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MEETING OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NOVI
Mayor Landry called the meeting to order at 7:00 P.M.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE Girl Scout Troop 3370, Novi Meadows 5th Graders
Leader: Kim Richmond
Volunteers: Sue Watson and Lisa Telder
Members: Emily Richmond, Katie Telder, Audrey Waechter, Carolyn Watson, Adeline Zamora
ROLL CALL: Mayor Landry, Mayor Pro Tem Gatt, Council Members Burke, Crawford, Margolis, Mutch, Staudt
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Mayor Landry said there were 19 interviews on the agenda and there were Administration members present solely for Consent Agenda items. So, as an accommodation to them, he suggested a motion be made to amend the agenda to move the Consent Agenda to number one before the interviews.
CM-09-02-014 Moved by Crawford, seconded by Gatt; CARRIED
UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the Agenda as amended.
Roll call vote on CM-09-02-014 Yeas: Landry, Gatt, Burke, Crawford, Margolis, Mutch, Staudt
CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS AND APPROVALS (See items A-H)
Member Staudt removed Item F from the agenda.
CM-09-02-015 Moved by Gatt, seconded by Margolis; CARRIED
UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the Consent Agenda as amended.
Roll call vote on CM-09-02-015 Yeas: Gatt, Burke, Crawford, Margolis, Mutch, Staudt, Landry
A. Approve Minutes of:
B. Approval of 5-year Installment Contract with Waterview Farm Apartments and Westgate VI Apartments for water tap fees in connection with the Pontiac Trail watermain.
C. Approval of City DeFacto Street Acceptance of Dunnabeck Court (864 linear feet).
D. Approval of an engineering contract amendment to FTCH for additional construction engineering services for the Beck Road water main project in the amount of $8,600 for tasks associated with construction contractor delays.
E. Approval of the final balancing change order and final payment to Star Contracting, Inc. for the SAD 170 3A Sanitary Sewer Project (located on the north side of Eight Mile Road east of Garfield Road in Section 32) in the amount of $24,879.53.
G. Approval of First Amendment to Agreement for Acquisition of Property (Kaluzny Trust), Relating to a 20-acre Parcel of Property near Eleven Mile and Beck Roads.
H. Approval of Claims and Accounts – Warrant No. 786
Mayor Landry called for Consent Agenda Item F.
CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS FOR COUNCIL ACTION
F. Approval of City Code Amendment 08-125.21, to amend City of Novi City Code at Chapter 37 Woodland Protection Ordinance, and adopt the updated Regulated Woodland Map. Second Reading
Member Staudt stated the issue he had was not the ordinance, as it looked very good and should be adopted. He said the question he had about the Woodland Map was that there appeared to be areas on it that had been amended but were previously not included referring to completely new areas, in the previous map. Member Staudt said his concern was that they were adding additional responsibilities and regulation to the landowners without proper notification. He knew it had been published in the newspaper, etc. However, some of the landowners who had not been subject to regulated woodlands completely found out through this agenda. He asked for a little background how affected businesses or developers were notified. He asked if anything had been added to this map, and whether or not this would be the process followed in the future.
Mr. Pearson responded that it was true that the map was a part of Ordinance Review and over the past year or so had been updated to reflect the reality of the field. He said it was important to remember that the map was a guide and reflected, based on aerial photography and some level of field work, a rough approximation of where regulated woodland areas were. He said it had been decades since the map was created, so there were a number of areas that were dropped where development had occurred. He said woodlands were taken out, with permits, through the course of those developments. However, over time, trees and woods had grown to the degree that they would be considered regulated woodlands. Mr. Pearson said the map was a guide and whether or not they were depicted exactly on the map, they would still be potentially subject to woodland regulations. He said when a site plan came in for a parcel that was the time the property would be reviewed and field checked. He noted that when a site plan came in and was on the map, it showed regulated woodland, and it would be a high certainty that was the case and the course would go on. However, even if a woodland wasn’t shown on the map, it could still come up that there would be woodlands that would be reviewed and regulated. He commented the site plan would be the process that there be some review of a parcel.
Member Staudt said his concern was primarily the process and especially if they were going to add considerable regulation to a parcel of land, that had previously not been specifically designated as regulated woodlands. He thought it would be in the best interests of the City to look at those particular areas and really talk to the landowners or developers who were involved. He said it felt like this was going through very quickly, even though it had been a long process, it had not been a public process. Member Staudt thought it was something Council would want to consider. He said he would support the ordinance, at this time, but would like to have a little more time with the map.
Mayor Pro Tem Gatt commented he shared some of Member Staudt’s concerns with Item F. He said his concern was the corridor between the City of Wixom all the way to Haggerty Road between Grand River and the freeway. He said there were new areas in there that would now make it difficult for developers or landowners to build there. He said as he understood the Ordinance once something was defined on the map as a woodland, then automatically any tree six inches or greater had to be tagged and replaced. Mayor Pro Tem Gatt said it just put restrictions on the developers and that corridor was more commercial and more prone for businesses to develop rather than a habitat for wildlife. He said he was definitely in favor of the ordinance; he had some reservations with some of the new areas on the map and would not be inclined to proceed with this item tonight.
Member Margolis said it was her understanding that the areas added to the map, had somebody submitted a site plan two years ago, would still have been considered regulated woodlands when they went out for the site plan. Mr. Pearson said she was correct, and he thought it would be a slippery slope to start picking out any kind of areas they wanted to remove or look at. He said they were in equity with the rest of the map and area; the point was that all those areas could be developed whether commercial, retail or residential. Mr. Pearson said this was an approximation based on the reality that was there and did not change whether they would be regulated or not when a site plan came in. He said whether it was two years ago or two years from now, there would still be a process to define what the actual boundaries were, what the health and type of tree stands were, etc. He said this was a guide and the best approximation they had based upon the aerial photographs and field work. Member Margolis said then the map was more of a truth in advertising than setting aside regulated woodlands. She said regulated woodland would be determined during the site plan process. Mr. Pearson said to use those phrases if Council tried to pull back on this, it would be taking away from the truth in advertising and would not be reflecting what they had and what was likely a regulated woodland. Member Margolis stated she was comfortable with this item.
Member Mutch said there might be a question in the property owner’s mind that what was depicted on the map didn’t accurately reflect what they thought existed in the field, and there might be a question of interpretation. He thought, from a property owner’s viewpoint, the designation on the map might raise red flags for potential buyers or developers. He said for someone in that situation who was seeking clarification or re-designation of the map, would there be a process in the Ordinance so they could pursue that. He agreed that it was a truth in advertising standard that they were letting people know what might potentially be regulated. However, if someone could show that there were no regulated woodlands in that location, what would the process be to have the map revised. Mr. Pearson said Member Mutch was correct in his assumptions and they did more of those for wetland delineations but with the woodlands it more often came through with a site plan process. He said they would certainly be open if someone wanted to know, in more detail, what they were getting into. He said they would work with them and whatever environmental experts they might retain. Mr. Pearson said they had taken out more areas because of development and there were areas they had picked up. He said it would require field work to see exactly what was there when someone wanted to do something.
Mr. Schultz said the section that talked about the adoption of the regulated woodland map also included a provision that said if there was some ambiguity, then the Community Development Director would be charged with taking the information and deciding whether or not there was a basis for an argument that the trees in a certain area should not be regulated. He said there was a process set up to deal with individual cases like that. Mr. Schultz said this went to the Planning Commission for the express purpose of having a public hearing. This was not a Zoning Ordinance provision; it was a police powers ordinance that didn’t necessarily have to go to the Planning Commission. He said the point of sending it there was that there was public notice and people were told a change was coming to the Woodland Ordinance.
Member Mutch said he was fully in support of the changes to the Woodland Ordinance because it made it a better ordinance and the map needed to be updated. He said whenever they entered into the regulatory process, he wanted to be sure that the process was equitable to whoever it was applied to. Also, that those seeking remedy to the process had something in place to allow that if they had a legitimate concern or argument of how the City was imposing the regulation, there was a clearly defined process that allowed it. He noted he read Section 37-6, the section being referred to by Mr. Schultz, and wouldn’t say it was 100% clear and would be open to something that would clearly define that process. He said he didn’t think that had to stop the adoption of the ordinance tonight but it could be something that the Community Development Department and the City Attorney could review to see if a better appeal/review process was needed.
