REGULAR MEETING OF THE NOVI PLANNING COMMISSION
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 4, 1995 - 7:30 P.M.
COUNCIL CHAMBER - NOVI CIVIC CENTER - 45175 W. TEN MILE ROAD
The meeting was called to order at 7:30 P.M. by Chairman Clark.
ROLL CALL: MEMBERS Bonaventura (Present), Capello (Present), Clark (Present), Hoadley (Present), Hodges (Present), Lorenzo (Present), Mutch (Present), Taub (Present), Weddington (Present)
(9) Present (0) Absent
A quorum being present, the meeting was in session.
ALSO PRESENT: Brandon Rogers - Planning Consultant
David Bluhm - Engineering Consultant
Dennis Watson - Assistant City Attorney
Rod Arroyo - Traffic Consultant
James R. Wahl - Director of Planning
Steve Cohen - Planning Clerk
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
The Planning Commission pledged Allegiance to the Flag.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Member Bonaventura requested additions to Matters for Discussion. Those items were: 1. Question for Attorney. 2. Discussion of Rules Committee. 3. Establishing Study Sessions. 4. Short Discussion of Council's January 9, 1995 Meeting. 5. Rezoning Letter.
The Agenda was then approved as amended.
There was no discussion and Chairman Clark closed the first Audience Participation.
Member Taub indicated there was no correspondence.
1. Approval of December 7, 1994 Regular Planning Commission Meeting.
Member Hodges referred to Page 30 the last paragraph on that page, the first sentence and said the word annoyingly should be unknowingly.
It was then,
Moved by Member Lorenzo
Seconded by Member Hodges
To approve the Minutes of December 7, 1995 as amended.
(voice vote) Motion Carried Unanimously
1. Map Amendment No. 18.532 - Property Located South of Grand River Avenue, Easterly of Novi Road from Town Center (TC) to Town Center-One (TC-1) District For Possible Recommendation to City Council.
Mr. Rogers indicated this petition and some schematic drawings were reviewed by the Town Center Steering Committee at a meeting he attended about a week or so ago, and the issue of site planning was not gone into in any great depth. He indicated he had a subsequent meeting last Thursday with the architect on still another site plan.
Mr. Rogers stated what they have before the Commission that evening was a rezoning of land that comprises 1.65 acres on the south side of Grand River just a bit east of Novi Road. He noted there was a house on the property that was torn down recently and immediately west of this parcel there was a doctor's office which he believed was the blue house and then immediately to the east of this parcel was Novi Auto Parts.
Mr. Rogers said to the north across Grand River, there was NBD Bank and Fuddruckers and to the south was Paul Bunyan Drive, which to the best of his information was still a public right-of-way. He said the Commission would note on the advertised map that the ownership parcel goes to the centerline of Grand River.
Mr. Rogers said the petition requests TC-1, which was a hybrid zoning classification from the TC District to make the zoning uniform for the entire parcel that was owned by the applicant and to comply with the City's Master Plan. He said the City's Master Plan calls out this entire area and all four quadrants of Grand River and Novi Road for Center Commercial.
Mr. Rogers indicated the City's Master Plan doesn't classify TC-1 here or TC there, however, there were some records and discussions that when the TC-1 Ordinance was adopted, that it was intended for the property in the Town Center south of Grand River on either side of Novi Road and to particularly include Main Street, Mr. Chen's property, which begins south of Paul Bunyan, just south of this.
Mr. Rogers said in fact this particular parcel for a small area does indeed abut other TC-1 property and it also abuts to the south over towards Novi Road, a piece of TC zoning/City owned property, so while this might appear to be spot zoning, it really wasn't and it was fitting in with an overall Master Plan.
Mr. Rogers said at the Town Center Meeting, Councilman Toth and Councilman Schmid raised the question to him as to why wasn't this entire block on Grand River rezoned to TC-1 when the Main Street property came in. Mr. Rogers indicated it was the request of the Petitioner of Main Street and the decision of the City at that time about a year ago, not to add a lot of other petitioners, some of whom might have been willing and not willing for this rezoning and that it would be that the rest of this block would be rezoned to TC-1 upon developer's initiative. He said this was the way they were going and this particular petition was supported and initiated and fees were paid by Mr. George Keros.
Mr. Rogers said he strongly recommended the entire southeast quadrant be zoned TC-1, to have some of the benefits of that district, the 0 lot lines, the 7,500 sq. ft. limitation on businesses/retail businesses, rather than doing this in a spotty fashion and maybe not ever getting that entire block rezoned. He would again state that he would support a City-Initiative to take the rest of this frontage on Grand River and for that matter on Novi Road, including the City's property and make it all TC-1.
Mr. Rogers said this same site was proposed in 1990 for the Novi Pavilion Office Building and the architect then and the architect to be in the future, was a well-known architect, Wah-Yee Associates in Southfield, and at that time, Novi Pavilion Office Building received Preliminary site plan approval and a few waivers of greenspace. He said it was a very light and airy three-story building, with a bank on the first floor with three or four drive-up windows inside the building.
Mr. Rogers said for business reasons, the project did not go forward, however, last spring on April 27th this Commission extended the Preliminary site plan approval for the Novi Pavilion Office Building which at the time, had big archways and a big atrium with a three-story building.
Mr. Rogers said it supported itself with its own parking, although there was thought down the road that there be some joint shared parking south of Paul Bunyan and they talked about it at the time, but there was no parking structure and no sharing so the shared parking study that he and Mr. Arroyo did in December of 1993 hadn't been brought to the forefront.
Mr. Rogers said continuing on, the subject property and surrounding properties were proposed for Center Commercial so this conforms with the Master Plan. He noted on the second page of his letter he referred to the reference he made earlier that when the TC-1 District was adopted on December 31, 1992, two years ago, it was intended that this zoning classification be applied to properties on the south side of Grand River.
Mr. Rogers then indicated he recommended the rezoning to TC-1 District.
The Petitioner was present and said he wouldn't address the Commission unless they needed additional information other than what Mr. Rogers had stated.
There was no Audience Participation and Chairman Clark closed the Public Hearing.
Member Lorenzo said she would make a motion.
Moved by Member Lorenzo
Seconded by Member Hoadley
To send a positive recommendation to City Council for Map Amendment No. 18.532, Property Located South of Grand River Avenue, Easterly of Novi Road, from Town Center (TC) to Town Center One (TC-1).
Member Mutch asked Mr. Watson if he saw any conflict for her in voting on this particular issue and Mr. Watson replied no.
ROLL CALL VOTE: Capello (Yes), Clark (Yes), Hoadley (Yes), Hodges (Yes), Lorenzo (Yes), Mutch (Yes), Taub (Yes), Weddington (Yes), Bonaventura (Yes)
MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
2. Nantucket Cove Restaurant & The Boston Club Banquet Hall - SP94-49 - Property located at the northeast corner of Meadowbrook Road and Grand River Avenue for Possible Special Land Use Approval, Preliminary Site Plan Approval, and Section 4 Waiver.
Mr. Clif Seiber, Project Engineer for Nantucket Cove Restaurant and the Boston Club, was present. He said also with him that evening was Mr. Robert Fenton, who was one of the partners in the project and also Mr. Matthew Prentis, who was also a partner and Chef of several of the restaurants in the area and they would all like to introduce the project to the Planning Commission.
Mr. Fenton said his family has been in the development building business for over 75 years and they were the builders and developers of the proposed project, the Boston Club, which was a banquet facility hall and then the Nantucket Cove Restaurant. He said at this time, he would like to introduce the other two partners of this project which was his brother, Mr. Ed Fenton and then Mr. Matt Prentis who was the Chef and he asked Mr. Prentis to speak next.
Mr. Prentis said he was the President of the Unique Restaurant Corporation and they were operators of nine restaurants in the Detroit Metropolitan area and four major catering properties in the Detroit Metropolitan area.
Mr. Prentis said what he would like to propose that night was that they bring another catering project into their fold and into the City of Novi and what they would like to bring in was a little taste of New England, a combination of a Banquet Hall with 600 seats. He said it would be a very upscale banquet hall, and the Detroit Metro market currently does not have one upscale banquet facility located outside of a hotel at this level. He said it would be a very high-end project, to cater upscale weddings, barmitzvah's, meetings for a large corporate clientele headed by the Big Three, and other major local corporations.
Mr. Prentis indicated the facility has a very New England exterior and it would have a very lavish interior and the finishes would be at the highest end, and he has the designer and the architects here so that they could describe it in more detail, but the space was very expansive and it was meant to be the most luxurious property in the Detroit Metropolitan area competing with the Ritz Carlton and properties of that level.
Mr. Prentis said the restaurant was meant to be a casual approach to fairly dynamic property in that they do not feel that an upscale restaurant was what would work in the area and the restaurant was meant to complement the banquet hall and it was to be used as a magnet to get people to figure out that there was something different there. He said they would also utilize the restaurant for special tasting dinners for whoever was going to have a party in the hall.
Mr. Prentis said the Restaurant would have definitely a Nantucket look to it and it would have water in the front and it would have a beautiful garden on the side of it where they would utilize the garden greenery, not only as a beauty item but as garnish for their plates and herbs for their cooking. He said part of that garden would include a beautiful area for people to get married in. He said they think it was a unique project and to his knowledge, it has never been done in the Detroit Metropolitan area and they would like to very much bring it to Novi. He then said he would be happy to answer any questions. He asked his architect, Mr. Joseph Philips to speak next.
Member Hoadley first asked if he would be able to section off the halls for small meetings. Mr. Prentis replied the 600 seat hall would have two very distinct areas, a pre-function area and the actual banquet hall itself and it should be recognized that at no time would the pre-function area be used other than in conjunction with the banquet hall.
Mr. Prentis said the banquet hall itself has three major sections each seating 200 and the exterior two were separable into two, so theoretically there could be a party for 200 and then four parties for 500, although it was not designed to do that. He said the reason for the breaking into five was for corporate meetings during the business week where they would like to have the ability to have smaller break-out rooms for larger meetings.
Mr. Prentis said it would be their goal on Saturday night for instance, to have either 2 parties of 300 or 3 parties of 200.
Member Hoadley asked about meeting space for 20-30 people and Mr. Prentis said the meeting spaces for 20-30 would be encased into one of the six rooms or he has the potential of turning the coat rooms in the lower level into very small meeting spaces for 8-10 people.
Member Hoadley said they would have removable petitions then that they could section off and Mr. Prentis indicated the coat rooms would be a self-contained situation with removable racks. Member Hoadley asked about upstairs and Mr. Prentis indicated they have a very grand stairway, and a person would come into the entrance into an airlock and there would be a break-away through to sitting areas to the right and to the left, which would lead to the left banquet room or to the right banquet room and through the center would be a very grand stairway leading down to the lower level, which he would call the salon which would have the coat rooms, bride's dressing room, the bathrooms, the catering office, a bit of storage, and then an elevator.
