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REGULAR MEETING OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NOVI
Mayor Landry called the meeting to order at 7:00 P.M.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
ROLL CALL: Mayor Landry, Mayor Pro Tem Capello-absent, Council Members Gatt, Margolis, Mutch, Nagy, Paul
ALSO PRESENT: Clay Pearson, City Manager
Pamela Antil, Assistant City Manager
Tom Schultz, City Attorney
Barbara McBeth, Director of Planning
Benny McCusker, Superintendent of the Department of Public Works
Mayor Landry advised that Mayor Pro Tem Capello was on his way to the meeting, and had requested that the OST Ordinance be pulled from the agenda. Mayor Landry asked Council to leave the item where it was, and if Mayor Pro Tem Capello was not present in time, a motion could be made to remove it.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Member Nagy added, under Mayor and Council Issues, item #2 Energy Efficient Lights.
CM-06-09-248 Moved by Paul, seconded by Margolis; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the agenda as amended.
Roll call vote on CM-06-09-248 Yeas: Gatt, Margolis, Mutch, Nagy, Paul,
Mayor Pro Tem Capello arrived at 7:11 P.M.
PRESENTATIONS - None
Member Gatt said the Consultant Review Committee met recently, and were reviewing some of the law firms that had worked for the City. They were scheduled to meet again in a month or so, and hoped to have some information for Council at that time.
2. CITY MANAGER
Introduction of Pamela Antil, Assistant City Manager
Mr. Pearson introduced Pamela Antil, the new Assistant City Manager. He noted they were very excited about what she would offer the City. Mr. Pearson said Ms. Antil came to Novi with a wealth of experience; she was the Assistant City Manager for the City of
Ann Arbor. He said Ms. Antil lived in Plymouth with her husband Dave and their two young daughters. Mr. Pearson said she would be a great addition to the Novi team.
Mayor Landry welcomed Ms. Antil and her family to Novi, and said all of Council was very much looking forward to working with her.
Ms. Antil replied she was very pleased to be in Novi, and excited to serve the Novi Community.
Mr. Pearson thanked Mayor Landry, Council, and staff for their support for the Fall for Novi event held last Saturday at the Civic Center. He said it was a tremendous City wide open house with a lot of displays from City departments, and an open house at the Police Department. There was also a lot of participation from Providence Hospital and the 52nd District Court. Almost 1,000 residents attended and about 600 Marcus burgers were given out, which was always a treat and a good draw. Mr. Pearson said what he thought was best about this event was that everyone would go back and tell their neighbors about it.
Rob Hayes shared construction updates. He said this year they were able to do the full $1.5 million worth of neighborhood road work. The asphalt and concrete street repairs had all been going very well, and he was pleased with the construction contractors they have had. The construction had been very smooth, and he appreciated everyoneís patience during the times of inconvenience.
Mr. Hayes noted there was also the water main on Beck Road between Grand River and Eleven Mile Road. This would increase the pressure and reliability of the Cityís water system, and it should be completed in about two weeks.
Mr. Pearson said the Eleven Mile culvert west of Meadowbrook Road was scheduled to be completed this Friday, but was already completed as far as the motoring public. They had a great contractor, great team with the staff working on it, and it opened up two full weeks early. He said they appreciated Councilís support in budgeting and getting this done.
Mr. Pearson said the base was being put down on the Eleven Mile Road sidewalk/pathway on the north side of Eleven Mile between Beck and Wixom Roads, and would be complete this fall.
Member Paul said on Eleven Mile there was a section of sidewalk where there were no homes, which would be the very farthest from Beck Road. She asked if that would be a sidewalk because it looked like it dead ended there. Mr. Pearson said they were still working on parcel acquisitions, and there would be sidewalks when they had the land.
Member Nagy asked if the neighborhood roads were completed. Mr. McCusker said the concrete streets project was about 70% complete, and the contractors were now working in Chase Farms on Picadilly, and continuing with restoration on other streets that were substantially complete. The asphalt streets were a little more than 50% complete, and the contractor was now working in the LeBost, Border Hill area. Member Nagy said some patching had been done on Cranbrooke, and one of their concerns was the asphalt shoulder put in several years ago. She said the swales were failing, and the curb on Cranbrooke, going north on the east side, water constantly went over the road. She wondered if that could be alleviated during this season, or if there were any plans to include it in the neighborhood street program.
Mr. McCusker said there were no plans this year for Cranbrooke but they would look into it to see if it should be added in the future. Member Nagy said the big concern she had was the curb with the water going over it. She said that area was 30 plus years old, and she was concerned about deterioration of the road. Mr. McCusker said they would look into it.
3. DEPARTMENTAL - None
4. ATTORNEY - None
Anna Monika Jackson said at the end of June residents in Orchard Ridge received a letter regarding the shooting range. It was in June, it was vacation time, and a lot of people either didnít get the letter or didnít read it. She said some of the residents of Orchard Ridge circulated a petition among their neighbors, asked what they thought about it, and got the petition signed. Ms. Jackson thought Ms. Margolis didnít understand it. Mayor Landry explained the rules of audience participation and that if there needed to be administrative follow up they would be happy to do that. Ms. Jackson said they were told there would be two more meetings in July and August but there were no meetings. She said they were wondering when the next meeting would be and what would become of it. She stated she was sure Council had seen the petition and the 125 names. She asked that Council not forget about this. Mayor Landry asked Mr. Pearson to follow up with this, and give Ms. Jackson the status of this situation.
CONSENT AGENDA (Approval/Removals)
CM-06-09-249 Moved by Gatt, seconded by Nagy; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve the Consent Agenda as presented.
Roll call vote on CM-06-09-249 Yeas: Gatt, Margolis, Mutch, Nagy, Paul, Capello, Landry
A. Approve Minutes of:
1. September 11, 2006 Regular meeting
B. Enter Executive Session immediately following the regular meeting of September 25, 2006 in the Council Annex for the purpose of discussing pending litigation and privileged correspondence from legal counsel.
C. Approval to award bid for Ella Mae Power Park irrigation system to Marc Dutton Irrigation Inc., the lowest bidder, in the amount of $65,828.00.
D. Approval of License Agreement with Yorkshire Place Homeowners Association for the installation of a subdivision entrance sign within the right-of-way of Emerald Forest Drive, west of Taft Road.
E. Acceptance of Trans-X Building water main as a public utility. The site is located at 25000 Trans-X Drive and is Parcel ID No. 50-22-23-326-014.
F. Acceptance of Marty Feldman Chevrolet storm drainage facility maintenance agreement. The site is located at 42355 Grand River Avenue and is Parcel ID No. 50-22-23-251-015.
G. Acceptance of Caring Nurses site water main and sanitary sewer as public utilities, and approval of the Caring Nurses site storm drainage facility maintenance agreement. The site is Parcel ID No. 50-22-12-200-049.
H. Approval to award Plansight LLC, the lowest quotation, a contract in the amount of $14,900 for the development and hosting of the Cityís Internet Mapping Portal.
I. Acceptance of a Conservation Easement for Miracle Software, located on the south side of Grand River Avenue, west of Taft Road.
J. Approval of salary increase for City Clerk in the amount of 3.75% retroactive to July 1, 2006.
K. Approval of License Agreement for Arrowon Pines Condo Association for the installation of a decorative street light within the right-of-way of Novi Road.
L. Approval of Claims and Accounts Ė Warrant No. 729
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION Ė Part I
1. Approval of Sikich Report Site Plan and Building Process Improvement Recommendations:
a) Implementation to fund new positions: Engineer-In-Training, full-time Building Inspector; and a part-time Seasonal Clerk;
b) Woodland Ordinance Amendment No. 06-125.20 to amend Chapter 37 Woodlands to require tree inventories on woodlands plans to be verified by a Registered Landscape Architect, Certified Arborist, or Forester. Ė First Reading; and
c) Building Department Staff Training Ė Initial Budget Allocation
Mr. Pearson said several weeks ago Council received the Sikich report, which was a study Council initiated with an outside firm to do an analysis of the Building Department processes and site plans. It started out and ended with customer feedback from the development community, trying to look for ways to maintain high quality standards, and eliminate any extra unnecessary work. Mr. Pearson said number one out of the
customer feedback sessions were improvement time for deliverables. He said there were a series of recommendations that were taken very seriously, and a color coded chart was prepared. He said there were several items that would affect this implementation. However, they were serious on delivering the results Council endorsed
with the guideposts, in terms of improving process times. Mr. Pearson said the study identified 2-1/2 positions that needed to be added in order to deliver on any of these improvements, which was reduced from what had originally been considered. However, they felt these positions were essential to make any kind of improvement, keep up with the existing work load that was in the pipeline, and other major projects Council was aware of. One of the positions would be a building inspector dedicated for the routine plan reviews, which would help shave off projects so the other inspectors could focus on the commercial, and other items that were going on. Mr. Pearson said the Sikich report noted inspectors were doing quite a bit more than any of the suggested averages for the country. Mr. Pearson said, not that they couldnít do more, but Novi inspectors were way over the extremes of what a normal case load would be for daily inspections. He said the seasonal clerical would be a year round employee, but would work more often during the construction season. He said there would also be an engineer in training position because thereís a tremendous amount of site plan reviews focused on the engineering items. These items get more and more complicated with storm water, etc., and have always been done in house.
