REGULAR MEETING OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2011 AT 7:00 P.M.
COUNCIL CHAMBERS Ė
Mayor Landry called the meeting to order at 7:00 P.M.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
ROLL CALL: Mayor Landry, Mayor Pro Tem Gatt, Council Members Fischer, Margolis, Mutch, Staudt, Wrobel
ALSO PRESENT: Clay Pearson, City Manager
Victor Cardenas, Assistant City Manager
Tom Schultz, City Attorney
Rob Hayes, Director of Public Services
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Mayor Pro Tem Gatt removed Item 3, Approval to award a one-year contract extension (the first of three potential extensions) to Brien's Services, Inc. to perform the City's 2011 Lawn Maintenance Services, for an estimated annual amount of $164,000, to give the Cityís staff more time to negotiate the contract.
Mr. Pearson said there is wording that the contractor has supplied as part of this proposal and he would like to bring the item back next week.
Member Fischer added the fence ordinance under Mayor and Council issues.
CM-11-02-021 Moved by Gatt, seconded by Staudt; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve the Agenda with the removal and postponement of Item 3, Approval to award a one-year contract extension (the first of three potential extensions) to Brien's Services, Inc. to perform the City's 2011 Lawn Maintenance Services, for an estimated annual amount of $164,000, and the addition of the fence ordinance under Mayor and Council issues.
Roll call vote on CM-11-02-021 Yeas: Gatt, Fischer, Margolis, Mutch, Staudt, Wrobel, Landry
PUBLIC HEARING - None
Mr. Myers thanked the Mayor, Council, the City Manager, and other officials, including the Chief of Engineering, Chief of Police, and other dignitaries, of whom, the City Clerk has their token of appreciation for each of them. He said their first Japanese style thought was to make sure they were distributed and disappeared without a word but the loyal staff assured them that wouldnít be adequate. He said that he and Izumi represented diversity to the City in age and in culture. Izumi is a female from the giant City of Yokohama. He is a male from the tiny community of Grand Haven, MI. He said they both agreed that the token had to be given to Mayor Landry and his team. He said the City would find a lot of things in the book they can pat themselves on the back with. He said they wanted to show their appreciation for good governance and thanked the City for what they do and who they are.
Mayor Landry said that it was his pleasure and the pleasure of City Council to recognize the 2010 AAU cross country national champions, team IVON menís division. He said to qualify, teams had to place in the top 3 at the Michigan district race and individuals had to qualify by placing in the top 25. He said the race was held in Orlando, Fl, and he believed it wasnít the first time we were national champions. He said we were blessed with a great organization and having been a former cross country runner himself he said it is a different sport. He said it is a sport that teaches discipline and is a team sport. He asked Coach Smith and Mrs. Kim Gardner to join him at the podium as he recognized the team. He announced: Mr. Brett Giampa, Kevin Hanlon, Sahil Mehta, Garrett Murphy, Nirguna Thalla, and Chris Vera-Burgos. He said they were also very fortunate to have members of the intermediate and youth AA team qualifiers: Brian Barnes, Mike Benkarski, Mike Dickmann, David Gardner, Eric Gardner, Paul Hoag, Justin Jarvis, Allen Potter, Cameron Richmam, and Ryan Tgiros.
Coach Smith thanked the Mayor and Council. He said that AAU was an extended season of boyís cross-country at the High School. Mrs. Kim Gardner and Mrs. Bonnie Hall are the AAU coaches. He said it was his pleasure to recognize their two coaches as well as their 22 athletes that qualified for the national championship. He said that it was the second year in a row that they accomplished the feat and they are hoping for a three-peat next year. He thanked the City of Novi for recognizing the young men who worked very hard; they are scholastically high in achievement, as well as, athletically high in achievement. He said they are great role models and they are hoping to continue the tradition both in the classroom and on the cross country course.
a. Federal Highway Aid Committee action to advance the Road Commission for Oakland Countyís Grand River Avenue (Novi Road to Haggerty Road) repaving in fall 2011
Mr. Pearson reported to City Council on the Federal Highway Aid Committee. He said they brought forth the idea of advancing the Grand River Avenue reconstruction project, which was met with positive feedback from Council, so they followed through. He said the formal action that was required took place and the money was reallocated. He said in the next several months they will be making preparations for the repaving. He said he will do all the coordination that is possible to make sure the plans meet expectations. He said the project has been a number one priority; their hope was to have it done in 2012, now they can say it will be done in 2011.
b. Winter storm maintenance debrief and recommendations
Mr. Pearson said the second item is a recap of the winter storm maintenance efforts. He said Council received an extensive report from Mr. Hayes on Friday that was put together as a recap of the work that has been done. He said February was on track to have the heaviest accumulations on record, on top of heavy snows all winter. He said it has put a lot of strain on the City and in many cases he thinks they have met the challenge admirably. He said over the last storm, Novi ended up getting between 8 and 10 inches of snow which put a big strain on the City. He said there was a lot of snow that the troops dealt with and a lot of work from Sunday afternoon on. He said the main roads were cleared as a priority and that is the policy. He said they started to get into the neighborhoods Monday evening and it took time to get through. He said as part of the review of operations they presented recommendations they are look at for changing the processes and equipment; we used contractors this season for the first time and it has worked out well.
