setbacks around the perimeter are greater but the spacing in between the homes from the right of way decreased from the typical single family platted subdivision or site condominium which would require lot lines and set backs from those lot lines. Member Mutch asked if they qualified for cluster, how would that compare? Barb McBeth said there are about 6 feet in between the homes but they could be attached under the single family cluster option, under R1 it is 20 ft. between the homes and 10 ft. to the lot lines. Member Mutch asked Mr. Galvin the starting price of these homes. Joe Galvin stated the homes will cost approximately $450,000 and will range is size from 2400-3200 square feet. Member Mutch asked if the wetlands will be maintained by the Condo Association. Mr. Galvin stated itís a material physical enhancement to what is already there. But for the omission of 2.70 acres, it qualifies in every respect.
Member Mutch asked regarding the building setbacks? Joe Galvin stated it is 15 feet on their plan. They could meet the cluster option. Member Mutch asked for clarification that the distance between the condoís proposed is 15 feet and Mr. Galvin stated, yes.
Member Mutch asked Attorney Schultz about the PRO, authorization and eligibility, regarding whether or not site restrictions are strict or limited than what is allowed by the ordinance or does it only have to be one portion of the standard? Based on statements made by Mr. Galvin and Ms. McBeth, they are strict. Tom Schultz stated the PRO says Council may or may not be inclined to rezone to what they want. The burden would fall to Singh to offer what is more restrictive. Councilís decision is, "do you agree that the intent has been met." Their submission is they will fall under one or two of those provisions. At this stage, in terms of what the Council is being asked to do, the Council determines it may approve the PRO and directs the agreement to be prepared to set forth conditions of the approval. Final consideration is whether or not those are acceptable when the final agreement is approved by Council.
Member Mutch stated the PRO doesnít exist to solely to benefit either the city or developer. It is a voluntary agreement. This is either a density transfer or increase. One option is R1 where the developer could get 33 units. As proposed they would get 58 units. That is a significant benefit to the developer. What he does like about the plan is the Woodland protection but doesnít agree with wetland creation. He objects and thought that part should come to the city for future land swap with the school. He doesnít see the general public benefit. If we increase the density, there is no general public benefit. It would be great to reduce density or transfer it from another location. Those are the types of proposals with the PRO that he would agree to. If we increase density everywhere, it will financially cause problems in the future and change the character of the city and thatís not what residents want in their future.
Member Margolis felt there was substantial benefit to the three parcels being put together and substantial conservation on the third parcel which will remain undeveloped in this proposal. She doesnít know that this would happen if these parcels werenít brought together in another development. The idea of the cluster development has met the intent or our literal interpretation of that piece. The benefit of the sidewalks would be a benefit to the community. She thinks this is a quality development that we need to support.
Mayor Landry noted the City is at a stage where what is left to develop are difficult parcels not the easy open flat upland pieces. The importance is the lot to the east looks like all wetlands and not developable and their taking over this piece and including it in their plan will be helpful in the future. The assembly in this case is beneficial. This density is in conformance with the master plan. Itís within the R1 density. It saves 98 regulated trees, they improve a drain, incorporated all three lots. Mayor Landry supported the motion.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello stated the traffic problems have been abated with the opening of the Beck Road interchange. Master plan approved it at R1 residential use and it didnít look at that particular piece to determine how many houses could be built based on the natural features, it determined the acreage and said the density is based on R1 for the entire acreage not portions of it. We planned on infrastructure based on the master plan. So the 58 units were technically in the plan.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello asked Mike Kahm about the property, would he dedicate an easement area for non motorized traffic to get from Eleven Mile to the southern property and would add that as a benefit as part of his motion.
Member Paul asked if he could clarify where the easement would be located. Mr. Kahm stated they could do it along the western (or eastern) corridor. He also stated there is a utility corridor that goes along the eastern boundary of the parcels and travels north to Providence Hospital depending when you want in that future master plan.
Member Paul asked about the driveway to a larger wetland. If they donít expand the wetland, that might not be necessary and some dry land could be given to the school or to the city. Member Paul asked Barb McBeth about R1, what is the number that meets the Master Plan? Barb McBeth said 58 is the answer as the maximum allowed. She also addressed the setbacks. The buildings are proposed to be 15 feet apart. It assumes the homes would be built in clusters. And, at least 75 feet between the clusters of homes which is not shown on the plans from Singh Development LLC.