Mayor Landry said if he was a landowner in the City of Novi, and this map was published and showed regulated woodlands on his property and he thought the map was wrong he could go to the City Administration and tell them he thought the map was wrong. Then the City would send someone out to make a determination, gather facts, come back and then Mr. Rumple would decide? Mr. Schultz said yes. Mayor Landry asked what happened if Mr. Rumple made the decision, and the landowner still disagreed with the decision. What would the landowner do at that point? Mr. Schultz said the landowner was sort of subject to that determination when coming in and asking for the development plans to be approved. If this was a property owner who had a site plan, which would come before the Planning Commission that would act as the reviewing body for that kind of a situation. Mr. Schultz said they would get a second shot at the question, the developer would have to proceed as though it was regulated woodlands and ask for the permit, but he would be able to tell the Planning Commission he didn’t think he needed a permit. He thought the Planning Commission would have the ability to grant the permit or tell them they were right, the permit was not needed and their development was approved. Then, if the Planning Commission disagreed with the developer and said they needed a permit and they wouldn’t give them one, then it would come before Council as the appeal body from the Planning Commission on a woodlands permit denial.
Mayor Landry said if the City published a map and a property owner’s property was not designated as containing regulated woodlands, they would come through the site plan and the City would still send someone out to look at the property. He said the City could still say that even though it wasn’t on the map there were regulated woodlands on the property and the Woodlands Ordinance had to be satisfied. Mr. Schultz said he was correct. Mayor Landry said then it would go through the exact procedure Mr. Schultz outlined and they would get an opportunity to go to the Planning Commission and it made the determination and if the property owner didn’t like the determination, then they went before Council. Mayor Landry said the ultimate decision was at the time of the site plan. Mr. Schultz said he was correct and was how they proceeded to date. Mayor Landry said the process the map went through and coming to Council in this form was because the City went out and walked all these areas. Mr. Pearson said no, they started with the base map, took aerial maps and looked for areas where there was incongruity, if it showed there was woodlands and a building. If there were clumps of trees and there was nothing marked, then based on those areas, Environmental Consultants and experts would go out and do some field verifications and checks. He said they used a hand held GIS and helped to depict those grounds that were better reflected here.
Mayor Pro Tem Gatt asked if it was automatic that the trees on property defined as a woodland, would be tagged six inches or greater. Mr. Pearson said not exactly because the process that was described could be disputed at the outset, and they wouldn’t have to do the complete inventory. He thought Mayor Pro Tem Gatt was referring to someone who came in with a site plan and if there was regulated woodlands, a tree inventory would have to be done. He said someone could come in and say they did or didn’t think there were regulated woodlands on the property without going through the whole process. Mayor Pro Tem Gatt said he had no problem with the ordinance. However, he said everyone in the City was familiar with the intersection of Grand River and Beck and on the northeast side, according to the map, it was woodlands. He said he didn’t know of any woodlands in that area and he would have a hard time approving it with that on the map.
Member Staudt said his issue was imposing additional regulation on property owners. He said the entire responsibility, once the map was approved, fell to the property owner and not the City. He felt there were enough regulations and woodlands designated, and this was not the right time to be adding additional costs. He said none of these people do this themselves as they have lawyers, consultants, etc., and this was expensive. He said he would make a motion to support the ordinance but he wanted a lot more information on the map and how it would be used.
Mayor Landry suggested that Member Staudt move to postpone this until the next meeting. He said it would allow any member of the public who thought they had property designated as woodland that they didn’t believe was woodland, to come in and ask for that determination by Mr. Rumple. Mayor Landry asked Mr. Pearson if this needed to be postponed longer; Mr. Pearson said if more time was needed they would come back to Council.
CM-09-02-016 Moved by Staudt, seconded by Margolis; CARRIED
UNANIMOUSLY: To postpone approval of Consent Agenda Item F, Approval of City Code Amendment 08-125.21, to amend City of Novi City Code at Chapter 37 Woodland Protection Ordinance, and adopt the updated Regulated Woodland Map. Second Reading
Roll call vote on CM-09-02-106 Yeas: Burke, Crawford, Margolis, Mutch, Staudt, Landry, Gatt
INTERVIEWS FOR BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS
1. Alex Afsari – EDC; Stormwater Management
Mr. Afsari said he, his wife and children had been residents of Novi for 5 years.
Member Staudt asked if he would be willing to consider any other appointment that worked well with his qualifications. Mr. Afsari said he would be willing to consider others if factoring in his ability to be able to serve in terms of time, with three children evenings could be difficult. He said he would be open to anything.
Member Crawford asked about his service of three years to the Barclay Estates Homeowners Association and asked if that position was why he was interested in EDC and Stormwater Management. Mr. Afsari said no. He said his interest focused more on environmental issues and it appeared there was an opportunity to serve there.
Mayor Pro Tem Gatt asked, if appointed to one of the boards, what he would do to make the City better. Mr. Afsari said the first board he applied for was the EDC. He said he had seen a lot of great development since he had moved to Novi and he would be interested in looking at ways to continue that process, bring more businesses, and work toward stormwater. He said he wanted to find ways to protect the environment and do what was possible to make it no worse.
Member Margolis asked what he would bring to the position that another candidate wouldn’t. Mr. Afsari said, in the EDC, he had a background for the last 15 plus years in business development and getting organizations to work together. He said he had some expertise there and thought he could provide input that was valuable. He said regarding the Stormwater Committee his main contribution was really an interest and as he went through the process and learned, he hoped to be able to make contributions that everyone found valuable.
Member Burke asked which board he would pick. Mr. Afsari said his ideal would be the EDC because of the focus of bringing new businesses into the community during these economic times. He said that would be his priority but if he served on both, he would be willing to do that as the stormwater environmental part was important to him as well.
Member Mutch asked if appointed, what impact would he like to make in the City in five or ten years. Mr. Afsari said from the EDC standpoint, part of his motivation would be to find ways to have jobs and work more in the City instead of driving across town, and would like to see it happen in that timeframe. He said they could have dinner in the City and enjoy recreation areas in the City for his children. He said in regard to Stormwater Management, it was a bit more esoteric. He said they all hoped to have an impact on the environment in the community so there was safe water, trees and grass. He said it was a good place for people to look at and enjoy.
Mayor Landry asked Mr. Afsari what his day job was at BI. Mr. Afsari said he was in sales and they were a privately held marketing and incentives company headquartered in Minneapolis with offices in Troy. He said he personally worked with one of the Detroit 3 and his role was to grow a business with the clients. He said the focus was to help them market their products, bring new customers to purchase their vehicles and encourage sales forces to improve their performance.
Mayor Landry said there were 19 people to be interviewed and Council might not appoint everybody to a position this time around. He asked them not to give up, come forward as there were always positions the City was looking forward to fill. Mayor Landry believed the Parks Foundation was always looking for volunteers and they were looking at their own structure right now. He said that was an opportunity with environmental concerns and getting involved with the parks.
2. Paulette Alioa – Building Authority
Ms. Alioa said in addition to the application she filled out she also had a profile that explained her background and experience in these related areas. She said she had lived in Novi for 19 years. Ms. Alioa noted she had over 25 years of professional experience in the areas of building design and construction as well as facilities management. She noted her background education was in interior architecture. She commented her latest position was a managing partner of a consulting firm, Green Space Consultants, and specialized in sustainable methods for building and business owners. Ms. Alioa said she also served with the Detroit Regional Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, as a board member and was an active member on several of their committees. She said she had also served at her Church, St. James of Novi, and their building committee for their family life addition that took place about three years ago.
Member Crawford asked if she had seen or attended a Building Authority meeting. Ms. Alioa said yes, she had attended some of the meetings and was presently interested in the meetings regarding the library.
Mayor Pro Tem Gatt asked what she would do to make the City better. Ms. Alioa responded she would like to utilize her expertise and talents to create quality buildings for the City. These buildings would not be to satisfy short term needs but something that would add value to the City in the long run and to look for ways of doing that in a sustainable way to minimize impact to the environment.
Member Margolis asked if she was interested in a board or commission other than the Building Authority. Ms. Alioa said that was her only choice, at this point in time.
Member Burke said she mentioned many things she was involved in outside of work and asked if she would have time for this as well. Ms. Alioa stated she would be able to keep up with the demands of the position and would certainly make it her business to make sure that her obligations were met to the Building Authority and the City. She said she would not let them down.
Member Mutch asked five to ten years out, what type of impact she would like to have on the City. Ms. Alioa believed that the choices and decisions made today would have a significant impact on the City over time. She said over 19 years she had seen a tremendous amount of growth and this was to our credit and value to the community as a whole. Ms. Alioa said over the course of her career community service had become much more important to her than it ever had in the past. She believed this was something that would have a long range impact to the City.