Mr. Hayes said it is important to note that this was not a forecasted storm. He said when they left work Friday afternoon the forecast called for 3 to 5 inches of snow, followed by sleet, and we ended up getting 9 inches in Novi. He said they didnít have crews standing by which hampered them a bit. He said the actual storm we had on the 20th and 21st was the 24th heaviest in recorded history, currently February 2011 is the second snowiest in history. He said they mobilized crews at 2 pm on Sunday and got on the road by 3 pm, they worked continuously on the major roads until 2 pm on Monday. He said at that time they were able to start on neighborhood roads where they worked continuously until noon on Tuesday. He said the snow ended at 5:30 in the morning on Monday and that is key because the goal is to have all roads passable and safe to traffic within 24 hours of the last snowflake falling. He said they achieved that goal within 30.5 hours; they were off by 6.5 hours. He said there were some inefficiencies, there was a low turnout of operators who reported because of the bad forecast and some were sick. He said there were severe vehicle breakdowns of the large dump trucks, out of the fleet of 16 trucks there were 5 broken down. He said they had to pull mechanics out from driving trucks and bring them into the garage to work on the trucks. He said due to the nature and duration of the storm there was an exhausted crew at various times. He said a contractor was called in; they started work at 8 am on Monday and worked continuously until noon on Tuesday because they had used all of their resources. He said they had to divert some of their resources to help out Wayne County on a stretch of 8 mile road with very hazardous conditions. He said the Police Department asked us to clear some lanes of traffic on 8 mile east of Haggerty Road for this particular storm. He said if it is the goal of Council to improve performance for abnormally large storms like this, we presented some recommendations, some relate to labor resources, one option would be to recruit union staff who donít work in DPS that might be willing to drive pickup trucks for us, they donít require a commercial driverís license, same thing with administrative staff. He said as far as equipment is concerned, the two biggest items that would be of help to us would be the purchase of additional dump trucks, large trucks, we could certainly use one additional single axle dump truck, as well as, one tandem axle dump truck. He said this would give them an adequate number of big trucks out on the road for large storms. He said finally, contracted services, they currently have one contractor, but this contractor like most is limited by the amount of resources they can commit. He said Council may wish to award more than one contract or they may want to increase the level of contracting that we give to any given contractor, perhaps by taking on more neighborhood streets or pathways.
Mr. Pearson said we are very open to improving and changing with the big picture; they have fewer employees available and have had to make adjustments. He said this is the first year a contract has been awarded in December; they are looking forward to expanding that. He said they would appreciate feedback on things that Council would like them to pursue.
Mayor Landry said City Council, last year, adopted a policy with respect to snow removal that dealt with accumulations of less than 4 inches. He said they responded to this abnormally high snow accumulation the same way we have been responding in years past, other than we had the contractors which we havenít had in years past. He said our response to this snow emergency was not a result of any cutting costs or decrease in expenditures; it was all hands on deck. He said it had nothing to do with the fact that there was a new policy on snow accumulations of less than 4 inches. He asked Mr. Hayes how much new dump trucks cost. Mr. Hayes said they range depending on the type and how they are outfitted but they normally range in cost from $170,000, for a fully outfitted single axle dump truck, to $200,000 to $225,000, for a tandem axle dump truck. Mayor Landry asked if Mr. Hayes was talking about replacing or in addition to the trucks we already have. Mr. Hayes said they would be replacing, they have some rather old dump trucks, some going back to 1986 which require a lot of maintenance to keep them on the road.
Mayor Pro Tem Gatt said thank you for the very detailed, in-depth report. He asked if he would be wrong to say that it wasnít just the equipment and that it was also the number of people who responded to come in. Mr. Hayes said that is correct, the number of people who responded met their threshold of 9 operators but they trickled in over a long period of time before there was a full complement of operators. He said from that point forward it was difficult to get replacement crews or crews to augment that initial crew. He said part of that is attributable to the forecast, people thought it was going to be a mild weekend and made out of town plans for the holiday weekend. Mayor Pro Tem Gatt said they didnít think they would approve any expenditures tonight but his concern in the future when they talk about it would be if they had one or two more dump trucks, if they donít have the personnel to drive them it wonít matter. He said he is coming from the southeast part of the City perspective and if the streets were clear within 30.5 hours then the southeast part of the City was right at that threshold. He said one of his concerns was that one of the drivers went home with fatigue; he doesnít understand how one employee going home with fatigue can cause a whole quadrant of the City has to suffer and not be able to drive down the streets 30 hours after the storm. Mr. Hayes said it didnít impact the whole quadrant but the subs that person was assigned to didnít get attention at the scheduled time. Mayor Pro Tem Gatt asked if the contractor we used only plowed in the north part of the City. Mr. Hayes said the contractor was assigned to subdivisions north of 12 Mile Road because there is a large percentage of roads on the north end that are chip sealed and with that type of surface they are reluctant to use the heavy plows with the belly blades because it will peel up the chip seal surface, they prefer to use the lighter trucks that the contractor has. Mayor Pro Tem Gatt asked if the contractor had more equipment that could have been brought in to do the south side too or if he only have enough to do the chip sealed roads. Mr. Hayes said he had just enough to commit to the north end. Mayor Pro Tem Gatt asked if there was something in the union contract with the DPS workers that prohibits them from hiring part-time people at this time. Mr. Hayes said the current language in the union contract says that if any department in the City has an individual on layoff then no part-time, temporary, or seasonal people can be employed, so if we have a layoff weíd have to purge whatever part-time and temporary employees they had. Mayor Pro Tem Gatt asked if they were prohibited to hire part-time staff to plow the roads if there was a layoff in the Police Department. Mr. Pearson clarified that it had to be a layoff within the department. Mayor Pro Tem Gatt confirmed that there was a layoff within DPS with Mr. Hayes. He also confirmed that the City wasnít prohibited from hiring contract employees. He said he would be very interested in hearing everyoneís opinion, but coming from the southeast part of the City, it was a mess. He said he would be interested in implementing some suggestions to contracted services, especially if it would be cheaper in the long run instead of buying trucks since we donít get very many storms like this per year. He said he knows DPS works hard and it is a lack of man power for a lot of reasons. He said he thinks the City has to take precautions so this doesnít happen again because the residents expect more and deserve more. He said the storm itself wasnít forecasted to be 9 inches, but it was forecasted to be 3 to 5 inches and the 5 inches would have been over the threshold. He said they anticipated a bad storm but not as bad as it was. He said they need more contracted plows and trucks to clear streets, which is the direction he would like to go in.
Member Wrobel said that close to 30% of the trucks breaking down was inordinately high. He asked what percentage of trucks were unavailable during a normal snow storm. Mr. Wiktorowski said about 5 trucks typically go down during an average storm of 2 to 4 inches. Member Wrobel asked if the breakdown is happening while they are working or if they are unavailable at the beginning of the storm. Mr. Wiktorowski said it was both, some trucks are not available at the beginning of the storm because of a breakdown during a previous storm and others go down during the storm and require anywhere from an hour fix to several days. Member Wrobel said he understood a truck breaking down while working but it seemed like the trucks should be fixed before the next storm. He asked what they can do to resolve that issue. Mr. Wiktorowski said newer trucks would resolve some of the issues they have, some of the trucks that are 25 years old have small things that go wrong with them such as a gas pedal breaking off because it is rusted through. He said the parts can be so old that mechanics end up fabricating parts sometimes because they canít get them from dealerships anymore; it creates quite a bit of downtime for their mechanics and operators. Member Wrobel said he understands it can be hard to get parts for the older trucks but right now there is no snow, the trucks should be evaluated to see what is wrong and can be fixed ahead of time.
