|View Agenda for this meeting.
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, Council Members Crawford, Gatt, Margolis, Mutch, Staudt
ALSO PRESENT: Clay Pearson, City Manager
Pamela Antil, Assistant City Manager
Tom Schultz, City Attorney
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
CM-08-07-108 Moved by Margolis, seconded by Gatt; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve the Agenda as presented.
Roll call vote on CM-08-07-108 Yeas: Capello, Crawford, Gatt, Margolis, Mutch, Staudt, Landry
1. Recognition of John Avdoulos for service to Planning Commission
Mayor Landry recognized John Avdoulos for his service to the Planning Commission from 2002 through 2008. Mayor Landry said he had heard many good things from builders, developers, residents and everyone who appeared before the Planning Commission about Mr. Avdoulos. He said Mr. Avdoulos was an exemplary Planning Commissioner and the City was very fortunate to have him for the Providence Park Hospital Campus project, as nobody was more instrumental than Mr. Avdoulos.
1. MANAGER/STAFF Ė Update on New Library Project on Behalf of Building Authority
Mr. Pearson presented slides of the Library project and said since the November 2000 Bond issue they had been very busy as a Bond Authority. He said they had gotten involvement from City staff, Library staff and citizen representatives in the form of Library Board members, who had spent a lot of dedicated time, and the system had worked well. Mr. Pearson said they had hired a premiŤre architect, an engineering firm, BEI Diamond Schmidt, and had developed a close relationship with them. One of the fruits of that had been the renderings and the site plan. They had taken it through the Planning Commission and given their input and suggestions. He said one of the features of the Library site plan was the close working relationship that had continued to grow with the adjoining Novi Schools. He said on the south of the library site there was a loading dock, which accessed through the school parking lot, which freed up the site so they didnít have to make that maneuvering of trucks go through the parking lot for the Library. Instead those few deliveries would be adjacent to where the school received their deliveries; so the Library staff would direct that kind of traffic onto Taft Road and then south from the site. Another feature was a full service patron drop off and pick up center. He said when the Library was up and running, if someone couldnít browse the Library, they could call in and request the materials needed and they would be ready to pick up at the pick up center. Mr. Pearson showed artist renderings of the two story building. The adult section would be on the second floor, there would be a meeting room for 200 people and a cafť. He said the Library Board had solicited proposals for a vendor to run the cafť and had locked in with the vendor who was providing this service at the Farmington/Farmington Hills Library. Mr. Pearson showed the colors, fabrics and furniture that would be used, which would be very traditional and would bear the test of time. He said the new library would be bigger and better. It would have a computer lab, full service cafť, meeting rooms and many other features. Mr. Pearson said they had looked at some of the best features of libraries in the surrounding areas and put those ideas into the program. He said they had also retained a firm to take care of the furniture, fixtures and equipment. They also had a consultant contract for the technology in the building, miles of wiring and wireless. Mr. Pearson said they had received construction drawings that were 50% complete and they had been circulated and reviewed and were back with BEI Diamond Schmidt to produce the final output.
Mr. Pearson said they were anticipating having this contract out for bid in September with bid openings in October. They would then review the bids and were cautiously optimistic that construction could start in October or November. He said it would be up to the contractor whether they wanted to start the site preparation over the winter and it would take 16 to 18 months for construction. After the building was constructed and the materials and collections were moved over to the new Library, then construction would start on the parking lot where the existing library was. He said they were very hopeful that in spring 2010 they would be able to open the new Library. He said the budget had not been without some challenges but they were working through those, making adjustments, and making use of some bid alternates on some of the items they would like to have but didnít have to have, if push came to shove. He said they were scheduling a ground breaking ceremony for the new Library on Wednesday, October 29th at 9 AM on the site. Mr. Pearson said the engineers measured the building off and there were orange stakes in the ground so people could see where the bounds of the building would be. He offered his appreciation for the Building Authority, staff members, Library staff members and citizens. Mr. Pearson said Friends of the Library had been diligent, had shared their input and had been very helpful as well.
Member Mutch asked if the footprint of the buildings square footage had been fixed. Mr. Pearson responded it would be a 55,000 sq. ft. building. Member Mutch asked how they would handle parking when the new building was completed and the existing library was still in place. Mr. Pearson said that was being worked out. He said the Library staff was having discussions with the school to see what arrangements could be made, and City Hall parking had also been offered, if that would help. Member Mutch asked about the environmental features being incorporated into the site. Mr. Pearson said most building projects now try to recognize sustainable design and energy conservation. He said when thereís a building and the lifecycle costs of it were looked at that construction was 25% or 30% of the entire cost. Most of the cost of a building over its life was for staffing, utilities, etc. The architects would put in light fixtures, etc. that would save energy. Mr. Pearson said they were also looking at using a well system for the irrigation, so they werenít using City potable wells. He said they had also considered a cistern system for additional water for landscaping and the grounds, but he thought they were backing off of that because the payback would not be there. They had been talking about choosing the right glass fixtures to save on heating and air conditioning as there was a lot of glass in the building and natural light.
Member Margolis thanked everyone involved and thought the Building Authority for this project was a great way of putting together a project with that cooperation between different entities. He said they had worked through all of the things while the timeline was right on schedule. She said she had walked around the staked area and it was really exciting to think that within a year there would be a brand new library there.
2. ATTORNEY - None
Kathy Mutch noted that she asked to be on the agenda for a presentation; she didnít feel that being given time during audience participation was the same thing. She stated she was the President of the Friends of the Fuerst Farm, a charitable organization to encourage historical preservation.
She thought fundraising without a plan was a disservice. A challenge had been issued to the public to raise the $3 million it would take to restore the site. Application for a grant was restricted to the property owner and would not be possible. She wondered if the Novi Parks Foundation would like to take up the cause.
She stated that the Fuerst Farm hired Mr. Gilbert to prepare this to be placed on the National Historic Register. She said that, regardless of the intentions of the Fuerst sisters or the schoolís, what mattered today was that the residents valued the site and expected it to be preserved. They asked the people of the community in a petition to request that Council move in the direction of preservation and noted that the petition would be presented by the Secretary of the Friends of the Fuerst Farm. She asked Council to take demolition off the table.
The following presentation was given to Council members.
My name is Kathy Mutch and I am the president of the Friends of the Fuerst Farm. The Friends of the Fuerst Farm is a group of Novi residents from all areas of the city, representing virtually all demographic groups, who organized in response to the City Council's decision on April 7, 2008 to pursue a demolition option for the city-owned property known as the Fuerst Farmstead. The group includes attorneys and accountants, historians and preservationists, architects and planners as well as artists, craftspeople and others representing a full-spectrum of other interests, who took up the challenge of finding a true preservation option for the farmstead. The expectation was that the previously well-documented community support for preservation of the farmstead continues to thrive in the community. We were not disappointed.
Toward that end, a petition was created that could easily serve that purpose. I will talk more about that in a moment. The Friends of the Fuerst Farm is registered with the State of Michigan as a non-profit corporation and with the Internal Revenue Service as a 501c.3 charitable organization. An application for tax-exempt status is pending with the I.R.S. The purpose of Friends of the Fuerst Farm is to encourage and support preservation of the historic Fuerst Farmstead, to develop a preservation plan for the Fuerst Farmstead as an historical park, to encourage and support efforts to preserve historical resources in Novi, and to raise funds to implement preservation plans and support preservation efforts in Novi. Our focus for the past 90 days has been to determine the level and degree of community support for the preservation of the Fuerst Farm and to encourage residents to convey to the City Council for its consideration any questions, concerns, proposed or preferred uses of the Fuerst Farm. The intent of our efforts was to provide the community and the Council with as much information, not opinion, as possible. Residents could offer opinions, and as you have seen, they have, in e-mail, in letters to the editor, in addressing the Council in public meetings. Those opinions have been almost unanimously supportive of preservation. Most significant to note on this day following the 4th of July holiday weekend and all that it celebrates, residents signed their names, petitioning their elected officials to listen to them, to consider their petition as seriously as they did when they signed their names to it.
Fundraising in the absence of a true preservation plan was considered, but determined to be a disservice to the community. The basis of any successful fundraising effort, as was seen in the recent library matching-fund campaign, depend, on presenting donors with an accurate plan for which their donations are needed, a plan which can assure them that their contributions - in money or services - are wise investments and that the plan is sound and has some possibility of achieving its stated goals. The City Council approved a 90 day delay in implementing a demolition plan for the Fuerst Farm and issued a challenge to the community at large to raise the $3 million McKenna and Associates estimated for the plan the Council had just rejected. For Friends of the Fuerst Farm, the McKenna Plan A was not an acceptable preservation plan at any price and not a plan for which it could ask community support, especially in the form of contributed funds. Design and implementation of a true preservation plan for the Fuerst Farm would be eligible for consideration by a number of foundation and agency grant programs, but application for those grants is almost always restricted to the owner of the property or its representative and follows a very strict schedule for grant applications and awards. A ninety-day time period even if the city had offered to partner or assist in the effort would not be possible for any group. We do not have the privilege of that status with the city. However, other groups, such as the Novi Parks Foundation do. Perhaps they would be willing to take up your challenge if offered that opportunity. Numerous times residents and business people have given before and have offered to give again, if asked by the City Council to do so. One community organization, Preservation Novi, has invested over $15,000 in support of preservation efforts by the city related to the Fuerst Farm. The money was spent for services such as professional assessments by structural engineers, landscape and building architects, barn builders and restoration experts, et al. as well as the construction of a computer precision topographic model of the farmstead with its buildings.