Mr. Pearson said there were a lot of advantages to the positions recommended. There are sufficient funds in the Building Department allocation in terms of how they just closed out the last fiscal year. Mr. Pearson said those funds would fund these positions for the foreseeable future and on, with additional fees that come in.
Mr. Pearson said the engineer in training would be one of the administrative officers, and with the new A Plan package there would be no traditional legacy costs. This position would be under the new benefits package that had a defined contribution program and retiree health care savings account. They would be a practicing engineer
who would work with our professional engineers for four to five years, and move on to a full PE position somewhere else. He thought these positions were the most rational in response to the report, keeping the City lean but also being able to deliver on the improvements.
Mr. Pearson said the other ordinance change would be for a certified arborist who understood trees and would do the tree surveys. He said this had been an issue identified in the Sikich report, and would require an amendment to the woodlands ordinance if Council wanted to pursue it.
Mr. Pearson said training was a huge component of the recommendations. They talked about customer service training, process improvement, communication, and this would get an allocation so they could identify training needs. They would want to identify the measures first, and then train the people. Mr. Pearson strongly requested Councilís consideration of these items.
Member Gatt asked if the clerical position would be part time, and Mr. Pearson said yes. Member Gatt thanked the staff for the proposal and said they had his full support. He thought what was killing cities, counties, townships, and States were legacy costs.
Member Gatt said of the three people hired, the part time person would not receive legacy benefits. He said the building inspector would be in the union, and that had not been addressed yet. However, the engineer in training would not receive retirement or medical benefits when they retired and that was huge. He said they had taken steps to
corral a problem that was killing other government entities. Member Gatt said, thanks to Ms. Smith-Roy, steps had been taken years ago to curb legacy costs. He thanked Mr. Pearson and Ms. Smith-Roy for all their hard work because the citizens of Novi would get 2.5 new people, and would not have to worry about how it would affect them 30 years from now.
Member Paul said the engineer in training would have some benefits they would pay into as well as a contribution from the City. Mr. Pearson said it would be "pay as you go" and would recognize those costs immediately. The City would be contributing but it would not be the long term obligation associated with traditional legacy costs. He said the costs would be what Council would see in the attachment. She said the part time seasonal clerical position would not have legacy costs, but the full time building inspector would. Mr. Pearson said with the current bargaining unit there would be no way around that. He said they are, in good faith, negotiating all these contracts. This would be one of those contracts that any retirements, when refilled, would come in under a new contract.
Member Paul stated she would not support a full time building inspector, but could support the part time clerical and the engineer in training. She said when talking earlier about a full time building inspector, she agreed to a temporary position only while these big projects were underway. She didnít want any legacy costs accrued in addition to what the City already had. Member Paul said they were trying to recoup some of the money that was put towards this entity, but they were not out of the woods by any means, nor was any other City in this State. She said some had declared bankruptcy and some had asked the voters for a bond, and she didnít want to add any legacy costs to the tax payer; it was not fiscally responsible and was not in agreement with what she stated in the past. She would support a temporary building person, paid out of the fees accrued from projects such as Providence Hospital and the mall. She could support B, the Woodlands Ordinance, because it made sense to have a registered person looking at the woodland plans to be verified. She would also support a portion of C.
Member Margolis noted Council took an important step to have professionals review the Building and Planning Departments, City processes, and offer recommendations on how the processes should go forward. She noted she had heard at the Council table that they didnít want to pay for reviews and studies, and have them sit on a shelf. Member Margolis said this was Councilís opportunity to not let a study by professionals, paid for by the City, sit on a shelf and not get implemented. Member Margolis said one of the recommendations in the Sikich report that she felt strongly about was the measurement. She felt it was important that as improvements were being made to the process to do certain measurements of how long the process was taking. Also, that they look to see the affect of the staffing changes, changes being implemented to improve those measurements over time, or an accountability of where the City was putting their money. She asked Mr. Pearson if he had comments on that process. Mr. Pearson said Ms. Antil would be in charge of that, and they took that very seriously because that was how they would measure progress, and make improvements in time and quality of reviews. Mr. Pearson said in the appendix of the Sikich report there was a questionnaire. Staff members would go back and see what they could reconstruct of how to meet those benchmarks internally for the last number of months they had access to. Then they would identify the cities and send that out to prepare themselves to go forward. He noted they would report to Council on a quarterly basis.
Member Margolis said that was what she was looking for when she saw these improvements in place and also liked the benchmarks against other cities, but was most interested in how we were doing against ourselves. How were we doing today, and when these changes were implemented how we would be doing three to six months from now. She stated she would support these proposals, understood about the legacy costs but thought it had to be made very clear what legacy costs were. Member Margolis said legacy costs are costs from the past that have not been paid into with current dollars. The budget set up for these positions would pay in now to put the money away to pay for the things that would be needed in the future. Member Margolis said Ms. Smith-Roy had done a great job of putting the City on a pay as you go basis. She said what Council got back from the professionals was the Building Department was understaffed and doing too much work for the amount of people there were. Member Margolis said she was looking for the professionals to tell her how they were staffed. She said one of the things commented on from City staff was the audit report that the Building Department had done a couple months ago. She said one of the things in the report had to do with the training of the Building Department, the importance of keeping them up to date on various things, the staffing needed for the business community, and the safety of the people in the community. The Building Department makes sure the buildings are safe for the people who live and work in them. She said Council had complained about the Building Department for a long time, and now the professionals were telling them what they needed to do the job they are being asked to do. Council canít turn their backs and ask them to do it without the resources they need; they must be supportive.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello noted that a while back he opposed any additional full time staff, and philosophically he still believed that; however, he agreed with Member Margolis after the Sikich report showed this was very much needed to expedite their process for better service. He commented that after their recommendations, he found it very hard to deny them what they asked for in answer to Councilís request to fix the Building and Planning Departmentís review process. He stated he would vote in favor of this, and thought it was important, coming up on various union negotiations, for the citizens to understand why they were going to be so hard on health care benefits. He said an engineer in training salary would be $42,000 a year, and his health care benefits would be $17,000 per year.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello asked about the arborist and what it would save the City. Mr. Pearson replied it would save in terms of getting a quality submittal that actually made sense. He said there had been a couple cases where someone didnít know what they were talking about regarding tree identification and health. They submitted a plan that said there were 100 trees, and recommendations and plan reviews were based on that, but when verification was made, it was not accurate. Therefore, it caused problems for the City and the applicant who was paying for it. He said there would now be people trained to provide the correct information and would be a real asset. Mayor Pro Tem Capello commented the development community had been frustrated that they paid a professional for the information they needed, and then had to pay a fee to the City for the Cityís consultant or staff to go out and do the exact same thing. He said the developers recommended that in certain areas, and this could be a prime area, identify a list of 4 or 5 City approved arborists, foresters, or landscapers, let the developer pay them directly, and have only one study. Mayor Pro Tem Capello thought the developers would be more than happy to pay one of the Cityís consultants. He suggested the ordinance be amended to reflect something to that affect rather than have a double layer of identification reviews, comments back and another review.
Mr. Pearson said this was trying to do that without totally eliminating a City review. He said he had not heard that as much with the wetlands where there are people making their submittals. Then they have their professionals, and professionals disagree, discuss it, and negotiate. He thought the woodlands, even in the Sikich report, identified that more often, and this would get to the point where there was less of the City doing their work, which would alleviate some of the stress. This would also make sure the applicant got good information up front. Mayor Pro Tem Capello said he agreed with Mr. Pearson about the wetlands because thatís more controversial than any other review, but he was not saying they would waive the Cityís inspection. He said they would find 3 to 5 certified arborists, registered forester and landscape architects who wanted to do this on the Cityís behalf. The applicant would pick one of those five City consultants, pay them and be done with it, and both parties would accept whatever the results were. Mr. Pearson said in the last paragraph of the Sikich report they spoke to that, and he discussed it with Mr. Schultz who would tell Council he had concerns, and that this was different than a review. It was the actual site plan creation, and he would desire a separation and check of professionals. Mayor Pro Tem Capello asked if it could be done as an option if they chose to hire their own consultant, and then have the City review that or pay someone on the list. He said if a person on the list was not doing a good job, they could be taken off the list.
