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SPECIAL MEETING OF THE NOVI
The meeting was called to order at 7:30 PM with Chairman Enright presiding.
ROLL CALL: Commissioner Burke (Absent), Enright (Present)
Schwarzlose (Absent), Staab (Present), Staudt (Present), Wingfield (Present), Zyczynski (Present).
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
Motion made to add on the CIP Ė approve Plan B in item number 12, Village Oaks Subdivision and move the adoption of the Resolution to C. Motion to approve.
Voice Vote CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
1. Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Grant Application Overview by Jack Lewis - Tonightís public hearing is for the City of Novi to consider a Michigan Natural Resource Trust Fund grant application. This application will be for a land acquisition of 51 acres to become a park. Of the 51 acres, 36 will be potentially donated and 15 acres potentially to purchase. In the process of the grant application, the Parks and Recreation department has been working with community members preparing the grant, which is due August 1st. This is a 75% and 25% grant. Also, another public hearing will be held Monday night, July 25th, at the City Council meeting at which time City Council will vote on these two items.
Lou Ann Kozma, 23837 W. Lebost, I have lived in Willowbrook for almost 18 years and am really excited about the grant application and hope this will become a reality and this will be a park that my family and neighbors can enjoy and that the entire community can enjoy. We do have a couple of photographs that I would like to share, they have been shared by Jenny and Scott Huggins in the past at some other meetings in the past, but I donít think this group has ever seen them, so for your benefit I thought I would share those. (Showing photographs) This is part of the property that you are talking about, it is Village Wood lake last year when the water levels were up, this is taken from the shoreline looking towards the Roskelly property, the property east of Meadowbrook. This has been discussed before but not here, the residents have been enjoying fishing in this lake for many years, both on the private land along this other shore, as well as accessing it through Mr. Roskellyís property. He and other landowners have been allowing people to do this for many years. (More pictures of people fishing on the lake) this is a real recreational resource for not just people in the immediate area but for people beyond Novi to do this. (This is from the southern shore looking north), more pictures, fishing is good. (Again the future parkland in the background.) It is also a wildlife habitat, deer, blue heron), thank you very much, I support the grant.
Robert Trickey, 23033 Heatherbrae Way, my property is actually on that particular piece of water. There are large mouth bass, jumbo perch, blue gill, sunfish and more species than that. The fast majority of the people that enjoy the lake for fishing, donít live there, they come from other areas, they park at the pool or go down to the end of the street and park and fish on the Roskelly property. I enjoy it a lot. I built a patio down by the water for my elderly father, who steps down to it just for the purpose of fishing on my property. Some people do have canoes, but it is used, it is not just a retention pond, it is a full recreation area.
Andrew Mutch, 24740 Taft Road, I first waned to start out my saying everybody who has been involved in this process, a lot of residents have put in a lot of time and effort to make this happen. Financial contributions, some very significant that should be recognized, time, research going door to door to explain what this opportunity is all about. We have had great support from the Parks and Recreation staff, I know things started out a little bit rocky before City Council but we have all come together working as a team, a lot of people putting in a lot of hard work to make this happen. And to bring forward an opportunity to the Commission that I think you can be proud of, it is something that we can send to the state that has a lot going for it and considering the amount of time that it came together, that is a pretty impressive accomplishment. I just want to highlight a couple of things; I have talked about some of these things in the past before City Council so I share the same information with the Commission. This map that I put together (showing map) southeast Novi, Eight Mile to the South, Grand River across the top of the page, this map actually showed all the land in southeast Novi that was vacant in 2003, just two years ago. You can see in the middle the Roskelly property and the Mirage property across the street. Since that time, we have had development on almost every single parcel of this area. Obviously we have had a new subdivision going in here, a new subdivision here, this portion of property being developed, this property is proposed for development, and obviously Mr. Roskellyís property is proposed for development. Looking forward to 2005 or 2006, this is what we face, two little red splashes on the page. We have two parks in southeast Novi, Rotary park and Brookfarm park and an opportunity today that is not going to be here tomorrow if we donít move forward now. We just simply wonít have an opportunity to provide a small location in this part of the city to provide fishing opportunities, park land, nature areas, those things that people look to Novi as reasons why they moved here and why they want to stay here. I encourage the Commission to send a favorable recommendation to the City Council for this grant proposal and I appreciate your support.