Member Hoadley said then there really wouldn't be any rooms for small meetings and Mr. Prentis said not really and then he explained the purpose of the facility. He said there were a tremendous amount of facilities in the area that have small meeting space capabilities but what this market needs was large meeting spaces and not more small meeting spaces.
Mr. Prentis said it was not something that they would aggressively market and a small business meeting would be something that they would take 90 days out or less.
Member Taub asked about the parking because it seems to be an issue with the Consultants. Mr. Prentis said Mr. Seiber and Mr. Philips would be better to answer the parking questions, although from what he understood, the parking problems seem to be addressed on the size of the banquet space as opposed to the seating and he asked was that the concern of the Consultants and Member Taub said he was just asking for his input.
Mr. Prentis said from what he understood, they have more parking than would be required based on a traditional banquet room and a traditional restaurant and the concerns of the Consultants were with the size of the meeting space and that they could get a considerable higher amount of people into the space. He said for example, if they were to do an exposition, they could have thousands of people coming through in the course of a day and this was a property that would be so upscale in its features of the interior, that to have an exposition space would be the last thing that they would want to do.
Member Taub said it would be non-convention then and he was talking more weddings, barmitzvah's, etc., and Mr. Prentis said yes and upscale meetings for companies like General Motors. He said it would definitely be very party-oriented and their performance indicates that the majority of their income the first two or three years would be party-oriented as opposed to corporate oriented, but they should understand that the corporate community really does not have a facility that it could do a major meeting in, in the City without going to a hotel.
Mr. Prentis said there really was no alternative right now, outside of Dearborn and they were firm believers that for the Novi area, the Southfield corridor, all up and down I-696, there was a tremendous demand for that with nothing to fulfill the demand.
Mr. Prentis said this was nothing like a banquet hall that could be seen on the east side where they were fairly dominant and on the west side where there were very few, and most of which were much smaller than this.
Member Taub said then they were saying that this would be competition for the Ritz Carlton, and Mr. Prentis said yes and they would be their number one competitor.
Member Bonaventura then asked if they were finished with the Consultants' reports and Chairman Clark said they haven't discussed them yet. Chairman Clark said they could either continue with the Commission's questions or the Commission could defer until after the Consultants' reports. Member Bonaventura said he would prefer their standard procedure which was the Petitioner makes his presentation and then they would hear from the Consultants' before asking questions.
Mr. Prentis then requested that his architect speak next, but first Mr. Seiber requested to address a few comments that Mr. Arroyo made in the traffic report and also some comments that Mr. Rogers made.
Mr. Seiber said they could see this project was located at the northeast corner of Meadowbrook and Grand River and the building was located at the southerly portion of the site, immediately adjacent to Grand River Avenue, and this southeasterly corner of the building was the Nantucket Cove Restaurant and the Boston Club Banquet Hall was located in the westerly portion of the building.
Mr. Seiber indicated in the building elevations that were passed out, it shows the Grand River and Meadowbrook building elevations and the Nantucket Cove building elevation was the one that would face immediately to Grand River and the Boston Club was the one which would face Meadowbrook.
Mr. Seiber said the site was located immediately adjacent to the City of Novi property and as they may recall, there was a large pond, and actually one of the City's regional storm water basin was located just to the east and the Vincenti Industrial Park was located to the north.
Mr. Seiber said one of the comments that Mr. Arroyo had regarding the traffic was that the driveway should be located further to the north to align with the driveway located on the west side of Meadowbrook Road. He said they have looked at that, and there were some disadvantages to locating that driveway there. He said immediately along the northerly property line of the site, was the Bishop Creek and there was a wetland boundary which has been defined and flagged in the field and that wetland runs very close to the proximity of this proposed driveway.
Mr. Seiber said they have examined that area as to the grading requirements for the construction of that driveway and find that there would be about 40 cubic yards of fill required to locate a driveway at this point. He said there were also some existing trees there that would have to removed which could otherwise be saved if that driveway was not located there.
Mr. Seiber said probably the most significant reason for not locating the driveway there was sight distance. He said as they could tell from the site plan, there was approximately a 5 foot difference in elevation from that driveway to Meadowbrook Road adjacent to their proposed driveway. He said they were proposing the driveway right at the top of the existing hill, which provides for excellent sight distance all the way to the bridge at I-696 and southerly through the intersection along Meadowbrook Road. He said they think for that reason, the location as proposed for that driveway was really ideal as they have shown it.
Mr. Seiber said lastly, the other comment that Mr. Arroyo had was regarding the width of the driveways, and they had proposed them at 22 feet wide for each aisle which was in accordance with the City standard and Mr. Arroyo has asked that that be widened to 24 feet and they have no objection to that.
Mr. Seiber said the location of the dumpster and the compactor were located immediately next to the building and he believed the City standard was 15 feet, however, in this case, they were proposing a fire suppression system, or sprinkling system next to that compactor and dumpster in order to provide fire suppression and that alternative has been used in the past by the City.
Mr. Seiber said the other comment that Mr. Prentis had made was the parking. He indicated they were proposing seating for 600 people and per the City's Ordinance, that would require a parking count of 200 for the banquet hall. He said they feel that using the pre-function area would not be suitable and the hall really was not proposed for that use and their seating was just in the banquet hall. He said the pre-function area would not be used for additional parties, otherwise they would have people from one party passing through other parties to get to the banquet hall and it just wouldn't work for what this building was proposed for.
Mr. Seiber said they feel with seating for 600 people, they do have adequate parking for this facility and he felt total parking was 324 spaces required and 325 were provided in addition to the 8 barrier-free spaces.
Mr. Seiber said that concluded his comments and Mr. Joe Philips, the project architect, would next describe the building elevations in detail and also with them was Mr. Baker, the project landscape architect and he would address any landscaping questions.
Mr. Philips said he and Mr. George Nakashima, the project designer was given the challenge as far as creating something new and exciting. He said Mr. Nakashima selected the New England theme which was what they have in front of them. He said part of what has been explained by Mr. Prentis and what was displayed here, was upscale elegance and as he mentioned, the restaurant was a little more casual. He said the intent was to make the restaurant appealing to a larger quantity of people and make them have access and vision towards the Boston Club.
Mr. Philips said what they see was very much Nantucket New England and what they were trying to portray here was the idea that once a person arrives, they were there and were in the New England atmosphere. He said most of what they see here on the outside was just getting the taste buds going for what they see inside and Mr. Prentis from his experience knows very much the importance of interior finishes, amenities, and service and this was a facility for that.
Mr. Philips said again he could not stress enough the theme and everyone wants to be excited and be in a dreamworld and this was very much going to do that. He said Mr. Prentis caters to people and their desires for what they would like in elegant dining for their weddings and special events and that was what they see portrayed here.
Mr. Philips said in regards to the parking, as far as he was able to determine, 600 was the upper end of what they expect to attract here. He said as he mentioned before, there was really very few places that they could go into the City, and that quantity doesn't come up all of the time, but when it does, it could be very profitable and something Mr. Prentis wants to make available in this area.
Mr. Philips said as far as what they have seen portrayed to them, he understood that Mr. Rogers has some copies of the most current floor plan for the area and it gives them a little more idea as far as how they plan on using the space for table layout, the dance floors, and food tables.
Mr. Philips said again the pre-function space was not to be used as an accessory separate from the banquet room and it was used in conjunction and parties would go from the pre-function area into the banquet room. He said again they feel most confident that the parking was more than adequate for the type of events that they would have there.
Mr. Baker, the landscape architect, was present and said this job was very exciting and it wasn't all the time that they get to do what they want. He said he would briefly like to go through the landscape plan and if there were any questions, they could ask them afterwards.
Mr. Baker indicated the site to the north abuts a wetland and that line was delineated and there was a 25 foot wetland buffer on that side. He said what they have tried to do was integrate the site into that wetland buffer by using some herbaceous plants and perennials and soften that edge up and try to make it look like it fits into the site.
Mr. Baker said along Meadowbrook Road and Grand River, what they were proposing to do was develop a soft berm 2-3 foot high where they would place Evergreen trees and multi-trunk red maples. He said the evergreen and maples would be planted with flowering shrubs and grasses and that in turn would be planted with perennials such as daylilies, black-eyed susans, and sedum plants.
Mr. Baker said the islands within the parking lot would be bermed and grassed and irrigated and the trees they would like to use would be the Ginkgo trees, which were different. He said the second part was really the wharf, which has been talked about and the terrace garden, and the sunken garden, and there were a lot of plant material to be put into those areas.
Mr. Baker indicated the wharf garden would be more of a water garden with aquatic plants and the terrace garden which they could view from the restaurant or step outside from the restaurant into that space, would be of blue stone pavers, and would be of very traditional landscaping and architectural elements.
Mr. Baker said as they progress into the sunken gardens, there would be a trellis/a wedding gazebo type space, and pavers with grass joints, and a very nice garden. He then said that concluded his comments and he would be available for any questions.
Mr. Seiber said that concluded their presentation and he wanted to add that the total landscaping costs for this site would run around $600,000, so they could see that definitely the landscaping was very much an integral part of this project and the total project cost was expected to be around 7 million dollars, so it would be very much an upscale project and a restaurant that Novi could be very proud of.
Mr. Rogers said he would agree that they need a facility like this. He said there was Laurel Manor to the south, which would be a competitor of sorts in Livonia, and he felt this facility would fit a nitch. He said the basic question that it comes down was whether they have a big enough site.
Mr. Rogers felt the architecture was superb and they have all read the Section 4 Waiver letter from Mr. Doug Necci of JCK, and he agreed with his comments.
Mr. Rogers said what they have before them was a two-step review. He said one, this property was zoned Industrial I-1 and it does permit them to have a restaurant, even a restaurant with one drive-up window if it meets certain criteria, one of which requires a Special Land Use and two, it may not abut, being a Sec. 1903 use, any residential district zoning.
Mr. Rogers said on Page 1 of his report he went through all of the criteria and he concluded that they met all of the criteria for Special Land Use, which there was seven criteria. He said on Page two, there were other findings of a general nature under the site plan review section of the Zoning Ordinance for any use requiring a Special Land Use. He said actually those at the top of Page 2 were special findings in an I-1 District for any use requiring Special Land Use in an I-1 District.
Mr. Rogers said in the middle of Page 2 were the general standards. He said some of those at the top of Page 2 deal with Mr. Arroyo's concerns. He said he talked about the loading dock, and also that any storage of anything toxic or hazardous would be subject to the Fire Department's review which they have already written a review and it was in the packet.