Additionally, consider the time period in which a recent fundraising effort to benefit the library took place: fifteen months from beginning to end, with an additional investment taken from the original Walker donation for a plan to present to potential donors and $80,000 for professional fundraising services. The effort had the unique incentive of the Walker's offer to match up to one million dollars, but had a net of considerably less than the $3 million dollar price tag McKenna put on its Plan A. No, we didn't do that. We focused our efforts in another direction, one that we hoped would be persuasive and conducive to opening a productive dialog between residents and city staff and you, the members of the City Council.
You might want to know who we are. The Friends of the Fuerst Farm is a group of Novi residents from all areas of the city, representing virtually all demographic groups, who organized in response to the City Council's decision on April 7, 2008 to pursue a demolition option for the city-owned property known as the Fuerst Farmstead. The group includes attorneys and accountants, historians and preservationists, architects and planners as well as artists, craftspeople and others representing a full-spectrum of other interests, who took up the challenge of finding a true preservation option for the farmstead. The expectation was that the previously well-documented community support for preservation of the farmstead continues to thrive in the community. We were not disappointed. We have worked with individuals and organizations from throughout the city who share our conviction that preservation of the Fuerst Farm is not only a preferred option, but one that is possible and affordable even in the current economic climate.
In 1996 the city of Novi acquired 6.5 acres of property at the corner of Ten Mile and Taft Road known as the Jacob and Rebecca Fuerst Farmstead. It hired Frank Gilbert of the National
Trust in Washington, D.C. to conduct three full days of community programs, presentations and discussions to determine community interests and needs for the use and development of the property. Additionally, Mr. Gilbert provided as assessment of the architectural, historical and educational value of the buildings and farmstead property offering suggestions for planning, implementation and funding options. In 1997 the City Council made the decision to submit a nomination to have the Fuerst Farmstead placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The State of Michigan and the National Trust for Historic Preservation supported the nomination and the entire Farmstead - the land, buildings and orchard - was placed on the National Register confirming the city's position that it was a significant piece of Novi's heritage. In 1998 the property was recognized as having historical significance for the state and the nation, not just for the community of Novi. It is currently on both the state and national registers of historic places. It is a community asset whose significance should not be dismissed lightly and which should not be discarded easily. These city actions, with the deliberations that led to them, are fully documented in the public record: in the official correspondence of the City of Novi, the records of City Council meetings, the records of the State Historic Preservation Office and in newspaper accounts published at the time. I will not revisit that here. Recently published excerpts of official records do not tell the whole story and serve to distort the truth of what has actually occurred. People who were involved in those decisions do not have to rely on their memories or someone else's interpretation of the events. The record speaks for itself. Trust the truth.
Regardless of the intentions of the Fuerst sisters in selling their property to the Novi Community School District, or the intentions of the City Council in 1996 when stewardship of the property passed into the city's hands through the transfer of ownership from the schools, what matters today, what is relevant in July, 2008, is that the residents of this community recognize and value the farmstead as an historic site, a unique educational and cultural resource. Residents expect the Fuerst Farm be preserved, as a representative example of our community's rich agricultural heritage providing all of us a direct connection to its rural past. How do we know this? Because we asked.
The petition is attached and simply, asks for the City Council to move in the direction of preservation, to stop demolition, and to work cooperatively toward a common goal with those who are willing to work with you to develop a community-based alternative plan for preservation. You can continue the preservation program begun by those who preceded you in office and who, from 1995 forward through 2005, worked cooperatively with the community toward a preservation goal using the limited resources available at a time when Sandstone and other more essential city services were the appropriate focus for Council attention and expenditures. Or you can go in another direction, but based on the results of our petition gathering, you may find yourselves on that path alone. The signed petitions will be presented separately by the Secretary of the Friends of the Fuerst Farm when she addresses you as an individual during Audience Participation.
First, we ask that the Council, as an indication of its willingness to be responsive to the community's expressed support for preservation of the Fuerst Farm, issue an RFP for a true preservation plan. That would allow experienced professionals to present ideas with realistic cost estimates for each of the plan's design elements and would encourage, as RFPís often do, a creative response that may produce a vision that we all can share for this property. As an example of such a compromise possibility another speaker will present a site diagram offered with that in mind when he has his opportunity to address you as an individual during Audience Participation.
We were prepared to raise money for a professionally prepared alternative plan, but there were two reasons we did not: time was of the essence with the Council-imposed deadline of 90 days and there was no Council guarantee that you would consider a plan that would take four weeks to produce and cost us $8,000-10,000 of dollars.
Secondly, we ask that you work with those who have asked that you reconsider your decision of April 7, 2008. The Historical Commission has presented two opportunities Ė a walk around the farmstead with Steve Stier, a barn restoration expert, and an evening with Ron Campbell, a preservation architect of Oakland County's Planning and Economic Development Services Department for everyone in the community - residents, city staff and City Council- to learn more about the real possibilities for the future of the farm as an historical park. And, yes it always was intended to be a park, not a sports park with athletic field or a nature park with wooded trails and perhaps a nature center, but rather a park that celebrates the heritage of the community, recognizes it rather humble and unpretentious beginnings, honors its founders as represented by those who homesteaded and farmed this particular site, and recognizes the resourcefulness of those who had the vision and generosity to pass that heritage on to those who followed after them.
We ask that you listen carefully to those who address you this evening.
We ask that you take the petitions as seriously as those who signed them did.
We ask that you take demolition off the table and begin to work toward a true preservation plan that the community could - and we are confident - would support beginning with an RFP for a preservation plan.
And finally, if you are convinced that the McKenna Plan B is to be your legacy and that it is superior to that of the preservation and programming potential of the existing Fuerst Farmstead, and you are certain that the community supports your vision for the property, then put the question on the ballot and let the voters decide. We are prepared to accept whatever decision is made by the people. Thank you for your time this evening.
Kathy McLallen noted that the designation of the National Historic Register was the highest designation but came with no money. The reason for the designation was because of its location, the campus, and the site as a window to the past. She asked that this historic window not be shut and she expected a balanced decision.
Greg Sorrentino, 24959 Reeds Pointe, who was in construction, stated that every community had a history of being a farming community; it didnít mean the City should spend millions of dollars to save the buildings. He said he had waited 10 years for anything to happen and felt the price of reconstructing anything on that property and maintaining it would be cost prohibitive. He said it would cost at least $2.5-million to save the two structures, with costs continuing to rise. He felt the community had many activities and needed the library and the arts, but to try to save the rotting barns would be irresponsible.
Jim Evenhuis, 24601 Olde Orchard Street, noted the library promised to make space for the old Township Hall. He congratulated Mayor Landry on the fine letter and research; he noted that in 2000 everyone was in favor of making this an historical park. The City proposed that the library be given the land at the southeast corner of the Fuerst property and to work with the citizens committee. Once the election was held the support for moving the library to the Taft Road site disappeared.
Rachel Manela, 40404 Village Wood, age 16, related that her parents had told her how Novi used to have all dirt roads. She felt that tearing the farm down would be like tearing out the heart of the City.
Alex Tollis, 24142 Elizabeth Lane, had attended Novi schools and noted it was shocking to find out that the farm would be demolished. He said that he had created a page on Spacebook and invited students his age to save the Fuerst Farm for Novi residents. He noted that outside the community, Novi High School was known as the school with the barns next to it.
Dustin Hall, 24025 Devonshire Dr. noted that he would like to take his children to the farm rather than take them to the soccer games; he asked about the options that would allow saving some piece of history.
Nancy Powell, 47446 Greenwich Dr., asked Council how often it had the opportunity to correct a mistake. She noted that many citizens were asking Council to revisit this issue and put it on the ballot.
Roger Manela, 40404 Village Wood, noted that people were interested in history. He felt the City sometimes made mistakes and felt they could learn from them. He said there was another opportunity to correct this; he didnít think they wanted to go down in history as destroying the Fuerst Farm.
Patti Harpenau, 24753 Sarah Flynn, noted that the farm site was one of the reasons she had moved to Novi.
Carol Dopos, 41718 Sleepy Hollow, stated she contacted another township where the Fisk Farm was and they had an arts and craft show, Christmas shows, etc. She felt there were activities that could be held at the farm.
Cathy Tollis, 24142 Elizabeth Lane, noted that she drove on Taft Road and was delighted to see that the farm was still intact; she felt it would be a shame to tear down this distinctive symbol of Noviís past.
David Ruyle, 40474 Mill Rd. Ct. E., a 28-year resident, supported Councilís decision on the farm and stated he would like to see an amphitheater go in there. He said it was tragic to see the farm as it was. He also thanked the City for taking care of the roads during the winter and stated that the parks have never looked better. He commended the Council for doing a great job.
Ginger Barrons, 24777 Glenda Ct., noted there used to be only the four corners of the City at Grand River and Novi. She did a lot of research and walked around the farm with Steven Stier. The Historical Commission gave them these opportunities and noted it was supposed to be a park that celebrated Noviís beginnings. She was not interested in Gateway Plaza but was interested in seeing the Fuerst Farm saved. She noted they didnít fundraise because they didnít have the 501(c)(3) yet.
Becky Staab, 41887 Cherry Hill, said that the Fuerst sisters were kind, trustworthy and frugal. She was the co-chair of the Fuerst Farm committee for the school district. The school district received $600,000 from the sisters, and so did the City of Novi. The school district vested money and gave out scholarships every year; she wasnít sure where the other money went. She asked Council to table the demolition and form a Fuerst Farm action committee and raise 75% of the money by July 2009.