Julie Cant, 40737 Village Wood Road, I actually live in Village Wood Subdivison and back up to the lake, Village Oaks lake, so I am not directly on Village Woods lake right now, but have lived in that subdivision 5 Ĺ years and previously have lived on Dunbarton, we do walk in that area, just being in the woods is exciting for little kids, they love being out in the open, looking at the swans, ducks and cranes and the nature area. Seeing the map that Andrew just put up is really my biggest concern because if you look at all the new subdivisions going in, you see wooded areas in almost all the subdivisions going in, and the reason why is because people like that, they want to be in a wooded area. I think just for the health of southeast Novi, it is important that we keep as much wooded area and open space as we can. Thank you.
Dera Hutchins Ė Dear Commissioners, I am 10 years old, my name is Dera Hutchins, I live in Village Oaks and it seems there is a problem. I am very unhappy about the thought of developing the land on Village Oaks Lake. I know there is a lot of pressure on you and I donít want to bother you but this issue needs to be addressed. My family and I take our dogs out there to run and play and lots of other people do to and when I look at that land it is very hard for me to picture it as condos and houses. I donít know all the parts to this problem, but I do know that a lot of Village Oaks residents do not want to walk over to where wildlife could be to probably a street covered in concrete.
Ann Marie Chin, 23120 Heatherbrae, Iíve there for 28 years, I have four daughters who started at Village Oaks and went through Novi schools and are grown now so Novi is near and dear to my heart. I have a short letter that I wrote to Mr. Auler and Iíd like to read it:
I would like to address the matter of building on the lots on the east side of Meadowbrook road between 9 and 10 Mile Roads. As a Village Oaks resident, I am concerned about loosing the wildlife in our area. The herons that are in my backyard every year will be gone, the deer we see will have no place to hide and live. They cannot relocate to West road because thatís where Novi has designated for wildlife to live. I am also concerned because my house on Heatherbrae Way was the one that was flooded a number of years ago because of the drainage problem on the front page of the Novi News my house was surrounded by water. If we save the property from construction, the area can be used by all of our community. As a teacher at Novi Meadows, I have used areas of the Rouge River watershed for water quality monitoring in connection with the Friends of the Rouge River. Another fifth grade teacher and I were trained and took our classes to monitor the Rouge at Lakeshore Park. The students were part of the thousands of students who were out monitoring that day in all the branches of the Rouge and the areas of the watershed. We need areas such as this Meadowbrook Road area to bring more of our students to begin to learn about their civic responsibility, to care for and monitor our wetlands. By training more teachers in the district, we can do research and teach more students about what might happen if we do not become proactive environmentally. Our working together as Novi citizens and government officials to save this property is an enormous example to our residents and young people of our commitment to the voice of the Novi people and to our earth. Parent participation and response to our Rouge River program has been tremendous, please help us to keep this area natural, filled with wildlife and a true benefit to our community. You have many citizens behind this, and lots of people who are willing to help. Thank you very much for your support and attention to this important matter. We can think globally, but we must act locally. Thank you.
Curt Hamilton, 24292 Scarlet Court, I do not live near the area, I live a Ten Mile and Beck road but I certainly do understand the concerns of these citizens and I have been living here for about 13 years and Iím seeing Novi expand. I have a certain amount of wetlands behind my house and it is a floodplain also but we do get a limited amount of wildlife and it is certainly nice to see that. It is nice for the kids to play. It is harder and harder for people to drive out to find these places and when there is something they are used to all these years, even though it has been private property, and thatís been a blessing that he has allowed that to be used. But it is also important to have a Council like the Parks and Rec where citizens can go to and be their advocate for the City Council. It is important to have stronger voices than just the individual citizens and itís important for all the citizens in Novi, not just the new ones coming in that can have these expansive yards and houses. There are people that have been dedicated to Novi for a long time and I think their concerns need to be addressed also.
Proposed amendments to the Community Recreation Plan necessary to support the Michigan Natural Reserves Trust Fund Grant application.