Member Staudt asked how Novi was doing in promoting environmental best practices in our development. Ms. Alioa thought Novi was doing very well and there was a lot of awareness communicated to the citizens. She thought the Master Plan had been done in a way that allowed everyone to exercise environmental stewardship for the community. If she could grade Novi, it would be a B+.
3. David Baratta – Planning Commission
Mr. Baratta stated he had lived in Novi since 2004. He said currently he was Vice President of Real Estate and Construction at La-Z-Boy and prior to that he was VP of Real Estate Construction and Legal at Builders Square and was in the development side of the business for K-Mart. He said they had probably presented at Planning Commissions hundreds of times and developed in excess of 30 million sq. ft. of retail, warehouse and office throughout the country. He said currently his role was development in North America including Canada and the Caribbean.
Mayor Pro Tem Gatt asked, with his experience in appearing before many Planning Commissions, what had he encountered that would help or hurt him as a member of the Planning Commission. Mr. Baratta said first, being in the development side of the business he understood the entire aspect from site selection, financing and development. He said one of the things he found in some communities that didn’t have a well thought out Master Plan was that they had a hodgepodge of development. He said the quality neighborhoods were the ones that had well thought out Master Plans and had the discipline to adhere to it and they did very well.
Member Margolis asked if he had reviewed Novi’s Master Plan, and what his thoughts on it were. Mr. Baratta said he had not read the Master Plan but had attended last month’s Planning Commission meeting regarding a proposed development. He listened to a lot of the issues they had and what the responses were. He said when he moved to Novi he looked at the community and how it was being developed. He thought the Island Lake subdivision was very well done, which was a compliment to the City for allowing such a quality project.
Member Burke asked what was his most difficult issue before a Planning Commission. Mr. Baratta said it was interesting and successful before some commissions and not so successful before others. He said usually you’re not very successful, if presenting a project that really shouldn’t be built. So, from a retailers perspective it would not be successful but the overall perspective was if the community and city really didn’t want it, it would not be a successful retail development, then it was just better not to build the project. He said he would argue, doing so many projects, that that was not being unsuccessful; it was better not to build the project.
Member Mutch asked him to name the three most important things he would bring to the decision making process. Mr. Baratta said, first, the needs of the City and they had to understand that the number one asset of a homeowner was their home, it needed to be protected and the value had to be enhanced. So, the question would be was it enhancing value or detracting from value. Second, was the developer who wanted to do a project would have budget constraints, and costs imposed by the City affected whether that project would be financially viable. He said the last thing the City would want was an un-financially viable project because that project would be a closed center, office building, etc. Mr. Baratta said third would be the overall impact on the City.
Member Staudt said, being an attorney, his first thought was were they an advocate and would they base everything on the laws in their role as a Planning Commissioner or would he look at it from a business and development standpoint. He asked Mr. Baratta where he would come from. Mr. Baratta responded he was a business man. For example, when he went to K-Mart in 1985, he was a practicing attorney and real estate Counsel and one of the most interesting parts about being in real estate was the development side of it. He said he would see that open area and would want to make it somewhat productive for the community and the owner of the project. He said he would argue that it was the best part of practicing law; he would still have to do the contracts and go through the financing, zonings, etc. but to see the project finally open was very exciting.
Member Crawford asked what he saw as the role of the ideal Planning Commissioner. Mr. Baratta responded they had a set of rules embodied in the Master Plan, which was a guide that could be changed as circumstances dictated. He said, being a business person and trying to weigh and balance the equities, they had to take that into stride and make the correct decision. He said sometimes the absolute letter of the law couldn’t be followed as there was always some gray area they had to look at and address.
4. Edward Bartone – Library Board
Mr. Bartone said his interest in the library happened when his wife went back to college to become a librarian and now worked as a children’s librarian in South Lyon. He said the library there was very much a family driven group of people and they had become very involved in it. Mr. Bartone said the programs in that library system had become very exciting to him and he volunteered to organize a small 5K fundraiser for that group called the Bookin 5K and the Story Time Strut. He commented that when this opportunity came up, he jumped at it and hoped to be involved. He believed the library should be a real central part of the community and believed he could help Novi become a central part of the community as well. He said it could be done through programs, programs that were more visible and with the new building that was going up now, he thought it was a great time to leverage that.
Member Margolis asked what he saw as the role of a Library Board in fundraising. Mr. Bartone replied he basically saw the board as the opportunity to give some guidance, but to be very careful not to micromanage the director in their activities. He thought, as a board member, he could encourage and be engaged in fundraising within the Library. He hoped the board could be an integrated part of the Library system working and doing things together as a team, and if anyone came up with good idea, it should be considered and implemented, if possible.
Member Burke asked if he would bring something different to the Library Board that currently didn’t exist. Mr. Bartone said he wanted to bring more excitement than there was currently. If there would be anything he would focus on, it would be community engagement and outreach.
Member Mutch asked what he would like to see in five to ten years. Mr. Bartone said he would like to be able to look back and say this was an era where the Library continued to grow and become an even larger component of Novi and a larger more central portion of the community. He said he wanted to continue to adapt to the times and wanted to be a larger part of the board that could make that happen.
Member Staudt asked what adapting to the times meant. Mr. Bartone replied a Library was dramatically different now from what it used to be and extremely exciting. He said the atmosphere was very different and people were now looking for a less formal environment. Mr. Bartone said he was a huge advocate of programs that would engage and add service to the community, which was more important than ever in these economic times. He noted to bring computers and training to the community was a very powerful thing that the Library could be a major part of.
Member Crawford asked what he thought the most difficult work of the Novi Library Board would be. Mr. Bartone thought the most challenging issues would be personnel issues such as details of salary and benefit issues. He said they were all very important things but somewhat ancillary, but necessary.
Mayor Pro Tem Gatt asked what he saw as the role of the Library Board. Mr. Bartone responded the board could provide some framework and direction for the Library in general. He said he respected that the Library Director was the person that made that happen, and it was the board’s job to support the director in every way possible. However, at the same time, they had to give strategic direction regarding the direction the library needed to take.
Mayor Landry asked if he saw the Fuerst Park as presenting any possibilities for programming with the new library. Mr. Bartone said the majority of the programs he had been involved with, except for the Bookin 5K and others, had been internal to the Library proper. However, certainly taking advantage of these kinds of areas would be almost a responsibility more than just an opportunity. He said the answer to the question was absolutely.
5. Roger Bird – Planning Commission; Building Authority; Public Access Promotion
Mr. Bird said he had lived in Novi about 4 years and had been president of the homeowner’s association for the last three years. He commented that during that time he had gotten involved in the City, gone to functions and attended meetings. He said he was very interested to see how he could add to the City and its growth.
Member Burke asked if he would have a scheduling conflict on the Planning Commission, which met every other week. Mr. Bird said he would not.
Member Mutch asked how he expected his service to impact the community in five or ten years. Mr. Bird said in the last three or four years, he had seen very structured growth and very good planning put into the City. He said he would like to add to that and thought that he had the ability to challenge things that were happening, both good and bad. He commented he wanted to make sure the growth that was happening continued.
Member Staudt asked if Mr. Bird understood what Public Access and Promotion was. Mr. Bird said he did. Member Staudt asked if that was something that would excite him, and what he thought he could bring to that. Mr. Bird said what he was looking for was to become involved in the City, no matter what position was offered and Council felt he was fit for then that was what he would like to do.
Member Crawford asked what he thought the most difficult work of the Planning Commission was. Mr. Bird said he had read some of the minutes and had looked at some of the challenges that came across the Planning Commission and thought it would be difficult to maintain the perfect balance. The perfect balance of the community, homeowner’s and retail development and protecting the wetlands and woodlands.
Mayor Pro Tem Gatt asked what he would do to make Novi a better place. Mr. Bird replied he was really excited about the City of Novi. He said he liked the growth and the path the City was on and wanted to see what was happening in the City continue. He said he would bring his excitement to that.
Mayor Landry said he wanted to confirm that he would serve on any committee he was asked to serve on and not just the three he chose. Mr. Bird said he was correct.
6. Ronald Boron – Board of Review
Mr. Boron said after looking over what went on at the Board of Review and speaking with some of the members, he knew he could do this. He said it was a position that would not take a lot of time away from his other volunteer work in the City. He said he had the ability to be impartial, fair and balanced and would listen to both sides of the story.
Member Mutch said Mr. Boron had interviewed for other boards and commissions and was well acquainted with the work he had done. He said he had no questions but appreciated his coming forward.
Member Staudt echoed Member Mutch’s comments in terms of his ability to serve and what he had done for the community. He said Mr. Boron had his support.