Chuck Tindall, 2435 Shawood, spoke in favor of preserving the Fuerst Farm. He didnít feel this Council would back up; he offered to take this to the voters.
Dan Tollis, 24142 Elizabeth Lane, shared the same sentiment about going to the people to find out if they wanted to keep this.
Roy Prentice, 28115 Meadowbrook Road, spoke on behalf of the Historical Commission and looked for direction from the City in making the buildings usable. He could see the potential for the farm. He said that the Commission had held events on site but they didnít think it was appropriate to take the lead on the action. He stated that the Commission was willing to give moral support to the Cityís effort.
Roy Szalony, 24164 Brentwood Ct., appealed to Council to change their minds on demolishing the Fuerst Farm. He said the one thing that needed to be stated was that the property was not an eyesore and that the buildings were sound.
Michael Breckenridge, 24152 Brentwood Ct., was upset that no one had done anything with the farm. He said that a few years ago the City wanted to have a water park and the citizens had been against that. He felt the citizens had shown that this should be put to a vote as well.
Matt Irwin, 45188 Yorkshire, stated the most important thing for him was that it represented the future; he felt that Novi should act responsibly.
Sherrie Konkus, 22278 Cascade Dr., said she was concerned about demolishing the buildings and thought the responses were for saving everything. She thought the plans for the park and the names of some of the development should be changed, as the costs were significant. She noted that the door-to-door petition showed that 1,307 residents were asking Council to reconsider the demolition.
Margaret Schmidt, 25377 Wixom Road, Novi, noted that they had an expert go in the barns who felt they were in good shape. They were not ready to fall down but were full of junk.
Alex Bartlett, 45737 Jaslyn Lane, said that he liked the barns; however, they had been sitting there rotting. He commented that the things loved were the things taken care of, and that inaction spoke more loudly than anyone who had spoken tonight. He saw the plans for the park and felt it was the legacy that was 10 times greater than anything anyone had said.
Pat Lewis, 24388 Kings Pointe, noted that she knew the Fuerst sisters and they had embraced every modern thing that came along and watched the City grow. She knew they took pride that their farm would remain as a base of the City of Novi, and wished it could be saved.
CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS AND APPROVALS (See items A-S)
Member Staudt removed Consent Item D, city signage.
CM-08-07-109 Moved by Capello, seconded by Gatt; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve the Consent Agenda as amended.
Roll call vote on CM-08-07-109 Yeas: Crawford, Gatt, Margolis, Mutch, Staudt, Landry, Capello
A. Approve Minutes of:
B. Enter Executive Session immediately following the regular meeting of July 7, 2008 in the Council Annex for the purpose of discussing pending litigation, labor negotiations, City Manager and City Clerk performance evaluations and privileged correspondence from legal counsel.
C. Approval to award purchase and installation of a Broadcast Pix Slate 2100 SD A/V Room Switcher to Roscor Corporation Michigan, the sole bidder, for $35,072.
E. Consideration of Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 18.226, to amend Ordinance No. 97-18 as amended, the City of Novi Zoning Ordinance at Article 31, Subsection 3107, "Miscellaneous" to modify the standards for the number of days a Zoning Board of Appeals ruling is valid. Second Reading
F. Approval of the final balancing change order and final payment to Hard Rock Concrete, Inc. for Contract 1 of the 2007 Neighborhood Concrete Street Reconstruction project in the amount of $4,802.37.
G. Approval of the 2008/2009 Oakland Livingston Human Service Agency (OLHSA) contract for the Senior Center Coordinator position in the amount of $47,336.
H. Approval to award a contract to Automatic Apartment Laundries beginning September 1, 2008, for laundry service at Meadowbrook Commons.
I. Approval of the second and last renewal option beginning July 1, 2008 - June 30, 2009 for subsidized taxi service with Community Cab Company for senior citizens and those with disabilities.
J. Approval to enter into an agreement with The Detroit Edison Company, to accept $12,000/year rent for the placement of a natural gas generator at Wildlife Woods Park, 11 Mile/Wixom Road.
K. Approval of a contract amendment to Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber for additional design engineering services for the Pontiac Trail Water Main Extension project in the amount of $19,400.
L. Approval of an Agreement for Emergency Connection to Public Water with the City of Walled Lake for secondary emergency water connection on Pontiac Trail.
M. Approval of an Agreement for Emergency Connection to Public Water with the City of Wixom for secondary emergency water connection on Beck Road.
N. Approval to award the Debris Removal Contract to Bob Myers Excavating, Inc., the low qualified bidder, for a not to exceed annual price of $62,000.
O. Approval of Amended Locker Room (Ice Arena) License Agreement with Northville High School to extend agreement for one additional year to 2011-2012.
P. Approval to award a construction engineering services contract for Orchard Hill Place Reconstruction project to Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber in the amount of $43,178 (equal to a fixed 4.89% of the construction cost).
Q. Approval of appointment of Jane Schimpf (Employee Delegate) as the 2008 City of Novi representative to attend the Annual Michigan Employees Retirement System (MERS) Conference to be held September 30 Ė October 2, 2008.
R. Approval of Resolution authorizing the City Attorney to initiate legal action to contest the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Phase II General Permits (permit number MIG610000 Ė watershed, and MIS 049000 Ė jurisdictional) before the Michigan State Office of Administrative Hearings.
S. Approval of Claims and Accounts Ė Warrant No. 772
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION Ė Part I
1. 1) Approval to agree to allocate up to $18,000 of City and/or other funds for public infrastructure improvements such as drive approaches, road curb-cuts, pervious asphalt, traffic signage, and/or bioswale/rain garden, to be determined upon submission of final site plan as part of required local contribution for a State of Michigan high-tech MEGA credit recently granted to Brembo North America. City will seek payment/reimbursement from the Novi Economic Development Corporation (EDC); 2) Approval to agree to allocate up to $5,000 of City and/or other funds for public infrastructure improvements such as drive approaches, road curb-cuts, pervious asphalt, traffic signage, and/or bioswale/rain garden, to be determined upon submission of final site plan as part of required local contribution for a State of Michigan high-tech MEGA application for Harman/Becker Automotive Systems. City will seek payment/reimbursement from the Novi Economic Development Corporation (EDC); 3) Discussion of a local participation funding strategy for future economic development MEGA projects.
Mr. Pearson noted there were two specific economic development projects and asked Councilís discussion about a general policy on how to deal with these going forward. He said Ara Topouzian had been the lead contact for the Cityís interaction with these companies. These companies have a presence in Michigan now and were seeking to expand and stay in the State. He said to do that they were accessing the State of Michigan programs for various incentives and financial work that the State could offer. He said to do that they needed some local participation and the requirements for that participation had been streamlined and these small amounts of money would provide the access to those State programs. He said they tried
to structure this so that it was the least impactful to the Cityís bottom line, and more specifically that they would be towards improvements in the public right-of-way. Mr. Pearson said this would be in keeping with prior Council direction. He said they were looking for policy guidance on how to look at these opportunities in the future, which would help both the City and the companies.
Member Margolis commended the entire City for these kinds of opportunities. She said it really had become the kind of place where people wanted to be. Member Margolis stated she didnít think Council or staff took credit for that but there did seem to be a push. She said when L. Brooks Patterson was out speaking, he said he had mentioned the name Novi quite often in the past couple of weeks. She also commended the creativity of both of these approvals. Member Margolis commented that building infrastructure in the City to attract businesses was a smart way to go because even if the company didnít stay, the infrastructure stayed. The contribution from the State for the MEGA credit was really the large credit that they received from the State, which wasnít an impact on the City.
CM-08-07-110 Moved by Margolis, seconded by Gatt; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve the allocation of the $18,000 of City Funds for a local Contribution for State of Michigan High Tech MEGA credit granted to Brembo North America and approval of the allocation of up to $5,000 City and/or funds for public infrastructure improvement as listed in the Council minutes and packet to support the Harman/Becker Automotive Systems MEGA application.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello said in the correspondence that came with the materials it looked like the City contribution of $23,000 was going to be in the way of reimbursement of fees that they would pay for the development. However, in the motion it appeared that the City would go to the EDC for reimbursement of that money. Mr. Pearson said there were two different aspects and they were originally looking first to the permit fees as to what got reimbursed. So they moved to try to do something with infrastructure into the right-of-way as first choice of where to come up with the City money. He said the other question would be where the funds come from and they couldnít speak for the EDC because they were a separate body. Mr. Pearson said they would need to consult them and try to access the money so first choice would be to try to use EDC money to provide that match and as a backup plan they would tap into City monies. Mayor Pro Tem Capello said then the fee issue was not really on the table now and Mr. Pearson said not unless something changed dramatically.
Member Gatt stated he would support the motion. He said the State had put a lot of pressure on cities and other communities to grant tax abatements and Novi had not succumbed to that pressure. In fact the City took the other route and made improvements to the property, etc. in that form. He said they had done it successfully for ITC and Ryder in the past, and he had no doubt that this would be an asset to the community and its citizens in the future.
Member Crawford said she applauded staff for creative solutions to make Novi more marketable. She thought they had come a long way in a short time and had been modest in what they were going to offer. She asked that they continue using creative solutions in order to bring more businesses to Novi. She thought they had been successful because they were looking at a variety of ways to attract new business. She hoped they continued in this direction.