Member Paul asked about private roads vs. public and would it be a problem in the future if they ask for it to be turned into public roads, with the setback issues will the roads be a problem for snow plows or are the roads built to our standards for public roads? Barb McBeth said Exhibit B shows the distance of the homes to the roadways to be 60 feet right-of-way and the City would never be able to accept that road because it is too close.
Member Paul asked if there will be a middle turn lane on Eleven Mile Road so people can make a left-hand turn into this subdivision. Barb McBeth said it is not recommended at this time but may be looked in more detail during preliminary site plan review.
Member Nagy wanted to clarify that this is not a discussion about Singh Development, she thinks Singh is a good developer and they have done a lot of nice projects. This is about rezoning from residential acreage RA to R1. The Master Plan is a guide and not written in stone. This is not recommended by Planning Commission and Planning Department and we should not go against their recommendation. There are so many things that donít meet the ordinance. This is about setting a precedent for any other PRO. Member Nagy would not support the motion.
Member Mutch asked Mr. Galvin about letter G, the $58,000 contribution. Mr. Galvin stated that the language would suggest it because there is no contiguous piece, it could be built as much as a half mile (or wherever the City wants). Member Mutch asked if they could disconnect that condition from the motion. Mr. Schultz agreed they could. Member Mutch would not support the motion, he didnít like the density problem and the uniformity of spacing of the cluster option and thought we should follow the rules of the ordinance.
Attorney Schultz wanted to clarify that the motion was to approve the eight conditions plus the one that was added with regard to the potential trail. The ordinance calls for a designation of the tentative conditions and a direction to the applicant. The City Attorney will have to work on an agreement and then they can come back to the Council for approval. Council has not given itís approval, but at this point we have the direction on the conditions and the requirement to work on the agreement with the idea that Council may approve this the next time it comes back.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello said it was not his intent, he understood the agreement was coming back to us, his intent was to approve the rezoning with the PRO condition upon the 9 conditions all those conditions being a benefit to the community and that they agree to provide. The benefits to the community and benefits they agree to provide. He is assuming that the agreement is going to come back to us for approval but not approval of the rezoning of the PRO overlay.
Attorney Schultz said there are optional forms of development that do work that way, like a RUD approval. This ordinance is set up specifically that says after the Planning Commissionís public hearing and their recommendation, if it appears Council may approve, then it directs the preparation of the agreement and specifies the tentative conditions. Then, it comes back under the agreement that Council shall make a final determination to approve, approve with conditions or deny the rezoning with the planned zoning overlay. The motion says that any approval of the rezone is conditioned on the PRO agreement that the concept of the ordinance is satisfied.
Roll Call Vote on CM-05-11-367 Yeas: Margolis, Landry, Capello, Gatt,
Nays: Mutch, Nagy, Paul,
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION - None
BREAK Ė Council recessed at 9:34 PM. and reconvened 9:50 PM.
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION Ė Part II
6. Selection of City Manager professional recruitment firms to interview on Saturday, December 3, 2005.
Mayor Landry said in our response to the quotes that we received from the five Executive Search Firms, at this time, we can open discussion regarding the protocol for reviewing proposals on Saturday.
CM-05-11- 368 Moved by Gatt, seconded by Paul; CARRIED UNAMIOUSLY: To have all five Executive Search Firms attend, give them five (5) minutes to speak, then two questions from each Council member.
Member Nagy thinks that Mr. Helwig was right that all the information we need is provided in the packets; Bennett Yeager Associates, The Par Group and The Mercer Group are all excellent.
Tia Gronlund-Fox said all five will do their best to attend. If anyone is not able to attend a replacement will be designated.
Roll Call Vote on CM-05-11-368 Yeas: Nagy, Paul, Landry, Capello, Gatt, Margolis, Mutch
7. City Council Committee Appointments
Consultant Review Committee Member Paul, Member Gatt and Member Margolis
Ordinance Review Committee Mayor Landry, Mayor Pro Tem Capello, Member Mutch and alternate Member Nagy
Rules Committee Mayor Landry, Member Gatt and Member Margolis
South Eastern Council of Governments Member Mutch and an alternate Member Paul
Capital Improvement Program Member Nagy and Member Paul
South West Oakland Cable Commission Mayor Landry
Storm Water Management Committee Member Nagy
Council Organization Rules and Order of Business
Mayor Pro Tem Capello would like send this to the rules committee now that we have one.