Mr. Rogers said regarding the general standards, on Item #1 he deferred to Mr. Arroyo and the applicant has submitted an abbreviated traffic study which Mr. Arroyo has addressed.
Mr. Rogers said in his eyes, this development having two curb cuts, one on Meadowbrook and one on Grand River, seems reasonable, but he wasn't going to decide exactly where that curb cut on Meadowbrook should be.
Mr. Rogers said regarding the utilities, there was the central fire station less than a mile to the west on Grand River and the police station about 2 1/2 miles to the southwest.
Mr. Rogers said there was a wetland issue and JCK was to report on any impact on Bishops Creek and there were no regulated woodlands on the site.
Mr. Rogers said in conclusion, which was subject to Mr. Arroyo's comments and JCK's comments, from his planning standpoint, he felt it was a legitimate Special Land Use and would recommend that approval.
Mr. Rogers continued on with the Preliminary site plan review. He said in Novi they have a two-step process, a Preliminary review to show general feasibility and then a Final site plan review for general and specific engineering and landscape facade review.
Mr. Rogers said it was a single structure and it meets the I-1 District standards and he called out that Grand River was shown as a 100 foot right-of-way on the County and on the City's Master Plan, and the future proposed right-of-way of 120 feet should be shown on the site plan, but the setbacks were measured from the existing right-of-way line.
Mr. Rogers said they do show a 5 foot concrete sidewalk on both Meadowbrook which was a 120 foot right-of-way and on Grand River which were both required. He said were the road right-of-way ever to be expanded and developed, a net of 30 foot greenspace from the parking lot would result from the front, but he didn't see that as a problem and that would remain probably in a greenspace in the road right-of-way.
Mr. Rogers said regarding the building height, without getting into specifics, he concluded that they would need a variance of the height. He said the maximum height of a building to midpoint of gable roof was 40 feet in an I-1 District and he might add parenthetically if they were adjacent to residential, it would be 25 feet.
Mr. Rogers said to the mid-point of the fourth floor cupola area, the height was 45.5 feet. He said this architectural design was very delicately done and in good taste. He said a light would be inside the tower and there would also be a small simulated widow's walk, which they have around all big buildings on the east coast, and it was done in balance and it adds to the building and he felt it was excellent.
Mr. Rogers said he would recommend the 5 1/2 foot height variance. He said of course if the ZBA interprets this cupola as a church spire, then they wouldn't need a variance, so it was really a discretion that has to be decided by the ZBA.
Mr. Rogers concerning the parking, in the Novi Ordinance, they do not have any parking standards specifically for a banquet and/or catering hall. He said he has done some research and he was holding an Ordinance from the City of Sterling Heights where he was doing some work, and they have standards for a banquet and/or catering hall, but he would defy them to find another Ordinance in the region here that speaks directly to a banquet or catering hall.
Mr. Rogers said some cities like Livonia use a "seat of the pants" standard, which they used for Laurel Manor. He said he would conclude that the restaurant stands on its own and they know how to compute parking for restaurants and it was one of two standards, so many spaces per square feet or so many for a seating and employment level. He said but for the banquet hall, the standards that came closest would be a conference facility or a lodge hall or entertainment facility.
Mr. Rogers said they have two or three places in the Ordinance where that standard was called out and he would read what the standard was that he used.
Mr. Rogers said it was, one space for every three persons allowed within the maximum occupancy load as established by local, county, or state, fire, building, or health codes. He said it goes on to say requirements for hotel, motel, restaurants, lounges, etc. shall be met as establishment for those uses elsewhere in the Ordinance. He said that was what has been done and they have separated out the restaurant and they were just looking at the banquet hall.
Mr. Rogers said a banquet hall was made up of many things and it may have a basement and it has a pre-function area and it has all sorts of rooms. He said on the plan that he reviewed, he might say that it has 30 other rooms, small and big, such as coat rooms, bride's suite, powder room, dressing room, fountain room, minister's room, groom's room, dressing room, and catering office, and they were all a part of the banquet hall facility.
Mr. Rogers said at this point, he knew what the architect had developed and he met personally with Mr. Seiber on a one-on-one basis. He said he had asked the Building Department if this parking refers to maximum occupancy load, and he had Mr. Rick Kessler prepare a report which he attached to his report, dated December 21st and he provided this to applicant also and he thought Mr. Kessler did a very thoughtful, thorough study.
Mr. Rogers said Mr. Kessler went beyond the banquet room and went through the whole project and he believed he even went out to the garden area, basement area and looked at the employee areas and the kitchen and if they were to take all of those numbers for standing space at the maximum, such as a political rally and if they add up all his requirements, they would have a maximum occupancy capacity of 4,200 people.
Mr. Rogers said he would hasten to add that when Mr. Kessler does this, he does it for exiting purposes and he looks at the number of doors and the hallways and the corridors and he has to take the worst case scenario, which was there would be 4,000 people inside this building. Mr. Rogers said he would doubt it would ever come close to that, but he has to make certain that if they did have 4,000 people in here, that they could all get out before the roof caved in and that was what he did.
Mr. Rogers said he took Mr. Kessler's numbers and he also looked at the plan here and how the building could be compartmentalized and he knew as they all heard that night, that there might be more than one big banquet for 600 people and there may be 2 at 200 and maybe 1 at 300, and maybe some business meetings.
Mr. Rogers then said he would refer back to Mr. Kessler's report who has listed Options 1, 2 and 3 for the banquet hall and pre-function area. Mr. Rogers said Option 1 was unconcentrated, tables and chairs. He said Option 2 was concentrated chairs only and chairs not fixed. He said Option 3 was no chairs and people were just jammed in there and standing around the podium for a political rally.
Mr. Rogers said so under Option 1, he took the most lenient standard, the 15 sq. ft. per person for the banquet hall and pre-function area. He said using the dimensions that were given in the application, they could expect 697 persons. He said if only chairs were in those two rooms, they would get the 1,400 and if it was standing room only, it goes up to 3,400. He said so in taking what they intend to do, tables and chairs/a sit-down type arrangement, 697 persons could be expected.
Mr. Rogers said he agreed with Mr. Kessler that they have a lobby area in this plan and they took Option 2 and they could have a capacity for 255 additional people. He said if there was heavy use of the banquet hall and pre-function area and there wasn't any parking on Grand River and Meadowbrook Road, he could not in good conscious find that there would be adequate parking. He said instead of the applicant's figure of 600 persons occupancy, he felt there could be a total of at least 806 persons, assuming tables and chairs in the banquet hall and pre-function area, and chairs only in the lobby area, so they would need 269 spaces versus the 200 allocated.
Mr. Rogers said this could be higher if in the pre-function area, they didn't have tables and chairs and they would have a separate rally, a separate cocktail party or a short-term christening for example. He said putting those numbers together, he couldn't conclude that 200 parking spaces was going to be adequate for the banquet function. He said the 200 came from the 600 estimated maximum occupancy divided by 3, which equals the 200 parking spaces.
Mr. Rogers said he felt it was understated and if they ran the numbers in Sterling Heights, they would need 450 - 490 spaces and if they use the numbers in Livonia, they would need about 391 parking spaces. He said he has not checked to see if the parking lots of those particular banquet halls were adequate or not, but in the absence of any specific standard in their Zoning Ordinance, he used the 1 for every 3 persons allowed, keeping in mind that for a restaurant, it was 1 for every 2 persons, plus employees and plus lobby area.
Mr. Rogers said he wasn't uncomfortable using the ratio of 1 for every 3 persons on maximum occupancy. He said he has distinguished in his report the difference between BOCA and Fire Exiting from what a Planner would look at for adequate parking which was needed and vital to the success of this particular establishment.
Mr. Rogers said they have adequate loading and unloading and if the compactor/dumpster was sprinkled, that would be all right where it was located. He said the perimeter greenspace was sufficient and as Mr. Baker and the landscape people know, the Final landscape plan would be reviewed at Final site plan review.
Mr. Rogers said the Section 4 waiver he concurred with, but that was the Commission's judgement and that was something they could grant a waiver to. He said in summary, he was unable to recommend Preliminary site plan approval.
Mr. Rogers said in his letter on Page 4 in the middle, he recommended that the applicant's architect review his conclusions and he invited a response back. He said he received the response back about 3:00 this afternoon, just as he was leaving and he only had a chance to read the letter that night and he did make copies available to everyone through Mr. Cohen.
Mr. Rogers felt it was premature to have brought this to the table without further discussion, which they have not been able to have, but he was willing to sit down with the architect and look at the capacities and invite Mr. Kessler in and give this further study, but he could not recommend Preliminary site plan approval.
Mr. Bluhm said he has also reviewed the Preliminary site plan and he indicated water and sewer services were both going to be extended from the right-of-ways of Meadowbrook and Grand River Road into the site and there was no problem there. He said the applicant was proposing two access points to the site, one off Meadowbrook and one off Grand River, and as Mr. Seiber said and they concurred, the sight distance was adequate for both of those cuts in the curbs.
Mr. Bluhm said they were also providing storm sewer to collect the run-off from the site which was going to be pretty substantial and they have a lot of paved area comprising most of the site and the building would also be impervious.
Mr. Bluhm said this would be directed to a sedimentation basin at the northeast corner of the site and then directly into the Bishop Creek undetained as Mr. Seiber mentioned, and the Bishop Basin was to the east, which the City owns, which detains the storm water from there.
Mr. Bluhm said otherwise the plan was fairly straight-forward. He indicated he had some concerns that they were going to address as far as the elevations of the storm water in the basin and those they could only get into at the Final site plan level, but the plan demonstrates engineering feasibility and he recommended approval.
Mr. Arroyo indicated he has reviewed the plan and as they were aware, this was located at the intersection of Grand River and Meadowbrook and a banquet facility such as this tends to have many times a slightly larger draw in terms of the area upon which people would come to visit this facility, when having corporate meetings, weddings, and larger banquets. He said they tend to draw people outside of the City so when looking at locations, a good local network was fine, but they also need to look at where the people from outside the City were going to come from.
Mr. Arroyo felt this was a pretty good location primarily now that the M-5 Connector was open to 12 Mile and people could go just about anywhere in the region and get off there and come down Meadowbrook and enter the facility, so he was fairly supportive of this use at this location and Grand River was a major east/west roadway and with the combination of the two, he felt it works fairly well.
Mr. Arroyo said they also have a situation where both Meadowbrook and Grand River have center turn lanes in place now, that could help in assisting and accommodating the left turns into this facility.