Member Staudt said he served on the EDC and got a look at how things worked and had worked on the business round table for Oakland County for a lot of years. He said he had never been a big fan of government picking winners and losers in business and the MEGA Grant had, at best, limited success in the long haul. He said that was the vehicle the State had chosen and therefore, they had to consider the alternatives to allow Noviís participation. He thought this was a great idea, one time grants for infrastructure improvements. Member Staudt stated he would like to see Council consider potentially creating a $50,000 or $100,000 pool that was a budgeted pool that would require allocation by Council, but would be available for these types of opportunities for the really important types of businesses that had been coming into the community. He thought this was the right direction to go. Member Staudt thought they would probably revisit the abatement policy and look at it hard as times got more difficult and properties were more difficult to move into. He thought it was a good plan, a good use of EDC funds and he would look for some type of expansion in this area in the future.
Member Mutch stated he would support the proposal as it had been structured as some other Council Members had stated, the investment in infrastructure was a wise one. He said what he would not support was movement in a direction to where they were doing any kind of direct cash payments or anything akin to that as had been done in other communities. He thought there had been a real race to the bottom in a number of states and communities with these kinds of cash payouts. He said once they went down that path everyone came to town expecting the same. When talking about guidance provided to Administration they needed to think about limiting those so that every company doesnít request them. Member Mutch said if they start using General Fund tax dollars to support such a program they would be taking from businesses that had invested in the community and using that to attract companies that had never been in Novi. He said staff knew of the concerns he had and he didnít think they were intending to go down that road but if they did, he would have concerns about that. Member Mutch wanted to keep them focused on the infrastructure, job training and the kind of things that build a community that companies wanted to come to and not where the City had to use a cash handout to bring them to Novi.
Mayor Landry stated he was totally in favor of this proposal. He thought one of the reasons that Novi had been successful in attracting businesses in this climate was because they had been proactive. He said they had actively worked with companies and had utilized Noviís location and resources to the best they could and had convinced these companies that Novi was the place they needed to be because of the resources available, the employees, the environment, the location and he thought the State of Michiganís EDC with their MEGA program was totally dollar fixated. He said he was proud of the achievements they had with Ryder and ITC because Council didnít buckle to the State of Michigan. He said they were investing in the community with infrastructure and not just handing dollar bills to someone.
Mayor Landry said with respect to local participation funding strategy that was where he thought they should go. He was totally in favor of codifying this because he thought it made their position stronger with the Michigan EDC. So he was totally in favor of a written policy and was in favor of setting some dollars aside that would allow them to maneuver.
Member Margolis agreed that things set forth in ideas for the policy made sense. The idea that money could be allocated every year so that staff would know it could be used towards this project was very appropriate. She said the focus was on the high tech MEGA credits, job creation and the high value job creation. She said what was in this was that the job should have a minimum salary of $50,000. She thought those were very good policy directions and were the kinds of business Novi had been attracting and the kind they would want to continue to attract. Also, they should have a long term 10 year lease, which made a lot of sense. Member Margolis said there was no more than five applications per fiscal year and $20,000 per proposal. She said it seemed to take away flexibility and she would be interested in Councilís recommendations if a huge project came in, and they wanted to do more than five. She would be more comfortable allocating an amount and then anything over that or out of that sphere would come to Council for more policy direction. She thought limiting it to five a year was not enough.
Mayor Landry said it talked about five unless there were extenuating circumstances and someone could prove special circumstances. Mr. Pearson said he was correct. He said it was just through the draft and he thought the expression was to beef that up and say that the assumption was with the $100,000, or they could do the five and other projects would be considered on their merits, etc.
Member Staudt said if no projects came through the $100,000 would not be spent on anything, correct. Mr. Pearson said yes. He said he wanted to make it clear that this wasnít money that was allocated and had to be spent on specific projects. It was money that was there in the event that the right projects came along for the right purpose.
Mayor Landry agreed with that statement. He said when they had spoke at budget time one of the things the City Manager was the most proud of was that many City departments had budgets and didnít spend all the money just because they had it at the end of the year. He noted they clearly had a track record of not doing that.
Roll call vote on CM-08-07-110 Yeas: Gatt, Margolis, Mutch, Staudt, Landry, Capello, Crawford
2. Approval to award a contract at the Fuerst Property (southeast corner of Ten Mile and Taft Road) to remove the north barn to Lukeís Trucking, the low bidder, in the amount of $3,350 and a contract to remove the house (saving the stone from the chimney and porch) by demolition to Universal Consolidated Enterprises Inc., the low bidder, in the amount of $6,479 and award a contract to dismantle and remove the south and east barns by February 28, 2009 to Dave Wittbrodt, in the amount of $4,000. As a condition to such award, Mr. Wittbrodt is required to provide evidence of appropriate insurance and signed appropriate agreement in a form approved by the City Manager and City Attorney. The agreement will provide that, in the event Mr. Wittbrodt is unable to fulfill the requirements of the agreement by February 28, 2009, a contract for removal by demolition of the south and east barns is hereby awarded to Lukeís Trucking, the lowest bidder, in the amount of $11,977.50, subject to a possible revision of the price in the event the work has been partially completed.
Member Margolis stated that this was not an easy decision and she understood that everyone that spoke this evening spoke from the heart. However, as a resident said when he spoke, "what you love, you take care of" and the history of this piece of property was that there was a mobilization to save it but there was no money behind it that said this is what they would do. She said that was her concern because they were talking about a minimum of $1.2 to $1.5 million just to get the structures back to where the public could go in them. She said if they went there, then what. If it became a museum, how would it be maintained, staffed and how would they make it safe. She said she could not pass the buck on this. In the past people came forward and Council at the time said yes, itís very important to save it and then did nothing. Member Margolis said in all good conscience as a public servant, she could not do that because her job was to do what she thought was best. One of the questions they discussed three months ago was could they raise money and it would have been an indication to her but that didnít happen. She said when talking about the two proposals they were not talking apples and apples; they were talking about a tremendous amount of money to save the property and they could put in a couple hundred thousand dollars, right now, to make the property somewhere people could go. They could put up signs to talk about the history and let people walk around. Member Margolis said she and her husband walked the property last week and it convinced her that they needed to go in that direction. She stated she wanted it to stay an historical park and that it be the Fuerst Farm Park and thought more people would see it, if it were something accessible. She said they had heard a lot from the meetings from people who wanted to save it but she had also heard a lot from private citizens who called and emailed and said "stay on the course, they needed to do this, they need to move forward and it needed to be a property they could use."
CM-08-07-111 Moved by Margolis, seconded by Gatt; MOTION CARRIED:
To approve award of contract at the Fuerst Property (southeast corner of Ten Mile and Taft Road) to remove the north barn to Lukeís Trucking, the low bidder, in the amount of $3,350 and a contract to remove the house (saving the stone from the chimney and porch) by demolition to Universal Consolidated Enterprises Inc., the low bidder, in the amount of $6,479 and award a contract to dismantle and remove the south and east barns by February 28, 2009 to Dave Wittbrodt, in the amount of $4,000. As a condition to such award, Mr. Wittbrodt is required to provide evidence of appropriate insurance and signed appropriate agreement in a form approved by the City Manager and City Attorney. The agreement will provide that, in the event Mr. Wittbrodt is unable to fulfill the requirements of the agreement by February 28, 2009, a contract for removal by demolition of the south and east barns is hereby awarded to Lukeís Trucking, the lowest bidder, in the amount of $11,977.50, subject to a possible revision of the price in the event the work has been partially completed.
Member Margolis said her understanding, regarding the timeline in terms of the south and east barn, was that Mr. Wittbrodt wanted to dismantle the barns and move them to another site and restore them. Mr. Pearson said she was correct. She said this motion would allow him to save those two structures as long as it was within the timeline discussed and he provided the proper insurance, etc. Mr. Pearson said she was correct.
Member Gatt noted this was a very emotional issue as evidenced by all the people who came out today and over the past several months. He said this was not an easy decision and Council was elected to do the peopleís work and although the people on one side of the coin felt they spoke for the majority, he didnít share that opinion. Member Gatt said he had a lot of calls and conversations with people telling him to stay on course. He said he didnít know the Fuerst sisters first hand and didnít know of anyone in the audience that did. However, he had sat on their porch and talked with the Fuerst sisters and the one thing he knew about those two ladies was that they were very generous people and they wanted their property used. He said the Civic Center, High School, Library and Police Department were all on the Fuerst property. Member Gatt said those ladies didnít want a museum; they wanted their property used. He thought they had done them a disservice letting the barns and the house deteriorate and not use them. He said it was now to the point where it would be much better for the public to build the structures seen tonight and discussed in the past and let the people use it. He said someone spoke tonight and said "people look at that site as an icon of Noviís history" and he agreed to a point. However, the site was not going away, it would remain and would remain pristine. He said it would not be a mall or stores. It would be a park and the icon would remain and people would know they were on the former Fuerst Farm. Another young man said "thatís where everything started in Novi" and he respectfully disagreed. He said those residents who had been around the City for a long, long time knew that there were more historical and older buildings and properties that really had an impact on Noviís history. Member Gatt said the Fuerst sisters really didnít have an impact on Noviís history. He said they were very generous and benevolent and donated property that blossomed into what would become Noviís history but that was not the site of Noviís beginning. Member Gatt said he was going to let his conscience be his guide. He said if they went 35 miles south east of here, thereís a building that was much more historic, much more historic to the people of Detroit, of Michigan and of the United States of America, and it was being torn down too. He was speaking about Tiger Stadium, Briggs Stadium and Navin Field. He said people walked around it, talked about it, walked around, put up fences and it was being torn down because they did everything except raise the money to preserve it. Member Gatt said the same thing here was in place with the Fuerst Farm. When this property was bought years ago it wasnít intended to be historical and the Mayorís research proved that. He said some people present tonight, were on Councils and had the opportunity to act and make that property more viable and they didnít because the funds were not there. Member Gatt said one man said that "Sandstone was a stupid decision", and it was. He said it cost the City a lot of money and property. He didnít think what he expected would be done tonight was a stupid decision. He felt it was the right decision for this Council and he would support the motion.