Mr. Schultz thought there were really two issues, one was having the list available that Council could add and remove, but the problem was the perception of who got on the list, who was removed and why. He said it could be an issue for Council as to how they created the list and whether favoritism was being shown as a City with particular professionals. He said the other thing was that instead of a review, it was an actual preparation of a plan. Therefore, that person would seal it, indicate he looked at it, and certify that everything was healthy and where he said it was. If these are people the City required a developer to use and it turned out there was some sort of professional negligence, the issue would be whether the City had some kind of responsibility. Mr. Schultz didnít think the answer was yes, but did think it would become an issue. He said preparation of the plan was what was different about this. Mayor Pro Tem Capello asked if he had put a lot of thought into this, or was it an absolute no from his viewpoint. Mr. Schultz stated he didnít do a long detailed opinion. He took the request from Mr. Pearson and put language in he had seen in other model and local ordinances, which was at least a stop gap. If Council wanted to consider additional options, like a list, he would be happy to do more than give the short opinion Council received. Mayor Pro Tem Capello asked that more information from Mr. Schultz be available when it came back for the Second Reading. Mr. Schultz said he would do that.
Member Nagy thought the alternatives were a good solution for the woodlands, but was not prepared to make a decision this evening to choose firms for the developers to pick from. She thought Mr. Schultz had made some very good points that needed review.
She stated she was for changing the process, and thought it was a problem for the City that some of the plans for the audit of the trees were not done by the appropriate person and created more work for the City.
Member Nagy said, regarding some of the other positions, she appreciated the fact that the financial aspect of the engineer in training had been broken down. She asked what $50.00 PP meant in regard to retiree health care. Mr. Pearson answered it meant per pay period. She asked if that was what the employee contributed, and Mr. Pearson replied that would be the Cityís contribution per pay period. Member Nagy said the items of health care, pension, retiree health care savings, office and operating supplies would total $77,000 for the 2006-2007 fiscal year. She asked what the 8% under pension meant, and Mr. Pearson replied it was the new administrative defined contribution plan. He explained that the City would provide 8% and the salaried employee would contribute 3%. Member Nagy appreciated the information regarding employee expenditures for office supplies, operating supplies, and data processing. She asked what the $5,000 capital outlay was. Mr. Pearson replied that money would be for their work station, software, computer, etc.
Member Nagy remarked that with Providence Hospital coming in, some departments have more work, and she asked what the anticipated completion date was. Mr. Pearson said it was 2008, and there would also be medical offices with doctorís suites, an orthopedic center, hotel, and retail. She asked what the anticipated date for campus build out was; Mr. Pearson said they anticipated 3 to 4 years. Member Nagy said approximately two years from now the tower would be completed.
Member Nagy commented the anticipated costs for the building inspector would be $87,075 for the 2006-2007 fiscal year. She said the engineer in training and building inspector would total $167,184, and her concern was what would happen down the
road. She noted less plans were coming before the Planning Commission, there was a project that withdrew, and one project that had never been built. She thought with the economic times as they were it would be common sense to assume building would be slowing down. Member Nagy believed the City was at 70% build out, and in a year or so would be at 75% build out. She was concerned about the future costs of these positions, and asked if they would just let these people go in 3 to 5 years. Mr. Pearson said the engineer in training would go through the process, and would not settle for being an engineer in training once they have their PE. Member Nagy thought that would depend on how the economy was, and whether there was a demand for that profession. She thought there were a lot of unanswered questions with regard to finances, and that the long term costs for a building inspector was quite hefty, because by 2008-2009 the total capital outlay would be $92,130. Member Nagy was hesitant to vote for this but realized there were Building Department funds for the position. Mr. Pearson said the Building Department had finished last year $180,000 to the good. She noted she was having a hard time with the engineer in training because the City also hired consultants, and that department was becoming quite expensive. Member Nagy didnít see an improving economy, and was unsure there would be much building going on. She said once a building inspector was hired and was part of the union, they would not move on and would stay with the City forever, unless someone older was hired who would only stay a short time. She said the Building Department had been discussed in the past, and seemed to be the department that had the most burden, and she was willing to consider that; however, she would not consider an engineer in training. She said the City had four engineers now plus consultants. Member Nagy understood the need for the part time clerical, and liked the idea of shifting the burden of the actual preparation of the site plan, regarding trees and wetlands, to be done by professionals who would seal and certify the plans.
Member Mutch said what he liked about the recommendations that had come forward was they were not as extensive as what was originally requested during the budget. He said coming in with fewer people in the Building Department was good, and that alone helped show some of the value of both the Building and Planning Departments together. He said they didnít need the number of people they were originally looking to put in the Building Department, but there were some needs there. He clarified that the funding for the building inspector would come from the Building Department budget, which came from building fees specifically limited to those kinds of expenditures. He asked if that was correct for this position and the steno clerk, and Mr. Pearson said yes. Member Mutch said the engineer in training, and all the cost associated with that would come out of the General Fund. Mr. Pearson said it would also be supported by review fees. Member Mutch said he would support the positions. He said regarding the building inspector, and to a lesser degree the engineer in training, he agreed with Member Nagy in the sense that Novi was a maturing community with significant projects on the table now with Providence Hospital and Twelve Oaks Mall. These projects are putting a significant demand on the Building Department. He said even as they move into that phase where there would be redevelopment and improvements in the community, the reality was there just would not be the kind of demand for inspection and reviews that there had been in the past. Therefore, he thought the building inspector position would have to transition to something else. He said he would expect Administration to, as people retired from the Building Department, re-evaluate the staffing needs in relation to the demands placed on that department from reviews. At the point they could no longer justify that position, it would no longer be funded. He said this had been done with other positions in the City. They had consolidated them or simply didnít fill the position as someone retired, and he would expect the same approach with the engineer in training.
As the City Manager explained, the engineer in training would be someone who would be with Novi for 4 or 5 years, get fully licensed, and then have a number of opportunities open up for them. He would expect Administration to determine whether the work demands continued to justify the cost of the position, and if not, it would be eliminated. He felt the same about the part time clerk position. Member Mutch saw these positions as short term positions. He said he worked in a municipality where they had a fully staffed Building Department and within two or three years they had to get rid of at least half of the employees, and as painful as it was to cut budgets, it was even more painful to ask people to leave. He said when the City had opportunities through retirement or employee turn over, those were the best times to re-evaluate those positions. Member Mutch said in terms of the building inspector, because that position was fully funded by review fees, obviously as those review fees dwindled, that position would decline. It would eventually reach a point where it didnít make sense from a work load or financial perspective to keep that person in place.
Member Mutch said as he was reading the language for the woodlands and ordinance amendment, it spoke only to the tree inventory. He commented he had the same thought as Mayor Pro Tem Capello did when he was thinking about how the woodland reviews and tree inventories were handled. He thought it would be helpful to have a list of people who knew the ordinances, processes and were people who they could point developers to as people who knew what they were doing. He thought they might be talking about two different things. The ordinance change he was reading was strictly for inventory and not for any kind of evaluation or review, which was how the staff did it. He thought the change was necessary and was open to any other suggestions, but what was before Council now was fairly limited, and he would support that. He said the training that was recommended was funded, and more information regarding this was what they planned on doing. Mr. Pearson said this would be out of that building obligation that was referenced earlier, was available now, and would be to broaden that to more of the customer service skills. Member Mutch said that was fine and he would support that. He would support these positions but as there were retirements and turnovers, he would expect these positions to be re-evaluated.
Mayor Landry noted that over the past 5 years, the City had heard that the City of Novi and the Building Department were difficult to deal with because they were slow to get plans approved, itís difficult to get something through, etc. He said the Council decided to do something about it and hired a neutral third party professional, the Sikich Group, for over $30,000, and he thought it was the absolute right thing to do. They hired a professional to come in and look at our department top to bottom and make recommendations on how to fix it. He said Sikich issued a report and right at the top of their list was to hire these three positions. He said if committed to fixing the problem, these three positions needed to be hired or else all they were doing was talking, and doing nothing about the problem. The point had been made that perhaps the building boom would only be for the next 5 to 8 years in Novi, and that was probably true. He thought that was precisely the reason they needed to be added now because Council didnít have time to decide two years from now whether to add these people. Mayor Landry said they needed to be hired now or the need would still be there, the buildings would not be inspected properly, and the process would not run smoothly. The build out was expected to be between 2015 and 2020 so there was 9 to 14 years to do something about this, and after that it would be too late. He said the time to add these people and make the Building Department run very efficiently was now. He agreed with the previous speaker that they could add these positions now, and he would also expect that as the demand for the Building Department efforts reduced, they would deal with it through attrition. So the legacy costs donít bother him and he felt that the previous speaker was right on the money. Mayor Landry said he was looking at the report from the Administration and the first sentence in the second paragraph was "these 2.5 positions are essential". Mayor Landry said the Sikich Group, Administration and Council had all heard the complaints and it was up to Council to do something about it.