Mr. Arroyo said he had mentioned in his letter, he would like to see that driveway on Meadowbrook moved to the north and Mr. Seiber has provided some additional information. He felt that the points that have been brought up were worth considering and what he would like would be to have the opportunity to look at the wetland information in more detail to see what would be impacted and also to see how the sight distance does, in fact, change by having the applicant submit that sight distance information for the revised location so he and JCK could review it.
Mr. Arroyo said he was willing to consider other factors and it may be that they may fall back to the location that was on the plan but it sounds like it was a situation where additional information needs to be analyzed before a final determination could be made. He said so he would suggest that it either be handled at Final as part of that review or if this plan ends up coming back if they don't take action on it that evening, that they be given the opportunity to look at it and then come back to the Commission with that information.
Mr. Arroyo said as he noted in his comment #2, he would like to see the acceleration taper become a full lane on Grand River all the way to the Meadowbrook intersection because the tapers overlap and that was not permitted according to the Design and Construction Standards and he didn't believe the applicant has indicated they would have any problem with that, but it would have to be shown on the Final site plan.
Mr. Arroyo indicated an abbreviated Traffic Study was submitted and it primarily looked at trip generation and movements at the driveway. He said this facility was forecasting 423 PM peak hour trips based on trip generation rates found in Trip Generation by the Institute of Transportation Engineers. He indicated daily trips were forecast to be 2,242 per average weekday.
Mr. Arroyo said he was asked what the typical trip generation would be for a principal permitted use in the underlying zoning which was I-1. He said the primary use was an office use and in order to do a comparison, they have to make some generalizations. He said he assumed about a 25% lot coverage on the site, and came up with potentially a 73,000 sq. ft. office building on a 6.7 acre site with a 25% lot coverage.
Mr. Arroyo said under that scenario, they would be looking at approximately 1,100 trips per day versus the 2,200 for this proposed development.
Mr. Arroyo said as Mr. Seiber had mentioned, they had recommended an additional width for the boulevard approach and that was something that they were trying to address through the Design and Construction Standards and right now it has a 22 foot dimension, and 24 feet would certainly be more in line with what was required for boulevard approaches for subdivisions, for example, and they think that the 24 foot width works better and he didn't think that would be a problem seeing that changed.
Mr. Arroyo said he was recommending approval of the Preliminary site plan subject to the items he had mentioned as being outstanding being resolved on the Final site plan.
Chairman Clark said they have a letter from the City of Novi Fire Department under the signature of Daniel W. Roy Captain indicating that this plan has been reviewed and approval was recommended with the condition of adding a fire hydrant to comply with the 300 foot maximum spacing for commercial developments.
Chairman Clark said as Mr. Rogers indicated, they also have a letter from Mr. Necci in the file regarding a Section 4 waiver and they also have a report from Ms. Tepatti and he asked if she was present and Mr. Bluhm replied no and that he would review her report briefly.
Mr. Bluhm indicated that Ms. Tepatti has taken a look at the boundaries and has verified that they were accurate and the boundaries for the wetland exist along the north side of the site and the east side of the site abutting Bishop Creek and also forming the west side of the detention area or the east side of the site and there was a 25 foot buffer requirement. He said the plan proposes minor infringements into that to grade the parking lot off, and again it was very minor and then there was also the single storm water outfall to the creek which requires a DNR permit.
Mr. Bluhm said Ms. Tepatti indicated she had no problem with the permit and a local Wetlands Permit was required, although it could be done administratively because it meets those conditions.
Mr. John O'Brien, of the O'Brien Chapel/Ted C. Sullivan Funeral Home, was present. He said he would welcome a neighbor and it has been a long time and they have been trying to get a medical clinic next to them and across the street a shopping center, but they have no one as yet.
Mr. O'Brien said he has been there for 18 years as a member of the City of Novi and a member of the Grand River Corridor Committee, and he felt this would be a great addition to their City.
Chairman Clark closed the Public Hearing.
Chairman Clark reminded the Commission that they had several items to deal with, those being the Special Land Use, the Preliminary site plan and the Section 4 Waiver, which they should deal with separately.
Member Bonaventura asked Mr. Arroyo the Level of Service of Grand River and Meadowbrook and Mr. Arroyo said the Traffic Study was not required to actually do a Level of Service analysis at the intersection, but he did look at the Thoroughfare Plan to see the analysis of arterial Level of Service on Grand River and Meadowbrook and at the time that analysis was done in 1991, both were operating at acceptable Levels of Service in this immediate area, but that just looks at through-volumes and doesn't look at the whole intersection.
Member Bonaventura said regarding the site plan and the parking, looking at Mr. Rick Kessler's letter and then listening to Mr. Rogers' comments, he would have to agree that the parking that was submitted was understated and looking back for other halls, parking was always at a premium when there was a big party.
Member Bonaventura said to Mr. Rogers that he was telling him that they take the number of occupants that could occupy this building and then they divide that by 3 and he was telling him 3 people to a car and Mr. Rogers said that was what it really averages out.
Member Bonaventura then said as far as averaging out, if there was a retirement party mixed in with a wedding, for the retirement party, basically couples come in cars and then when there was a wedding, a lot of times they would have a percentage of single people coming in cars and then couples also. He said when there would be 2-3 weddings, there would be more cars than what they have space for.
Mr. Rogers said in a letter that they all received that evening dated January 4, 1995 from Mr. Philips, they would note that they were even further expanding the banquet hall and moving a lot of the ancillary rooms into the basement. He said he would think they were exacerbating the parking requirement by this new site plan, but he hasn't had the time to check it out.
Mr. Rogers said it has been decided that they need now 18.26 sq. ft. per person, where heretofore, they were allocating 10-12 sq. ft. per person and if a person changes that figure, they could play with the numbers.
Member Bonaventura said he was correct and those numbers could be manipulated very easily on this and it was very complicated, but one thing he didn't want to end up with was a facility that lacks on parking. He said those were his comments dealing with the site plan.
Member Bonaventura said dealing with the Special Land Use, he always has to compare the zoned use compared to Special Land Use and looking for any burdens on the community and any burdens that would be different if they just left the zoning and someone came in under that zoning. He said this project, according to the traffic generation would be a burden, comparing 2,200 trips to 1,100 trips.
Member Bonaventura said he would not be in favor of the Special Land Use and he would not be in favor of the site plan.
Member Bonaventura said regarding the site plan, he asked was this building facing backwards and was the back of the building facing Grand River, and was the fishery facing Grand River and Mr. Rogers said yes.
Member Bonaventura asked if it looked like the back of the building to him and Mr. Rogers said it wasn't and it was the side of the building facing Grand River. He said the Botsford Inn treatment at the bottom faces Meadowbrook Road so it really has a dual frontage because it has two street frontages and it was totally different but in keeping with New England architecture.
Member Bonaventura said in keeping with what they have along Grand River, they have what he saw as the front of the building that looks like it should be facing Grand River, but that was just his opinion.
Member Hoadley said first of all, he had no problem with the Special Land Use for this and he felt it was a world-class type of endeavor and he would like to see it come into the community and whether this was the best site for it may be debatable.
Member Hoadley asked if they re-configured that parking and ran those roads the opposite direction and swung them around to a 90 degree bias from what they were now, would he pick up any spaces.
Mr. Seiber said replied no and initially they had the parking arranged that way but they picked up more spaces by arranging it the way they have now and he thought there may have been 15 spaces additionally picked up with this configuration.
Member Hoadley asked if there was any adjacent land that they could pick up for additional parking either across the street on Meadowbrook, across the street on Grand River, or adjacent to them to the north.
Mr. Seiber said definitely not to the north as that was an existing industrial park and there was a City property to the east, but that was mostly wetland area.
Member Hoadley asked about across the street, and Mr. Seiber said there was a proposed shopping center that was part of a Consent Judgement across Meadowbrook to the west, and he wouldn't expect there would be any potential for parking there, and to the south he believed that was zoned NCC to the Weiss property. He said east of the City property, there was a vacant parcel, and then American Realty with 3.5 acres for sale that goes down to Production Tool, and he didn't know how much of that 3.5 acres was on water, and there may be some wetlands in there but he couldn't tell them for sure.
Mr. Rogers commented they could have off-premises parking within 300 feet of a site if they own the site, if they own the off-premises parking area and if there was a safe pedestrian way to that parking area. He said all four corners of this intersection were vacant and regarding the Consent Judgement, which was Grand Meadowbrook on the northwest corner, was nearly 10 years old now and whether that was going any place, he couldn't tell them.
Member Hoadley asked if they have considered excavating and putting below-grade parking to add additional parking spaces and it would be part of that parking lot and they could park on top of it, and keep the parking on top at grade and would that be possible.
Mr. Seiber replied they haven't looked at that and he asked Member Hoadley if he was referring to a parking-garage type arrangement and Mr. Hoadley said yes, but not going up because that would be an eyesore. He said he was talking about actually excavating below grade and having the grade on top be the same level as the entire parking where they could pick up another 100-200 spaces.
Mr. Prentis said to Member Hoadley even if they were to get into that, this was a 7 million dollar project and it wa very, very aggressive as it was and it was shown that they could do very, very well on that, but if they were to get into that kind of parking structure, it would increase the cost to the point where they would be prohibited.
Member Hoadley said they were probably aware that the City owns 13 acres up on Walled Lake and there was proposed a scenario similar to this on Walled Lake for a banquet hall and a restaurant and they have 13 acres which would obviously give them plenty of parking. He asked also would there be a competitive problem.
Mr. Prentis said he has talked with the gentleman who was doing that property and his objective was completely different than theirs and the level that gentleman was trying to achieve would be common to those referred to by Mr. Rogers in his Sterling Heights parking assessment or the parking assessment chosen for Laurel Manor.
Mr. Prentis said he would try and make the Commission feel more comfortable about the parking and if he was in their chairs, he would be concerned too. He indicated he operated the food service at the Hotel Baronette and didn't own the Hotel, but he did run the company that does all their food.
Mr. Prentis said when they recently went into the Hotel Baronette which had gone under bankruptcy and was not doing all that well, they made some changes that has made the Hotel at this point very successful and in fact on most weekends they have 100% occupancy which was extremely unusual for this area or any area for that matter in the hotel business.
Mr. Prentis said one of the concerns of the City when they went in was they took the existing restaurant, which was a very upscale restaurant that didn't do a whole lot of volume and they expanded it and made the restaurant more casual and more in keeping of the Nantucket Cove except in an Italian theme as opposed to a seafood theme.
Mr. Prentis said the City suggested that they may have some parking concerns so they reviewed the parking and in fact, the amount of parking spaces counted on the lot were counted wrong, so they ended up not having a problem after all. However, he said the criteria used here he was sure was not all that different from the Hotel except for the room factor. He said he could tell them at the Hotel Baronette, they maxed out their room and maxed out the restaurant with a wait on most Saturday nights and every Saturday night that he has been there, he has yet to see the parking lot even come close to being full and the Hotel was sold out as well.