CM-05-11- 369 Moved by Capello, seconded by Gatt; CARRIED UNAMIOUSLY: To send Organization Rules and Order of Business to rules committee.
Roll Call Vote on CM-05-11-369 Yeas: Nagy, Paul, Landry, Capello, Gatt, Margolis, Mutch
Acceptance of Churchill Crossing Subdivision No. 1 Streets, Water Mains, and Sanitary Sewer; and adoption of Act 51 New Street Resolution accepting Cavendish Court, Cavendish Avenue East, Cavendish Drive West, Churchill Boulevard, Thatcher Court, and Thatcher Drive as public, adding 5,199 lineal feet or 0.99 miles of roadway to the Cityís street system.
CM-05-11- 370 Moved by Nagy, seconded by Paul; CARRIED UNAMIOUSLY: To accept the Churchill Crossing Subdivision No. 1 Streets, Water Mains, and Sanitary Sewer; and adoption of Act 51 New Street Resolution accepting Cavendish Court, Cavendish Avenue East, Cavendish Drive West, Churchill Boulevard, Thatcher Court, and Thatcher Drive as public, adding 5,199 lineal feet or 0.99 miles of roadway to the Cityís street system.
Roll Call Vote on CM-05-11-370 Yeas: Paul, Landry, Capello, Gatt, Margolis, Mutch, Nagy
CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS FOR COUNCIL ACTION: Consent Agenda items which have been removed for discussion and/or action.
B. Resolution for the Approval of the Deficit Elimination Plan for the Ice Arena.
Member Margolis asked for clarification from Kathy Smith-Roy regarding the plan to increase revenue and decrease costs. Based on the history, it doesnít sound like this is the case. Is this the recapture of the excess in interest that was paid when the bonds were refinanced. Kathy Smith-Roy said the State recommends refinancing within five years.
Member Margolis also saw in the fiscal audit that the same two things were presented. Kathy Smith-Roy said itís not actually a cost reduction or an increase in revenue, itís the refinancing.
CM-05-11- 371 Moved by Margolis, seconded by Gatt; CARRIED UNAMIOUSLY: To approve the resolution of the Deficit Elimination Plan for the Ice Arena.
D. Approval to award alternate bid for a Logging Recorder to DSS Corporation, the low bidder, in the amount of $33,595.
Member Nagy asked for clarification regarding 31 pages of specifications and DSS Corporation does not meet them.
Chief Molloy said once it was initially approved to move forward with this the communications manager from dispatch Rob Petty, our Information Technology Manager and Purchasing met and developed the specifications. They also held pre-bid meetings with both DSS and Digivoice, where everyone was given the opportunity to ask questions and have them answered. The confusion lies in the amounts, actually Digivoice was almost double in price and DSS Corporation was significantly lower. We chose the alternate bid which passed the Purchasing Department who had Legal Council review it. Itís the recommendation of the entire team we move forward with the lowest bid. The DSS Corp. bid was $33,595, the Digivoice bid $72,641.
CM-05-11- 372 Moved by Nagy, seconded by Gatt; CARRIED UNAMIOUSLY: To approve the award of a Logging Recorder to DSS Corporation, the low bidder, in the amount of $33,595.
MAYOR AND COUNCIL ISSUES
1. Future executive session for bargaining unit update.
Member Gatt proposed that after the next Council meeting to hold an executive session and have Human Resources brief us on the ongoing negotiations. It is planned for the December 19th Council Meeting, especially since there wasnít a Legal update in the month of November.
2. Youth Council Congress of Cities
Member Paul received information regarding a Congress of Cities in Charlotte, North Carolina on December 10, 2005. She asked if a representative from the Youth Council could go, be represented and get some ideas from other Youth Councils from around the country.
Mr. Helwig suggested that in March, a regional Youth Council meeting will be held in Michigan which would keep the costs down. Also mentioned was Youth Council becoming involved in recreational activities, directing videos, community education work, computer graphics, etc. Ms. Paul thought Youth Council should give their suggestions about what is void in Parks and Recreation.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello asked what the cost is for students to attend Michigan function. Mr. Helwig stated they will come back to City Council with the amounts for attending.
3. City Personnel contributing in the schools
Member Paul noted there were several articles regarding sharing information about Youth Council with the High School students in which Sheryl Walsh was involved. Clay Pearson has also gone to the middle school on career day. Steve Printz from the Forestry Department has helped with Arbor Day. Ms. Paul thought it would be positive for our community to have Government employees disseminating information to students that would trickle down to parents and teachers then hopefully closing the gap between schools and government. Mr. Helwig appreciated the suggestion on other ways to partner with the schools.