Member Staudt reflected back to Superbowl Sunday and the decision not to send out plows on Sunday afternoon and evening. He asked what was behind that decision and how it was arrived at because where he lived they easily had 4 inches of snow. Mr. Hayes said the Roadway Manager took measurements throughout town and the average measurement that he took was 3.25 inches. He said without knowledge that the temperatures were going to rise, making the snow a lot heavier which provided less traction on neighborhood streets, and without forethought of that, they decided not to bring people out on overtime. He said they didnít receive a single report from police or fire that Sunday saying road conditions were getting treacherous. Member Staudt said there was a cumulative effect that was worse than 3.25 inches; one of the things they will have to look at is taking something that literal, as a number, instead of a decision. He said they will then have to look at changing the policy to make other factors into that decision making process. He asked if the drivers were given the authority to randomly decide what areas they are going to plow first. He said he didnít find that to be plausible in these days. He asked what was behind that. Mr. Hayes said that it is written in the report that the Roadway Manager assigns routes to individuals and tries to do it on a random basis so it isnít in the same order each time. Member Staudt asked if there was a grid that told them what areas have been done. Mr. Hayes said there was a large City map mounted in the garage and as crews came in they marked off the streets theyíve completed. Member Staudt asked if there was a policy for mandatory overtime and if Mr. Hayes would like to see a policy in place if there was not. Mr. Hayes said they did not have a policy for mandatory overtime. He said he would like to see some level of mandatory overtime but it was not realistic to expect an individual to accept every opportunity offered because of various reasons. He said if there was a percentage of opportunities offered that they had to take that would be a huge step forward. Member Staudt asked if there were enough available drivers for the trucks that were available at the beginning of the plowing process. Mr. Hayes said they did initially, they had 9 operators show up and he wasnít sure when during the storm the 5 trucks broke down, but they did have enough operators in the beginning. He said throughout the storm they found they had to move operators from the big trucks to pick up trucks because of mechanical failures. Member Staudt said they needed to look at the maintenance policies on their trucks and the union contract to see what changes can be made so they have an adequate number of drivers for the amount of trucks that are available. He said it isnít an acceptable thing for the residents. He said moving forward he would like to see them much better prepared and to look at these things during the summer before the next snow season.
Member Fischer said the 4 inch policy didnít impact anything throughout February but on February 5th there was the 3.25 inch snowstorm which was a conscious decision not to have overtime at that point. He said he received phone calls that through the City there were other measurements taken that did exceed 4 inches. He said he thought there was a need to reevaluate the policy going forward and looking at next year, one from a perspective of the conditions of the roads that are already there. He said that it seems we take the major thoroughfares to such an extreme that the pavement is practically dry before we tend to go into subdivisions; that is the impression he gets, right or wrong. He said he would like to hear thoughts on how they can address subdivisions sooner in the process. He said in a situation with major storms, what is the point of having a major thoroughfare clear if our emergency personnel canít get to the houses or residents canít get out of their subdivisions. He asked if it was possible to do major thoroughfares to a passable condition and then get subdivisions to a passable condition, go back and do clean up on major thoroughfares and then go back to subdivision for clean up. Mr. Hayes said the standard operating procedure is to make the majors safe and passable, not clear curb to curb, because of safety. He said with the volume of traffic and heavy trucks, he wanted to make them safe a passable. Member Fischer asked if Mr. Hayes thought they took it to an extreme at this point or if we were following the protocol clearly. Mr. Hayes said he thought they were following the standard operating procedure clearly and in this case they were able to peel off some operators once they knew they were approaching safe and passable for all majors and they had extra drivers, they were then able to be sent into subs around 2 oíclock. Member Fischer said he would like to see the SOP (Standard Operating Procedures) for that and see more information and clarity for how that is applied and how it may have been applied to some of the February storms. He said the last piece was the contracted help, he didnít disagree that it was an area that he wanted to look at but he doesnít want to rely on contractors to a large extent. He said it sounded like they had some major issues with 30% of their fleet going down in a storm. He said that is a decision they will have to make come budget time, looking at the CIP he wants to keep in the forefront that there are trucks that are 25 years old, expecting those to last forever and subsidize that with contracted help is not the end all and be all. He said he thought the communication throughout the storms was superb to City Council, he said he appreciated the information he was given through the City Manager.
Member Mutch said he wanted to follow up on their approach on clearing the main streets before the subdivisions streets. He said his experience on Monday was that Taft Road was clear down to the pavement, which he thought was great. He said he was surprised when the schools were closed on Tuesday because of the state of some subdivision streets. He said they were then getting communication from residents asking why their subdivision streets werenít cleared on Tuesday. He said he would like more information on prioritizing getting the main roads done, which makes sense. He asked if there was a balance where they could get an initial pass through the subdivisions, to a degree that people donít feel they are snowed in. He said he would like to revisit it because he saw such good conditions on Taft Road and then some of the subdivision streets being in such poor condition even the next day.
Mr. Hayes added that Taft is a north south road and the winds were coming out of the north. He said they had to look at the condition of all the mile roads because of severe drifting, especially in the north, which was the focus of their efforts later in the storm.
Mr. Pearson stated that on Tuesday, the school superintendent had to make their decision early. He said a lot was done between 5am and 8am. He said they would be talking to the school to make sure they have a clear sense of their routes and maybe this summer they will suggest snow emergency rules that designate that cars have to be off the roads, which impedes their abilities quite a bit. He said on Tuesday morning 80% of the subdivisions had been cleared. He said they are trying to keep this in context and get better to get that last 20% consistently cleared. He said there were 119 school districts that closed school on Tuesday.