Mr. Prentis said the Hotel Baronette Ballroom was slated to have 300 seats and the parking was supposedly dictated towards that, and in fact, the Hotel Baronette Ballroom was maxed out at approximately 230 seats and could only go to 300 if there was no dance floor in the room whatsoever. He said they never book the room for over 250 people because there wasn't adequate space to do what they consider a decent party.
Mr. Prentis said this facility would be trying to achieve a very upscale tone and in order to do that, they have to offer massive pre-function space, for not only appetizers and cocktails, but for a luxurious station of appetizer tables.
Mr. Prentis said for example, let's say there was an Asian table in one part of the room, a tenderloin station in another part and possibly a huge seafood station in the middle, all of which takes space. He said at no time, would there be seating in the pre-function area, with the exception of a couple of cocktail tables here and there for perhaps elderly guests at a wedding function so that they may sit down.
Mr. Prentis said in the function room, the odds of there ever being 600 people in there at one time were just about slim to none. He said it could come close to that but it would not exceed 600 people because if that were to happen, what they would do would be to compromise the integrity of the venture that they were trying to achieve and there was no way they would spend 7 million dollars trying to achieve a specific goal that they have and then compromise it by packing 800 people into it and making it the standard banquet hall that a person could get anywhere in town.
Mr. Prentis said the objective of this was to create something special and if for a family that was going to go out on a limb and spend $30,000-$50,000 on a wedding, which happens quite a bit at the Ritz Carlton every weekend, they were going to have expectations far and beyond those at Laurel Manor and especially the one that was being built in Walled Lake and their goals would not be quite so high. He said they would be doing less expensive parties where people would be seated at rectangular banquet tables as opposed to round tables.
Member Hoadley asked about picking up land adjacent to it across the street. He indicated he had no problem with this concept and he really liked it and wanted it to be successful, but he has to listen to Mr. Rogers who has addressed some concerns and he hasn't heard anything from Mr. Prentis that has satisfied what Mr. Rogers has said.
Mr. Prentis said if he understood what Mr. Rogers was saying, it was that the room has a potential capacity for quite a bit more than 600 and he was telling everyone they would never have more than 600 guests at this facility at one time if they exclude the restaurant. He said at no time would there be more than 600 guests in the facility at one time and the goal of the unit was 600 and no more.
Mr. Prentis said also that there were two types of functions they were going to have, one being corporate and the other being social. He explained corporate functions in his mind that would accommodate 600 people, would be a combination function where there were people from in-town and out of town, and more than likely, it would be in conjunction with something at the Novi Exposition Center, where they would utilize transportation from the convention center to the hall or perhaps use a shuttle from the hotels to bring people over, as well as some drive-in traffic.
Mr. Prentis said on the weekends he would tell them that he felt the three person per car average was pretty accurate for a wedding, and yet there would be singles that would come to weddings and couples but there would be considerable groups of four and perhaps more in one car.
Mr. Prentis said basically what he was saying was they have no intention of going above 600 and based on that and the 1 on 3 being in their opinion what it should be, that calls for 200 spaces and then they meet the requirements on the restaurant spaces and they have 9 to spare. Mr. Prentis said they have done everything they could to continue to keep the integrity of the project and maximize their parking spaces and it would not do them any good either if they were to charge someone a fortune for a party and they had to wait because they didn't have a place to park their car and they wouldn't want to spend that kind of money and be short either.
Member Hoadley said what he was saying from a business or practical standpoint then was if he booked a wedding with more than that number of people, he would have to tell them they couldn't handle it as they don't have the parking.
Mr. Prentis said it would be because they wouldn't have the space in the room. He said the room was for 600 people. He said at the Hotel Baronette, they have a room that seats 250, and the sign outside says maximum 300, but it doesn't work and 250 would be the most they could book.
Mr. Prentis explained what he has done was to divide that square footage, which was 4,450 sq. ft. by 250 sq. ft. and came up with a factor that was just below 18 feet per square feet and he was using his experience to decide from a caterer's prospective, instead of a building perspective, how many square feet he needs, and that may be the problem here. He said but the fact of the matter was with this type of project, if he were to go in with less square footage simply because it meets the criteria of the City, he was then going to develop something that was going to fail, which was not something that either one of them wants to see.
Mr. Prentis said granted it was unusual towards banquet standards, and banquet standards would be, if they use rectangular 8 foot banquet tables that they see in banquet halls, 6,600 sq. ft. instead of 10,900 sq. ft., but the fact of the matter was they were not going to have any rectangular banquet tables in the facility except those to do bars and appetizer tables and things like that. He said everything would be done on rounds unless of course it was a classroom set.
Member Hoadley asked Mr. Rogers after hearing Mr. Prentis' testimony, has he changed his mind at all in regard to his recommendations and Mr. Rogers said no. He said everything Mr. Prentis says sounds good and he was enthused and he wished he could be guaranteed that this was the way it was going to be for the next 5-10-20 years, but occupants change and this management may change and it may end up being just another banquet hall. He said he was not planning for the worst scenario and he was going with the 1 for every 3 occupancy.
Mr. Rogers said but he took the 15 sq. ft. per person and then the fact that the banquet hall now has been increased in size from 6,448 sq. ft. to 10,956 sq. ft., which was in the most recent letter from Mr. Philips, and then he divided that by 15 sq. ft. and that comes up to 730 occupancy not 600, so he instead of this banquet hall getting smaller, it was getting bigger.
Mr. Rogers said there was no guarantee and he wasn't going to go out there every Saturday night and count noses and cars and that would be an enforcement problem he wouldn't want the City to take on.
Mr. Rogers felt they have to take at least a middle of the road standard and that was why he went to the term maximum occupancy and the people who determine that were the Building Department and he said in his letter he didn't talk about Exiting and BOCA requirements, but he took the seats and tables and his opinion has not changed.
Mr. Rogers felt it needed more research that he and Mr. Arroyo talked about doing and a little more interfacing with the architect.
Member Hoadley asked what was the minimum amount of parking that he felt they needed then, and Mr. Rogers said this would be in addition to the restaurant parking. He said they allocated 200 parking spaces for the banquet hall based upon the first plan they submitted and not this plan they have just submitted today, and they need 269 spaces and then add to that the 124 spaces they would need for a total of 393 spaces. He said they provide 332 so they were 61 parking spaces short under the first set of plans because on this new set of plans that have come in, they have nearly doubled the size of the banquet hall.
Mr. Prentis asked Mr. Rogers what about if they guaranteed an occupancy limit of 600 people. He said a person could go into a restaurant or a theater and the Fire Marshall says maximum capacity of 240 people and that was their capacity. He said what if they agreed, regardless of what the space allocation was, to a maximum of 600 people in that building.
Mr. Rogers said he would have to defer to Mr. Watson on this question. He indicated he has been at wedding receptions and the people were there and no one was counting noses. He said here there could be 3 or 4 weddings going on and he would question where were the people going to park.
Mr. Rogers said they may park on the pasture across the street or on Mr. Weiss's property and across the road, but he would have to ask Mr. Watson to discuss enforceability under that basis.
Mr. Watson said the initial question was whether a condition might be imposed that limits the occupancy of the building so as to make the parking realistic and that could be done. He said in his opinion, it would have to be done by the ZBA and that was only assuming that the Commission actually grants Special Land Use approval and site plan approval and conditions it upon that occurring.
Mr. Watson said the reason he would say that was because in looking at the Ordinance, Mr. Rogers' analysis was essentially correct, and what the Ordinance calls for in Section 2505.10 was that where there was a use that was not specifically mentioned, the Commission turns to the use that it finds most similar, and he felt Mr. Rogers has attempted to do that and the uses that he has picked out all have a parking requirement of 1 space for each 3 persons allowed.
Mr. Watson said the way it was worded it was within the maximum occupancy load as established by Local County or State, Fire or Building or Health Codes and in effect, it was telling them to establish that occupancy by those codes and that was why he referred the matter to Mr. Kessler and had him analyze the plans.
Mr. Watson said essentially what the applicant was telling them was that as a practical matter, those were unrealistic parking requirements, and although they may disagree or agree with that, and even assuming they agree with it, that was really a variance issue for the Zoning Board of Appeals. He said so that type of limitation might be imposed, but he felt that would be a condition of possibly making a recommendation to the ZBA, but he felt that would be a condition imposed by the ZBA if that relief was granted.
Mr. Watson said what Mr. Rogers raised following that was a separate issue and that was the practicalities of enforcement of that and he didn't feel there was any question that that was probably not an easy thing to enforce.
Mr. Prentis said they would have that in every situation and wasn't that true and Mr. Watson said they probably have it with the Fire Marshall's normal occupancy code, but that was something they do.
Chairman Clark said to Mr. Watson just for the benefit of everyone present, if such a condition would be imposed and it was done by the ZBA, Mr. Rogers had raised the scenario of what happens if the ownership changes. He asked if such a condition was imposed, would not that condition run with the land and Mr. Watson said yes. He said as with any variance, when the ZBA grants a variance, they don't grant them as to a particular applicant, but as to the use itself and the building and land itself, and unless the subsequent owner comes back and asks for a reconsideration of that variance or applies for a new variance, that condition would remain irrespective of the ownership.
Member Lorenzo then said she would make a motion.
Moved by Member Lorenzo
Seconded by Member Capello
To postpone Nantucket Cove Restaurant and the Boston Club Banquet Hall, SP94-49 so that Mr. Rogers and Mr. Arroyo could review the exiting and entering locations.
DISCUSSION ON MOTION
Member Taub said he definitely supported the idea of the ZBA ultimately conditioning and deciding the idea of the 600 limitation. He said the reason he was in favor of the project was he supported, at this stage of Novi's growth, what he perceived to be low density projects. He said so often in front of them were projects that create greater density on a regular basis. He said he perceived this to be essentially on Friday nights, Saturday nights and perhaps Sundays and during the week when they have their biggest traffic problems, there would be very little density except for the restaurant.
Member Taub said the type of restaurant they were proposing which was connected with the theme was not an in and out Boston Chicken situation, so they were having less impact in terms of traffic, noise, etc., because they were talking about affairs that were going to be on the weekends.
Member Taub said also he felt this poses an exception to the kinds of concerns they have about on-site parking, namely this was the kind of use where the owners of the use, who were obviously putting up a substantial investment and more of an investment than building a fast-food restaurant, have as much or more of a stake in smooth parking than the Commission does.
Member Taub said really it destroys the whole attractiveness of putting an expensive affair into the place. He said if they were going to put in a barmitzvah or a retirement party or a wedding, they certainly don't want the kind of parking they might see in a supermarket. He said he was more concerned when looking at supermarkets and uses like that, where there might not be as much care about the problems someone has parking their vehicle.