Member Crawford said when she was born almost everyone lived on small farms and it wasnít all that great as a young girl. She said the older she had gotten the more she realized as the farms disappeared, including the one she was born on, and she started seeing her things appear in museums, and she realized that it was important to keep the things that had been a part of the past. She said there was very little in Novi to protect and keep as there werenít that many wonderful buildings like Northville and Farmington had. She said she was not going to support the motion and didnít believe that removal of all the structures representing the Fuerst Farm was in the best interests of the City nor was removal of all the buildings the only option. She thought one or more of the buildings or part of the house could have been incorporated into the park and that was what she wanted to see happen, and her choice would have been to keep the house. Member Crawford said all the volunteers who had been a part of preserving Noviís history and had worked on this farm, other projects and special events in order to highlight farm days and what it was like to live on a farm should be commended. She thanked them all. Member Crawford stated she didnít blame this Council or Administration for bringing them to this point. She thought long ago they should have respected, protected and used the property.
Member Staudt thought, after listening to everything tonight, the greatest testament to what the Fuerst sisters thought about that property was that they left $600,000 to the City and $600,000 to the school district. However, they didnít designate a single penny to preserve their own building, and he thought that spoke to them now.
Member Mutch thought it was important for the residents to understand fully what was being considered tonight. He thought the residents should have all the facts on the table so if Council made a decision to move forward with the demolition, they would have the full picture of what was taking place. He said the first thing to understand was that there wasnít a deadline for demolition, except for the one that Council had imposed on itself. If the buildings were to be demolished, it was because the majority of Council had chosen to do it and not because they had to. He said the Library construction would not impact the Fuerst Farm property. He said there had been comments that hinted that the Library construction would justify the demolition, which was not the case. The stated need to move the Township Hall from the Library property did not justify demolishing the farmstead. He said the property that the City owned, the Fuerst Farmstead, was large enough to accommodate the Township Hall building without taking down a single building. He said even if one accepted the fact that the Township Hall could only go at the location being proposed, that would only impact one barn and not the entire farmstead. Member Mutch said the City had now put out a plan that residents had an opportunity to look at, which showed a number of improvements on the property with the one exception of the High Pointe Plaza; every one of those improvements could go onto the property without taking down one building. Member Mutch agreed with fellow Council members who said they wanted to see the property utilized more, and he thought there were ways to use the property more than it was being used today. However, the argument that everything on the site had to be demolished to put the improvements in place was simply not the case. He said the plans presented to the community showed that. It wasnít a question of opinion, it was a matter of looking at the plans, seeing where the farm house and barns were once placed and then seeing what would go instead on the property.
Member Mutch said there had been a lot of discussion about the historical significance of the property. He felt it was historically significant locally, and obviously other people didnít. But at the end of the day, experts had looked at it in terms of the State and National Historic Registry. He said from their expert opinion, its importance to Novi was less relevant than its importance as an agricultural symbol of our State and National history. Member Mutch said that was something that Novi and its residents were losing. The things that make a place like Novi special were the things that were unique. He said there could be the cookie cutter fast food restaurants, stores, strip malls and McMansions in every suburban community. He said when they take down the farmstead they would be destroying a part of what made Novi unique as a City. He said that would be the loss because not only the history would be lost but our character as well.
Member Mutch said there had been discussion about the cost of preservation. Unfortunately, some of the news media articles had continued to repeat the $3.3 million number, and that didnít represent restoration costs. There had been discussion about $1.5 million restoration costs, which actually didnít represent restoration costs for the house and barns but would be a full scale renovation with authentic wallpaper in the house and restoring the barns for a multi use facility, which the City wasnít proposing for the property. He said what Council didnít know as they were making this decision tonight, was what the real number for those restoration costs would be. He said Council had not had the benefit of expert analysis of that as they provided an estimate and so far those estimates had not been very accurate; so, they didnít hold a lot of weight for him. He said it wouldnít take much to request bids and ask how much it would cost to restore the house, the barns, and ask experts who knew what they were doing in terms of making those kinds of estimates, people who had worked on historic structures. They could provide that information, which was lacking at the table tonight for Council to be able to make a decision.
Member Mutch stated there had been discussion about the structural integrity of the barn and the house. He said this Council had no information before them that indicated that any of the barns or the house were structurally unsound, with the one exception of the north barn where there had been some indication from past reports that it needed some attention. He said when talking about the house and barns falling down, that information had never been presented to Council, and, in fact, the opposite was true. He said they had reports from structural engineers in the past who had said the barns and the house were structurally sound. Steve Stier was on the site a month ago and pointed out the indicators that showed that the barns were sound. They obviously needed some restoration work but it was not a situation that the barns would fall down tomorrow.
Member Mutch said it was important for the residents to understand that the work that had been done so far, which included repainting the south and north barns and house, cleaning the house, and volunteers like Tom Marcus had replaced broken window glass. He said hundreds of people had participated in volunteer work at almost no cost to the City. He said when talking about the costs of restoring these buildings, they knew that the plan that the Council wanted to pursue would be coming out of the taxpayerís pockets. He said with a restoration plan there would be the opportunity to engage volunteers and the business community to come to the table, as they had in the past, and make a positive step towards restoration. He noted one number that had been thrown out there was the $70,000 that the City had spent on the property over the past eleven years. He said he asked the Administration for a breakdown of those numbers and most of those dollars were not spent on restoration at all, they were spent for lawn cutting service. He said one year the City painted the second story of the house after volunteers painted the first story but there had been no significant investment of City dollars into restoration. He said all that had come from public contributions.
Member Mutch believed, from his viewpoint looking at the facts on the table, there was no clear justification for demolition and no timeline that justified demolition now. He thought the City was missing an opportunity to take advantage of what had been done in the past and to provide a framework for going forward. There was a lot of discussion about a task force report in 2000 and what many people didnít know if they hadnít read the report, was that report had provided the framework for turning the Fuerst Farmstead into an historical park and for restoring the buildings through a combination of City and public effort. He said there was a great role model in that that many of his fellow Council members had talked about time and again when they were discussing this issue, and that was the Township Hall property. He said what many people didnít know was that a number of years ago the Township Hall was sitting dilapidated and abandoned on Novi Road on the verge of demolition. He said if they had taken the same attitude and approach that they were taking toward the Fuerst Farmstead, the Township Hall would have been history. Instead, the public through various community groups and the City worked together with the Library Board to provide the location and move the Township Hall, which was in very bad shape, onto the Library property. He said over a period of several years, largely with public donations and labor, they restored the Township Hall building. He said now they talk about it as this wonderful piece of history that it was, and the fact that it was a wonderful amenity they wanted to keep. However, they ignored the fact of how that happened and the fact that it provided an example of a way to move forward that was collaborative with the public and allowed the City to preserve a piece of its history.
Member Mutch said what was presented to the City in the Task Force Report was a set of recommendations. He said the Task Force was organized by the Council, the members were appointed by Council and they were given a specific task, which was to provide a framework and recommendations for turning the Fuerst Farmstead into an historical park. He said they did that and provided that set of recommendations to the Council and their work was done. Member Mutch said the recommendations said the Council, through the City Manager, would appoint a staff liaison that the Council would appoint a Board of Trustees to oversee the operation of the park and the Council would allocate certain funds for certain activities. He said those activities were outlined in the report. So, when talking about what was invested in the property, that Task Force Report talked about painting the buildings, establishing walking paths, bringing restoration specialists in to consult on how to restore the barns, expending money on cleanup of the buildings, trees, shrubs, etc. He said over a five year period, by working with staff and the Board of Trustees the buildings would be restored over time, the property would be more fully utilized and funds would be raised from the public and private sector to fund all the activity. Member Mutch said they never did that. So, tonight Council members had an opportunity to use the Task Force Report with its recommendations as a framework to move forward in a path that talked about preservation, restoration and all the uses identified in the report. This would allow Council to move this issue forward in a way they wanted to without resorting to demolition. He thought it was important to not just say this was what they had done and this was what needed to be done. He said he wanted to be specific about what he would like to see happen. He said whether that had support of the majority of Council or not, he wanted to at least put it on the record. The following would be Member Mutchís alternative to demolition.
1. To allow the Friends of the Fuerst Farm and any other interested community groups, business groups, like the Chamber, and volunteers one year to work with the City to create a restoration plan, a timeline for improvements and a fund raising plan to accomplish that.
2. To kick start that effort, utilize the free resources available from Oakland County to do the initial assessment of the building and the property. This would then give Council a realistic idea of what all the work would cost and what needed to be done in terms of prioritizing the work. Also, it would identify how much money had to be raised towards various elements of the project.
3. Apply for certification from the State of Michigan to become eligible for State funding for historic preservation. The State had funds available for sites on the National Register but the local government had to become certified before it could apply for those funds.
4. Apply to area foundations, including the Americana Foundation, for assistance with funding to create a restoration plan and to start restoration of the house and barns. He said Council had been told that Americana had been approached, and Council was told that they were not interested in funding this kind of activity. In fact, what they had discovered was when Americana was approached by a member of the Friends Board that, in fact, Americana was willing to work with the City and would like to present a proposal along the lines of what had been discussed in terms of restoration. Also, Americana would consider funding those proposals. He said it was an opportunity the City could take advantage of.