Member Crawford said Mr. Boron would probably be a good fit for the Board of Review. She said he had been a handicap parking enforcement officer. She asked what some of the challenges were of the City’s volunteer organizations or volunteers like himself, of handicap parking. Mr. Boron said time was one for a lot of people. He said currently they were made of people that were retired, semi retired and some working people. He said the situation for handicap parking was almost zero tolerance and a car was either parked or not parked rightfully in the handicap spot. He said the handicap patrol had been increased to about 15 people from 8.
Mayor Pro Tem Gatt commented Mr. Boron was applying for a spot where he would face angry people as he probably did as a handicap parking enforcement officer. He asked Mr. Boron how he would handle that. Mr. Boron said as he did with the handicap patrol. He said first, he would calm the person down and help them get a better understanding of the taxation process. He said they needed to understand that there was more to the process than the SEV, there was also a cap value and a taxable value.
Member Margolis had no questions.
Member Burke thought the City owed him another thank you and had no questions.
Mayor Landry said this was the most thankless position of any board or commission. He said, especially in these times, everyone who came before this board felt they had been treated unfairly. Mayor Landry asked what the most important aspect of saying no to someone was. Mr. Boron commented he didn’t have a problem saying no but he wanted them to understand why, as a group, they made the decision they did.
7. Jeffrey Bowdell – Construction Board of Appeals
Mr. Bowdell said he had been in Novi since about 1994 and had been on the Construction Board of Appeals almost as long. He said he had been a building official and was in Redford for 14 years. He said presently he was the Building, Zoning, Water and Sewer Director in Commerce Township. He noted he was a former member of the State Construction Code Commission appointed by Governor Engler. Mr. Bowdell said the Construction Board of Appeals acted a little bit like a quasi judicial branch for disputes regarding the code. He thought he was very well versed to sit in that position and serve the City there. He said they were always striving to have the safest community without being unreasonable.
Member Crawford asked if he had ever been involved in meetings having to do with construction. Mr. Bowdell said he had attended some meetings, watched them and was a pro development type of person.
Council had no other questions.
Member Landry noted this job required the most creativity because the members of the board had the safety of the community in mind. He said what this board had to do was apply the spirit of the law rather than the letter of the law. He appreciated and was thankful for the many years Mr. Bowdell had served.
8. Robert Cutler – Library Board
Mr. Cutler said during the four years he was on the Library Board they accomplished getting the bond proposal approved and selecting a new director. He said during his last two years on the Library Board, he had two concerns, job descriptions being too long and no criteria for merit increase program. Mr. Cutler said he had kept in touch with Director Farkas. He also had attended the Building Authority meetings to keep track of the construction design. Mr. Cutler said he would like to be on this board again because it had always been his goal to see the completion of the Library. He said in his experience both with the aero space industry and the hospital field he was always chosen to handle facility moves. Mr. Cutler said he once had moved two hospitals into a third brand new hospital. He was the project engineer responsible, and over several months the move was planned. They moved all the patients, staff and all movable equipment on one Saturday, did minor cleanup on Sunday and opened for new admissions on Monday. He said he had heard it might take a week or two to move the Library and his feeling was they should plan it so it could be done over a weekend. He said with the right kind of planning it was possible.
Member Crawford said besides the new building what did he think would be the most challenging thing for the Novi Library. Mr. Cutler said getting it rolling again and making sure there was the proper staffing with the right equipment.
Mayor Pro Tem Gatt had no questions.
Member Margolis said she served with Mr. Cutler on the board and she appreciated his dedication to the Library and his involvement no matter where he served. She thanked him for stepping forward.
Member Burke asked how he liked the new Library plans and the new park and how it would all integrate together. Mr. Cutler said one of the biggest things they always worried about was the book drop off and it was the number one concern of everyone in the focus groups. He said they worked with the architect to make sure they all agreed on how it was being done. He said it would work out great, looking west and seeing the trees and the old building.
Member Mutch said looking beyond this new building, ten years from now, what would be the impact of his service, if appointed to the Library Board. Mr. Cutler said one of his main goals was to focus on setting up a five year plan to see what’s occurring in the field, especially with information systems. He said this would be difficult because of the economic conditions and what was happening in the Library field was changing so fast.
Member Staudt asked his opinion on the best use of the Walker funds. Mr. Cutler thought it might be better used for long term operations but would rather see it remain flexible in case it’s needed for equipment or information systems.
9. John Enkemann – Construction Board of Appeals
Mr. Enkemann said he was the Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for a 200 person architectural engineering firm in Detroit called Albert Cohn Associates. He said he had served since 1993 on the Construction Board of Appeals and as Chairman since 1996. He commented he was a registered architect with registrations in Michigan and other states and Canada. He also had the National Council Registration which allowed reciprocity amongst other states in the U.S. Mr. Enkemann said he was named by the Governor to be on the Board of Architects in 2002 and was the Chairman from 2003 to 2006 and was not reappointed. He said he was an exam writer for the registration exam that was given nationally for the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards and had been told that he would be the Chair of the entire exam for the next two years. He said one of his company’s projects was the original Master Plan and buildings for Providence Park.
Mayor Pro Tem Gatt said Mr. Enkemann had his support and he had no questions. Member Margolis and Member Burke had no questions.
Member Mutch said Mr. Enkemann had lived in Novi for 14 years but didn’t currently reside in Novi. Member Mutch said this was probably the only board where non-residents were allowed to serve because the purpose of the board was very specific and the qualifications they were looking for were also very specific.
Member Staudt thanked him for serving.
Member Crawford had no questions.
Mayor Landry thanked him for serving and said they were very fortunate to have his expertise, services and willingness to serve this community.
10. Dale Holdaway – Board of Review
Mr. Holdaway said he had always had an interest for things financial. He said he had made it a point to become very familiar with how the assessment was built up, how the property tax law operated and how his own property taxes were calculated. Mr. Holdaway stated he was trained in finance and received both an undergraduate and graduate degree in finance. He said he was also a member of the Institute of Internal Auditors and achieved a top 5 recognition out of 30,000 candidates in the year he became certified. He commented he was employed in finance by the Ford Motor Company and had been employed by Ford for about 16 years and his expertise was in financial analysis and planning, process improvement, auditing, compliance, policy development and implementation. Mr. Holdaway was presently deployment director for Ford Motor Company’s finance Six Sigma Group, which was an internal Six Sigma expert that improved financial reporting processes and the internal controls around those processes.
Member Margolis asked what specifically would he bring to this position that another applicant would not. Mr. Holdaway thought things quantitative and financial but also had the ability to empathize and communicate with people. He said whenever he had a complaint or dispute and he felt understood, he felt he was treated fairly and thought that was an important element for the Board of Review. He also felt there was an educational component that went with it so the homeowner felt they had been treated fairly and equitably per the processes and law that were in place. He said it was the most that any citizen could hope for.
Member Burke had no questions.
Member Mutch asked if he attended a Board of Review meeting or appealed an assessment. Mr. Holdaway said he had appealed an assessment here in Novi. Member Mutch asked what he took away from that experience that he would bring to this position. Mr. Holdaway said what he took away from his appeal was that there needed to be, from an assessment standpoint, a robust process to have an assessment roll supported by sound logic and consistency and that happened in the development of the assessment role. He said from the petitioner’s standpoint, it was one of equity. Mr. Holdaway said when he appealed it was strictly an appeal of equity, looking at homes comparable to his and whether his home was being assessed in the same fashion as the other comparables were. He said the role of the board was to insure that equity existed and the assessment roll was developed in a robust and logical fashion.
Member Staudt thought if he was before the Board of Review talking with Mr. Holdaway, he didn’t think he would have any question where he was coming from.
Member Crawford said she appreciated the fact that someone with his credentials, relating to financial detail, really made a good effort with communication. She thought that was a critical thing to not only listen but to hear the residents.
Mayor Pro Tem Gatt said Mr. Holdaway was articulate, passionate, educated and driven and he thought Mr. Holdaway would make a fine volunteer for the City.
Mayor Landry thanked Mr. Holdaway for his interest.
11. Kimberly Holdaway – Building Authority; Planning Commission; Historical Commission, Beautification Commission
Ms. Holdaway said she was excited to be considered on these boards and commissions and it was an opportunity she had looked forward to for some time. She said her education was in architecture and she had two degrees, one of them being a Master’s Degree. She said she had worked in commercial and residential architecture and continued to work in interior consulting and graphic design.