Overview by Jack Lewis Ė The amendments were made by staff and from Commissioners comments from the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Commission meeting that was held last Thursday, July 14, 2005. These amendments to the Community Recreation Plan will help support the grant application.
Andrew Mutch, 24740 Taft Road, I do support the amendments that have been brought forward that the Commission discussed at their last meeting. First and foremost, obviously the importance of these amendments to the grant application and showing to the DNR that the City does have an intent to preserve natural areas. Secondly, I think it is just reflecting what we have been doing. I know Commissioner Staudt mentioned at the last meeting that the City has a history of going out and protecting natural areas. The City owns parklands in other portions of the City that do protect natural areas. Amending the Recreation Plan simply reflects the reality of what you have been doing and allows you to go forward in the same direction. I think most importantly, long term, everybody feels that this is not the ideal way that this should have come forward. Nobody will look back on this process and say "this is the way to make things happen". Itís not. Frankly, Iím actually surprised that we are standing here because there were a lot of points along the way that things could have fallen apart. But we are fortunate and luck has gone our way and we are at a point where we can move forward. In the future, by having this kind of language in the Community Recreation Plan, we will be able to plan proactively. I know the Commission had discussion about looking forward and looking at properties around the City that may present a similar opportunity and similar challenges. The community will definitely be behind efforts to find other locations in the City that are worthy of preservation, not only for natural areas but an important direction of the Parks Department which is the active park land and Iíve come up here before and said I fully support acquiring active park land, I would like to see a policy that fully supports both. And this does that, it puts both priorities into the plan and I think it allows us to go forward in a very positive direction in the future.
Lou Ann Kozma, 23837 W. Laboste, I definitely want to support the Amendments for the Community Recreation Plan, all the changes, natural features really do need protection. As Andrew Mutch just recently said, we really do need to have that balance in the plan. Just not for the wildlife, whose habitat it is but we need to protect these lands for all the quality of life issues and the reasons that benefit people. More and more concrete wonít make our City better but more green space and parkland and accessible opens spaces will. I also think this is something that is missing in the plan that you might want to consider adding a couple of phrases in there that might fix that. Iíd like to see the plan indicate that the need to acquire parkland in this particular quadrant of the City is something that is also necessary. In previous versions of the plan we had different sections of the City all organized and numbers were thrown around for each part, and all of that is gone except for a few statements in the plan that do talk about the high density in Southeast Novi and the little remaining land. It would be nice to have it be right in the priority action stuff too. That certainly has been expressed in all of these other public hearings, and even from people beyond the Southeast Novi area. I believe this is in your resolution too, and I thank you that the residents have signed petitions, we now number over 370 signatures on those petitions regarding that. I wonít read from the petition language, I think you probably are familiar with that, but it does talk to not just why the people were opposed to the Roskelly development, but all the reasons why and it was specifically mentioning the need for park land in Southeast Novi and support for the actual grant. I am also supportive of this plan for personal reasons, my family is right nearby and Iím looking forward to being able to use this property in the future. Thank you.
Lisa Hutchins, 41168 Fenmore Way Ė I grew up in Traverse City, and as a child I never knew what I had until I moved away. We would be inundated with tourists and our population would double. Over the years I have come to appreciate what makes people happy is greenery, getting away, all of you, when you take your vacations probably donít seek a concrete jungle Ė your going north, where it makes you feel good, where you are seeing trees. It makes you feel connected, makes you feel good. I really think that in Southeast Novi we are truly lacking and it is scary that we are loosing so much so quickly. I hope you truly think hard about it. Iím hoping that you will truly consider preserving green space. If you look at the areas that are most sought out to live in, like Bloomfield Hills or that type of area, you can hardly see the homes because they have done such a fabulous job of preserving that.
MATTERS FOR COMMISSION ACTION/DISCUSSION:
A. Consideration and adoption of a resolution recommending City Council adopt a resolution to submit a Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant application.
Moved by Staudt, seconded by Staab to adopt a resolution recommending City Council adopt a resolution to submit a Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant application.