Member Taub said understandably he felt there was almost some self-regulation. He felt such things as valet parking, which he would assume would go in with this kind of use, was also going to provide for a certain amount of stacking and would also help alleviate the problem, but again he was not ignoring the concerns of Mr. Rogers, but he was more concerned about bad uses and he didn't see this as a bad use.
Member Taub said he was the first to acknowledge that ten years down the road, this might not be the upscale catering wedding place and that the economic necessities could force certain practical compromises. He understood that, but still if they look at this, they have people essentially occupying a substantial amount of space at Meadowbrook and Grand River in a way that he found relatively inoffensive and not very dense, and he would hate to see this project get shelved and then in 5-6-7 months, be faced with a project that has more density problems.
Member Taub said he knows that members of the Commission all have concerns that were of greater concern to them than perhaps other Commissioners and vice-versa, but to him density in a traffic riddled growing Novi was a concern. He felt this was a good use and he would support it.
Member Taub added perhaps they should recommend that there be a 600 person limitation at the ZBA level and maybe their City Attorney could advise them as to the procedure and whether this could be essentially put over to the ZBA because if the ZBA would create a ceiling on occupancy, which the individuals say was no problem for them, then he would be 200% in favor of this project.
Member Taub felt if it wasn't a viable project, he didn't feel the developers would be investing that kind of money. He indicated he would support it with a view to try and get something at the ZBA level and he would ask the City Attorney for a particular procedure. He felt this should go to the ZBA first because they seem to all agree in this room that night that they could limit the occupancy and if they could limit the occupancy, he certainly felt this was a good use and they shouldn't pass it by.
Member Hodges asked for a clarification on the motion and the motion was to postpone and they have three separate items to address on this and she asked were they postponing on all three items and Member Lorenzo said yes and Chairman Clark asked for a date certain.
Member Lorenzo said it would be the first meeting in February, February 1st.
Mr. Rogers said they would have to resubmit their plans based upon the new letter they received today.
Member Bonaventura asked if it was the Commission's opinion that this go to the ZBA and Member Hodges said that was not the motion on the floor.
Member Lorenzo felt that was something they need to determine once the plans come in.
Mr. Fenton said right now they have a $50,000 deposit on this land and they have until January 24th. He said he was the one insisting on making things larger because it just wouldn't work and they wanted to do it right so he realizes they didn't give the Commission a lot of time.
Mr. Fenton said January 24th was a Deadline for them and they could either take their $50,000 back or they could buy another extension, which he believed would be $25,000 for the extension, however, if something were to go wrong after that date, then they lose their considerable investment.
Mr. Fenton said he felt that might not be a risk that they would take and it was something they would need to discuss and obviously they could ask for another option and maybe they would do it, but he didn't know at this time.
Chairman Clark said aside from that, the date of February 1st does not present a particular problem, in other words, to address the issues that have been raised here that night and be back here so they could take some definitive action, and Mr. Fenton said that would be fine provided they were able to get an extension on their parcel, and if not, then he didn't know what would happen.
Mr. Seiber asked if they could be on the meeting in two weeks, January 18th. He said also one point they should realize was this plan change that they speak of was a floor plan change, and there was no change to the site plan, no re-review of the site plan, and this was strictly a floor plan change, and the footprint of the building itself has not changed.
Chairman Clark asked would there be the 15 day requirement since they have had the public hearing this evening and Mr. Watson said no. Chairman Clark said they could be on the Agenda for January 18th then.
Mr. Rogers commented the footprint has changed if they read the letter and apparently the banquet vestibule extension has been added and the addition of two stairways, and he said he would do all he could, but the packet for the next meeting was around the corner and the plans submitted were just xeroxed copies.
Mr. George Nakashima requested to speak and he said he made a big mistake when he figured 12 sq. ft. per person, and he didn't allow for the speaker's table, the dance floor, and the extra space they needed near the entrance doors, so he apologized for that.
Chairman Clark said that was not a problem, but would he be able to get whatever information that Mr. Rogers needed to him including whatever drawings he might need and renderings before January 18th so Mr. Rogers would have sufficient time to address whatever concerns he has.
Mr. Nakashima asked if they could at least narrow down the issues. He said they were willing to meet with Mr. Rogers and any members of the Commission and work towards resolving the parking problems, but could they at least resolve that night the other two issues, the Section 4 Waiver that no one seems to be in opposition to and the Special Land Use and that might help them all by January 18th to come up with some kind of a compromise.
Member Mutch said if they were going to postpone it, they should postpone the whole decision and she felt they should be looking at the whole picture. She said regarding the question of the cupola, she had no problem with that going to the ZBA for a variance and she would vote for that particular variance but that was just her opinion.
Member Mutch said as far as Special Land Use, she had to say that like Mr. O'Brien, this was in her neighborhood and she felt it would be a better-than nice addition. She said she had some concerns about the traffic because every single day she found herself on northbound Meadowbrook turning left onto Grand River and it was not always so easy so she was glad it was that corner rather than the northwest corner.
Member Mutch said she had some concerns she would rather save for the discussion because they were not major concerns and they were not anything that would make or break this for her, but she indicated she would welcome this type of facility.
Member Mutch said she would just echo what Mr. Rogers said earlier and she was also at a wedding recently and her brother was married in Rhode Island in a similar facility. She said it would have been very nice to have something like this in Novi because they had looked for a place like this but had to make other arrangements. She felt this would fill a niche as there wasn't anything like it.
Member Mutch said they were not one of those people looking for the $30,000-$40,000 event, but in terms of the amenities and the size and the location, the fact that they were not only planning for corporate type events, which she felt would be a nice addition to this community, but also the other social events, there wasn't anything like it.
Member Mutch said she had a question as to why it was named the Boston Club. Mr. Fenton explained because of the scope of the project and because they want a New England motif, and because they felt it connotes elegance. He felt having a wedding or another event at the Boston Club, says it all. He said a person could just feel the elegance seeping out into it and that was the reason why they called it the Boston Club in conjunction with the Nantucket Cove, to keep the New England theme.
Member Mutch said she understood that as she was an east coast person and had just came back from Boston, but he has to understand that the Commission's most recent discussions involving Boston, was a Boston Chicken Restaurant.
Mr. Prentis then also brought up that the restaurant would not be open at lunch so as far as the density problem, that would help it
Member Weddington said just in terms of general comments, if they were looking for input to expedite this at whatever meeting it comes back at, in terms of the Special Use, she felt this was an appropriate location. She said she was concerned about traffic but not as much as some of the other Commissioners.
Member Weddington said they were trying to steer development like this toward the Grand River Corridor and she felt this was an appropriate use, therefore, she had no problem with the Special Land Use.
Member Weddington said she did have some concerns though about the site plan and that was really the parking, which she felt needed to be resolved and she felt they needed to give Mr. Arroyo some additional time to work out the driveway on Meadowbrook Road. She said she was glad to see this development trying to stay away from the water and trees there, and she felt the look they were proposing was very attractive and she had no problem with the height variance or the Section 4 Facade Waiver.
Member Weddington felt the landscape plan as outlined was very lovely especially as it transitions to the wetland buffers and the grasses, and the natural type of plantings would be a definite asset to this. She said she was concerned about the parking, and having driven around waiting for parking spaces to develop at restaurants here in the City for parties where the ratio was 1 to 2, she was very concerned that the 1 to 3 ratio was not enough.
Member Weddington said she knows the Petitioner wants to guarantee success here, but she could envision a very high profile, high prestige function such as a political celebration that may put pressure on that occupancy limit and it may be a function that they don't want to turn down and that the City would like to have, and the Petitioner needs to be able to accommodate more standing room for a very short period of time or a special function such as that.
Member Weddington said she was concerned that if they do place a limit on this, for example, if the use would change over time, she would ask Mr. Watson whether that limit would have to re-evaluated.
Mr. Watson said the use would be whatever the Special Land Use approval was for. Member Weddington said if this use changes, would the occupancy limit also change. Mr. Watson said he didn't know what she meant by the use changing, and in the Special Land Use, they were approving a particular use and did she mean if the use was going to change from that or the proprietorship.
Member Weddington said she was referring to the voluntary occupancy limit where they agree to 600 and that limit would pass along with subsequent owners and Mr. Watson said it would, and she asked would it also pass to different uses. She asked if the use changes, were they in a whole new ballgame and it would have to evaluated.
Mr. Watson said if a different use was coming in, it would have to come back through the process.
Member Weddington said as a final point, when she sees the Boston Club, the first thing that comes to her mind also was the Boston Chicken Restaurant.
Mr. Fenton requested to speak and he indicated a question had occurred to him. He asked with the present parameters of this building the way they have it planned today, there must be some arbitrary number that would be satisfactory as far as occupancy and they were talking about the 600 person limitation. He said with the present parameter and the dimensions as they stand, what would the occupancy be that would be acceptable.
Mr. Rogers said it was noted in Mr. Kessler's letter the present banquet room was 6,604 sq. ft., and if they consider Option 1, tables and chairs, with the 15 sq. ft. per person, he would divide that 15 sq. ft. into the 6,604 sq. ft. and they would end up with a 441 person occupancy. He said then if they add in the pre-function area at 15 sq. ft. per person, because it did appear on his plan that there were some petitions there and it did look like it might be divided off into three rooms, they would add another 256 persons, and if they add that to the 441, they were up close to a 700 person capacity instead of 600, using the first set of plans.
Mr. Rogers said he was not adding in here anything for the Lobby area which they do for restaurants and they don't add in the kitchen and the employees, so they were looking at something more than 600. Mr. Rogers said this was a big building and the banquet hall facility itself was just under 25,000 sq. ft. when they put it altogether and that was big.
Mr. Fenton said they don't necessarily have to compress the envelope to hit the optimum as far potential occupancy, and there must be some way he could assure them that the limits were reasonable.
Member Capello then brought up a point of order. He said this was the Commission's Discussion, and he wasn't being discourteous to Mr. Fenton, but possibly after he hears what he has to say, Mr. Fenton would understand.
Member Capello said the reason Member Lorenzo made a motion to continue and he seconded it was because the Commission likes the project and they do not want to send him away. He said there were things they want Mr. Fenton to go back and discuss with Mr. Rogers and get the issues ironed out.
Member Capello felt if Mr. Fenton asked those questions of Mr. Rogers and even if he has to call Mr. Watson, maybe he could help him with the parking and variances and Mr. Fenton could come back with something they think was going to work with the Commission.