Member Burke said she certainly had the architecture degrees that Novi could use on either the Building Authority or the Planning Commission. He noted she would follow in some significant footsteps of former Planning Commissioner, John Avdoulos. He asked how she could use her educational background in architecture at the Planning Commission level. Ms. Holdaway said her experience was in urban theory and urban development. She said it was exciting to live in a community that had vibrant growth and development and it would be exciting to be a part of seeing that continue. She commented that her interest was revitalized in the Masters course she recently took. She commented her goal would be to see that things were done equitably at the Planning Commission; so that the building development could continue and the environmental concerns of the citizens and the City could be protected.
Member Mutch asked if appointed to a board or commission, how she would like to see her impact on this community in five to ten years. Ms. Holdaway replied she just wanted to be able to say that she was an active member of her community and have her children and her community see that as well.
Member Staudt asked what prompted her and her husband to come forward at this time. Ms. Holdaway said her motivation was her background in architecture, which she left in order to raise her family, and now the timing was right to be involved. She knew this was a way to contribute where she lived.
Member Crawford asked what she thought the most difficult part of good planning was. Ms. Holdaway thought the difficulty was in the process and making sure it was equitable for both sides. She said she looked at the City’s Master Plan and felt that it was a good one. She commented there was very little buildable land left in Novi and thought it was important to use the land left wisely. She said what was built had to be viable and important to the community.
Mayor Pro Tem Gatt said Mr. and Mrs. Holdaway were the epitome of what community service was all about.
Member Margolis asked her what types of projects she was involved in. Ms. Holdaway said her professional experience had been in Michigan and she had worked with two firms, one specializing in commercial architecture and the other in residential architecture. She said now that she was a citizen of a community; she didn’t want to just look at the codes and requirements and just meet them so they could go through. She commented she was very concerned about building and the equitable allowances for building to continue, but as a member of a community she didn’t want something that wouldn’t benefit her community.
Mayor Landry had no question.
12. Loraine Johnston – Board of Review; EDC; Building Authority; Planning Commission; Stormwater Management
Ms. Johnston was not present.
13. Lawrence Kilgore – Library Board
Mr. Kilgore said shortly after he moved to Novi a few years ago, he volunteered for the Library Board because he had a development background and a passion for the process. He also saw it as a wonderful way to get involved with the community. He said he had gained a very keen appreciation for the role that the Library played in the City, for the way it became the cultural center and the way it functioned. He said it was a wonderful place of learning and culture for young people, adults, and people trying to learn English and how to get along in this country. He commented it had been a marvelous experience.
Member Mutch asked, because he served on the board and had gone through the process with the new building, what role did he see for the Library not as a facility or a board perspective but as an organization as a whole in ten years. Mr. Kilgore said he would like to see it playing the same role it played now, a place where people could go to gain knowledge, enhance their culture, and to interact. He thought this was happening every year through its deepening use of electronics and the Internet, through the new types of multi media it was adopting and the expanded programs that it was getting all the time. He thought the Library would continue to be a very, very, rich center for the City.
Member Staudt said he had served with Mr. Kilgore on the Library Bond Committee and he looked forward to his continuation of service to the Library and the community.
Member Crawford asked what he thought would be the most challenging part for the new Library during the next year. Mr. Kilgore responded it would be the budget. He said the Library would be twice the size of the existing Library but the operating budget would stay the same. The challenge would be to keep the Library within a certain budget and keeping the Walker funds and the existing reserve that was built up going for as long as possible.
Mayor Pro Tem Gatt asked what he saw as the role of the Library Board. Mr. Kilgore believed the Library board was a policy making board. He said they were there to determine how the Library should be used, what services it would provide and make policies under which the staff served in conjunction with the director.
Member Margolis and Member Burke had no questions.
Mayor Landry asked how they were doing in the role of English as a second language. Mr. Kilgore said there was a large population from overseas, particularly Asian, so they look at how to attract them to the Library, how to serve them once they get to the Library and what types of materials they needed to have. Mr. Kilgore said he could ask the Director to send a report on this to Council.
14. Andrew LaDuke – Planning Commission
Mr. LaDuke stated he had lived in Novi for 17 years, and was a General Sales Manager for Dwyer Marble and Stone in Farmington Hills. He said they were primarily involved in helping architects, builders and general contractors with placement of their products into the specifications and building some facilities. He commented he recently took the builders course at Schoolcraft College for the builder’s license exam and had a Masters Degree from Walsh College. Mr. LaDuke said he was a former Director on the Board of Directors for Michigan Roof and Contractors Associations and served on the Meadowbrook Glens Homeowners Association and was a Pack Master for the Cub Scout Pack 240. Mr. LaDuke said often they would have neighbors over and issues would come up that some people might disagree with; he thought rather than complain, there came a time to step up to the plate and decide to do something about it and get involved.
Member Staudt asked what type of issues they talked about related to the City of Novi and how he saw himself being able to do something about it. Mr. LaDuke replied issues that involved the development process where a subdivision was built, a business was allowed to do a certain activity, or put up a sign and everyone was complaining about it. He said just having the input and being able to come before the commission, representing the homeowners, and letting them know how the homeowners felt about a particular issue was important.
Member Crawford asked him what he thought the role of a Planning Commissioner was. Mr. LaDuke responded that it was to control development and balance the needs of the residents with the needs of businesses. He said this was not a bedroom community where everyone lived in Novi and worked someplace else. There was a balance of places to work and places to live. He said it was a great place to live and you could actually live and work in Novi and that’s fantastic. He said it was important to be able to control the growth and have some input.
Mayor Pro Tem Gatt asked if, as a Planning Commissioner, he could see himself voting for a project contrary to the Master Plan. Mr. LaDuke replied it would depend on the individual circumstances; however, he thought it was right to keep an open mind and look at the circumstances that surround each and every issue. He commented he liked to take on the idea of new concepts, study them and then make informed decisions from there.
Member Margolis asked what unique quality he could bring to the Planning Commission that someone else would not. Mr. LaDuke responded he would be passionate about working hard, do his homework and do what was in the best interest of the citizens of Novi.
Member Burke said quite often a particular project would come forward and the community members would come out, sometimes en masse, and a majority of them would disagree with the project. He said the project might or might not fall within the guidelines of the City and variances might have to be granted, and the public was very resolute in their position. He asked Mr. LaDuke how he would handle that. Mr. LaDuke thought he would explain how he reached his decision with the research he did and the actions he took. However, he thought it was the role of a leader to sometimes make an unpopular decision. He said he didn’t think it was a popularity contest and had to have some backbone sometimes and make the unpopular decision because it was in the best interest of the community in the long run.
Member Mutch said Mr. LaDuke had raised the importance of resident input and participation in his comments. He said the City was about to review the Master Plan for certain areas of the City to determine whether it should be changed. He asked, based on his personal experiences or on his thoughts about the process, what would be the best way to make sure residents had a voice in revising the Master Plan. Mr. LaDuke said there were different channels to accept input. He suggested something on the City website, town hall meeting, a survey mailed to the residents, etc. He said there were a number of ways to gather input.
15. Dana Larkin – No Preference
Mr. Larkin said he had lived in Novi for 20 years with his wife and two daughters. He said if Council was looking for a volunteer who had been a long time resident interested in serving the community, he was here at their disposal.
Member Crawford asked if there was anything in particular that warmed his heart and that he could get enthused about. Mr. Larkin said if they were interested in resident’s feedback, which he thought was bottlenecked within the community, there were user polls on the Library website where a poll could be posted for residents. He said it was very efficient and tracked the results. He suggested it be brought up to the Library Board.
Mayor Pro Tem Gatt asked what he thought was the major problem facing Novi and what he would do to help fix it. Mr. Larkin stated he didn’t think the services Novi provided were marketed well, particularly to the residents. He was not sure that the community itself worked well, for example the school system and government promoting the different programs they had, working with one another, to promote the City. Mr. Larkin said he didn’t know how Novi was marketed to the outside world. However, he did know that when people referred to the City a lot of times they thought of the City facilities such as the parks and the schools. He said the reality was that the City was the people who occupied those buildings and the relationships they had truly made a community. Mr. Larkin said enhancing those was what he thought could move the City forward.
Member Margolis asked what he thought was a particular strength of Novi. Mr. Larkin said really big pluses were the retail base, shopping and excellent, well run schools.
Member Burke said with all the boards and commissions that existed, which one he might be interested in. Mr. Larkin said it seemed like most the boards and commissions involved qualifications that he didn’t have in terms of building and community planning. He said he was just a resident, Council called for volunteers, and he would have the community’s best interest in mind.