Member Mutch said they have the ability to issue a snow emergency to inform residents that their cars should not be on the street. He asked why they hadnít exercised that power when there was a snow event looking at 9 or 10 inches of snow. Mr. Hayes said they need to do a better job of educating the public ahead of time if there is a major storm, this is what we need your help with. He said because the City hasnít declared a snow emergency in 10 years or more, the concern was that the public might not be able to adequately react to that and should they leave their cars in the street and get ticketed the City might have a bigger mess on their hands. He said the whole idea is to better communicate ahead of time what the snow emergency means so the public is prepared and knows in advance what the expectations are. Member Mutch said he would agree with that and if it is a tool that we canít exercise, it is setting us back from the beginning. He said one issue discussed was the utilization of contracted crews on the north end and how they assisted with some equipment and some operators. He asked if we didnít have the ability to bring those contractors in, how much additional time would have been added to the time it took to clear the entire City verse the 30.5 hours it took with the contracted help. Mr. Wiktorowski said it would have taken approximately 8 hours longer. He said one of the setbacks they have are the staffing limitations and the hours that they work. He said it would have depended on available staff that could have come back to work after working an extended period of time, we make them take an 8 hour break after working approximately 24 hours. Member Mutch said he is glad that resource is available and the recommendation to have multiple contractors, just as they do with the police towing situation, he thought made sense. He said it made sense to have multiple contractors lined up to tap into for the very reason that they donít always have a full complement of equipment they can throw at us, but we may be in a situation that we need to utilize more than a single contractor can supply, so he would like to see them look at that. He said it highlighted a concern he had in terms of the staffing situation and man power because if the contractor had not been available then the City wouldnít have had enough crews and equipment with the equipment breakdown we were facing, limited number of people and limited number of crews. He said now we are looking at an almost 40 hour storm clean up which could have been very problematic in certain parts of the City. He said one thing Mr. Hayes touched on in a previous e-mail was that in past years part-time seasonal employees were brought in to assist with snow maintenance and that is not available right now because of the layoff situation. He asked what was the bottom line impact of not having that pool of people to tap into. Mr. Hayes said in the past they would have had 10 seasonal employees come in to operate pickup trucks with plows. He said that resource is invaluable because it not only keeps the full timers in the big trucks but they can also get the subdivisions cleared up that much faster by having a pickup truck with plow working in tandem with a big truck. Member Mutch asked if during this past storm DPS had equipment sitting without drivers to utilize it. Mr. Hayes said yes, at various times they had quite a number of pickup trucks that could have been deployed had they had the people to operate them. Member Mutch said it sounds like there are a couple different solutions in terms of bringing in some other union members or administrative staff or working with the union to try and resolve this issue with the part time employees. He said to have equipment sitting at the DPS facility in this kind of event really jumps out as a red flag and needs to be addressed. He said he doesnít know the ideal solution but thinks they need to explore all alternatives because it is not an acceptable situation to be in as a City, it doesnít reflect well on the efforts we could have put toward the storm if we had the people available to be used. He said he wanted to mention a GPS tracking system on the trucks which he thinks the City should explore. He said it would assist us in knowing where the trucks are, real time out in the field. He said he has run into cul-de-sac streets and side streets that for one reason or another havenít been picked up by the crews and when he has contacted DPS about it, the staff has been very good about getting to them which he appreciates but he thinks in 2011 we need to implement a better system than what was described. He said it seems like an investment in that technology would be well suited so that we know streets have been done and the people who are overseeing those operations can have a better sense of where the equipment is in the field and marshal them to the locations they need to go.
Member Margolis said she thinks there are a lot of valid suggestions. She commended the DPS department for their efforts. She said that what was most important to her was that within a few days they got a report that said what happened, why they think it happened, and a variety of ways that they are looking at to make is better next time. She said that is what she wants to see from people, not just why we couldnít do it but the lessons it taught them. She said as Council they have to read it and decide because every choice is a prioritizing of resources. She said there have been cutbacks in staff because the tax revenue is down. She said we have 25 year old dump trucks, is it worth it, for the chance that weíll get a February like this, that we buy a $200,000 dump truck. She said she thought the cross training idea was a wonderful idea and the idea of using contractors, but we are going to struggle with how much resource to put into something that happens once every 10 or 20 years. She said she thought they had a handle on it and they would have to struggle with how to deal with it at budget time. She said we set a 4 inch limit and knew going in that would be a choice that was made. She said just to clarify; the 4 inch limit is just that they donít use overtime on neighborhood roads if it is less than 4 inches. Mr. Hayes said if there is ice or it is over 4 inches then we use overtime. Member Margolis said as someone who drove out of the City on Tuesday morning, it took 3 hours to get downtown, it was a tough storm to clear, every major ramp was snow covered and slippery; it wasnít just a struggle for our City, it was a struggle all over the area. She said she appreciate the information and analysis and said the Administration and Council would have to take steps to balance out the needs in these areas.
Mayor Landry said experiences like this are what cause us to review our policies and procedures and equipment and reevaluate it all. He echoed the commendation to DPS members who worked long and hard hours behind the trucks. He said he understands that after a certain amount of hours we donít want someone behind the wheel of a massive piece of equipment, the employees do need breaks and some time off. He said along that line, he thought it was important that they pursue the cross-training idea. He said if someone is going to turn down overtime, they need to have somewhere else to go. He said if there is a problem with the union contract, we need to fix that because there is no way that we should have equipment sitting somewhere and not have the manpower to operate the equipment, if this causes us to look at that, it is something we need to do. He stated that he isnít a fan of snow emergencies, they tell people when they canít park in the street and you have to do this ahead of time based on what the forecasters think we are going to get and when you tell somebody they canít park on the street, youíre talking about ticketing and perhaps towing peopleís cars. He said people donít park in the street because they want to; they park in the street because they have to. He said that is a pretty drastic measure for the City to tell someone you canít park in the street for the next 48 hours and all of a sudden someoneís car is towed away and they say we are going to get 8 inches of snow but we get 2.5. He said it is a tool, but he is not a big fan of the City declaring snow emergencies he thinks they should plow around them, if their car gets plowed in, that is different than it being towed away.