Mayor Landry stated he wholeheartedly supported the addition of the three positions. He said they could not contract these out because they had to be integrated into the whole building process and needed to be a part of the team. Mayor Landry thought they owed this to the residents, business community and to the future of this City. He said they were dealing with a limited time frame and the time to act was now. He believed this was an excellent move, and couldnít think of money being better spent than on the Building Department in the time of its highest need. He stated he would wholeheartedly support this proposal.
CM-06-09-250 Moved by Gatt, seconded by Nagy; MOTION CARRIED:
To approve the Sikich Report site plan, and building process improvement recommendations of A. Implementation to fund new positions being the engineer in training position, the full time building inspector position and a part time seasonal clerk, B. that the Woodland Ordinance Amendment #06-125.20 to amend Chapter 37 Woodlands to require tree inventories on woodland plans to be verified by a registered landscape architect, certified arborist, or forester, and that the First Reading be approved and C. the Building Department staff training the initial budget allocations be approved.
Member Paul said her concern with the building inspector was the actual legacy costs. She said when running for Council she learned from former Mayor Lou Csordas to decrease legacy costs. She said when she looked at just three years of legacy costs the first year the salary was $50,994 but the actual legacy costs including pension, social security, insurance, workers compensation, etc. was $32,000, in 2007-2008 it would be $34,599, and in 2008-2009 it would be $37,470. Member Paul didnít think that was a fair perspective, and still thought a temporary person was something that was valid. In the past two years, a part time clerical position was added. She said what concerned her was they were talking about the Building Department, we have all heard the concerns, and want to improve that department, and Sikich was hired. She wasnít saying these people shouldnít be hired, she was saying she didnít want to add the legacy costs, and wanted temporary people. Member Paul said the one department that wasnít addressed at all was Assessing, and it was the only department in the last five years that had decreased staff. She said the full time person that was in Assessing went to Planning. She commented the Assessing Department had to go out and look at every single building material that was used to assess the cost of what the taxes would come in at. She said with every building project their amount of work went up too, and
Council was not addressing that whatsoever. She asked Mr. Pearson if he thought the Assessing Department could handle the amount of inspections they were being asked to do, as well as the building. Mr. Pearson said he wasnít prepared to give an analysis, as it would be a separate issue after the fact and after build out of the community, because that was truly when cost maintenance would be known. She requested something back from Mr. Pearson and Mr. Schultz on this issue, and asked if they could have a list like the engineers used when sending bids out.
Mr. Schultz thought the charge here, with a couple of Council members saying they are interested in the list idea, will be open to everything when they look at the question. He would be happy to report in the off week packet on what the options would be in that regard, and appreciated the additional thought.
Member Paul said she would not support this, and made a firm commitment that she would not add additional legacy costs.
Member Nagy said she would support the motion because these positions would be supported by fees that are generated. She said Member Mutch also made a good comment, that future Councils would also look at whether they wanted to replace people as they retire because the need would not be as great. However, the need was great at this point. She agreed with Member Paul that the Assessing Department needed to be looked at and suggested they talk with Mr. Lemmon.
Member Gatt noted Mayor Csordas did speak about legacy costs and brought it to Councilís attention many times. However, it was under Mayor Landryís term that this Council actually did something about it. Council took away all the legacy costs from Administrative employees and it was now a pay as you go arrangement. As these employees leave, there would not be retirement or medical costs that the tax payers had to pay for. He said Novi was a union City, and until legacy costs could be taken away from the unions, and the union wouldnít give them away, this Council would be saddled with those costs. He said if Council said they would never hire anyone if it meant legacy costs, there would be no policeman, firemen, etc. because of the union. He didnít think that was what the citizens wanted either.
Member Nagy clarified that costs were being looked at in totality, and not just at those who belong to a union. She said administrative costs, and administrative employees and their raises and health care have been looked at; she didnít want anyone to think Council blamed the unions for anything.
Member Gatt stated he didnít blame the unions for anything as he was a retired union member. He was just saying unions had legacy costs built into their contracts, and if they were going to move forward as a City they would have to hire people that belonged to a union. He said until and unless those legacy costs go away, Council would have to approve people that would be associated with legacy costs.
Roll call vote on CM-06-09-250 Yeas: Margolis, Mutch, Nagy, Landry,
2. Consideration of Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 18.208 to amend the City of Novi Zoning Ordinance, as amended, to modify height and area requirements in Article 23A, Planned Office Service Technology District. Second Reading
Mr. Pearson said there had been a couple of revisions, and he thought it would be helpful for Ms. McBeth to highlight those for Council.
Ms. McBeth said there were a couple of revisions taken from comments of Council at the First Reading. The first modifications were to the building setback for all buildings exceeding 46 ft. This would provide consistent setback standards regardless of whether the properties abut residential or not. She said for buildings taller than 46 ft. the standard was revised from a minimum of 3 ft. of building setback to 2 ft. of building setback. She said that would allow setback from a residential district to be maintained at 100 ft. for those buildings exceeding 46 ft. in height. The second modification was to allow buildings within 1,200 ft. of the centerline of freeways to be constructed up to 115 ft. in height. She said there was a graphic in their packet, and in the off week packet as well. Ms. McBeth showed an overhead of this information. She said if Council was inclined to approve the text amendment as proposed the 1,200 ft. was really from the
R.O.W. line of the freeways and not from the centerline, and that would be one modification she would recommend this evening.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello commented that he still felt that the 2 ft. setback for every foot of building height in excess of 46 ft. along M-5 was unnecessary. He said further, if itís within a park as they contemplate or anticipate, the buildings along the east side of M-5 between Thirteen and Fourteen Mile Roads were part of a developed complex. He didnít see any need to have the two feet in excess of the 46 ft. for setbacks in those areas. He said any planned project like Northern Equities, if they were not individually subdivided condoís or split parcels, the setback would not apply. He said it applied between parcels of land and not between buildings. Ms. Mc Beth said the setbacks described here would be from the property lines. She said Northern Equities sometimes developed a site condominium and the units in a site condominium would be treated like property lines so the setbacks would be from those units or property lines. Mayor Pro Tem Capello said, in his opinion, to push these buildings apart and have individual totem poles out along there would not look as nice as if they clumped them together with more of a downtown or Southfield look. He said requiring these setbacks in a project of that sort made no aesthetic sense at all.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello said they were talking about being 1,200 ft. of the centerline of a limited access freeway, but he envisioned this area to be north of Grand River and south of Twelve Mile Road. He said 1,200 ft. west of the centerline of M-5 was fine with him but he would carry it all the way over to Haggerty Road. He said that was the OST District they were trying to develop. He said they were talking about trying to do two things here. They were trying to increase the tax base and take advantage, in these tough times in the economy, to attract the businesses that are not attracted now because we donít provide a particular type of product for them to come to Novi. Mayor Pro Tem Capello didnít think Council wanted to minimize the area to just a small 1,200 ft. strip along M-5, and he didnít see any reason this could not be carried to the border of Haggerty Road. He said in regard to the border along I-96 and thinking about whatís developing there, north of I-96 and south of Twelve Mile Road, he saw nothing wrong with 5 story buildings in those areas with an Office Service District.