Member Capello said the Commission wasn't trying to put Mr. Fenton off and come back in a month, but they were saying possibly two weeks wasn't long enough to get together with everyone and put something together that was going to be approvable. He said if he wants to come back in two weeks, that was fine or even a month. He said the Commission would be willing to talk to him and take the time he needs, but the Commission wants him to ask Mr. Rogers those questions and then come back to the Commission and hopefully the Commission could approve it.
Mr. Fenton thanked him for that and he was just asking for an interpretation of the rules as he saw them.
Chairman Clark then said Mr. Fenton would need to get with Mr. Rogers and the other point Member Capello was trying to make was that normally once they turn the meeting over to the Commission, they usually don't let the Petitioner get back up and address the Commission.
Chairman Clark said his comments were this was an excellent project and he has been in Novi since 1979 and the only thing he has seen of any substance on that property were rocks and weeds and this was definitely a step in the right direction. He said he could support the Special Land Use and certainly the Section 4 Facade Waiver and he didn't have a problem with that and obviously the Preliminary site plan he could support.
Chairman Clark felt the Petitioners have received the concerns that the Commission has, which was directed towards the parking. He said he didn't know if Mr. Rogers has the answer to this, but he thought Laurel Manor does provide for about 600 people. Mr. Rogers said he would find out about that.
Chairman Clark said he could be wrong but he thought it was 600 and he has been at Laurel Manor when it has been divided into thirds and if that was correct with a maximum capacity of 600 on a Saturday night for 3 weddings going on at the same time, no one seemed to have a problem with parking.
Chairman Clark then indicated he felt this was an excellent project and he supported it if they could resolve the concerns the Commission has over the parking, and he felt if the Petitioner could work out the parking, the Commission would be in support of the project as a whole.
Member Bonaventura thanked Member Lorenzo for making the motion to postpone which he felt in previous discussions was the proper motion to make in order to allow discussion, rather than tabling, which would end discussion. He felt it allows Commissioners to comment and he does not meet with developers but he meets with developers here so he would give his comments now.
Member Bonaventura felt the facility was too big for the site and if they scaled their facility down, they would be able to drop their numbers on the traffic and also have enough parking and he would be more than happy to approve the Special Land Use under those conditions.
Member Hoadley said he felt it was a world-class project and he certainly was in favor of a Special Land Use and his problem was the parking and if it could be addressed by getting some additional parking across the street or something, he would have no problem, or if it could be addressed where the ZBA puts a restriction on the amount of people so that the parking they have would be adequate.
Member Hoadley added if this changed hands, he would be concerned because the building would be there and could be used differently.
Member Hoadley felt one of the two have to be addressed before he could vote for the site plan as it was presented.
Member Mutch said a comment was made earlier about Special Land Use situations and this particular Special Land Use versus what it was already zoned, and she felt that the benefit of having a Special Land Use development option was that it allows them to consider on its merits, project by project, those things which don't fit into any of the other zoning classifications and it was not automatically a zoned area in the community.
Member Mutch said she didn't think when they look at Special Land Use, they should be looking at a Special Land Use just by its nature being special, being negative, and she felt this says this deserves some special attention and in some cases, deserves special consideration. She said special doesn't necessarily mean positive and it just means special.
Member Mutch then discussed size of the building briefly. She also stated the parking was not based on how they might actually limit themselves in the use of the building, but what the building was capable of holding in terms of numbers of people, etc., so for that particular situation, while she did share the concern about the parking, she did appreciate the applicant's willingness to make compromises, in not only the design of what they have, but the use of the facility as well, and she said at least the final comments appear to be saying that.
Member Mutch felt they could also look for some compromise with the ZBA limitation and that the ZBA limitation was, as she understood it, as long as the use remains, it would stay with that, so even a subsequent user would have to be limited if that variance was attached to the Special Land Use approval, so she didn't have any real great concerns if they were to go that particular route, but she would think it would be in the best interest of the applicant to try and find a way to resolve that, otherwise she could see shuttle buses to Mr. O'Brien's parking lot.
A vote was then taken on the motion to postpone to January 18, 1995.
Mr. Cohen first asked Mr. Rogers if that was enough time and Mr. Rogers said he would be expecting tomorrow a revised site plan, a floor plan, and a cover letter, and he only has three days to do this because the packet day was next Thursday. Also was he going to ask Mr. Arroyo and the other reviewers would their comments be resolved too or was the site plan going to stay the same.
Mr. Arroyo said he would need sight distance and wetlands information for their modified driveway to be submitted to him and to JCK for their review before any additional determination could be made.
ROLL CALL VOTE: Clark (Yes), Hoadley (Yes), Hodges (Yes), Lorenzo (Yes), Mutch (Yes), Taub (Yes), Weddington (Yes), Bonaventura (Yes), Capello (Yes)
MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
THE COMMISSION TOOK A TEN MINUTE BREAK.
There was no Audience Participation.
MATTERS FOR DISCUSSION
1. A question for the City Attorney - Glen Bonaventura.
Member Bonaventura said his question was last week they had an issue that was tabled with a date specified and the discussion was cut off because of that and he asked wasn't that in reality a postponement and discussion could have been continued.
Mr. Watson said had it been made as a motion to postpone, then discussion could have happened. He said the Commission really had a couple of alternatives, and one would have been to do it as a motion to postpone and continue discussion, or do it as a motion to table and if people were dissatisfied with cutting off discussion, vote down the motion to table and once the Commission had their discussion, they could make another motion to table.
Member Bonaventura said his question about the motion to table was when they make a motion to table with a date specified, wasn't that a contradiction because of the fact that a motion to table was to drop the issue until the end of the meeting and actually it wasn't a motion to table, but a motion to postpone and Mr. Watson said he supposed so.
Member Bonaventura said what he was asking Mr. Watson was he would like him to jump right in there when these things happen because there had been three Commissioners who hadn't talked and they were upset that they couldn't get their viewpoint across and they felt slighted and they thought it was rude, so he would like Mr. Watson to jump right in with his Roberts Rules of Order.
Mr. Watson said he would give the Commission a suggestion which was in the future, don't make them as motions to table but make them as motions to postpone.
Member Bonaventura said that was what Member Lorenzo did that night and that was why he thanked her for doing that and it allowed the Petitioners to get a consensus of the Planning Commission. He said he knows from conversation with other Commissioners, they felt that the Petitioners could give them a phone call or meet them on another night, but he didn't go for that because he felt the business was to be done here.
Member Capello said he would follow up on that and say then if the motion to postpone was made and discussion follows, that the discussion was on whether or not the matter should be postponed or not, and not take the opportunity for Commissioners to elaborate on their views on the issue they were trying to postpone and Member Bonaventura said he agreed with that.
2. Discussion of Rules Committee - Glen Bonaventura.
Member Bonaventura said he was looking for a specific date for the Rules Committee to meet and there were three members, Members Weddington, Mutch and himself. He suggested Wednesday, February 11th and this date was discussed but didn't work out. A few other dates were discussed but nothing definite was decided upon and Member Bonaventura indicated he would make some phone calls and try to determine a date to meet.
3. Establish Study Sessions - Glen Bonaventura.
Member Bonaventura said he was interested in getting some study sessions together of interested Planning Commissioners on how the Planning Commission could achieve the goal of slowing the growth in Novi, in order to not exceed the current level of traffic on their existing roadways, to slow the growth in this City to control Novi's population so their school system, fire department, police department, Parks & Rec system, and other City services were not over-burdened.
Member Bonaventura said those study sessions would be a series of meetings with their Consultants and City Attorney and they would involve possible revisions to their Ordinances. He said they would study projected population levels as to how to achieve the absolute lowest population level in the City of Novi, and then with the help of their Consultants and their Attorney, establish a list of legitimate reasons to turn away or postpone development in Novi under all types of proposals.
Member Bonaventura said if anyone has been here awhile, they have noticed the site plans and if the Commission doesn't like a certain site plan such as a developer proposing 30 homes and the Commission finds they have a problem with 5 of them, they would give that developer 25 and the developer would take the 25 and walk away.
Member Bonaventura said the City has then efficiently cut 5 homes out of a subdivision, with the 5 homes having the potential of having 2.3 members in each home and they have also cut the traffic, cut the population level, and they have done it legitimately. He said they wouldn't undermine their laws and they would do it legitimately.
Member Bonaventura said he was looking for open discussion on this item in a study session forum where they could possibly fine-tune their talents for slowing the growth in Novi.
Member Hodges asked if Member Bonaventura was talking about developing tactics and he said yes and he felt the tactics already exist and he would like to put them in some sort of cohesive form where they were accessible.
Member Hodges questioned wasn't that the purpose of their Zoning Ordinance to give the Commission the parameters under which they approve or disapprove a development.
Member Taub indicated having been on the Commission with Member Bonaventura, he certainly shared many concerns, thoughts and ideas as far as quality of life, density and those kinds of things, but he would say that they couldn't absolutely in his opinion, shut down the use of land by an owner. He said if someone owns the land subject to the Zoning laws, subject to reasonable regulations, the City could not take someone's land.
Member Taub said he supported the idea of studying quality of life issues, traffic issues, etc., because he felt the infrastructure right now wasn't necessarily supporting their rapid growth, but he did want to indicate that he couldn't support 100% an aggressive attack on people who may want to move to their community, buy a home, build a home, start a business, build a building, etc.
Member Taub said he puts the resident and homeowner no. 1 in terms of close calls and decisions, but still they couldn't ignore the economic realities of growth in the United States and the fact that the laws in the United States and State of Michigan, permit individuals and businesses property rights.
Member Taub said he didn't necessarily disagree with where Member Bonaventura was headed, and he would support the idea of looking at those issues, but he would just caution an approach that would be too absolutist. He said they can't build a moat around Novi and residents of any community always have to come to a decision of whether they want to move on because their community has changed and that was a reality.
Member Taub said if a community changes to the point where it was no longer a meaningful place to live, a person essentially has to move on to another community, which then in turn might over-grow itself.
Member Lorenzo said she wasn't quite sure that the goals as Member Bonaventura was stating them would be appropriate for the Planning Commission to follow through on, and she felt perhaps the approach was the wrong one in her opinion and the proper place for what he was suggesting would be the Master Plan and Zoning Committee because that was where their Master Plan and zoning was established.
Member Lorenzo said it was that Committee that was brought back to the full Commission and within the proper parameters of that Committee, if these issues could be discussed, she felt that would be the place for it.
Member Hoadley said Member Lorenzo was "right on the money."
Chairman Clark said he agreed with the comments from Member Lorenzo. He felt they have to bear in mind that the cornerstone of democracy in this country always has been the rights of private property, so all of the rest of their rights flow from that and it was something they couldn't lose sight of.