2. ATTORNEY - None
Todd Stowell, 39640 Nine Mile Road, stated that he had received emails from City Council and many staff members at the City recently and he appreciated the time to address them. He said that his neighbors are frustrated with the pathway project on Nine Mile Road; they donít believe their concerns are being heard. Last week they talked to the Planning Commission and they heard their concerns but werenít allowed talk to them about it. He said the fact that the City is trying to get residents to be more active and create less emissions is very admirable and the majority of the neighbors would agree it is a worthy cause. He said they feel the plan that is put in place is flawed. He said he has safety concerns, his suggestions would be to move the project to the south side of the street instead of the north side, reason being, it is a straight shot down to Haggerty which is where everyone is going to be crossing. He said it is such a busy thoroughfare and there are controlled lights there, even when people stop at Haggerty coming from the north and turning right, people are always making that right hand turn. He said there are people getting hit from both sides trying to cross there, not even at the light and it doesnít make sense to him. He said he would like to hear from the City Council on some of the safety issues they are talking about on other projects. He said he would like to come to an agreement or look at another study maybe co-sponsored with MDOT to find out if there is some other way this can be done because that will cause major accidents at that corner. He said their neighbors have had situations where people tailgate them right up to the driveway; they canít turn into their driveway without almost getting rear ended. He said one neighbor was rear ended twice turning both left and right into his driveway. He asked Council to imagine what it would be like with pedestrian traffic and bicycles. He said they disagree that the City has been open about including them in the process. He said they havenít been notified that well, there was no word to the residents early on and by the time they found out about it all the plans were in place, the City already has the grants and it is going forward. He said the residents that are being affected are not being contacted; they arenít at the top of the list. He said they attended a December 13th meeting with the Planning Department and expressed their concerns. He said they feel that they havenít presented their concerns to City Council or to anyone else who can make decisions. He stated that the Walkable Novi meetings are at 4 oíclock in the afternoon, no one can make these meetings. He said you are setting meeting times where no one can participate in the process. He said it all comes down to safety for us, it will be dangerous for people to cross at that corner. He said he received a response back from the public relations manager but she indicated that 61 percent of the residents wanted more wide sidewalks to close the gaps, he said he looked up the survey on the website and it stated that 67% of people traveling on these sidewalks have a concern that they are going to be hit by a motorist.
Laura Barduca, 39630 Nine Mile Road, said her concern was also about the safety issues. She said that she felt the other side of the road would accommodate that path, it may be a little more costly but she thought safety should come first. She said there are 4 private driveways that people back out of onto Nine Mile Road, due to no turn around area because of a septic field. She said the non motorized path is going to be 10 feet wide, like a bike path, it is inviting cyclists to come past at 30 mph across the driveways. She said now she has to be concerned about safely backing into Nine Mile and she has to make sure she wonít hit someone on a bike or a straggler. She said you can look and be as careful as you can, but now she is stopping on Nine Mile Road waiting for a group of people to come by and there is traffic backed up to the corner. She said the bus driver picks kids up there and the traffic is flying around the bus and the bus driver is honking because the cars arenít stopping for the red flashers. She said it isnít a good area or a good side of the road for the project. She said on the other side of the road people wonít be passing private drives, they would be passing a main subdivision road with a median where the visibility is much greater and people are pulling forward out of there instead of backing out. She said she would like Council to consider reapplying for a grant for the south side of Nine Mile Road where it would be safer and since you do have to cross back over before the light, that is going to create another problem where people will be stopping for the bikes, stopping when we pull in our driveway, they have to stop for the people going into the apartments across the street, it is all a cluster there.
CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS AND APPROVALS (See items A-G)
CM-11-02-022 Moved by Gatt, seconded by Staudt; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve the Consent Agenda as presented.
Roll call vote on CM-11-02-022 Yeas: Fischer, Margolis, Mutch, Staudt, Wrobel, Landry, Gatt
A. Approve Minutes of:
B. Approval to renew School Liaison Officer Contract with the Novi Community School District beginning with the 2011-12 school year through the 2013-2014 school year.
C. Approval to award the first one (1) year renewal option for the office supplies contract to Global Office Solutions, through the Wayne County Schools Purchasing Council (WCSPC) cooperative purchasing program, for the estimated annual amount of $41,000.
D. Approval of the Final Payment to Temperature Services Inc., for the HVAC Improvements for the Department of Public Services Building at the Field Services Complex, in the amount of $4,828.80.
E. Approval of the proposed City of Novi Emergency Operations Support Plan, Supporting the Oakland County Emergency Operations Plan.
F. Acceptance of five permanent easements and five temporary construction easements granted individually by Meadowbrook Lake Subdivision Association, Lawrence M. Reuben and Portia C. Reuben, the Christine Wilkie Revocable Trust, Bennett J. Wright and Sylvia A. Wright, and Costa V. Charnas, in conjunction with the Meadowbrook Lake Dam Improvement project, subject to receipt of the original easement documents and final approval of the exhibits by the Director of Public Services and the City Attorney; and approval to award an amendment to the engineering agreement with URS Corporation for the Meadowbrook Lake Dam Improvement project in the amount of $15,000 to finalize the design and prepare the project for construction bidding.
G. Approval of Claims and Accounts Ė Warrant No. 838
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION Ė Part I
1. Consideration of resolution to adopt the City of Novi Non-Motorized Master Plan.
Mr. Pearson said the City applied for and received an energy efficiency grant and one of the items Council prioritized was to undertake the Non-Motorized Master Plan. He said the Greenway Collaborative was one of the lead designers on the project and they have a project overview by a representative from the Greenway Collaborative and thought it would be useful for Council to go through. He said it has a favorable endorsement from the Planning Commission and he wanted to check with Council as they went through the process.