Member Mutch said Mr. Larkin obviously had a passion for this community. He asked what his interests were to serve the community. Mr. Larkin said the City government spent his money as a tax payer so he was really interested. He said when the Library decided to redesign their website and put it out there did anyone look at it. He said he didn’t know the workings of how it was decided, who made the decision or what it was going to look like. He thought it was interesting that the U.S. government had a myriad of different departments and they decided that it would be very nice to have all their websites look, work and act alike. Therefore, they put together a document called the Governments Usability Guidelines for Web Development. He said the document was huge and one of the best, well written documents he had ever seen. He said if anyone was going to do a web development project for him, they were going to follow that guideline because it made so much sense. Mr. Larkin said he liked the old Library site better. He said take advantage of existing resources and asked how many people were aware of www.freecycle.com and what it could do for their community.
Member Staudt asked if he was familiar with the Historical Commission and Mr. Larkin said he wasn’t. Member Staudt said Mr. Larkin would be the kind of person who could help take that commission to another level. Mr. Staudt noted he would love to see a well developed website for the historical portion of the community. He would like to see people like Lee BeGole on tape permanently before the opportunity was lost. Member Staudt said if he was interested there were some openings there, and he thought Mr. Larkin could do a very good job in taking them to the next level. Mr. Larkin said this was where they should bring in the schools. He said they had students who could do the interviews, bring them together put that video out there. He said it was easy and didn’t cost money. Member Staudt said Mr. Larkin was the right person for the job.
Mayor Landry thanked Mr. Larkin for stepping forward and said he appreciated his openness and appreciated someone coming before Council saying they would be willing to serve in any capacity. He told Mr. Larkin that the City made appointments twice a year, usually in February and in June.
16. David Margolis – Library Board; Parks, Recreation & Forestry Commission
Mr. Margolis said he had been blessed to raise two great children that came through the Novi School system and who availed themselves of the activities and services that the City had to offer. He said it dawned on him that he had been very fortunate to have attended the City’s appreciation dinner the last few years and he wanted to do something to earn his own invitation. He said he had the time available now and wanted to give back something to the City.
Mayor Pro Tem Gatt said Mr. Margolis was a personal friend and a fine gentleman. He asked what he thought the biggest problem was facing Novi in either of his chosen areas and what would he do to make it better. Mr. Margolis responded the biggest problem facing any entity, whether municipal government or private enterprise, was resource allocation. He said there was only a finite number of resources available and an infinite number of projects to invest in. He said being able to prioritize and allocate resources in a sensible fashion to get the biggest bang for the buck, which sometimes was not just in dollars and cents but sometimes in opportunity costs, was important.
Member Margolis had no questions.
Member Burke asked what his preference would be. Mr. Margolis said he always had an affinity for libraries, believed in them and what they brought to the community.
Member Mutch asked what role the library would play ten years from now. Mr. Margolis thought it was in a transition now, as there was a shift away from reading with both younger people and seniors. He said there was so much joy that could be brought to bear and so much information available, if resources were available. He said the biggest and most important challenge to the Library was being able to serve as many of the needs of its multi-constituencies as possible. So, it needed to be strong enough that it could survive the economic challenges to be faced with limited resources. Also, they had to be able to identify the shifting of demographics and the various competing needs, and figure out how to allocate those resources. Mr. Margolis believed that the Library Board was a governance board and there to support the Administrative efforts of the Library staff and not substitute their judgments for the professionals. They should instead provide guidance, strategy and provide resources for them to be successful.
Member Staudt asked how he viewed the use of the Walker Funds as they move forward with the Library. Mr. Margolis replied that the Walker Funds were one of many potential resources that the Library Board would have available. He said he didn’t think it was the sole support. He commented the community had an opportunity to avail themselves of the generosity at the time, but did not step forward. He said they could learn from those mistakes and figure out how to market this wonderful resource and how to integrate business support to help amplify or extend what they had already started, with respect to the Walker endowment.
Member Crawford said she knew he had been an ardent supporter of the theatre under Parks and Recreation. She said Novi Parks and Recreation was a very comprehensive department. She said a part of Parks and Recreation was senior citizen services as well as transportation, and the theatre program. She asked what he thought about that. Mr. Margolis thought they had a good start but needed to do more. He said he had the privilege of watching his kids grow up in some of the youth activities and he and his wife had been able to participate in some of the adult activities that were offered. He said they had been very fortunate to have made life long friendships as a result of being involved in the community and thought that opportunity should be extended to as many of the residents as possible. Mr. Margolis said his mother lived at the senior center and he knew it was a transition that she hadn’t planned for and felt isolated. He knew the more they could do to bring the seniors back to the community and feel a part of things would just lighten up their life. Mr. Margolis said he was an avid supporter of doing whatever could be done, given resource commitment issues. He noted they had to be prudent, think long term and be as diverse in investments as possible.
Mayor Landry said he had been on stage with Mr. Margolis and had seen him participate in many City activities and appreciated his willingness to serve.
17. Leland Prince – Planning Commission
Mr. Prince said he was a 4 year resident of Novi and his son graduated from Novi High School. He said his son was now attending college and was one of the 98% that were graduates of Novi that attend college. Mr. Prince said he was very grateful for the education his son received in Novi. He commented that he had been a practicing attorney for 30 years and now that he and his wife were empty nesters, he wanted to give back. He noted he was recently elected to the homeowners association in Island Lake. He thought he had a lot to offer the City. He said he had a very small amount of experience in real estate but had transaction experience. He said in terms of applying his expertise to the Planning Commission, he felt that he would bring a welcomed experience in understanding issues and being able to reach an equitable result. He said, as a lawyer, he was required to understand statutes, ordinances and particular regulations and how they apply in certain situations. He noted he had been doing that for 30 years so he would bring that expertise to any position, if not chosen for the Planning Commission.
Member Margolis asked what he would bring to a position that others would not. Mr. Prince thought that he could listen and understand all sides of an issue. He said he had been before many judicial officers where he tried to persuade them to his point of view. He said on the Planning Commission there was some similarity in the fact that there would be competing interests. He said someone would want their plan approved and they would have the concerns of the City at hand. Mr. Prince noted they would want to come to a consensus as to what was the best for the City but if there was a way it could be accommodating to the petitioner, he thought that could happen by looking at and understanding the entire picture. He said if there was something that could be done, then they would explore any opportunity they could to achieve that result.
Mr. Burke said there was a golf course at the end of Mr. Prince’s street and noted that one day it wouldn’t be there. He asked, as part of the south west quadrant of the Links property and the unpopularity of it with residents in the area, how he would be able to sit on the Planning Commission and make decisions about that quadrant and the Links property without having all of his neighbors having a significant impact on his decision. Mr. Prince said while they were sitting here, he and Mr. Baratta were discussing that particular issue. He said he didn’t know whether he would be able to sit in on that decision. He thought it would present a conflict with him because his concern would be to enhance the value of the property that he lived on, which was in close proximity to that property. He said if he felt strongly that the proposed development would adversely affect the value of his property, then he would not make a decision that might or might not be the right decision, but it would be the decision that wouldn’t affect the value of his property. He thought in that situation he would be hard pressed to participate because his primary concern was to maintain and enhance the value of his property. He said there had been a lot of concern about what the property would be used for and most of the ideas discussed had indicated that the proposals would tend to depreciate the value of the properties in close proximity.
Member Mutch said for the benefit of the community and State law the Planning Commission should reflect a wide variety of experience. He said while it was valuable to have people with professional backgrounds and experience on commissions, he thought people like Mr. Prince, who had their own life experience and knowledge but also were engaged residents of the community, would be valuable members of the commission as well. He commented that he didn’t ever want a persons experience to deter Mr. Prince or other residents from applying for the boards and commissions because they could add a lot, even if they didn’t have the technical experience. Member Mutch asked if appointed to the Planning Commission, what would he like his impact to be on the community from that service ten years from now. Mr. Prince said it was his understanding that Novi was the 48th best place to live in the country. He said he didn’t want to see them sit on their laurels; he wanted to see that moved up the list and perhaps go to number 10, 9 or even 1 because Novi had the potential to do so. He thought the goal was to maintain the diversity of development that helped them achieve the successes achieved so far. He commented his goal would be to continue that and assist those who serve with him to keep focused to assure they would head toward the goal of increasing the successes already experienced.