Member Mutch responded to Mayor Pro Tem Capello and said he wouldnít support extending the line to Haggerty Road, primarily because Farmington Hills from Twelve Mile to Fourteen Mile was almost entirely residential. He said while it was not our jurisdiction, being a good neighbor would advise against putting buildings that would potentially be 115 ft. tall in someoneís backyard. He said Council wouldnít want another community doing that to Novi residents. As far as bringing the line down to Grand River or up to Twelve Mile Road, he would have concerns because of Liberty Park residential, and in the Meadowbrook Road corridor area north of Twelve Mile along Summit Drive. Member Mutch said he would have concerns about that, and would like to look at it a little closer to identify specific areas where that might be acceptable. He understood the concerns about limiting the development of these areas. However, he thought they had to look at the big picture, and itís not only the benefits of this development but also the potential negative impacts of that. Member Mutch said that led into his big concerns with the ordinance change. He supported this moving forward at Ordinance Review Committee, and supported the concept of looking at additional height in OST. He said there was a specific user already in Novi who wanted to stay in Novi and take advantage of additional height. He said they would do so to hopefully protect some environmental features on their property, woodlands and wetlands, and the increased height would allow them to reduce their footprint. Member Mutch said that was a good idea and a good concept, but the concern he had was the scope of this proposal. He said he asked Ms. McBeth to give him a rough estimate of what currently would be impacted, acreage wise, by this increase in height going from the 46 ft. to 65 ft. currently allowed to 115 ft. He said she indicated roughly 500 acres could fall within what was currently outlined. If they had any other proposal to make a change that impacted 500 acres in the City, and talked about 2 to 2.5 times the building height, and the impact of traffic, he thought they would step back and say they needed to think about it a little more and evaluate the impact. He said one of the things that had come out in staff reports was the fact that we have two sewer districts, the Commerce District along the Haggerty corridor and the Huron Valley District for the areas to the south. Member Mutch said they know Commerce was already over capacity, and the reason was because Council approved the Fox Run Development in an area that had been previously planned for low density residential. Member Mutch said Fox Run was a fine development but they needed a lot of sewer capacity, and that came directly out of the OST corridor. He said now we are looking at not only being under capacity but having additional buildings and height added that would place greater demand on sewer capacity. Member Mutch said they had the same situation in the Huron Valley District at build out based on current plans, which donít contemplate the higher buildings, there isnít capacity to support all the development that would come forward. He said that raised concerns for him regarding equity. If a significant user came in and wanted to build a 115 ft. building and needed 2.5 times the sewer capacity, would another property owner who had expectations they would have sewer capacity be stuck with the cost of purchasing additional capacity from Commerce or the Huron Valley District. Member Mutch thought that alone was an issue Council needed to sort out before going too far down this road. He said there wasnít capacity in either district, there was no plan in place to address how capacity would be purchased, and although some infrastructure was in place, it wouldnít be free. Therefore, it raised issues in his mind of who would pay for it, and how would it be done in a fair way so that the person creating the greatest demand didnít get a free ride. Member Mutch said another item the discussion of the text amendment had not addressed was the impact on surrounding roads. He said the M-5 corridor and Twelve Mile Road were in good shape. However, Thirteen Mile and Fourteen Mile Roads were two lane City roads, which meant all the additional traffic coming from these taller buildings would go onto our City roads, and who would pay for that. He said currently it would be the City tax payers. Member Mutch said they had talked about the buildings going all the way over to Haggerty Road, and that was mainly a two lane County road, and no funding set up for that. The Twelve Mile corridor west of Fountain Walk was a two lane road, and they were talking about wanting at least a five lane road with a bridge, and once again who would pay for that. Member Mutch said Council would talk about rezonings in this agenda that would fall within that area, and those developers could put up plans for 115 ft. tall buildings tomorrow, and the City didnít have a plan to address the infrastructure needs on Twelve Mile Road. Member Mutch said the final concern he had was in terms of how these areas would build out. He said what he had discussed at the last meeting and with staff was lot coverage in terms of how the OST District was currently building out. He thought there were some developments in OST that were nice and had a nice combination of woodlands, wetlands, parking and building. However, in a lot of these properties they were literally getting, property line to property line of pavement and building. He said there was a 20 foot parking setback in OST, and if they were going to have the taller buildings, he wanted to see additional open space on those properties. Member Mutch had some language, he would share with Council, to at least provide a minimum of open space. He didnít want to see the little green necklace around a parking lot with a 115 ft. tall buildings and a lot of paved over surfaces.
Member Mutch thought there were a lot of questions, and he would not support this tonight because he needed more answers. He thought they needed a plan that addressed the infrastructure from a roadway and sewer perspective. He said they saw what happened when they didnít plan for it. Itís in the Commerce and Huron Valley districts because thereís no capacity. He said Council was looking at addressing those needs but they would be very expensive. The roadways would be the same issue, whether theyíre County, State, Federal government or Novi taxpayers, somebodyís got to pay for the improvements and they would not be cheap. Member Mutch said he didnít think he was ready to move forward with the potential for a lot of development that could happen with this kind of change on 500-1,000 acres of OST property without plans, or at least something that stated Council was thinking about them, and how to address them.
Member Margolis said Council had learned from their Fiscal Analysis Study that the OST District paid for itself. One of the reasons this Council had put so much work into encouraging Office Service Technology Development was because those kinds of developments bring in much more in taxes than they use in terms of City Services and infrastructure. She said the goal of many members of this Council was to encourage that kind of economic development. She commented that in the kind of economic climate in Michigan right now, we need everything that could be done to make Novi a friendly place for those kinds of developments to come in. She said that was the purpose of this ordinance. Member Margolis said there had been talk about how they would plan for the needed infrastructure, and the reality was these kinds of developments brought in taxes, and fees that paid for those kinds of infrastructure developments. Member Margolis said residents use more services than they actually paid in taxes. She said the cities that are in good fiscal shape are the ones that balance this kind of OST development with residential. She said if residential was built up, in a few years they would be in a position where Novi didnít have the money to pay for the needed infrastructure. Member Margolis noted she was very much in support of this ordinance amendment. However, one of her concerns was about language that was put in about the idea of the step backs, referred to as "wedding cake buildings". Member Margolis said the language said "buildings utilizing the subsections shall be designed to minimize their impacts on surrounding existing uses including but not limited to building design elements such as variation in building materials, mitigation of interior and exterior building lighting, and utilization of building relief including step backs." She asked if they could explain to her, as a Planning Department and as these things were reviewed, how this would be applied and how much the developments would be enforced and restricted into doing development according to some plan.
Ms. McBeth replied they realized that what was proposed was too strict regarding the step back provision that was placed in the ordinance for the First Reading. So, they were assisted by Mr. Schultzís office and looked at several different ordinances from other communities. They came up with language that indicated to the developers that the City was looking for variations in the building materials, so there was not all one particular building material on the structure. Also, that the mass and height of the building would be mitigated with any kind of internal or external lighting, and that building relief be provided, which meant not straight buildings but that variation in the facade of the building would be provided. Also noted was that the step backs at the higher levels would be something that would be one of the issues that might be something that the Planning Commission would appreciate. She said they were included as general standards but nothing specific so that there wouldnít be any waiver provisions, but guidance for any new developments that would come in.
Member Margolis said if someone came with plans, any of those items could be shown to be offering some relief. She said thereís the lighting that offers some relief, different materials, and the fact that step backs were called out in this and asked if that would be an issue.
Mr. Schultz thought he understood the intent and didnít think it would be an issue. He said when they came back after the First Reading, Council wanted another spectrum, some sort of waiver use or special exception to have the additional height, and he didnít think there was sentiment for that kind of involvement of the City. On the other hand, it was do nothing and hope they got something that wasnít just plain and looked completely unaffected. He said this was an attempt to get somewhere in the middle, to give some guidance and standards. Mr. Schultz thought ultimately this would be something that the City facade and architect consultants and theirs would hash out, and hopefully in most cases thatís what it would be.
Member Margolis noted she didnít have a problem increasing this district. Her concern was that she was not pleased with design on the fly because these kinds of things need consideration, and that was why they had two readings. She said she would be in favor of looking at that and she suggested Council approve this now as is and look at that in the future.
CM-06-09-251 Moved by Margolis, seconded by Gatt; MOTION CARRIED:
To approve Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 18.208 to amend the City of Novi Zoning Ordinance, as amended, to modify height and area requirements in Article 23A, Planned Office Service Technology District. Also, in Part II, subsection U, that on properties located north of Grand River Avenue any portion of a building located within 1,200 ft. from the R.O.W. of a limited access freeway, properties east of M-5, between 13 and 14 Mile Road and west of Cabaret Dr. between 12 Mile and I-96, and Part II, subsection U, 3A, all building setbacks shall be increased by two (2) feet for every one (1) foot of building height in excess of forty-six (46) feet, unless the building is with a planned development in which event the one foot setback shall apply.
Member Nagy said, when on the Planning Commission, they had worked on the Master Plan and discussed increasing the height along Twelve Mile Road and some of the other corridors. She felt some of her concerns had been expressed. She said when talking about planning for the infrastructure, which was costly, there was also a history
that dictated what problems could happen if the infrastructure wasnít planned for. She said one of the roads she was looking at was Ten Mile Road, and it was basically a residential road. However, as things kept building out it had become a very busy road. She said in the past there was a movement to widen Ten Mile Road but the residents in the subdivisions along Ten Mile Road fought it. She thought infrastructure planning was crucial to good City planning, and it was not good to bring in things and worry about the infrastructure and financial aspects later. She asked for some verification of what was in place now, and what would be needed. She felt it was important to look at the impact on roads. She agreed that OST paid for itself in a lot of ways, but we would also be depending on the businesses, and roads are a sore point with a lot of people who live in subdivisions. She said regarding putting the buildings closer together, she didnít think it would be aesthetically pleasing in certain areas. She said there was an older development in the Twelve Mile/Telegraph area that had a lot of buildings and was nothing but a sea of parking lots. She said people wanted to be able to see the buildings from the road but when they were so close together, it really was harder to see the building youíre looking for. She felt it looked unattractive, but there was a lot of impervious surface there.