Mr. Cox said, as City Manager Pearson noted, the Master Plan was funded by a federal energy efficiency block grant program. He said the process began in July with over 200 residents participating in an online survey to help us understand the issues and concerns people had. He said there were public workshops in September and October to review the opportunities, refine plans, and set priorities. He said there have also been a number of meetings with the Steering Committee and the Walkable Novi Committee during the process. He said he believes there is a consensus based Master Plan that lays out a strong course for implementation. He said this is a continuation of what the City has been doing for a number of years, they have been very proactive in the sidewalk and side path program, a four time winner promoting active communities He said the 2008-2009 community attitude survey found that 65% of the residents indicate they needed additional walking and bicycling facilities. He said that was nearly double what the next highest thing was. He said we are poised to take things to the next level; we think we could replace 18,000 miles of automotive trips everyday, which would result in 9 tons of CO2 reduction everyday, a significant impact to the environment. He said going beyond the environmental issues there are a lot of community benefits we are looking at, it will provide transportation alternatives to those who choose not to drive or can not drive, which is a significant portion of the population. He said we are focusing on helping seniors and children and also creating a strong social fabric where people are seeing their neighbors going to the store and businesses, building the community, as well as, the ability to improve the aesthetics of the roadway, many of the things talked about would make Novi a much more attractive place to travel though. He said it would also help make Novi a more attractive place to live and operate a business and retain your best and brightest. He said you have talked about the complete streets resolution; this is our process to define what the complete streets are. He said there is a system out there, but it is incomplete. He said heís had experiences where he hit the dead end where the trail is not completed. He said there are bike lanes on the north and the south but right now there isnít a compete system, this is looking at finding the best way to wrap that up, so you can get from point A to point B without a lot of advanced planning. He said we are also in the midst of some major regional trail initiatives, there is an across the state trail just to the north of Novi in a regional north south trail, this will give Novi the opportunity to open up their residents to the great regional trail opportunities, you want to figure out how to work them through the community and tie into them. He said in this plan there are four key elements: facilities, the non-motorized network; the policies, how the City operates and does itís day to day operations; the design guidelines, the new standards of how we are going to build the roadways in the City; and outreach and education, trying to reach the people in the community to let them know of the existing opportunities and new opportunities and encourage them to do safe and effective cycling and walking throughout the community. He said if you have all four elements together, we create a physical and cultural environment that will support noticeable change. He said looking at the facilities, we want to create a diverse network, something that will work for all different types of bicyclists and pedestrians; we recognize that you canít make one type of facility that will work for everyone. He said we want to recognize that we have to work for people who want to be on a pathway and people who want to bicycle in the roadway; we have a network that is comprised of improvements to the primary road system, as well as neighborhood connections and off road trails. He said weíve looked at a whole system to see how we can enhance the major system, if we look at the major roadways we found that there are some that are very bicycle and pedestrian oriented already. He said we looked at ways to make them even more so with bike lanes, continuous pathways and many opportunities to cross the roadways between signals and design elements that bring the comfortable driving speed on that roadway to 35 miles per hour, which makes it much more comfortable for bikes, pedestrians, and automobiles to mix together. He said we also realize there are other roads in this City that really need to move high volumes of traffic but those roads are still going to be ones that people want to commute to work or get to the store on and we need to accommodate them in the same way. He said we also looked at neighborhood connectors, there is a phenomenal network of local roadways and weíve found, with some minor connections of pathways, you can create back ways avoiding the primary roads to get to key destinations, routes that you would feel comfortable having your 10 or 12 year old ride their bike on to get to school or soccer practice, add way finding signage so people could figure out how to get to the library that may not be necessarily obvious. He said a key to that is getting people across the busy roadways, there are a lot of roads right now that have a half mile between signals and people arenít going to go out of there way, how do we get those people across the road safely. He said we have looked at the complete street policy, taking it to the next step beyond the resolution, coordinating with the ADA and transition plan, another project that is being worked on simultaneously, safe routes to school, bicycle parking changes, maintenance of the non-motorized facilities and completing the sidewalk system. He asked how we change the day to day operations. He said he put together an extensive set of design guidelines on how to bring bicycles, pedestrians, and ADA issues and key ways along roadways, how do you move along the roadway, different ways to get across the roadways, cross sections, how wide should a bike lane be in various scenarios. He asked what do their neighborhood connectors look like, how are they signed, even some things that may help in the site-plan approval process. He said the outreach in education; you want to build on some of the existing assets you have out there right now. He said looking at education for safe bicycling, maybe building up bicycle and walking ambassadors, tapping into some of the high school students to help get a 3rd grade bicycle academy where kids could learn how to safely bike to school and various encouragement programs. He said it will be years until the system will be complete but we have the opportunity to encourage people to use what is out there already. He said when we get done we should have a physical and cultural environment, there have been studies done that show people do change their behavior when people go from an environment that is not bicycle and pedestrian friendly to one that is, so we have every sense that we will see noticeable changes. He said there are a lot of people who bicycle for recreation, we are looking at using that group of people and getting to do more transportation trips as the network becomes more complete. He said we identified a bunch of initial investments, this is building on the top 20 priority that came out of the existing sideway prioritization system, some additional key links to pathway systems, spot improvements for safety and midblock crossings, and a few connecting pathways where we can start to build those connections between neighborhoods. He said we identified some major corridor developments to build a lattice work across the community, these are corridors that have County and regional significance, tying your major destinations. He said these are corridors where you will be seeking outside funding from the state and federal sources because they have a higher importance and are a little more capital intensive, involving paving shoulders, doing some pathways and such. He said weíve also identified out of that network which ones should be the top priority where you get a great north south network tying together all the great destinations on cities and a couple east west ones connecting up to the Civic Center area, as well as the regional trail connections, completing that. He said we see these as very high probable funding from state and federal sources. He said to prioritize the neighborhood connections, the red lines are the first path, they are very cost effective ways to provide some non-motorized connections for the residents, you can get on the ground very quickly and you can build on that system over the years. He said continuing the system to fill in the sidewalk gaps in the other roadways and complete that system. He said he thinks we will have a multifaceted non-motorized system, one that works for the whole range of citizens and their preferences and how they want to bike and walk around. He said you can have the updated policies and outreach and education programs that create that kind of supportive cultural environment, when we get done we think you can get additional 2% bicycle and 2% pedestrian trips out of this. He said he thinks it will end up with a very noticeable change in the quality of life for the residents. He said we want to make this a place where residents feel this is the natural choice; they will freely make the change because it is convenient for them, pleasant for them and you have created the environment and something they are already looking for.
Member Staudt said he was going to do something that he seldom does but in this situation he thought it was well deserved. He said when they created the Walkable Novi Committee, it was a continuation of their Sidewalk Prioritization Committee and they never expected it would evolve into something like the Non-Motorized Master Plan, but with the participation of residents, this particular idea came out of a meeting where a resident came in and sat down and explained what a Non-Motorized Master Plan was. He said the rest of the committee thought it would be a really neat thing to put together. Shortly thereafter, we had an opportunity for funding and with Councilís blessing we were able to move this forward. He said we would have never moved it forward without the help of Mark Spencer; he was the guy who pushed this forward every single meeting and kept us on track. He said with the kind of committee we had, which was a loose group of Planning Commissioners, Parks and Recreation Commissioners, and Chairman Mutch, we were going in a lot of directions, a lot of different ways, at a time when we didnít know where we were going. He said this provides us the true long term blue print for what we are going to do with this program. He thanked Mr. Cox and said there were times when Barb McBeth looked at them and said they didnít have enough time for the work they wanted to do but she persevered and began to see what their vision was to help move this forward. He also thanked Council Member Mutch for working with the group and keeping their minds open and came up with a Non-Motorized Master Plan that will benefit the community for many years moving forward.