Member Staudt stated during the time Mr. Prince was interested in serving on Council as an appointee; he took the opportunity to do some Google research on Mr. Prince. He noted Mr. Prince was a very distinguished gentleman and had quite a career. Member Staudt said he had attended Michigan during a very turbulent time. He asked what kind of experiences he took from that time that applied to his career and helped him understand where he was going as a man. Member Staudt said this probably had nothing to do with the Planning Commission but Council didn’t get many opportunities to talk to people like Mr. Prince who come forward and have very high qualifications. Mr. Prince said what he took from his Michigan experience would be the first year at Michigan. In that year he lived in community housing and was the only minority in a majority situation being the only one of the African-American race. He said what he took from that was living in a community situation you get to know a lot about people and get to know people from all different types of economic spectrums. He said he came from a lower income background, then there were people of wealth and then white people in the same lower income background that he had. He said they worked together and learned to appreciate each others individual likes and dislikes, how to work around each other, try to enjoy one another and find out more about each other. Mr. Prince said he took that experience into his professional life and the encounters he had there, and had always been able to recognize that he could co-exist with just about anyone, if they were willing to do so. He said that led to the successes he had and he wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
Member Crawford asked if he had an opportunity to look at any of the City’s ordinances and if so, was there anything that needed another look or a change. Mr. Prince said he had not looked at any of the ordinances.
Mayor Pro Tem Gatt asked Mr. Schultz if someone was on the Planning Commission and lived near the Links could they be recused, if they thought their home’s value might be devalued. Mr. Schultz responded under the State statute the rules were that unless there was a pecuniary kind of interest they were obligated to vote. He said if someone truly believed they could not render a fair decision, there was a statute and a Charter that stated they must vote or they were not doing their job. He said on the other hand the applicant needed a fair decision. He said the recommendation from his office would be unless they really believed they couldn’t render a fair decision, they would have to think hard about what they would do. Mayor Pro Tem Gatt said if he was appointed to the Planning Commission and was confronted with a project that was contrary to the Master Plan, could he vote in favor of it. Mr. Prince said it depended on the degree. He said if the conflict would not affect the overall Master Plan, and had insubstantial consequences, then he would look at whether the benefit outweighed the detriment. He said that was how he would make his decision because the Master Plan was something that took a lot of work and he wouldn’t want to upset that. However, if it was possible to do so without having a substantial affect on it, he would.
Mayor Landry thanked Mr. Prince for coming forward. He said Mr. Prince was a very educated person and he had worked with him professionally. Mayor Landry stated Mr. Prince was very sharp and Council needed people like him on all of their commissions.
18. Lowell Sprague – Planning Commission
Mr. Sprague stated he had lived in Novi for eleven years with his wife and children. He said he was on the Planning Commission at one time and was the Chair of the current Master Plan and Zoning Commission. He said what sparked his interest to join the Planning Commission was the Master Plan was coming up again. He commented he would like to be on the commission through a term that could see the current rendition of the Master Plan come forward. Member Burke asked what his thoughts were on the south western quadrant as it related to the potential build out and how it related currently to the Master Plan. Mr. Sprague said it was mostly residential, R-A, and they wanted to be consistent with the Master Plan and there would be some conflicts there. He thought one of the driving issues would be what kind of traffic could they push through Ten Mile Road. He said there was a lot of work, there would be negotiations with landowners and they had their rights. He said to the extent that it could be built it, should be built that’s what it’s there for.
Member Mutch asked how he would get the public involved with the Master Plan process. Mr. Sprague said that could be a difficult thing. At the last Master Plan there was a lot of outreach to the community. He said at any of the public City events there would be a booth up, all the Master Plan and Zoning Committee meetings were open to the public and mailings were sent out to encourage residents to attend. He said there was some participation from the public. He commented when they go through the Master Plan section by section to see what was there and what needed to be tweaked, it could be tedious for residents. He stated he didn’t know how to make that exciting for residents but thought they had to make it as open a process as possible and try to locate the people that were interested and solicit their input. Mr. Sprague said gaining the input of the homeowners associations would be an avenue he would want to pursue.
Member Staudt asked what had been the most difficult decision he had to make while on the Planning Commission previously. Mr. Sprague said they had dealt with projects that brought in many residents. He said Catholic Central, Rock Financial Center, and the Village Oaks piece brought in a crowd. He thought the Village Oaks piece was the most contentious. Mr. Sprague said a lot of residents felt there had been a social contract made that that land would not be developed; the owner had a right to develop and was throwing it to the dense part of the City. He thought the resolution they ended up with satisfied everybody. He said they upheld the owner’s rights because he had rights and sent it to Council with the recommendation that grants from the State be pursued. He said then, with the ultimate successful achieving of those grants, they could buy the property and convert it to park.
Member Crawford said one of the challenges for the Planning Commission had been the Sign Ordinance. She asked what he thought about it. Mr. Sprague said he thought there were sufficient vagaries in it that made it so it wasn’t always clear where they were going. The Planning Commission had heard that it was hard to develop in Novi; he thought that sometimes it was hard to develop in Novi because there wasn’t as much certainly as they’d like. He said developers want to know if they’re going ahead with a project when making investments and whether it would go through or not. He said creating that certainty was an important role of the Planning Commission.
Mayor Pro Tem Gatt asked if he was confronted with a project that was contrary to the Master Plan, would he vote for it. Mr. Sprague said it depended on what he meant by contrary. If it was directly against the intent of the plan and it was going to disrupt the plan, then it would probably not meet the criteria for a positive vote. However, it might be that the plan didn’t provide for that or it was a good revision to the plan. He thought they had to take the facts in place and thought the ITC Corporate Center was a good example. He said when the Master Plan was passed there were no provisions for a five story building anywhere in the City. He said it was a very nice development and was not in the Master Plan but it fit.
Member Margolis asked what he thought he brought to the Planning Commission that added something that was not present on the Planning Commission. Mr. Sprague said every Planning Commission, as composed, had its different personalities. He thought when he joined the Planning Commission, one of his objectives was how could they say yes and how do they look for all the flaws. He said if they had something that had exceptions, they had to look at them. He commented that sometimes they were not good for the project and the project shouldn’t go forward. He said they shouldn’t just look at them and use that as a reason to say no. So, how do they say yes so that the City grew and developed the way they wanted it to. Mr. Sprague said one of the things he brought, besides the experience he had on the Planning Commission, was that in his professional role he bought land, built buildings and he had dealt with a number of municipalities and knew how it was to ask for something to get done. He said sitting on both sides had been very valuable to him professionally. He knew how expensive it was to do something. He commented he had a true appreciation for when someone owned the land, they buy it under certain terms to develop that land, to put the capital forward to make an investment in the community was something they had to respect. It didn’t mean they had carte blanche to do whatever they wanted, but it needed to be respected.
19. Mark Sturing – Building Authority
Mr. Sturing said he was with the Michigan Housing Authority for 8 or 9 years and was currently was general counsel for the Beztak Companies. He said he came from a development background and that was the reason he wanted to be reappointed to the Building Authority. He said it was a unique committee in that as many governmental committees try to regulate things and control things the Building Authority was kind of a creation committee where they were creating something and usually something new. Therefore he thought, with his development background, helped to have that unique look and a little bit of calculated risk taking to get something new created and done.
Member Mutch asked what he would like to see in ten years when looking back at the impact he had on the community. Mr. Sturing said he could look back now ten years at what their impact was. Mr. Sturing thought they had two wonderful buildings and projects that had been completed, namely the ice arena and Meadowbrook Commons, both of which were still serving the purpose they were designed for. He felt they had met the test of time in terms of construction and financing. Mr. Sturing commented he would like to look ahead at the Library ten years and be able to say it was built, designed and financed in a way that it met the test of time.
Member Staudt said they had done a lot of interesting things together and Mr. Sturing had done a great job keeping the staff in check with Mr. Czekaj. He said this was a different type of Building Authority than it was in the past. At the time they created it, he thought they might be overwhelmed by staff and Administration but not with Mr. Sturing and Mr. Czekaj watching the project.
Member Crawford noted she had served on several committees with Mr. Sturing on senior housing. She said she honestly didn’t think there would be senior housing if it had not been for him and Mr. Czekaj working on it so diligently. She asked what he thought the chief role of a Building Authority member was. Mr. Sturing thought the Building Authority as a whole had to take direction from Council as to what it wanted to do. He said they were sort of handed a project and once the Building Authority was handed that task he thought each member had to use his or her talents in a way that would enhance the project. Mr. Sturing noted it was long range thinking and they both had to be team players and work with the rest of the Building Authority members. However, at the same time and based on their experience, they had to advocate strongly some of the things that might happen along the way.
Mayor Pro Tem Gatt thanked Mr. Sturing and said he had his support.
Member Margolis said one of the major benefits she got working on the Library Board was meeting Mark Sturing, and she thanked him for all he had done.
Member Burke said he had no questions but thanked him for his participation.
Mayor Landry thanked Mr. Sturing for all he did for the City.