Member Nagy thought the City should require landscaping since they would be building up, and it would be more attractive. She said she would not support the motion at this time even though she was for increasing building height. She asked Ms. McBeth when thereís a 115 ft. building would that include everything on the roof. Ms. McBeth said that was addressed in point #4 in the ordinance, and it was made clear that "the maximum height of all buildings shall include all rooftop appurtenances, architectural features, skylights, or other such roof mounted building amenities". Member Nagy stated she wanted that on the record for people who were watching from home. Member Nagy thought they had to look at planning of the infrastructure, what was available, and the impact of traffic before approving this. She was leery of supporting the motion as presented.
Member Paul said she was in favor of increasing the OST, which would increase the tax base and would offset the residential tax base. She said she was concerned when looking at item #4 on the agenda requesting approval to award a construction contract to the lowest bidder to upgrade a project for $576,000. She said the money would come out of the Water and Sewer Fund, but it was expected to be $250,000, and now it was almost three quarters of a million dollars. She said when talking about sewer capacity that was definitely an issue. She said a study was done on sewer capacity, and asked how much it would cost to purchase capacity. She said if capacity had been met in the northern area, what would it be to buy sewer capacity in the Huron Valley district to put these buildings there. Mr. Pearson said the Commerce Plant was an issue of them constructing what they had planned on, and they would have the capacity. He said the City would have to amend the contract with them regardless of what happened here. He said those discussions on Commerce and other directions are ongoing so he was not in a position to tell Council whether it would be X or Y. They were just starting that with WATUA, Commerce was a separate issue and were responsible for expanding that plant. He said they had the permit from the State and they needed to get the construction permit. He said it was not dependent on anything Council did tonight, but would have to happen regardless. Mr. Pearson said he couldnít give a dollar amount on directions and changes. Member Paul asked how far along they were in the construction. Mr. Pearson said they had the permit that they could increase their flow, but had not received their construction permit, and they were working on that. Mr. Pearson said the City would have to negotiate to see if they were ready, willing and able.
Member Paul noted she appreciated what they had to do regarding setbacks because there were differences, and he offered it in the middle to try to make it work. She said if she looked at increased density on the site, she also looked at what the City could have back. She said there was nothing she could find in green buildings, retention basins, or bio retention swales, and those were things she was looking for. She wanted to offset long term costs of what went into our retention basins, which had to be dredged, and there would be a lot more impervious surface. Member Paul said she was willing to increase the height but wanted to take something in addition, and she didnít see that here. She said she would not be able to support this tonight. She was really looking for the green amenities to go along with it. She said she did want the increased OST, the sewer capacity addressed, but didnít get anything she was looking for regarding the green buildings or the swales. She would not support it at this time.
Mayor Landry agreed wholeheartedly that they had to plan for the future infrastructure. He said he was always saying water, sewer and roads were the big three along with public safety. He felt that was why cities existed and they had to plan for future infrastructure. However, that meant they had to plan to get the money to pay for future infrastructure or the plan would sit on the shelf. He said when they had their first goal setting session the one thing everyone agreed on was to maximize the tax base of the City in the future. He said this was how it was done. The OST District was specifically created to be the highest tax generating district, and it was. He said if Council was looking to maximize the tax base, OST was the first place to look. He said a previous speaker mentioned that the breath of this was significant, 500 acres, and he was right as it should be, in his opinion. Mayor Landry said if Council was going to do something to increase revenue donít do it little by little, and say youíre raising the tax base. He said they had to look at something that was significant enough to truly generate more dollars to improve the road and purchase more capacity, and OST was exactly where to do it. He said to keep in mind that what they were doing was raising height to five stories; we are not building sky scrapers here, its five stories. He said this was not some huge monolith going up next to someone that was 20 stories tall. Itís along a freeway, which made perfect sense and where the height should be. He said by this ordinance amendment we are attempting to render our most marketable property more marketable to attract more dollars, and a larger tax base so the infrastructure could be built. He was wholeheartedly in support of this. He thought this was exactly what needed to be done. It would generate tax dollars, and bring more businesses to Novi that would allow them to pay for all the services we all expect to be paid for. Mayor Landry commented he would give his vote for this but didnít think step backs had any business in this. He said step backs essentially grew out of New York City when talking about huge sky scrapers to let in light and air so they werenít in a canyon. He thought the whole idea of step backs didnít belong in the ordinance, and if some developer decided to put them in there fine, but he personally didnít agree with it but it would not hold up his vote on this. He stated he would support this.
Member Gatt concurred with everything Mayor Landry said. He commented that the State of Michigan was in such a perilous state now that anything that could be done to attract businesses to our City had to be done. As far as the setbacks, he would be very curious to hear Mayor Pro Tem Capelloís amendment to the motion. He said he would support the motion.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello said M-5 was developed, and when Council knew M-5 was coming they had discussions with other cities and commercial brokers asking what kind of product was needed in Novi that was selling in other communities. He said they spent a year developing the OST Ordinance with a lot of help from Bill Bowman, and that had proved very successful along M-5. He said we have M-5 and a great intersection at 14 Mile Road and road improvements going east where the traffic should go on 14 Mile. He said 13 Mile Road was now straightened out with great road improvements at 13 Mile Road and the intersection going to Haggerty. There was a great intersection at Twelve Mile Road, which had not only improved with just the road but with water and sewer serving that area, and servicing the area directly to the west. He said Mr. Pearson had explained what they were working on in regard to sewer capacity. He said they would not let enough buildings go there and utilize our sewer without capacity; when capacity was reached they would stop until capacity was sustained.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello said in regard to his suggested amendment to the ordinance he had to disagree with Member Margolis a little bit. He said Council goes through these readings and each time Council changes them a little. He commented that the district they talked about in the First Reading was not what he anticipated would come back to the Second Reading. He stated he didnít want this to come back to Ordinance Review again and start the process all over to make a few changes that Council could correct here tonight.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello said he was looking at Part II, subsection U, subsection 3, he suggested Council look at the maps to read, and he would suggest this as a friendly amendment that on properties located north of Grand River Avenue any portion of a building located within 1,200 ft. of a centerline of a limited access freeway, properties east of M-5, between 13 and 14 Mile Road and west of Cabaret Dr. between 12 Mile and I-96. He said so he had limited those areas and that was his suggested language change. Mayor Pro Tem Capello said then in Part II, U, 3A, all building setbacks shall be increased by two (2) feet for every one (1) foot of building height in excess of forty-six (46) feet, unless the building is with a planned development in which event the one foot setback shall apply. He said if they were up there and were going to have a planned development, they wouldnít have to spread the buildings out as far.
Mayor Pro Capello said that was his suggested friendly amendment, he asked that they remember what was going on at M-5 and Haggerty and 14 Mile Road. He noted Commerce was developing and it was a really nice development. He said they donít care if there are 3, 4, or 5 stories there; they want to see more development to enhance what they are doing there. He said with that, he could support this.
Mayor Landry asked if the maker of the motion would accept the friendly amendment. Member Margolis asked to verify the areas he was adding east of M-5 between 13 and 14 Mile Roads. He said correct, it would be from M-5 to Haggerty between 13 and 14 Mile Roads. He said Cabaret Drive was the drive west of Fountain Walk between 12 Mile Road and I-96, so it would take it all the way to Beck Road. Member Margolis and the seconder of the motion accepted the friendly amendment.
Member Mutch asked Mayor Pro Tem Capello if when he referenced west of Cabaret Drive was that north and south of I-96. Mayor Pro Tem Capello said west of Cabaret Drive between I-96 and 12 Mile. Mayor Pro Tem Capello said with the developments there, that should pull it west enough that it would not be approaching the residential on the north side of 12 Mile Road.