CM-11-02-023 Moved by Staudt, seconded by Mutch; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To accept the City of Novi Non-Motorized Master Plan
Member Mutch said he thought it was important when looking at a document that size that they recognize it is a vision for the community that is going to extend out long past any of their time on Council. He said it will be a document that will guide the work of City Administrations and City Councilís going forward for the next 20 to 25 years. He said there is sometimes a tendency to draw back at plans that big because they are scary and some of the price tags attached to the concepts are big. He said what they learned going through the process with Norm and his team at the Greenway Collaborative is that you really need to set the big picture and put the plans on paper to get to the place where you want to be. He said as a City they have done a good job, if they look at the prioritization plan, Mayor Landry really got the emphasis for that going in 2006, really giving a scientific basis for a process that really had been ad hoc in terms of building sidewalks in this community. He said now we have taken it to the next level and really created a master plan for the city that will help people when we have moved on to bigger and better things or retired to quieter places, people will be able to follow this plan and know where the City needs to go in terms of bike paths and sidewalks, neighborhood connectors and trails and putting that all together in a way that really makes sense and benefits our community. He said some people will ask why we are doing this now or why we are undertaking this. What has come back to most of us who have worked on this over and over again is this is what our community wants, weíve seen it in the survey results and talking to the individuals who have told us they want to live in a community where they can walk and bike. He said Novi is never going to be a Royal Oak or a Ferndale in terms of that urban density but there is no reason you shouldnít be able to get around the City without having to rely on a car. He said not everyone has the opportunity to use a car so we need to provide an alternative. He said what really struck him was when he attended one of the public hearings, Willy Mena showed up and said he biked all over the place, he rode his bike down to Dearborn and back all the time. He said here was a guy who you would never guess is someone who would have taken advantage of this process and he got involved because he has a passion for it and enjoys it. He said he wants to be able to bike around the City as easy as he can to Dearborn and back. He said he thinks that we will make this possible. He said there will be elements of this plan that people will look at and see one little segment that they are not happy with or have concerns about, none of this plan is carved in stone, public input has been an element of this process the entire way and we will continue to work with the public as we adopt and put this forward. He said we will also work ensuring that we are reasonable in terms of the costs that are associated with implementing elements of this plan. He said some of the things like the neighborhood connectors are things that can be done for very little money, can be put in place very easily and people can start taking advantage of immediately, other elements of this plan are going to take time and grants and outside funding to make happen but the benefit we have now is that we have a plan we can point to and that is what we didnít have before. He said we couldnít say here is our vision, this is why your funding agency, state or federal government, should give us the resource to make this happen. He said he is very excited to see it move forward but he thinks the real benefits of the plan will continue far into the future as they implement it. He said one of his goals, as long as he is on Council or involved with the Walkable Novi Committee, is to continually revisit this plan annually and see the progress that has been made so they can show the residents it wasnít a plan where someone got a big vision and it went on a shelf and disappeared and gathered dust. He said this is a plan that we are going to implement, it is going to have real benefits for the residents, and he is excited to move it forward.
Member Fischer had a question for Mr. Cox from slide 17 regarding the midblock crossings and it talks about improvements across larger roads. He asked what kind of improvements would be typically undertaken in those segments. Mr. Cox said a typical one would be a crossing island, similar to some of the crossing islands for the Clinton River Trail where there is an island in the middle of the roadway which allows a pedestrian or bicyclist to cross the road in two segments where they are looking for a gap in traffic from one way, they go to the center of the island, then wait for a gap in traffic the other way. He said the physical presence of the island is a real important clue to the motorist to keep their eyes out for pedestrians and bicyclists. He said there are a few other ones, some with a little less and some with a little more, but that would be the most typical one you would see.
Member Wrobel said that years ago when he was on the Planning Commission he was on the trails committee and this was the rudimentary beginning of this plan which has come a long way. He said he agrees with Member Mutch that it sets the big picture. He said he is a person who likes to ride his bike through Novi during the summer but there are no opportunities, he is afraid of being hit by a car all the time, he looks forward to it being done sometime in the future and he thinks a lot of the residents will use it and it will be another feature that makes Novi a great place to live.
Mayor Landry commended everyone who worked on the document, a considerable amount of thought and work went into it from many different aspects of the City, he said it was a well thought out, well done master plan. He said now we realize that in the 1970ís and 80ís if you talked to municipal planners, they decided to do the great experiment and subdivisions and suburbs were going to be built without sidewalks so they could look more rural. He said they thought wouldnít it be nice to have a house outside the City where there were no sidewalks and it looked more rural, it was a huge disaster because people moved into these subdivisions and there was nowhere for their kids to ride a bike, nowhere to push a stroller, nowhere to take a walk without a car racing down, especially in the winter time. He said it became incumbent on cities, what they are going to do now that you have all these subdivisions without sidewalks. He said you have to try to go back and retrofit, that is the situation all the cities are in. He said this is a reasoned, well planned way to do it. He said he is proud of the city and proud of the committee that they have taken a reasoned approach to this, we prioritized and took input and attacked it one segment at a time. He said he thinks it is a wonderful plan and he commends everyone who had anything to do with it.
Roll call vote on CM-11-02-023 Yeas: Margolis, Mutch, Staudt, Wrobel, Landry, Gatt, Fischer
2. Consideration of Ordinance 11-108.05, as recommended by the Ordinance Review Committee, to amend Chapter 5 of the City of Novi Code of Ordinances to establish regulations for animals in the City of Novi, to provide the public health, safety, and welfare of the community through the proper control of animals by their owners and others, and to provide the penalties for the violation of such regulations. First Reading
Mr. Pearson said this is a topic that has been in the news and we took the opportunity to look at our ordinance. He said there is a referral from the Ordinance Review Committee that met with Police, Ordinance Enforcement, City Attorney and came up with the recommendation.