Member Paul also mentioned that it might be a good idea to have a joint semi-annually meeting with the School Board and City Council especially with having new Council and School Board Members, a new Mayor and a new Superintendent.
4. Community group of people for financing recommendations for funding pension benefits
Member Paul noted there had been discussion about funding pension benefits for retirees. Many businesses in our city have dealt with these problems, she suggested tapping into the community to give us recommendations and information. Possibly a task force could be set up during the month of January 2006 when we are doing our appointments to Boards and Commissions.
Mr. Helwig noted that anything we can do for more long range planning, this is one to ponder because task forces can be effective if they have a specific charge and a limited time frame. He would like to hear about what the true mission would be for the community.
Member Paul wanted to clarify that there would be a 4-6 months maximum time-frame starting in January in order for this to be completed when the budget is supposed to be done. She doesnít feel the Council has all the answers and felt it would be a good idea to have more minds to review it. Weíre talking about $17 Million which is huge.
5. Trust Fund update
Member Mutch noted that everyone received a copy of the letter from Mr. Auler, himself and Michigan DNR stating they didnít consider the match grant from the Friends of Novi Parks to be considered secured and set our proposal aside. The first step it has to be reviewed by the staff which they make a recommendation to the trust fund board (which meets next Monday and Tuesday) then the second step is the trust fund board has to decide how to allocate the funding. Without addressing the issue of the secured match, ours will not be considered.
Mr. Mutch said Mr. Auler will be attending the meeting to make the case why he doesnít feel the determination by the DNR is correct. He asked to have this item on the agenda for Saturdayís meeting to investigate other alternatives.
Member Gatt asked for clarification on what type of alternative would be proposed such as the City using their funds. Member Mutch asked if that would be a possibility or does the DNR need to be contacted to get clarification as to what exactly will be needed for the secured match.
Mr. Helwig stated this was discussed during the summer that most cities make the secured match. We shouldnít be surprised with this result as it was proposed by Friends of Novi Parks to secure the match. But if the Council feels this is a major priority for funding, there are ways to do that. The only other solution would be for another entity to provide the check. We need to give Mr. Auler something so it will be taken seriously. Member Gatt stated the Council voted not to fund this project and we shouldnít have the administration work on this when the city wonít fund it.
Member Nagy stated that we just rezoned an area which has increased the density in that area, we can de decrease the density in another area somewhere else. She felt the money for the sidewalks could be used elsewhere. If it benefits the city at large we need to look at alternate sources of funding. She would like to review this item because she felt that Mr. Auler and the Administration made a concerted effort, such a presentation done in Lansing including a video, which was well received, for this project.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello thought Mr. Helwig said unless we have a check, there is no alternative. Mr. Helwig said the DNR is going to make their decision next week and the match needs to be secure and in a form that is there. Member Capello asked if there was something we could come back with as an alternative to the security pledged by the Friends of Novi parks. Member Mutch thought at least the Administration should be given direction to at least look for alternatives.
Mr. Auler stated the funds must be in place and secured Monday evening and traditionally through the City by means of a resolution. He doesnít believe the State would accept anything less than funding from the City unless Friends of Novi Parks would come with a letter saying they have the money secure in hand or another organization that could come forward with Friends of Novi Parks that evening. We are fighting an uphill battle at this point.
Mayor Pro Tem agrees with Member Mutch that alternatives can be searched and come back with alternatives. He is against using City funds because he promised residents he wouldnít do that. He supports Mr. Auler to just come back with a recommendation because itís not worth fighting an uphill battle.
Member Margolis wouldnít support spending City money on this because she has written grants and secured means money in hand. Staff time means money spent too unless something comes up showing a terrific opportunity or someone comes up with a check. Mr. Helwig stated it sounds like there is nothing for staff to work on this week and that it really canít be added to Saturdayís agenda and it will not be an agenda item.
Mayor Landry stated Mr. Auler will have to go to the meeting with whatever Friends of Novi Parks arms him with. Otherwise, no other time will be spent on this.
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION - None
There being no further business to come before Council the meeting was adjourned at 10:32 P.M.
David Landry, Mayor Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk
Transcribed by Kristine Niemi
Approved: December 19, 2005