Member Mutch spoke to the proposed amendment language. He reiterated his concerns about bringing the 115 ft. tall buildings adjacent to residential in Farmington Hills. He did not think they would be appreciative of that proposal and for that reason alone he could not support this because it wasnít being a good neighbor. He said there was a comment made that this was limited to 5 story buildings, and asked for clarification from Ms. McBeth on that particular item. He said with the restriction of the 3 story that was in the current language, he didnít see any language regarding stories at all. Ms. McBeth said they did not put any specific limitation on the number of stories. The 115 ft. might allow up to 8 stories. However, they didnít put any restriction on the total number of stories that would be the maximum. Member Mutch said if supporting 115 ft. whether 5 stories or 8 stories was not an issue. He said he didnít have a problem with the concept in general just the potential impacts. Member Mutch said there had been discussion about how OST paid for itself, and compared to residential development, it did generate more tax revenue. He said as the Mayor correctly noted maximizing the tax base was the goal of the Council. However, he didnít think the Council meant to maximize the tax base at all costs; if we did, we would be saying letís have 300 ft. buildings, or letís rezone all RA to R-4. Those would all maximize the tax base but at significant cost to our community in financial impact and character. Member Mutch said a previous Council came up with the idea of setting aside the tax revenue that came from OST development to pay for road improvements and they made that a Council goal, and nothing became of that. It didnít become a funding source for roadway improvements because it really didnít generate enough tax revenue to pay for any kind of road improvements in the districts that existed or city wide. He thought Council had to keep it in context that there was the potential of significant costs associated with these developments, in terms of the infrastructure and the water and sewer system. Member Mutch noted he had talked with Mr. Hayes about the capacity in Commerce and five years down the road there would probably be an expanded treatment plant that would be able to handle our sewer flows. However, someone had to pay for that capacity, and the question was who would pay for it, and how would it be done in an equitable way so that those putting the greatest demand on the system would pay for the improvements. He didnít want to see a user come in and use up the capacity, which was what happened with Fox Run when they used up the capacity that was planned for the OST development. Now, the City would have to purchase additional capacity for that district to accommodate the development we have planned. He had concerns about property owners. Mr. Cervi wrote Council a letter a couple weeks ago talking about property he owned in the district. It was not a property large enough to build a 115 ft. building, and Member Mutch didnít want to see him or whoever owned the property be stuck with the cost of purchasing additional capacity in Commerce. He said the fact that Mr. Cervi was in that district now, and capacity was allocated to his property as a part of that district, be stuck paying the cost, or any other property owner in the district.
Member Mutch said looking to the west and the properties up for rezoning, they were talking about adding all those into the increased height, those rezonings that would come up later tonight, and would come into the Huron Valley District, and he asked who would pay the cost of that. He asked if that would be paid entirely by the people putting demand on the system or would it be a cost shared with all of the residents and current businesses in terms of higher sewer fees. He thought there were good examples of how they didnít plan as well as they should have in the past, and he didnít want to make that mistake again.
Mr. Pearson said one thing that Ms. McBeth mentioned to be true to the exhibits, particularly the third bullet about the bad example of the ITC Quaker Station, he asked Council to modify the language so that it was 1,200 ft. from the R.O.W. not from the centerline. He said they were looking at the exhibit this afternoon and when getting into some of the spaghetti junction at M-5 and 696 he didnít know how theyíd measure where the centerline was. Therefore, to be effective and to be true to the exhibits, the red line would need to be modified from 1,200 ft from the R.O.W. rather than the centerline.
Mayor Landry asked if the maker and seconder of the motion accepted that. They agreed.
Member Nagy thought Chief Johnson said the ladder only went up 200 ft. and even though there would be sprinkler systems, in order to get anywhere else, he would have to do everything at an angle. She said in the minutes it was mentioned by Acting Chief Johnson that the ladders only go to 100 ft. and if the buildings were at 115 ft., they would have to go in at an angle. Member Paul asked that he look into that, and Member Nagy asked if he had anything else to add to that.
Acting Chief Johnson said after getting to the seventh floor they couldnít utilize the ladder. Member Nagy asked what the tallest ladder was that a fire engine had. He said there were several manufacturers of the different types of ladder trucks available. He thought the tallest available in the United States was 120 ft.
Mayor Landry asked how cities handled fires when they had 15 story buildings. Acting Chief Johnson said they have fire suppression in the building with sprinkler systems, and stand pipes in the stairwells, which are supplied by fire pumps. They also have pumps like those on the Novi trucks that could be pumped into the building. He said they can use the elevators if they are functioning, although they didnít recommend people use elevators in a fire, and encourage them to use the stairwells and exits. He said the other fire suppression features in the building would be smoke detectors, and those are wired into all the heat and duct systems too. He said if a fire broke out the systems would sense that and would immediately set off the alarm in the entire building and warn people to exit the building. He said those were all a part of the building code restrictions that they would have to comply with when the buildings are built.
Mr. Schultz asked if Planned Development was the term for the reduction of the setback. He asked if that was by reference to another use. Mayor Pro Tem Capello said he purposely didnít use PUD just a development that was planned as a whole. Mayor Pro Tem Capello said that was the idea of it in whatever language Mr. Schultz thought was best.
Ms. McBeth asked if the area described was to be included from M-5 to 14 Mile Road; she thought she had heard 12 Mile Road. Mayor Pro Tem Capello said there were two areas. One was M-5 east to Haggerty, 13 Mile to 14 Mile, and the other area was west of Cabaret Drive between 12 Mile and I-96.
Roll call vote on CM-06-09-251 Yeas: Landry, Capello, Gatt, Margolis
Nays: Mutch, Nagy, Paul,
3. Approval to award contract for multi-function office copy equipment to Ricoh Business Systems, (RBS) through the State of Michigan Joint Purchasing Program and the US Communities contract in the amount of $189,345 (average $47,336 annually).
CM-06-09-252 Moved by Nagy, seconded by Margolis; CARRIED
UNANIMOUSLY: To approve award of contract for multi-function office copy equipment to Ricoh Business Systems, (RBS) through the State of Michigan Joint Purchasing Program and the US Communities contract in the amount of $189,345 (average $47,336 annually).
Roll call vote on CM-06-09-252 Yeas: Nagy, Paul, Landry, Capello, Gatt,
4. Approval to award a construction contract to Man-Con Michigan, Inc., the lowest bidder, for the Country Place and Stonehenge Pump Station Upgrades project in the amount of $576,000.
CM-06-09-253 Moved by Nagy, seconded by Gatt; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve award of construction contract to Man-Con Michigan, Inc., the lowest bidder, for the Country Place and Stonehenge Pump Station Upgrades project in the amount of $576,000.
Member Paul asked if the SCADA system would be incorporated in this. Mr. Hayes said yes, it would be hooked up to the SCADA system so there would be remote monitoring and control of the systems. He said it would be under a separate procurement and was under the CMOM project, which the consultant was looking at now as far as how the SCADA system would be configured and procured in the future. Member Paul said other projects had come forward with the SCADA system so that when they came forward they could be connected. She asked if there would be something like that. Mr. Hayes said Brian Coburn outfitted the station so the SCADA could just be dropped in, and there was an allowance in each piece of the system for the SCADA to be dropped into the existing stations. Member Paul asked when that would come forward, and Mr. Hayes said it was a part of the Phase II CMOM program, and they should have a recommendation shortly. She asked if it would be incorporated in this cost or would be a separate cost for each pumping station. He replied it was a separate cost but the hard wiring part of the system had been included in the design phases, so all the new stations going in would be prepped and ready to go.
Mr. Hayes said once a SCADA product was selected it would be plugged into these two stations, and the contractor would be making the station ready for SCADA to be installed. She thanked Mr. Hayes for the information.
Roll call vote on CM-06-09-253 Yeas: Paul, Landry, Capello, Gatt, Margolis,
5. Approval of Zoning Map Amendments 18.664 and 18.665, the requests of RSM Development, LLC, for rezoning of two properties in Section 16, south of Twelve Mile Road between Taft and Beck Roads, from RA, Residential Acreage, to OST, Planned Office Service Technology District. The subject properties are 10.0 and 8.41 acres.
Scott Marcus of RSM Development, LLC, was present and commented they had just completed the Keystone Medical project on 12 Mile, and this was the parcel behind it and Phase II. He wasnít sure what they would do with the parcels Council would be looking at this evening; however they would be a continuation of what they had already done. Mr. Marcus said and they could go to 8 stories if they wanted to now.
Member Mutch said with these particular parcels coming forward, and looking at this particular area from Cabaret west to the interchange, most of this area was undeveloped and most of it was RA. He said there was a Husky and Mr. Marcusís Keystone project. However, as previously discussed, there were a number of significant infrastructure concerns. He said 12 Mile was two lanes, and there had been talk about the need for a five lane cross section, maybe a boulevard and a bridge over the CSX railroad. There were also woodlands and wetlands concerns. Member Mutch said he would suggest in a memo to Council in an off week packet that at a future meeting, under Mayor and Council Issues, he would request that the Administration put together a plan to address some of the infrastructure needs. He said it wouldnít be a Master Plan because that was already in place, but he wanted to see them figure out how they would pay for 12 Mile Road, how to deal with Taft Road, and some of the other issues discussed. In light of the change made tonight it would be even more imperative that Council got a handle on that; he thought the memo would help outline why that was. Member Mutch commented he had discussed this with Ms. McBeth, and preliminarily, she was in agreement that this was something they would want to look at.