5. Quarterly updates to Council on the progress made in planning, fund raising and restoration work. He said in one year the Council would be able to evaluate the progress being made and decide the future direction for the buildings and the sites.
Member Mutch said they had the bids for demolition and knew what it would cost and how long it would take. If a year from now, Council didnít see progress being made then they could move forward with the demolition plans as initially intended. He said this would be an opportunity the Council could pursue. Finally, one of the big issues had been money and the question of how to fund all the work. He said doing research through the City budget documents he found that there was still $125,000 left of the $600,000 that Iva Fuerst donated to the City sitting in a City donation account. He said it had been restricted to uses for parks and recreation purposes on the Civic Center Campus. He commented that he couldnít think of a better use of that money to honor her legacy than to use those dollars to match activities related to preservation and restoration of the farmstead. He said they could talk about no money being available, but with $125,000 that could be used for matching grants and challenge grants. He thought Council really had an opportunity to move forward in a way that respected what the majority of this community wanted and respected the historical significance of the site and would leave something for future generations that they could really treasure. Member Mutch said he had lived in Novi for 36 years and now lived in a historic home, which was costly but he was somehow able to afford it. He noted that somehow a gentleman was going to be able to move two barns that would cost a half million dollars to restore. He said another gentleman was interested in moving the house, which would cost $400,000 to restore. If individuals could take on that challenge and make it happen, he thought the community could make it happen. If they believe what they say when saying "one of the greatest cities in Michigan, there are great people in this community", then letís stand behind that and take an action of support. He said he wouldnít support a motion that entailed demolition and removal of the buildings and barns.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello said this was a tough decision to make and was not a decision that was made in haste. He said they had been talking about this as a Council at goal setting and special meetings for over a year. He said it should not be a surprise for those who had come to audience participation in the last couple meetings that Council was looking at doing something with the Fuerst Farm and Fuerst Farm buildings. The reason that the issue of demolition had come up, at this time, was because after the effort Council had put forward to try to utilize a valuable, vacant piece of land in Novi for the benefit of the residents, they decided to demolish the buildings to develop the type of park that Council was looking to develop. They were not demolishing or looking to demolish for demolition sake itself. He said Member Margolis made a good point that it would be fiscally irresponsible to the remaining residents in Novi if they invested $1.5 million into those three buildings and had nothing to show for it, except the outer structure of two barns and a house. He said it reminded him of the back lot at Disney where it looked good from the front but was totally not functional from the rear or the inside. The barns might be structurally sound; he agreed that the barns might have some benefit but by the time they invested this money they would not be usable for anything; they would look good. He said it would be the same thing with the house. He asked how he could say they would invest $1.5 million and would get nothing for their money except to look at two barns and a house, it made no sense. Mayor Pro Tem Capello said in regard to the historical aspect of it, he had been in Novi 16 years and did not see it as a farm community. He said there were farms in Novi and most of them had been developed, but farming had not brought them to where they were today. It did not bring I-276, I-696 and I-96 to Novi, and it did not create the great school system Novi had. It was sad to say, but it was the truth, that when people think of Novi they think of Twelve Oaks Mall, our schools and soon would be thinking of the new hospital. Mayor Pro Tem Capello said he didnít see the buildings as being historical. The Fuerst sisters gave the house and barns to the schools and he couldnít imagine that they thought the schools would invest money into the house and barns and maintain it as an historical site. They thought the schools were going to take the property, demolish it and build something for the schools and not maintain it as an historical site. He said the City ended up with the property and he didnít think they ever envisioned that the City would maintain the site as historical. He said the site was part of the campus and he thought the Fuerst sisters would be pleased the City was redeveloping the site into a park and would incorporate some of the structures into the themes of the farm community into the parkland. He said he was not happy with the McKenna plan and didnít think it was a good enough plan to have a premiere park at that corner and said it needed a lot of work. He said there was a lot of the farm that would be developed into the park itself.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello said, regarding the bids, they were trying to maintain the rock and the field stones from the chimney fireplace in the front porch. He said in the comments in Lukeís Trucking and Excavating bid it said "price included salvaging and recycling". If those barns were not taken away by Mr. Wittbrodt the beams in the barns were good solid beams, solid structural posts and if they could maintain that, it could be incorporated into the park system too. He said the beams were pretty mammoth and impressive. He thought it only made sense to the remaining residents, other than the 40 that had attended the meetings, to take the buildings down and move forward with the signature park.
Mayor Landry echoed the comments of his colleagues who said this was a difficult decision. He said the people who spoke tonight and in the past were very passionate about this issue and nobody doubted that. He was sure people believed and felt exactly what they said and that obviously came through. One of the tough things about being an elected official was that they were often faced with issues that people felt very strongly about. He understood that people were emotional about this but that was Councilís job. He respected peopleís feelings and beliefs but when he looked at an issue like this, he did his research, got all the facts and laid it all out and made the best decision. Mayor Landry said in this Fuerst Farm situation there were certain key facts that he could not ignore, and there were certain key facts that motivated his decision. The key facts were:
1. Historic preservation was not done with General Fund dollars; it never was and anyone involved in government or historic preservation knew this. The General Fund dollars paved roads, hired police officers and put water systems in; historic preservation was done with private dollars. He said the Town Hall was preserved with private dollars and private efforts. He said anyone interested in preserving the Fuerst Farm could not possibly have been waiting for the City to come up with the money to do it. Itís a known fact that historic preservation was done with private dollars. In fact, when they examined the record, they found that the people were not waiting for the City to come up with the money. He said they found that those interested in preserving the buildings specifically said they would raise the money to do so. He said years ago they said they would do it and didnít. He said what everyone was told tonight, that they could get grants and raise money, they were told 13 years ago. He said he couldnít ignore that fact.
2. The City did not obtain the property for historic preservation and thatís key. Mayor Landry said when the City obtained the Fuerst Farm property the Council specifically removed the requirement that the farm buildings be preserved and that the property be preserved as an historic site. He said the school district obtained the property in the early seventies. The Fuerst sisters retained a life estate in the farmstead. They passed in 1991 and in 1997 the City owned 104 acres of property at Eleven Mile and Wixom Road. The school district wanted to build what was now the middle school and came to the City, and said they wanted to purchase 52 of the 104 acres. They said they would give the City $819,000 and the 6.5 acres on the corner of Taft and Ten Mile Road known as the Fuerst Farm. However, when the school district delivered the Offer To Purchase, the legal document, they specifically placed in that Offer To Purchase the statement "the Cityís use of the Fuerst property shall be for historical and other related purposes". When the City Council on June 23, 1997 discussed the Offer To Purchase, then City Council rejected the historical requirements and restrictions. In the Offer To Purchase there were several paragraphs that specifically stated that the City would be required to maintain the buildings on the site. The Council specifically decided those should be removed and the ultimate motion that was made on June 23, 1997 was to change the historical references to simply public use and to remove paragraphs B, C, D and E on page 6. He said when they look on page 6 of the Offer To Purchase, paragraph B said "City shall renovate such of the barns and other structures located on the Fuerst property as the City shall reasonably determine to be structurally sound". Paragraph E stated "City shall keep any buildings that remain located on the Fuerst property in reasonably good repair and condition". He said that was what the school district wanted the City to do. Mayor Landry said on June 23, 1997 the City Council removed that and said they would not do that. The deed the City ultimately took for this property said "the grantees use will be for public purposes", not historical purposes. He said one of the biggest proponents heard from tonight, Kathy Mutch, who felt strongly about this, voted in favor of removing the historical requirements and voted to remove those provisions that require the City to maintain the buildings on the property in 1997. Mayor Landry said Ms. Mutch also stated on the record that "if the buildings were gone she believed they would have plenty of reason to continue use of the property." Therefore, the City didnít obtain the property for historical purposes that language was removed and it was obtained for public use. Mayor Landry said then why didnít the City follow up on any of this all these years and why didnít they follow up on the Task Force suggestions. He said the reason they didnít was because they didnít obtain the property for historic purposes. He said that was not why they bought it, so they werenít going to follow up on that. They specifically removed that, it was at a public meeting and the public knew it and certainly those interested in preserving it knew it because some of the same people were there and involved in that decision.
3. Mayor Landry said this property was designated on the National Register of Historic Places and doesnít that create a limitation. He said that issue was cleared up 11 years ago by Kathy Mutch on June 23, 1997, "Councilwomen Mutch advised it is not restrictive when someone pursues a National Registry nomination unless Federal funds are used. Consequently, no restrictions were placed on the school or City when they pursued that for the Fuerst property. Further, Member Mutch advised, any organization or individual could have pursued the historic site registration but noted they do not require that they have the property ownerís cooperation, because the significance is determined independent of who owns it". Mayor Landry commented Council was told 11 years ago that the National Registry of Historic Places placed no restrictions on the property.