Voice Vote CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
B. Amend Capital Improvement Program item #12 to include acquisition of the natural resource property in the Village Oaks Subdivision.
Moved by Staab, seconded by Staudt to accept the Amendments to the Capital Improvement Program item #12 to include acquisition of the natural resource property in the Village Oaks Subdivision.
Voice Vote CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
C. Consideration and adoption of a resolution recommending City Council to adopt the proposed amendments to the Community Recreation Plan.
Commissioner Staudt stated that there are significant changes that are needed to the Community Recreation Plan in the future and it is one of the things that we are going to work on as a Commission. Some of the things that were discussed tonight in the Public Hearing definitely should be addressed, but we have a lot of other things. Since Commissioner Staab and myself sat on the committee that created that plan, there has been a lot of changes. We have dealt with the emerald ash borer, the A.D.A. improvements, we started the Parks Foundation. There have been a lot of things that have changed since the plan has been adopted. I know one of our primary roles, and Commissioner Enright feels the same way, is that we are going to really look at upgrading that plan and making the modifications that are
necessary to take us into the second half of the five-year plan. Secondly, I am a Village Oaks resident and I had a different style of dealing with things and we have had good interaction between the public and the Commission and the staff. I want to reiterate that this is a very fine staff and they are doing a fine job and I think everybody agrees with that having worked with them now for the past two weeks. These are people with sincere wishes to make this a good grant and make this a first rate Community Recreation Plan.
We have two fellow Commissioners that were unable to make it this evening, Commissioner Brian Burke and Commissioner Reagan Schwarzlose, they have written a letter that they wish to have included in the records this evening (see attached letter).
Commissioner Staab stated that he would like to comment on the fact that he agrees with Commissioner Staudt, that it is time for an overhaul of the Community Recreation Plan in going forward through the remaining of the planning term. Also, the inventory of land and parks that were so mentioned in Commissioner Burkeís and Swarzloseís letter is a key component that we will endeavor to do at the same time. It is time to make the plan more workable to the issues at hand and going forward to accommodate those issues.
Commissioner Staudt stated that he is a bit disappointed with some of the views held by a lot of people on this whole issue, and frankly, this has gotten out of hand in terms of emotion and I think it is time to put this in Councilís hands and letís move forward and see how this goes. See if we did a good job and see what the state does.
Commissioner Wingfield stated that he would like to support both resolutions but I mentioned at the last commission meeting that I had a personal issue 11 years ago behind my house also and I wonít dwell on this right now, but does this set a precedent down the road if there is 15 acres behind nice houses at 13 and Novi road or 9 and Taft, that if a developer goes and gets approval to put property there, do those people come to the Parks and Recreation Department from the state to protect that as a natural property also? That could happen, are we establishing that precedent or not? Going forward, I would support both resolutions.
Commissioner Zyczynski stated that as someone who lives next to a wetland, not a very large one, I am certainly sensitive to the issues being raised by the people in the community around this piece of property. I do have a similar concern and it is something we need to explore how we handle these things in the future. I definitely support going ahead and applying for this grant.
Commissioner Enright stated that she would like to say that there is much emotion involved in this whole issue. Hopefully, we have learned from this process and it will allow us to move forward. We review our Community Recreation Plan on a yearly basis. We did make changes at the end of last year and one of our main things is to meet community expectations and make it the best plan possible.
Moved by Staab and seconded by Zyczynski to accept a resolution recommending City Council adopt the proposed Amendments to the Community Recreation Plan.
Voice Vote CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Commissioner Staudt stated that the 50ís festival was well done, congratulations to those folks for a good time. The carnival was a big draw, this is a great event.
Commissioner Staab stated that on August 4, 2005, the Novi Parks Foundation will have its first annual golf outing at the Links of Novi. See me after the meeting for applications.
Commissioner Enright stated that she wanted to thank everyone for taking time out of their day to be here tonight, we do appreciate it. That is how we get our work done is by listening to the community, without people like you, we donít get things done. Thank you.
Moved by Commissioner Enright.
Voice Vote CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
The meeting was adjourned at 8:12p.m.
Signed, Marie Enright, Chairperson
Signed, David Staudt, Vice Chairperson