CM-06-09-254 Moved by Gatt, seconded by Margolis; CARRIED
UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Zoning Map Amendments 18.664 and 18.665, the requests of RSM Development, LLC, for rezoning of two properties in Section 16, south of Twelve Mile Road between Taft and Beck Roads, from RA, Residential Acreage, to OST, Planned Office Service Technology District. The subject properties are 10.0 and 8.41 acres.
Member Gatt said the proposed OST zoning would be in compliance with the Master Plan for Land Use since the it proposed office use of the property in this area of the City. The OST District was compatible with the neighboring OST and I-1 Light Industrial parcels. The rezoning was a logical continuation of the rezoning patterns in this area of the City, and the OST Zoning District had been well received and used effectively in several areas of the City; and an OST type development on these parcels would benefit from good visibility from both 12 Mile Road and the I-96 freeway.
Member Paul asked if when Mr. Marcus said he could go to 8 stories was this part of 12 Mile included to go 8 stories or 115 ft. Ms. McBeth said as she understood the motion made previously, this area was included in the area that would be included in the additional height. Member Paul said, when on the Planning Commission, that all of the RA from 12 Mile to the southern borders to I-96 was Master Planned as OST. She asked if that was correct, and Ms. McBeth said for office and office uses, she was correct. Member Paul asked why it was still zoned RA. Ms. McBeth said there are single family homes on the property, and there was an understanding that if the properties were rezoned and the people wanted to continue to live in those houses, there would be difficulty in getting a loan or a mortgage to make any improvements on the property, and might create a non-conforming use for them.
Member Paul stated she was looking at this applicant having to come forward to ask about these two properties when itís Master Planned Office. She would expect that they wouldnít have to go through that process and the process would be more expedient for the applicants and wanted clarification.
Roll call vote on CM-06-09-254 Yeas: Landry, Capello, Gatt, Margolis,
Mutch, Nagy, Paul
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION Ė None
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION Ė Part II
6. Approval of City Council meeting dates for 2007.
CM-06-09-255 Moved by Paul, seconded by Capello; CARRIED
UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the City Council meeting dates for 2007
Mayor Pro Tem Capello said since the February 12th date was for interviews, and the winter break started on the 19th, he would request the interviews be moved to the 20th and the regular meetings be on the 5th and the 12th.
Member Paul said she would appreciate it if the interviews could be at an earlier date, or attached to the meeting of the 5th , and make it a late agenda. She said it would be much more convenient if the 20th meeting could be on the 12th.
Mr. Pearson said that would not be a problem, and they would still be able to do what they needed to do.
Member Gatt said this would mean that at least two members would not be available for the interviews, and wondered if they could be moved to a different date so the whole Council would be available.
Mayor Landry suggested moving the regular City Council meeting to the 12th, and perhaps a month or so before that Ms. Cornelius could alert Council that they were due for interviews, and Council members could come up with a date then.
Member Paul thought that would be fine. She suggested they put it on the February 5th date and have a lighter agenda, because there would be a meeting on the 12th, so maybe there could be a combination meeting or move it to March.
Mayor Landry asked Ms. Cornelius if the February interview session was a heavy session. Ms. Cornelius responded that to the best of her recollection there were not that many boards or commissions that expired March 1st, and that was why they were usually held in February. Mayor Landry said they have had some interviews that were set up every 10 minutes and they go from 7:00 PM until 9:30 PM. He said he would have to objection to adding them onto to an agenda but he couldnít recall which interview session was the lighter interview session. Ms. Cornelius said the February interview session was the lighter, and the June and October were the heavier with interviews.
Mayor Landry asked that the interviews be added to the February 5th agenda, and if it looked like there would be more than an hours worth of interviews, he asked that Ms. Cornelius alert Council to that fact. Then if Council wanted to deal with it differently they could do it then.
Roll call vote on CM-06-09-255 Yeas: Capello, Gatt, Margolis, Mutch, Nagy,
7. Approval of Resolution Approving Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) Project Agreement and Accepting Grant.
CM-06-09-256 Moved by Nagy, seconded by Paul; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve Resolution Approving Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) Project Agreement and Accepting Grant.
Roll call vote on CM-06-09-256 Yeas: Gatt, Margolis, Mutch, Nagy, Paul,
8. Approval to award vehicle bid as follows: Varsity Ford (2) F250 $23,130 each; Signature Ford F150 $18,110, 4x4 Diesel $27,694, Freestar $15,598; Szott M-59 Chrysler (3) Liberty Sport $17,831 each; Fairlane Ford E250 Cargo Van not to exceed $18,000, all low qualified bidders.
CM-06-09-257 Moved by Margolis, seconded by Capello; CARRIED
UNANIMOUSLY: To approve award of vehicle bid as follows:
Varsity Ford (2) F250 $23,130 each; Signature Ford F150 $18,110, 4x4 Diesel $27,694, Freestar $15,598; Szott M-59 Chrysler (3) Liberty Sport $17,831 each; Fairlane Ford E250 Cargo Van not to exceed $18,000, all low qualified bidders.
Roll call vote on CMM-06-09-257 Yeas: Margolis, Mutch, Nagy, Paul, Landry,
9. Approval of resolution to authorize Budget Amendment #2007-03.
CM-06-09-258 Moved by Nagy, seconded by Capello; MOTON CARRIED:
To approve resolution to authorize Budget Amendment #2007-03.
Member Paul wanted to go on record that she did not support the one position, so she and would not support the budget amendment.
Roll call vote on CM-06-09-258 Yeas: Mutch, Nagy, Landry, Capello, Gatt,
CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS FOR COUNCIL ACTION - None
MAYOR AND COUNCIL ISSUES
1. Administrative Review of Massage Business Licenses and Outdoor Gathering Permits Ė Member Mutch
Member Mutch said Council had a memo from the City Clerk as well as one from himself. He said there were two issues, the Massage Business License and the Outdoor Gathering Permits that, in Ms. Corneliusí opinion, could be approved administratively instead of having to come to Council for final approval. Member Mutch said both of these items would need ordinance changes in order to be done administratively. He requested Councilís support to direct City Administration to put together those ordinance changes and bring them forward for Council review and approval.
There was Council consensus and the City Manager was asked to follow the direction suggested.
2. Energy Efficient Lights Ė Member Nagy
Member Nagy stated at the goal setting session one of the items she talked about was the reduction of operational costs. She said she had talked with some people in her complex who were doing changes for efficient energy lights. Member Nagy thought about that for the City too, and knew the investment might be more in the beginning but it would pay for itself in a year or two. She said there was so much lighting that the City paid for, and the cost would continue to rise. Member Nagy thought Mr. McCusker had pointed out to her that there was someone in the State of Michigan that would come out for free and make an assessment of these kinds of things. She thought they should start looking into programs like this one to reduce the cost of energy. As an example, she said the bulbs they were getting in her complex would operate at the same amount of light, but was less costly and used less volts. She asked if they could slowly start looking into this, and come up with an energy efficient plan for the buildings the City owns, especially if it could be assessed for free.
Mr. Pearson said it was something they should and could work on. He said they had already done some fixture modifications. He said from the overall reviews he had seen, to the best of his knowledge they were not free. They want to go in, do it, and then receive a want a percentage of the cost. He said the pay backs, at least so far, have not been there. However, they would keep looking at it, and perhaps there were co-op programs with other agencies that would help. As long as Councilís making it a priority to look for those opportunities, firms, and help if they could find a proposal even at a low cost to look at the facilities and give recommendations they would be happy to bring that back to Council.
Member Nagy thanked Mr. Pearson and said she thought it was important because she felt they would have to look at energy cost and savings for the City eventually.
Member Gatt suggested checking with Chief Molloy and the Police Departmentís Crime Prevention Officers, who went through special schools for crime prevention and environmental design. He said a lot of the class work involved special, security, and energy efficient lighting. He was quite certain it would be free.
Member Paul stated she wanted to commend Mr. Pearson for bringing forward the solar project for a grant last year, and unfortunately was turned down. She thought it was a very good project and went along with Member Nagyís comments. She said she would like to see if that was a project that could be looked at again, and maybe even look at what other funding resources were out there besides the State, because the State wasnít in the best of shape. Member Paul thought it was very insightful and creative of Mr. Pearson and she would like to see him pursue that, if possible, in this budget cycle.
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION - None
There being no further business to come before Council, the meeting was
adjourned at 9:16 P.M.
David Landry, Mayor Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk
_________________________________ Date approved: October 9, 2006
Transcribed by Charlene Mc Lean