Chairman Clark felt the worse thing they could do would be to think that they should start micro-managing every piece of property in the City of Novi and they have seen what happens when that approach was used at the Federal level.
Chairman Clark said for example if a subdivision comes in and they want 30 homes and the Commission tells them only 25 and they take the 25, they have eliminated 5 homes and that was correct, but when they eliminate the 5 homes, remember that the remaining 25 homes shoulder a greater burden in terms of taxes, to be able to have the type of community that they want and any community, including the City of Novi, has to develop with a plan that allows the community to be able to afford itself, and they could not lose sight of that.
Chairman Clark said he has the same concerns that Member Lorenzo has and they have a Master Plan and a Planning Commission, a ZBA and Zoning Ordinances, and those were the functions of the Ordinances and the various Commissions and Boards in this City to try to achieve those goals that Member Bonaventura was addressing but within the democratic process.
Member Bonaventura then said to just wrap up on this item, his attempt was that he has been on the Planning Commission for two years this February and regarding the reflection at the end of the year of what they have done in the past year, he wasn't very happy with his performance or the amount of work that he has done on this Planning Commission in 1994.
Member Bonaventura stated he got inspired by Member Hoadley who was a new Planning Commissioner who took a pro-active approach. He said that was the way he was when he first came on the Commission and he was full of vim and vigor and he wanted to change this and change that and some of the changes were successful and some of them were not.
Member Bonaventura said some of the things that he proposed, he was still being made fun of today and he has no problem with that, and he was sure that not a month goes by where someone doesn't say to him, "are you sure that was not over $5.00" and he was referring to the accepting of gifts. He said that was something that he was upset about when he came on this Commission and he was upset about the fact that when they received a gift, there was no problem about it, but his main purpose on that was to instill on the Council a higher standard, but they didn't pick up on it.
Member Bonaventura said right now the Planning Commission has a higher ethical standard than their City Council does in accepting gifts, but nobody makes note of that too much.
Member Bonaventura then was going to discuss his next item, which was the Rezoning Letter, but Chairman Clark indicated Mr. Wahl had some comments relating to the item of Study Sessions first.
Mr. Wahl said he would like to begin from the question of study sessions and also tie in with this planning situation to request or to suggest that they may need some study sessions, but not for that particular purpose, but to look at the entire master planning process and specifically the Work Program.
Mr. Wahl indicated they were due to submit a Budget and Work Program as of February 1st for preliminary input, and they have already done a lot of work in the Committee and he has a lot of information that would all be in their packet for the next meeting. He said, however, it was unlikely that they could possibly review all of that and pass a motion recommending a major Work Program after just having had that information for five to six days.
Mr. Wahl said so he was requesting or suggesting that they may need a study session for the purposes of their Work Program sometime in January. He said he would also add concerning the planning work that he thought Member Taub was asking about, which was when does the Planning Commission do planning and that was what the Work Program was about, which was to discuss planning, master planning, and special planning studies.
Mr. Wahl said he would only observe that if he wasn't mistaken less than a year ago, the Planning Commission adopted a Master Plan that included goals, objectives, policies, etc., and they looked over for a period of five years all the various issues which were embodied in Member Bonaventura's policy question and those were all reviewed and looked at just over a year ago.
Mr. Wahl said the Commission then approved a Master Plan that embodied the policies of this Commission. He said they were not really scheduled to do a wholesale review which he thought those issues would suggest and arrive at a new Master Plan until the year 1999 or the year 2000. He felt the process was laid out so that they go through a careful procedure and process to arrive at that conclusion.
Mr. Wahl said for example, if they rezoned or re-master planned the 12 Mile/Grand River Corridor, from Office uses to R-A, that might reduce traffic, but what about all the through-traffic that this community experiences which they have no control over whatsoever, and which sitting at the table here, he had no way of knowing and they wouldn't have that information until Mr. Arroyo completes his traffic information and data analysis, which was a work element that they were suppose to be doing next year. He said the point was that the City policies were very complex.
Mr. Wahl said they mentioned the fiscal issues and there were other issues that have to be looked at, not only in this body but in conjunction with the citizenry. He said they have a series of panel discussions with community groups scheduled for the first half of 1995 and that was part of addressing where the City should be going with those types of policies.
Mr. Wahl said they were talking about bringing in, for example, other experts such as legal experts, and they need to know what they could do under the various land use court decisions that have taken place, and that wasn't something that could be done in one or two study sessions and it takes some thorough consideration.
Mr. Wahl said so what he suggesting was he was all for planning study sessions and he was requesting that they schedule some of those, however, he would respectfully indicate that those types of policy issues would take quite some time to resolve and logic would only suggest that since the Master Plan was just approved, this was not something that they could arrive at any kind of decision on for a considerable period of time, perhaps as long as five years and that was the planning program they were operating under unless the Commission would see to change the procedure.
Member Mutch said she had two comments. She said first she wasn't familiar with this bill that was proposed in the State Legislature, but if anyone was really interested in doing something with regard to controlling growth along the lines that Member Bonaventura has suggested, they might want to look into another arena, which would be the State Legislature, because Senator Honigman apparently was trying to introduce legislation that deals with having infrastructure in place before development takes place. She said personally that was not something she would like to get involved with, but it does address limiting growth and perhaps if they were looking for an immediate activity maybe that was what they need.
Member Mutch also said she could not let the comment Member Bonaventura made pass without suggesting that maybe he didn't mean what she heard him say, but Member Bonaventura had stated that the Planning Commission has a higher ethical standard than the City Council and Member Bonaventura said as far as accepting gifts.
Member Mutch said Member Bonaventura could correct her if she was wrong, but she felt what he meant to say was that the Planning Commission holds itself to a policy that has set a higher standard than any policy adopted by the City Council. She said she, for one, could not presume nor agree with anyone who would presume to say the City Council itself was operating at a different level than the Planning Commission.
Member Capello commented before Mr. Wahl spoke earlier, he had the same impression and he felt Member Bonaventura didn't mean what he said but because there was an Audience, he wanted to clarify that.
Member Capello said there was no indication that City Council was acting in any unethical manner or under any substandard ethical practices, and it was just that they do have a guideline which was different than Council's and their guideline in certain areas imposes stricter standards on them and he was sure that was all Member Bonaventura was indicating.
Member Bonaventura said he could expand on that matter as far as the City Council and it was only because he has been in this town for 18 years. He said he could give them a short list right now of golf outings, charitable golf outings, trips to the Fox to see Frank Sinatra, and many things which were actually gifts of people that have come up before them.
Member Bonaventura said that was not an accusation, it was a fact, but it was not very well known and that was one of the reasons why two years ago he brought that up as far as having standards on gifts. He said he was hoping that the Council would catch on to that and take note of it and that was all he had to say about that.
Member Capello said perhaps that was something that should be brought up in Audience Participation in front of Council as opposed to the Planning Commission meeting and Member Bonaventura agreed.
4. Rezoning Letter - Glen Bonaventura.
Member Bonaventura said he would discuss this item next and then get back to the item of Council's January 9th meeting. He said the Commission rezoned a piece of property for Mr. Cousineau from R-A to R-1, essentially doubling the amount of people he could put on this property.
Member Bonaventura said the last election they had, the School System was looking for 33 million dollars for expansion and they work to their Master Plan.
Member Bonaventura then asked if that was master planned R-A and Mr. Rogers said it was R-1 and the density was 1.65 which included everything on the south side of 11 Mile and Member Bonaventura was correct and the Schools do make 3-5 year projections based upon their density plan and projects map.
Member Bonaventura said what he was getting at was the possibility of a letter for information to be sent to the appropriate school district and they have four of them in Novi, and when this City does such a thing, they could notify them or possibly the Council would have to take that up. He then asked for comments on this item.
Member Capello said he didn't have any problem with that and he wondered if it was something that the Ordinance should be changed to put the School System as one of the parties to be notified in regard to a rezoning or if the Commission itself could just adopt it as a policy and tell Mr. Cohen that the School System should be notified and he asked for Mr. Watson's comments.
Mr. Watson said he would suggest starting with the latter and do it that way until they have a chance to change the Ordinance.
Member Hoadley asked why would they need to change the Ordinance just to include someone in and could they do it as a courtesy and Mr. Watson said that was fine and what he was suggesting.
Member Hoadley then asked why would they have to change the Ordinance, and Mr. Watson said currently the Ordinance says they follow the procedure according to the Statute which doesn't include that as a specific notification item unless they were within the distance parameters. Member Hoadley felt it was a good idea.
Member Capello asked Mr. Watson if they would do that by a motion or how could they accomplish that. Mr. Watson said if there was a consensus, they could just direct Administration to do that.
Chairman Clark said they could direct Mr. Cohen to do that on all future rezonings and Mr. Cohen said he would.
Member Mutch felt that was a good suggestion as a courtesy and since many of them were also taxpayers in the Novi School District, or any of the other school districts, they want their school district to be aware of that.
Member Mutch said in any case, the finance people, the people who do population projections, etc., know better than to rely strictly on what was in the Master Plan because she has been on those kinds of school-board appointed committees which do population and enrollment projections and plan on whether or not the buildings were at capacity or how soon they would be, etc., and one of the things they look at was what was already approved and what was already under construction and not just the Master Plan, so while she felt that was a good suggestion as a courtesy, she didn't feel they have been left in the dark because they haven't been telling them.
Member Mutch said she hoped they don't get other groups of people though coming in and asking for the same sort of courtesy or they were going to have a very lengthy mailing list.
5. Council's January 9, 1995 Meeting - Glen Bonaventura.
Member Bonaventura said on Council's Agenda of January 9th was The Vistas coming up on the Area Plan. He said Mr. Cohen has supplied them with some information and there was more information to follow as far as reports from Mr. Pargoff, etc.
Member Bonaventura said it would be an interesting meeting and one of the things that would be interesting was the no-load road, which was a real issue and he would suggest if they don't go in person, to at least watch it on TV because this sets the stage for their series of site plans to come in front of the Commission.
Member Bonaventura said as they all know, this project was an increase in their population of 9% and that was one of the reasons why he voted against it, and one of the reasons he was interested in it.
Member Bonaventura said also they were supplied with the Minutes of the ZBA meeting which included 16 variances to The Vistas and the approvals of them and they should all read those Minutes.
Chairman Clark said the Commission should all join in congratulating Mr. Steve Cohen, their Planning Clerk, who was entering Graduate Study at Michigan State University. Chairman Clark indicated Mr. Cohen was one of only fifteen students selected to enter a Masters Program in Urban and Regional Planning and the Commission congratulated Mr. Cohen.
There being no further business before the Planning Commission, the meeting was adjourned at 10:30 P.M.
Steven J. Cohen
Transcribed by Sharon Hendrian
February 3, 1995