Mayor Landry said the other factor was timing; people asked what the rush was and why Council was rushing into judgment about this; you can get grants, private funds were available, give us X amount of time to raise the money. Mayor Landry said he couldnít ignore the fact that Council had been told that for 13 years by some of the same people who were asking Council to do that tonight. He said August 30, 1995 a letter was written to then Honorable Mayor Kathleen McLallen from Preservation Novi. Preservation Novi was a 501c3 tax exempt organization the president of whom was Kathy Mutch. He said Preservation Novi, the 501c3 organization, Council was told tonight that they had not raised any money because it took time to become a 501c3 corporation and it had to be applied for. Mayor Landry said Preservation Novi was a 501c3 corporation. In 1995, the City didnít own the Fuerst Farm, the school district did; Preservation Novi encouraged the City to purchase the property for historic reasons, which the City didnít do. But in 1995 Preservation Novi said in the letter to the Mayor "unfortunately Preservation Novi does not have sufficient resources to fund this restoration. We are prepared, however, to initiate a fund raising drive for the restoration, to apply to other sources that grant funds for such restoration or for future specific uses to solicit restoration materials and labor for Novi businesses, and to ask our members in the general public to donate their own time to participate in the restoration efforts". Mayor Landry said that was promised to Council 13 years ago. The City obtained the property 11 years ago in 1997. The Fuerst Property Task Force issued its recommendation in June of 2000, and when looking at this they found out that in June of 2000 the Task Force reported "when the Fuerst sisters died in 1991 the question immediately arose as to the usage of the remaining five acre farmstead". They also stated "since 1991 both the City of Novi and the Novi School District have been discussing and studying various alternatives for use of the Fuerst Farmstead". He said this question had been batted around for 17 years. The Fuerst Farm Task Force issued a five year plan. The five year plan suggested that the City put up $65,000 and they said $335,000 would be raised through park events, gifts and grants, exactly as Council was being told tonight. Since that time the City had spent over $70,000 on the property and approximately $500 had been raised through private efforts. So when Council was told whatís the rush, he said he couldnít ignore the fact that they had been told for years and years and years they would raise the money by people who know it had to be done with private dollars. The Fuerst Farm Report was a five year report and people say whatís the rush. At the end of five years in 2005, the City didnít say "timeís up, five years was over", three years had gone by since then and nobody had rushed into judgment on this. He asked why no one had done any of this after all of these years. Mayor Landry said they had been talking about it for 17 years, since 1991, the City owned it for 11 years since 1997, it was a known fact that the City removed the historical designation requirements, the Task Force said they would raise money eight years ago, the Mission Statement of the Task Force said in Mission Item No. 5, "to use the property in creative ways to raise necessary funds for the maintenance and enhancement of the property and its activities without putting an undue burden on City finances making the property self sustaining, even profitable for future enhancements and use". Mayor Landry said this was not done. He said what was being proposed tonight was what had been proposed for 13 years and he couldnít ignore that. The other thing they heard tonight was people saying they didnít agree with McKennaís quote on the cost to restore, and they didnít know what it would cost. Mayor Landry said this issue had been around since 1995 when Preservation Novi said they would raise the funds and they still didnít know what it would cost; that was the problem. He could not ignore the fact that well meaning people said they would raise the funds and they havenít done it. He said sooner or later you just have to move on because this property was not available for use by the people. Mayor Landry said at budget time in April, they passed the budget to include the money to demolish the buildings, and Member Staudt jumped in and said in all fairness letís give them 90 days to see if they could raise some money. He said what they heard tonight was that they didnít even try to raise money; they decided they werenít going to raise money and were going to do something else. He said they were given time to raise money and decided to ignore that. He said he couldnít ignore the fact that no one seemed to want to raise the money to do this because historic preservation was not done with public dollars. Mayor Landry said the City had a plan to use the acreage as a park, not to develop it, not to put a CVS on the corner, not for active ball fields, not to put soccer fields on it but to use it as a park with an entranceway feature for the entire Civic Center Campus with the school, Library, Police Department and Power Park. He said there would be trails and it would integrate with the new Library, and the Library asked if the City would keep the remnants of the orchard. Council said absolutely because the west face of the Library would be glass and they would like to keep that view; Council said no problem. He said they would call it the Fuerst Farm Park and it would have historic features. They would move the Township Hall to the site and would preserve it and enhance it with bathrooms and air conditioning. He said stones from the farm house would be used as a memorial to the farmstead. Mayor Landry said it had been suggested tonight why they couldnít do what they wanted to do and leave the buildings. He said the buildings were unsafe and someone walking the trails could go into the barns by pulling one of the boards off, it would not be a safe situation.
Mayor Landry said when they examined the history of the Cityís acquisition it wasnít obtained for historical purposes, ample time had been given to those who wanted to use it for historical purposes, and a five year plan was proposed and not followed up on. He thought it was simply time to allow the public to use this property. Mayor Landry said for 17 years people had been talking it and that was pretty near a generation. He said an entire generation of people had grown up in Novi with nobody doing anything with the property; itís simply time to act. He didnít think anyone could complain that they werenít given enough time. Mayor Landry said the proposals were to keep the boulders from the house. They were allowing the two larger barns to be salvaged for posterityís purpose. He thought the City had been eminently fair, he respected peopleís personal feelings on this but these were the reasons he was deciding the way he was. He would wholeheartedly support the motion.
Member Mutch said it was unfortunate that the discussion had gotten personalized but he wanted to address a few of the points to be clear about what was accurate and what was not. He stated he didnít think anyone suggested that the National Registry designation prevented the City from taking this action. In fact, that was a misconception a lot of residents had and wondered how something on the National Registry be demolished. He said we have known from day one that it provided no protection for the farmstead. In terms of how the City obtained the property, he had talked to at least three members of Council who voted on that decision. All three of them said the City obtained that property for the purpose of preserving the buildings and that was why the City was acquiring it. Member Mutch said they were also mindful of the responsibility to Council members and didnít want to put provisions into the agreement that if something happened down the road and the buildings were destroyed by fire, etc. that the Cityís hands would somehow be tied. He said it was never the intent or understanding that there would be a future Council that would look upon that as an opportunity to destroy the farmstead. He said he had talked to the members who made that decision and they could tell how that decision was reached. He thought it was very inaccurate to characterize the Task Force Report as somehow being uncompleted or unfulfilled. The Task Force Report was a set of recommendations for actions for the City to take, not the public, or other group; the City Council, and if they wanted to go back to 2001 there was a couple members of Council who were back there in 2001. He said the City never appointed a Board of Trustees or staff liaison or allocated funds for restoration. He said letís be accurate in what the Task Force Report was about. The Task Force recommendations intended for the City and staff, Board of Trustees and volunteers to work collaboratively to raise the funds. It was not some outside group that was going to raise funds and then use that for the restoration. He thought that needed to be characterized appropriately. He said obviously he and the Mayor have different interpretations of what was intended with that. He said he would leave it to the public to decide the facts.
Roll call vote on CM-08-07-111 Yeas: Margolis, Staudt, Landry, Capello, Gatt
Nays: Mutch, Crawford
3. Approval to award a construction contract for the Pontiac Trail Water Main Extension project to D & M Contracting, Inc., the lowest qualified bidder, in the amount of $939,510.
CM-08-07-112 Moved by Gatt, seconded by Margolis; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve award of a construction contract for the Pontiac Trail Water Main Extension project to D & M Contracting, Inc., the lowest qualified bidder, in the amount of $939,510.
Mr. Pearson said this was a major link of a north section to shore up water pressure liability.
Roll call vote on CM-08-07-112 Yeas: Mutch, Staudt, Landry, Capello, Crawford, Gatt, Margolis
4. Approval to award a construction contract for the Orchard Hill Place Reconstruction project to Washtenaw, Inc. Maintenance Services, the lowest qualified bidder, in the amount of $882,981.25.
CM-08-07-113 Moved by Gatt, seconded by Margolis; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve award of a construction contract for the Orchard Hill Place Reconstruction project to Washtenaw, Inc. Maintenance Services, the lowest qualified bidder, in the amount of $882,981.25.
Mr. Pearson said this was one of the lower rated PASER asphalt streets in the south east corner, a public information meeting was held in May and they were anxious to get this going.
Roll call vote on CM-08-07-113 Yeas: Staudt, Landry, Capello, Crawford, Gatt, Margolis, Mutch
AUDIENCE COMMENT Ė None
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION Ė Part II
5. Approval of Agreement with the Resource Recovery Recycling Authority of Southwest Oakland County (RRRASOC) to maintain a regional recycling drop-off center at the Field Services Complex located on Delwal Drive.
Mr. Pearson said Mike Csapo, Director of RRRASOC, was present and they had worked hard to expand the recycling options at the Field Services Complex, and this agreement would help continue that.
Mr. Csapo said the agreement allowed for continuation of the agreements that had been in place for the past ten years. It was a partnership with RRRASOC, other communities and the City of Novi providing recycling services to the residents of Novi and other communities. He said the agreement didnít call for any changes in regard to the Administrative or financial arrangements that were in place. He said they recently conducted a survey of residents to determine their opinions of the recycling center and it guided some of the changes they would be making in the future. He said 100% of the people they talked with said recycling was important, 9 out of 10 people thought the location at the DPW was convenient and that it was convenient in terms of preparation requirements. He said if the agreement was approved by Council, they would do two things that would improve both the convenience and the number of materials they took to further improve the service to the residents. They were adding a number of items to the center such as plastics 3 through 7, plastic bags and junk mail, per the resident survey. Also, they would be cutting down on the number of containers that were at the center and residents would no longer have to separate metal from glass and plastics and would be limited in the sorting they would have to do with paper products.