PRESENTATION - None
1. Issuance of an Industrial Facilities Exemption Certificate for BoCo Enterprises, Inc./TBON, LLC
There was no response from the audience and the Public Hearing was closed.
1. MANAGER/STAFF - None
2. ATTORNEY - None
AUDIENCE COMMENT - None
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION – Part I
1. Appointment of Planning Commission Member to Zoning Board of Appeals
Mayor Landry said they had chosen to have one of the Planning Commissioners serve on the Zoning Board of Appeals. He said this had proven to be beneficial to the City. Mr. Schultz said the Council had the option of continuing to do this. Mayor Landry said it was up to Council to formally decide who they had asked the Planning Commission to give Council suggestions. He said it was his understanding that Victor Cassis had agreed to serve in that duel role and asked if he was correct. Mr. Schultz said he was correct.
CM-09-02-017 Moved by Gatt, seconded by Mutch; CARRIED
UNANIMOUSLY: To appoint Mr. Victor Cassis as a duel member of the Planning Commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Roll call vote on CM-09-02-017 Yeas: Crawford, Margolis, Mutch, Staudt, Landry, Gatt, Burke
2.Appointments to the Board of Review
Clerk Cornelius announced the results of the appointments.
Ron Boron Board of Review Term expiring January 1, 2012
Dale Holdaway Board of Review Alternate Term expiring January 1, 2011
AUDIENCE COMMENT - None
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION – Part II - None
COMMITTEE REPORTS - None
MAYOR AND COUNCIL ISSUES
1. Format for City Council's Goal Setting Session on February 14, 2009 at Fire Station #4 – Mayor Landry
Mayor Landry said the goal setting session would be at the Fire Station at 8:30 A.M. He said, to avoid confusion from last year, they had seven general goals, public safety, infrastructure, etc., and those were goals Council set two years ago. He said they had agreed last year that all the specific goals would fit under those seven overarching goals. He said they would open up with a discussion as to whether they still wanted to keep those seven as the overarching goals or did they want to add or detract from them. They would begin the discussion of goal setting to determine what the seven topics would be. He said Council would have computers and they would get into each individual topic and would put all their individual suggestions up on the screen under the topics and begin to rank them. He said they would assign values to them and discuss them. Mayor Landry said this year Council had received a list of staff comments and suggestions for Council’s edification to discuss and use however they wished to use them. He said he and Mr. Pearson would Chair the meeting and would have discussion and the staff would be present. He said they would stay as long as it took or as long as they last.
Member Mutch said he knew the input received from Administrative department heads and wondered how deep into the organization they went.
Mr. Pearson said there were 70 staff members, leadership group, and other managers that were in groups. He said they were all charged to fan out and bring in ideas.
Member Mutch said one of the things that tripped them up last year was the issue of when they saw a staff suggestion at the Council table, they kind of all said no, it wasn’t something they were interested in pursuing. He said he needed a better understanding of the lists Council had. They had a lot of recommendations and in some cases recommendations that conflicted with each other. He asked how they would be utilized to insure they were consistent with what Council wanted to see happen. Mr. Pearson said it was up to Council to pick and chose what they wanted to discuss. Member Mutch said then, unless Council put it on their list, Administration didn’t intend to follow up on it. Mr. Pearson said correct, they were recommendations. Member Mutch felt that the fact that it was a continuation of what they had been doing; it didn’t address what they needed to be doing at this time as a City. He said they all knew they were in very challenging times and that as well as Novi had done, Novi was in one of the hardest hit regions in probably the hardest State in this country. He said a program that looked at focusing on a "business as usual routine" would get them through the next year but was not a roadmap to the future. Member Mutch didn’t think they could do something like that within the time period they had, but it was a discussion Council needed to start having. He said they needed to discuss where they, not only as a City government, but as a community wanted to go for the next five to ten years. Member Mutch said part of the question he was asking residents tonight was that as a City they needed to know where they were going in ten years. Member Mutch said they could talk about wanting to do the basics and do them well, but that wouldn’t get them ten years down the road. He said when Novi was built out they wouldn’t have all the advantages they had today. He said they were not competitive with other regions of the country. He said they were not just competing with Royal Oak, Ann Arbor, or Troy; they were competing with places they had talked about that were peers, places like Mr. Prince talked about. He said Mr. Prince wanted them to be number one on that list. Member Mutch said those 47 communities in front of Novi were all competing with Novi and a lot of them were probably in a lot better position to stay on that list than Novi was today. He thought that discussion needed to be started at this upcoming meeting. He thought it would be a process that they, as a City, needed to go through that would provide a long term vision for Council and everyone who was a part of the community whether the schools, Chamber of Commerce or residents who could answer what kind of community Novi would be 10 or 20 years from now. Also, to answer what kind of community they wanted to grow into beyond wanting great police and fire, good schools because those are good things but everyone wanted and was striving for. Member Mutch thought they needed to elevate themselves to the next level and wanted to have that conversation Saturday. He said they would do the other business because they had to provide some vision for the next year but he wanted to start a process that looked further out.
Mayor Landry said he certainly didn’t want any Council member in the process to feel they were somehow hamstrung on anything that happened in the past. He said, personally, he didn’t think that he could ever address the goals of the City without talking about public safety, infrastructure, finances or things of that nature. He said he just saw these as overall topics to organize their thoughts for the day. Mayor Landry said he would welcome anyone who wanted to add anything to the big seven and if someone wanted to talk about something even broader than that, it was fine with him. He said he didn’t want anyone to feel restricted in any way and if they needed another session, they would have one and would do whatever they had to do to address the needs of the City. He thought goal setting was very important. He said he was looking at the topics as ways to direct their discussion on the goals of the City and they could rank through the process what they thought were the most important goals for the next year, two years or ten years. He said they could do that because they were not limited in any way.
Member Staudt asked if any of the suggestions in their packets, were generated by the Venture teams or were they individual. Mr. Pearson said 70 people were at that meeting. Member Staudt said then they weren’t organized questions from the Venture team process. Mr. Pearson said the Venture teams were a way of getting things done once Council decided what they wanted done. Member Staudt said things that don’t show up on the agenda that were a part of those many, many pages they received, won’t be pursued outside the scope of what Council presented. He said if Council didn’t act on some of the recommendations, then they would be acted on somewhere else. Mr. Pearson said they implemented what was budgeted and discussed every year. Member Staudt said the things that didn’t get incorporated into Council’s specific goals would not get vetted again by another body or be pursued in some other venue. Mr. Pearson said there were about 500 things on the list and he couldn’t tell him that there wasn’t one single thing on there that they wouldn’t, on their own vet out a little, and bring back to Council. Mr. Pearson said they always reserve the right and it was Administration’s responsibility to bring up suggestion and ideals as they come up based on the priorities Council had.
Member Margolis commented that she made her living helping companies do planning. She said this process was what they had to go through. The overarching goals set three years ago were to have a long term vision. She said that didn’t mean that they don’t change but they were set to sort of guide their individual steps. She said the small things underneath them were their objectives for that year to move them towards that. She said the process they would go through would look at the long term goals and find out if they still realized the vision of the City they wanted. She said if it didn’t get them to where they wanted to go and to the discussion they wanted to have, it was their fault because that’s their job at that session. Member Margolis said Council’s job was to have that discussion about what moved them to the vision of what Novi needed to be. She thought they all had to look long and hard and one of the things she was looking at was the whole citizen survey and the issue of code enforcement. She said that was a huge driver and how did that key into some of the things they had been talking about. Member Margolis said the staff suggestions had some interesting thought provokers. She thought it was their job over the next two weeks to do some strong thinking about whether those goals get them to where they wanted to be as a City and if not, what would. She advised them to be careful about tossing goals out every year because that didn’t realize a long term vision. She thought they had to be prudent about what they looked at and how they changed their goals as they go along.
Member Mutch said he wouldn’t disagree but thought the goals or strategic themes didn’t provide enough of a vision long term. He said they would help guide the budgeting process and policy decisions but that didn’t provide a real concept of where, as a community, they were going in the long term. He said it wouldn’t allow them to succeed as a community, to thrive and be a community people wanted to come to, even after they had built out all remaining vacant land. He agreed it was the Council member’s responsibility to articulate that vision. He said he wanted to have some of that discussion on that Saturday and whether Council wanted to pursue that or not was fine. He thought it was incumbent on him and anyone else who wanted to participate in that discussion to bring forward what those ideas might be.
COMMUNICATIONS - None
AUDIENCE COMMENT - None
There being no further business to come before Council, the meeting was adjourned at 10:16 P.M.
_________________________________ Date approved: February 17, 2009
Transcribed by: Charlene Mc Lean