CM-11-02-022 Moved by Margolis, seconded by Fischer; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve First Reading of Ordinance 11-108.05, as recommended by the Ordinance Review Committee, to amend Chapter 5 of the City of Novi Code of Ordinances to establish regulations for animals in the City of Novi, to provide the public health, safety, and welfare of the community through the proper control of animals by their owners and others, and to provide the penalties for the violation of such regulations.
Mayor Pro Tem Gatt asked Mr. Schultz if he has a dog and it is in the house and he opens his door to see who it knocking and his dog runs outside and bites a jogger in the middle of the street, would that dog then have to be put to sleep within 48 hours no matter what. Mr. Schultz said the dog doesnít have to be put to sleep within 48 hours if there is a bite, there is a process that is out of the state dog law that says you can either do it within 48 hours or there is a show cause proceeding in the district court before a judge or a magistrate but it is it the bite that triggers the issue. He said there can be a finding that the dog isnít dangerous and doesnít need to be put down in the circumstances. Mayor Pro Tem Gatt asked if this ordinance is changing our present ordinance in that regard. Mr. Schultz said no, it is essentially the same concept and general incorporation of the dog law allowing the City to be in charge of that process so it doesnít change that rule. Mayor Pro Tem Gatt asked if it was prohibiting the ownership of any breed of dog. Mr. Schultz confirmed it was not.
Roll call vote on CM-11-02-022 Yeas: Margolis, Mutch, Staudt, Wrobel, Landry, Gatt, Fischer
3. Approval to award a one-year contract extension (the first of three potential extensions) to Brien's Services, Inc. to perform the City's 2011 Lawn Maintenance Services, for an estimated annual amount of $164,000. Ė Removed from Agenda and postponed
AUDIENCE COMMENT Ė None
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION Ė Part II
4. Appointments to Boards and Commissions.
Mayor Landry said there were two boards which require appointments which are nominated by the Mayor, the first is Economic Development. There were three terms expiring March 1, 2015. There are three candidates.
Mayor Landry nominated Cynthia Grubbs, Tom Lindberg, and Eleanor Rzepecki.
CM-11-02-023 Moved by Gatt, seconded by Margolis; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To appoint Cynthia Grubbs, Tom Lindberg, and Eleanor Rzepecki to the Economic Development Committee.
Roll call vote on CM-11-02-023 Yeas: Mutch, Staudt, Wrobel, Landry, Gatt, Fischer, Margolis
Mayor Landry said the second board was the Library Board with two terms expiring March 1, 2014.
Mayor Landry nominated Willy Mena.
CM-11-02-024 Moved by Gatt, seconded by Staudt; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To appoint Willy Mena to the Library Board.
Roll call vote on CM-11-02-024 Yeas: Staudt, Wrobel, Landry, Gatt, Fischer, Margolis, Mutch
Mayor Landry nominated Laura Casey.
CM-11-02-025 Moved by Margolis, seconded by Gatt; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To appoint Laura Casey to the Library Board.
Roll call vote on CM-11-02-025 Yeas: Wrobel, Landry, Gatt, Fischer, Margolis, Mutch, Staudt
City Clerk Cornelius announced the appointments to the following committees:
Celia Todd Ė Beautification Commission
David Byrwa Ė Construction Board of Appeals
David Stec Ė Construction Board of Appeals
Hideki "Harry Torimoto Ė Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Commission
David Schied Ė Public Access Promotion Commission
Carol Spennachio Ė Public Access Promotion Commission
Jeffrey Gedeon Ė Zoning Board of Appeals
COMMITTEE REPORTS - None
MAYOR AND COUNCIL ISSUES
1. Fence Ordinance
Member Fischer said that this was brought to him after discussion with quite a few residents. He asked City Manager Pearson to provide some background on two items. One being the ordinance as it relates to materials and its consistency along fence lines and secondly as it relates to permits in the City of Novi. He said as we are probably all aware, at this time the City of Novi doesnít require a permit, yet we have had situations, when he was on the ZBA for instance, where a resident put up a nonconforming fence and the applicant came before the ZBA and the ZBA was put in a position where they either would have had to approve the fence or tell someone to rip down something that they may have invested $2,000 to $5,000. He said he would look for the Ordinance Review Committee to take a look at the City of Novi and other surrounding Cities to require a permit for fences to communicate to residents the ordinances that are surrounded fence installation. He said from speaking with Mr. Pearson, it sounds like we canít necessarily require a building permit but a zoning approval permit is allowed. He said he would like the Ordinance Review Committee to look at that. He said the second piece is looking for consistency among fence lines, fences are a very interesting dynamic when it comes to residents and in and of that we want to make sure the community character in Novi is upheld and bad fences truly can have a bad impact on home values, so he would like the Ordinance Review Committee to look at the materials and consistency along fence lines as well.
Mayor Landry said there is a recommendation to send to the Ordinance Review Committee to take a look at our existing ordinances on fences and asked if there was any discussion on that subject.
Member Staudt said that in working with Homeowners Associations, most of them have some type of language in their covenants that address fencing and whatever the ordinance review committee would suggest, it has to continue to make sure the covenants of the Homeowners Association supersedes anything. He said he is a little wary of the fact that based on what he has seen in most the covenants there isnít a lot of room for the City to come in and provide a lot of ordinance review on it. He said he thinks a lot of it will be predetermined by existing covenants. He said while he was interested in hearing what comes back, he isnít sure they can put it in an ordinance that is going to be very practical for the vast majority of subdivision residents.
Member Wrobel said having been involved with 3 different Homeowners Associations in the city, the bylaws are very similar in most cases. He said Mr. Schultz will probably realize that they are very vague. He said when they have been approached with fence issues they basically took a stab at it because they are so vague that you canít make a decision. He said he would like to see a more uniformed code within the City and have the City be able to supersede that when necessary, they would also enhance the neighborhood associations to go to the City for help.
Mayor Landry asked if anyone disagreed with sending the item to the Ordinance Review Committee. He thanked Member Fischer for the suggestion and said the Ordinance Review Committee would take the matter up.
CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS FOR COUNCIL ACTION - None
AUDIENCE COMMENT Ė None
There being no further business to come before Council, the meeting was adjourned at 8:33 pm.
David Landry, Mayor Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk
________________________________ Date approved: March 7, 2011
Transcribed by Natalie Laitinen