Member Mutch said recently there was a comment from a senior resident with a concern about getting access in terms of getting up and down some of the stairs to access the bins. He asked if there was anything they could do to make access more senior friendly. Mr. Csapo said as part of the consolidation of containers they would be looking at a different type of container that didnít make the residents use the steps. He said they would be moving in the direction of making it more user friendly and they would also be improving signage.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello said in the material it said "the City expended approximately $31,000 net of revenue in 2007 and $40,278 for membership. He asked what those dollars were for. Mr. Csapo said the City paid, as a member contribution to RRRASOC, about $40,000, which helped pay Administrative costs. He said the fee was associated with a wide number of services they provided member communities such as, organizing the household hazardous waste collection event coming up on September 27th, working with the homeowners association, administering the contract solicitations on their behalf, so they could lower the residents cost for curb trash and recycling services. He said there was a whole host of services they provided to member communities, in addition to managing the cost associated with the drop off site at the DPW. He said all member communities paid the membership contribution and was something they agreed to pay when they adopted their Articles of Incorporation in 1989. He said In addition to that, the City also had a drop off center and around 1998 they looked at that site when the City was thinking about getting rid of the site for cost purposes. He said instead of the City getting rid of the site and not having a recycling presence, they asked why not let them take it over, they would pay all the costs associated with the vendor and if there was revenue from the sale of material, that would go to them to offset those costs. He said that varied over the years dramatically. Mr. Csapo said they would pay the City $16,000 a year host community fee in order to offset the costs the City might have to maintain the site. So, the Cityís net cost was part of those two financial arrangements, the $40,000 a year membership contribution and the $16,000 a year host community fee that it got was $24,000. In addition to that, any cost that the City incurred in terms of cost or any costs associated with household hazardous waste collection, they had a contract with a hazardous waste company that handled the materials on site at the events, like Fall for Novi, and they tracked from where residents came from. So, in Novi they would track which were Novi residents, which were Farmington Hills and Farmington residents and then they get the bill from the vendor and when they get the bill they pass the Cityís share of those costs directly on to the City, at no markup, so the City was paying only for the residents that used the event. He said because residents come in from other cities they were able to keep those costs down and make it a more cost effective event and by the same token residents who miss the Novi event in September could go to any of the other events they held throughout the year. In addition to that they had arrangements with their vendor in Livonia, so if a resident couldnít make any of the events they could go to Livonia and drop off material. He said when they do that thereís a cost associated with that, itís just as if they came to a Novi event but their just going to a different location at their convenience. He said those costs they would see as a part of that expenditure net of revenue.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello asked if Novi was paying the $31,000 plus the $40,000 a year. Mr. Csapo said probably because he would guess Novi had about 1,200 participants a year so that would come to about $44,000 or so. Then the revenue they get from the recycling center from RRRASOC for the host fee was probably putting it down to the $31,000 mark.
CM-08-07-114 Moved by Gatt, seconded by Margolis; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve Agreement with the Resource Recovery Recycling Authority of Southwest Oakland County (RRRASOC) to maintain a regional recycling drop-off center at the Field Services Complex located on Delwal Drive.
Roll call vote on CM-08-07-114 Yeas: Landry, Capello, Crawford, Gatt, Margolis, Mutch, Staudt
6. Consideration of Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 18.227, to amend Ordinance No. 97-18 as amended, the City of Novi Zoning Ordinance at Article 19, Light Industrial, Section 1905, "Required Conditions" to amend and add provisions relating to the storage of certain recreational equipment and to establish standards for such storage. First Reading
Mr. Pearson reported this had a positive recommendation from the Planning Commission and staff. He said they would point out one line that Council might want to consider, which would serve to sort of balance out this ancillary use to the rest of the property.
CM-08-07-115 Moved by Capello, seconded by Gatt; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 18.227, to amend Ordinance No. 97-18 as amended, the City of Novi Zoning Ordinance at Article 19, Light Industrial, Section 1905, "Required Conditions" to amend and add provisions relating to the storage of certain recreational equipment and to establish standards for such storage. First Reading
Member Margolis commented she would agree to add onto the second reading that it was an auxiliary function.
Roll call vote on CM-08-07-115 Yeas: Capello, Crawford, Gatt, Margolis, Mutch, Staudt, Landry
COMMITTEE REPORTS - None
MAYOR AND COUNCIL ISSUES - None
CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS FOR COUNCIL ACTION
D. Approval to award a contract for fabrication and installation of six City entryway signs (Novi Road/96 West bound, Novi Road/96 East bound, M-5/14 Mile Road, Grand River Avenue/Haggerty Road, Novi Road/north of Eight Mile Road, and Beck Road/north of Grand River Avenue) to MLS Signs, the low bidder, for $53,847 - Staudt
Member Staudt asked that one sign be erected so Council could see what it looked like before installing the rest of the signs.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello said he would also like to see one up before the rest went up but didnít think they needed to incorporate it into a motion. He thought they could just approve the motion and let Administration know the sign was up and to go look at it. He asked if they had already approved a contract for four signs.
Mr. Pearson said they had and that would be the problem; he thought they would have to accept or reject the contract. He said if they wanted to wait for the first four signs, they could wait and come back and do these later in the year.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello asked if they had already approved a contract for four of the signs. Mr. Pearson said yes, and that would be the problem. He said they would either need to accept or reject the contract and because they ordered the contract for three of the smaller signs and the one large sign. He said at the same time they got prices for this package and at the same time knowing that when the fiscal year started they would be able to get the majority of the sites identified and get the signs up and in place. If Council wanted to wait for the first four, they could come back and do the remainder later in the year. He felt that would be more of a choice than trying to do just one.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello said he saw some earth moving at Eight and Haggerty in front of Chilis. He didnít have a problem approving the contract with a courtesy call when the sign was up to look at.
CM-08-07-116 Moved by Margolis, seconded by Crawford; MOTION CARRIED:
To approve award of a contract for fabrication and installation of six City entryway signs (Novi Road/96 West bound, Novi Road/96 East bound, M-5/14 Mile Road, Grand River Avenue/Haggerty Road, Novi Road/north of Eight Mile Road, and Beck Road/north of Grand River Avenue) to MLS Signs, the low bidder, for $53,847.
Member Mutch echoed Member Stuadtís comments in that four of the signs had already been approved. He asked what the timeline was for having the signs up. Mr. Pearson replied August 15th and September 15th for all of them and that was the advantage of the package. There would be a month between the first signs and the placement of the remainder of the signs. Member Mutch said he would like to see the first four up before approving the second four because if they didnít like them, they would have a lot they didnít like. He said he had not been a fan of this design and would rather wait.
Roll call vote on CM-08-07-116 Yeas: Crawford, Gatt, Margolis, Landry, Capello
Nays: Mutch, Staudt
Kathy Mutch, 24531 Hampton Court, noted there had been some mention that there had been $500 raised and she was curious, as the Chairperson of the Historical Commission, to find out where the $500 came from. She said the money appeared to be $553 that was in an account set up by Kathy Smith-Roy after Ms. Mutch made a written request of the City Council, when Mr. Csordas was Mayor, to create authorization for the Historical Commission to collect money because people were coming to the Fuerst Farm Family Day wanting to donate money to help offset the cost of the event. She said the City Code required that anyone who collected money on behalf of the City have authorization from the City Council. Ms. Mutch said that authorization must have been given subsequent to that request because Kathy Smith-Roy did indeed set up the account. She said she had all the email back and forth on it and the letter because the letter was in fact read and recorded in the minutes of that Council meeting. She said this was totally irrelevant, it was for the event and not a part of anyoneís funding raising efforts for preservation or anything else. Secondly, Preservation Novi contributed over $15,000 to the preservation effort when the City was in a cooperative and partnership mode and would have continued to donate money and services and make the other connections they had professionally, and otherwise to move that project forward. Ms. Mutch said she greatly resented, especially with young people in the audience, who believed when they saw the public record that it was the truth. She said to have people sitting at this table and in effect calling them liars and telling them that what was said at the podium when they addressed Council was not correct. Ms. Mutch said she had been a member of City Council and an elected official and nothing they said, no matter how personal it became would bother her more than hearing things said at the Council table that they knew was not true, and young people were present hearing that. She said one member said that statements made by a young man tonight regarding Noviís history began here was not true. She said his reference was absolutely true. His reference was to the first Township Hall meeting that was held once the Township of Novi was organized separate of Farmington, which it had been a part of before. She said it was absolute fact and was referenced in an essay that was written in 1876 in celebration of the centennial of the country. Ms. Mutch said repeatedly people had come before Council in a very reasoned and rational way, calmly and politely stating their views and presenting information faxed to Council and Council had been dismissive of them saying "I know this is an emotional issue". She said what made it emotional was when Council didnít listen when people talked to them, Council dismissed what they said as opinion rather than researched documented fact, and then acted as if it didnít matter what they thought. She stated there were the names of three former Mayors, City Council members, people who were currently sitting on boards and commissions on the petition. She said it would be an eye opener and there were at least 78 residents of two Council memberís immediate neighborhoods who signed the petition.
Ginger Barrons, 24777 Glenda, noted that there were 1,300 residents telling Council that they didnít feel they had enough time. She said most of what she found when out there was that the residents thought that having a National Historical designation protected the property. She said it was the opposite of what Mayor Landry said in his report, as people didnít understand. She noted if they didnít intend to preserve the property, she didnít understand why they even pursued the designations. She commented she was really disappointed about that. Secondly, Council did have people saying they were willing to raise funds when Council gave them the ability to do that. What they said to the residents was that they had 90 days and then Council might consider not demolishing it, but they had no plan to raise funds with and no opportunity. Preservation Novi was not the Friends of the Fuerst Farm. This was a new group of people, and though Ms. Mutch was there, the rest of the group were new and had never been involved in preservation in the Novi area. She thought giving them a little bit of time would have been great. Lastly, she said she never wanted to hear her City officials personally attacking anyone ever again. To read something from the minutes was one thing, but with the tone, inflection
and taking it out of the context that was used was inappropriate, and she was so disappointed that took place tonight.
There being no further business to come before Council, the meeting was adjourned at 10:21 P.M.
David Landry, Mayor Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk
________________________________ Date approved: July 28, 2008
Transcribed by Charlene Mc Lean